How Seattle people who think about style and aesthetics are thinking about style and aesthetics for 2012.
For the second year in a row, I thought we’d kick off a new set of calendar pages by asking some of Seattle’s design, media, retail, style, and fashion industry notables to tell us their sartorial resolutions for 2012.
As for me, I’m hoping to shake free of the journalism go-to that keeps creeping into my closet. In media, we always say, “Know your audience.” It’s important to tailor your facts, your voice, and your tone to those who are listening. And it works for outfits, too—but I’d like to be less strict about it.
I love that my life is extremely varied so that on any given Tuesday just about anyone might be ‘my audience’ (metaphorically speaking), and I want to get back to where I’m dressing for that wide-open possibility, not the specific one-hour slot that seems to require something ‘professional’ or ‘classic’ or ‘style editor-y.’ Too often lately I’ve found myself dressing for a 2p meeting, a family get-together, or a happy hour with friends rather than dressing for myself. On those days, I just end up feeling cranky and fenced-in. In 2012 I’ll wear Rick Owens drop-crotch pants and asymmetrical Alexander Wang tops to meet with floral designers; print mash-ups and wild Katrantzou-esque pairings to hang out with my lady friends; cuffed, sweat suit-style leggings and my new wedge-heel ankle boots to dinner meetings; my Nike high-tops are hereby deemed always appropriate; and all the while, layers of dark, rich neutrals (British racing green and drab army green-gray are my new blacks) with pink/orange neon accents can take me just about anywhere. I’ll wear what I feel like wearing, and if anyone’s interested in listening, they’re more than welcome to tune in.
-Jill Wenger, founder and CEO, Totokaelo
I want to bring vintage back into my life. Both in my wardrobe, my home, and then vintage scouting and thrifting. It’s something I really love doing that got sidelined due to lack of time in 2010. I’m ready to bring it back!
-Sanda Belaire, Via C manager, Nordstrom Downtown Seattle
My 2012 Style Resolution is to add more bright color and prints into my Northwest wardrobe of black, black, and light black (a.k.a. charcoal gray). I’m loving Pantone’s color for 2012—and I just bought fuchsia pants. I’m on a mission for bright jewel tones and feeling neon. Some of my favorite collections for spring that I resolve to add to my wardrobe are Phillip Lim’s sherbert colors, Rag & Bone, and Marc by Marc Jacobs high-voltage bright color-blocking, and Dries Van Noten’s gorgeous cityscape photo prints. Of course, I’ll probably tone the color down with black but hey a girl’s got to start weaning off the black slowly!
-Adrienne Antonson, designer, State at NuBe Green
Due to my farm chapter, I’m now a big fan of work clothes—a uniform that is worn daily for labor. Fine for farming, less so when living in a city and working in my studio. My resolution is to break this habit, or to at least make myself a stylish and flattering studio uniform. Something that I can still cover with paint, glue, and whatnot, but items that also make me feel attractive. My current duds make me feel more like a mechanic than a designer. I average 10 hours a day in my studio, which makes up a large portion of my existence. I vow to spend this time feeling more awesome and stylish. I will also work on growing my shoe collection by adding handcrafted and timeless additions that I will have until I am an old crazy woman. And if there’s time left, I promise to make myself some new girly dresses (or just withhold some from the next spring collection at NuBe).
-Banchong Douangphrachanh, menswear designer, Banchong Design
It’s been a couple of years since I graduated from grad school and now it feels like I can move forward. No more mad dash to runway shows in runny shoes—course they did help. For this year, I want to find that perfect pair of hunting boots that’s made well, fits great, and of course, perfectly comfortable for running around.
I want to experiment with waxed leather to make the ideal Seattleite uptown blazer that will stand up to this weather- perfectly tailored and rain resistant! Added to the mix, I want to use luxury knitwear like cashmere, merino wool and alpaca in place of woven for jackets and trouser for the ultimate cozy comfort.
-Brian Paquette, owner and creative director, Brian Paquette Interiors
For 2012 I am continuing what I have been working on for the past four or five years in my “adult life;” buying less and buying quality and building a wardrobe of work horses. We hear all to often how we live in such a throw-away society and I couldnt agree more. With my clients and their homes I’m constantly instilling in them that classic, well-made pieces are the way to ensure a lasting look that will wear and age with time. The same goes for my wardrobe. Winter is all about a well-cut pea coat, a few good pairs of sturdy jeans, casual oxford shirts, boots and shoes of good leather and a few layering pieces for the ever-changing weather here, and of course some sneakers for those run-around days. Fashion for me is not about breaking rules so much as it is about knowing yourself, your life and how you can best function in it. Aesthetics to me are about great fit, good wear, and being beautiful in any situation.
