STYLE GURU BIO: Kayla Cooke

Hey, readers and fellow fashion lovers! My name is Kayla and I’m a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I’m studying Web Development and Strategic Communications with a certificate in Digital Studies. I’m a self-taught web designer/developer and hope to one day incorporate my technological talents with my obsession for personal style and expression. My dream job is to work as a contributor and developer for a major fashion magazine firm. This will be my first semester as a Style Guru and I couldn’t be more excited!

Confession: I wasn’t always the girl who knew what to wear to what function or exactly how to style a pair of red jeggings. In fact, high school me probably would have died at the fact that I now own a pair of red jeggings. Growing up in a tiny town with a subsequently small population, I didn’t exactly consider myself emerged in the world of fashion. In all honesty, there isn’t an exact “Ah-ha!” moment I can point to as to when I officially “discovered” my own style; I do, however, remember when I first started shopping for myself. I would pick out pieces that I liked and I distinctly remember my mom or sister scrunching their noses up, asking, “Really? You want to buy that?” I stuck to my guns, though, and when I pulled on that pair of ankle boots or put on the leather vest that I’d been teased about for purchasing in the store, I was amazed at the compliments I would receive.

People often ask me how I found my personal style or how they can find theirs. I’ll be the first to admit that when I first started wearing what I truly wanted to wear (probably circa 2010), I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. I was concerned that people would be thinking, “Who is this girl and why the is she dressed that way?” I think a lot of people have the same feeling. It’s important to remember that dressing the way that you want to takes self-confidence. Once you find your niche, your personal style will often be what gives you confidence.

I’d describe my style as something that’s a bit edgy, bohemian, punk and feminine. I like to have some type of of juxtaposition. I love leather, black, rich colors, lace, vests, combat boots, band T-shirts, suede heels, lingerie-inspired dressing, destructed denim…and the list goes on. I love to write and express myself; working with CollegeFashionista, doing PR work for DL1961 Premium Denim and running/designing my own website is just the beginning of it all. I’m constantly looking for unique clothing pieces, new experiences and any kind of adventure. In the well put words of another style guru, “Fashion is language and style is knowing who you are and what you want to say.” I hope I can inspire others to discover their own personal style, and I look forward to sharing my voice and adventures with all of you!