FASHIONISTA SPOTLIGHT: Joanne Cazeau

One Fashionista's trash can be another Fashionista's must-have. This is the underlying concept of thrifting, an art requiring patience and determination. Sorting through questionably smelling clothes and $5 bins can be taxing, but the thrill of uncovering your first piece of true vintage is incomparable. I'll never forget the sensation of finding my first vintage acquisition, a well-loved Fendi clutch scored from an Upper East Side thrift store. The buttery leather and grandmother-esque scent add a unique story to clutch. The price didn't hurt either!

I spotted this Fashionista thrifting out on the last day of the semester. Her sweater (à la Bill Cosby), high-waisted linen shorts, plaid cross-body and off-white oxfords made her a standout among a sea of stressed sweatpant-wearing students. As if her outfit couldn’t get better, her sweater, shorts and bag are all products of thrift store and garage sale pursuits. 

CollegeFashionista: What does style mean to you?
Joanne Cazeau: Fashion is perhaps one of the most ideal forms of personal expression there is — whether it relays mood, creativity, etc. My senior year of high school, I debuted a fashion campaign called Fashion Forward, which promoted a sense of modesty and expression, and discouraged social discrimination through fashion. I encourage everyone to be Fashion Forward!

CF: What is your favorite season to dress for and why?
JC: I really like dressing for fall and spring; these intermediate seasons offer a great opportunity for layering, and playing around with shorts, skirts, stockings, sweaters and boots. Also, if I layer appropriately, I can avoid the big bulky coats during the fall.

CF: Do you have any favorite sources for fashion inspiration?
JC: I love everything vintage, but lately, I’ve been clinging to my '90s roots. I am a '90s baby; I embrace my motto, “Born in the '90s and still living in the '90s.” I often find myself on YouTube for hours watching old videos of Nas, the Fugees, Lauryn Hill, Monica and Mary J. Blige. While the music is great, I also take note of the fashion; the style of dress that so accurately represented the mellow vibe of the decade is my ultimate inspiration. And so I don the high-waisted pants, Cosby sweaters, loose denim and buttoned-down collar shirts, rompers, menswear-inspired, canvas sneakers, intricate hairstyles, statement earrings and jewelry. To make the looks happen, I indulge in my obsessive thrifting habit and garage sale hopping.

While I do love the '90s, colorful prints, A-line dresses and skirts and jeans also do just the trick for me. I’ve also been experimenting around with the “urban prep” look — where urban style meets conservative prep. (Occasionally, I browse the blogs KisforKinky and Fashion Bomb Daily for a little inspiration.) As for my living fashion inspirations, Solange Knowles and Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes are definitely my style icons. Having been raised in Haiti, I have a great appreciation for the Caribbean use of loud prints and patterns and their bold natural hairstyles.

How To: One word — Goodwill. Whether you're looking for theme party pieces or men's flannel, Goodwill is the place to go. However, online thifting can often be just as fruitful. eBay is a great source for authentic vintage handbags and other accessories. As far as clothes go, many smaller vintage boutiques and thrift shops use 1stdibs to sell their apparel. To create a look similar to this Fashionista's start with an oversized sweater. Chances are your dad or boyfriend have a few lying around, but if not, there are a plentitude to be found in stores or online. Pair with a skirt, for the perfect preppy look. As far as shoes and glasses go, opt for new or gently worn shoes. Add some loafers or oxfords and top off a pair of cat-eye sunglasses. Piecing together the perfect thrifted look can take no time at all!

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