Writer: Armana Haque (IG: aeroslippers)
Photographer: Peytan Ivans (IG: peachypey)
Stylist: Tory Flores (IG: to.ly.fl)
Society has taught people to define fashion as a trend that people will follow because it’s popular or because we saw our favorite celebrities wearing that particular style on Instagram. But, fashion is a form of self-expression, it gives you an idea of a person’s personality and background. The people that we pass by everyday may not even realize that their style could be considered trendy; it’s just how they dress, and it perfectly describes who they are.
Tory Flores, a fashion design student from the Valley, discovered her love for fashion when her dad taught her how to use a sewing machine for the first time as a kid. Since then, she has designed multiple pieces of clothing and enhanced her skills from knitting small hand bags to constructing her own outfits from scratch.
Flores likes to wear whatever she thinks she’ll look good in, but she just recently discovered that her style could best be described as a “VSCO girl”. Scrunchies, oversized clothing, and flowy dresses are her go-to outfits, but she has staple t-shirts and jeans to make it easy to style and layer. Her color palette tends to gravitate towards warm tone colors like red, mustard, pink, beige, and all shades in between. To get creative with her outfits, Flores plays around with her colors to where they coordinate with each other and make her entire outfit come together
Flores gets her inspiration from 90’s street wear. Barbie Ferreria has had a big impact on her style recently after she played her role in the ongoing show Euphoria. “She’s always been a confident model for plus size women, so I really admire her for that, and she is also Hispanic. It’s nice to see another woman on television who’s thick, beautiful, and can wear these clothes with confidence.”
“Statement pieces are essential pieces that people should wear in an outfit. I try to make sure that the pieces I do buy are ones that I can also wear with a lot of different outfits.”
Flores’ personal preference is to get simple jewelry that can be styled with multiple outfits easily, but every once and awhile, she’ll pull out some of those bright and colorful gem earrings, or her favorite pair of earrings which is in the shape of a peace sign. She likes to add a little bit of her own personality when it comes to styling her outfits because it makes her feel a sense of self confidence and nobody can replicate her creativity. If Flores finds accessories that are beautifully made but also stylish, she buys it. Her favorite outfit at the moment is a summer dress she bought from Dillard’s that has a “Marilyn Monroe” vibe to it. It has a simple floral pattern on a white background across the whole dress and it’s stretchy material makes it comfortable to wear on any day. She likes the pair this dress with her favorite white FILA shoes, a scrunchie, and earrings with it too, just to make the look a little dressier. She also likes to wear a belt on the middle of this dress because it accentuates her body, making her feel curvy and beautiful.
Flores used to shop frequently at Target to get her clothes, but now she tries to save her money to start buying better-quality clothing items from American Eagle. Flores buys very distinctive clothes from there like sweaters and statement pieces that she wears on an everyday basis. Styling her outfits for the day vary depending on the occasion. She finds a style that is comfortable enough for class, casual enough to spend time with her family, and fancy enough to go out for the night. Most of the hidden gems in her closet are thrifted; she gets the majority of her tops and accessories from the Thrift Giant located in Denton, Texas.
Going into high school, Flores didn’t really know how to dress herself, so she started shopping at the most popular stores she knew of at the time, like Forever 21, to try and start creating a style for herself. One time, she went shopping for some clothes to go on a trip with her friends, she knew she wanted clothes that would stand out. She went straight for clothing item that were colorful and trendy but were also unique. She has always searched for new outfits to wear and always experimented with new styles since then. During her first year at UNT, she started wearing clothing that was a lot more exposing, but then quickly moved on to wearing layers and clothing that played around with different colors and textiles because she felt like that really embodied her personality more. She likes to dress cute and comfortable, but also feel sexy at the same time. Even now, her fashion is a journey because she always wants to try something new, but she wants to dress like an approachable person that everyone feels comfortable being around. “I feel like my outgoing and colorful style is what gives people the idea that I’m a fun and friendly person.”
Some pieces of clothing that Tory Flores likes to add to her everyday outfit is a Ralph Lauren braided belt she thrifted recently and her silver earrings that have a hand making a small heart. She thinks its cute and she doesn’t really think about wearing these pieces everyday; she just goes for it without thinking about it. Her statement pieces are usually inspired by what she sees on social media most of the time, like the earrings making the heart sign is something she noticed is a pop culture trend that South Korean celebrities do. Her accessories are what she feels like she gets inspiration for new outfits and keeps her updated with new trends. Sometimes she will see it trending on social media, but when she finds something in the store that she thinks will look good, she styles it in the ways that she has seen on social media, television shows, and movies.
During Flores’ fashion journey since highschool, she discovered some of the styles that she absolutely loves and some that she doesn’t find all that appealing to her. Although she likes to buy oversized t-shirts, sweaters and dresses, she tries to style these outfits in ways that accentuate her body to make it look like their fit her. What she doesn’t like is wearing oversized clothing that isn’t styled to fit around her body and leave the clothes looking baggy and loose on her. She prioritizes comfort when she shops for her clothes, but when she starts putting her outfits together she tends to style her clothes together with belts or high-waisted jeans to make the clothes look like they are all her size and stylish at the same time. One style trick she always likes to do is tuck in her tops into her bottoms because she thinks it looks nice and professional with any sort of outfit she does. She avoids trying to leave her tops to cling against her legs so she styles them by tying the shirt up or tucking it in up to her waist. “Since I’m actually starting to adult now, I’ve started to be more careful about what I choose to wear.” Flores is now starting to dress in a way that would be considered causal but business-like at the same time because she never knows when she has to go from working on her fashion design projects to going out and about to run another errand.
Because Flores is so passionate about doing any form of fashion and art, she doesn’t want to limit herself on any of the opportunities that’ll be available to her in the future. “I know that I really like illustrating a lot and just being creative in my creations. I want to make a career out of that somehow, but if all else fails I want to be a professor, fashion designer, or be a fashion illustrator. But we’ll see what the future has in store for me.”
Being able to interview people like Tory Flores is really a fulfilling experience for me personally. You get to really unpack a person’s character based on their fashion, and it’s a learning experience at the same time because you realize that what you consider very stylish and outgoing in an outfit is what people like Tory Flores consider an everyday routine. She truly engages her creativity in everything she does and not just in class. I hope this series will show everyone else how much fashion affects our everyday lives and how people have chosen to set their style in motion.