September 6th, 2015 at 9:09pm

My foray into fashion began in elementary school and has not stopped since.

It all started with the first, and very obviously may I point out, time I was allowed to dress myself. In a hurried flash of excitement and enthusiasm, I proudly paired a striped polo with floral shorts and topped off the ensemble with lace trimmed socks and tennis shoes. As documented by a fall school photo, my elementary school style peaked in fourth grade. The classic headshot features a ten year old Jess in her favorite (and I mean wear-several-times-a-week-favorite) striped top, a polka-dot tie and a stack of layered shell necklaces.

I would like to tell you that I pulled all of this off with the style and grace of a 1950s starlet, but in reality I looked like a frazzled preadolescent with the wardrobe of a prep school boy and a pageant queen.  Although my sense of style and ability to pair pieces together has evolved since those early days, my enthusiasm for dress and creativity has remained exactly the same.

Even though I no longer rock camouflage cargo capris recycled from my hip-hop costume, fashion has given me the confidence to wear what I please without regard to the opinions of others. I love pairing classic shapes with eclectic pieces, mixing patterns and reworking clothes to wear them in more than one way. I never fail to get excited over a good find at a second hand store, a delicate lace or a great structured jacket.

Now, nine years post-elementary school style experimentation, I am studying fashion and retail at The Ohio State University. I have received this amazing opportunity to write for CollegeFashionista and am so jazzed to share with you guys the fabulous and diverse student styles Ohio State has to offer this fall!