Finally it’s time for the second installment of my “Behind the Wardrobe” series. For the first one, I interviewed Yonna about her love for stripes, cats and capsule wardrobes (you read the interview right here). But today I’m meeting with Gabrielle, a girl with a messy wardrobe and a passion for black jeans. We talk about the night she met her boyfriend, old sweaters she kept from her travels and, of course, fashion.
Almost Famous Writer: So I started the series “Behind the Wardrobe” to tell the stories behind someone’s wardrobe. So to start off the interview: do you believe that there’s a story to tell?
Gabrielle: Yes! I think so… yeah.
Well, there’s a reason why you buy certain things and why you wear certain things. So I definitely think there’s a story behind someone’s wardrobe. Even the way you organize your closet or things you put inside your closet besides clothes.
And what kind of reasons do you think people have for buying certain things?
Individual taste! But also maybe trend-wise… I personally don’t follow trends that much. Or maybe people saw an item on someone else and they thought “Ah, I’d like that too!”.
And do you think that there’s maybe a more emotional layer to picking out clothes?
I think that really depends. I mean, people always have their favorite sweater, or something like that, or a dress that you wore to a certain event and whenever you wear that again you think back of that moment. Or you might wear an item more often because it has such nice memories to it.
Another reason why I started this series is to argue against the notion that fashion is something superficial. What is your opinion on this?
I really don’t think fashion is superficial, because there’s so many steps involved in actually choosing your clothes. You can have an emotional connection with your clothes and the experiences linked to your clothes, so I don’t think fashion is superficial at all. Plus, when people design and make clothes, there’s so much time and ideas and effort that goes into that. So even fashion that you see on the runway is not superficial, because there’s always an idea and a creative aspect behind the clothes.
So what does “fashion” as a concept mean to you?
Oh, that’s a hard question… Well, it’s a way to express yourself, but also just a way to be dressed and comfortable. But it can also make you really uncomfortable, so comfort actually plays a really big part in what you wear. If you’re just wearing a T-shirt and jeans, it might not be the most “fashionable” outfit, but it makes you feel maybe more confident, because it’s more comfortable. Wait… what was the question again?
It was: What does fashion mean to you?
Oh yeah! I don’t really think about it that much. But once you actually look back on the clothing choices you made, you realize you do think about it. When you’re standing in front of your closet in the morning and you think “well, today I have a big presentation, so I’m gonna wear this, because it makes me feel confident”, you really think about fashion. But I think it’s also just a way of expressing yourself and of conveying a certain message, not just to the world, but also to yourself.
And what sort of things do you want your wardrobe to convey?
Mostly that I’m comfortable with the way I look, that I seem confident about it, and that I don’t necessarily mind if people don’t like the way I look, as long as I like it.
So do you also think that the clothes you wear represent what you look like on the inside, so to say?
Yes! I mean, when you like a piece of clothing, there’s always a reason why you like it. I think if I’m feeling a bit more down, I’d rather wear something comfortable than a dress and heels. So in that way, my clothing also reflects how I’m feeling inside. Or when I’m super tired, I’d rather wear a really big hoodie and when I’m happy I really want to dress up and wear something that’s more out there.
So for example when you’re feeling a little down, can your clothes help you feel better?
Yeah definitely! When I’m not feeling that well, sometimes I just go and put on my make-up or just put on something nice or pick things out of my closet that I haven’t worn for a while. That makes me feel better, because I’m just out of my pajamas and wearing something nice. And that itself makes me feel better.
So when you think of your own wardrobe, can you think of three keywords to describe it?
Right now? Messy. And I have a lot black items, a lot of monochrome things. And dresses.
So do you think these keywords also say something about you as a person?
Probably… yeah. Although I actually don’t like my wardrobe being messy. I’m one of those people that puts cleaning out their wardrobes on their to do lists and then takes a while to actually do it. So then it remains messy for a while and I just grap things from the closet. I’m not necessarily a messy person, I just don’t like to clean up. And dresses… Actually, I never wore dresses before I came to UCR!
Maybe I had one and I only wore it in the Summer, but here I joined A.L. Fides (one of UCR’s sororities) and then I started to actually wear dresses. In a way, that also made me feel more confident about wearing them, because I didn’t use to be. I didn’t like to show my legs and I just never really liked to wear them – I just wore jeans, or shorts. And now I’d actually rather wear a dress. So that’s really good, because it made me more confident. What other keywords did I have?
Like my soul! But no, I just think wearing something black is always super flattering. I’ve tried to change things up a little bit and not wear that much black, but it’s just such an easy color to pair with other things. If you have a black dress, you can wear red heels with it, or a bag in a cool color.
So do you have specific item in your wardrobe that has any special meaning to you?
Well, I really like to buy sweaters when I’m traveling. So I have an Empire State Building sweater and of San Francisco, and I think I have three of London, because I go there so often. I also have a Paris sweater lying around somewhere – it doesn’t fit me anymore – but items like that remind you of very specific trips or dresses you wore to a certain event. I even have one sweater, which I wore the night I met my boyfriend! And every time I wear it I think back of that moment.
That’s so cute!
It was my birthday and I was wearing a jumper – because my birthday is in November – and no make-up and my hair was a mess and my friends convinced me to go out. And then my boyfriend saw me and apparently he thought I looked nice.
He thought “Damn, girl…”
Damn, girl, that sweater…!
So let’s talk a little bit about style. What do you think someone’s style entails?
I think someone’s style is a representation of their personality, because you choose certain things for certain reason. You also have your own taste, or style, for a certain reason.
And what does “style” mean to you specifically?
I don’t know… I don’t think I really have a style.
Well, to a certain extent, maybe. But I’m one of those people that changes up their style quite regularly and I always stick to certain items. For example, I’ll always stick to black jeans, because I just love to wear them. But then sometimes I want to do something totally different with my style or I’ve seen an item somewhere and I think “that’s how I want to look”. I guess my style is quite basic, not too much poespas. I don’t really wear very bright colors, for example.
So do you think your style reflects your personality?
Well, yeah. It’s kind of laid-back, but sometimes I really like to make an effort and wear a nice dress. So I do think it reflects who I am.