Amanda grew up in Throgs Neck, the southeastern peninsula of the Bronx. She describes the area as multi-cultural and the style as very urban: think "Jersey Shore" types in low-slung jeans and fitted baseball caps. Growing up there didn't have much influence on her style, rather, she rebelled against her surroundings. As a shy girl who wanted to stand out, Amanda described using clothes as a means of communicating without having to actually speak. "I started getting more and more 'weird' as I got older and gained more self-confidence. I don't feel like I fit in in Manhattan either. I expected New York City to be more unique, but mass retail has had a homogenizing effect on its denizens: I see one Topshop piece on multiple girls."
Amanda went to NYU and was disappointed to find that most of the students were preppy. She did meet her best friend there, though. "I complimented her Phillip Lim bag, and she loved my coat, and now we're best friends." So where does Amanda find the pieces that make up her unique look? "I exclusively shop on Etsy and at Beacon's Closet. I love the design aesthetic from Rodarte. I love their open-weave knitwear. I like things that are pretty and fairy-like, but then they have an idiosyncratic quality to them, like Miss Havisham's wedding dress. My clothes are pretty intricate or detailed, so one problem that I have is that I can't throw them in the washing machine. So I have to dryclean them, and I usually spend more on drycleaning than I did on the garment itself."
Amy is from Newtown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia that she describes as "very white and middle class; there wasn't much diversity." She also went to college in New York, but upstate at Syracuse. "I love to shop, my mom and I used to go to the mall all the time. To add to my shopaholic tendencies was the fact that I worked at Forever 21, so I had easy access to trendy, fast-fashion. The downside to working in retail (other than spending too much money) was that I found clothes were disposable. Even now, I find that I latch onto trends, but just as quickly leave them in the dust. I am trendy, but not edgy. I wear the 'expected' trends. I'm not adventurous: My sense of style is very safe and mainstream."
At the end of our style "experiment" the girls realized a few things. "I never noticed how preppy I dressed until today," said Amy. Will she be bleaching her hair any time soon? Doubtful. Amanda, on the other hand, found that she was both physically and mentally uncomfortable in her colleague's clothes, but she did like the new outfits that we put together with her clothes. She said, "It gave me different ideas on how to work with the garments. I have crazy clothes and I wear them more simply than I would like."
Check out the girls as they switched styles below, and keep clicking to see style swaps we've done in the past here.