I first met fashion when I was five years old while reading Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. Lilly obsessed over her little plastic purse and I would soon do likewise with my Polly Pocket plastic clothes. I was more infatuated with outfitting my Pollys, along with my Groovy Girls, than actually playing with them. I also liked to dress myself up, too, so much so that I was awarded “Best at Dress Up” in preschool.

Many of my childhood memories I associate with a specific outfit or article of clothing. When I reminisce of my trip to France at age seven, I picture myself walking around the streets of Paris toting a fuzzy ladybug purse. Christmas Eve, age 10, I remember waltzing around the country club barefoot in brown gauchos and a sequin sweater. As for my early high school years, I have memories of walking down the halls in crazy printed leggings and studded jean jackets.

My style has evolved far past simply striving to stand out to a more refined look. Currently, as a college student, it’s about incorporating affordability and comfort into a more relaxed style sense, combining flannels, chunky black boots, turtle neck sweaters, high waisted denim with surprise thrift and vintage store finds. My staple pieces include maroon Dr. Martens, my mom’s Levi Brand Jeans jean jacket from the 1990s adorned with hand stitched flowers, flea market John Lennon-inspired sunglasses and men’s folded beanies. Goodwill has become my best friend when I am in need of unusual pieces on a budget. I take pleasure in hunting for clothes that add a unique twist from what everyone else is wearing.  My personal style is evolving and maturing as I continue to grow and am exposed to more in the world.

I take much of my style inspiration from everyone’s “IT” girl, Alexa Chung. Everything from her distinctive, confident style to the quirky sketches that decorate the pages of her book oozes hip and cool. She is the epitome of the alluring U.K. fantasy that I’m obsessed with. All who know me are aware of my dream of living in London and being Alexa Chung’s best friend, but for now I admire her from afar. She mixes a variety of styles and makes it work, like a more masculine outfit with surprise feminine touches, a look that I find myself emulating in my own style. I never take fashion too seriously and don’t consider Vogue my Bible. I am firm believer that personal style doesn’t need to be all about top designers and certainly doesn’t need to break the bank. This semester I am excited to document the style of Hope College’s campus that has influenced me during my three years as a student.