With the start of a new school year and the welcome of another freshman class to AU, I find myself thinking back on my first year of college and the growth of my personal style from that point to now. While it is difficult to see the changes in one’s wardrobe from day to day, or season to season, looking back on old photos and memories reveals that a lot has, and will continue to, change.
Phoebe Bradford and Cristina Keane were originally featured in the April 11, 2011 edition of “Look of the Week” in The Eagle. The pair were freshman roommates and just beginning to explore their sartorial identities. Now the two are juniors; Keane is majoring in graphic design and Bradford in film and media studies.
“[In freshman year] we went through a legitimate Courtney Love phase,” Bradford said. “It was a lot of ripped thrift clothes, tights, lace ... and nothing fit us. We had too many pieces that were easily disposable ... when a piece of clothing costs you $2, it is easy to throw it away.”
Both Keane and Bradford agree that living (and working) in D.C. has helped them add refinement and sophistication to their personal style.
“With both of us being employed now, we couldn’t get away with half of the stuff we did back then,” Bradford said. “[Cristina] had a half-shaved head and I wore no shirts that didn’t show my bra. I can’t do that now that I’m interning, so that definitely influenced the way that we dressed.”
Although living in D.C. has encouraged the pair to add polish to their closets, Bradford and Keane still successfully incorporate their own tastes into workwear. While Keane chooses to make a statement through colorful shoes and bright red hair, Bradford prefers pairing classic pieces with unexpected additions.
“When you have a really professional pencil skirt, you can kind of get away with a lot as far as tops go,” Bradford said. “Even more than that… I definitely play up accessories. I like to wear a lot of earrings, necklaces and bracelets to make a boring outfit fun.”
While Keane and Bradford have remained close friends since their first year together at AU, they have developed their own definitive tastes separate of each other. Bradford thinks she has become much more girly over time, while Keane believes the opposite to be true for herself.
“I am really in love with menswear for myself, not for men, in a kind of androgynous way,” Keane said. “I usually wear a variation of the same outfit everyday with jeans, oxford shoes and button up shirts. I attribute a lot of this style to living in D.C.”
With every new job, trend and turning season, Keane and Bradford’s styles will continue to evolve. However, through the years they have held onto one seemingly timeless belief about fashion.
“No matter how my style changes, I believe nothing is ever set in stone,” Keane said. “Some days I wake up and want to throw on a bunch of different patterns and some crazy accessories, others I’ll wear a ripped T-shirt and my combat boots. My style evolves, but I never completely shut the door on past looks.”