Hey Ms. Creative Classicist
Or can I call you Rose? And peek at your handbag collection?
So I love to obsessively think about and analyze style. Shocker! And somehow through the wonderful world of IG, I entered the orbit of one Rose Li, aka @thecreativeclassicist, who understands this and so much more.
Lucky, lucky me. She was passing through Miami and we made a coffee date for the Fendi cafe. I believe this is known as a “meet cute.” And the rest is like a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan blockbuster. Only fashion. And so. much. better.
Rose is the embodiment of “inside matches the outside.” As a human, she’s as thoughtful, smart, refined, interesting and accessible as her looks. And luckily she said yes to answering a few of my pressing fashion questions.
HMS: I first found you on Instagram because you were one of the few people talking about style in interesting ways. You introduced me to the very idea of exploring your adjectives. How did that start for you and where are you with it now?
TCC: My IG account was definitely inspired by Amy Smilovic and the work Amy and Dione Davis were doing with Tibi talking about personal style. I started thinking about my own wardrobe in that way, and thinking first about my “muses”(people who’s style I admired) and why I liked them. It evolved to looking at my own style over the years — thinking about outfits and liked the most and the common ‘words/adjectives’ that came about it. Recently, I also binged Allison Bornstein’s three word method videos — and my penciled in words now are “refined modern and minimal.” It’s been good to have these words as a framework to think about myself — but I also like to be creative and experiment, so I still allow myself to venture outside of them when the mood strikes!
HMS: You also happen have a low key exceptional handbag collection! What goes into pulling the trigger on a bag for you? Any bag on your wish list right now?
TCC: Thank you! I see your bag collection too, Rachel! For bags, it’s really a mix of well thought out pragmatic purchases (like my vintage box Kelly 32, which fits my lunch box and I got for a good price from Rebag) and impulse buys that may or may not work out. The impulse buy that has worked is my mini Palm Springs from LV — it is so not me (I mean, refined? Modern? Minimal?) but it goes with pretty much everything, is lightweight and fits a lot. On my wishlist — a really nicely worn vintage Birkin 35 in a cool tone brown (I am looking for a secondhand one for a good price), and dreaming of a mini Kelly!
HMS: You also do a lot of rentals, and that impresses me, how smart you are about it. I see you doing it to try out a trend like acid wash denim before committing, for example. What do you like most about renting, and what makes you buy, either before/after a rental period?
TCC: I love the “new in” feeling that renting gives — without the commitment. We are all human, and the “shopping impulse” is a real thing for me — regardless of how hard I try to be slow/logical with my purchases. Renting definitely helps with that — plus it’s fun to try something new. In terms of purchases — definitely pieces that I reach for over and over, and goes with my existing pieces. The other good thing is that RTR will discount items for purchase when you have rented the item for a while — so I hit the bid when it’s a good price. [ed. note: Head over to Rose’s profile for her code, which you can use for a deal on rentals.]
HMS: Something you’d never put in checked luggage?
TCC: Definitely bags like my Kelly 32 or Vintage Mondrian Chanel flap, clothing wise, my detached lapel Liam I feel is irreplaceable right now.
HMS: How do you juggle your IG content and a full-time career (a hard-hitting one!)?
TCC: I am fortunate that I have NYC as my backdrop, so that stopping at a random location can feel sufficiently cinematic! The other thing is I’m quite quick about my filming and editing. I actually edit on my subway commute! Luckily I have read that “authenticity” is a desired trait in terms of IG content, so I appreciate that people don’t mind my rough and ready content!
HMS: What’s the outfit you grab when you’re late for a meeting?
HMS: How do you look at trends? What’s a trend you’re thinking about trying?
TCC: I’m definitely not above trends — I like to look at the runway shows and see what is happening, but doing that thinking about my own style helps me know how best to adapt trends into my own wardrobe. I think naturally there will be trends I am drawn to more than others — for the most part, I tend not to gravitate to colour trends, because colour is not something I have a lot of in my wardrobe. On the other hand, trends related to proportions/textures I take note of and will look to try those. For FW22, I’m definitely into the fuzzy knit trend and definitely have a few things already that can work. I also like the idea of longer/leaner shapes.
TCC: I actually love following people who seem to have an amazing eye for mixing unexpected things — often they are much more maximalist than me. I would put you in that category Rachel! [Ed note: !!!] I love the way you layer even in warm weather and play with texture and colour and accessories. The other people whose style I’m loving … Crystal Anderson mixes vintage and designer brilliantly, Amanda Murray who wears catwalk pieces IRL so well, and Jasmina whose look is just so fun and of the moment.
HMS: I love it when you visit stores and show us what’s inside! But you also seem so thoughtful about what you buy. How do you resist temptation?
TCC: I definitely only buy things I love. We don’t have space in our small NYC apartment for average items that don’t get used/worn! Then the next filter is based on pragmatism — I have to love the piece and it has to work in my wardrobe and life style. I definitely think about whether a piece can be worn multiple ways/with multiple items in my closet. I find the style lesson from Tibi around “PDW” really helpful — if something can be worn Play, Dinner and Work — then it’s a go!
Rose is an executive in the field of international tax law. But more importantly (ok more importantly for me) she’s a gracious, impeccable friend and an incredibly wise and informed voice on style and fashion @thecreativeclasscist.com. Find her there sharing wearable yet decidedly sophisticated daily outfits and plenty of insights on what works and why.