Leaving junior high behind can be scary. Not only were we often leaving most of our friends, our bus routes, and our well-known hallways, but also our style. Personally, my style changed from middle school to high school, but shedding those slightly immature layers was definitely an intimidating thing. It was comparable to trying on high heels for the first time: It felt wrong, I worried that I wasn't quite old enough to pull it off, I had no idea what I was doing, and the first step was wobbly. The whole process was a total mess, but an exhilarating experience. Those were the years I took the first couple of baby steps in figuring out my style. And while there would be many, many, many missteps along the way, there would also be progress.
Chances are you shed your love of everything glittery, sparkly, and bedazzled when making the transition, and retired your penchant for Lizzie McGuire hairstyles. You probably dabbled with shorter hemlines and flirtier, body-hugging outfits, while also succumbing to the cool girl ensembles that were popular in your hallways.
Although most of us pruned and rehashed our wardrobes during that transitional period, one thing was for sure: We usually had a blast figuring out who we were. Below are 11 ways our outfits changed from middle school to high school.
1. We Left The Zany Hair Accessories Behind
While looking like Justice did our hair every morning was perfectly acceptable in middle school, high school didn't have any room for colorful scrunchies, zany hair clips, or a plethora of hair braids and Scary Spice-esque twists. We had to embrace a less, er, artistic aesthetic.
2. Hem Lines Got Shorter
While many people dabbled with short shorts and mini skirts in middle school, it became more of a standard in high school. I don't remember many maxi dresses sweeping my halls. Rather, it was all about babydoll sundresses, denim mini skirts, and velour sweatsuit shorts.
3. Our Purse Collections Took A More Serious Turn
We were practically women now, which meant we needed a collection of proper purses. And by "proper," I mean big, pleather, insanely colored options that wouldn't match a single thing we owned, but that we loved anyway. And by "collection," I mean a hoard. There was no way we'd get to wearing all of them, but we didn't care.
4. Sneakers Got Traded In For Uggs
They wouldn't issue us our freshman ID cards unless we provided proof of purchase of these furry little wonders.
5. And Our Cheeky Shirts Got Traded In For Hoodies
Whether they were zip-ups or good old fashioned hoodies (probably stolen from your boyfriend or brother), those quirky, bedazzled, tongue-in-cheek, sports-inspired T-shirts that created our middle school wardrobes were marched out of the way to make room for them.
There was no more "99 percent angel" nonsense once we became freshmen. It was now time to throw obscene amounts of money on baggy sweaters or velour zip-ups.
Want more fashion and beauty? Check out the playlist below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle's YouTube page for more hacks and tricks!
6. Leggings Became Our Life
JP Women's Seamless Full Length Leggings, $10.10, amazon.com
Who had time to find clean pants on the floor when we could simply reach for our trusty leggings? The beautiful thing was that they went perfectly with the high school girl starter pack most of us subscribed to: Ugg boots + hoodie + messy top knot + some sort of pleather purse.
7. Any Pants With ~Attitude~ Were Ditched
Baggy cargo pants, low-rise camo pants, bell bottoms with embellishments, lace-up jeans: Those were all examples of pants that didn't quite have a place in the high school hallways. In an environment where we could have been ridiculed for having last season's hoodie, we couldn't afford to get theatrical with our pants. Unless we had guts. But for those of us who would have rather not received our school's version of a slushie to the face, it was standard jeans or PINK pants for us.
8. Quirky Layering Was Done-zo
Short sleeves layered on top of thermals, skirts on top of flared jeans, and cargo shorts matched with leggings were now a thing of the past. There was a time for quirky experimentation, and high school marked the end of that.
9. Jean Skirts Became Life
This was so the go-to during the early 2000s. Whether it was picture day, date night, Friday night football, or just a run to the diner to eat curly fries, our trusty denim skirts would see us through.
10. We Figured Out What Outerwear Was
That's right: A jacket isn't just something you wear when it gets chilly. It's also this confusing thing called a layering piece. We had our cargo jackets, denim ones, some camo pieces, leathers, and canvas anything: They were all for #fashion and not for function.
11. We Began Growing Our Jewelry Collections
One day, all your grandkids would fight over your Claire's costume jewelry collection.
With the brink of adulthood comes a shedding of teeny bopper ways. RIP, bedazzled denim. You were a gem.
Images: The CW (2); Summit Entertainment (2); FOX (1); Uggs (1); Amazon (1) Disney (2); Paramount Pictures (2)