What do you do all day?
I’m the brand manager at Lizzie Fortunato, a soon-to-be cowboy boot maker, and a photographer.
Where do you live and where did you grow up?
I live near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I grew up in Texas.
Did growing up in Texas have an effect on your style?
Absolutely! I actually thought it didn’t because I was so against anything honky-tonk growing up. I’m definitely more into Western wear and have such an appreciation for seeing Western silhouettes on the runway. I feel like I have a really terrible, I don’t know if this is the right word, ownership… I feel like it almost belongs to me being from Texas, and that’s totally not fair! And of course, my love of cowboy boots comes from being a Texan.
Did you realize your love of cowboy boots once you moved to New York City? Or was it always there?
I always liked cowboy boots, but it was more in the “I’m going to the rodeo.” Rodeo is a really big deal. In Texas, if you were “stylish,” in my hometown at least, you would never wear cowboy boots casually in the way I do now. It has a totally different meaning in Texas, which is so silly.
How would you describe your style?
Ever-changing! I truly don’t think I could put my “style” in a box and present it to you with a silk ribbon on top. I thrive off of change and my style is a direct reflection of that.
Tell me the story behind something you’re wearing right now.
I always wear my grandmother’s necklace and her ring. I feel like I carry her with me. She always had a witchy vibe, I feel like I’m holding some of her powers, if you will. She was very much a Puerto Rican grandma—into all the superstition stuff. I feel like I carry a part of her with me and she protects me through her powers. It sounds so silly but that’s totally how I feel about it.
Do you have any pieces that are sentimental to you?
This [dress] is something my grandmother made for my aunt. It’s a cloak/shawl thing. I wore it as a dress for my 25th birthday. It was disco-themed. I wore high waisted black underwear and a cute bra, and this pair of Celine heels that I have that are destroyed. I really love this thing. I was in Puerto Rico with my grandmother, my aunt, and my mom, going through all of these old clothes and I really wanted this, but my aunt didn’t want to part with it. Two weeks later it showed up in the mail! About a month before my birthday, when I first saw it back in Puerto Rico, I said “That’s what I’m wearing!”
What is the best vintage score you’ve found?
This Celine sport dress was probably the best score I’ve ever found. I think I got it for around $50, if not less. I was like, ‘I just robbed you guys, are you kidding?!’ It’s the hardest thing to wear. The fabric is heavy. There are probably three days out of the year that I can wear this properly.
What do you buy “too much” of?
Sweaters! I buy way too many sweaters! I’m never satisfied with my sweaters for some reason. I think I have a hard time finding them.
Do you have a favorite one?
Yes, I have this grey sweater that I absolutely love because it’s never pilled! I’ve had it for over a year. But yeah, I have way too many sweaters, which isn’t a bad thing here.
What do you have the most trouble finding when shopping?
Something that I haven’t already seen on Instagram. I’m doing this crazy purge. My best friend and I had this conversation about influencers and personal style. I have this fear of losing my sense of style because I’m constantly being bombarded with images of people who wear certain things. Do I actually like this, or have I talked myself into liking something? I have the hardest time trying to figure out if I like this thing I’m holding in the store because I’ve seen it so many times, or if I actually just like the thing. It’s been very recent, within the past eight months, that I’ve been thinking about personal style and redefining what that means to me.
Could you tell me more about the black Nikki Chasin dress?
Receiving my first piece from Nikki was something I didn’t realize would end up meaning so much to me. Life has a funny way of working in circles and meeting/working with her was one of them. In Texas, I admired her from afar and funny enough (this is the life working in circles part), when I moved to the city, Nikki ended up being the first person to hire me to do anything. My gratitude towards our friendship grows in tandem with my love for her designs.
If you could be dropped in any time period strictly for the clothes, what would you pick?
The ’60s. They have the best tights. I’ve been hardcore shopping online for vintage tights that have really cool patterns—which you’d think would be an easy thing to find but it’s not. It’s easy to find costume tights that are cheesy, but real tights that are really well made and that have a really interesting pattern are so hard to find.
What movie had the biggest influence on your style?
Uptown Girls, more specifically Molly Gunn. I remember that character having such an early, lasting effect on me. Molly’s approach to style was relentlessly frivolous. Individually, her looks had this “I’m not asking for your permission” attitude about them.
What are 5 songs you always play?
- “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction
- “Missing (Todd Terry Club Mix)” by Anything But The Girl
- “Huddy” by Coi Leray
- “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles
- “Ray of Light” by Madonna