Story by Kate Dannenmaier Photos by Dahlia Dandashi
Natalie Sendukas’ closet is filled with halter crop tops, patterns and bold prints galore. As evidenced by the vibrant red and mustard yellow silk kimono decorating her desk chair, Sendukas’ style has an eclectic flavor.
Sendukas, a neuroscience major, grew up thrifting with her family. When she and her brother were in middle school, they were never allowed to have the branded Hollister and Abercrombie gear unless they could find it secondhand. Sendukas says she used to hate her parents for being "cheap,” but when she got to high school, she saw that her thrifted clothing actually made her unique and that peers wanted to go shopping with her. “Everyone started to want to go to Value Village [in Houston] because they thought it was so funny, so, I would go with them,” Sendukas says. “Everyone would shop there to get ugly stuff, and I would buy all the cute things.”
Now, as a sophomore at UT, her closet is overflowing with secondhand goods, and she's proud of it. Sendukas says she considers her mom a personal fashion icon, because she taught her how to make simple pieces more interesting. "My mom always wears little old lady tweed skirts with her glasses, sweaters and buttons,” Sendukas says. “She always uses buttons and brooches to make things look really unique. She uses little touches like that to make simple things quirky."
Sendukas refers to herself as a soft-spoken and a shy person at heart, so she specifically chooses to wear clothes that are loud enough to show people who she is. She says she likes to give off a whimsical, feminine vibe, wearing skirts and dresses often. "I really like clothes as an expression, and I like that I can make my appearance reflect my personality," Sendukas says. "I think it's really cool that our appearance is so versatile. You can totally change how you're perceived by what you're wearing."
Although Sendukas says her high school friends would often beg her not to wear certain items, like her favorite black and white sawed-off cowboy boots, she says that now people are begging her to spill her style secrets.
She credits her vintage shopping habits for her ability to predict and wear trends. "I see certain pieces of clothing that are coming back into style, and I'll go to a thrift store and it's already there," Sendukas says. She says the trendy items one can find at stores like Urban Outfitters are already being sold at thrift stores at a cheaper price.
While Sendukas doesn’t plan on making a career out of fashion, she considers her style important. Through the fiery reds and deep green shades of her wardrobe, Sendukas can express what she couldn’t otherwise, and that will forever make fashion an integral part of her life.