The Free Bin Femme

Photo by Mariana Jaramillo ’20  Plowden wears Birkenstocks, green tights and “Miss Rumphius” t-shirt.

Photo by Mariana Jaramillo ’20

Plowden wears Birkenstocks, green tights and “Miss Rumphius” t-shirt.


Despite being a millennial, sophomore Annabelle Plowden’s wardrobe is able to emulate the 90’s style of Kurt Cobain. With a head of green hair, Plowden is hard to miss on campus. She leads a busy life that requires a comfortable wardrobe that still allows her to express her rebellious attitude.  Like most people, Plowden doesn’t put a lot of thought into her clothes but is still subliminally inspired by all the media she consumes and by what she sees people around her wearing. 

Getting dressed in the mornings is a simple procedure for Plowden. Rather than piecing together a specific style, Plowden describes her outfits as “whatever is clean and appropriate for the temperature.”  

Depicted above, is a typical Annabelle Plowden outfit. Dark green pants, rolled up to show off patterned socks that she wears with Birkenstocks, a yellow “Miss Rumphius” t-shirt and an oversized long-sleeve denim  shirt adorned with a water and sewage logo patch she found at a thrift store. She also dons a Frances Perkins cap, giving a nod to the first female U.S. Cabinet member and Plowden’s great-great aunt. Plowden’s uncles run the Frances Perkins Center in Maine and live in Perkin’s childhood home. This quintessentially queercore outfit leaves the impression that she probably does queer zines in her spare time.  

She considers the color of her hair to be a key feature in her overall style and has dyed it every color of the rainbow. “Even though everyone recognizes me by my hair, I don’t really think about it too much, I don’t even brush my hair in the mornings and I choose my hair color at random,” she said. By dying her hair bright colors, Plowden rebels against mainstream fashion. 

“[I’m also] really inspired by the bands I would listen to and by what I would see on Tumblr.” These band styles provided an image she identified with and allowed her an alternative to traditionally feminine attire. She is always on the lookout for any up-and-coming bands and curates her aesthetic according to her musical influences. “I like the clothes that alternative bands wear, like Alex [Luciano] from Diet Cig who wears amazing clothes, lots of cool prints on large t-shirts and light wash jeans,” she said. Plowden’s style is heavily influenced by the 90s-punk femme grunge scene. Femme punk bands provided queer and feminist role models for Plowden to look up to. Such bands, like Sleater-Kinney, challenged gender roles by dressing androgynously and normalizing femme punk so that someone like Plowden could feel comfortable in her clothes today.  She shops for interesting pieces at thrift stores like old “dad” jeans and “silly” baggy t-shirts with ironic graphics or text. On campus, she takes advantage of her peer’s unwanted yet unique clothing from the free bin. 

Being at Mount Holyoke has allowed Plowden to wear what she truly wants instead of trying to impress the people around her. Instead of worrying about the mold, she breaks it.