-Rachel Roberts, public relations manager, Neiman Marcus at the Shops at the Bravern
My fashion resolution is to start accessorizing more. Whether it be layers of bracelets, chunky necklaces, or statement rings, I want to get out of the rut of my everyday earrings and simple gold chain! Also, I want to invest in a few key classic ready-to-wear pieces.
-Erica Sheehan, co-owner, Hitchcock Madrona
I am going to be more methodical about my investment purchases. If I want something it will go on a list and if it remains on my list for over a month I know I will love it forever. That way I can really think about bigger purchases (coats, handbags, etc.) and save for them in the meantime.
-Jenny Jimenez, photographer, Photo JJ
Having had a breast reduction in December, I’ll be rebuilding my wardrobe from the top down this year. I resolve to be adventurous and go for items I’ve never had the luxury of wearing before like matching lingerie, a bathing suit that doesn’t have to be special ordered, off the shoulder dresses, blouses with button-front closures, and wide, deep necklines. The ladies have been liberated!
-Andrew Hoge, social media coordinator, Luly Yang Couture
This year it’s all about adding pieces that enhance my personal style: sophistication with an edge! I am loving dark tapered jeans with military lace-up boots, and my favorite color combination of the season is black and gold. Tops in charcoal grays, light pinks, blues, browns, and forrest green are going to look insanely good this season. There are ways of adding a dash of style to an ordinary gentlemen’s outfit, such as wearing a sweater with a cowl neck or a silk scarf with a unique pattern. I also want to create some edge by incorporating masculine yet stylish accessories in to my wardrobe like a black leather bracelet or a soft camel side bag with gold studs on the side. Finally, my style resolution wouldn’t be complete without a trip the fragrance counter—cologne is an invisible but necessary piece of any wardrobe!
-April Brimer, photographer, Dolce Vita
This year I’d like to bring some personality and feminine touches back into my wardrobe. Somewhere along the way I lost some of my whimsy and I’d like to get it back. I’m going to let my hair go wild and curly, wear eyeliner everyday, and bring back my pencil skirts and brooches. Less tomboy, more sexy librarian. Maybe I’ll even tryout the crazy high heels I’ve been getting from work.
-Izzie Klingels, illustrator, Izzie Klingels
No diamonds before midnight. Resist triangles. Reject red lipstick before dark. Banish pyjamas after 10 am. Advocate neon overload. Wear flowers, twigs, leaves, and berries in my hair. Master ambidexterity for fancy left hand nails. Persuade Martin Margiela to produce tabi boots with a mid-height heel, 2.5 inches would be ideal Martin, if you’re reading this. Beg, borrow or steal the following:
A Chantal Young gingko leaf printed dress, the Dries Van Noten sandals with floral heels, an Emma Cook leopard twin silk t-shirt, the salwar kameez style trousers from the Chanel Paris/Bombay collection, Holly Fulton’s Smoking Lips top, a giant confetti pom pom neck-piece by Seattle artist and mistress of crochet, Mandy Greer.
And: remember that twenty consecutive days of rain is no excuse for dreariness or performance fabrics.
-Anne Fenton, visual director, NuBe Green; curatorial assistant, Western Bridge, photography, Anne Mathern
I resolve to hone in on my skill of wearing the same thing every day by actually creating uniform wardrobe elements that allow me to make style decisions once a season and be done with it. This December is a practice run in ‘ranch mom’ fashion, with slim jeans, shorty boots, and (very) oversized button down shirts in solid hue linens and flannels from the Goodwill.
-Tina Witherspoon, designer/stylist, glam.spoon
Carrie Bradshaw likes her money where she can see it: hanging in her closet. I resolve to end 2012 with a net zero wardrobe using existing pieces as currency. I have been hoarding clothes since I was 13, and I’ve amassed quite the collection of things—vintage, designer, local, handmade, thrifted, inherited—some that I wear frequently, some items that don’t get worn often enough (at all?). Not to mention the clothing I’ve purchased as a stylist for photo shoots or that dress that was just too good to pass up even if it doesn’t fit me. My plan is to bring nothing new into The Closet without donating/bartering/selling item(s) that take up space. If I pay for something new, then something old needs to go. I’ve already listed a few pairs of shoes on eBay that were easily sacrificed for the greater good, but this resolution is going to require a lot more discipline than any workout program.
