By TORIE DIMARTILE – STAFF WRITER
By looking around Centre’s campus, it is easy to see that fashion is important to many students. Fashion is a way of expressing oneself, whether dressing to brighten up a rainy afternoon or dressing for success when preparing to take an exam.
Senior Martha Grace Burkey is no exception. She has an assortment of interesting and fun outfits that create her own distinct style that she describes as “classic and eclectic.”
The senior manages to create her ensembles without burning a large hole in her wallet.
“I am a big consignment shop and thrift shop person. If you take the time to look for them, you can find some really cost-effective, timeless pieces to be the base of any outfit. From there, you can spice an outfit up with ‘in style’ accessories,” Burkey said. “I also have a lot of vintage things that were my grandmother’s when she was my age.”
Not only does she shop wisely with a creative eye for inexpensive items to use as the foundation of her outfits, but she also wears vintage items passed down in her family that bring a flavor of the past to her current fashion.
As for a typical outfit one may find Burkey wearing around campus, “anything that centers on a dress or skirt is key.”
Besides having a passion for scarves, an additional fashion staple Burkey has enjoyed having in her closet is high-waisted pants because of how they suit her smaller figure.
“I have just recently started warming up to [the pants] more and they are way more flattering with my body type than hip huggers, which have been in-style forever. I think that the fall fashions since being in college have been some of my favorites. Cozy, warm, and cute—although I did love my seventh-grade, hot-pink poncho,” Burkey said.
Junior and vice president of Centre’s Fashion Club Klea Xoxi shares Burkey’s opinion on the importance of individuality.
“I think the most important step towards developing a personal sense of style is confidence. We are all unique and an item of clothing I find very stylish other people might not approve of but if you wear it with confidence, it makes it much more attractive instantly,” Xoxi said.
Some fashion trends we miss and others we help push out the door into oblivion. As for trends that she wishes were out-of-style, Burkey opts for high-low skirts.
“When there is a slight hemline rise on a ball gown, it can add dramatic flair. When the hem has an extreme cut from long in the back to above the knee in the front, it looks like your knees have a special cape,” she said. “I will say that I have seen some around campus that I actually like a lot, but those typically integrate layering or texturing [of fabrics] in some kind of interesting way.”
Women often wish that they could pull off a particular style of clothing here and a trend there. For Burkey, it is any item for a shorter woman.
“I am five-feet and 10.5-inches, so anything built for shorter frames like rompers, gathered waistlines, mini dresses, or shorter shorts are out. This got me into trouble a lot with high school dress codes,” Burkey said. “Normal lengths for shorts and skirts are much shorter on me.”
Better than anyone else, Burkey’s friends know very well that her fashion sense is distinct.
“I would say that Martha Grace’s style has always been uniquely her own. It seems like every day she seems to channel how she’s feeling into a creative, functional, stunning ensemble,” sophomore Emily Morrell said. “I feel like I never see her in quite the same outfit twice—I don’t know how she does it.”
We all have fashion icons that we admire that help to define our personal tastes. Burkey finds inspiration in celebrities but also in people she knows in everyday life as well.
“[My inspiration is] probably a combination of Audrey Hepburn, [Harry Potter’s] Professor Trelawney, and my Aunt Katherine, who gives me quite a few hand-me-downs,” Burkey said.
In the midst of today’s fashion styles, it may be daunting for one to establish their own distinct look. Yet Burkey has a few words for those looking to find their own personal fashion sense.
“Start with simple pieces that can be mixed and matched. A few pieces with a crazy pattern are fine,” Burkey said. “But you want to be able to stretch out the usefulness of your wardrobe in a cost-effective, creative way. Find accessories that you love to add your own flair.”