What does it mean to dress for class?
Some students’ “go-to” is a pair of sweats and an oversized crew neck. Some crawl to class in whatever they went to bed in. For others, like Sheridan Leatherberry and Ashton Keys, it’s a bit more than that.
Ashton Keys is studying architecture at Michigan State University. He is a 22-year-old from Detroit, who knows a thing or two about style. On a regular day of class, you might find Keys in a jacket, a pair of boots, and a hat all designed by him. To complete his look, he might add a necklace and a watch.
“It makes me feel good walking across campus knowing that I am fresh,” said Keys. “It puts a little extra pep in my step and makes me excited for class. Especially wearing my clothes because a lot of times people compliment me on my product.”
Sheridan Leatherberry is an MSU junior from Leslie, Michigan. Leatherberry is majoring in journalism with a double minor in African-American and African Studies. On a regular day to class, Leatherberry is comfortable in jeans and a V-neck bodysuit.
“If I’m feeling it, I’m feeling it. Sometimes I do a full beat down on my face and want to add booties to an outfit and woo-lah I’m living my best life,” said Leatherberry. “Other days are definitely a bare face kind of day.”
She says it’s all about “vibes.”
Leatherberry is very expressive in her style. If she likes something and it makes her feel good, she is going to put it on. She finds it hard to feel super productive on some days because college can feel like a drag. However, she believes what she puts on can change her attitude around.
“If I’m wearing some fun denim and a sweater crop, my mood feels A, more myself, and B, instantly more productive. It’s way easier to crawl back in bed or on the couch for a nap if I’m wearing sweats or leggings,” said Leatherberry.
When it comes to the weather, Keys and Leatherberry have a different view of how the cold impacts their styles.
“It’s hard right now in the winter because the weather really adds limitations to what I’d like to wear,” said Leatherberry.
However, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to rock her style in the colder months.
“I am all for being cute, but if it’s negative 10 degrees out, girl, I’ll be wearing a warm sweater and possibly leggings under my jeans with my parka and snow boots. I am not one for the cold at all so I’m all here for dressing for the weather elements,” said Leatherberry.
Keys, on the other hand, uses the cold weather to show off more of his designs.
“I actually like colder weather because it allows me to layer different items together. I check the weather weeks in advance and plan my outfits,” said Keys.
Keys is inspired by a lot of different things. He has traveled to many different places, and he is really into vintage fashion. His favorite brands include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, and Raf Simons, which are all still popular brands, but definitely were more popular in the ’90s and early 2000s.
“What inspires me is that their products can stay relevant for 30 years and has that same type of appeal,” said Keys.
Keys believes Michigan in general is a pretty neutral place when it comes to style. Some things that might be expressive to him might stand out too much to others.
“I noticed when I was in Paris, New York, and L.A. I felt more comfortable doing things out of the box,” said Keys. “On the other hand it also allows me to separate myself from others here because I am the only person on campus wearing clothing like that.”
Leatherberry’s personal style is also inspired by places outside of Michigan. Mostly Los Angeles looks, but she is also inspired by ’90s style. However, she is inspired by the celebrities such as the Kardashians.
“I channel something from everywhere I go,” said Leatherberry. “I feel like my style is an extension of who I am and I am able to communicate and relate to others with it.”
Leatherberry believes everyone should wear what makes them feel good at the end of the day. When she is not in class, in the gym or working on her YouTube channel, she is probably at work. She works at Urban Outfitters, which is also one of the places she shops. She gets some of her other clothing from Windsor, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, Pitaya, FashionNova, and she does a lot of thrifting.
Keys is also known to thrifting outside of making his own clothing.
“When I do shop it’s typically for bottoms at Zara,” said Keys. “I like the quality and price points for their jeans. I might go thrifting every now and then, but I make everything that I wear”
Both Leatherberry and Keys are expressive when it comes to personal style. They have a little bit of similar inspiration even though they come from different places, studying different things. They both agree the way you dress and what you put on can impact the way you feel.
Leatherberry started her own fashion and lifestyle YouTube channel.
Keys even started his own apparel brand called “Ninety6.”
For all the students out there, the time you want to grab a pair of sweats… don’t! Just try wearing something that makes you happy, something that will not force you to dive back into bed when class is over. Take a page out of Leatherberry’s and Keys’ book and see if it works for you.