-Melissa Korn, makeup artist, Downtown Seattle Barneys New York
Working on sets with stylists as a makeup artist has refined my appreciation of fashion, but my closet has not been as quick to follow. With an overabundance of clothing spilling out from closets, drawers, storage and yes—I admit it— all over my floor, my penchant for shopping has left me in the most unfortunate position of being a likely candidate for the television show Hoarders. As I have no desire to be publicly shamed on national television, I resolve in 2012 to look to my modern day style icons, Carine Roitfeld and Giovanna Battaglia, and take cues from their enviable wardrobes. Perfectly tailored, luxurious pieces that are timeless and effortless with a touch of edge are what I desire for my new year.
Editing is truly my biggest challenge, but with ever growing need in our communities, I can feel good about letting pieces go when they are donated to a good cause. “Dress for Success”: is a fantastic organization that will be the recipient of my closet edit.
-Ann DeOtte, owner and designer, Iva Jean
In 2012 I’m looking forward to finding a few key forever pieces: the perfect trouser, an everyday leather boot, and a jacket that will work from January to April. On top of that I’m going to focus on bright lips and well manicured nails to keep my look fresh.
-Matthew McDonald, assistant manager, Downtown Seattle Barneys New York
For the coming year I hope to work on bringing my more casual weekend clothes together with my work or dress clothes, incorporating elements of a more tailored look into what I wear every day. Pieces from either end of the spectrum can work together to create a relaxed formality that some I see on the street are quite good at achieving. Boots and jeans with a button down, tie, and topcoat for example. Or a blazer, tailored sweatshirt, dress slacks, and a great pair of shoes. Brands we carry at Barneys who make this lifestyle possible include the new Jack Spade line (made in the USA!), Massimo Alba (Italian quality and sensibility) and Ami (new designer out of France described on style.com as having a “shrugging, unstudied approach to cool”).
Most important is the goal of sophistication without pretense, and finding excitement in getting dressed everyday and the discoveries it can bring. You don’t have to spend a lot to look like a million bucks.
-Robinick Fernandez, designer, Hunter Gunner
I have a tendancy to hide behind my clothing. I try to stay classic but it ends up looking prudish. My New Year’s style resolution would have to be creating a hybrid of handsome and sexy. Like APC meets….I don’t know… Dsquared. Is there such a thing as Sexy Utilitarianism???
-Melissa M Middleton, founder, JeNeSeQua
I am resolving to tuck away my baggy ill-fitting boyfriend jeans for more body con, lady-like silhouettes that flatter my figure. I scour eBay and have my friend Dana, who owns Sustalux Vintage, on the lookout for vintage dresses with nipped waists and hip skimming pencil skirts. In order to not look too literal or ’50s housewife, I mix vintage with modern architectural accessories. This is also my way of being “green.”
-Cathy Le, sales, Downtown Seattle Barneys New York
This year is about color for me. Resort ‘12 collections arrived in the last couple weeks. I am in love with and inspired by the bold colors of Celine and prints by Dries—duh; so fresh and invigorating. The color-blocking trend is in full-effect and doing wonders to proportions. Color would surely turn up my typical blazer-with-everything look. I’ve already begun with a new lip color—neon pink Schiap by Nars.
-Dana Guyton, owner, Sustalux Sustainable Luxury
Out with the good, in with the better! My wardrobe is full of familiar separates and dresses that I’ve come to rely on for every day comfort and style. I’m happiest in conservative lengths and clean lines, so several of my go-to pieces have easily been with me for nearly a decade. I love them like old friends and they still look great, but the time has come to set them free, so gradually, I’ve been donating the ordinary and gifting my “faves” to worthy friends.
Each time I pass one on, I allow myself to bring in something special. My “new investments” are of the same caliber: timeless statement pieces that reflect my unique qualities, but that speak to the creative energy that I’m feeling right now. Give me feminine silhouettes, a-typical pleats, and exaggerated collars that can be gloriously sculpted! Color? Yes, please. But only in splashes. I’ve incorporated vibrant accessories to satisfy the craving. So: Out with the good, in with the better! 2012, here I come! Most likely in an ultra-femme skirt suit and vintage Bottega pumps!
-Erin Gainey, chief curatorial adventurer, the Adventure Store
How one carries his or herself is very important. It goes back to the old adage, “It’s not what you wear, but how you wear it”. It’s not about wearing the off-beat or the risque; one can wear simple, classic pieces, but if those pieces aren’t worn with confidence, then forget it. I believe it is more important to exhibit grace and natural elegance. My style resolution for the coming year is to go the extra mile in creating a more polished look: spending a few extra minutes ironing a blouse, buffing my nails, doing my hair, but not to the extent that it would be difficult for me to maintain. To me, 2012 is about simple and naturally curated elegance.
