Green Light: Stephanie Messer is Fashion Forward

Photo of Stephanie Messer as a undergraduate student
Photo of Stephanie Messer as a undergraduate student
Photo of Stephanie Messer as a graduate student.
Photo of Stephanie Messer as a graduate student.


“Three words!” Stephanie Messer said while laughing. “Just three? You’re asking the wrong thing of an English major!”

Anyone who knows Messer knows that she is a very flamboyant person – based on her personality and her sense of fashion.

Messer is no stranger when it comes  to rocking elaborate hats and flourescent blouses, but now, she has toned down her passion for fashion.

As an undergraduate at DSU, Messer expressed herself through her fashion. Arriving to DSU, she had an I-don’t-care-what-people-think type of an attitude when it came to her sense of style.

Since she was never a coffee-in-the-morning type of person, her motivation for getting up in the morning was due to her “what-am-I-gonna-wear-tomorrow-so-I-can-show-it-off-and-hopefully-look-fabulous” attitude.

“It was not only expressing myself, but a way of getting myself up in the morning,” she said. “Rather than just throwing something on and drudging through the day, its now that I’ve put this spectacular ensemble together, I gotta go show off this hat; I gotta show off this dress; or ‘Oh my gosh, I look so cute’ I gotta show it off.”

“After a while, I started thinking that, you know, on one side of it perhaps, I was dressing up because I did care what people thought and it was more of getting the attention from that, you know?” she added. “If I really didn’t care what people thought I could wear a sweater and jeans just as easily as a 1950s dress and combat boots.”

Low cut tops and spaghetti strapped tanktops with jeans were a apart of her undergrad closet.

On a pretty beautiful day with a high around 72 degrees, Messer would wear a red 1950s style housewife dress with purple leggings topped with a nice red fascinator on her head [as she calls it]. On a gloomy, stormy day this would not be her go-to outfit. Stephanie loves vintage trends and even has a collection of foot tall hats that look like cakes.

Now, as a graduate student, Messer had to switch up her style in order to be taken more seriously in a professional setting. “Changing the way I dress is unfortunate, but it is true that people will judge you by how you’re dressed and how you present yourself,” she said.

Messer said the teachers at DSU are more than supportive of her style. “They’ve told me everyday, ‘I love the dress!’ or whatever, but I do realize that is not going to last outside of Delta State, so I realized I need to start getting in the habit now of dressing professionally,” she said.

Messer said that moving from undergraduate into graduate is starting your professional career (as a grad student) and taking on more responsibilities than you would as an undergraduate.

Her style is not as different from what she wore as an undergrad. “It’s finding that balance in between being able to be my quirky, odd self, but being able to dress professionally, as I should, in a workplace,” Messer said.  

For graduate school, Messer had the opportunity to enroll at Mississippi State, but decided to come back to DSU. “To me, it didn’t seem prudent to go to Mississippi State and try to build up the relationship that I have with the teachers here already,” she said. “They know me, they know what I want to do, and they’ve already been helping me take strides towards that end.”

Being an English major, Messer said she overthinks everything. “It’s why you can do analytical papers and its harder to do that in life because  [you know] with an analysis, everything has parimeters,” she said. “[But] In life, you don’t have those any more, so you have to think of six different directions that this could take and sort of be ready for each of those six different directions, except there’s a hidden seventh that pops up out of nowhere.”

Messer’s plans for the future would be to continue on and graduate in the MALS program and find a college to receive her Ph.D., but her ultimate dream would be to go to England and study Renaissance Medieval Literature.

“What better place to study the classics than their birthplace?” she chuckled.  “..the birthplace of the English language.”