I have always been interested in fashion as a type of wearable art. I believe there is so much room for creativity every day when a person decides how to decorate their body. At an early age, I became involved with sewing and thus formed my fascination with textiles and personal style. Since then, I’ve been intrigued by the many different ways that people represent themselves through the way they dress themselves. I write this column in hopes of highlighting Lawrentians with unique senses of style and diving deeper into the philosophies behind manufactured appearances.
Sophomore music education and saxophone performance major Alex Medina has a sense for style, passion for fashion, an appetite for appearance. Every day, Alex makes conscious decisions about what they will wear. From the clothes they wear, their shoes, jewelry and jacket, Alex considers every detail.
I conversed with Alex about their style at one of the tables lining the railing on the first floor of Warch Campus Center. In the beginning of our conversation, someone interrupted us to compliment Alex by saying, “I don’t know you at all, but I like your jacket.” Alex’s style is so captivating that even random strangers will approach them to make positive comments on what they are wearing that day.
“Modern femme” is how Alex would describe their style. They wear light, bright colors and streamline jewelry, while also leaving room to incorporate street styles. One similarity in many of their pieces is length. They prefer long coats, long sleeves and long necklaces.
Another way they described their style is “sexy hippie grandma.” Alex prefers to wear comfortable clothes that are also hot. This isn’t to say that they wear clothes that are considered to be “athleisure.” One of Alex’s fashion pet peeves is people who strictly don athletic wear. Alex prefers when people dress in such a way that shows the person is actively thinking about what they’re wearing, not that they are (potentially) physically active.
There are ways to dress comfortably that are also cute. When a person shops for clothes, they are given the opportunity to think, “Does this look like me?” This is exactly how Alex shops. They look at attire as a form of expression, a way to make a statement through fabrics. Staying true to themself is important, so dressing in a genuine way is important to them, too.
Another way in which Alex dresses “sexy hippie grandma” is by wearing numerous pieces that were gifted to them from their grandma. One of their favorite pieces from her is a sweater that has the phrase, “It takes a whole village to raise a child” on the front. Alex loves this because it is cute and wholesome, just like your average grandma tends to be.
Alex used to be self-conscious about their body, but as their confidence has grown over time, they started dressing more true to themself. They found they actually really enjoyed representing themself physically in ways they viewed themself mentally. Blue is their predominant color right now; it is not uncommon to spot Alex donning blue slacks or their bright royal blue coat. Another signature aspect of Alex’s style is their dainty teacup earrings. These miniature ceramics are tiny, but add just enough feminine flair to make any outfit complete.
One thing Alex loves to do every day is get ready. They see it as a time you can set aside not only to compile a look, but to hang out with yourself. They have factored time into their daily routine dedicated to appearance. It may sound artificial, but spending time caring about one’s self through physical attention can actually be a bonding experience of a person with themselves.
A healing meditation, Alex titles this practice “100 percent me time.” Getting ready and picking outfits does not have to be solely an individual experience. Alex also thoroughly enjoys time spent getting ready with friends for events. A perfect example of this is when they get ready with their friends for Lawrence’s President’s Ball or for their hometown county fair.
When Alex feels as if they have become uninspired by their wardrobe, they look to Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter who is most well known for her self-portraits. Alex loves how she layers her clothes and does her hair. To Alex, her style is a duality of out-there yet also concise. Looking to Frida Kahlo for inspiration keeps Alex’s style eccentric enough to never become dull.
One way in which Alex hopes to see societal norms for style to change is towards more androgynous trends. One way in which this could be done, for example, is when women wear pant suits to prom, a sleek and powerful look that is also practical for dancing. Another way in which they hope to see style becoming more androgynous is by seeing more masculine men wearing lace.
Androgynous styles would be beneficial to all, as they help to loosen the confines of strict gender binaries. This allows people to express themselves in ways that are more complex than just masculine men and feminine women. Most people tend to fluctuate between masculine and feminine, and it is rare to find a person who truly, inside and out, is wholly masculine or wholly feminine.