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Lauren Pearson is wrapping up her final semester at Iowa State and will graduate with a degree in Apparel, Merchandising and Design with an emphasis in Creative Design. In the meantime, she works at Raygun in East Village which keeps her connected with the local fashion-minded community in Des Moines.

Like most, it took some time for Pearson to home in on her personal style, which she describes as a mix of masculine and feminine pieces.

"In my teenage years, I didn't understand the concept of 'less is more,' " she says. "As I've gotten older, I still find myself gravitating toward quirky garments and accessories, but I've learned how to tone down the rest of my outfit and create an emphasis on the pieces I really love."

Pearson also recently simplified her beauty routine. Over a period of several months, Pearson cut off 16 inches of hair. It was a transformative process — one that led to a renewed sense of confidence and comfort in her own skin. Pearson gets her hair cut by Jordan Peterson (aka: Hair Jordan) at Universal Kutz and colored by Lance Diehl at Salon Spa W.

"[Cutting] my hair really changed the way I saw my face. I no longer have to compete with long hair hiding my face. My makeup routine is so much easier now. It consists of a much softer eye paired with a strong brow and bold lip."

Shopping for vintage clothing is another way Pearson creates a completely unique look. "I love finding pieces that you know no one else will be wearing," she says. Local vintage curators like Vintage Salvation (sold on Etsy and at Raygun) and Hill Vintage & Knits (in East Village) are great places to look for pieces that can be worked into a modern wardrobe.

The laid-back atmosphere of Raygun provides a lot of freedom when dressing for work. Pearson tends to follow feeling over function when deciding what to wear each day. "Being a fashion student, [there is] a bit of pressure to look more put together," she says. "I don't necessarily dress up every day, but there are days when I feel a twinge of inspiration and throw an outfit together, just because I can."

Pearson's love of fashion began almost 20 years ago, but finding her own place in the world of personal style has been a work in progress. "There are days when I feel like I stick out or get a lot of stares, but in my current style I feel more like myself than I ever have," she says.

For now, with college graduation and the "real world" looming, it seems Pearson's personal style evolution has her right where she belongs.

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