Wardrobe Story 5: From grandparents as style icons, to getting by on a tiny wardrobe, to curating her wardrobe to truly reflect who she is, this week's wardrobe story is by Daniela, currently living in Mexico.
1. What is your favourite item in your wardrobe and why?
While I have a lot of items that I really love, my favourites would definitely be the ones that have specific meaning or personal value since I’m a very nostalgic person. For that reason, I would probably say a black leather jacket that used to belong to my grandmother which she gifted me with about two years ago. It’s quickly become a wardrobe staple of mine. It also keeps me incredibly warm in the winter months. Somehow it’s the one jacket that helps me through New York winters the most! The oversized, thick coats I have are nothing compared to it. Plus I always think of my grandma when I wear it. She’s a very lovely, elegant lady.
Daniela wearing her grandmother's leather jacket
2. It's funny you mention that coat, I definitely associate it with you. Do any of your clothes have an interesting story behind them?
Well, I’m always borrowing clothing from my grandparents when I visit them and they always graciously give it to me as a present at the end of my trip because they love seeing me enjoy myself in their clothes. I always feel a little guilty but happily accept! For that reason, so much of my clothes today were my grandparents’. This is particularly the case with my grandpa, I have his fisherman-style bucket hat and the most amazing 80s looking sweater my entire family grew up watching him wear. I’m incredibly touched he gave it to me! He would wear it every time he visited. It still smells of his aftershave and I think of him each time I lay my eyes on it. Even the belt I use the most was once his. I feel like they’ll never fully feel mine in my eyes. There’s just so much history and so much of my grandpa in them. I kind of feel like I’m just the person that happens to be looking after them at the moment.
Daniela's grandad wearing his infamous multicoloured jumper
3. Is there much in your wardrobe which you don't wear often/at all?
At the moment the answer is no, simply because my wardrobe here is very empty so there’s not much left for me to not wear! I had to leave most of my belongings in storage when I came home after my university closed last March because of COVID, and it’s been almost a year that I have had to make do with having so little clothes. It’s definitely been a learning experience for me, making do with so little of my possessions.
4. You're an incredibly creative person, do you think your clothes reflect that part of you? Where would you say you get your wardrobe inspiration from?
That’s a question I find myself asking a lot and I wish I knew the answer in even more detail. I have always made a conscious effort in tracing my opinions and my tastes, being very interested in questions of influence and authenticity. Kind of where I end and where the world begins, and how the world in turn has shaped me, if that makes sense. It helps me realise whether I truly love something or whether it’s just a trend I feel like I am supposed to love… until it is replaced by the next one. I find that a lot of the tastes and styles I pursue today are rooted in what I was drawn to as a child. For example, I absolutely love oversized coats and that is something I have thought for as long as I can remember, so I try to lean into that more. Perhaps too much actually! I do admit I have more coats than necessary, and often end up buying new ones when I should really be buying another item of clothing I am more in need of. I am also wearing hats and berets a lot more these days, as I used to adore hats as a child. My mum would even call me “the lady of the hats”. I have always found myself drawn to darker, more neutral and more earthy tones as well, so my wardrobe has become a reflection of that. I also always loved playing dress up, so I try to embrace that and have a tendency of overdressing a little, for example wearing formal trousers (the kind you wear with a pantsuit), heeled boots and big jewellery even if it’s to a 10am lecture or the supermarket. Sometimes I might even add one of those giant plastic rings you can get at party stores to keep up with the playful spirit. As a big film lover, I would say that films are my main source of external fashion inspiration. A lot of times I try to find clothing items I loved in films on Depop. One time I found the exact t-shirt design as a t-shirt I saw in a Gregg Araki film but it sold out before I could get it. The style in 90s and early 00s films is wonderful. Also, of course, my grandparents. I always say they are my fashion icons to my family and although I do it jokingly, I really mean it! I find my style looks a lot like if you combined their wardrobes.
Daniela wearing her grandad's bucket hat
5. How often do you buy new clothes?
Not too often. Either when I really need something, or when I stumble into something that could be a wardrobe accent when thrifting or searching online. The only exception seems to be coats. I can never resit them even if I already have a few and there is no more space to hang them. I just adore coats so much but have gotten better at putting beautiful coats back down when I see them in excellent condition for a great price somewhere. I don’t think I have gotten a new coat in two years! Funnily enough, that’s around the same time my grandma gave me her jacket so that might have something to do with it. During the pandemic, I have actually hardly purchased anything. I bought one pair of bright blue, wide trousers and a couple of shirts from a sustainable brand based in Mexico since I didn’t have that many stay-at-home clothes here. I also bought a Plantasia shirt because I love, love, love the album artwork. Looking at the design just makes me really happy.