Pairing a bright, baggy graphic hoodie with ripped flared jeans, Kelly Yang ’24 bridges ‘streetwear’ and mainstream indie fashion to create a personalized fusion of aesthetics. Various silver bracelets, rings, and a baseball cap complete her distinctive style.
“I get a lot of my inspiration from social media, especially with TikTok and Instagram—there’s so many trends on there, and if I see something, I’ll try to recreate the ‘vibe’… Especially with the rise of TikTok [during the pandemic], I was able to see a bunch of attractive people, and I started caring more about my [own appearance too]. My fits in general are not very unique, [but] I feel I have confidence when I wear them, and I’m not really afraid to try new things, [and] that’s what makes me stand out,” said Yang.
One of Yang’s friends, Karis Sarkisian ’24, similarly commented on Yang’s experimentation and how she pulls together outfits with her special touch. Specifically, Sarkisian addressed the growth of Yang’s style over the last year as a result of more inspiration throughout the pandemic and from a better understanding of herself.
“She definitely seems more confident experimenting with the clothes she chooses to put together. In the fall of last year she had really amazing outfits, but she didn’t really mix the clothes she had together…I [now] can definitely tell that she knows what looks good on her, usually neutral grays, white, black, and red. I think knowing her strengths in fashion helps bring out the confidence that she always has,” said Sarkisian.
More specifically, Yang’s experimentation incorporates a variety of styles that might, at first glance, contrast heavily with each other—however, with her artistic background, she can make her distinctive style still appear pleasing to the eye. Another friend of hers, Mia Pao ’24 emphasizes how Yang’s outfits feel both trendy and exclusively her own at the same time.
“I often call her aesthetic “Kelly-esque.” It’s both grunge and modern, chic and hip, trendy yet vintage. She definitely has an eye for pieces that don’t look that interesting on the rack, but actually [fit] really well,” said Pao.
In addition to making the fashion unique to her, Yang asserts that the ‘clash’ in aesthetics helps broaden her ability to express herself—an aspect of fashion that is very important to her—and subverts traditional gender norms of femininity and masculinity.
“Well, how I present myself is largely based on what I’m wearing; I guess when I wear this, I act in a more masculine way—I’ll be more assertive. When I wear skirts and dresses, I’ll be a little bit more feminine. I don’t really know why, but I have these two very different perspectives,” said Yang.