Senior Soul: Reflections of a Graduating Fashionista

Think of that one great pair of shoes that fit like a slipper. These shoes that keep your outfits grounded and are a recognizable asset to your overall look. Then after about four years of wearing them raw you realize that your sole mates are not going to last much longer and you will have to set them aside and start with a new, not entirely comfortable, pair.

Freshman YearAn unsettling feeling right? If you have ever experienced the apprehension of losing a fabulous broken in shoe, you know just how I feel about my upcoming graduation from college in less than a month. Just like my favorite pair of sneaker-boots that I found on the Haight during my school tour visit before Freshman year, USF has been the perfect fit for my time as an undergraduate student.

Throughout my four years as a Don, my style has been influenced by San Francisco flair, has been questioned (by myself and others), and has completely evolved. Reflecting on some of my greatest style accomplishments and a few questionable choices (such as buying an authentic four tailed coyote shawl and doing my best to defend its “cruel nature” to those on campus), I realize they all mark my time spent as a student-Don. I have been a contributing style writer for the Foghorn for more than three years. As I look back over the articles I have shared with you, I realize that my fashion aesthetic has shifted during my time spent with you in print.

One of the greatest things about personal style is the ability to not only to change and grow. In anticipation of my graduation date, I realize I have to break in new styles as I step into the work world. I wold like to offer my departing words on the ways to mature your most fabulous self through style.

Junior Year
The fashion she found abroad in her junior year

I am notorious for biting my nails down to bloody stumps. I have battled, what I consider is an addiction, for as long as I can remember. When I was a younger, I even found a way to get to my toenails (oh don’t judge, we all have skeletons in the closet). After years of being reminded this was an unladylike habit, it finally clicked that nail maintenance is an integral part of a polished look. For the longest time, grooming my nails just seemed like a waste of time and money to dedicate to my beauty regimen but it is now clear that manicures are an essential style component to both men and women.

After years of using my teeth as my grooming tool, I am handicapped in performing an adequate manicure on my own hands. I now dedicate about thirty minutes a week and eight dollars at Natural Salon to my nails, almost always opting for a dark shade to keep my fingers away from my mouth. No matter if your preference is colored, frenched, or buffed, having a well groomed handshake is a sign of confidence.

Mane Maintenance

Sophomore Year
Her Anna Wintour best in Sophomore year

Long curly, healthy hair tantalizes me with something I don’t possess, I must remember that the grass is always greener on the other side. The first day I moved into Hayes-Healy and met my freshman roommate, I remember thinking, “Oh that hair!” Caroline’s long, shiny, honey blonde locks were the perfect stereotype symbol for how a California girl’s hair should flow. That was the day I decided to grow my mane. After a year and a half of focusing my efforts on catching up with Caroline’s length, backcombing the nest on top of my head and applying all sorts of heat, I realized that my hair maintenance needed some work and it was necessary to start fresh. I chopped my ‘do’ up to my shoulders and embarked on a new hair routine early last semester. As my hair continues to grow healthy, I have a few new rules to maintain the mane.

I almost never apply heat to my hair in order to keep it as hydrated as possible. I wash it every other day, apply a hair mask once a week and apply leave -in-conditioner on my ends every time I exit the shower. I know it might seem that I am just suggesting what every beauty-interest writer would preach, but I have actually lived and learned that keeping true to this routine not only keeps my locks more lush it also saves on the personal upkeep budget as I don’t need to trim as often. While I will never possess naturally long bouncy curls, I believe that sticking to my new haircare routine allows me to feel proud of my fringe. The most stylish women have effortless and purposeful hair style. The first step to match this chicness is to realize that looking ‘effortless’ requires effort.

Personal Knack is the New Black

Becoming comfortable in your own skin can be a tricky task so I suggest that you start by finding comfort in the “u” in universal style. When I first arrived at USF, I remember thinking that I had a knack of putting clothes together that looked magazine worthy. I giggle when I think back to that thought process as I have come to realize that my style ‘knack’ is found in my ability to put pieces together that tell a story about who I am, not what Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar displays to wear that month. While fashion magazines provide inspiration and feature editorial and design artwork, it does not dictate what I wear anymore. I have found find this adornment habit much more refreshing than a game of trend follow the leader.

DSC00118 007
the pulled-together, ready to graduate style in her senior year of college.

I will share another ‘unfashionable’ tidbit about myself. I truly do not like wearing stilettos. I am not even attracted to wear them. If you asked me about Louboutins three years ago, I would have told you how much I want the high red-soled beauties. Today, if I had a Louboutin fund, I would beeline to the studded sneakers or spiked loafers. Now that I think about it, I would totally go for those spiked loafers. (Graduation gift anyone?) The point is, don’t stumble through life in the wrong shoes. Four years ago, I was strapping on my then-cute four inch wedges for 8:00 a.m. class thinking that I was teetering above the rest in style. Now I find class comfort in my two pairs of Converse or Haight Street sneaker boots, even though the treads are wearing thin. Going back and forth from my work wear of, groomed and tailored classics at Saks Fifth Avenue, to my senior class style, donning denim and little makeup, gives me the opportunity to express the different sides of myself in a practical and non-fussy manner. To look the most comfortable in your skin, start with your style comforts and look for opportunities to express all sides of your personal knack.

Over the past several weeks, I have been emotional honest about how strange it is to be leaving college, my “fashionable experimental” years behind. However, I am realizing that one of the most beautiful aspects of personal adornment is that everyday in my future, there will be a new opportunity to experiment with what I put on each day.

One thing I know, I’ll always walk in a shoe that fits and is comfortably chic. The sole steps I have taken across our campus leave a mark of self growth on my inner soul. No person will ever graduate from finding excellence in self expression.

So it’s time to step up to the next adventure in life… I need to find the right shoe to don beneath my graduation gown.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief copy-editor: Natalie Cappetta

Scene Editor: Tracy Sidler

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