I love fashion. I’ve loved it since the age of two when I saw my first fashion show. I learned how to hand sew when I was seven and got my sewing machine six years later. Since age 14, I’ve designed my own clothes, showing two collections for my clothing label, Jolee. Yes, I was THE fashionista in high school. Because I’m so immersed in couture, it’s natural for me to look for cute outfits when others look for cute people. I was afraid that at UCSB, everyone would saunter in their PJs, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some with their own unique styles, even though some are far cries from my Victoria-Beckham-meets-Rihanna style.
So what is style, you ask? Some may say “punk” or “preppy chic,” and that’s fine. But to me, style is more personal. It’s a presentation of your personality and identity. Because no two people are alike, no two styles are alike. They may be similar; two girls may sport the same blouse, but one wears it with a necklace while the other wears it with a vest. That’s style. I applaud the ladies and boys who are dressed to impress, but I cannot say the same for the ones who wear only sweats and pajamas. Sweats are gym-wear for a reason.
Of course, you’re probably defending your sweatpants-and-baggy-shirt apparel and thinking that it takes too much effort to put on anything else. But you’re wrong. Ladies, you can slip on a simple dress. Guys, you can wear a graphic tee and fitted jeans and voilá, you’re done! If you want to walk around in running shorts and tennis shoes, go ahead. But you will one day face a certain someone and wished that you looked a little more put together (if you haven’t run into him/her already). I wasn’t always a polished, stiletto-wearing fashionista. Three years ago, I felt “too lazy” to put on some real clothes, so I ran errands in my sweats. Lo and behold, one of the assistant directors of San Francisco Fashion Week came up to me just as I walked out of Starbucks. He wanted to see if I was interested in showcasing my collection. We discussed some logistics, but as soon as I thought I was in, he stopped my train of thought, only to say, “Sorry, based on your overall appearance, I don’t see how your label is representative of you.” I missed my one opportunity right then and there. Since then, I’ve never worn sweats outside my house and I can guarantee you will never see me in anything grunge ever again.
I’m not telling you to hike up those killer heels and use bike paths as a runway, I’m simply telling you that there are other ways to look impressive without defaulting to sweats. I would hate for anyone else to miss an incredible opportunity due to “laziness.” Be inspired by everything you’re surrounded by. After all, you never know who you will run into. And despite that cliché, I am 100 percent serious. If you like dressing up for a night out, make every day a dress-up day so you can strut your stuff without appearing like a decent-looking hobo. Wouldn’t you like to be looked at approvingly and given compliments? If you’re confused by what to wear or what actually hangs well on your body, that’s why I’m here. I will tell you what to splurge or save on, and what trends work for each type of body. And as a bonus, all my options will actually be cheap! Twenty dollars or less on splurge items, that is, rather than the cheap options magazines give, which always turn out to be expensive anyway.
Feel free to e-mail me questions. I will provide the answers to your styling woes. If you see a short-haired Asian girl in high heels saying, “I love your shoes/purse/outfit/etc; it’s so chic,” don’t be intimidated, it’s just me.
With that in mind, I will leave with Rachel Zoe, a famous celebrity stylist, and her mantra: “Fashion is my art. It’s what wakes me up in the morning and puts me to bed at night.” Have a fashionable day.