Style Icons: Tavi Gevinson

We tend to think of style icons as people with a little age on them — people who, seasoned with experience, can turn out any look for any occasion. However, it’s important to remember that the young’uns are often the daring vanguard from which high fashion takes its cues. Messy, playful, devil-may-care, kids use fashion to emote and shape themselves and they do so with drastic shifts in style/identity. That’s why someone like Tavi stands out as so interesting. Not only does she make fashion her own in a perfectly youthful and experimental manner, but she also has made herself incredibly known for cultivating a well-defined, artistically composed, and refreshing sense of personal style. She’s got all the edge of youth and the consistent confidence and quirky elegance (quirkegance?) of someone 3 times her age.

Hailing from the suburbs of Chicago, Tavi Gevinson started her blog Style Rookie at age 11. In it she shares her runway obsessions, day-to-day outfits, look inspirations, and t(w)eenage thoughts. Her smart sartorial compositions and creative personality immediately shone through to her followers and before long the “fashion world” (like all those serious Mugatu-type folk) were knocking down the door of this teeny tastemaker. Soon, Gevinson was living a fashion fantasy as all the hippest designers started gifting her amazing pieces she could work into her collection of vintage finds and her expertly mismatched wardrobe.

Riding her fame and accolades, Tavi’s expanded her pop culture footprint by starting Rookiemag, an online magazine and interactive forum for (young) women. The site reminds us that Tavi isn’t necessarily a wunderkind, rather, all young people have meaningful perspectives, thoughts, art, and ideas to share. She and her editors use the site to start conversations about topics relevant to girls ranging anywhere from bullying, first-time sex, and best friend relationships, to room decoration, and discussion of favorite books and movies. Not too shabby for a high schooler who likes art and clothes and stuff.

If Tavi inspires you like she does me, there are few ways you can start adopting her look into your repertoire. For one, you’ll have to be a lot more flexible with all the “rules” of proper dressing. You might take an afternoon or 5 and play in your closet — try to remember when dressing up was a game and look with new eyes. That dress could be a skirt if you popped a sweater on top, and oh, the dress’ collar would peek out ever so sweetly. Practice mixing shapes and textures that we’ve categorized into separate genres. How would 90s-era Courtney Love wear a fancy black tulle skirt? Maybe with a washed out half-shirt? Combine seemingly opposing aesthetics to each other — 70s Mary Tyler Moore, meet nerdy grandma style. Feeling a sparkle princess vibe? How could you tone down the Disneyness of baby blue shine? Maybe with some serious yet chic combat boots. Ultimately, you gotta use your noggin to imagine fashion fusion and do so without taking yourself too seriously.

Tavi is above all a master of theme and pattern. Look at the collections of postcards and photos on her blog and you can see she’s great at finding artistic themes and details everywhere she looks. She might fall in love with a movie character or wallpaper design or album cover and she then translates the look and feel of that specific imagery into her clothing. Open your eyes. Look around you. Take cues from prints, art, and designs you admire. Don’t be afraid to thrift, clash, or be eclectic. It’s boring to look exactly like a GAP ad, so find your weirdness and wear it.

Inspired by Tavi

Ana Holguin writes PopHeart for The Idler.

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