“Who doesn’t love a shoe party? Let’s be honest,” 23-year-old Karlie Kloss told InStyle just a few hours before the model stepped onto the University of South Carolina’s campus Tuesday afternoon to gift a mob of eager seniors (2,000, to be exact) with $100 shopping vouchers that’ll help them do what we all love to do: shop. “Equipping yourself with the best wardrobe really is important. It kind of gives you that extra pep in your step and kind of changes the way you carry yourself,” she added.
And there was plenty of pep to go around. The supermodel was specifically on hand to play host to a daytime celebration of all things style, where Nordstrom helped piece together a series of events that included a walk-off showdown (judged by Kloss, naturally), foot massages, and quality time spent with the school mascot (below). The gift cards were also distributed to cheering students. “When I was growing up with my three sisters we would shop at Nordstrom for back-to-school or for birthday shopping and any other momentous occasion,” she told us.
That close connection to the brand is precisely why the model decided to team up with the department store. Kloss, who’s currently a New York University student with a penchant for computer science, understands the pressure found in having to look great for a big-time interview. “It’s an exciting and intimidating next phase,” she admitted, moving on to dish her tips on how students today, whom she considers her “peers,” can deliver it in the boardroom.
Her top secret? “What is always kind of important, above all, is finding the right thing that’s going to make me feel really confident and comfortable and that for me is something like a flat—a really chic black flat or a great black pump,” she said. “A classic, staple item that’s chic, but at the end of the day still comfortable. You want to look your best, but you also want to feel your best. If you’re insecure about walking in heels that are too tall or you’re kind of nervous about something, that’s going to be in your head and you really just want to focus and feel good.”
Her runway-walking know-how doesn’t simply equate to instant confidence, though. In fact, Kloss revealed she felt insecure about first applying to college, especially after having for years split her time as “a normal high school student in the suburbs of St. Louis” and a New York-bound professional “walking runways and working in the fashion industry.”
“I was super nervous applying back to school. ‘What if I don’t get in? What if my test scores aren’t high enough?” she told us. “I’ve been really lucky to be surrounded by strong friends and strong sisters, and my mom is a huge support…I definitely have plenty of insecure moments, but I really think that I use those to drive me and to push me further.”
So how does she suggest we all trump pesky negative thoughts? “I think the best thing you can do is just give it your best and prepare, depending on what it is,” she said. “Feeling good in your skin, whatever that takes, if it’s going for an extra run or getting an extra couple of hours of sleep and really preparing to your best ability, I think that helps you face whatever challenge you’re facing and it allows you to give it your best.”