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The Midwest Undergrad Who Collects Swatch Watches


Liza's an undergrad at the University of Michigan, and though studying public health (👏!) takes up most of her time, she also likes hanging with her cats and shopping⁠—less so for clothes than for records and cassette tapes. In fact, she's something of a minimalist when it comes to buying stuff. "Most of my clothes are either vintage or new pieces that I know will last," she says. "One of the best things about having class so often is that I get to Get Dressed for it. A lot of us have great personal style at UMich. I would describe mine as somewhere between vintage, preppy/classic, and hippy." Here's what she wears, on and off campus.


Uniqlo Cotton Oversized Shirt


"One of the easiest ways for me to feel put together is to throw on a capital S Shirt. Princess Diana is one of my biggest style influences, and she had some iconic shirt moments that I love to channel. These look great tucked into a pair of light skinny/slim denim, half tucked into a pair of cutoffs for that ~casual~ look, or on a day when I just want to be comfy, over a pair of black leggings. No matter what I'm wearing it with, I never do more than three or four buttons because I think it lets the shirt move and flow better. Buttoning all the way up is just a little too stiff. I love them from Uniqlo because they're great quality, and they come out with some interesting, yet still classic variations every season, like this oversized one. There's no Uniqlos in Michigan, so whenever I'm in a big city I always make a point to visit and pick some stuff up. It makes it that much more special."


BUY: $30 at Uniqlo


Levi's 501 Original Fit Jeans 


"Finding the perfect pair of vintage Levi's is a challenge and a half. They're too expensive, they don't fit quite right, or they're worn to the point where you might get a pair to last you a year tops before ripping in the most inconvenient spots. So, sometimes it's just better to let Levi's do the hard work for us. I've collected a few pairs of these in different washes, and they're the perfect everyday jean, either with a tee, a sweater or sweatshirt, or my personal favorite way to wear them, with a vintage blazer. As a Tall Person (5'10"), they're a great length because I can wear them with sneakers and let them bunch up a little for an 80s/90s look, or cuff them up a little bit to wear with loafers or boots. As with any pair of 100% cotton pair of denim, they're gonna feel like you didn't get the right size at first because they're not stretchy, but as long as you can button them up, keep wearing them to get the perfect custom fit. Since these only come in a 32 inseam length, if you're a Short Person, you might want to consider getting a cropped pair that Levi's also sells."


BUY: $98 at Levi's


Birkenstock Boston Suede Clogs 


"I think we're at the point where we can all agree that Birkenstocks are just some of the best, most comfortable shoes ever made, but since the warm weather doesn't stick around for long here in Michigan, I switch from sandals in the summer to these super crunchy clogs in the colder months. Clogs aren't exactly the hottest footwear, so I was a little apprehensive about them at first after trying on a pair in-store. I went home and bought a cheap used pair on eBay as something casual to switch sneakers out with. Since then, I've gotten another pair—I have a black leather pair that look surprisingly good with slim and straight trousers and a suede pair for jeans, and if I want to go full hippy, I wear them with flares and a tie-dye. They are especially handy for showing off some of the fun printed socks I've stocked up on over the years."


BUY: $145 at Birkenstock


Swatch SoBleu Watch 


"I know what you're thinking. An actual, ticking watch? I get that some people can't live without their smart watches, but I spend so much time on my phone that I don't really need an extension of it. I've collected about 10 vintage and new Swatches over the past few years, which people think is a little crazy, but it's just so much fun! Swatches are great because they're not too expensive for a watch that will basically never die on you, and they come in so many fun and classic designs that add a little something to an outfit. Picking out one to go with my outfit is low key one of the highlights of my day. I love hunting for vintage ones on eBay and Etsy; my favorite thing about them is that I can usually tell what year a Swatch is from just by its design since they're so representative of when they were made. This blue one is the latest new one I've bought, it's from a collection based on Bauhaus design, which makes me feel very artsy and cultured."


BUY: $65 at Swatch


Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum


"Since I never really wear foundation, it's super important to me to have good skin. $80 is kind of an intense amount to spend on a skincare product, but it's one of the best investments I've made for myself. This one bottle lasts me about eight or nine months, and since I've been using it, my skin has been the brightest it's ever been, and people compliment my skin all the time, which is basically the greatest appearance-based compliment one can receive. It's also helped with my acne scars and reduced some of my rosacea based redness, so there's basically nothing this serum can't do. It ranks as one of my all-time greatest purchases!"


BUY: $80 at Sephora


Follow Liza at @lizahalstead.

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