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Much like fashion, tattoos are the ultimate form of self-expression. Long gone are the days of tattoo taboos and more than ever, millennials are getting inked as a way of defining their individuality.

Perhaps more lovely than the artwork itself are the stories, meanings and personal decisions that underlie the tattoo. We asked seven of our Style Gurus to showcase their permanent accessories and share with us their own tattoo stories.

“[While my tattoo is] sort of The 1975’s logo, it represents more of an era and feeling for me. The 1975 have somewhat become a soundtrack for this time of my life, but the double slashes have become a staple of my aesthetic and mindset as well. In writing, they are a grammatical mark that often represents choice, and for me they represent making choices in my life and forging my own path forward. This tattoo is the culmination of this ‘era’ of my life in aesthetic, mindset and even in music.”—Ally Zacek, DePaul University


“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend; but not only that, diamonds represent unquestionable strength, value and beauty. It makes me feel like I possess all these qualities and it reminds me to be my own rock.”—Dominique Regalado, Georgia State University


“My first tattoo (the tiny A. on the inside of my left wrist) was very spontaneous. My best friend and I got our respective initials on our wrists before embarking on our college adventures, on opposite coasts no less. I like to think of my ‘A’ as a symbol of independence. It also stands for ‘acceptance,’ to me. For my second tattoo, I knew I wanted something with more meaning and artistic flair. I got a flock of three birds behind my ear. They’re supposed to represent myself and my two siblings because I we call our family the ‘Flocka’s.’ It sounds silly but I’ve gotten so much closer with the two of them since we’ve also flown the nest, so to speak. My sister has the same thing on the outside of her wrist.”—Anna LaPlaca, UCLA

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“My best friend and I have been inseparable for 15 years. We got tattoos to represent our bond. My lavender represents love and devotion and her daisy represents luck.”—Kathryn Reaven, Kent State University


I decided to get this tattoo after years of struggling with severe anxiety. Lotus flowers grow in places where they technically should not be able to and despite all the setbacks anxiety caused in my life, I too still flourished to become the individual I am today.”Margaux Forster, Michigan State University


“I decided to get a tattoo of Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty chromatic skull because I thought it was beautiful. I created my own tattoo by adding the exact coordinates of New York City’s fashion district. The Savage Beauty show at the MET inspired me to pursue fashion and made me realize that fashion is indeed an art and in order to succeed you have to take risks, just like McQueen.”—Ursh Khan, Baruch College

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“This quote is super important and relevant to my life.  I am a writer and I believe that words are the most powerful tools that anyone can be equipped with.”—Sharvelle Bullock, Illinois State University


Share your tattoo story with us on social media using the hashtag #collegefashionista