Dressed in a monochromatic palette, Lesley Tilghman ’19 sports a leather jacket, Red Wing boots, and a grey hoodie tied around her waist. To complete the look, Tilghman adds a beanie and a choker, two statement pieces to pull the outfit together.
“My father actually knit me this hat. I lost it. Technically [it was] stolen, but I loved it so much I asked him to knit me another. I used to wear a lot of hats, but this is by far my favorite hat at the moment,” said Tilghman.
At Andover, Tilghman uses fashion to challenge social norms and expectations. According to Tilghman, she likes to experiment with her clothing in order to showcase parts of her identity, such as her sexuality.
“One thing I’m careful to do and that I pride myself on is not necessarily doing what’s expected me of me or conforming, [which] I think I show that through my fashion. [Through my fashion style,] I also like to show my sexuality. I like when people look at me they can tell I’m not straight, and I think Andover’s a nice enough place where I can wear that proudly,” said Tilghman.
Tilghman’s friends describe her fashion styles as reflections of her character. Tilghman’s gravitation towards bold and untraditional fashion items mirrors her outspoken personality.
“[Tilghman] doesn’t hold back what she’s thinking, which translates into her fashion as well. I really admire how [she] is not afraid to challenge societal expectations when it comes to fashion, and she really can pull off anything she wants,” said Sam Wright ’19.
Tilghman said, “I always tell people the reason I came to Andover is because of the lax dress code…. I used to be pulled aside almost every day for refusing to stop wearing ripped jeans, which was my own form of rebellion at the time.”
Tilghman’s style is self-described as androgynous and non-conformist, and she enjoys purchasing clothing from the men’s section of stores.
“I dress a little more androgynously than most. I don’t know if edgy is the word, but more grunge or emo, maybe. I wear a lot of clothes that I buy from the men’s section, and I thrift a lot,” said Tilghman.
Tilghman takes inspiration from music icons such as music bands Skating Polly and Fleetwood Mac, as well as David Bowie. As her music taste has evolved, her fashion sense has also changed.
“It definitely started out with emo music. I got into more Screamo stuff and hardcore. I wore all black …[but now] my music taste has also evolved a lot more. Instead of emo middle school bands, I’ve evolved more towards classic or soft folk rock and more punk,” said Tilghman.
Tilghman also prioritizes practicality and sustainability for her outfit choices. When selecting pieces to add to her wardrobe, she pays particular attention to ensuring that her clothes are long-lasting. “Going into high school, I realized that [the Hot Topic] scene ended up being the antithesis of the music that I liked. [It’s] a large brand that sells low quality T-shirts and is very capitalist and consumeristic. So I changed my outlook to reusing clothes. I stopped buying more clothes and used the ones that I had a lot more, and I started buying clothes that would last a lot longer,” said Tilghman.