In a warm, sophisticated melding of soft grunge and academia, Nahila Hutchinson ’24 layers a sleek brown button-down over a chic black-and-white outfit. Along with her black top and fuzzy white skirt, Hutchinson incorporates bright touches of comfort with fluffy earmuffs, hand warmers, and leg warmers. She described how her diverse style spans from casual to fancy.
“[My style is] very versatile. On some days, it would be girl-next-door vibes. The next day, it could be very classy, elegant and I would look like I’m about to go to a dinner party…. I really like the soft-grunge style and the academia vibe, so I squash the two together,” said Hutchinson.
Having attended a Catholic middle school with a uniform, Hutchinson never had to think about her style until her first year at Andover. Throughout high school, she has developed her fashion through exploration of various aesthetics and curating Pinterest boards of styles she wanted to emulate. While they feel that their freshman year style wasn’t very good, they still feel proud of their early experimentation efforts.
“When I came to Andover, I saw that there are no uniforms, no dress code, so I have to start thinking about these things now. All of my freshman year outfits are trash. I cringe so hard looking back at them. At the same time, I’m really proud of what I did then, in terms of experimenting and exploring how I was able to express myself through my style,” said Hutchinson.
In addition to shopping at clothing stores like Forever 21, Windsor, and the Andover Thrift Shop, Hutchinson also enjoys exploring her mom’s closet. Inspired by her mom’s clothing, Hutchinson developed an appreciation for low-rise jeans and the casual nature of the early 2000s fashion era.
“I enjoy going to the very back of mom’s closet. She has a lot of nice clothes from the early 2000s…. Back then, I think people didn’t care so much about putting outfits together. They were just wearing clothes, but they would still end up being so iconic. I love not having to worry so much about whether everyone is going to accept what you wear,” said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson also feels that if clothes are still intact and aren’t out of style yet, people should keep rewearing them instead of buying an excess of new clothing. They explained how they enjoy modifying clothing to suit their needs, such as how they turned a shirt into a skirt by removing the sleeves.
“When I like a specific article of clothing, but something about it isn’t working, I have no problem modifying it. I have this fuzzy skirt that I’m obsessed with lately, but it was originally a sweater and top set my mom got me. It was so frumpy, so I cut off the sleeves. Now it’s one of the favorite pieces of clothing I have in my closet,” said Hutchinson.
According to Hutchinson, she tries to wear a nicer, more formal outfit around three out of the five weekdays. If she feels an outfit is looking too bland, they like to accessorize with earmuffs, arm warmers, and leg warmers. Some staple pieces include pink UGG Koolaburra boots, floral fishnet stockings, and a brown button-up silk blouse. Hutchinson explained how her outfits’ color palettes reflect her mood that day.
“I realized that I wear darker colors if I’m feeling a little more studious. I really like wearing a dark-coloured sweater and going into silent to get a lot of work done, but if I know I’m going to hang out with friends and relax, I will try to wear lighter colors. I think that is just something subconscious for me,” said Hutchinson.
Looking forward, Hutchinson hopes to get new clothing that matches the soft grunge aesthetic, which is a style they hope to explore further. In the long run, she wants to keep fashion a fun hobby, as she feels that the pressure of a more serious fashion-related career may take the fun out of fashion. Overall, Hutchinson feels that her clothing is an important outlet for her self-expression.
“Fashion helps me express myself. Something that I really love about it is that the clothes you are wearing speak before you do, so I think it’s really cool to let people know who I am without having to talk to them,” said Hutchinson.
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