Style Guru Bio: Madeline Jones

I’ve always hated jeans. I realize that sounds borderline sacrilegious to even say, but it’s the truth. Of course, I don’t mind when other people wear them – it’s not an appearance-based dissatisfaction that I have. I’ve just found them to be restrictive and uncomfortable. I like to sit with my knees up or cross-legged on my chair in class. Often times I study on the floor. Jeans do not suit my lifestyle or my personality, and I think that’s really how I became a Fashionista. I didn’t even own a pair until the sixth grade, so I had to get creative with my outfit choices.

Understandably, I became quickly frustrated with my options. I actually started making little clothes that I wished I owned for my Barbie dolls. By high school, I was able to make my own clothes when the stores denied me the perfect ensemble for an event – prom, in particular. Why are all the dresses so tacky and long? At 5’5”, I am supposedly average height for a woman, yet I’ve never found a maxi dress or formal gown I didn’t have to hem at least six inches.

Now, I am an Apparel Design major and Spanish minor at Cornell University. Clothing designs are how my brain processes those moments of inspiration that I think all people have, suddenly and sporadically, but which manifest themselves differently depending on the individual’s frame of mind, past experiences, and whatever medium helps them to better understand what they’ve just experienced. In a way, I feel like I’m studying two languages in school: a foreign language, written and spoken, and another visual and tactile language that I’ve always known, but am learning fluently for the first time. When I hear music, come across an enigmatic person or peculiar social encounter, feel a strong emotion, or see something strange, beautiful, or scary, it usually translates into a runway show in my head. 

Similarly, I dress most days based on my state of mind or current inspiration. For specific events, I am a firm believer in the “dress for success” policy, but beyond that, if I’m feeling youthful and girly, I’ll probably wear a bow in my hair and socks with ruffles. In a sexier mood – heels or combat boots with my leather jacket. Most often, it seems that the free-spirited, loose-fitting, eco-friendly look fits me best. Like I said, my activity can’t be limited by my garment choice. I also frequently find myself in cardigans and funky legwear – I get cold easily. Mostly, I advocate dressing in what makes you feel best, physically and emotionally.  Some of my favorite designers are Alice + Olivia, Chris Benz, Alexander McQueen, Vera Wang, Custo Barcelona, and Agatha de la Ruiz Prada, but these change line to line, season to season, and of course, as I grow and change as a Fashionista. Looking forward to bringing you what other CollegeFashionistas have to say!

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