LM Ellzey SC ‘13 and I both hold the belief that fashion provides a good medium for projecting oneself, despite unsupported claims of its shallowness.
“In the same way I would use a symbol in writing, I try to use outfits or articles of clothing as symbols,” said LM. She makes apparent that wearing, say, the skirt pictured, says more than “I like the color cream, and pleats.” It even goes beyond “I feel daintier than I do on a day I would have chosen jeans,” although this may be true—it has more things to say about a person’s aesthetic as a whole than any words. For example, it can lend insight into where one lies on the “minimalistic vs. intricate” scale, or it might reveal what embellishments one finds intriguing and which ones, omitted, one might find garish. It’s not about making assumptions about people based on what they wear, LM clarified; it’s about how one self-creates a personal image.
“I was raised very ‘Spice Girls,’” LM recalled. “But I was the youngest, so of course I rejected it and became goth.” Seeing her style now, I can in fact garner flickers of such an inspiration, but in a much different way from Leena, who had a somewhat similar story to tell. LM retained some of the presentation of the comparatively lavish goth style, leaving no aspect of her outfit unattended. Hair, makeup, jewelry, every single article of clothing (of course), and even her stature fit specifically, and by design, the overall look for which she aims. Those looks vary, but their thoroughness remains. Consider the pictured outfit: nothing excessive, but a dark jacket (bold but not heavily textured) embellished with external lining on the collar and sleeve cuffs. One gold ring—one piece of jewelry on a long gold chain—matches the flowing pleats of her skirt and hangs next to a yellow flower pendant that sits uniquely low on her jacket. But it works, especially because it pairs nicely with the jewelry. Finally, a black bag tucked away next to her jacket adds an accessory without upsetting the delicate balance of details LM has created. Gold, cream, and yellow all in one outfit—theoretically, it sounds messy, but here the gold and cream work together to set the mood and direct attention to the brighter yellow in the flower, the most unique and naturally-inspired aspect of the overall outfit.
LM focuses on complementing her surroundings “not quite blending in, but not standing out either.” As she explained, “Scripps has added a romantic aspect to my style. It’s very green.” It has provoked a “daintier” side of her style, introducing tulle skirts and causing her to pay more attention to her hair as part of her outfit. Clearly, LM does not blend into her surroundings in this picture, but the mood of her outfit aligns very nicely with the green around her, and so she achieves the complement for which she aimed.
LM is probably the least hipster person we have featured in this column so far. “I don’t keep up with American fashion anymore,” LM said, explaining that “it doesn’t fit my style. Hipster has that cool, casual look.” Instead, she testifies that South Korean fashion provides more detailed and severe clothing without sacrificing quality, citing brands Dodostyle and Star.mimi. LM finds that “the ultimate goal of fashion is to belong in a photoshoot… in a specific area. If someone walks by, I look like I belong there, almost posed.” I find this far more adventurous than aiming to look generally good, leaning posturelessly against a brick wall la hipsterdom. It requires a more careful, observant, and analytical eye for how humans and their environments interact.
LM still appreciates more causal attire, as it has its place in certain settings. Lately, she’s been trying to layer tops over leggings more effectively than can be done with a simple t-shirt. She considered a longer t-shirt, maybe styled as a dress, with a scarf as an improved variation on the shirt/leggings template. “My favorite casual outfit. Gold flats, black leggings, a black tank, a military jacket with gold buttons, and this scarf that’s woven, or inlaid, with gold, that ties all the gold together,” she said with impressive effortlessness. I love that LM specifically incorporates the gold buttons into the scheme of her outfit, which for most would only be a consequential part of it.
LM, although very far from the Spice Girls stylistically, does share a conceptual similarity with pop. Her outfits aren’t too jarring or generic, but are definitely eye-catching (for example, in her effective use of gold) to a more or less universal audience. Her outfits contain engaging hooks while exhibiting technical prowess. She achieves what pop set out (and arguably failed) to do, and what hipsterdom refuses to attempt. And she inspires both literary and aural metaphors—not half bad.