Avant Garb: Eye-Openers

Avant Garb: Eye-Openers

At a recent wedding, I spotted Nani…wearing an outfit that almost stole the show.  It was so interesting it looked as if it told a story, and it left me wanting to know more. It is well-curated and has several pieces that catch your attention.

Nani described her look as a mix of thrifted, vintage gems and contemporary pieces.
“My style tends to move in themes. I often employ the ‘Vampire Casual’ look for weddings, but took a departure for Jack and Mickey’s wedding. I found that the general aesthetic of the ‘Talented Mr. Ripley’ cast would work well with their wedding’s mid-century modern design theme,” she said.
Nani layers a lot of different colors and textures. Some of the newer pieces in her outfit include her J Crew Demin Tuxedo shirt, her black velvet blazer and satin tie from the Gap, and navy blue cropped trouser pants from Urban Outfitters. Her Ray Ban Blaze pink and gold sunglasses add a flare of fun (because pink is fun) and mystery to this outfit. You’re left asking yourself…who is that?
An older, vintage piece in her look includes her Clifford and Willis Vest that she got from a 1990’s women’s career clothing swap. The older, classic look of her vest contrasted against the more current look of her velvet blazer makes for an interesting juxtaposition of textures and style choices.

Nani did an especially great job at accessorizing this outfit. In addition to her shades, her Ariat brown leather ankle boots from Tokyo 7 in NYC pair perfectly with her cropped pants. It was smart of Nani to also wear black socks. They draw more attention to her boots and help them to pop.

The overall impression is very equestrian, starting with her three-head horse brooch. I love this! The mixed metals make it so interesting and eye catching – from L-Train Vintage in NYC. It’s amazing how much this small brooch really adds to her look. Take it away and the outfit isn’t nearly as interesting. Add to that the way she flipped up and pinned her collar, and added the tie. Overall, this look is so charming, and transports you back to an older, simpler time; the perfect balance of classic, modern, and unique one-of-a-kind pieces.

Recently, I attended a dance class with some friends in Charles Village. It was fun, and the class was aimed at helping women feel sexy and confident, all while getting a good work out. The event even included a few local vendors. One of which I immediately had to meet because her style was soooo unique! Her name was a perfect fit, too – Uni Q. Mical (pronounced Unique My-Kell).
Uni Q.’s style is super fashion-forward. She makes style choices that are risky, but pay off. She’s not afraid to make a powerful statement with her daring, plunging neckline. I love that Uni Q. isn’t afraid to be bold and go against the grain.

“My fashion sense was created before me and FOR me, so to speak; my given name is Unique, so I feel like it was destined! I’ve never been one to follow any trend, label, or anything of the sort. I’ve always strived to wear what made me feel excited, eccentric, and unlike anything else I’d see that day. My favorite places to shop are (drum roll) thrift stores! I especially love Savers, clothing swaps, and raiding my grandmother’s closet,” she said.
The pieces may be vintage, but Uni Q. had found a way to make them look current, styling them in a more interesting way than their original purpose.

I also loved her antique rings that she inherited from her grandmother. They are timeless, ornate, and deserve an up-close look. Seriously, they don’t make them like this anymore. If anyone is able to rock these rings and do them justice, it is Uni Q.
If you find Uni Q’s style interesting, you might also like to know about her business, blkottonkandy. They create homemade, natural body butters and lip balms, as well as refreshing energy cleansing sprays with a sacred combination of ingredients, known as “juju juice.” And they sell them at a super affordable price. To learn more about their products, you can find them on Instagram under @blkottonkandy

FOUND – The other day I had to get my glasses tightened, so I stopped into Paris West Optical in Mount Vernon on Charles St. If you’re in the market for a new pair of sun or eye glasses, this is the place to go. They have some of the most interesting and unique frames in Baltimore. You won’t find a better selection than this, and they’re really willing to customize things to fit your needs.

A few pairs of sunglasses in particular really caught my eye. They are from Oxydo Eyewear. They describe them as “wearable sculptures,” which is pretty fitting. They are absolutely a piece of art. The black ones feel futuristic, kind of like you’re a sexy robot ready to kick some ass – or great with a gold or silver bathing suit by the pool this summer. The pink and gold ones feel more gentle and feminine, and would pair so well with almost anything.
These bad boys will cost you a pretty penny at $500 a pair, but it’s worth it. Think about how they’d be making a bold statement about your style. And about you…that you are strong, confident, and artistic.

Sloane Brown

Baltimore's longtime fashion and social scene reporter, Sloane is the founder/managing editor of Baltimore Snap.