“When I go shopping it’s more of an adventure than anything else,” says Nicole Pink. “My closet is something more than just what I wear, it’s my own personal collection.” Her closet, carefully categorized by different styles and colors, with rows of boots and shoes lining the shelves and ground, makes a tiny dorm room seem surprisingly more ample, and so, I was able to get a sneak peek into her closet to see what kind of fashionable items she has been able to collect.
“Recently, at a flea market”, she starts off, “I found this.” Pulling a green, peach, and cocoa brown cardigan out of her closet, she notes how it must have, what looks to be around twenty owls printed all over. “It’s definitely more quirky and vintage and I absolutely love it, and I found it for ten bucks.” A rather distinctive style, she remarks how she’s definitely always into classic and vintage, but she’s not afraid to play around with different styles.
One of her most recent style inspirations being the 90’s grunge look. “This is my mom’s skirt from the 90’s and I love it! I put it together with a turtleneck, which is also her’s from the 90’s, and I call it the Rachel outfit from “Friends.” I really like being able to give something a second life instead of sitting in a bin.” As a Design and Apparel Production student at Colorado State University, she’s grown a keen eye to selecting quality and quirky items, for a steal of a price and her personal style certainly reflects this thinking. “I love it when there’s just something to it, like a little secret. Like oh look! There’s pockets. Or a cool lining, or some kind of interesting structure. That’s what I love to find.”
Although, Nicole isn’t one to just settle for whatever the racks give her, “I’ve been doing alterations and sewing since I was seven. If something like the hem isn’t perfect, it won’t bother me, I can fix that. If it’s a good price and I can fix it, I’ll take anything.” Similarly she notes, “I almost prefer to have to alter a piece, because it gives it more story and more passion goes into it.” A few of the pieces she showed me were altered, or she even had made them from scratch, like the next piece. It’s a shawl made from a floral print fabric. Inspired by other shawls on the market, Nicole says she “saw a shawl and it cost like a $1000-$1500 and I can’t afford that. I’m a college student, so I went to Joann’s and I was really surprised that I could find this fabric there! I fell in love with it, so I just patterned out a shawl that I really liked and made it asymmetrical. It’s cute, and super warm because it’s 100% wool.”
For those of you who are thinking, man, I wish I could make something from scratch, do not fear, Nicole comments, “If you have never patterned before, its way easier to try and put it on a mannequin and drape it than working with the paper patterns you can pick up. Although there’s another thing you can do, and it’s kinda the cheaters way, but it’s to trace the jacket that you love and make a copy of it, then you’ll know that it fits and can go from there.”
I asked Nicole some other questions about her design style and tips she would share:
Biggest inspiration or someone who inspired you to be into fashion?
My grandma. I have like the coolest grandma you have ever seen she has Karl Lagerfeld jackets, Chanel. Like she has 20 Chanel suits. It’s insane. She has always been super into fashion and she was a huge inspiration for me and I just leapt and chased after that. I would go look at her huge closet to dress up and be in awe. And I definitely take a lot of my style from her. Although, my style is beginning to change, I used to be totally black and white and now that I’ve been living here, I can see it evolving and getting mixed up.
Do you have a favorite place to shop?
Stores in general. I love White House Black Market, I wear a lot of white and black. I think part of it comes from my grandma because that’s all she wears and part of it is because I come from the city and that’s super professional and powerhouse. So I love that store, but I will go to Old Town and look at all the cute little boutiques and stores, like Wear It Again Sam’s, I love it.
When you’re putting together your outfits do have the biggest styling tip?
I really take from Coco Chanel, take one accessory off before you leave. You just want to make sure you don’t overpower it. Although she wore tons and tons of pearls, so sometimes I feel like she didn’t follow her own advice. For me though, I like to keep it simple and to the point.
Favorite accessory at the moment?
These are my favorites lately, I just got these they’re kinda crazy. The patchwork is very 60’s, 70’s. They were in a vintage store in Boulder, Nevada for around $80, but I bargained them down to $35, so I was super proud. They are definitely one of the outfits that I really have to focus on not overwhelming these because you have to do simple pieces.
Biggest deal you’ve ever made?
This is actually a really good piece it’s a White House Black Market and when I had first saw it in the store it was $114 and so I waited and waited for it to go on sale for like half a year and sure enough, I got it for $14, its things like that, that make my day.
Item with a lot of story behind it?
I have a WW2 army jacket. It was a privates and I can tell that from all the old patches on the sleeves, it’s a really unique piece. Although, he must have been a really tiny man because it fits me. I got it from an antique mall when I had visited Las Vegas a little while ago, it was super exciting.
Finally, what’s the next piece that you want to find?
I wanted a denim dress for the spring so I found this one at Arc and it’s so long, but I’m going to take it in and alter it, as well as take out these nasty shoulder pads and see what we can do, just keep designing and creating.