Inspired by powerful women and her cultural roots, Breanna breathes life into basic fall pieces by making them her own.
School: Michigan State University
Hometown: Hart, MI
Let’s Talk Fashion
Who or what inspires your style? “A lot of my friends inspire me. I like to surround myself with a lot of confident, strong women and a lot of their style infuses into my own. They inspire me. People who inspire you, academically, socially, in any context, I think it manifests in who you are.”
Where do you like to shop? “I love to go thrifting. I try to stay away from mainstream-type stores just because I don’t necessarily like to have something that everyone else has. For myself, it’s not very individualistic. So, like, if I buy something [at] Express, I like to pair it with something from a thrift store or something that someone made me. I love yard sales. Love yard sales!”
How would you say your sense of style has evolved? “I grew up in a predominantly white town where everyone basically dressed the same. And so I just didn’t dress how I felt or how I wanted to dress. Being Chicano/Latina, my culture is very bold, bright colors, a lot of patterns… I didn’t really dress like that growing up and then I came to college and it was really empowering to be surrounded by all these women who just rock … what they wear. It’s beautiful! It’s beautiful and empowering and it encouraged me to start dressing how I feel and for who I am, and that changes day-by-day. So it’s about being more in tune with myself and how I’m feeling and expressing that in what I wear.”
Why did you choose this particular outfit? “I chose this particular outfit because fall is my favorite season and [some] of my favorite things about fall are tall boots and darker colors. I chose this outfit because I love these shoes and I love these boots. A good pair of jeans can make your day ten times better. I like to be very comfortable so I chose this shawl. Because my top is a bit lacier and I can cover up if I feel exposed, but I like to have outfits that are transitional. Every day is an opportunity to wear something new.”
What fashion advice would you give others looking to improve their style? “Be bold. And being bold doesn’t always necessarily mean wearing very ‘see me’ patterns, being bold just means stepping outside of your comfort zone. Putting together patterns that you wouldn’t put together normally and being confident in the decisions that you make. Wear the outfit; don’t let the outfit wear you. Have confidence, be bold, and be conscious of yourself.
When I think about my own style, especially with being Latina and with being over-sexualized and having to fit into the appropriate box of gender norms, it can be a challenge. A lot of Latinas try to dress in that white normative style as opposed to wearing that lip liner, wearing that eyeliner, wearing big hoops and having big hair. Like, I used to straighten my hair all the time and I don’t now. I love embracing my curls and embracing the style that I grew up with. My aunt still wears lip liner and I’m like ‘that’s beautiful’ and other people will look at her and be like ‘that’s ghetto.’ Just the representation that a lot of Latina women need to see, being bold, in whatever sense of the word that is for you. Wear your big hoops if that’s what makes you happy, be bold, be out there, be you!”
What are your favorite trends right now? “I really like bomber jackets and monochromatic styles. And neutral palettes are life!”
Do you have any favorite fashion designers? If so, who? “I don’t have a lot of favorite fashion designers per say, but I do have a lot of artists that inspire me in how I dress. Crystal Galindo is an artist [and] you can find her on Instagram. She’s a very empowered Afro-Latina and her work is very emotional, and very raw, and very colorful. And so I like incorporating and looking to artists and music for inspiration.”
What do you do for fun? Do you have any unique hobbies or interests? “I love coffee shop conversations. So I love just going to coffee shops and just talking to people about their interests, things pertaining to their own work in regards to academia [and] social context. I love going to discussions and lectures on things I don’t know about. I just think it’s very insightful and you can always use some tidbit[s] of information. But I also think it’s very humanizing to hear about things you don’t really understand. I love reading and I love to [lay] by the Red Cedar River. I miss hanging out with my friends! I don’t get to see my friends a lot because we’re all just very busy. So when we get to see each other it’s really great to value our time together. I like volunteering and I like to be very socially active and involved. I like to cook, I have a shopping problem, and I talk a lot… as is evident!”
If you could raid anyone’s closet, who would it be and why? “This is really cliché, but probably my sister because when we were growing up I’d always want to wear her stuff and she wouldn’t let me. Also because she’s older than me she has a wider range of style so I would probably want to raid my sister’s closet without repercussions because damn she has some great one pieces and great business casual wear.”
Elements of Breanna’s Outfit
1. Burnt Orange
Inspired by nature, Breanna’s burnt orange shawl is perfect for adding a splash of color to an otherwise gray day. This cover-up from Goodwill adds coverage to Breanna’s Forever 21 bodysuit, and helps transition her outfit from a more casual home setting to office hours and club meetings.
2. Tall Boots
A quality pair of boots is worth investing in, and these go with a variety of outfits and will be able to transition from fall to winter without a problem. Layer them with thrifted jeans like Breanna, wear them with tights and a skirt, or rock them with some tall socks in the warmer fall weeks.
3. Subtle Details
Breanna said, “I love jewelry because it always accents who you are or how you’re feeling that day,” and she couldn’t be more right.
Each piece of Breanna’s jewelry has a special meaning to her: the ring was a gift from her grandmother, the earrings were made for her by a friend, and the bracelet was a present from her friend in Thailand. Mixing sentimental pieces with trendier, store bought pieces like this choker make for a look that is 100% unique and 100% you.
4. Dark Lipstick
Changing seasons means it’s time to switch from lighter, summery colors to darker, bolder trends. A dramatic lip is the perfect way to add the finishing touch to any look. Pairing it with a neutral face or a simple outfit can pull your ensemble together. Even if a darker lip is a little out of your comfort zone, take a page from Breanna’s book and “be unapologetically bold!”
Ready for fall?
Are you in love with Breanna’s outfit? What about her bold style philosophy? Let us know what you think in the comments below!