Student fashion

Mary Grace Coop walks on campus in a colorful outfit that portrays her personal style. UA students chimed in on their preferred fashion styles and shopping habits.

Mary Grace Coop, a sophomore graphic design major from Little Rock, always wanted to pick out her own outfits, ripping off anything her mom dressed her in. She enjoyed experimenting with her Barbie dolls, making clothes for them, cutting their hair and giving them tattoos. She sees fashion as a way of self expression, she said.

“Everybody is unique, and everyone has a different way of showing it,” Coop said. “Clothes are my main outlet for that.”

Drew Webb, a sophomore graphic design major from Memphis, started experimenting with fashion after leaving private school, she said.

“I went to an all-girls Catholic school up until ninth grade,” Webb said. “So after that, I just wanted to figure out who I was using clothing.”

Celeste Petrykozy is a sophomore graphic design student who was born in Little Rock, but grew up in California.

Growing up, she consistently wore Halloween costumes, dressing up like Bratz dolls and Disney princesses. She was inspired by fashion magazines such as Vogue and i-D, she said. 

When she was younger, she attended a lot of rainbow gatherings — utopian-inspired assemblies of international people who share the same ideals — with her mother. Seeing people dressed in extravagant costumes inspired her bold fashion choices today, Petrykozy said.

Coop’s favorite trends are big gum soles on shoes, the Y2K aesthetic, low rise jeans and knitwear. Her favorite designers are Vivienne Westwood and Betsy Johnson, she said.

As for fashion faux pas, Coop said she never mixes cream with pure white, and never dresses out of season.

Petrykozy loves the sleaze era trend that is coming back and wearing ironic t-shirt dresses, she said. She looks up to the Slavic community on Tumblr as her fashion inspirations.

“My family’s Slavic, and I’m the eldest child,” Petrykozy said, “I always wanted a big sister to play dress up with, so I always looked up to teenage girls, and I wanted to be one so bad. I would just browse for hours on (Tumblr) and curate my little blog.”

Webb’s favorite trends are chunky gold jewelry, layering winter clothes and corseted items of clothing.

Webb prefers to thrift most of her clothes because she finds value in purchasing an object that she found while digging, rather than something she saw in a big brand store, she said. Her favorite thrift stores to shop at in Northwest Arkansas are Potter’s House Thrift Store and the Goodwill bins in Rogers.

Coop enjoys shopping on Depop, Goodwill and eBay, she said. She also purchases statement pieces from her friend who runs an instagram account featuring handmade pieces. 

Petrykozy prefers thrift stores over retail shops, she said. She feels uninspired to spend money when she goes to big-box retailers, she said. If she had an unlimited amount of money to spend, Petrykozy would shop at Blue Marine or Prayingg, but she mostly sticks to thrift stores.

Coop likes using fashion as a form of self expression and making a statement with whatever she wears, she said.

“I like having people look at me,” Coop said. “When I walk across campus, my goal is (to see) how many people (I can) get to turn and kind of furrow their brow.”

She likes to wear a lot of dresses and frilly items, funky prints and fun pops of color. Pink is her power color, she said.

“I always look for things that have fun colors and unique designs on them,” Coop said. “And I try to do it in a way that’s also classy at the same time. You can still have fun and be classy. You don’t have to overexert yourself and try to do too much.”

Webb described her style as an eclectic, pirate-meets-video game character. She loves wearing gold makeup and giving her outfits an old or rustic vibe but sometimes switches up to a more sleek and modern look, she said.

Webb tends to gravitate towards earth tones. She said the color coordination helps with putting outfits together.

Petrykozy likes to add fun accessories to her outfits, such as homemade lamb sleeves, ribbons or anything frilly, she said.

When she goes shopping, she does not look for anything in particular. She picks out pieces that she likes and mixes them together in her outfits, she said.

“My entire wardrobe is just statement pieces, but I do like to keep a balance of edgy and girly,” Petrykozy said.

She also likes to mix sportswear with dresses. Petrykozy also likes to infuse her outfits with ironic pieces.

Petrykozy advised people who are trying to find their style to have fun with trends, but not to overuse them.

“There’s nothing wrong with indulging, but try to make it your own,” Petrykozy said, “because I think fast fashion cycles are getting really out of hand”

For students trying to find their styles, Webb encouraged trying a lot of things out.

“If you think something’s going to be ugly, try it out anyways.” Webb said. “Get comfortable with the idea that you’re going to look silly sometimes.”

Coop’s advice to students who are trying to find their style is to explore different things, see what makes them feel powerful and go from there, she said.

“You have to try the stuff out that doesn’t feel like you in order to figure out what does feel like you,” Coop said.

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