28 year-old Stevie, known as @style.bystevie to her over 1k followers on Instagram, has always found that fashion and style are a never-ending cycling of defining oneself.
“I wanted to ‘reinvent’ myself in some way - or more specifically, rediscover myself. So I thought, putting effort into making outfits again, and having somewhere to display them...I would start to define what my style is now.”
Currently, she works full-time in pharmacy (which, interestingly enough, is not what she went to school for), but says "I also need to feed the creative side of myself.” For this reason, she got her certification in hair extensions, which she does on the side, creates content and styles outfits on the Instagram page that she started a little shy of a year ago, and why she’s hoping to go back to school to study fashion: “that’s what I really love.”
“Probably, because I’m a Gemini, I’m always getting bored and tired of routine. That’s where my need for creativity comes in - it’s all about finding the perfect balance for me. I’m still figuring out what I want to do career-wise, which feels a little weird at my age - but I think it’s more normal than it’s portrayed to be.”
Stevie loves helping people, and finds the stability in her work appealing, although she fell into it ‘accidentally.’ “I showed up to a grocery store to apply for a summer job as a cashier, and they offered me an assistant position in the pharmacy. I ended up being good at it - and now I’ve been in the business for 8 years,” she laughs.
“Fashion has also been super instrumental in my career,” she adds. “The whole ‘dress for success’ thing really does have some impact. I just feel like fashion has been at the forefront of all of my major developmental phases in life and it’s really therapeutic and fun at the same time.”
Her interest in fashion began from a young age, and helped her explore who she was, despite providing its own challenges in different ways.
“Through high school I always felt alienated, like we all do, and I used fashion to express how I felt and I found that through that, I was able to meet a lot of like-minded people and make friends more easily.
I also used fashion as a means of expression when I first came out as gay; I was like 14 and wearing every snap back I could get my hands on to make a point,” she laughs. “I’ve found since then, that’s definitely not my style, but it was a really great way to explore that side of myself for awhile and be comfortable with my sexuality.”
The evolution, she’s found, even over 10 years later, makes her own style so fluid and impossible to pin down. “I have no idea how to describe my style. When I was a kid, it was very much whatever my sister and friends wore; in high school I went through a very emo/goth phase, which looking back, was hilarious; my first year of college I went the opposite way into extremely feminine style, but after that, I got super into thrifting and vintage style so I went through a year or two where I only wore vintage clothes from the 40s-60s. I even decorated my apartment to fit the aesthetic.”
Since then, she says that her style consists mainly of a mix of workwear and relaxed, young clothing. “I think as adults we can forget that [fashion] can be fun; we forget that it can be an expression of a million different parts of ourselves, and as soon as we remember that, everything changes. It sounds so faux deep, but it’s true!” she laughs.
The expression of self is what primarily drew her into wanting to get into fashion and share that on her page. “I just want to keep exploring new styles, sharing the things I enjoy, and nerding out about each season’s new runway with new people.”
When she first came out, she says fashion is what helped her feel visible. “It was an ‘I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it’ moment,” she laughs. “I realized that you don’t have to dress a certain way to be queer and be welcomed in queer spaces.” Despite this, she says that “dressing femme comes along with its own complications in trying to be visible and be taken seriously in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I always present pretty feminine regardless, so I get a lot of ‘it’s a phase’, or ‘you don’t look gay’...but that’s just the way it is. Since I’m in a long term-relationship at this point, it doesn’t affect my day-to-day, but it was a struggle when I was dating.”
In terms of style, sexuality and defining herself, she says, “I think people think of ‘fashion’ as something to emulate, or something to achieve based on what they see, or what’s expected of them in certain situations. My style has evolved into something that changes daily.”
As for the future, Stevie is researching different fashion programs to help her learn more about the industry, and style others as well as herself. “I’m interested in the styling aspect more than the design aspect; helping people to connect with themselves through fashion the way I have would be really fun!”
She hopes to find a program that would teach her more about the industry as a whole. “I know how it can affect an individual or group of people, but I’d love to learn more about how the industry operates behind the scenes; specifically, I’d love to learn more about sustainability and ethical practices in the industry.”
You can find her here: @style.bystevie