Mall à la Mode: Style and confidence

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Gabrielle Nagle is known among her friends for having a unique, fun sense of fashion. Not a day goes by without someone on campus complimenting her outfit. However, for Nagle, fashion is much more than just looking “cute” or “stylish.”

Nagle, a sophomore art history major with an Italian concentration, finds her fashion inspiration in ‘90s fashion, particularly in fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen and Mugler. However, much of her inspiration comes from a bit closer to home. Her mother, who came to the United States from Poland, worked in an Italian menswear fashion house in New York City in the ‘90s. 

“How to put an outfit together, how to accessorize, how to match up colors, textures, patterns, all that I gained from my mother,” said Gabrielle. 

In fact, her current favorite piece to wear is one that was passed down from her mother. 

“My favorite article of clothing is actually a piece of jewelry that my mom bestowed on me. It’s now a bit of an heirloom of sorts. She bought it in the’ 90s and it’s this beautiful, maroon glass beaded necklace that’s layered, and it is a very ornate St. Benedict medal basically. It is completely gorgeous — and also very ‘90s — but very ornate. It’s a piece of my mother from her youth, so I’m very honored to have that bestowed upon me and hopefully to my children as well.”

Another source of inspiration for Nagle is the Native American culture. “What really inspires me about their culture is their connection to nature. This really raw connection to the creation as we are as the created, I think there’s so much truth in that. There’s so much beauty in that. That’s reflected in what they wear, and in their jewelry.” 

She continued, “I do feel like somebody who appreciates art, appreciates culture [and] preaches beauty. That type of culture is especially inspiring to me.”

Nagle’s philosophy of fashion combines style, creativity and confidence. “I use fashion as a type of escapism, as a type of armor that I wear. It makes me feel confident. If I present who I am on the inside and show that through the outside, I can communicate who I am better. I believe that the external should always match the internal.” 

Nagle also emphasized the importance of modesty and its connection with style. “Modesty to me, is about being comfortable with what you’re wearing. You can still dress very fashionably while being modest. I don’t think there is a dichotomy between those two things. I think a lot of the time we are taught that fashionable clothing is immodest. I don’t think that’s true,” she said. 

Nagle’s favorite clothing is anything that makes her feel comfortable, both on the inside and on the outside. 

“I was put in a Catholic school uniform, pretty much my entire academic career until I got to college, so I didn’t really have a sense of style or a sense of, what makes Gabi Gabi as far as attire goes. So what really inspired me going into college [were] the things that I grew up with.” 

She said that media such as Scooby Doo, “Pride and Prejudice” (2005) and Disney movies inspired her sense of fashion from a nostalgic point of view. 

When somebody compliments Nagle’s outfit, it is not only the outfit that catches his or her attention. It is her self-confidence that really completes her style. Whether she is wearing a sparkly, unique dress or a comfy sweatshirt, Nagle is always comfortable in what she wears. She draws inspiration from her childhood, from her family and from nature to craft her own sense of fashion. Her inner confidence shines through in the clothing she chooses, because her style is reflective of who she is on the inside: the one and only Gabrielle Nagle.

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