Assuming you aren't in some weird cult and can only…
Dressed.so: Who are you?
Katherine: My name is Katherine, I’m a 22 year old medical student and I’ve lived in north Alabama my entire life. Various things I like to do include gardening, writing, and listening to and talking about music but not actually being musical.
Garden Spoils, via Instagram
D.so: What first got you interested in fashion?
Katherine: I’ve been interested in fashion in some sense for as long as I can remember because I was definitely raised to be fairly “girly”. I hate using gendered terms like girly to describe fashion, but that’s the best way I can think of to describe the way I enjoyed dressing when I was a preteen through early college. My main motivator for that interest was the social validation having a “cute” outfit gets you. I dressed really flamboyantly in high school with like, knee high leopard print boots and things like that. Around the time I turned 21 I got interested in fashion in a more abstract and thoughtful way because I subscribed to FFA and started thinking about what I wanted my clothes to say about me.
I also remember around that time becoming kind of disillusioned with the idea of being traditionally pretty, and that kind of led to the things I really like in clothes right now.
D.so: I think one of the most interesting aspects of your fashion transformation is how you transitioned from dressing well in a way that is fairly expected/traditionally feminine in the south to something much more unusual. Has there been any friction as a result of this transition?
Do you think living in an area that may have less fashion diversity pushes you to be more adventurous?
Katherine: I think my style development was definitely a product of my environment. Originally I became interested in a more minimal and achromatic style because it was so rare. I’ve said this before, but in the south the main thing I was exposed to was a dresses and pearls kind of femininity and I hadn’t been exposed to much else. At my college most of what I saw, fashion-wise, that was socially acceptable was a lot of preppy clothes and a lot of southern boutique style dresses. When I joined FFA I started seeing things that looked almost goth to me and things that were more streetwear inspired but actually looked put together, and it was really refreshing because that wasn’t something I had seen done successfully in the past.
I do think there’s another side to dressing adventurously in the south, though, and it mostly stems from not wanting to alienate yourself through your clothing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week because I just started med school and I want to continue dressing in a way that reflects what I like and who I think I am, but I also am shying away from certain things I would normally embrace. There was also a point in time when I really wanted to try to pull off the goth ninja aesthetic but I do have to consider my environment. I think something that is an objectively cool outfit sometimes won’t work here because a lot of dressing well is knowing your surroundings and how you fit into them.
D.so: Yes, it’s been interesting to see how you balance that. What’s your favorite piece you own right now?
Katherine: I have a couple things that I really love right now. I think probably my most worn piece this summer has been my white midi skirt from Kaarem. This has been the first summer in a long time that I haven’t worked in a hospital or lab, and so I’m excited about the freedom to not wear pants but I’m also realizing I’m not really a shorts person. I love that skirt because it’s columnar without being really harsh, and I’m also just generally attracted to midi length skirts at the moment because that’s not something I’ve ever experimented with before. When I first got it I thought I had made a huge mistake because something about the length reminded me of a church dress I imagine a farmer’s wife would wear. But it’s turned out to be one of my favorite pieces to wear this summer.
Also in terms of utility, my black helmut lang kinetic tee deserves an honorable mention. It’s actually been difficult to make myself wear my other, lesser black tshirts because I think the cut of this one is really perfect for me.
Kaarem Skirt, Right: Fit via
D.so: That seems so often the case– one buys The Perfect Item and it replaces all similar items. What’s next on your shopping list? Any grails?
Katherine: Haha, part of starting school is taking out massive student loans so I’m not sure there’s a ton of shopping in my near future. My major objective this fall will be getting things I already own tailored. I recently got a suit tailored and I was amazed at the difference it made, so I think I’m going to try getting the things I already own to fit me better before I buy a lot of new things.
As far as actual things I’m in the market to buy, I really want to get the Ebbet’s grounds crew jacket for my city’s minor league baseball team (before they moved stadiums and changed names). I’m not really a big sports fan but I really like history/trivia of sports in the southeast. That’s also why I bought my Atlanta crackers hat (which is a surprisingly polarizing piece, but still something I’m really happy to own).
In terms of long-term grails, I’ve been searching for a leather jacket that actually fits my body for a few years now. One day I will find it and I think then I might unlock eternal happiness.
D.so: What are your sources of inspiration? Any non fashion sources?
Katherine: I’ve said before that I don’t really seek out inspiration images. I have a few bloggers whose style I really like, like love aesthetics and Maria van Nguyen, but I don’t tend to seek out new bloggers. I get a lot of inspiration from other posters on dressed.so and FFA. I have said before that my main fashion icon is Kanye, both because I really enjoy his kind of ostentatious but still polished take on streetwear and because I admire his ability to take risks with clothes.
Also recently I watched Amazing Spiderman 2 at the dollar theatre and I was very inspired by the wardrobe of the dude who turned into the Green Goblin before he was actually the Green Goblin. He had this really perfect leather jacket that I have been fantasizing about touching since I saw it.
When I say I don’t look at inspiration images, I mean that I get inspired by seeing specific pieces and thinking about how I would wear them rather than by looking at already created outfits on bloggers.
Which has led to me wearing some really cool stuff in my opinion but also some really lame and regrettable combinations.
Maria van Nguyen via
D.so: I appreciate that point of view because I think so often people new to fashion are trying to find The Blogger who will inspire them.
Katherine: I did spend a lot of time trying to emulate bloggers, but it never really worked because I was trying to create an exact outfit without the exact pieces they had.
D.so: The lame and regrettable combinations makes me want to ask about the blazers….you took a risk with your style in purchasing them and got a lot of push-back from FFA/MFA.
Katherine: I have a really polarizing love of giant shoes. When I was less confident in my style it did bother me, and I was like “why did I waste all this money getting my shoes nike ID’d if they look so terrible.” And there was a really embarrassing moment where someone posted my picture as an example of how not to style Nike Blazers.
But they definitely were something I still loved, and I think by trying to work with and focus on more polarizing things like chunky shoes instead of trying to downplay them I was able to find a niche that stuff like that fits into better. That’s incidentally something I’ve been thinking about with clothes and appearances in general, the idea of working with and emphasizing weird details instead of attempting to make them look more normal.
Generally I think I got more confident because I adopted an attitude of “this is what I like and I don’t care if it’s polarizing. (I obviously do care to some extent).
D.so: What is your favorite fit?
Katherine: Oh man! That’s a hard question. This is one of my favorites even though I think a lot of stuff is a little “off” about it, like everything is slightly too big. But I do think it marks me embracing things I know other people might not love like big shoes and dark lipstick. It also got drawn really well by r/sketchdaily and that drawing is my twitter and instagram photo now because I loved it so much.
Favorite Fit, via
This is another favorite because I think everything (hair, makeup, dress, etc) worked really well together. I have trouble finding dresses I really like and this is definitely my favorite dress I own. I wish I had more occasions to wear it.
2nd favorite fit, via
D.so: Who are some of your favorite d.so users?
Dwindling because I feel like she has had a really great style development (I originally had her tagged in RES as “cute tiny person with good casual clothes” and I think her style has evolved so much from there) and she also makes me covet nicer pieces than I actually own.
I know Sister-Wendigo shouted me out in her interview, and I just want to say that she actually makes me want to dye my hair blonde. I also enjoy her thoughtful approach to basics and think we share a similar love of pieces that are basic looking in a weird way.
Averagefruit was one of the users who inspired me most when I first started trying to dress differently, and I wish I could pull off dressing like a wizard in the same way she does.