Donning a black leather jacket and black jeans, Jessica Wu ’17 adds flair to her monochromatic outfit with a thick, rhinestone-studded choker and statement silver earrings composed of Chinese characters. She completes her outfit with a pair of black slip-on sneakers and a white graphic t-shirt. In an interview with The Phillipian, Wu recalled the beginning of her love for dark-colored clothes after she went through a punk rock phase in middle school.
“I was just really into punk rock music. I was really into Paramore and Fall Out Boy, and they all have really dark clothes or graphic tee shirts and ripped jeans and black nail polish and black everything, so I was like, ‘Oh, black must be the coolest color,’” said Wu.
In middle school, Wu showcased her passion for punk rock styles by wearing smoky, dramatic makeup and dyeing her hair pitch black, as well as wearing large hoodies and tight skinny jeans. Wu believes her love for punk rock stemmed from her quest to find her own identity, like many of her peers at the time.
“In middle school, you have the teenage rebellion thing, and you’re like, ‘I don’t know who I am, but I need to define my identity in a way so that everyone thinks I’m really special and stand out from the crowd,’ so then you each try to go to the most flamboyant and just exaggerated style to find your own identity because you feel lost,” said Wu.
While Wu has now moved on from punk rock styles, she was able to derive her current style through her previous fashion choices.
“No one really knows who they are in middle school, so everyone’s just figuring that out, but I feel like now, I kind of figured that out. I don’t feel the need to be so intense anymore. [Punk rock] made me realize that I’m definitely not that. It made me realize what I’m not and pushed me in the right direction of finding who I am, which is just more chill and laid back,” said Wu.
Since middle school, Wu has been drawn to hip-hop and rap sensations such as Kanye West, Travis Scott, Drake, and Rihanna for her clothing inspiration.
“I feel like they’re really real, like they don’t have to be really artificial and decorated. They don’t have to look super pretty, but it’s really artistic, and I feel like I’m really into that right now,” said Wu.
Wu continues to incorporate black as a staple color in her closet. For her, black is an extremely versatile color that can convey a variety of feelings, depending on the style of clothing.
“I just think it’s really interesting how one color can have so many different kinds of vibes depending on what texture it is because I feel like black lace is kind of sexy and black leather is really edgy and stuff, so it’s just the different vibes that you get from them,” said Wu.
Caroline Yun ’18, a friend of Wu’s, said, “Jess has a really cool fashion style. Even though she wears a lot of black, she makes it interesting by incorporating interesting accessories like her jewelry and shoes. She also utilizes graphic t-shirts as a statement piece, and then dresses accordingly, which is a really cool way to highlight simple t-shirts, something that many people overlook.”