-Aviva Palmer, founder and party planner, the Adventure School
I am feeling inspired by Memphis Milano this year but I have a tendency to get too wacky very quickly. I will call my style Memphis Milano Seattle to tame it. I want to wear blocks of color—ie solid color pants, solid color shirt with white in the summer and black in the winter. I will also try wearing lipstick.
-Annie Sparrow, stylist, Downtown Seattle Nordstrom
As I get older I’ve found myself finally embracing a style that I’m really comfortable with, which suits me. It’s taken many many years for my personal sense of style to fully develop and I find when I stray too far from that formula I just don’t feel like myself. Therefore my 2012 style resolution is to stick with what works and to stop trying to be someone that I’m not! I will only buy pieces that incorporate seemlessly, that I am in love with and will wear over and over and over. All the while keeping a watch on my two style icons, Emmanuelle Alt and Jenna Lyons, for inspiration!
-Aleksandra Pollner, artist, designer, art director, Aleksandra Pollner
With the Solar Poles switching, Mayan calendar ending, and a massive asteroid (433 Eros) passing the earth in January of 2012, my wardrobe beckons for some magical whimsy and lightness of textures, turbans, colors, and patterns. Let us play.
-Alvin Stillwell, fashion and prop stylist, Alvin Stillwell
i have been living in grey, blue, white, and black for a few years now so for the new year, i plan on wearing more color. I am inspired by some of the upcoming British designers like Agi & Sam, and Christopher Shannon with their use of color and different cultural references. i like clothing that tells a bit of a story, some history.
i think the idea of trends is no longer relevant. most stylish people i know wear what they like in whatever season feels right to them so go ahead and wear white jeans in the winter and cashmere in the summer…just make sure its a proper fit seattle!
-Kurt B. Reighley writer and DJ El Toro on KEXP, Kurt B Reighley
Last year I promised I’d learn to make my own socks and underwear, but I only mastered socks. That said, I was very proud of the results. So this year, I’m going to tackle underwear.
Also, if the hipsters of Seattle continue to insist on wearing blankets as outerwear, I’m going to start carrying vials of smallpox.
-Ashley Chanel Robles, model, muse, maker, Ashley Robles
This coming year—the end of the world they say…
I resolve to go far and pack light.
To minimize and reprioritize, in hopes to maximize.
I just turned 24, an honored new mom,
adjusting to a new lifestyle.
Realizing how much I have grown.
Luckily, now back to size single, except I’m no longer alone.
I’m dressing two.
I’ve been learning,
being taught by being shone.
Finding balance between busybody and homebody.
Focusing on quality over quantity; longevity, comfort, support.
With all the additions, who needs the baggage of compiled dresser drawers or over stuffed closets?—I need my wardrobe to be accessible and adjustable, full of strong interchangeable components. I need garments that tantalize through texture and layer up.
Reliable style in an unpredictable fashion.
-Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, curator, maker, Tarboo, Punctuation, Haakon
I have resolved to dress my children (as exclusively as is possible) in as many things that I, my friends and collaborators have made with our own hands.
Personally, I resolve to stay dedicated to the making of timeless garb and the proliferation and preservation of Pacific Northwest Culture and the under recognized aesthetics that it has spawned.
-Cori Ready, Entrepreneur and Event Planner, Cori Ready
2012 is going to be a big year so I am going bold. Color, color, color, color and PANTS! A psychedelic Rancher’s Wife. Skin care and big hair, impeccable nail polish and toned down accessories. Extreme colorblocking, new classics like leopard print doc martens and bright, tight royal blue trousers. Jazzy pants are also on top of the agenda: give me your baggy and printed, your tight and patterned, your unrepentant geometric-shape bedecked hammer pants. Booties and lipsticks, the brighter the better. Favorite brand for 2012 is Something Else by Natalie Wood. Made by hand and lasts for life are still big on my list, I have been lugging around a leather backpack from the 1970s since primary school and I am not gonna stop now. In 2012, I will find an oversized handmade menswear chambray shirt and wear it with neon leather shorts. Enter the year of the dragon.
-Kelly O, creative director, the Stranger
I resolve to fight my natural urge to wear denim and heather gray every time it rains.
I’ve promised myself I’d stop buying thrift store items that need even the teeny-tiniest alterations.
I’m determined to buy better nail polish, especially from Essie and Essie’s winter collection.
I will wear more dresses. I hadn’t worn one in fifteen years, when last September, local designer Mark Mitchell made me a custom dress that finally felt right.
I will never stop wearing my old Slayer band T-shirts (though I might pair them with skirts and wedge boots, or any shoe made by Jeffrey Campbell).
