Humans of UB: Felicia Vanier
Impactful tales and stories from the lives of fellow students
For soft-spoken sophomore Felicia Vanier, style is about showing off statement pieces in subtle ways.
Vanier, an environmental engineering major, said she is both reserved in her attitude yet outspoken with her words. The Queensbury, New York native’s personality informs her laid-back and eclectic style, as well. She puts a feminine twist on casual staples like jeans and t-shirts by adding floral prints and delicate jewelry.
Vanier sat down with The Spectrum, to discuss her perspective on fashion, personal style, and gender. This is the first full-length Q&A in our “Humans of UB” series, which will highlight the lives and stories of students across the university.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: “This is a very broad question. I’d say I’m probably a very reserved person. More or less until you get to know me, which is like most people. The best way, probably, I reflect myself is through my shoes. I love wearing cool sneakers. I have my favorite pair, a rainbow chevron. Adidas is my favorite brand for cool shoes … I mean, I’m always wearing a necklace. Usually, ones my family has given to me. And I have a family ring. It’s the classic hands holding with a heart and a crown on top of it. It’s handed down. Same thing with my necklace. It’s from my Nana to my mother to me. Those are probably the three [main] things -- the shoes, the necklace, the ring.”
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: “Probably pretty casual. I’m always just [wearing] jeans and a t-shirt or a long-sleeve. But, I always get told it’s ‘very Felicia.’ It’s what people say. I love floral patterns. Usually, shirts sometimes. I have several pairs of shoes that have floral prints on them. It’s very casual kind of.”
Q: How does your style reflect you as a person or your personality?
A: “I don’t think I stand out necessarily in any huge way. My hair is a big thing. My hair is really curly. Today, it’s in a braid...but it gets really frizzy. And it’s really big and curly. I guess I hide behind that a lot. So, definitely, like I said, reserved but I express [myself] in little ways like the shoes and the ring. I love my hair when it’s out.”
Q: On the gender spectrum, where do you say where do you fall?
A: “Definitely on the female side. That’s how I express myself. I identify as being a woman.”
Q: What do you see as traditionally masculine or feminine? Your definition of it?
A: “This is a tough question, because what I wanna say is, ‘I don’t think it matters what you wear and you can wear however you want to, however you feel like you want to identify. I have a lot of friends who are just genderfluid or nonbinary and kind of whatever they are feeling that day is what they put on. And some people express that in really cool ways. And some people are just like, ‘It’s just who I am. It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing,’ which I love. I think it always just goes back to people wearing pants and a shirt and then it’s maybe colors or fit that describe gender.”
Q: So, what do you think is associated with each gender?
A: “I would say that I don’t know. I’m looking around now and thinking, looking for the answer. You know, everyone is wearing the same thing. I guess women’s fashion tends to be a little bit more tight-fit [and] close-fit. But, I mean, men’s fashion has also become wearing skinny jeans or a tight fitting shirt. I think it’s changing over time.”
Q: What do you think of originality in fashion?
A: “I was just listening to some[thing]. I think I was watching a Vox documentary on the fashion industry right now and how a lot of patents aren’t necessarily given out to fashion. As opposed to technology or scientific advancements, you can get your thing patented. But you can’t get fashion patented. Specific clothing types. Off brands kind of pick up something that if they’re a major fashion corporation, launches some sort of project and it’s original then any sort of company like Forever 21 just picks up that kind of stuff. But they don’t have to pay back the original creator or anything like that. Whoever came up with the idea probably didn’t get credit for it.”
Q: What is your relationship with fashion?
A: “I never considered myself a fashionable person, but I don’t know. I just wear what I like. So, I’m not necessarily looking at magazines or runway shows or any stuff like that. I just wear what I enjoy. And I think that I do it okay. I like what I’m wearing, and that’s what matters.”