Quad Style: Jillian Lepek
Meet Jillian Lepek, a second year Art History major. Her hobbies include managing her Etsy shop (fried egg vintage) and leaving Hyde Park at least once a week.
How would you describe your personal style?
If I could only wear one type of clothing item for the rest of my life, it would be one of those short-sleeved, denim button-down shirts your great-aunt probably wore about 20 years ago, embroidered with dogs or birds or words about how I love my garden. Maybe I’d crop it to make it cuter. I think that synthesizes things pretty well.
Where do you find style inspiration?
Inspiration isn’t something I would say I think about very actively; Pinterest and me just don’t really mix. I tend to take a more passive role when it comes to fashion and shopping by letting clothes come to me rather than actively searching stores, grocery list in hand. However, I especially like the flattering shapes, novelty prints, and warm, earthy tones reminiscent of the 1970s. Etsy is a great resource for browsing because everything is either vintage or handmade, so it tends to be very playful, eclectic, and less bogged down by corporate politics.
Where do you like to shop?
My favorite place to shop is any one of the Village Discounts, but especially the ones on Milwaukee and Clark. I also frequent resale shops, like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange, where I go to sell clothes and receive store credit in return (a vicious cycle). The Urban Surplus store is a beautiful place as well.
Do you have any fashion regrets? What’s your biggest fashion faux pas?
Pretty much anything I wore before the age of 15–I sincerely hope low-waisted jeans never come back in style, you can quote me on this anytime–except for the full-length leopard print fur coat my grandma made for me (plus a matching one for my American Girl Doll). I don’t think I’ll ever top that.
What is your relationship to fashion? Has it changed over time?
We’re definitely together, but open to exploring new experiences.
When I was in elementary school, I was first introduced to the exclusive world of haute couture through the glossy pages of the Limited Too catalogue. However, this was also when I got my first shock of the financial burden of such a coveted lifestyle, and was promptly redirected towards the local Target or Kohl’s by my mom. By middle school, I was fully immersed in the fear that if I ever wore a skirt, dress, or anything without a logo blazed across it, the entire universe would implode. In high school things got less grim, so I started testing the waters. After splashing around for awhile, I finally found my frog prince: the thrift store. Often murky and sometimes slimy, thrifting is always an experience, but one that will treat you right if you do the same. We’ve been going strong ever since.
Why is fashion important to you?
Fashion is the most consistent and the easiest way for me to be creative. Social norms and the Midwest climate dictate that I put something on my body everyday, so it seems natural to me to make it something I enjoy. I’m not a very talented fine artist, so curation, or the art of putting things together, has become my main form of expression. Dressing myself and selecting vintage clothes for my Etsy shop support me both monetarily and personally, by allowing me to relax.