Name: Khahlela Jess R.
Major: Elementary Education
Khahlela embraces the sun in a shirt and skirt from Target and a jean jacket from a friend.
What grade do you eventually want to teach? I would like to teach first or second grade. I really love kids. This might sound kind of cheesy, but education is really important. I also think it’s really cool to be the first person a kid is educated by. When first graders come and see you, you’re the first teacher they’ve every really had.
How would you describe your personal style? It’s a mix of a lot of things. I like to dress up, not formal, but wearing things that are nicer. I also like to wear things I get for free or are hand-me-downs or are funky things that I decide to buy and wear.
Do you wear a lot of clothes from friends? Yes, all the time. I like the exchange. If I borrow something from one of my friends or housemates, I loan them something else, and we can mix our styles together. It’s fun to play around.
She got her shoes at Valley River Center, and her socks are a recent thrift store find.
What have you been inspired by recently? I’ve been really inspired by the weather. I think I chose this shirt because it was really sunny. I’ve been in a really good spring mood with lots of good vibes. I’m trying to wear clothes that reflect that.
Do you feel you get in a rut during the winter months? Oh yeah. Absolutely. My style was zip. It was jeans and a giant sweatshirt with lots of layers.
What do you like about dressing up? Just feeling comfortable. I like things that don’t feel like they are going to fall off or that I will constantly have to adjust. I like things that I can just put on and feel great for the entire day.
Her silver ring is from a booth at the Eugene Saturday Market.
Who were some of your early style inspirations? I’m inspired by my grandma, actually. She always dressed really nice, even if she was just going out to the store. Everything was really nice and beautiful. She really thought about what she was going to wear.
Did she give you any good style advice? She always wanted me to dress really feminine, which I always loved. I like dresses and skirts. I barely ever wear pants, so I’ve taken that to heart.
Do you think you have more of a style or an aesthetic? I’m a hippie, but I don’t know what that means in terms of my clothes. I’m not always looking for something new or trying to buy the latest thing that I see in stores. If I’ve had it forever and it still works, I’ll wear it. If someone gives something to me, that’s fantastic.
Why do you identify as a hippie? I was raised that way: living off the land in a minimalist way. We tried to conserve and recycle and not leave a footprint. I still try to bike and walk and eat really well.
Does that play into how you dress? Probably in the way that I look laid back. I try and not overthink things, so if something pops into my mind that I want to wear, I do it. That’s kind of my lifestyle.
I feel there is such a definite “teacher style.” Do you think you fit into that? I think I might have to change a little bit. I feel I’m a pretty modest dresser, so I don’t think that will be the issue, but maybe I’ll have to adjust. I mix a lot of patterns, but I feel teachers are a little subtler with what they wear.
Her earrings are from India.
WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY HANNAH STEINKOPF-FRANK, @HSTEINKOPFFRANK