From stylish corsets to thrifted button-up shirts, Solar Lu ’24 interweaves a diverse selection of items into striking yet cohesive outfits that subvert the binary, establishing a distinct set of styles that range from masculine to feminine, from form-fitting to loose. They accentuate their everyday looks with accessories such as a snake ring and jade bracelet, finishing off with smoky black eyeliner and their signature Doc Marten platform boots.
“I think their fashion is unique because they’re able to utilize so many different pieces in so many different ways. I know they really like corsets for example, and I’ve seen them wear a corset in so many different ways, where it’s formal, it’s sometimes not formal, sometimes with a skirt, […] I feel like with them they’re still able to put many different pieces together to create something new every single time, which I think is really cool,” said Lu’s friend Victoria Nakaweesi ’24.
As they feel that specific aesthetics are too confining, Lu instead draws from a variety of fashion niches including emo, goth, dark streetwear, and more. One of their major fashion inspirations is South Korean model Sora Choi, whose edgy style they greatly admire. However, while Lu does incorporate a range of fashion types into their outfits, they always find a way to add their individual flair.
“Personally, I found that aesthetics were very hard for me to get into because they’re very boxed in, certain things for certain aesthetics… I like to just wear what I want to wear and sometimes they fit into a certain aesthetic and sometimes it doesn’t… I like looking at androgynous styles because I think it helps me center myself and branch off from there,” said Lu.
Lu typically centers their outfit around a staple piece, such as their iconic red Nascar bomber jacket (Wednesday’s outfit), black corset, or various button-up shirts. They also take the weather and athletic commitments for the day into account when choosing outfits. One of their favorite combos is a purple button-up, corset, knee high socks, and Doc Martens (Monday’s outfit). They also like outfits that are monochromatic or incorporate two to three main colors, such as their green sweatpants and hoodie (Tuesday’s outfit).
“A lot of times I like making my button up shirts stand out because they’re nice. Sometimes I like skirts and pants and drawing attention to there. I generally like playing with silhouettes, though. I think that’s really cool. […] But I think it just depends on the day; I definitely don’t want attention drawn to everything. So I generally pick a place, but it depends on whether I feel more feminine or masculine or which staple piece I chose for the day,” said Lu.
Over time, Lu’s fashion has evolved to reflect their journey of self-discovery, gravitating towards a self-defined style characterized by shapes, colors, and combos specific to their tastes. In addition to clothes, hairstyle is also a hugely influential factor in their gender expression and identity. Lu has learned to cut and dye their own hair to most accurately represent who they are and now sports a stylish wolf cut.
“I think [fashion] helps me along with my gender identity a lot and also just finding myself and my confidence. It helped me along self discovery… I think clothes are literally like a personality in itself; I feel like when you look at someone you can feel a vibe and a style from it. I just think it’s a really cool way of self discovery and once you find yourself, it’s a great way of self expression.” said Lu.
Aside from outfit centerpieces, some other influential aspects of their fashion include jewelry and makeup. Lu emphasizes the importance of meaning in their jewelry, which range in style from a black choker with silver chains to a necklace of a miniature bottle with resin and fake moss. As an artist, Lu finds the artistic aspect of makeup fun and also thinks it is a cool way to accentuate their features and match their outfit.
“Jewelry is a big thing in a lot of the setups that I enjoy, especially chains, silver, rings and whatever. I’m someone who values the meaning a lot, and I would only like it if there’s meaning behind it. My jade bracelet, obviously it’s something within Chinese culture and I wear it every single day and my parents got it for my birthday. This is a citrine bracelet, citrine is a crystal and I got into crystals for a bit and this is for energy, for happiness and for your own emotions,” said Lu.
Over the past year or so, Lu has become more aware of the fast fashion industry and how detrimental it is to our planet, so they make sure to only buy clothes they will only wear long-term. They also occasionally go thrifting as it is a sustainable practice, but also feels it should not be a widespread trend so as to not unfairly capitalize off of this resource for people in need.
“Our current world values the quickness of consumption much more than the sustainability and the quality of it. And as soon as a trend passes people stop wearing a piece of clothing, so they throw it out or something. So I think it’s something that I’m very conscious about when I buy a piece of clothing. I think my perception is that I’m gonna be wearing this piece for at least a couple of years, more than five years or so,” said Lu.
Looking to the future, one of Lu’s dreams is to create their own fashion brand that emphasizes accessibility and style, moving away from the gender binary and size constraints that characterize many mainstream labels today. Lu also enjoys sewing and wants to explore creating more unique pieces for themself as well.
“I want to have a brand where just in general switch the ideas of fashion and accessibility according to sizes and gender because I think fashion in general is so gendered. At least it’s becoming less now, but clothing stores are still men’s section, women’s section. So I want to make pieces based off of style and color rather than sizes… but I think as according to fashion for myself, I just love to make my own clothes and just explore more unique pieces. I really want to make my own clothes and kind of shift the perspective of clothes in general culture,” said Lu.