Fashion Friday: Sandrah Ochola ’19

Up until seventh grade, Sandrah Ochola ’19 had not taken much of an interest in fashion.

“I remember when I was in sixth [or] seventh grade, I did that whole Aeropostale thing [where I would] wear a tank-top under [my] Aeropostale brand t-shirt. And then I had this whole Hollister thing in eighth grade, and everything had to say ‘Hollister’ on it,” she said. “Junior high [was] when I realized that I should actually start dressing [nicely].”

Ochola considered herself to be a trend follower, but since attending Joffrey Ballet School in New York City over the summer, has found herself wanting to branch out from styles she’s used to seeing at West High.

“After I went to New York for the summer, I was exposed to New York street fashion and I really fell in love with it. [I’ve] start to wear patterns and I’m into more of an edgier style, with the chokers and all that. But I still like to keep it really classic.”

While she makes an effort to dress up when she can, Ochola acknowledges that there are days when she doesn’t meet her expectations.

“I feel like Tuesdays are always the worst days for me. Mondays you’re hyped, you’re ready for the day. You’re just ready to look good … And then … you stayed up the whole night [Monday] and did all your homework and you’re stressed because you just came from the weekend. And then Tuesday you’re just like ‘I don’t even care today.’ That’s how it is for me. I find that every single Tuesday, I don’t look good.”

Although it’s often easier to dress down and stick to comfort, Ochola believes that there is a time and place to combine comfort and style.

“I’m always that person that says pretty hurts. If you are going to a fancy event, you’re going to wear those stilettos. You’re going to suffer the whole night, but beauty hurts,” she said. “That’s just me personally. I know some people do not follow that route, but, for me I feel like it goes with the occasion. If I’m going to school, I’m not going to hurt myself. I’m not going to wear some six inch heels, walking around the hallway. I’m realistic. But I do think that sometimes pretty has to hurt.”

Overall Ochola encourages others to “find what fashion makes them happy.”

“I know [it] sounds cliche, but honestly I feel like some people don’t get into fashion because they feel like they have to follow a certain rule … I know it’s hard to come out of the box in any sort of way, just because in high school you have that whole ‘people judging you’ thing … But I feel like if you really want to expand your fashion, then that’s the step you have to take.”

Ochola is still in the process of trying things outside of her comfort zone.

“I kind of want to make my own thing, start dressing the way that I want to, mix and match different things and just be okay with it. But … I’m a perfectionist and I care a lot about what other people say…I always dress to other people’s expectations. And I don’t want to do that.”

In an effort to expand her style, Ochola hopes to start a beauty vlog in the future. She currently looks to beauty vlogger Jackie Aina for inspiration.

“I always watch Jackie Aina. She’s a beauty vlogger who … really advocates for people of color, so different makeup brands that cater to women of color. I just find that following beauty vloggers … that look like me, [makes it] easier to see what kind of outfits would look good on me.”

Looking ahead, Ochola has hopes of revisiting one of her biggest sources of fashion inspiration: New York City.

“I think I’m going to [go to college] in New York. And that is probably going to change the way I dress … I just love how free it is over there. I feel like if you dress a certain way, at least at our school, I feel like people give you a certain look,” she said. “I feel like in New York, no one has the time to care about what you wear and everyone just has their own freedom and everyone just wears their own thing and I just love that openness that people have.”