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“Who are your favorite designers?” is a question I’ve often asked and, in turn, answered. You can learn a lot about a person from the designers they spurt out – the kind of woman she wants to be, her aesthetic and the qualities she desires to embody.

I would often begin my answer with Valentino and in the same breath traipse off to say Dolce & Gabbana and now Gucci. If I had the money, and I mean lots of it, I’d love to wear their clothes – the epitome of romance and the pinnacle of femininity in my opinion. (Although Gucci is more for the cool chick who can pull off magpie-dressing like your typical art major but loaded. Still, everything is intricate and embellished!) Valentino’s dresses don’t even seem fit for mere humans, you know? It’s like they design with Greek mythology in mind with delicate, ethereal dresses perfect for equally delicate, waif-like ladies that only exist in a mythical world – wood nymphs, sea nymphs, goddesses, fairies or even glorious sirens more akin to Helen of Troy¬†than a modern-day Jenner/Hadid.

At the opposite of the spectrum – and I am nothing if not not polar opposites at all things and at all times – I am obsessed with Alexander Wang (and Rag & Bone, Philip Lim and Helmut Lang). The opposite of the barefoot, braided nymph that walks through the woods following the moonlight, is the cool, effortless chick with a devil-may-care attitude from downtown. She probably knows how to ride a motorbike. We will never know. But she looks like she doesn’t give zero f*cks about what people think. That chick and the Valentino lady – these are the two personas I would like to have. (Yes, even the barefoot, braided part).

Point is, if I’m not burning cash on dainty, feminine pieces (trust me when I say even RTW, watered-down versions of anything even remotely intricate are overpriced), I’m collecting a cool-girl sartorial repertoire. Believe it or not, it’s never really been about being cool. I probably have a different version of what cool is anyway- just ask the next kid who hangs out in smoking rooms and parties ’til 4 in the morning. Sorry, #stereotype. I’m still essentially a dweeb. For me it’s more about looking and being effortless. So when I can, although most of the time not intentionally, I collect interesting basics – preferably in black or grey, like this faux leather top from Zara. And these ripped boyfriend jeans from Suiteblanco. And this penultimate chill piece – the bucket hat from Vanguard. Bucket hats are such an easy thing to throw on.

Off-duty is my actual on-duty, if that even makes sense to you. Long live easy dressing.

Photos by Paul Mendoza
Shot in burger joint Lazy Bastard