This week’s Fashionista Spotlight shines on a young woman who values classic over craze and comfort over current. Her wardrobe not only speaks to her timeless sense of style, but also to her sophisticated disposition. Siemiesz sets the example for Fashionistas in search of the essential, autumn staples: a coat with character, a uniquely colored knit or a statement scarf.
This Fashionista amplifies the subtle details on the simplest of items, turning her go-to staples into unique pieces that can stand alone as well as they can pair up with other items. As the autumn and winter seasons approach, follow in Siemiesz’s footsteps by selecting simple essentials with strong details: a leather-accented town coat, a fringed cardigan or a scalloped collar blouse.
CollegeFashionista talks to Emily Lena about the things that inspire her, and how her wardrobe follows:
CollegeFashionista: What do you feel most confident wearing?
Emily Lena Siemiesz: For me it's all about contrast and cohesion. I never like to match completely because I think interest gets muted. For instance, if I’m going to wear a vibrant color, I'll pick one or two; like a red blazer and turquoise jewelry and keep the rest of the elements neutral. Essentially, what I want to achieve in my personal style is harmony, but in the sense of pieces playing off one another rather than sharing a direct likeness.
CF: What do you typically aim to express via your personal style?
ELS: I have always felt torn in my style expression — wanting to be comfortable, but chic in “tom-boy” fashion, and then cherishing feminine frills, tasteful and subtle floral patterns and lace. My favorite style is one that achieves this masculine/feminine balance. Otherwise, if I'm really feeling one mood over the other I'll play up one side more. Certainly there are days though, when the best you can do and the most you want to do is a nice, well-fitted pair of jeans, a solid long-sleeve tishirt, scarf and jacket. In other words, it would be exhausting for me to try and achieve my ideal fashion expression everyday.
CF: Where do you usually find your style inspiration?
ELS: I'm influenced by everything from the Anthropologie and Free People catalogues that arrive in the mail and by what I find in blogs — like leblogdebetty.com. I can also be inspired by what other girls on campus have put together.
CF: Has living in an urban area influenced your style at all?
ELS: Living in an urban area has influenced my style, but hasn't necessarily changed my original impulses. It just gives me an excuse to play up certain elements and more frequently, as well as provides a broad palette for experimenting with fashion as a means of expression on the street, in class and on campus. The more anonymous the lifestyle, I think, the more we think about dress as un-meshed with identity.
CF: What's an addition you'd like to make to your closet at the moment?
ELS: In my closet right now, I really want some platform or wedge mary-janes for that fall intermediate. Boots, flats and heels just don't cut it for choices in this season. I’m thinking they'll look good with tights and a skirt, pants and socks, and they'll be comfortable for everyday wear, which is so important when you're scuttling around campus on bike and on foot like I do.
CF: Do you have a signature look or a crucial item in your wardrobe?
ELS: I feel like the crucial items in my wardrobe are also the one's I feel most confident in: my blazers. The right top piece to an outfit is so important for bringing all the elements of an outfit together, especially in a cold climate. You don't want something that just covers what you have on. A nice, fitted blazer accentuates feminine curves and asserts a kind of an authority over the other elements of an outfit. Especially when I like to be creative in others ways, with jewelry, scarves and colors, a solid or well-tailored blazer tends to round everything out.
CF: Do you have any fashion advice for college students in search of their personal style?
ELS: I spent last semester in London, and the most notable difference I would make with style there as with here, is that Londoners are far less inhibited. Yes, there are rules, but my advice for other Fashionistas would be to play within them and maybe subtly challenge their authority. Most of all, have fun with it.
How To: Get this Fashionista's look by pairing a bold-colored blazer with neutral staples and statement jewelry.