People judge others based on what they look like.
It's an unfortunate fact of life that we probably all have experienced, whether you judged or were judged.
People assume things about others based on the color of their hair (oh you're a redhead so you must be vivacious), their height (are you an athlete because you're 6-foot-4) and unfortunately the color of their skin (you know where this is going).
But when a person has graciously become immune to all prejudices and discrimination based on judgments, there remains one true, un-malicious way to examine someone based off the way they look.
Style has a major influence on how people judge us. Beyond hair and skin color and height, style doesn't just pigeonhole us into pre-established stereotypes, but allows us to express ourselves creatively in a way we choose, not just through our DNA.
This is one major reason I love style, and why I think everyone should consider it as a way of self-expression and creativity.
On any given day I will wake up and make my way to my closet to choose how I want to express myself that day. I'll stand in front of all my available options, and ask, "What am I in the mood for?"
I'll study the colors, textures and patterns of the pieces in my wardrobe and opt for something that correctly aligns with my mood for the day.
When I know I have no major obligations besides class and work, I'll emphasize my happy mood with bright colors and patterns. If I have a lot of work to get done, I'll show my focused and motivated mood with soft colors and comfortable textures. Thus, my style is really based on how I feel and how I want to express that through the clothing I wear on a day-to-day basis.
But that's just me. There are 7 billion people in the world, and each person has their own unique way of expressing their style.
Whether it's by wearing T-shirts from your favorite bands, rocking a vintage dress from the 70s or repping your fraternity or sorority with a date party shirt, style is a blank canvas you can repaint each day to express yourself and show off your individuality to everyone you pass on Rocky Top.
Melodi Erdogan is a sophomore in journalism and electronic media. She aspires to be a fashion writer for a major magazine or newspaper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @melodierdogan.