Despite freezing temperatures on campus this past week, Zoe Sottile ’17 braved the cold in the name of fashion—in a faux leather skirt with a short sleeve blouse.
“Life is too short to not wear short skirts when you want to,” said Sottile.
Sottile looks to change people’s expectations of fashion with her bright blue hair, spiky backpack and overall eye-catching sense of style. She likes to make a statement with the clothes she wears.
“I get a lot of little kids trying to grab the spikes on my backpack, which is literally the most delightful thing in the world,” she said.
Sottile said she has been recognized for her unconventional style for as long as she can remember. She recalls a time when she encountered an old, bearded man on a motorcycle who shouted, “Nice boots!” about her prized lavender Doc Martens.
“I used to be really self-conscious about how I dressed, and these comments made me realize that dressing the way I do has some value, some worth,” she said.
Reminiscing on her younger, tomboy self, Sottile said she challenged the status quo of fashion by wearing cat ear headbands everyday. Although Sottile admitted that her fashion has become more feminine recently, she remains true to her alternative sense of style.
“I think a lot about how girls often feel obligated to dress in specific ways…playing with that and not fitting into [society’s expectations] changes people’s perceptions of me, but also kind of changes how I perceive other people,” said Sottile.
Sottile describes her go-to look as simple t-shirt paired with either a plaid or circle skirt and casual oxfords. Another favorite outfit is her leather jacket paired with spunky earrings from Betsey Johnson.
Jaleel Williams ’15 said, “I think [Sottile’s style] really shows that she’s really comfortable with herself and not afraid to take risks, which is awesome… I feel like she knows who she is.”
In addition to using her fashion as an outlet to have fun, Sottile also uses fashion as a means of emotional expression since much of her clothing possesses specific sentimental value that helps to motivate her throughout the day.
Some meaningful pieces include Sotille’s favorite gold shorts, which she wears when she feels shy, and her velvet harem trousers, which she describes as her “magical holy grail of pants.”
“I wear weird things. Most of the designers that I like, such as Comme des Garçons and Meadham Kirchhoff, are about making people feel uncomfortable in small ways,” said Sottile.
Sottile said that she buys her clothes at thrift stores and vintage stores, as well as retail stores like Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters.
“Thrift stores are great for experimenting—you don’t have to commit entirely to buying something expensive in order to engage in a new trend,” said Sottile.
Mayze Teitler ’14 said, “Zoe’s always rocking something awesome! Whether it’s a leather jacket, her spiky hat or her awesome new blue hair, she always stands out and looks super stylish. She melds different types of clothing and styles flawlessly into a look that’s totally hers. Zoe’s quirky cute look matches her personality very well.”