Pairing a black and white, paint splatter patterned sweater with loose white sweatpants, Arielsie Li ’24 diverges from the fashion standard with her aesthetically comfortable style of baggy silhouettes and soft, complementary hues. To finish the streetwear-inspired look, Li accentuates her simple yet sophisticated color palette with a purple beanie and striking violet eyeliner.
“I really like this outfit because I am someone who prioritizes comfort and weather appropriateness in my outfits a lot…. I think this is a very practical outfit for me, and I can just move a lot in it…. I’m also someone who prioritizes color and how [pieces] fit with each other [to] create a nice looking palette,” said Li.
Throughout her experience with fashion over the past two years, Li has learned the importance of balancing aesthetics and functionality when building an outfit. While Li used to experiment with trendy tech wear aesthetics, she found the pockets, lace, and overall style to be unfitting and restrictive. Since then, Li has looked to explore styles that fit her body type. Having found her preferred aesthetics of runway and streetwear, Li has now moved on to developing the specifics of her fashion.
“Towards this year I started trying to make my style more complicated, so [adding] accessories like hats, belts, necklaces, rings and all that, and also I started doing makeup this year. So in general, I feel like I just evolved from no style to generally catching on trends and focusing on specific clothing, to right now trying to make it a form of self expression and because now I just wake up, decide on a vibe and what I want to be that day and go with it,” said Li.
Li believes that her style is deeply personalized; it is dynamic in a way that suits her aesthetic values and body, with common threads of coherent color combinations and an emphasis on practicality. She also sports an eclectic mix of accessories, such as a ghost necklace and Nike shoes with customizable colorful patches. As a result, Li does not believe a single category can fully define her preferences in fashion.
“I feel like my style is very fluid, I change from, sometimes I dress more, I guess basic and more feminine, in that I tend to wear tighter clothes, and then more crop tops and all that. But also a lot of times I wear stuff that are more baggy and I would like to describe it as more, like vintage and a bit more androgynous. In general, my style floats from day to day,” said Li.
Embracing more than one culture’s fashion influence, Li likes to draw most of her inspiration from the softer, more holistic, nature of streetwear fashion found on Asian social media platforms. In that sense, she also tends to focus more on the overall aesthetic of outfits, selecting each piece to create a cohesive whole rather than centering around a staple accessory.
“I started looking more into another app, called Xiaohongshu, where the styles are generally more complicated and people care about something other than making an individual piece of clothing stand out, instead making the entire outfit work with each other and how creating a scene as a whole, focusing on the big picture instead of a specific part, and I feel like I was more inspired by that kind of style,” said Li.
Based on the evolution of her style, Li feels that practicality and dressing casually do not have to detract from fashionability. Specifically, she discussed how a sweatpants and sweatshirt combination can be both comfortable and an aesthetically pleasing outfit.
“Although it’s kind of cliché to say you wear sweatshirts and sweatpants, it’s like the lazy outfit, I think honestly, I think sweatshirt and sweatpants, if you choose them well and you correspond the colors and you make the sizing appropriate, it can be a really good outfit that’s comfortable and practical and warm,” said Li.