Arts Look of the Week

Shahinda Bahnasy ’20 Finds Self-Expression in Refined Yet Dynamic Style

According to Shahinda Bahnasy ’20, family and her Arabic identity play an important role in her stylistic choices.

Shahinda Bahnasy ’20 sports a blue denim jacket over a bright white turtleneck, along with a pair of tan, velvet pants. She completes the outfit by slipping on her pair of shiny, cheetah print boots and a gold necklace that reads her name in Arabic.

“I think my style is very accommodating… It’s very flexible. I wouldn’t say I have the same style everyday. Sometimes I would wear something that people say is very ‘Shahinda’ of me or represents my style, and that comment really surprises me because I feel like I don’t have a definitive style just yet, and I don’t really plan to,” said Bahnasy.

Bahnasy cites the female figures in her family as major sources of stylistic inspiration, especially as she was growing up. She first began to cultivate a personal fashion sense at Andover, drawing further inspiration from peers and social media.

“When [my older sister] went to boarding school, she picked up a very heavily prep school-influenced style. I kind of picked up from her style, the plaid skirts, and dresses. She bought a lot of different style shoes instead of [just] sneakers, she started to accessorize a little bit more, she bought more blazers… I kind of picked up on these styles that she wore, because I like to look up to my sister’s style,” said Bahnasy.

Peers often take note of Bahnasy’s taste for sophisticated and mature clothing, which she says they frequently attribute to that of a “college-student.” Despite this, Bahnasy isn’t afraid to experiment with contrasting looks, according to her friend Araba Aidoo ’20.

“I think I like her fashion sense because she is very versatile… sometimes she will be very casual, laid-back, like an oversized sweatshirt and some leggings… sometimes she’ll dress very nice[ly] and formally. She really knows how to adapt her attire to the occasion,” said Aidoo.

Outside of just clothing, Bahnasy regularly accents her ensembles by experimenting with bracelets and rings, as well as numerous colorful accessories to complement her hair and outfit.

“Statement jewelry and jewelry in general is one of my favorite things. I also really like wearing hairpieces, whether that’s colored scrunchies… or animal printed… accessories, because I usually have my hair out, and I think that hair accessories do make an outfit look put together,” said Bahnasy.

Bahnasy believes her style will continue to mature and develop, as her style changes from day to day. She credits social media as a source of inspiration to experiment with new styles.

“I follow a lot of fashion gurus on Instagram, and a lot of fashion pages that show a lot of the newest styles. I always get inspiration from those looks and see how I can incorporate those styles with the clothing that I own. This goes along with my idea of not having a strict style, just because there are so many styles in the world that when I see them on Instagram, I am very open to trying them,” said Bahnasy.

Bahnasy hopes that her style expresses her outgoing and positive personality. As a leader on campus and Student Body Co-President, Bahnasy stresses the importance of appearing put-together and refined, as well as approachable and open to conversation.

Bahnasy said, “I feel like my sophisticated style shows that I’m someone who people can come talk to if they need something. I also feel like I’m someone who has a lot of information about different things, so I feel like the way that I dress kind of presents that… I’m someone they can come talk to and … I’m very aware of what’s going on campus. Hopefully, I’m a helping hand.”