UChicago Manual of Style: Bold Color

The Maroon's fashion feature rigorously inquires: "Who are you wearing?"

By MJ Chen, David Farr, and Christian Hill

Courtesy of David Farr

ARTS

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FEATURE

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February 2, 2017

LIZZIE HUNPATIN / SECOND-YEAR

My name is Lizzie Hunpatin and I'm a chemistry major. On campus I'm a tour guide in the admissions office and a sister in Alpha Omicron Pi. 

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Lizzie is wearing a coat by Ann Taylor, a turtleneck she thrifted, and corduroy pants by Urban Outfitters.

David Farr

The people who know me well know that I can look like complete opposites from one day to the next. I don’t try to make them work together—I just wear what I think is cool or what I’m feeling. It’s a very not cohesive wardrobe, which I don’t think is a bad thing at all.

I’m pretty minimalist as far as accessories go: at most one ring at a time, maybe a small necklace, plus a minimalist watch for my day-to-day look. If I’m going out to dinner or a show, something that asks for a bit more, I accessorize with cuffs. I have a few gold cuffs I wear up my arms as well as big earrings. I have a small afro now, so I try to accentuate my ears and my skin with large, visible earrings.

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Lizzie is wearing a mustard shirt by H&M,  flare jeans by Lucky Brand, and a headband by francesca’s.

David Farr

I mostly dress for how I want to be seen, or where I want to live. Someone will say that I look like I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Manhattan’s FiDi or by the beach in San Francisco. I can see myself living in these places one day and try to emulate my interpretation of their styles in my wardrobe. When I think about adding things to my wardrobe, I think of where I want to be next.

My background is Nigerian, and my mom always raised me to love color in any outfit I’m wearing. So I have one fundamental rule for everything I buy: “Does this make my skin look good?” I really like colors that make my brown skin glow—I call it “skin-pop.” In any Nigerian woman’s wardrobe, colorful clothes and accessories are vital. I grew up seeing my mother pick out colorful tones in both her traditional West African dresses and  casual American daywear. When I lived in Nigeria, I picked out the most daring colors for what I wore to parties and socials­­—I still gravitate to colorful clothes that accentuate my Africanness.

"I mostly dress for how I want to be seen, or where I want to live. I really like colors that make my brown skin glow—I call it 'skin pop.'"

I draw influences from both Western and non-Western cultures—of course I’m a young adult in America today, so I’ve definitely acquired an American sense of style. I also like to travel, which lets me pick up things from different places. I’ve gotten into French and African fashions, as well as patterns and tastes from India. I especially love the head wrap that’s prominent in African wardrobes—headwear is common among most West African men and women. Those for women are very extravagant and beautiful... but would definitely seem out of place if I wore it around in the Reg! Whenever I can wear that, though, I do try. There’s also the Indian sari that I admire very much.
I have a lot of fashion role models—number one is Lupita Nyong’o. I’ve been obsessed with her ever since she came into the spotlight, and I think she’s an amazing role model for black girls everywhere: The effect she has had on young black women is magnetic, with her message to love yourself.

I wouldn’t say I try to actively send a message with the way I dress. By trying to complement my skin color, I send a message to myself—the clothes I pick are an expression of self-love through fashion. My style expresses my background and heritage, but also where I am and where I’m from—and where I’m going. —LIZZIE

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Bell-bottom jeans like the ones Lizzie is wearing were first worn by naval officers in the early 19th Century. The iconic sillhouette was then brought back into style in the 1970s by Sonny and Cher.

David Farr