I will continue to ignore my strange fascination with pajama jeans, and I will never ever shave one side of my head, no matter how popular that cut becomes.
-Krista Kelly, art consultant, Bilinear Art
Raise the hemline. I have many skirts knee length or below that I don’t wear anymore. Old skirt + tailor + $20 = New skirt. Tights during the day should tone the provocative nature of the ‘new’ skirt.
-Ulrikka Larson, store manager, Pirkko
I will break the black-on-black habit, and start wearing more patterns and color. I also want to try and capture the essence of Bruce Springsteen circa 1977, and figure out a way to channel that into my wardrobe.
-Taylor Winters, creative, Wintr
2012, I get another chance to dress like the world might end. This time it means pulling out the stops and wearing what treasures are buried in the collections closet, over-dressing and over-layering. Sought after new additions will include vintage maxis, lace, and knits. Though I will stay true to my method of sample sales and markdowns, just in case I need the extra pennies for the perfect bootie (I love booties) on a rainy day in 2013.
-Ben Winters, principal and creative director, Wintr
Vision streetwear, alligator watch bands, and down with skinny jeans.
The ‘90s are back and I’m dedicated to embracing that. Mixing Dries with Vision streetwear, Warriors of Radness, and a Thrasher T-shirt, for example. I’ll go more polished punk, evolving 2011’s punk prep look. Also, ditching the skinny jeans and gaining some alligator watch bands for a couple of my fave watches.
-Jonas de Varona, designer, Meet Me Here
I rarely get a chance to make stuff for myself anymore. But this year, I’m resolving to do an outfit. Coat, shirt, jeans, bag, and shoes. Yes I said shoes. I miss doing this and it feels great. If everything goes according to planned, my new look will set an example for my wardrobe – helping me to get rid of pieces that no longer work.
-Esther Shin, fashion editor, Amazon.com; blogger, Seattle Dilettante
Style without substance is meaningless, thus my 2012 style resolution is to do more reading, writing, and cello playing (Fleet Foxes, do you need a cellist?) I want to wear more lipstick. I vow to consistently update my style blog in hopes of becoming Seattle’s new Sartorialist.
-Emily Shepard-Smith, co-founder, Pacific Standard
1. Take more risks
2. Find new classics
3. Wear everything in my closet at least once (I’m not sure there are actually enough days in the year to accomplish this but it’s worth a try)
-Adria Garcia, co-founder, Indian Summer Vintage
First : go through my closets and get rid of all those "someday " pieces and needs-mending projects. (If you can’t get in it and haven’t mended it in six months, you’re not gonna.) Second: rediscover old favorites buried in the bottom drawer. That old torn-up Misfits shirt from high school is looking pretty good. Last: only buy pieces I love this year no basics, only bombshells. Remember, love the pieces you’re wearing and you’ll feel better.
-Joel Leshefka, co-owner, Cairo
I resolve to never again wear “athletic shoes”, unless I’m actually impersonating an athlete. On at least three occasions during 2012, I resolve to buy myself something and not worry about the price tag, which as a buyer for a vintage store can be extremely difficult to stomach.
I fully intend to get over my irrational (is it though?) fear of Dr. Martens “oxford” cut shoes and the mixing of wool and leather on one palette, though I don’t promise to embrace either reality personally.
Also, I’m really enjoying, and will continue to enjoy the resurgence of 90’s Baroque prints, they contrast our northwest weather in a very pleasing way.
-Jamie Fish, scouting and development, Heffner Management
I never imagined that the world would be in such a state of disarray when we arrived at 2012. I guess I always believed in the goodness of people and I’m still holding out for it… in the meanwhile I plan to stand in my power, walk my talk, challenge and inspire others to do the same, and keep an open and empathetic heart through the chaos. For me, this means fashioning an identity that reflects the powerful feminine forces who paved the road for women as we are today while remaining in balance with the delicate nature of the planet.
I’ll style myself in handmade boots inspired by the work wear of the Navy’s league of female metalsmiths during WWII, or a white-on-white ensemble befitting a suffragette parade at the turn of the century. Stacks of Rwandan beads of hope dressing up a blouse Frida Kahlo style, or men’s shoes and vintage tuxedo trousers exemplifying Josephine Baker and Katharine Kepburn’s demand for reevaluation of gender roles. An uncorseted and unfettered body under silky fabric like Coco Chanel, or my grandfather’s jodhpurs that my mother wore in the 70s as a single mom. My New Year’s fashion revolution this year is a salute to the divine feminine that is harbinger to us all. Vive la féminin divine, vive la planète.
And your resolution? Add it in the comments below.