The other night I was lucky enough to chat (via phone) with the very talented and interesting Debra Rapoport, of the blog Advanced Style. Not only is Debra a joy to chat to but she also talks a lot of sense when it comes to expressing who you are through your wardrobe and gaining confidence in yourself (which she assures me comes over time).
Here is just some of the useful tips Debra had to share when I interviewed her...
Do you think having your own unique style is important?
OH YES...because you are expressing you...any and all days. It is how you present yourself to the world.
What is your view on modern fashion and how it is represented?
I don't really follow fashion...I rarely go into stores. However one store that I like is H&M because they are current and affordable. You can have fun with some of their items without spending too much..
I think the fashion industry is too CONSUMER ORIENTED and needing to keep people feeling like they are NOT GOOD ENOUGH if they are not wearing the current trends. I don't "believe" in trends. When you follow trends without any personal input you look like EVERYONE else! I believe in building your own image with elements you like and enjoy "PUTTING THEM TOGETHER".
Do you think it takes time to become comfortable with your fashion identity, and if so why?
YES...like any art form, you learn and develop as you go. There is a whole lifetime to explore, develop and change. It is about change, to embrace who you are at every episode of your life. Sometimes, like in any period of making art, you like your work more than other times. Everything builds on everything else. That is the process of life. But continue to have fun and see it as play.
Where do you get your style inspirations from?
I am inspired by particular garments, their shapes and the textiles. And a few terrific designers who work with great fabrics, interesting silhouettes and fabulous overall looks...like Comme des Garcon. Lillith, Morgan Le Fay, Rick Owens, Marni, Victor and Rolf
I also know what works and ENHANCES my body.....that we can learn, as we see if it FEELS right.
Who would you consider both in the past and the present to be a style icon?
I really don't have any style icons except perhaps for IRIS APFEL....
Where would you shop if looking a statement piece?
Comme des Garcon. Barneys for one of my few favorite designers, Babett. Rick Owens, Lilith. However often I try thrift shops and am often lucky, but that is a chance happening!! So if I need something at the moment ...which is not how I shop.... then I must go to special shop. I often just shop in my closet to create an outfit. I am always looking in thrift shops for something OUTRAGEOUS!!!! That is my constant past time!
If you had to pick three fashion staples, what would they be?
1. A really sculptural, fabulous shirt/jacket/top to really create an outfit and to set off the upper body and enhance the face. I think the neck and shoulders are very important as they show off the posture and attitude!
2. Really stunning sculptural shoes that say something.
3. An unusual/interesting/sculptural hat that enhances and frames the face.
Do you have any fashion and style tips for anybody who is struggling to find confidence in their own style?
Know your body and TRY to decide how you want to look and feel. Define the SHAPES that work on your body. Decide on a color direction you wish to go in....monotone, neutrals, bold primary, pastels, muted. Then try a variety of things, putting various things together and SEE/FEEL if it is making you feel the way you want. Don't give up ...keep trying and continue to play. That's why THRIFTING is great because you can experiment without spending a lot. You are also being very GREEN as you are recycling, being sustainable and helping a good cause! There are often MAJOR sales where all goods are $1. Then you can really have fun and experiment.
It is also important to apply several things on your body to make a statement...so add a scarf, a hat, socks, accessories and jewellery to augment the basic garments. Don't be afraid to try and mix things up.THEN REALLY LOOK and see what you see and feel.
Think LAYERING and Think BUILDING...I call it the ABC's............
And finally, over the next 5 years if you could see one major change in the fashion industry what would it be?
For fashion to be more grounded as the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters of the planet. For designer fashion to be more affordable, like what H&M is doing with its current designer ranges, and for more people to be WEARING HATS!
To find out more about Debra Rapoport please check out http://www.advancedstyle.blogspot.com/, and take a look at how fabulous you really can be and feel.
Photo Credit: Photo taken by Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style