Paige Knowles

The Baltimore Sun

Paige Knowles may be from the small town of Phoenixville, Pa., but this Johns Hopkins University senior dresses anything but small-town. The 21-year-old Charles Village resident is known for her creative way of dressing - for taking (or making) unusual standout pieces and combining them with simpler items that result in a fashion-forward look. These days, she's getting a lot of her inspiration from an earlier decade. "I am definitely a child of the '80s. I love tight and bright. I love neons." Even when she's not going for glow-in-the-dark, Knowles still glows. When she leaves Hopkins in a few months with a major in international relations and a minor in Spanish, look out, world!

Self-described style: : "A little avant-garde, mixed with some temporary trends, mixed with my mom's influences."

The look: : White oxford Jones New York shirt with blue pinstripes. Plaid wool shorts. Brown leather belt. Navy Hue tights layered over black Hue tights. Brown suede over-the-knee Chinese Laundry flat boots. Black down-filled Dana Buchman hoodie. Tan canvas and leather Juicy Couture tote. Gray bow headband. Black patterned sunglasses.

Where it came from: : The shorts came from Abercrombie Kids. The tights and boots came from Macy's. The headband was purchased at Forever 21. The sunglasses were a thrift store find. Her coat and bag were gifts from her mother. The shirt and belt came from her mother's closet.

Aside from school, fashion is her life: : "I actually wanted to go to fashion school. My parents, being the good parents that they are, said, 'You should go to college first and get your degree, so you have something to fall back on. [When] I was in high school, my best friend [and I] would call each other before school and ask each other, 'What are you wearing today?' We tried to stand out in a way that no one else could. We'd put things together, the wackier the better. [Rules] like no white after Labor Day, you can't put two prints together - those were all out the window."

How she dresses today: : "I am a fan of anything that reminds me of the '80s - like leotards, bright patterns, anything that's tight. Anything that's bright.

It's all about the combination: : "I like anything that's attention-getting. Then, I add things that are very simple. Something that would seem normal if you wore them by themselves, but I'll pair them with something that is loud, vibrant or like a full, puffy skirt. ... I'm not afraid to try a plaid with a stripe with a neon."

She's a sucker for standout pieces:: "I have a bright pink tutu that is one of my favorites. But, I've only worn it once. Because I think a lot of things in my closet are so outrageous, I feel like I can only wear them once."

What else is in her closet: : "I also have really simple cotton T-shirts, like American Apparel, V-neck style T-shirts. ... Graphic print T-shirts. ... I have plain pairs of jeans, I have bright-colored jeans that I can mix and match with different T-shirts, with funky colored cardigans, with hats, scarves, any accessory that will make [my outfit] stand out more than just a plain T-shirt or plain pair of jeans."

Her "outside" sources: : I'm always online or on eBay, or going to thrift stores. I don't really believe in the mall anymore, because I think the mall is overpriced. I think you can always find something cheaper on eBay or in thrift shops."

Her "inside" sources:: "My mom's closet. She yells at me, 'Is that my ring? Is that my shirt?' But, at the end of the day, I think she likes the twist I put onto it. And she's flattered that her daughter would wear her clothes.

What she's hunting for:: "I literally spend hours and hours online looking for leotards. Right now, I'm on the prowl for a tight, neon romper. With leotards, I think you can do so many things. They can also make you look skinny. So, that's nice."

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