STYLE GURU BIO: Cassandra Neely

After taking a semester-long hiatus from CollegeFashionista while studying and interning in New York, I’m beyond thrilled to be back in the swing of things and once again working with one of the most inspiring fashion publications to ever exist. I’m currently embarking on my fifth go-round with this internship, along with my second semester of my junior year as a Fashion Merchandising student at Kent State University.

I grew up in a very tiny and very rural town outside of Pittsburgh and currently attend school in a part of Ohio that is far from being a metropolis. Needless to say, I was excited to take a leap into the hustle and bustle that is Manhattan for a few months. Living and working in New York was simultaneously the most magical and intimidating experience of my life thus far. The magic came with the city itself, the internships I participated in at Stella McCartney and ELLE Magazine and the passionate, wonderful, intelligent individuals I was fortunate enough to work with. The root of my intimidation was my preconceived notions of how my superiors and fellow interns would be dressed on a daily basis. I distinctly remember packing up my clothes back home in Pittsburgh while in the midst of a subtle panic attack and thinking, “What do I own that will actually be good enough to wear at either of my internships?”

I guess I had originally pictured everyone to be parading around the offices in head-to-toe Chanel with the exception of a Fendi puffball keychain on their quilted purses. From the very first day of my internships, however, my hypothesis was proved incorrect. I noticed from the start that nearly every person I met at both of my jobs dressed not to cohere to a certain image that is often associated with those who work in fashion, but to satisfy themselves and illustrate their personalities. The editors who wore adidas sweatpants and shower shoes looked just as cool as the ones who juxtaposed their boyfriend jeans with sky-high Louboutins. I’m lucky to have been able to witness such a lovely and inspiring hodgepodge of personal styles during my time in New York. (Don’t worry though—there was still plenty of Chanel and Fendi puffballs to be had.)

As I’ve mentioned before, each outfit is its own story. There are few things more telling than how you choose to present yourself to the world around you, and with each outfit you wear, you share a little bit of yourself with everyone you see. Having had this experience in New York, I’m excited to return to Ohio and look deeper into the intricacies of my fellow students’ outfits as I write about them for CollegeFashionista once again. Here’s to another semester of sharing the sartorial stories of Kent State’s students with all of you.