College of Letters and Psychology major Jessica Park ’17 can certainly rock a blazer. Park sat down with The Argus on a sunny bench outside of Memorial Chapel to talk about Korean style, how she puts outfits together in the morning, and why her favorite seasons to dress for are fall and spring (hint: blazers).
The Argus: How would you describe your personal style in three to five words?
Jessica Park: Classy with an edge.
A: To what extent are you interested in fashion?
JP: To be honest, not that much at all. I don’t spend a lot of time on the Internet or anything like that.
A: Where do you get ideas for things to wear?
JP: I don’t know! I don’t know if I’m interested in fashion, per se, but I am interested in presenting myself in a certain way. And I think maybe that has more to do with where I grew up or the community around me.
A: Where did you grow up?
JP: In Korea.
A: What kind of things do people wear there?
JP: Well, I went to Italy over the summer, and everyone is always like, “Oh, be prepared; everyone in Italy is dressed so beautifully,” and everything. And I remember having these huge expectations, and just sitting there in a café watching people and thinking, “This is kind of what it’s like in Korea, too.” I’m not amazed by anything around me.
A: What’s the article of clothing you couldn’t live without?
JP: My blazer. I love my blazer.
A: Do you have just one—or maybe one in every color?
JP: I have a lot of blazers. I keep trying to tell myself I don’t need any more.
A: Where’s your favorite place to shop for clothes?
JP: I’m kind of in a changing phase, I guess. I used to be huge on places like H&M and Forever 21, because if you can buy 20 things for the same price as one expensive thing; why not? But now that I’ve stopped growing, and also because I probably have everything that I’d be interested in wearing, Forever 21 and H&M are things I would try out if I wanted to try out something new. If I like it, I’ll think about getting something nicer.
A: How do you get dressed in the morning?
JP: It starts with a shirt. I tend to stay very basic, and I think that’s maybe because I was never a fan of statement pieces. My thing was just to have a bunch of bland things I could match with anything else, so I didn’t have to put much thought into getting dressed, because everything went together pretty well.
A: Is the blazer the last thing you put on?
JP: Well, sometimes I’ll think, “I haven’t worn this blazer in a while. Let me just match everything else to that.” But most of the time, it’s just, “Oh, what’s the weather today; should I go for a blazer or a shirt; what kind of shirt; short sleeves, long sleeves?” and then pants. I usually try to go for, if it’s really nice weather—this is something my mom always told me, and I’ve stuck with it, too—if you’re wearing a revealing top, match it with conservative bottoms, and if you’re going to wear shorts, put a long sleeved shirt on top, or a cardigan or something like that. So I guess it just sort of forms in my mind as I put on something, and then something else.
A: Do you ever have the urge to just put on sweatpants or something very dressed-down?
JP: I think maybe I’ve been raised to have a higher standard in the way that I know a bunch of girls whose parents have told them things like, “If you don’t put on makeup, then you look 15, or you don’t look clean enough,” or something like that. And I think that’s maybe how I’ve come to regard clothing, in a way. I have to match a certain standard if I want to be presenting myself to the public.
A: How has your style changed since coming to Wesleyan?
JP: I guess it’s been weird because the culture of Wesleyan is so different than the culture I came from. So it’s just been this weird, let’s-try-to-fuse-these-two-things-together. I always come home after I come from Wesleyan, and I’m always faced with people saying things like, “Oh, Jessica, you must not eat very much,” or “How long have you had those shoes? That just won’t do.” I just become a personal Barbie, even, for my grandmother. I think that’s just how she likes to spend time with me, really—just go get our nails done together or go do something to my hair or treat my face or something like that. But it’s weird and I come back to Wesleyan and I don’t want to be showing off glossy hair or a beautiful face, or I don’t even know.
It’s a two-way process. When I’m home, I tell my grandma things like, “I don’t want to be doing my nails more than a week before I go back to school,” the reason being so that I don’t feel bad taking them off when school starts. And at school I’m careful of that kind of thing—careful that I’m not doing atrocious things that make people upset.
A: How would you define style at Wesleyan?
JP: To be honest, I don’t really pay much attention to that. I’ve noticed certain trends, like sweater weather: girls wearing baggy, big sweaters with tights and combat boots. Stuff like that. But I personally would never do that because I don’t feel like I have the body shape that makes that style look good. I’m kind of aware of that—I’m not ashamed of it, or anything. I would rather show off my waist than my legs.
A: Do you have any style icons?
JP: Not really. My dad and my grandma—my dad’s mom—are both always very semi-formal and put-together, and I guess I kind of grew up admiring that.
A: What’s your favorite season to dress for?
JP: Well, obviously I like whatever season I can be wearing my blazers in! I don’t like summers because I can’t wear my blazers. I don’t like winters because I have to cover up my blazers with another big, puffy jacket.
A: Is there anything else you want to talk about, style-wise?
JP: When I think about fashion, I don’t think about it in terms of trends, but really more about what you’re comfortable wearing—in terms of what you feel comfortable in, that it makes you look good and it makes you feel good. I just kind of understand that my body isn’t what everyone else’s body is, and I don’t think there is a universal “style” or “trend” that matches every body. Do your own thing.