Top 40-inspired outfits: 2015’s biggest hits

Ilaf Esuf/File

I’ve been in my tiny suburban town for a few weeks now, where sweaters and Uggs make you the Alexa Chung of Rocklin, CA, and the same pop songs repeat on every station during my five-minute drive to the grocery store.

I’ve been consumed by suburbia.

But I wasn’t going to let that ruin my creative freedom as I look back on the year of music through the lens of my personal fashion. Here is my attempt to cross the bridge between life outside and inside the picket-fenced bubble. Here is how 2015’s biggest hits inspired me.

The Hills” by The Weeknd

“I’ma let you know and keep it simple. Tryna keep it up don’t seem so simple.”

Abel Tesfaye uses “The Hills” to focus on his independence and his distaste for the complexities that come with relationships. The song is about a man who knows what he wants, isn’t willing to offer more and is complacent with his lifestyle. He’s carefree and bold.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured Above: An oversized Los Angeles tourist graphic tee used as a dress to really exemplify the DGAF factor. The camo jacket (a socially approved equivalent of brass knuckles) and a gold necklace for a hint of femininity that reminds everyone you’re not a threat. Rings and cutout boots for an edgy way to tie it together.

Hotline Bling” by Drake

“You started wearing less and goin’ out more. Glasses of champagne on the dance floor, hangin’ with some girls I’ve never seen before”

Drake is sad. He is sad that his girl is having fun without him. This FOMO, TFTI moment got us dancing like all those Drake memes while holding back our tears, but I wanted to see it from the girl’s perspective — a woman who knows her worth and isn’t interested in watching the clock tick.  

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured Above: A gold sweater dress for the “bling,” a body chain, gold necklace and rings to prove exactly how confident we are, and a black scarf to remember our roots (before we got a “reputation” for ourselves — whatever that means).

Renegades” by X Ambassadors

Go forth and have no fear. Come close, the end is near.”

X Ambassadors wants our generation to break the mold. They want us to keep thinking, keep living and keep being. So I imagined myself on a roadtrip, passing the fields of cows in Davis, with my legs hanging out the window of a Jeep as I’m on my way to have some G-rated life-changing breakthrough. It’s a more innocent version of Rihanna’s bad bitch mentality (hence the cardigan — we should still listen to our mothers. After all, it is very cold out there.)

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured above: Some “crazy” printed pants to show that we don’t care about social norms, a cardigan because we also want to be sensible and a watch, necklace and earrings to show people that we’re responsible even though we’re ready to be pioneers. Nothing says “I’ve got my life together, just trust me, I’m doing great things” more than a pair of earrings.

FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney

“But I just can’t apologize — I hope you can understand.”

To me, this song was about shaking off my layers. The artists sang about the confusing journey of finding yourself and hoping your team will still be in your corner. After biding so much time settling, looking the other way and being too concerned with pleasing others, this song is a moment of clarity.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured Above: A denim shirt-dress as an homage to Rihanna’s impeccable outfit in the music video, a printed cardigan to break up the monochrome, a watch and layered silver necklaces for an edgy touch. While gold often adds class to an outfit, silver works as a bold statement, such as in the outfit above.

The Way” by Kehlani featuring Chance the Rapper

“We could catch a flight out to London, go to the mall, spend a lump sum. They could try to catch up to us, but they’re too busy making assumptions.”

They’re in love, mentally, physically, emotionally — they really dig each other. They’re having fun, being themselves and making memories.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured Above: Velvet high waisted pants and a velvet bralette paired with an unbuttoned Ralph Lauren shirt for that sensual, morning-after feel. The beat-up Adidas add a relaxed touch to the look, inspired by Kehlani herself.

Hello” by Adele

“When we were younger and free, I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet.”

The best teachable moments come from hindsight. Adele hit on a moment only a few would be brave enough to share. The song captures a broken soul who has already grown up and forgot to cherish the moments in between. It’s not a song of regret, but of acceptance — a more mature take on Drake’s sad boy image.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured Above: Black gaucho pants paired with a white silk top for a casual, mature feel. A gold necklace, gold bracelet and black heels add more sophistication to a very minimalistic look. This is what I want to wear when I accept that life is hard.

Sorry” by Justin Bieber

“I know you know that I made those mistakes maybe once or twice. And by once or twice, I mean maybe a couple a hundred times.”

People may have rumored that Bieber actually wrote this song about Selena, but to me it was a well-produced temper tantrum. This reminded me of the (multiple) times I broke curfew and tried to convince my dad I shouldn’t be punished. So I tried to imagine what I would wear if I had to go back to middle school right now.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured Above: A black cropped sweater over a printed tank paired with a maroon skirt for an edgy but elegant look. The necklace, watch and boots add a feminine sophistication I might try to abuse when asking for forgiveness. (Batting eyelashes could not be photographed.)

Cheerleader” by OMI

“…Do I make you feel like cheating? And I’m like no, not really..”

Attention all humans, everywhere: If you know you’ve got it good, praise them. The girl described in this song sounds awesome — ‘cause he says so. She’s pretty, bold, adventurous, courteous, smart, kind, beautiful and any other positive adjective you could find in a thesaurus. And he knows he’d be dumb to quit that.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured above: A poofy white skirt to add some fun to the edgy black bralette, a body chain for even more confidence, a leopard ring and gold bracelet to be bold. If I saw someone in this and a red lip, I’d probably write a song about them, too.

Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon

“We were victims of the night, the chemical, physical, kryptonite, helpless to the bass and the fading light.”

They’re kids in love, happy and captivated. They don’t care about ISIS, Donald Trump or global warming. They just want to dance and live in the moment.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured Above: A graphic sweater from Korea layered under a fun, printed jacket paired with a leather skirt for some edge. It’s fun, flirty and daring.

Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment

“I come to church for the candy, your peppermints is the truth. I’m pessimistic on Monday if I had tweaked and missed you.”

This cute, ‘50s-esque song uplifts all lovers with its bright, fun sound. The gospel influence mixed with a lover’s passion creates the sense of a fun, slightly risque but sophisticated feel, which is exactly what I tried to go for.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Pictured above: A flirty black dress worn under an unbuttoned turquoise shirt dress that adds a pop of color to match the song’s upbeat sensibility. The black scarf, gold necklace, watch and boots add a sense of sophistication that’s still fun and charming.

Contact Ilaf Esuf at [email protected].
@dailycal.org.