In partnership with Nine West.
When I went away to boarding school at the age of 14, I had no idea how substantially my wardrobe was about to multiply. It wasn’t until I set foot in the dormitory I would share with 20 or so other teenage girls that this reality clicked with the most intimate kind of unspoken understanding. Looking back, I see that was how my first high school friendships were formed: pillaging jeans and T-shirts and shoes from classmates I barely knew, standing in front of mirrors and asking each other for outfit advice, again and again for days and weeks and months until, suddenly, they felt more like sisters than strangers.
There is something innately sisterly about swapping clothes and dispensing candid style input, a bonding ritual that inspired Nine West’s “Sole Sisters” campaign highlighting the many ways women support and empower each other. In celebration of all there is to learn about yourself and your relationships through the act of styling — and sharing — shoes with sisters, Man Repeller is publishing a two-part series featuring pairs of “sisterfriends” styling each other in shoes from Nine West’s spring collection. Leandra and her best friend Roxana kicked things off last week, and this week we have blogger and newly-minuted author LaTonya Yvette and her sister Brittany following in their footsteps (pun fully intended).
What makes your bond uniquely “sisterly”?
LaTonya: Brittany and I are only 14 months apart, so I think while we actively choose to be close, we also were raised to be super close to one another. If I had to pick one thing that makes our relationship uniquely sisterly, it’s the fact that we both kind of let down every wall around each other, will get loud, laugh extremely hard, and can just be (despite being mothers with full-time jobs, etc.). We kind of instantly go back to being almost teenagers around one another — just cutting up a bit.
Brittany: As soon as we’re around each other, we turn into little kids again! Yes, we’re mothers and have so many things going on, but as soon as we’re around each other, we giggle and have fun just like when we were children.
How would you describe your personal style?
LaTonya: My personal style changes depending on the weather and who I decide to be — ha! In general, I dress pretty eclectically, comfortably and colorfully.
Brittany: Laid-back and pretty trendy. If I’m not working, I’m wearing leggings and sneakers.
How would you describe your sister’s personal style?
LaTonya: Brittany is relaxed and cool. She has an effortless Brooklyn upgraded edge I can’t quite describe that’s just her. She doesn’t wear any makeup really. Like, two years ago she started wearing eyeshadow and we were both so proud! Even when she’s dressed up, she’s still effortless and “real girl” cool. I really love it and admire how she’s always been this way and is confident and sexy and gorgeous by being herself.
Brittany: LaTonya’s style is very unique. She can mix thrifted things with new things and make it look so effortless. I love her style.
Have you ever swapped, stolen or borrowed each other’s clothes?
LaTonya: Oh goodness, yes. We bring clothes to one another’s apartments all the time! Britt will order something and then say it’s not her or doesn’t fit and will drop it off for me. It’s really nice. I had this one sundress I LOVED and wore for a while, but it didn’t fit the same way when I stopped breastfeeding. Brittany came over and as we were talking, I went through my closet and threw the dress at her. She took it and of course looked stunning in it. And it made me feel less bummed out about losing something I really loved.
Brittany: Our styles are so different, but we still wear close to the same size shoe and have the same style in shoes! And handbags! A couple of years ago I “borrowed” a bag and never gave it back to the point LaTonya forgot it was hers. She saw me wearing it and actually complimented me on it! That’s when I felt like I should give it back.
What about shoes?
LaTonya: Long ago we did, maybe as kids. But not so much recently. We have pretty different everyday styles, so often while I love the way she styles her shoes, they’re not always something I would pick out for myself.
What was the experience of styling your sister like?
LaTonya: It was fun and hilarious.
Brittany: The experience was so fun. I love doing things with her. I actually think I did a pretty good job as well.
How did you pick out which shoes you wanted to wear?
LaTonya: I picked my outfits out first, and then let them dictate my choice of shoes.
Brittany: I did the opposite!
Which pair of shoes were your favorite?
LaTonya: My sister and I both loved the same pair — the black leather Teagan Pointy Toe Pumps. But my second favorites were the white leather Aboveall Pointy Toe Flats. I am not naturally drawn to white shoes, so it was nice to be surprised by how much I liked them.
Brittany: My favorites were the Teagan Pointy Toe Pumps. I love that they’re versatile enough to wear to work and on a night out.
What did you learn about yourself in the process?
LaTonya: That I forever feel like the younger sister — fighting for things she likes instead of just being agreeable!
Brittany: That sometimes it’s necessary to just have fun with things and be silly!
What did you learn about your sister?
LaTonya: I always think I know her, so it was nice to see these parts of her that feel like new additions to who she is — like, now she is super interested in color and finding natural ways to include it into her wardrobe. Also, she can finally walk in heels!
Brittany: I learned that she’s an amazing model!
Photos by Edith Young; Market by Harling Ross and Elizabeth Tamkin; Makeup by Regard Tang.