A New York State of Mind.
Hailing from the Bronx, Palmira Muniz, a third-year English and film studies double major, tells MUSE how she combines her lived experiences both in New York and Los Angeles to create her own unique personal style and how to DIY (do it yourself)!
As I was strolling through the Memorial Union bookstore on a semi-relaxed Thursday afternoon, I came across a full head of curly locks paired with a bold, red lip and thought to myself, “I think I’ve just found my next Muse of the Week.”
Something that struck me about Palmira was not only the hair, but also a grunge-y and urban-chic, yet very much sophisticated look that I normally don’t see too often around campus. She thrifted her denim jacket at Goodwill for a mere two dollars and appliqued a part of a tank top that she found on a rack at a local church in Manhattan to create an edgy, original and Bronx streetwear-inspired outerwear piece. To complete her outfit, she paired her jacket with a spiked-toed boot to give another dimension and some tomboy attitude to her head-to-toe look.
James’ Notes: Like Palmira, instead of purchasing entirely new clothing, why not try repurposing your old clothes and incorporate thrifted pieces from second-hand stores to create your own original look? Not only can you give a personal touch to your clothing, but you can also tell a story and inspire discussion through these DIY pieces that you create for yourself, by yourself. Cheers!
Interview with Palmira Muniz:
1. If you could describe your personal style in three words, what would they be?
“Tomboy-chic,” artistic and eccentric — very much similar to my personality to be honest.
2. Who or what is your style icon?
I get a lot of my inspirations from different music scenes and the attire that is associated with parts of these music cultures. Specifically, I look up to Kat Von D and how DIY she is with her clothing, Michelle Obama when I want to look sophisticated and oddly enough all the cast members from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when I want an outfit to stand out.
3. What are your three must-have items in your wardrobe?
Denim jackets or denim men’s shirts: super comfy and you can literally throw it on top of anything: dresses, T-shirts and leggings, etc.
Band T-shirts: My style is really influenced by music, so sporting my favorite bands is always fun, especially on a lazy day. It’s also a great conversation starter with people who dig the same band as you.
White V-necks: The best article of clothing to wear when you just want to throw things together, but because there won’t be any color clashing, the outfit will work 99 percent of the time if the white V-neck is used properly.
4. What is your favorite accessory and why?
As weird as it sounds, my hair is my favorite accessory. I know many people don’t consider “hair” as having the ability to complement an outfit, but don’t underestimate its power. Since my hair is so big and curly, it’s the first thing people see when I walk into a room or when I’m strolling on campus, so if my hair is on point, my outfit will follow suit. I like to use Garnier Fructis leave-in conditioner and a Revlon blow dryer to create this humongous look, which I like a lot. Washing it takes out the curls, so I don’t wash it as often because curlier hair tends to be a lot drier than straight hair. Besides my hair, rings, earrings and scarves are always a subtle way to liven up a neutral-colored outfit and are always fun to mix and match.
5. Where do you love to shop and why?
I love thrift shopping and bargain hunting, especially because I make and alter a lot of my own clothing. I like to tear pieces apart and put them together or make something awesome, and of course since it’s custom made, no one else will have it. I do enjoy the Forever 21, H&M, Torrid, TJ Maxx and the like, but my favorite places are the random boutiques in LA or New York that are privately owned because the clothes they carry are so interesting and different.
6. What is your most treasured item in your wardrobe?
I would have to say my brown spiked boots my best friend got for me a couple of birthdays ago. One of the reasons, of course, is because my best friend, who is like my sister soul mate, got them for me and I love anything she gets me, but they just represent my style all together. The huge spikes to represent my “tomboy/tough girl” look, but the brown leather boot to go with any kind of style. I feel like a badass when I wear them, but cute at the same time.
7. How has your style changed since high school?
I learned to not care what other people think or other’s people’s opinions on my outfits. I figured, “If they’re not spending money on my wardrobe, why let them have any say as to what I wear?” I learned to take chances and risks with my wardrobe and have fun, and nine out of 10 times I get A LOT of compliments, even with just particular pieces of clothing. I also learned to incorporate makeup into helping create a look I’m going for, I was kind of a late bloomer when it came to makeup in high school.
8. What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a way to express yourself, but not just superficially. Your style can depend on your mood, it can be inspired by a film you saw or song you heard, any number of things. A person’s fashion sense changes just like a person changes, and can be used to represent different dimensions in a person’s personality. Fashion doesn’t define you, it simply is what you choose to portray yourself as to the rest of the world. As a full-figured female, I know fashion has not always been kind, but I use it as a tool to feel awesome through what I’m wearing. Feeling good about what you’re wearing is the primary goal, looking good will come secondary.
9. What items would you recommend our readers to incorporate into their wardrobes for the upcoming spring season?
I do recommend some white, off-white, cream or eggshell-colored lace articles of clothing. Some of the pieces have the lace patterns in the shape of flowers — very spring-friendly but without the overwhelming actual flower patterned print. Lace dresses are just so adorable, and lace tops can be thrown over any color tank top and a cardigan to top it off.
For spring, I do favor the light wash denim jeans, jackets, shorts, vests, etc. (denim that is medium to light blue). The light blues tend to pair better with pastels and other light colors, normally worn in the season.
Makeup: Nude lipsticks during the daytime, wine-colored or dark red (blue-red) for night time. Sometimes the bright red (orange-red or fire engine red) is not flattering to everyone, but the darker red is a little more forgiving.
10. What final tips can you give to our fashion-forward readers?
TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM WEARING ALL OF THE SAME COLOR IN ONE OUTFIT. Black is usually my go-to color for pretty much any occasion, but I religiously break the black up with different colors, textures and fabrics. Same goes for all colors; have a wide range of a color palette!
Makeup: Less is more. If you are wearing a dark lipstick, wear light eye makeup and vise versa.
Dress with comfort in mind: In the morning, think, “Will I still be happy in this outfit eight hours from now?” And if the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.
And above all, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t pull something off because you don’t look a certain way. If you dress yourself in the morning, YOUR opinion is the only one that matters.