The closet of Olivia Berkey ’15 is full of vintage style items, such as 1910-inspired Victorian lace up boots and bell-bottom jeans popularized by the legendary musical duo of the 1960s, Sonny and Cher.
Enthusiast of the 20th century fashion, Berkey has been a fashion trendsetter since she was young. Even though she no longer pins 20 colorful barrettes into her hair or wears her brother’s shorts over tights, she can still be spotted donning clothing items that turn heads around campus.
“When I was very young,… I would come up with the most ridiculous outfits, and no one could talk me out of wearing them. I guess that still occurs, but I’ve toned down some of my ‘fashion risks’ since then,” said Berkey.
One of Berkey’s most creative outfits includes an authentic World War II lieutenant pilot’s jacket, complete with badges and crests, paired with 1960s-in- spired orange suede boots.
“I found [the jacket] at a vintage shop in my town. I was hunting through piles of old coats when I found this cool jacket and decided to try it on for fun. It actually ended up fitting me perfectly! I didn’t have any money with me, so I left it and spent the next hour lamenting to my brother about this ‘tragedy.’ I guess he got tired of my infatuation over the jacket because he snuck back to the store that afternoon and got it to surprise me!” said Berkey.
Her love of mixing and matching clothing items from different eras became more obvious to her as Berkey got older.
Berkey believes in the philosophy of individual fashion. “I don’t really have a personal fashion icon or inspiration. I really admire movements in fashion rather than specific people,” she said. “Why would I own style?”
Berkey defies common fashion by dressing in a boldly colored red and blue men’s flannel shirt tucked into a light wash denim skirt, topped with an oversized jean jacket and a pair of black combat boots.
“[Olivia’s style] is so laid back, clever and, in a way, intricate. You find this trait in her clothes too, because she puts together things that you wouldn’t expect,” said Alexia Rauen ’14, one of Berkey’s dormmates. “She is probably the only one who can pull certain outfits off, like making an oversized men’s shirt look so high fashion!”
Berkey attributes her fascination with men’s flannel shirts to growing up in her lakeside home town in North Carolina.
“Being from North Carolina definitely explains why I have so many men’s flannel shirts. It’s also because I’ve stolen some from my brother! It’s funny because if you see me wearing plaid flannel, which is quite often, you probably assume I overslept,” said Berkey.
Even though Berkey has a distinctive fashion style, she said that she has never been someone who pays too much attention to what she puts on in the morning.
“I don’t put too much thought into my routine. I think I probably reach for the closest pair of pants or a skirt and then form an outfit around that, picking what works best or what sort of motif I want to display that day,” said Berkey.
Keeping an eye out for ageless clothing items in different an- tique stores wherever she goes, Berkey said the words ‘spontaneous’ and ‘vintage-retro’ best describe her constantly-changing fashion style.