Crosses and Canvases: Olivia Legaspi ’15 Finds Self-Expression in Accessories

As one of four children, Olivia Legaspi ’15 grew up wearing her older brother’s oversized hand-me-down clothing. Now, Legaspi retains a love for baggy sweaters and secondhand attire, as well as a close connection to her family that continues to influence her style. Legaspi especially treasures accessories that make her remember her family, such as three pieces of jewelry that she wears every day. The first is a necklace with white plastic beads spelling her name out in Hebrew, which reminds her of her father, Michael Legaspi, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and former Instructor in Philosophy and Religion at Andover. “When I was four, my dad was a graduate student at Harvard, and they were having some sort of festival day and he thought it would be fun to bring me. So I sat in on his class and then there was a kiosk at the party outside. My dad speaks and writes Hebrew, and he was showing me the beads and how to write my name, and we made [the necklace] together,” said Legaspi. Legaspi also cherishes a heavy blue and silver watch that formerly belonged to her father and a cross necklace, a keepsake from her chrismation, or initiation into the Orthodox Christian faith, and wears both items daily. “My godmother picked out [the cross] for me, and there was a ceremony. It was my whole family getting baptized together. The priest put it on, and I’ve just kept it on,” said Legaspi. Besides pieces that her family gives her, Legaspi finds almost all of her clothes at thrift stores, choosing to spend more money on accessories such as scarves, socks and jewelry rather than on clothes. She also draws inspiration from the atmosphere of the thrift stores themselves. “I love spending time [at thrift stores] and thinking about people, looking at a thing and thinking about where it may have been before,” said Legaspi. As a sculptor and painter, Legaspi is also intrigued by color, particularly the contrast between black, white and bright colors. She prefers to wear black and white clothing to allow her vibrant accessories to stand out. “My favorite paintings are exuberant and colorful. I try to bring that into my outfits. I love to go colorful with things like scarves and socks, and makeup sometimes,” said Legaspi. “Even if I don’t have time in the day to paint and draw, it’s nice to think about color.” One of Legaspi’s favorite items of clothing is a pair of socks with Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” knitted into them. “Van Gogh is incredible and socks are incredible, so combining the two could only be legendary! Of course, my love for visual art is always infiltrating my fashion in terms of mood, pattern and color, but these socks are one of the most direct ways I can think of to combine clothes and art,” wrote Legaspi in an email to The Phillipian. When constructing an outfit, Legaspi begins with a brightly colored scarf, bandana or pair of socks, to which she then matches her makeup. On a typical day, Legaspi follows this formula, pairing a flowing blue and silver, floral-print scarf with an oversized men’s flannel top, black leggings that are spotted with a few holes and tall combat boots. To finish off her look, Legaspi layers necklaces and sports mismatched earrings. “Jewelry and makeup are what make me feel like me. I always have my top six smaller earrings in, but I switch out the bottom ones every day, between hoops and beads and things that jingle,” said Legaspi, who has ten piercings in total, “I love my piercings because they add sparkle where there wouldn’t have been any otherwise. I’m too young for tattoos, but it’s the same concept of using your body as a canvas.” Joyce Wang ’15, a friend of Legaspi’s, said, “Only Olivia can pull off her style. Everything she wears seems extremely comfortable and casual, but it matches her personality so well and is so different from what I have seen on others. She truly dresses like an artist.”