It is one thing to love the idea of a trend — to admire a bizarre silhouette, appreciate bold color, fawn over intricate design. To actually adopt the trend is another matter. The reality of fashion is that many of us cannot pull off gigantic pants that start at our neck. Chartreuse will not flatter every skin tone. Just because a magazine says, “You too can rock a mini!” does not mean you will feel comfortable doing so. But that’s the difference between fashion and style: fashion is part of a larger industry. Style is determined by the individual.
Katie Sturino reminded me of this as I stood in her bedroom while holding a pair of wide-legged, striped cotton pants.
“Those will not work on me,” she said. “They’re great, but no.”
Because I sometimes think I’m Stacy London, I coaxed her into them: “You won’t know until you try!”
Because Katie is a good sport, she put them on. They didn’t work.
Well, we tried.
Katie and I met on the set of Adventures in Beauty Vlogging. She’s the proud owner of Toast, our vlog’s extremely hairy director, and the founder of Tinder PR. (Not that Tinder.) We bonded over small foreheads and balayage, but it was when the conversation turned to cropped denim flares — and how she has no desire to participate — that she offered up her bod for the site.
“I’m your reader,” she told me. “I’m not a size 6. I’m not even a size 8. I’m a 12. I have a hard time finding cool stuff in my size, but I love clothes.”
Clothes, as Leandra says, make up the language that we as women use to communicate. And as Katie points out, there are different dialects.
“Nothing looks worse than a body put into a trend that doesn’t fit well. It can be frustrating to not participate in ‘the shape of the season,’ but I enjoy the challenge of making it work for me. I focus on a print, or an accessory — there’s always something to take away. It’s helped me to cultivate my personal style.”
And as we know from nearly every NY/LA-and-Beyond Closet, at the crux of established personal style are the staples.
These are Katie’s:
1) NYDJ jeans. “That used to stand for Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. This is really outing myself, but whatever. I like them a lot. They’re high-waisted, they make a ton of different sizes, and they’re meant to flatter.”
2) High-waisted pencil skirts. “Don’t be afraid of a high waist! It elongates your shape and helps hold everything in. Pencil skirts give a good shape, too, and can be dressed down easily — I often wear them with sneakers.”
3) Head-to-toe prints. “Apparently you’re not supposed to do this if you’re super curvy, but I’m not a minimalist. I’m drawn to prints, so I don’t let them stop me. I find basics a bit snooze-y, and because classic shapes fit me best, prints are where I play around.”
4) Sneakers, clogs, and Birkenstocks for spring. “I’m really tall, and I have big feet. I wear my Twins For Peace x Mr. Men Little Miss sneakers all the time. They’re fun. Birks and clogs are my staple, but men’s designer sneakers are really cool, too, because a lot of women’s shoes are meant for a more narrow foot.”
There’s no Rosetta Stone for fashion. We gain literacy through immersion and sharing. So, whether you’re the size of a Beanie Baby or are twenty feet tall, tell us: what are you wearing? What works for you? And what in the name of Toast are you planning on buying for spring?
Images by Krista Anna Lewis