Hey guys! My name is Sophie and I can’t believe I’m already returning for my third semester with CollegeFashionista. After two semesters of mostly exploring campus trends and photography, I want to talk the coming-of-age aspect of style.

First, style is incontestably all about empowering people through self-expression. A solid outfit can tell all our untold stories and hold secrets we didn’t know we had. I love how the bracelets we leave on our nightstands and the way our hair holds itself in a bun can contain deeper meanings only very few know of. Beyond their practicality, clothes are also storytellers. As an English and French Literature student at the University of Toronto, I’ve always been fascinated by this aspect of fashion. My personal style, while eclectic, usually falls under the comfy chic category.

As for me, I’m just realizing now how much I’ve matured since this winter. Four months ago, I was a reckless and impatient mess. It showed in the way I behaved, treated people and dressed. I’d order too many clothes online and hid my insecurities behind extravagant details, like dark lipstick, constant nail polish and eccentric clothes that were often four sizes too big.

After weeks of self-reflection and traveling, I recognize now that I’m a more collected, thoughtful and calmer person. I live in the moment. I don’t stress or overthink about the future or the past as much as I used to. I’ve noticed in conversations that I’ve become soft-spoken, more feminine. This explains why I’m suddenly more interested in floral tops, maxi skirts and sandals, all of which are things I’d never paid attention to before—I used to swear by loafers, boots or sneakers, until I wore heels in one of my most recent CollegeFashionista articles. I don’t need nail polish, dark lipstick or oversized clothes anymore; instead, I have my priorities sorted out, a slowly budding potential career and my grandmother’s silver bangle dangling on my wrist.

Such stark contrast in such short time may seem absurd, but it took a lot of job interviews, a few incredible job offers, a new vegetarian lifestyle, countless tiny East-Asian villages, some philosophical reading, a newly resuscitated love for Zara and too many Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra songs on repeat.

I may have watched myself grow through my own evolving style, but I’m still learning and will always be. I’m super excited to grow and mature all while writing for CollegeFashionista this summer as I take on an internship and summer courses. Looking forward to an amazing semester of breezy weather, sunshine and off-the-shoulder tops!