Welcome to the first installment of “St. Kate’s style icon,” a series in which I will be interviewing faculty and students who have interesting, unique, fun or bold styles. Feel free to nominate a friend or faculty for an interview by shooting me an email (my email is located at the bottom of this story). St. Kate’s has a vibrant and diverse community of people with their own style, and it’s important to explore that. By diving into the awesome culture that St. Kate’s fosters, we can learn something, and not be afraid to try new things. In this installment, I will be interviewing Professor Amy Hamlin. Professor Hamlin is a fixture of the art history department at St. Kate’s. Classes with her are never boring, and neither is her style.
It’s a cool Wednesday morning, and Professor Hamlin’s office, filled with books, posters and the occasional hat, feels like a reflection of herself. Individuality is important to curating a wardrobe that creates a happy, confident feeling every day. However, deciding what to wear is always difficult, and Professor Hamlin leaves that decision up to mood.
“It [her outfit] depends on my mood on a given morning; how warm or cool I want to be in terms of temperature. I start kind of pragmatically. From there, I just go with texture and color. They are, I think, two very important variables that I consider, and I always like for there to be something to be a little unexpected that would surprise myself,” Professor Hamlin said.
The concept of dressing in a way that surprises you is interesting. This conveys the need to follow personal taste, and not trends. This also supports uniqueness and individuality in an age where places like H&M and Forever 21 quell it through fast fashion and globalization. Striving to surprise oneself in terms of wardrobe options can only serve to keep true to what an individual personally finds interesting.
While keeping on one’s toes can be fun, there are some important items to have in a wardrobe. Professor Hamlin always keeps a nice, structured hat handy and believes it is a necessary item in everyone’s closet. However, she maintains that there is no limit to keeping a creative style.
“I try to keep an open mind with fashion, knowing that I may change my mind later. I don’t mind making a style blunder or two in the search for personal style,” Professor Hamlin said.
Experimentation is a crucial part in the expedition to fashion finesse. Even if the final decision is to never wear the outfit again, in the end, experimenting beckons to individual style through that exploration.
As the seasons change, a change in style always seems to follow. Professor Hamlin thinks it is important to wear the clothes already bought and stored in closets.
“I always felt like I had to catch up to be current, and I never felt satisfied with it. I stopped doing that about 10 years ago,” Hamlin said. “Now, I focus on the integrity of the individual piece.”
While it is important to get new clothing when necessary, there is no need to cave to the pressure of buying things for others people’s opinions and not personal taste. Along with some great ideas about fashion, Professor Hamlin’s style is truly unmistakable, pairing the basics with the bold; she can be seen wearing a beautifully constructed blouse with vintage Keds. Combining simple pieces with statement items is a perfect way to have a dressed up style, while still keeping casual for daily wear. In honing individual style, it is key to follow personal taste, and to take risks. Professors have more to offer than their knowledge-rich classes. Professor Amy Hamlin demonstrates that it can be a two way street, in which students and professors can learn from each other.
Sarah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.