Quad Style: Bobbie Sheng
Meet Bobbie Sheng, a rising third year majoring in Art History. Bobbie plays clarinet in the UChicago Symphony Orchestra, design sets and props for theater, and is a member of the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. Outside of campus, she also works in graphic and publication design. As Bobbie tells us: "the more arts-related and stereotypically unemployable it is, the more likely you'll be to find me there!"
How would you describe your personal style?
Somewhere between minimalist, earthy, and normcore, but with 50% less denim and 500% more knit sweaters. In general, I like to keep my outfit simple and just add one more noticeable element of interest, whether it's shoes, earrings, or a bag. I also physically cannot survive without my winged eyeliner.
Where do you find style inspiration?
I don't spend a lot of time looking at fashion on Instagram/Tumblr/Pinterest, so a lot of my inspiration comes from the people I see on campus and around the city. I also spent this past winter break in Tokyo and Shanghai, and ever since then I've been finding a lot more inspiration in the colors and silhouettes of Asian trends as well.
Where do you like to shop?
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I own an obscene number of things from Uniqlo. Their entire collection is so simple yet flattering and on-trend, and I appreciate the level of quality that they offer for a genuinely reasonable price.
Do you have any fashion regrets? What’s your biggest fashion faux pas?
I will say that there is absolutely no such thing as a fashion faux pas, and that anyone can pull off any look as long as they have confidence, but I also feel obligated to share my vivid memory of that one time in middle school when I wore an oversized bright rainbow tie-dye t-shirt with clashing red, blue, and orange plaid short shorts. It was a Bad Look, objectively speaking.
What is your relationship to fashion? Has it changed over time?
Especially as a student with not very much money to spare, I often find myself struggling to reconcile the desire to buy appealing (and cheap) new clothes from fast fashion stores with the knowledge of the ethical and environmental problems that often come with those same outlets. While I know that it's difficult to maintain a zero-impact personal relationship with fashion, I still try to take measures (such as shopping more from secondhand/thrift stores) to make my style choices as socially responsible as I realistically can.
Why is fashion important to you?
Fashion lets us have a blank slate to work with. I love seeing how different people approach this opportunity, be it by showing off parts of themselves that they like, following the trends of their visual role models, or by making fashion into their own personal experiment. Like many of my friends, I only started paying real attention to how I dressed once I got to college. I think doing so has helped me examine and curate the way I want to externally present myself to the world—and to make that presentation harmonize a little better with the person I know myself to be.
All images courtesy of Nancy Xue.