Welcome back to fall when styles are as fresh and crisp as the air and our wardrobes are forcefully cut in half by college closets. No matter our grades or ages, attention must be paid to what we “don” for the 2010/ 2011 school year as we mature both in front of the mirror and away from it.
Before we get too deep into the spirit of our “collegiate couture,” let me introduce myself to “Style File” reader rookies. I am an USF senior back stateside reporting to you fresh from the style trenches of Paris after a semester abroad. I am excited to continue delivering style advice, trend reports, and fashion news through “Style File.” After image courses in Paris and New York, internships, retail experience and a personal passion for fashion, I offer you my take on the runway, the real way. I am a proud advocate of staying true to personal style. My job then is to point you in the direction of your most confident and chic self.
As we climb the ladder to a graduation date, we usually have four years, or four steps, to develop our style. Now that I approach my fourth and final step at USF, I reflect on the stages of my style maturity after three years and goals for my senior year. As I peer into the looking glass of my style past and future, each year has provided a different fashion perspective.
Suitcases in hand and my most treasured fashion pieces tucked neatly away, I forced myself to acclimate to a roommate and a limited living space. My high school days of daily car transportation, bathroom privacy and my lifetime’s collection of clothing at my fingertips were over. However, we have all chosen a school in a city of style, freedom and expression. I didn’t leave my wardrobe ensemble ideas at home because they were fresh in this city. Freshman year is full of change and adjustment so I found it wise to pull from what I knew and was comfortable in. Naturally I pulled other style ideas from my peers, and discovered Haight Street. My transformation was fun and easy, with a slight vintage overdose from Haight’s Wasteland and Held Over. If you are just starting out on this journey, stay true to your style roots as you set out on this adventure called college. When looking in the mirror, remember you know that face and style you are observing, and welcome your personal style standbys. This city is full of inspiration, so let it come to you spontaneously.
My fashion collection in San Francisco had doubled as I brought more and more clothes from home and explored every shopping facet the city had to offer. I was moving into a single room at Lone Mountain which became more of a closet with a bed in the corner. I settled into my identity at USF and felt comfortable changing my style everyday. I undoubtedly had “multiple style personality disorder” as I was not editing my shopping choices to fit my true personality and identity. Sophomore year was a year of exploration and pushing my boundaries as far as I could. I remember buying a vintage fur shrug made of four coyotes, tails included. What was I thinking? I don’t regret a moment of my chaotic style and encourage you to use this year to make mistakes to find what you look your best and feel the most comfortable in. At times you might catch a glimpse in the mirror of a “worst dressed” day, but trudge ahead.
I worked for a fabulous stylist in the city, moved into my first apartment (without a closet) and gained fifteen pounds. It was time to learn control. At the beginning of the year, I was dressing to hide the body that I was not comfortable with and started buying clothes just to make me feel better. This was a mistake. As I started to prepare for Paris, I took control of my body and style. I lost the weight and edited my closet to reflect the lady that I wanted to be. Only having two suitcases to bring to Paris taught me to use little and make a lot of of it. I felt simplified and less cluttered. Don’t worry, I am not telling you to prepare for weight gain and a move across the Atlantic. However, now is the moment to critically gaze at your reflection to find confidence in your style and shed the unwanted excess in your closet.
I am now back in San Fran feeling refreshed by a new perspective on fashion that I acquired in Paris and, if I dare say, wiser. I just moved back into my apartment with ten pairs of shoes instead of 45 and many extra hangers. My focus this year is refinement as I prepare for life after college.
I unpacked my clothes box yesterday and reminisced with a few “friends” hanging on my clothes racks. My leopard print L.A.M.B. sweater was with me freshman year on my first date with my boyfriend and again accompanied me on a long walk we took last night. The sneaker boots I bought on Haight during my initial visit to USF are worn and dirty, but hold the top shelf still this year on my shoe rack. I feel I have come full circle from freshman year. I am looking ahead to my stylistic future but tightly hold on to the pieces that have worn through the last three years. Looking in the mirror and feeling confident is the wisest and most mature style stage on the step ladder. Sometimes taking a moment to reflect in the mirror can be challenging and a bit scary but as soon as you start climbing, your maturity will serve as your reflection. Have a column suggestion or need some personal styling advice? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with me and your style. Happy styling and reflecting, whether in front of the mirror or not.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Scene Editor: Tamar Kuyumjian