Lanikai Yatomi

Illustration by Lanikai Yatomi

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen numerous people find their own style within the confines of quarantine, reaching towards certain trends and aesthetics. Here are three students at OSU who have been exploring new ways of dressing this past year.


Shayla Nguyen

Shayla Nguyen is a first year student at OSU majoring in Liberal Studies. She has recently been working to adopt the dark academia aesthetic. Like many people, Nguyen’s aesthetic has gone through many changes since quarantine, where the process of acquiring dark academia inspired pieces began.


How would you describe your aesthetic?

Illustration of Shayla Nguyen by Lanikai Yatomi

I am still in the process of building my closet, so I don’t think that I fall into a single style. However, with the current stage of my closet, I would definitely say that my pieces call for a dark academia aesthetic. Over this fall and winter, I was able to pick up blazers, turtlenecks, and plaid pieces that really help build up this aesthetic. I think it will be harder with the warmer seasons to keep up with this style because it contains a lot of layering pieces. However, I am excited to still opt for the darker palette in the upcoming months.


Which social media platforms have most influenced your aesthetic if any? And how so?

Pinterest! I think before I started to use it, I didn’t really even know what dark academia was. I used it a lot when I was first trying to build up my closet. I would look at the pictures to see which pieces were most prominent in the dark academia style, and I would go out and try to only purchase those items. It was a great way for me to find my initial aesthetic and prevent myself from buying trendy pieces I wouldn’t wear after a few months.


How would you say your aesthetic has changed or evolved throughout the pandemic? Has social media mixed with being in quarantine been an influence on your aesthetic?

I think I started to shift my aesthetic towards dark academia right at the start of the pandemic. Like I said in my previous response, I definitely didn’t have a style before. I think what was in my closet was what was available at the mall. This transition from trendy clothes to dark academia resulted from malls closing and the pandemic restrictions. Yes, I think social media mixed with being in quarantine has been a great influence on my aesthetic. Pinterest started to become one of my most used social media platforms over quarantine. At the beginning of quarantine, I would only look up “dark academia outfits” and pin those. Now, I still definitely have a lot of that style in my boards, but I also see variations from other styles in my moodboards too!


Which pieces of clothing in your wardrobe do you find yourself reaching for most often?

I reach for my black blazer and tan Converse a lot. Both of these pieces have a neutral palette that makes it really easy to style with statement pieces.


Claudia Lamarre

Third year OSU student Claudia Lamerre has a unique style has changed a bit throughout the years, but it has always been an outlet for self-expression. Social media has played a unique role in Lamarre’s style since the pandemic as well.


How would you describe your aesthetic?

I was low-key kind of thinking about this question. And I was like I have no idea. I kind of like just wear things that I think look cool. I think it is just kind of androgynous. I just wear clothes, no matter if it is “guy” clothes or “girl” clothes or whatever, I just wear clothes. It’s very androgynous, it is never too masculine or feminine. I love that. I think I saw that Pacsun just came out with a line that was just for everybody. Yeah, which is what I like because I just like clothes, which I feel like everyone should. I just feel like what you think looks cool.

Illustration of Claudia Lamarre by Lanikai Yatomi

Has your aesthetic or style always been the same?

No. Actually, maybe. People would definitely call me a tomboy, I definitely dress like a tomboy. Like as I got into middle school and stuff, I started discovering leggings, crop tops and skirts, and all that stuff. And I definitely feel like I got into this aesthetic when I got to college. Even in high school, I definitely gave up on looking good. I literally used to wear leggings all the time and big jackets. I would honestly say that not even that long ago, maybe a year and a half ago, I got into color matching and deconstructing my clothes, and making them look cool. I think about my brother in a way because he is a hypebeast, if you want to say. He likes to style all those kinds of things. So, I would always just steal his clothes and stuff like that. I didn’t like care. I would just be like this looks cool, and that is what I kinda did.


Which social media platforms have most influenced your aesthetic or style if any?

I would probably say like Twitter because it is my favorite app of all time. But what is cool is right now, I would say like Snapchat, I am in this group, like you know how Snapchat has stories and stuff like that, like anyone in the group, can add stories. I am in this one called “Fits Fam” which is just a whole bunch of people around like Oregon and stuff, and they just go around and post their outfits. It is honestly really cool, my friend made it, and she is really cool and dresses so cool, I think. She was like, if you want to join this story and post your clothes, you can. It’s just a bunch of people like showing their fits. There are probably like seventy people on it.


Have you seen more, I guess like popularity around how you like to dress and your style, becoming increasingly popular on social media?

For sure, for sure. It is definitely weird for me because I always show my midriff like that is my things, and I just started getting into baggy clothes. I have definitely seen more baggy clothes.


