October 22nd, 2017

CU Closets: Elaine Xie

Name: Elaine Xie

School, Year: Barnard, 2020

Major: Philosophy

Campus involvement: WBAR, Postcrypt Art Gallery

What are you wearing today and why did you pick it out/what was your thought process?

I’m wearing linen because today feels like the last real day to wear summer white — my friend told me that in santeria you have to wear all white for a year before you can achieve sainthood. Also fuck that labor day rule.

What music are you listening to right now?

I’m in the end tail of a phase where I have to listen to Youth Lagoon every second my brain isn’t occupied by another task. It’s all because my roommate played “July” like two weeks ago and this weird nostalgia hit.

How would you describe your style? Your approach to beauty?

I dress for the person I’d like to become. This changes from time to time, and I think that what I wear reflects that. On makeup—there are weeks when I’m into wearing lots of makeup—dark lipstick and eyeliner and all, and others when I won’t wear anything but boy brow and perfume, and still feel a little clownish.

How has moving/living in New York influenced your style?

It’s definitely made me less self-conscious to wear the things I like. I’m from a place that sort of scoffs at fashion, and tends to consider styling what to wear to be a marker of an empty mind at worst, and a triviality at best. New York is a welcome change from that.


If you could, who would you swap closets with?

Well — I would choose to do so if and only if I could also swap bodies/beings with the person. I think clothes are much less beautiful when they’re absent of the being (body/experiences/beauty/whatever) to inform them. But if I could, definitely Coco (@coco_pinkprincess on Instagram) from Harajuku. I think she’s iconic.


What are your current favorite and least favorite trends?

I really like the loose jumpsuit thing happening now—you know, like the ones that the people working at the Glossier showroom wear. I saw someone on Instagram call it the dystopian jumpsuit — something that deliberately hovers around your body and obscuring everything, framed as a pushback against the body-con thing that Alaia and Herve Leger made so popular in the decades before. They described it as being body-ignorant, the opposite of body-con(scious), which made me laugh. I like the idea of clothes being body-ignorant sometimes.

As for least favorite trend—maybe not a trend, but I really disliked the whole faux/parody political slogan trend that happened briefly last year. Not too long ago, Dolce and Gabbana released this incredibly expensive shirt that just had “Boycott Dolce & Gabbana” printed on the front of it—as like a way to ridicule the people who criticized the house for choosing to dress Melania and supporting the Trump administration. I just thought that antic was so childish and in such poor taste. And then there’s this picture from a Balenciaga menswear runway this year, it’s of the back of a model wearing a bomber jacket emblazoned with “Balenciaga 2017” in the style of Bernie’s presidential campaign logo. And in the top right corner of the photo you see the audience in the front row of the show—and it’s Rei Kawakubo with her face in this blank scowl. Of course legitimate criticism of this matter would require much more nuance, and maybe RK didn’t even mean to make that face at the jacket. But it’s just funny that that’s such an apt summary of my view on the whole thing.

Also, if I see another fast fashion take on a deconstructed oxford, I will yak.

What is your favorite accessory that you own, and why?

This silver bee necklace I got at Chelsea Market when we went for my friend Sam’s birthday. It’s such a lucky find—I had been looking all over Etsy and eBay for something like it, but there was just nothing there. When I saw it in the little booth I knew it was ridiculously overpriced for the quality, but I took its presence as a sign or whatever and got it anyway.


What’s your least favorite item and why do you keep it?

Honestly, right now it’s these pants I bought from Tavi Gevinson’s tag sale at her apartment building last weekend. They’re a little small at the hip, and they’re not as flattering as I would like…  I keep them cuz I’ll probably fit them someday, plus I’ll be her age someday and hopefully have her knowledge/worldliness/insight/wisdom/whatever someday, and now they’re a reminder to work towards that.


If you could only shop at one store/brand for the rest of your life, where would it be?



Follow Elaine on Instagram.

Interviewed by Ally Lozada.

Photographed by Abby Clemente.

Photos edited by Emily Kimura and Anisa Tavangar.