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I Was Emo For A Week And This Is What Happened

Call me Fall Out Girl.

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I dressed equally basic when I was a teen. On the inside, though, I classified myself as an emo kid. I so desperately wanted to embrace the black raccoon eyes, studded belts, band tees, and teased hair. But I was never confident enough to do so.

Nina Mohan for BuzzFeed

I wanted to be emo SO BADLY in high school, because inside I was angsty and loved Panic! at the Disco. In fact, I classified myself as a lil' emo, but I don't think an outsider would've been able to tell. Sure, I wore band tees, skinny jeans, and Converse. But I played it pretty safe and never fully embraced the look. I was too scared to stand out.

I also felt out of place in the scene because where I grew up, it was very white. I didn't see a lot of brown emo kids at my school or even on Myspace. Deep down, I felt like no one would accept me as a true emo kid because of my skin.

So now that I'm a ~confident adult~ I decided to go back to my high school roots and try dressing emo for a week. Here's how it went:

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Day 1

Nina Mohan for BuzzFeed

I did a little shopping at Hot Topic to prepare for this week. The skirt and the belt are from there. Can I just say that Hot Topic skirts are STIFF AF. It was not comfortable. Why do teens endure this? But it has skulls and I thought that would be the perfect way to introduce my new emo self to the world. I'm also wearing a tee for one of my favorite bands that I've had since I was probably 17. The "Converse" are actually Target knockoffs, though, because I'm a poser.

When I saw my co-workers for the first time, a lot of them laughed, then used the phrase "It looks like Hot Topic threw up on you." I think they felt comfortable mocking me because I kind of half-assed this look. I didn't do my makeup or hair as intensely as I could've because I was nervous about getting so bold.


Day 2

Nina Mohan for BuzzFeed

I listened to an emo playlist while I got ready, and it made all the difference. The pants and shirt are two items of clothing I wear often. Turns out I just need to accessorize the right way to be emo. I think the fingerless glove and my mastery of teased hair really drove this look home. Also my wallet chain is linked to nothing because I don't have a wallet.

One co-worker said I looked like "a mad teen" and I felt like that, in the best way. I felt hot in this look. It gave me an angsty, youthful energy that I don't normally have. I stomped around the office, and people I rarely speak to complimented me on my look. Maybe they just liked the novelty, or they liked being reminded of their teen years. In any case, I didn't want to take this outfit off.

Day 3

Nina Mohan for BuzzFeed

What kind of emo would I be if I didn't sulk around in a Wednesday Addams knockoff dress? As a teen, I felt like a lot of cool emo girls I saw on Myspace had ~quirky~ tights, so I picked some up at Hot Topic. I guess I wore them backwards? Oh well. My hair kind of flattened by the time I took this pic, but trust me when I say the amount of time I spent teasing it made me late for work.

One co-worker told me I looked "fucked up" and "scary, but like in a good way." I took it with pride. I was very assertive with people on this day, because embracing my dark side meant I stopped giving a fuck. However, I also got told that I smiled too much to be a true emo kid. Adult me just isn't as tormented as teen me.

Day 4

Nina Mohan for BuzzFeed

I'll admit, I went a little costumey with this one. The plaid skirt with suspenders was another uncomfortable piece I picked up from Hot Topic. It's oddly poofy and weirdly proportioned. Is this how today's emo teens are built? I paired it with a crop top and threw a white bow in my hair. I tried to model this outfit after an emo YouTuber I saw once.

A lot of my co-workers picked this outfit as their favorite because it reminded them of the "real" me the most. But for the first time in this experiment, I felt fake. It's not cool to try this hard. What a poser I am.

Day 5

Nina Mohan for BuzzFeed

Once again, this outfit is all about the accessories, since the shirt and the skirt are things I wear at least once a week. I chose to put the wallet chain around my neck because I'm alternative and cool now. I also tried to dye a strip of my hair with a cheap pink dye. It washed out in the rain. I should've used Manic Panic like all my friends did when I was a teen.

I was honestly bummed that this was the last day of the experiment. Sure, it would be nice to sleep in instead of blackening my eyes, but I knew I was going to miss looking so fucking cool. A random stranger in the hall told me I looked fierce. However, when I asked a co-worker what she'd think if I kept this look forever, she said she'd be sad because she felt like my hair and makeup were literally and figuratively hiding my true personality.

Final Thoughts

Instagram: @ninamohan

This week was pretty eye-opening for me. I felt at home. I highly recommend acting out your high school trend fantasy. Lots of people in my inner circle laughed in disbelief when they saw me each day. People seemed to enjoy the looks as a gag. But a part of me felt like this was who I was meant to be. Of course, the look felt a little juvenile for adult me. But it gave me a new sort of confidence and fierceness, and it was difficult when people wouldn't take me seriously. I suppose that's a struggle teens face too.

On the flip side, most strangers went out of their way to talk to me about my look, and seemed to revere it. I think the nostalgia factor of emo-ness definitely drew people in and acted as uniting force. I shy away from looking so extra in public, but I think it might do me good to incorporate some of these new elements (teased hair, anyone?) into my regular life. It's nice to know what could have been. I'll always be a lil' emo on the inside.

I'll leave you with some tips I gathered along the way:

Instagram: @ninamohan

1. Hot Topic clothes are stiff and awkward and expensive. You can probably DIY some cheaper stuff.

2. Dressing emo will get nostalgic strangers to talk to you.

3. Fishnet tights and fingerless gloves get caught in EVERYTHING.

4. Budget hair chalk is NOT a good alternative to actual dye.

5. Band tees are forever.

6. It will take makeup wipes, soap, and baby shampoo to get all that black shit off your eyes.

7. Dressing emo may give you extra confidence and happiness, which is not very emo, so put that smile away.