Boldly Go

by Amanda Bedgood

Fearless and creative, Hannah Simmons proves fashion is about being independent.

Fearless and creative, Hannah Simmons proves fashion is about being independent. Photos by Robin May

Hannah Simmons' style is easy to spot. Hard to describe. Less is definitely not more for this college student. From combat boots and scarves (wrapped around her neck or tied on her head) to high waisted shorts and edgy jewelry, there's truly no accurate sartorial label. There is a kind of creative boldness in her unexpected style pairings. Maybe her freedom in dressing comes with youth. But there is a confidence in her smile and her look that goes far beyond her years. She is at once modern and an old soul. She is, if nothing else, utterly eclectic. And she is proof that a fortune need not be spent to look like a million bucks.

On the day we photographed her she wore a cobalt blazer from Knotting Hill (where she works), a signature Hannah scarf wrapped in her hair and funky leopard boots. A mix of boho and uptown. A look few could pull off. And evidence of a phrase often heard from those admiring her style: "I would never wear that, but for some reason it works for you."

Who/What are your style inspirations?
I guess I would have to say my style inspiration is everything around me. I'm not a magazine or a pop news hog so I don't get inspiration from that. But if I see something I like whether it be on TV, a friend or a random passerby, I just go for it myself. I never try copying anyone completely, instead I like to take my own twist to something I liked on someone else. I generally try not to whole heartedly follow the streamline of trends or styles. I'm me and I like my style to be an expression of my personality. I also like to take the saying "fashion repeats itself" seriously by going in my mom or grandmother's closet to find unique pieces of clothing or jewelry they had growing up. Most of the time it's stuff that's popular again now, but it's more special and one of a kind to me since it didn't come from a store.

How would you describe your approach to dressing?
If I like it, I go with it. I never over think my outfit. But I'm also not a headstrong committer to every piece of clothing I like either because I'm respectful to my body type and shape. Just because I may like the trend or piece, I will not make a fool of myself wearing something unflattering. Also, I'm not an outright brand name girl. Don't get me wrong, I love nice things but it's not a must have necessity in my closet. To me, it's about the actual feel and look of the clothing or accessory than the label on the back. So my wardrobe may not be expensive per say, but it's valuable to me. Besides, this girl is in college.

Style icon you admire most?
Honestly, there isn't someone in fashion or a celebrity that I really look at to master my style. Although if I had to choose someone that has good style themselves and I enjoy seeing what she can put together, it would be Sarah Jessica Parker. First off, I love her hair. It has a lot of body and it always falls nicely. She definitely rocks the middle part. Also, I like how she doesn't ever really over do it.

Any rules you follow? The dos and don'ts of Hannah so to speak?
I do always accessorize when I'm getting an outfit together. I always have a watch on (usually Michael Kors), bracelets, necklaces, rings, head wrap and/or a scarf to complete my get up.
I do normally wear shoes without a heel. I like heels, but because I'm tall and most people around me are short, I literally tower over them in heels. Therefore, heels are usually only worn when I have to get dressed up for an event or occasion.
I don't ever match my earrings or socks. I have two ears and two feet, who ever said they have to match? I make most of my stud earrings from assorted things like buttons, or small knick knacks you can find at Hobby Lobby. Most of them are singles anyway so I have no choice but to just wear one. And it makes it more interesting. Now, of course, I always match my shoes because I'd just look a bit ridiculous. I don't ever wear tight fitting tops or dresses. I hate the way I feel in something hugging my body. I like to be comfortable in what I have on.

Do you have a signature color or piece?
I don't have one signature color, but I mostly wear warmer colors, earth tones and neutrals. And sometimes I like to show a pop of color or pair two bright colors together. As for a signature piece, I love scarves and head wraps but majority of the time, you might catch me in my high waisted jean shorts or my combat boots. They are definitely my "go-to" items.

Any fashion addictions?
I have a lot of everything honestly. But it's because I don't usually do away with much of anything in my closet. Spring cleaning is not my hobby. I keep most of my pieces of clothing or accessories because I know I will be able to make them work again later. I will just wear it differently the next time I wear it. So in other words, I keep everything.

Tips for shopping?
My tip for shopping would be to stay true to your style. Don't dwell on where it's from or how much it is. If you like it, buy it.

How has your style evolved over time?
I would have to say that my actual style has stayed true to me over time. The only factor that has changed would be my college salary lifestyle. Before I started living on my own, I was able to spend paychecks on clothes and accessories. Which also means I was a true believer in only wearing an outfit once. But with a tighter budget, I have become more flexible with my wardrobe by finding ways to make already worn outfits new by mixing and matching the pieces. Oh, and getting employee discounts from KnottingHill certainly helps!

What are you loving right now in the world of fashion?
I'm absolutely loving the bold colors staying around for the fall and winter. Normally designers make more soft and warmer colored clothing for the cold seasons, but this season is more about leaving a pop of color in your outfits, which is right up my alley. Also I love layering, whether it be a bold jacket on top of a sweater paired with a vest and scarf and necklace to top it off. Never too much, unless it gets too hot of course.

Any predictions on what you'll be living in this holiday season/winter?
Well I love the holidays and I love sweaters. Mainly oversized comfy sweaters paired with leggings, and boots is my kind of outfit for the cold seasons. And of course throw a colorful scarf on top.

Most memorable fashion moment?
I'm not sure that I have had a most memorable fashion moment just yet in my life. Although, any time I'm complimented on my outfit or style, that's pretty memorable for me. Most of the compliments I receive sound something like "I would never wear that, but for some reason it works for you." I just smile and think, "I'll take it!" I like knowing people would never wear what I have, so my style stays unique to me.

Anything you simply will never ever wear?
I'll probably never wear white skinny jeans. I've taken dancing for 19 years, so I'm not sticks and bones. I know I'll never like the way white spandex hugs my legs.

Favorite quality in a man
His humor and whether or not it meshes with mine. I love a good laugh, therefore my man needs to be able to laugh at the same things as me. I can be gullible, sarcastic and love to make other people laugh so he also needs to think I'm funny. Or at least just humor me into thinking I'm funny. My man has to make me a better person and challenge me every day. Also it's important to be on the same page with each other so that decisions are made easier. Sometimes we can stray away from the important things in life like our Savior, Jesus Christ, but having someone who will help you find your way back is important. Lastly, he must be what every girl dreams about, Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. The man I have now fits right into my life so I know he's a keeper.

Favorite musicians
I'll always be a country music girl at heart because that's what I grew up on. My daddy loves country and me being a daddy's girl, I love it too. And I love the older and the new such as Garth Brooks, George Strait, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Chris Young and more. I love musicians like John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Ingrid Michaelson, Adele, Kings of Leon and Sara Bareilles. And then I have always been a sucker for good ole' Motown music like the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Jackson 5 and Jean Knight. I have my dad's old pink Pure Funk CD that I jam out to every now and then in my car. And you can bet all that Motown music will be NO. 1 on the playlist for my wedding one day.

If not you, who would you be?
If not me, I would probably be my sister-in-law Jamie. Of anyone I know, her fashion sense and style would be the closest there is to mine. Many times I see her, she is either wearing something I already own or I've tried on before. But the craziest part is that we weren't together to buy them. People also tend to think that we are sisters and that I look more like her than my own brother that she is married to. I always take that as a compliment because she's gorgeous and has great hair.