Livy Poulin is someone near and dear to our hearts. And that’s not just because we get to put her in all of our clothing! She is a fabulous model (check out her Instagram @livypoulin to see her work), a full time student at Northeastern University studying Communications and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies, and a passionate feminist. We talked with Livy about her personal style, her journey to becoming a model, and how she has created a wardrobe that works with her lifestyle and values.
Throughout my life I’ve held and enacted feminist ideals since before I knew what feminism was. Attending boarding school thrust me into an inherently elitist, and therefore quite sexist, environment from a young age that initially confused and hurt me. While that environment proved to be a toxic influencer to a lot of my peers, it propelled me even more into my feminist identity. In the midst of the college application process, I knew I wanted to be in a city. I wanted my school to have a large student body, and I needed there to be a Women’s Studies program. When you find something that ignites a passion within you, you embrace it.
That being said, when I decided to start modeling, I faced a certain level of cognitive dissonance. Could I be a feminist but also involve myself in an industry that I’d characterized by its male gaze-pleasing, body-shaming, agency-denying, and sometimes rape-culture perpetuating images? Would it be anti-feminist for me to offer my body as a prop, to benefit from my thin figure, blonde hair, and blue eyes? Simultaneously, I had been traveling through a valley with depression and desperately needed a peak. I started to talk to trusted friends about the idea, some already models, and some just important women in my life. I was greeted with overwhelming support. The confidence I felt after my first shoot propelled me into letting go of a part of my life that generated a massive amount of toxic energy.
Modeling created an physical change in my daily life. I started to see a side of the modeling and photography community that I didn’t expect. I saw men and women supporting each other’s art. I saw women loving themselves, feeling beautiful, spreading a message through their work. I interacted with online magazines dedicated to sex positivity, empowering women, diversity, and more. After my first shoot I started to feel a sense of freedom. Slowly, I learned how to put myself first, love myself first, and take care of myself first. If anything, that’s the most genuine and important message I can spread- one that tackles mental health and self love.
Modeling has also hugely influenced my personal style and my shopping habits. It’s reminded me that I don’t need to strive to be “as stylish” as someone else, but that style comes from exhibiting confidence, being comfortable and wearing clothes that I genuinely like.
I’m a big fan of thrift and vintage items as statement pieces. I would describe my personal style as comfort-centric. That incorporates multiple characteristics. I value comfort both in actual physical comfort- you can pretty much find me in leggings and a chunky sweater every day in the winter. But I mean comfort in another sense too, as in feeling comfortable with yourself! If you’re comfortable in your own skin when you leave the house, not preoccupied by what you’re wearing, that will translate into confidence.
Livy’s Faithful Five:
- The Oversized Turtleneck: I always come back to this sweater for that warm pop of color, while also maintaining comfort. I could live inside an oversized chunky sweater! I’ve worn this out to happy hour with jeans and heel booties, and also out to the grocery store in leggings and Sorels on a cold day.
- The Leather Jacket: I actually never had one because I knew it had to be perfect. My best friend Jess found this vintage jacket for me and surprised me with it for my birthday. It dresses up any outfit and goes with everything.
- High-Waisted Jeans: Mom jeans for life! I found this pair at Free People and they fit perfectly, not too loose, but still comfortable, casual, and moveable. I dress them up with a cute blouse to go out or wear them with a chunky sweater for a day in with friends.
- Skinny Strap Dress: It’s one of those pieces that feels like it was genuinely tailor made for me. I feel like WOMAN and truly beautiful when I wear it. When the weather permits, you can find me in this dress at least once a week.
- Flowy White Collared Shirt: It’s great during that awkward stage when it’s not quite summer and not quite fall. It’s airy and looks super cute and with denim shorts or jeans.
Don’t spend all your money on cheap crap just to have more options. Splurge for ONE quality item that you LOVE every now and then, and you’ll feel confident all the time in your outfits. If you shop that way, you’ll inherently build a wardrobe that’s diverse and your style will more closely reflect your personality.