Tufts students reflect on style and self-expression in 2021: part 2


Fashion can allude to the flash frames of a current generation, marking trends inspired by social media or cultural changes in attitude. On an individual level, experiencing a personal style often goes hand in hand with understanding oneself, and for some Tufts students, clothing emerges as one of many ways to explore and represent their identity.

Libby Moser: Reduce, reuse, reuse

Libby Moser’s style inspirations include “Scooby-Doo ”(2020), “Corpse Bride “ (2005) and the invited judges on “The Muppets ”(1976–81).

I think I draw from a lot of weird influences in my life ”, Moser said. “But the answer I used to give people [to describe my style] is the intersection between the kid who never really grew out of his emo phase and also a preschool teacher in 1994. ”

Moser is a junior of Sarasota, Florida, and she compared her high school aesthetic to the beach VSCO girls. Her affinity for vintage clothing was nurtured from an early age, she said, remembering antiques and savings with her mother.

“I think [it’s] fascinating to see the evolution of what people give to thrift stores, or what people auction or state auctions and things like that ”, Moser said. “I find myself increasingly drawn to unique pieces and colors or patterns, or things that I wouldn’t expect. “

Moser commented that the explosion in the popularity of the savings culture, at least among students, can have pros and cons.

It’s like when your favorite band becomes popular, ”Moser said. “You know you like them to get the attention they deserve but I love to remember [it was] my secret too.

Thrift stores serve consumer populations with different needs, and some organizations have raised prices in ways that don’t accurately reflect the value of the clothes, Moser observed.

“I’ve noticed this trend … and I love this aesthetic – so you know, a slight hypocrisy here that I’ll recognize right away – the ‘grunge fairy core’ [style]. I think it really depends on this idea of ​​people [who] to have money in a way portray an aesthetic that perhaps conveys that they don’t have any ”, Moser said. “But at the same time, I’m really there for any reuse of clothing, whether it’s really ragged and worn out clothing or freshly donated clothing.”

Along with his childhood cartoon TV shows, Moser said his musical tastes seep into his style; a big fan of grunge, the fashion trends of the 90s call out to him.

“I have this 90s dress … I always said if I was a cartoon character, I would like to be animated in this dress.” Moser said of his current favorite piece. “It’s denim on top, then flowers all the way down. It’s very cute and gives me a very DJ Tanner vibe from ‘Full House’ (1987-95).

During the pandemic, Moser began compiling a fashion blog on Instagram where she showcases vintage second-hand finds and outfits she’s gathered and sells clothes she’s acquired over time.

Thinking about fashion at Tufts, Moser said that she was initially disappointed, but it grew in her.

“TThe Ufts style is still what I imagined Connecticut high school would look like ”, Moser said. ” What I think [reflects] the fact that a large part of Tufts is… in the upper socio-economic class and people can buy expensive products. I think it’s a very uniform palette. I see trends changing quickly, but I see them changing en masse.

Moser double major in clinical psychology and theater; designing costumes for student shows provides an appropriate intersection between her love for clothing and her acting background. His recent project calls for an amalgamation of time periods, a task perfectly suited for Moser.

I think the style is really a pretty radical projection of self-identity and I think for me the style has been very much about owning identity and pretending that’s who I am and that. is how I choose to present myself ”, Moser said.

While Moser reflected on how the style offers so many initial clues, she also recognizes that this is just one of many avenues for self-expression.

“Just because someone doesn’t have a style that I find particularly intriguing, or unique, or whatever – maybe I find it basic – I think it’s really a question of where you take your time … ” Moser said. “I think it’s cool when people find different and nuanced ways of expressing who they are. I think most of the time, the brain space that clothes take up in my head is taken up by calculus in other people’s heads. So it’s definitely a compromise.

Claire McMichael: “Bold, Clash, ‘Juxtaposition'”

Claire McMichael, a second year BFA student of Evanston, Illinois, said their first dream job was to be a fashion designer.

“I don’t think I was always killing him in a fashion sense, but I certainly always cared,” McMichael said. “There’s this hilarious photo of me… wearing this all-pink patterned haircut – I was probably four or five – and those pink big-circle sunglasses in this photo album. It’s like ‘Claire in Elton John’… Oh yeah. I came out of the womb while styling.

McMichael said they are attracted to young, bright and intense clothes aaccumulated in their grandmother’s closet, second-hand items and thrift stores; their wardrobe is motivated more by instinct than by calculation.

My style is always fluctuating and changing, ”said McMichael. “But the first things that come to mind are the colorful, bold, contrasting or ‘juxtaposition’ designs to be pretentious. I only wear what excites me and what I feel will be stimulating. “

McMichael noted that their style transformations evolved along with the adoption of their queerness and that Tufts’ influence on them was less about taking inspiration from popular trends on campus, but more about marking a change of place and a self-acceptance.

“I don’t think Tufts as a whole really influenced my style, other than being here was a catalyst for a change in who I am and then, by proxy, my style,” said McMichael.

Compared to the aesthetic of their Chicago suburb, McMichael credits studying at SMFA with allaying their past worries about being “overdone” in their fashion choices.

“Yeah, I mean [Evanston is] crispy but it’s also a suburb,“said McMichael. “So I think that way it made me feel like I was overdressed in high school [because] nobody did that. So, it’s like you really stand out if you do. ”

McMichael observed that Tufts’ style was in part similar to that of their high school, except for a lack of preparation and limited allegiance to brands like Vineyard Vines.

For McMichael, Tufts is not particularly “eccentric” and students are not beholden to a concentrated aesthetic.

“It’s more subtle. It’s in the little hair clip or the sock or the type of shoe, ”McMichael said. “I feel like people don’t go ‘gung ho’ on some intense, specific type of situation.”

SMFA students seem to approach their style choices with more intentionality, according to McMichael.

“I can kind of recognize people by what they’re wearing to a certain extent,” McMichael said. “And I feel like you can tell people identify more with their personal looks and style, even if it’s low key. Or at least it looks like this.

McMichael said their more distinctive style was influenced by high fashion designers, people on social media and, most recently, a friend from New York.

“If I see something trending I’m not going to buy it online,” they said. “So I end up buying things that I like. And it’s certainly influenced to some extent by the media I consume, but I feel like that’s a big part of what ends up making my clothes unique.

Although their personal fashion style is an important aspect of their personal expression and seems more visible, McMichael is surprised at how much others can perceive their style in relation to their real identity.

“I think [my style] is closely linked to my homosexuality and my acceptance of myself. But also it’s not that bad. I just think it’s entertaining, ”McMichael said. “And sometimes it makes me weird how much other people associate my style with who I am. It’s a bit trippy.

Like Moser, McMichael has found judging someone by the way they dress to be unnecessary and reductive.

Style can be such an indicator of some things in some ways, ”McMichael said. “For example, among trans and gay people there is all of this, ‘Oh, do I dress gay? … Obviously there is so much more to a person and just because you can’t see it in their clothes doesn’t really mean anything.


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