Do you have any style influences in your life? Do you like go off a lot of your friends outfits, or I guess like you have that Snapchat group, but like personal people kind of, like your brother?

I would say my brother, yeah. And honestly, a lot of the friends that I have dress really well. I always say that. One time me and my friend Maya and Ally were walking inside Target, and we literally tweeted about this, it’s funny. These three little girls were like, “Oh my gosh, we love the way you guys dress, you dress so cute,” we were like, “Oh my God, this is like who we do it for.” We thought that was so cute. I would say that we all dress well. We all kind of dress different, in some ways, but we all share clothes, that is the thing. We all just kind of have different aesthetics.


Sienna Rose Kaske

Clothes have always been an important part of self-expression for fourth year OSU student Sienna Rose Kaske, who is majoring in Ethnic Studies and Writing. Bold colors and prints have always been a big part of Kaseke’s style.


How would you describe your aesthetic?

It is so hard to describe sometimes, because I feel like if I am having an off day, my aesthetic might be my sweatpants and my favorite sweater, but when I am feeling myself, I really love bold colors and fun prints. Kind of having this I don’t give a fuck attitude. I am really inspired by Joan Jett [who] was my first crush, I grew up around many different styles of music. My step-dad was in a punk band, and my mom really loved the Chicks, so like country, and my dad was really into hip hop and rap. I grew up around these varieties of cultures and music that entirely shaped my aesthetic. I love Michell Gonzalez from Spit Boys and just like in high school, figuring how who I wanted to be and what clothes can tell, or what people can tell from my clothes, because I love starting a conversation based off of something I am wearing or connecting with other people about what I am wearing, because I think you can tell a lot about a person from their style. I try to be unapologetic and authentic in whatever I wear and do, I think bold colors and prints allow me to express that with fashion.

Illustration of Sienna Rose Kaske by Lanikai Yatomi


Has your style/aesthetic always been the same or has there been ever any really big changes? Like maybe you never cared much before?

I definitely did care, I can’t sit here and lie to you. I totally had a breakdown the other day, I was like I hate what I am wearing, I definitely have those moments, I think for me, when I was growing up a lot, I got to express myself through clothes. In third grade, I had my Avril Lavigne phase, but then when I got to middle school, I was like I am trying to redefine who I am that has always stayed with me. I would have to say recently, my style has really stuck. I think that is because I am getting older, like I am about to graduate. That feels so weird. Thinking about how I am an adult right now, but I am not actually an adult. I think that right now, I am creating and sticking with the style, so I would definitely say long jackets, and bright fun jackets. This jacket I wear is black with flames on the sleeves, and it was so iconic for me. People would be like, “Hey, that’s a nice fire jacket, or hey, you’re fire.” I am also an Aries so yep, I have a candle next to me, like yep fire. I think prints that just are fiery and bright and bold have really stuck with me. But like bold will be like one thing with my outfit though. If I am going to do a cowboy boot, then maybe I will be more subtle with everything else. It really just depends on how I am feeling but bright in your face things.


Has social media played a role in your style and just wearing what you want over the pandemic?

Yeah, social media is constantly influencing me because I am always on it. You know it is a factor of my day, and I have a lot of friends, and I connect and learn on social media, and find out about things, but totally. Like when cottagecore was like really big, last spring, I don’t know when, I feel like it still is, but I was like oh my gosh, I want to do that. That looks so fun, can I like live in a cottage? I feel like social media shows what’s in style and cute right now. I was totally down for cottagecore, I like wanted to move to a cottage after that, so I would definitely say that it has influenced me.


Who are your three biggest influences on the way you dress?

Like I said earlier, Joan Jett is like such a big crush, she also helped me figure out a lot of things about my identities. I would definitely say her. I would also say probably my grandmother’s, which is an odd thing to say, but on both sides, my mom and my dad, both of my grandmas, have a don’t give a fuck attitude. That attitude has a lot to do with what I wear.


How has going to a rural university like Oregon State impacted your style?

College, especially being in a college town at a four-year college, getting that experience. I got really involved at OSU. I had to go to a lot of meetings that were really hard, or that I had to be really tough, and not cry and be emotional. There were definitely times that I did cry, but clothes allowed me to feel empowered and powerful walking into a meeting that I was talking to people who did not look like me or see the same things. I had to convince them to bring access to something or a different resource. I would say that is why I started buying cool jackets or a fun boot, or like my mushroom scarf. I got this scarf from my grandma, and it is a mushroom pattern, and I wear it like religiously. Like it is something about me where I am like yeah, I can wear this, and I am going to school you on critical race theory or like you know something like that. It still allows me to be me, but I am like yeah, mushroom scarf, we got this.


For more illustrations by Lanikai Yatomi, you can find work @lanikaiyatomi on Instagram.

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