The 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' star spoke with PEOPLE during the Kate Spade New York presentation at NYFW about her own unique style
Sofia Wylie may be on top of the trends these days, but she isn't too shy to admit that that wasn't always the case.
"When you are growing up, you express yourself through your clothes, your hair, your makeup, whatever it may be — and it's not always good," the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series alum, 19, told PEOPLE at the Kate Spade New York presentation during New York Fashion Week this month.
"I realized that when I look back at events I had gone to, or even just times I would hang out with my friends, and I remember thinking I hit that," she continued of her style as a preteen and young teen. "It was good, but it actually was atrocious. I give myself grace, though, because I was expressing myself through fashion."
The actress, who was kicking off her NYFW with the presentation — and told PEOPLE she was pumped about the energy in the city and at the fashion house's show — says these days, as she gets older, she sticks to a more versatile style that allows her to play with colors, silhouettes and vibes.
"I don't want to put myself into any one box," she said. "I don't want to be in a category of, 'I only wear pink, so I only wear this color palette.' I know my color palette, but do I stay in those bounds? No, and I think that's the way fashion should be. There shouldn't be any kind of construct on it."
Despite her young age, Wylie has grown up in the public eye on TV, so she's been showing off her affinity for fashion on red carpets and at events for years. She said she's "always been a fashionista," as far as she's concerned — and she said her parents would agree.
Even as a child, she says she was playing dress-up and having fun with clothes. It wasn't something she picked up from her mom or her sister — it was just something she decided all on her own, and her parents were always happy to support her stylish whims.
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"I went through this strong neon phase when I was probably 6 or 7," Wylie recalled with a laugh. "I only wore neon fishnet gloves, neon tutus, neon high socks. It was a choice, but it was my choice."
She continued, "I think that's what I've always loved is that I've been able to truly choose how I feel with my outfits, where in my life as an actress, I don't get to choose all the time. They tell me where I need to live, and they tell me how I need to act. I think because I have that ownership over fashion, that's why I've always loved it."
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