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DTF major uses fashion to fill social voids

Before Aubrey Walling came to ORU, she worked with the homeless through the Los Angeles Dream Center as a site leader for children in the housing projects. They called her “low-key dope.” Walling said it’s easy to relate through fashion because it’s one thing everyone has.

“People are always looking for ways to relate to other people. I feel that clothing is a gateway to the human race,” said Walling.

Fashion is a medium that reflects a person’s inner self. Walling, a drama, television and film major, said every day is a fashion encounter.

Fashion helped Walling through the hard times in her life. In middle school, her parents pulled her out of school for a year and a half due to a particular trying time. Walling coped with her emotions by escaping to her room and putting outfits together.

She confessed that the easiest way to express herself is through her clothes.  Even as a child, Walling understood the power of fashion; her identity was found through her clothing.

Walling believes that people shouldn’t be scared to wear what they want. Fashion is the easiest form of expression. Fashion is an outward expression of an inward reality, and the best way to showcase who one is on the inside is through their style, she said.

Born in Georgetown, Texas, this southern bell has a sense of style that focuses on ingenuity. Unfortunately, she couldn’t fully wield her fashionista skills until she reached her college years. Her mother wasn’t a fan of shopping; therefore, Walling was the regular recipient of hand-me-downs that were less than fashionable. She worked with what she had and created interesting pieces until she could afford to shop for herself.

“I guess my limitations caused me to be creative,” said Walling.

Her humble beginnings greatly impacted her style. Walling is an avid supporter of thrifting. Her favorite stores are popular thrift shops in Tulsa like Daisy Exchange and Plato’s Closet.

Walling likes to mix it up and shop all around. She doesn’t limit herself to just one designer.

When buying clothes, Walling looks for two things: quality and appeal. Walling would rather buy something timeless than something that will only last a week.

Her advice: “If you buy it at a thrift shop, you can pull it off at any time.” 

Walling can be seen walking campus in multiple styles, because her eclectic taste in clothes.

“One day I can dress like a housewife from the ‘50s, the next I look like a news anchor from the ‘80s and then a couple days later, a pop star from the ‘90s,” said Walling. “I find freedom in the expression of fashion because the sky is the limit and to me, it’s the easiest art form.”

Walling describes her style as “Nancy Sinatra Gangster.” She likes to wear collared blouses and pencil skirts, but knows it’s not complete without a beanie and big silver hoops. Walling claims to have vintage, eclectic and hipster looks all at the same time. As a way to challenge herself, she intentionally chooses over-the-top outfits.

“Half of pulling off an outfit is believing you have the confidence to do so,” said Walling.

Walling’s current fashion inspiration is comfort. Being a college student has affected the way she presents herself.

She favors loose-fitting clothes that are easy to slip on. The challenge is to feel comfortable and still look nice.  A staple in her closet and favorite piece of clothing are her black harem pants. She found these pants at a thrift store in Tulsa.

Walling wears them in all seasons. If the day is warm, she’ll wear them with a tank and wedges. If it’s cold out, all she has to do is add tights underneath for an extra layer of warmth. She also likes to wear them high-waisted.

Another favorite item in Walling’s closet is a Jean Paul blouse, a designer she admires. The blouse (pictured above) has a unique blend of floral and paisley patterns printed on a semi-see-through fabric with cuffs on the collar and sleeves. Walling loves this style because of its uniqueness.

Walling lets fashion guide her through tough times and good times. She lets her inward reality come forth by the outward expression of her clothes.  Encountering new things through clothing will only continue in the future.

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