In the blink of an eye, I find myself suddenly flown across the country back to New York City. Duty calls, and your guess is as good as mine about what I’ll be called on to do while I’m here. That’s just how things work in this business. In the meantime, I’m reflecting on my stay in Cali. I’m thinking about what I have to bring back to my dear old friend New York. That easy carefree air about Laurel Canyon was nothing short of heavenly. Jim Morrison and Joni Mitchell used to frequent the same spot where I found myself drinking coffee and daydreaming. The feel made its way into my wardrobe and, coincidentally, was how I was styled in my recent shoots. My clothes have a peculiar way of saying as much as I ever do about where I am, both physically and mentally.
Of course, I’ve used my style to express myself ever since I could pick out my own outfits. Even when I was a young girl, I used to make inspiration binders filled with magazine tears of what I wanted to recreate. Picking out my clothes excites me. I’m always changing it up, taking risks and having fun. Consciously or unconsciously, I’m also finding ways to send a message about who I am or how I feel. It’s just one more way that I can stand out and show everyone around me how much potential I have, both as a model and just as a person. My clothes are often how I communicate my mood, my thoughts and my interests.
My mom taught me to make my style speak. She would fuel my fantasies by letting me borrow things from the costume room in which she worked and would make me custom dresses for every school dance. She also set an example as somebody who always dressed as herself. “Dressing up” typically meant her nicest pair of Birkenstocks, wool socks and a long flowy skirt. She’s never been the kind of woman that goes to the nail salon or spends hours on her appearance. A seamstress, she knew how to get the details right and how to make the most of the fabric she was given.
When I’m not working, I pretty much wear the same 10 items interchangeably, although the 10 items change over time. I almost always go for second-hand clothes, usually exchanging the clothes in the process. It’s cost-effective, and I end up with a ton of interesting one-of-a-kind pieces. I don’t get too attached to what I wear, but I care about how it makes me feel.
This has allowed my look to evolve over the years. When I was training to be a yoga teacher, I wore billowy harem pants. I’d picked them up at a Tibetan shop on St. Marks Place and, although they felt right at the time, there’s a street style pic of me wearing them with about 100 comments saying how ridiculous I look. When I was more into the club scene, I sported a highlighter yellow unitard that I rocked out at a Dan Deacon concert in. Inspired by my latest stay in Laurel Canyon, I’ve started to include wide brimmed hats, embroidered tops, and loose vests.
Newer models should appreciate how important it is to cultivate their own style. It says to clients and agencies that you care about what you’re selling and that you can play the part. I wouldn’t buy my coffee from someone who hated the taste. If I were a stylist, I’d prefer girls that matched the vibe for shoots, who had lived the look and could pull it off with ease. It’s also one of few ways that you can capture someone’s attention and their imagination or communicate some of your personality during the few moments you have at a casting.
As for now, I’m back in New York in a flash and I left without most of my wardrobe. My outfit today is a collection of odds and ends that were left behind and a few things I’ve picked up since I arrived. In a way, it’s appropriate; I left those hats and tops with that place in my life. On top of that, my clothes are almost as disoriented as I am. In the end, however, my style will come together as I get resettled here in the Apple, among old friends and new adventures.