May 27th, 2015 at 2:00am

I can’t pinpoint a single defining moment when I knew that fashion would become so important to me—ultimately my most valuable form of self-expression. Perhaps it was more of an evolution, beginning in my early high school years, when I began noticing that I would wear certain trends before other people, receiving both positive and negative reviews from my peers. Somewhere in those four years is where I believe I turned into a Fashionista, realizing fashion could be both my passion and a professional world to which I could devote the rest of my life.

I love matching crisp classic pieces with trends and fads. Monochromatic and all-black outfits are my favorites and make me feel confident in myself. While I try to treat any given day as a “catwalk opportunity,” I also am just as likely to opt for an easier combo of shorts and tennis shoes to strut my stuff in. Statement pieces, while often expensive on a college student’s budget, are always worth it because, as Tom and Donna from Parks and Recreation often say, when in doubt, “Treat yo’ self.”

While I am a rising sophomore at the University of South Carolina in Retail and Fashion Merchandising, I happen to have grown up in the hometown of USC’s archrival, Clemson University. And yes, while the comments from my friends on both sides are relentless, I am not ashamed to say my blood still runs orange. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a Style Guru this summer and cannot wait to share my thoughts with you all!

In closing, I’ll share my favorite quote of the moment from Nili Lotan, founder of the Nili Lotan Design Studio: “Fashion is about change and evolution that is based on one’s personal references and point of view.”