Katie Lin Temmer, a third-year neurobiology major at University Park, believes everyone should live as their authentic self. She says that fashion is what has allowed her to do so, and that it has impacted her life in many ways.
Temmer has used clothing to express herself and her identity since the earliest stages of her life. She describes her younger self as a “tomboy,” as she was interested in athletics, unlike the other girls in her social circle. She says that wearing sportswear during this time in her life allowed her to embrace being different from the rest of the crowd.
“Dressing in a more athletic way helped me to express my interests to others, because a lot of my other friends wouldn’t be in to the same things as me,” she explains.
As she has grown up, Temmer has come to terms with having what she refers to as a “masculine side,” as well as a “feminine side.” She has learned to celebrate both these parts of herself by constructing outfits that have both masculine and feminine features.
“I’ve been getting more into streetwear fashion,” she says. “I think that has a lot of masculine and feminine elements to it. You can mix and match baggy clothes with tighter shirts. You can layer big hoodies or sweatshirts over long skirts.”
Temmer values fashion as an art form, which she uses to communicate her interests, culture and even her current mood. She says that her feelings, along with the weather of course, are the most deciding factor in how she chooses to dress every day.
Fashion is an art to me. It’s an expressive way. How I dress is very dependent on my mood as well.
Her latest inspiration has been the resurgence of 90s style. “It feels very chic and clean to me. I like something that feels clean and put together, but not too planned out.”
She also turns to social media to fuel her creativity, and she loves to support small or indie designers. “I will find people who make clothes on Instagram and ask them if their work is for sale. I think it’s cool to support smaller artists in general and help get them out there by posting their designs.”
Temmer also has a love for thrifting and is open about how the second-hand market has granted her more ways to express herself. “Most of my closet is thrifted. I think it’s important to contribute as little as you can to fast fashion.”
She also mentions the sense of individuality that pre-loved shopping has brought to her closet. “That’s the beauty of thrifting to me,” she says. “You’re gonna get something that is, in a sense, individual and unique.”
Temmer values the sentimental qualities of thrifting as well, and the beauty of stumbling upon a great find. She believes it is easier to make memories in a pre-loved shop than in a regular shopping environment. “You remember the friends you were with. It’s fun to pick out things you think your friend would like and make an outfit for them.”
Fashion has also enriched her life by allowing her to meet new people. “This one girl stopped me in the bathroom last week to compliment me on what I was wearing. I told her I got it from an Instagram designer. We ended up exchanging phone numbers, and now her and I text. It’s so cool to meet people through fashion.”
Temmer also describes getting to know her previous roommate on a deeper level because of fashion. “Her and I would bond over being in and out of each other’s closets all year, trading different pieces. She would style me and I would give her pieces of mine. I think it’s so cool to bond with people who you are already close with over fashion.”