Nellie LaValle ’18 shrugs off Colby’s Patagonia uniform

It’s hard to not stop and stare in awe when you see Nellie LaValle ’18 confidently strut around campus with her BoHo-Chic outfits. LaValle is not afraid to stand out, which is reflected in many of her signature pieces, such as her Dr. Martens Boots or her many pairs of high-waisted jeans. LaValle describes her own style as a mix of “90s inspired with a bit of classy punk,” and she further explains she likes to keep it a bit toned-down using nuetral colors such as black, gray and beige.

LaValle identifies Alexa Chung as one of her most important fashion icons, and although she does not necessarily dress much like her, LaValle adores Blair Waldorf’s style from the TV-show Gossip Girl. Most of LaValle’s fashion preferences are actually based on comfort, which explains her fondness of T-shirt dresses, circle skirts and especially sweaters: “I really like looser and longer wool sweaters. They are my go-to.”

LaValle is, however, a firm believer that one can pull off nearly anything as long as it is worn with confidence. For instance, LaValle is currently searching for a really large, wide-brimmed sun-hat (think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s). “A big hat is something I really think can make an outfit in the summer. Just like huge wool scarves you can bury yourself in [during] the winter.” LaValle also puts a lot of emphasis on her jewelry, as she believes it can add a lot of attitude and flare to an outfit, noting especially the effects of a few discrete necklaces or earrings. To pair with the hat mentioned earlier, LaValle is looking for a pair of large, eccentric, sunglasses, a trend she has a feeling will continue to be important this year.

Another unique, and unmistakeable aspect of LaValle’s style is her incorporation of body piercings. Specifically, those who know her will be familiar with her three nose piercings. She started with two on her nose and decided to add one in her septum as a subtle rebellion against her size. LaValle explains she was tired of coming across as “so petite and cute all the time.”

To build a closet as extensive and interesting as LaValle’s can only be done through eclectic and careful shopping. She explains that she is trying hard to stay away from large corporations such as H&M and Urban outfitters, although this is more for ideological reasons. That said, she does allow herself to indulge in some chains such as Zara or Pull and Bear. Other than that, LaValle makes a lot of use of residuals that she hunts down in thrift shops. One of her favorite stores is Macey’s in her hometown of Bar Harbor, ME which carries a wide range of styles “but unfortunately,” she explains, “everything is very expensive.”

It takes time and patience to build a closet, and it cannot be done by buying everything in bulk from the same store; you have to be more open and willing to experiment. The only items LaValle is particularly cautious to stay away from are white pants (unless they are high-waisted) and sweat pants. Other pieces she’s not into? Sperry Top Siders and three-circle sandals.

It really does not take too long in the morning to look as good as LaValle. One of the greatest things about her style is that it can be done in just a few minutes. Although she sometimes likes to experiment a little and try on different outfits, most of the time she has an idea the day before of what she wants to wear, in which case, getting dressed can take as little as fifteen minutes.

“I really like to dress myself and look nice; it reflects who you are and it really brings a lot of confidence.” LaValle is living proof that there are wonderful alternatives to the Patagonia-sweater-and-leggings-look that seems to be overwhelmingly popular on this campus. It’s safe to say that she is one of the best dressed people at Colby.

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