FPWTF: Grace Fries

This series is called “Fashion Philosophies and Where to Find Them.” After spending time in many corners of the world, I constantly come back to how amazed I am at people’s ability to express themselves through something as simple as the fabric they wear. My contributors come from all over the world, and this is how they have shaped their own personal style as it relates to their identity. 


Ever since I can remember, I’ve been intensely fascinated with the history of fashion. Specifically, the fashion of the latter half of the twentieth century.

Stevie Nicks.

Jane Birkin.

Janis Joplin.

These are just a few of the women who have shaped and contributed to my personal style. I admire these women for their courage to quite simply be themselves.

The art of not caring what others think is intricate and much more than what it sounds like on the surface. In my experience, it takes a great deal of bravery and spirit to put aside the opinions of others and completely be yourself. Over the past year or so, I’ve begun to discover the importance of individuality.

My Fashion Identity

August 18, 2018.

I walked through the doors of my high school for the first time.

I was determined. I was ready to make a name for myself.

But I quickly realized that my expectations were much higher than they should have been. Actually, my expectations were quite the opposite of what you might assume from the average freshman.

Nearly every day, I walked in the doors in eccentric, Joni Mitchell-esque outfits. As the weeks went by, I found that I was just about the only one dressing like this. I let unspoken peer-pressure overcome me and I tried to dress like “everyone else.” I put too much makeup on my face. I tried too hard to please others without letting it show. I couldn’t come off as desperate for attention, of course. 

Later that year and into the summer, I started listening to ’70s music almost exclusively. The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, Elton John. But more than anything, I listened to Janis Joplin. I fell in love with her music. Her voice was so unique, nothing like what I’d heard before. One day, I sat down and googled “Janis Joplin.” I scrolled through some pictures and read a few articles and fell in love with not only her music, but her style, too. From that moment on, she has been the biggest inspiration behind my style. I found what she chose to wear to be so inspiring, but more so, I was inspired by her unflinching courage to wear whatever she wanted to wear without giving attention to what others thought. (Disclaimer: I do realize that there are components of Janis’ life that I don’t approve of and don’t want in my own, but nevertheless, I still find her eccentricity and independence inspiring.)

I also let my environment have an effect on how I dress. Tennessee is full of art and–you guessed it–thrift stores. I do the bulk of my shopping at thrift stores around town. I love to take the culture of Chattanooga and incorporate it into my style.

What I love about my style is that it’s never monotonous. One day I’ll be wearing one outfit, the next day my outfit might look completely different. Much like Chattanooga, there’s always something new but the classics are still there.

There is a quote from Alexander McQueen that I’ve always found inspiring. “I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.” 

Above all, my goal is to inspire others with the way I dress. To show the world that it’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to be different.


For more of Grace’s style, check out her Instagram @sarahgracefries!

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