By: Faye Davis
Edited by: Brendan Walsh
We’ve all been there: awestruck on our way to class by a style goddess crossing our path. The one who can look just as put together in leggings and a t-shirt as she can in a summer gown or satin jumpsuit. The girl who can pull off the funkiest pair of earrings you’ve ever seen. She sweeps you up in her aura, leaves you wondering, “How does she do it? Where does the inspiration for such a unique style come from?”
This person is Livie Sears, a woman who can amaze you with her down to earth personality and confident smile. Livie is a marketing major at Ohio State with a minor in psychology and history. She is part of several on-campus clubs, including a business fraternity. She is also a campus representative for the activewear brand, Outdoor Voices. This brand is focused on inspiring more people to become active by representing real people instead of the stereotypical athletic model we have all seen in Nike or Adidas commercials. Livie said, “I remember seeing a girl with a bit of cellulite and a bit of a muffin top in an advertisement [for Outdoor Voices] and it just felt nice to see someone, kind of like me, an average girl… Representation is so important.” She continued by explaining that sometimes exercising or moving your body comes with the stereotype that one must be skinny, saying, “You don’t have to look a certain way to go out and run with your dog, or walk your dog, or to jump, or to just have fun.”
Outdoor Voices isn’t just a brand to Livie; it is a way to share her passions for traveling, nature, and marketing in a way that is inspiring for girls of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and ethnicities. She loves advertising for their gear on her various traveling adventures.
Livie, raised in Findlay, OH, has always been an active traveler. “My mother is from Canada, so we would travel to Canada a lot growing up.” Livie says that her favorite place she has been to so far is the Western Canadian Parks. She has also been to many US National Parks (including Glacier National Park in Montana, which happens to be her favorite), as well as Scotland, Germany, France, among others. Currently, Livie is studying abroad in Thailand. She has only been there for less than a month, but she says she knows it will hold a place in her heart at the end of her stay.
When asked how traveling has inspired her style, Livie said that she gained a lot of inspiration from women in Germany particularly. “They all wear really nice basics, with an emphasis on jewelry,” which Livie says she really appreciates and has been inspired to incorporate into her own style. She says her friends would describe her own personal style as, “funky, bold, and crunchy/granola.”
Livie gained a lot of style inspiration from her mother. “When I was younger I thought my mother’s style was very funky,” Livie laughs but says she has grown to appreciate it as she’s gotten older. She says that sometimes when she is out shopping she will buy things just because she thinks it is something her mom would wear. “She’s a jewelry maker. She works with glass art and she taught me how to make pieces when I was younger.” Livie says her mother also gave her a love for funky, bold earrings.
“My mom had a closet full of tools she would let me use. When I was younger I would cut dresses into shirts, paint jeans, and customize my own styles.”
Her mom says when she was younger, Livie spent basically an entire year in a swimsuit with a donut inner tube around her waist. Livie laughs as she remembers this. “That outfit reminds me to take risks sometimes.” She says travel also reminds her to take fashion risks. “In a different country there are no expectations, so it is easier to explore unique parts of your style.”
Livie has a lot of appreciation for the styles in Thailand. She says the climate really plays a part – people do dress more conservatively – but everyone loves to wear linens and other breathable fabrics. She is also very fond of the Asian street fashion that she has seen in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, where she is currently staying. She admires their use of funky accessories here, a stylistic method she likes to incorporate into her own style.
“The greatest difference I have noticed in America is that we wear more activewear than any other country,” she jokes. “No other country really wears leggings as much as we do.”
Her signature pieces are “really funky earrings and a pair of loose, versatile pants.” She says her process for styling her outfits are, “A lot of trial and error. I usually go for one tight piece and one loose piece. It has to be comfortable.” Livie’s favorite color is forest green because it reminds her of camping and being outside.
When asked what type of media inspires her style the most, Livie says that she has always been inspired by singers, because she loves to sing. She says she identifies currently with the singer, Maggie Rogers because she is earthy and loves wearing funky outfits. “I think I mirror her style, but not as exaggerated,” she explains. She says an album to describe her style would be Maggie’s album, Heard it in a Past Life. “It’s all about transformation and growth,” she says. Livie explains that she feels like she is currently in a growing period as she studies abroad and is immersed in a different culture.
Livie explains that she hasn’t always been so confident in her current style. Thinking back to her swimsuit and inner tube gear, she says, “It’s sad that we all lose that kind of bravery in middle school.” She explains her process for gaining it back. “Growing up; everyone tried to fit in. Then you get older and you start to branch out and realize that style is a form of expression.” Livie attended a Catholic school in middle school. By the time high school rolled around, she had gotten used to wearing a uniform every day, so she just turned to what everyone else was wearing, which was more of a preppy style at the time. She laughed, “That really was not me.” At the end of high school, she said she started to dress grungier and eventually found her way back to her crunchy granola roots and collection of funky earrings once more.
Visiting different cultures and seeing different perspectives she hadn’t experienced growing up has greatly impacted Livie’s individual growth mentally and stylistically. She says she never regrets spending on travel because you gain so much from the experience.
Livie says she really loves how women can express themselves through their unique styles. “Women always compliment each other and say, ‘Oh, I couldn’t wear that!’” However, Livie says, “Yes, you can!” The fact of the matter is that all women have the power to harness their own individuality and creativity.
Travel, her childhood, nature, and music are some key components that have aided Livie in her self exploration of her own style. Style is a creative form of self-expression that Livie loves experimenting with. Some other creative outlets she embraces are drawing, photography, and photo editing.
You know that girl we were referencing at the beginning of this article? She’s YOU as well. She’s everyone. Everyone’s style is beautiful and unique in their own way. That’s the great thing about style: there is no wrong way to do it, as long as you’re fully expressing the individuality and beauty of YOU. Livie’s style is funky, bold, and crunchy. The reason she can express this style so well is that it is rooted deep in her personality and background. Her style is just a physical representation of what is truly her on the inside. Maybe your style is subtler, or flowery, or feisty, or metal, or maybe it fluctuates depending on your mood. There are no rules when it comes to style. Literally none. Style is just a way for all of us to share and express our own diverse backgrounds, cultures, and personalities.
My hope is that you gain inspiration from Livie, not to dress like her (unless of course, her style is one that really speaks to you personally!), but to start exploring what really inspires you and how to express that through your own unique style.