Sophie Chabon ’17 came to Wes from Berkeley, Calif., with a relaxed androgynous style that matches the cultures of both. Chabon is a secondhand shopping enthusiast, well versed in the language of Savers in Middletown and Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads back home. The English major sat down with The Argus to discuss stylish professors and her fear of open-toed sandals on campus.
The Argus: To what extent you consider yourself interested in fashion?
Sophie Chabon: I think I’m not that interested in fashion but I’m interested in clothing. I don’t really pay attention to what’s in style so much, mostly because, I don’t know, I used to a lot in high school. And then… I deactivated my Tumblr, I think [that] was the major [change]… But I pay a lot of attention to what I want to be wearing, but not actually that much to the fashion industry.
A: Describe your personal style in three to five words…
SC: Could be maternity clothing… and black.
A: So how would you say your style has changed since you were in high school?
SC: Well, in high school, I wore a lot of, like, dresses and stuff. And I often, like, would wear short clothing, or clothing that I had seen, like, “oh, this is what everyone is wearing.” And I think since then, I’ve kind of like gone more towards comfort, but still sticking to… what I think looks good, to a certain extent. I think I’m less conscious now, and I think that’s actually helped me get a style of my own.
A: What do you like most about style at Wes?
SC: I think it’s really cool. I think there are lots of people with very individual style choices. I love that no one wears high heels really that much on this campus; I think [they’re] one of my least favorite things, just because empathetic pain is seeing a woman tottering down the street on six-inch heels.
I like the variability. I think there’s, like in certain groups of people, there is kind of, like, “oh, everyone’s wearing a button-up,” but I think that on the whole, this is one of the more fashionable campuses. My dad always jokes that when I was on my college tour, I would look at the shoes of everyone on campus, and then immediately make a decision based on the shoes. Like, I went to Columbia, and I was like “Ugh, this is terrible,” and he was like, “Why?” And I was like, “do you see? Everyone is wearing trainers!”… Just based on shoes, we’ve got some great shoes at this school.
A: Is there anything you dislike about style at Wes?
SC: I don’t like Wesleyan gear! I think we have really ugly university-sponsored Wesleyan clothing. I was in the gym, and I saw these like old, knitted sweaters, that had “W”’s on them, and I guess they wore them on… the basketball team. And they were wearing these knitted sweaters in 1905. And I think that would be great.
A: How do you think growing up in Berkeley has shaped your fashion sense?
SC: When I was a little kid, I dressed very strangely… but I wasn’t outright ridiculed, because I think Berkeley is this kind of progressive community, where people are like, “Okay, people are different. Sophie’s wearing this bizarre outfit, but…” So I think it did allow me the opportunity to expand and experiment with things.
And it also gave me really large distaste for like hippie-wear. Like I never went through that phase, which I’m really grateful for. Because you see all the old people in the hippie-wear and I didn’t associate it with like cool models with beachy waves. I was like “That is what the woman selling crystals at the farmer’s market wears. That’s not what I want to be wearing.”
A: Was it hard to transition into dressing for East Coast weather?
SC: Yes. I didn’t have a winter coat for solidly a third of last winter… Also, I get tired wearing jeans over tights with a long-sleeved shirt. It can be kind of stifling in that way. But, it does mean I have a lot of wool tights now.
A: Where do you draw style inspiration from on campus?
SC: I think, it’s fun to see, when bands come, it’s fun to see what they’re wearing, because they’re out of this weird like microcosm that we’re in, where like it can be very cut-off, and you’re only seeing what people are wearing. So I think that’s cool.
I have one professor who dresses so well! Oh my god, it’s fantastic. She’s my English professor this year; her name is Lily Saint. She always comes in like boy clothing from like the early 1900’s almost. Like, it’s always a little button-up shirt and a pair of nice pants and a blazer. She looks great, so I’ve been trying to incorporate some of her style. Kate Ten Eyck, the professor, wears overalls, so I feel the overall solidarity with her.
A: Where do you draw style inspiration from off campus?
SC: Mostly movies and TV shows. Like, when I was younger, I loved “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” so I would try to get all, I’d be like, “Willow’s wearing that. That’s actually why I bought these overalls when I was a freshman in high school…. I just saw “Kill Bill,” and now I really want the top part of her yellow jumpsuit…. I’m just going to look for that; I don’t think I’m ever going to find it.
But I went through a big 80’s movies phase in high school, and then I started wearing a lot of those high-waisted, incredibly uncomfortable pants, crop-tops and stuff like that. So yeah, I think that’s where most of it comes from…. Oh! Also my younger brother. This is crazy. So he’s eleven years old, obsessed with fashion; he has an Instagram account that like, lots of streetwear fashion blogs follow. And like, when I was buying these shoes at Savers, I texted him a picture, like, “Abe, are these cool?” And he was like, “Yeah, those are cool.” So he’s one of my fashion consultants.