Working a traditional office job doesn’t deter Mandy Sears from making a bold fashion statement. Sporting an outfit she described as “punk rock meets business casual,” the 23-year-old appraisal coordinator managed to look both polished and rebellious by pairing classic pieces with edgier ones: a houndstooth duster coat with a black pair of Dr. Martens boots. Another way Sears stands out from the nine-to-five crowd is by not shying away from bright colors, which are amplified by her fiery red strands. “I like to match my hair color with a lot of my clothes,” she says. “I’m also partial to menswear. And I love layering! I’ll put fishnets under plain pants to make them more fun; instead of wearing just a T-shirt, I’ll put on sheer turtlenecks underneath.” Most of Sears’s elaborate wardrobe comes from thrift stores: “Many of my clothes come from the 60s. I’m really into 60s mod, but I mix it with modern pieces,” she says.
She says her fashion philosophy is “to wear whatever it is that you’d like to wear. Layer pieces. Go thrifting, recycle something that was once loved. There are no ‘rules’; take the time to sew the hole in that amazing coat you found at a consignment shop. Reinvent something that someone might’ve thought was garbage. Wear the colors you want to wear, the patterns you like. Anything goes and everything works if you own it.” v