From ROTC to tall fashionista

As a new category under the Arts and Entertainment section of the Gargoyle, we have decided to include fashion. The articles will inform readers about upcoming fashion trends, tips for shopping on a budget, tips for cleaning out your closet and other aspects of fashion. However, as an aspiring fashion editor, I should first inform you how I discovered my passion for fashion and how it has contributed to the person I am today.

By Liz Browning |

I have always been the typical “girly-girl” who loves the color pink and goes shopping all the time. Most people think I was probably in the drama troop or the art club in high school, but I was in none of the above.

Instead, I joined Navy ROTC, which may not seem to fit my personality or overall physique. When I told my family that I was going to join, they laughed at me, telling me that I would never last. Their denial only encouraged me to be committed to it, and I stayed in  all four years. As one can imagine, I was unlike the average student in ROTC. I expressed my own personal quirky style, even if I knew the instructor, a retired Gunny Sargent in of the Marine Corp, would make fun of the things I wore. I would often wear a pair of royal blue skinny jeans that had a unique gold and black paisley pattern on them. The first time I wore them to school, my instructor told me that my pants reminded him of curtains or a couch cushion. Yet, I loved them and I knew that’s all that mattered, which gave me the confidence to wear them all the time.

I realized that I was truly passionate about fashion in high school. I was tired of wearing the same brand name store tee shirts that everyone wore in middle school and began to shop at other stores as I gradually reinvented my wardrobe. My style was different from my peers’, but in a good way. I wanted to express my personal style by showing everyone that it was okay to dress against the norm, yet still be stylish. I would wear flowy blouses with skinny jeans or a cute dress with a long necklace. One of my favorite outfits was my black tank top with tan skinny jeans and combat boots, worn with my geometric printed scarf, a jean jacket, and red lipstick to seal its chicness.

This was taken at my family's farm house, in Halafax, Virgnia. When I cam out to see the animals my family said,"Liz you look like your walking the streets of New York, not the farm fields."

This was taken at my family’s farmhouse, in Halafax, Virgnia. When I came out to see the animals, I was told that  look liked I  was walking the streets of New York, not the farm field.

My junior and senior years I began to follow fashion bloggers on Instagram and Pinterest, in which I learned about upcoming trends and how to incorporate them into my daily outfit. The blogs inspired and taught me how to dress stylish, with poise. I feel most confident when I wear my heels, even if they do make me about three inches taller. They make me feel as if I’m on top of the world. Sometimes, on school spirit days, I would wear my blue pointed-toe heels, to express our school colors, blue and white, in a unique way while maintaining my personal style.

My interest in fashion lead me to pursue a part-time job at a high end retail store, where I worked my senior year of high school. I would help customers shop and suggest items that would accentuate their personal style. I was able to give my styling advice to strangers. On my first day, I helped a woman pick out an outfit; she had found a pair of lime green pants and needed a shirt to match. I felt compelled to help her, the shirt I picked matched perfectly and she bought it instantly, without even trying it on! This first sale gave me a sense of accomplishment as it reassured my decision to pursue a career in fashion. I loved this job, not to mention the employee discount I received.

I would like to contribute my love of fashion to my mother, who always looks “on point.” In other words, she always knows what to wear, and how to wear it. When I think of my mother’s style, I immediately think of class and high heels. Ever since I was a little girl, I have watched her rock her high heels every day, which has instilled my love for them. She always dresses stylish and professional. She is a strong believer that dressing professional is a sign of respect. She would always make sure that my sister and I looked presentable for school, telling us to change if our shorts were too short or let us know if our shirt needed to be ironed. I would often ask her how I looked and if my shirt was wrinkly she’d say, “Fine, but your shirt looks like you slept in it,” and then, she would iron it for me. Her personal style and advice, allowed me to discover my personal sense of style of dressing modest, yet chic.

Fashion has given me poise and creativity, and has allowed me to express myself freely. Even when I wore  my ROTC uniform,  I was still able to add a twist of fashion. Although there were strict regulations, the rules state that you are allowed to wear minimal jewelry which include, one bracelet on each arm, a ring, and a necklace. I always wore my favorite bracelet with my uniform; as I stood in the sea of Khaki with my fellow ROTC cadets, it reminded me that I had a piece of my own personal style.

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