5C Threads featuring Sarah Sedky

Sarah Sedky makes a point to dress presentably and to find clothes that flatter her. It makes sense that clothes should somehow match the people wearing them, but paying particular attention to this detail yields a comfortable, effortless style that avoids seeming contrived or unnatural. And that’s exactly Sarah’s aim.

“I see lots of cute clothes while shopping, but if I put something on in the morning and it doesn’t suit how I look, I can’t wear it,” she said. She noted that when people “force outfits and don’t play up their strengths” stylistically, they often look worse than if they had “just thrown something on” in the first place. And in this sense, Sarah’s style is satisfyingly pragmatic; instead of just appealing to an impersonal aesthetic, she has hard-and-fast rules about what looks good for her.

For example, she rarely wears pants or jeans, as she says they don’t properly accentuate her figure, instead choosing dresses and skirts that make her look elegant, even when she’s dressed casually. Skirts, for example, effectively define a girl’s waist and let her hips and legs provide appropriate curviness and shape. Contrastingly, jeans often sit well below the waist and don’t use the female figure as a guide. The former better exemplifies Sarah’s inclination to have her clothing and her person do equal, collaborative work to exert something stylistically effective.

When we talked, Sarah was wearing the coolest pencil skirt ever: of a thicker, woven material, it was mostly black and white but contained bits of pink and other flecks of color and had two vertical zippers for pockets on the front that almost served as faux-pleats. Exemplifying her interest in “dresses and skirts that can be dressed up or dressed down,” it managed to look sharp yet casual. Unobtrusive silver and green jewelry added the right amount of color and shimmer to an outfit with otherwise little sheen.

Sarah pays careful attention to colors as well, naming purple, blue, and light colors in general as those which suit her best. She noted that, thanks to Claremont weather (as opposed to that of her native Michigan), she is “tan enough to wear red.” She finds she can now “wear brighter colors that make a paler complexion look washed out.” But in other respects, life at Mudd and the 5Cs has toned down how she dresses. While she has never dressed for physical comfort, she feels encouraged to dress less formally as “it’s almost a spectacle if a girl wears heels and isn’t going to an interview,” she said. Harvey Mudd may be one of the few places on the planet where roller blades are less out-of-the-ordinary than heels.

Sarah garnered interest in fashion from magazines and editorials. “I both liked the actual clothing and the way models made the clothes look,” she said. She became intrigued by the idea of playing an active role in fashion as opposed to letting the clothes do all the work. She cites international Vogue magazines like British Vogue, Vogue Australia, and Vogue Paris as influences: “the American one is good, but pales in comparison,” she explained.

Sarah looks forward to fresh color palettes for the fall: “camel-colored everything,” she said, echoing one of Chris’ comments from last week. She considers purples and navies as good complements to her preferred saturated, bold version of tan.

Again echoing past interviewees, she finds big, knitted sweaters appealing for the upcoming season. In particular, she recalled an ivory-colored, knitted Dior sweater with light blue ribbon woven through it that she saw in British Vogue. “It’s huge,” she said happily. “If I had a trust fund…”

Sarah sees fashion and the creation of clothes as an art form. “Every season, designers and critics always look for ‘effortlessly chic’—it’s the phrase they always use,” said Sarah. “It’s unfortunate. I try really, really hard to look great with as little obvious effort as possible.” While this is a bit ironic, similar goals arise in other forms of art. Many musicians aim to compose and perform music that prevents the listener from identifying exactly how the instruments came together, masking the roughnesses attached to creating the music itself. Similarly, when writing a computer program, the goal is to “black box” the code so that users are never aware of what’s going on underneath the hood—it’s just bad style to make those sort of details evident. Similarly, Sarah aims for outfits that look like she was truly meant to wear them, that don’t clash with her natural appearence. While she claims that “if anyone nails [this], they put in a lot of effort,” in my eyes, her approach to fashion places her comfortably near the effortless chic for which she aims.

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