The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Off the rack

Whether she is studying abroad in Italy, interning in New York City or walking to class here in Eau Claire, senior Brenna Stoltenberg has always kept one thing in mind: showing off her personal style.

The graphic design major and current art director for the art and literary publication on campus, NOTA, describes her style as “classic, preppy with an edge.”  Along with her personal style, we discussed her style inspirations, fashion in Eau Claire and how her perspective of fashion has evolved.


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Cal McNeil: Do you find inspiration from street style or more from the newest runway looks and trends?

Brenna Stoltenberg: Street style mostly, but I think most of the time, the people who are photographed on the streets have outrageous style, so you can’t really re-create it unless you have a ton of money or a lot of clothes.  I do like keeping up with certain trends, but it’s not like I buy things because that’s trendy
right now.’


CM: What do you think about fashion on the UW-Eau Claire campus?

BS: Overall it’s fine.  A lot of people wear sweatpants and pajamas, which is totally fine, but sometimes it’s like, we’re grownups now.  Our professors get up and dress nice, we should dress nice, too. Part of why I buy nice clothes is so I could wear them to a job … I can graduate and have a full wardrobe to wear.

CM: Why do you think so many students choose the overused outfits, such as sweats, UGG boots, etc.?

BS: I wear tights and a sweater dress, and that’s easier and probably comfier than sweats.  I am actually less comfy in sweatpants. I feel grubby. In high school, I dressed in Abercrombie and other clothes like that, and I think that some people never cared to get out of that.  For girls, putting on tights and a sweater dress is comfy and easy and you look nicer than shoving your sweatpants into your UGG boots and putting a bun on top of your head.


CM: Any local fashion shops where you find great pieces for your wardrobe?

BS: Most of my jewelry pieces are antique.  I do like Isabelle & Co. It’s a little pricey, but sometimes their sale racks have good things.  Eau Claire doesn’t have many good shops, though.  But I get a lot of my stuff from T.J. Maxx.  Every time I go there I can find something.  Other than that, I go online mostly.


CM: What websites do you like to shop at?

BS: I shop Zara, Topshop and Nasty Gal.  I used to get a lot of stuff from Urban Outfitters. Forever 21 a lot of the time has good staple pieces for a really good price — basics that you can build around.


CM: You studied in Milan and interned in New York City.  Do you think that you came back with a higher appreciation for fashion than you did before?

BS: It made me respect how I dress more.  People say that I look weird because I always dress up.  Sometimes I feel like I am overdressed, but it’s what I am comfortable with.

In Milan, you don’t wear sweatpants, you don’t wear UGG boots.  Milanese women wear high-heels everyday.  Living in New York, it is more relaxed than those Milanese women, but everyone looked really, really nice at the fashion ad agency I worked at.  I was always super self-conscious because they all knew I was the ‘girl from Wisconsin.’


CM: Do you think that being involved in the arts, such as NOTA, and your graphic design background gives you inspiration for your personal style?

BS:   I think of my whole outfit as a color scheme.  I think it’s helped me be more creative because the more things you take in — movies, magazines you read, things you see on the Internet — it all comes into your brain and you remember it subconsciously. So I started doing that and that is how I got more into fashion.  It definitely started with my love for design. The more you are exposed to all this stuff, the more creative you can be.

To see Brenna’s personal Tumblr blog, which she calls a “personal mood board,” check out

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