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StyleID: Sweet & Petite

November 3, 2011

Erica Bellman
StyleID: Sweet & Petite

It's senior year, and I'm still convinced recognizing style on campus is a worthy cause, and way more fun to think about than thesis.  Though I'm missing my sassy British partner-in-style, Brie Taylor, I've decided it's time to revive StyleID.  Be on the look-out for more sartorial musings from CMCers with true steez. Whether it’s interview season or the Athenaeum, seeing the words “business casual” can be more yawn-inducing than exciting. How many times in a row can you wear the same jacket and tie (or skirt) combo?  But Susie Lee (’12) defies the notion that dressing professionally implies boredom or frumpiness.  This CMC senior who hails from Cerritos, CA manages to wear her personality on her sleeve, no matter what the occasion.  Looking effortlessly chic, as usual, Susie chatted with me on a sunny Sunday about couture-wearing bunnies, uber-cool professors, and how she dresses for success while staying true to her own style philosophy.

Susie, you’re looking fabulous—tell me what you’re wearing today. 

I’m wearing this patterned blazer from H&M, a pastel top from Nectar (in the Village, love it there), and a cream skirt from Cooperative.  My pearly heels are hand-me-downs from my cousin in Korea.  I think they’re really unique and they actually fit me—that’s rare in shoes, because I wear a size 4 or 4.5.

I wear this barrette every day: it has a pearl, a leaf, and a flower charm. I randomly ordered it online—should’ve bought two! This wire ring was custom-made for me by one of my favorite designers in Venice Beach, Deanna Horton.  My bag is a vintage Dooney & Bourke from Buffalo Exchange in NYC.

I think this outfit perfectly describes my summer working in the Empire State Building and living in the East Village of NYC—it’s a perfect blend of professional and hip.

What inspires your personal style?

Do you know the bunny FiFi Lapin?  She’s this extremely stylish bunny.  Her creator blogs about different designers—like Marc Jacobs, one of my faves—and takes outfits and shapes them onto a bunny!  It’s gorgeous, lighthearted, and fearless… I like to think it's in line with my own style philosophy.

I’m a huge “Sex and the City” girl, so naturally I love a lot of the outfits Patricia Field puts on Carrie Bradshaw.  She’s not scared to strut through the city in bold outfits. Style is about fearlessly being yourself.  And just workin’ it, you know?

You mentioned you’re a size 4.5 shoe—how do you deal with dressing for your petite frame?

I don’t really believe in sizes.  I look at fabrics, colors and details, and I’ll wear what I like regardless of whether it fits me “perfectly.”  Some of my favorite pieces are big tanks I’ve turned into dresses, or frocks I can wear with or without leggings.  The only things I get tailored are jeans.  I get these hemmed about a foot [laughs]… but good jeans go a long way.  Can you tell I’m a Cali girl at heart?

What do you think someone’s style says about him or her?

Style is a way of showing your personality and who you are without saying anything.  Your style is a way of hinting at your “story” and piquing people’s interest.

Which article of clothing could you simply not do without?

There’s this teal tank top I bought at Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg.  I call it my classic summer tank.  I have no idea what brand it is, but it’s an emblem of my two amazing summers in New York.  It says things like “Go Crazy” and “Do what you feel like doing!”  I even took it to China where I studied abroad, and wore it with tights and a coat, too.  If I could, I would wear it every day.

Who on campus do you think has the most killer style?

I really like Professor Albert Park’s style.  He’s this awesome Asian hipster who teaches a class on Modern Korean History.  One day he was wearing his hipster glasses, a collared shirt tucked into cuffed khakis, and navy Tom’s.  So fly.

What’s your biggest style DON’T?

I really don’t like it when people wear running shoes with jeans!  So awkward.

What’s one thing you think CMCers should do to improve their style?

CMCers are really unique— we’re all from such different and interesting places.  But when we get to campus, we tend to dress very similarly … I guess the SoCal weather and college culture can do that.  I think people should remember where they come from and flaunt it in what they wear.  Getting up in the morning and getting dressed can be a chance to exude who you are and inspire others to be creative with their wardrobes, too.

If CMC were an article of clothing what would it be?

A great vintage blazer.  It might look business-like and typical, but there’s a story behind where it came from.  And once you try it on, you can just work it and it’s a classic staple that will always be in.

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