Name: Elizabeth Kerin
Major: Art History
Trang Crider: First off, we made a deal that for me to be featured in Mall á la Mode, I will get to interview you. How do you feel about our role reversal?
EK: I’m honored! I’m flattered. I’m nervous. You had so many beautiful things to say about elegance and style and femininity, and I think it’s tough to compete!
TC: You have an art background. Does that have any influence on your style philosophy? Does it help you define what your style is?
EK: My passion for art history orients me toward the task of fashion, or getting dressed differently, insofar as you start to pick up, as you study art history, on the different elements or themes that make artists great. And I think that those elements can be applied to anything in the visual world.
TC: As a student, do you expect your professors to dress in a certain way?
EK: I think because dressing is … such a personal task, I would have a hard time speaking for a professor or anyone really … Because it’s how they’re choosing to live out their vocation and their life. As a student I certainly don’t think it affects the brilliance of their subjects.
TC: Psychologists have coined the term “enclothed cognition” meaning that what you’re wearing has an effect on the way you feel and also on your psychological processes. Do you think that’s true?
EK: I would certainly agree with that – I didn’t know that there was a term for it! The way I dress each day is intuitive, it’s based off of how I’m feeling that day and what I’m trying to accomplish that day, which of course affects how long it takes for me to find what I feel is “right” … which my roommates can testify to!
TC: What is your sartorial faux pas? What wouldn’t you ever wear or be caught dead in?
EK: Well, what’s funny about that question is that I’ve realized all the times in the past couple years that I caught myself thinking “Oh I would never wear that,” like wearing ripped jeans. I thought that it was classless. I wear ripped jeans several times a week now! They do offer grunge to juxtapose more elegant pieces, which I think is age appropriate … I think the biggest fashion faux pas is to wear colors or styles that aren’t flattering. Ask yourself whether it really works for you. For me, with my proportions, there are certain styles that definitely would not be flattering. Like the a-line skirts that are denim or suede with the buttons up the front. I think those would be terrible on me, so I don’t think you’ll catch me wearing those. However, they look really cute on some other girls!
TC: Yes, there is a difference between dressing stylishly and dressing in a trendy way.
EK: Right. Sometimes it takes a good friend to help you see … Sometimes you need to, if you can, soften the blow and suggest alternative styles and say, “Hey, have you ever thought about this kind of skirt?” You don’t need to say, “That style skirt looks bad on you.”
TC: What comments or advice about fashion make sense to you or resonate with you the most?
EK: Fr. Maguire said something last week that really resonated with me about the way that we dress and carry ourselves is the means by which we can control the way people perceive us. It’s an opportunity to communicate the dignity of the human person. I liked that. It cuts through what fashion all boils down to – it’s really not about fabric and style. It’s about how we interrelate as a community of people with intrinsic dignity. Fashion takes place in the context of being social creatures. And to that point, I think it’s a shame how harshly we can judge one another based on those things as well.
TC: What is the most treasured item in your closet?
EK: Well, if accessories can count – a bracelet from my dad. He gave it to me when I was thirteen or so, on my parents’ wedding anniversary. Gifts aren’t his love language so I really treasure this one.