No bow-tie? No problem! Our Muse of the Week is third-year Asian American studies and communications double major, Jillian Mariano. She tells MUSE how she mixes in her favorite menswear pieces into her wardrobe without resorting to the bow-tie.
The biggest trend I’m seeing right now, both on the streets and on the runway, is this movement towards a more androgynous, powerful modern-day woman rocking the suit and tie like never before. Admittedly, there is something very synonymous about masculinity and the bow-tie, but what people fail to realize is that there’s so much more to fashion than just a basic bow-tie and button-up.
Shoes first. A clean set of oxfords or loafers and calf-high socks paired with a well-tailored pant rolled at the hem is a sure-fire way to get that androgynous ensemble you’re looking for without all the fuss.
Oversized sweaters and loose trousers are also very easy ways to both look the part and stay super comfortable throughout your busy day. Now that the new TJ Maxx just opened up in Davis, there are plenty of options to choose from, especially since the larger sizes are often more abundant than the smaller sizes. Just finish off your look with a belt and you’re good to go.
James’ Notes: Overcoats, blazers, turtlenecks, pinstripes, leather … the possibilities are endless. Think outside of the box and see what you can come up with. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Esther Quek and set the trends for all of your friends.
1. If you could describe your personal style in three words, what would they be?
Musical, tomboy and goddess.
2. Who or what is your style icon?
If I really had to choose, it would have to be Esther Quek. I love her colorful, fitted suits and androgynous style. I’m inspired by her to finally take the jump and get a pixie cut.
3. What are your three must-have items in your wardrobe?
Button-up shirts, skinny jeans and high-top sneakers.
4. What is your favorite accessory and why?
A “Comme des Fuckdown” beanie I bought off the Free and For Sale Facebook group. I saw G-Dragon wearing it in an airport fashion picture and desperately wanted it, and when I saw it on the group I just snatched it up. At first I was really scared to wear it around because I thought it was a bit outrageous, but it’s just a black beanie with a swear word on it, so it’s actually pretty basic and it goes with most of the things I wear. I try not to wear it around children, elderly people and people with authority though.
5. What is your most treasured item in your wardrobe?
This chambray shirt with an embroidered collar. My mom bought it for me in last year’s Black Friday sales. If I could, I would just wear this shirt every single day.
6. What do you love about embroidered collars?
I think I like wearing a lot of details around the collar to sort of bring attention to my face. Sometimes I have really bad face days; I have acne or my face is bloating, but sometimes I have really good face days where my skin is just absolutely clear. And it’s just about bringing attention to my facial features and all the stuff that I was previously distraught about. It’s all about recognition.
6. What does fashion mean to you?
Once I saw this person, who appeared to be a very tall, very skinny cisgendered man do a Naomi Campbell walk to class in a rainbow t-shirt, booty shorts, thigh-high rainbow stripe socks, and 5-inch heels. THAT is fashion. Fashion should be political, and people of color, women and LGBTQIA identified people have inherently political existences.
7. How has your style changed since high school?
For one thing, I’m not surrounded by a bunch of emo kids who hang out at Hot Topic and purposely try to bash my face in at the mosh pits at charity shows anymore. But in all seriousness, I’m just not “trying too hard” anymore and I’m letting myself blossom without all the pressure and anxiety that dramatic TV high schools exude.
8. What items do you recommend our readers to incorporate in their wardrobes for the fall/winter season?
Dark berry lip colors, silver eyeshadow, scarves and jackets. Sometimes just wearing a really fancy jacket makes you look more fashionable even if you weren’t trying that hard that day.
9. What final tips can you give to our fashion-forward readers?
Don’t be afraid to try what you like, but don’t feel pressured to like, never be seen in pajamas or something.