True style starts with remaining true to yourself: Sydney Scarola exemplifies that. This month, after attending the University of Colorado Boulder, the Colorado native transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City to study fashion business management. She has a good background for that; Scarola interned with entrepreneur and fashion creative Brandi Shigley for Fashion Denver, attending events and writing about them on the Fashion Denver website.
Before she left for the Big Apple, Scarola was a standout on the 800 block of Santa Fe Drive, wearing an attention-grabbing yellow industrial Off White Belt and red boots. We stopped to chat with her about what inspires her personal style, Boulder fashion and more.
Westword: Who or what inspires your fashion and style?
Sydney Scarola: I want to have my voice heard without having to say anything. I really like to be able to walk into a room and people know a little about me and my story, and who I am as a person because I am loud, outgoing and fun. I think my style reflects that, and that's what inspires me to be creative and be someone who stands out in a crowd, because I think that's what style is all about: the outer reflection of you before you say anything at all.
Do you have any specific people, places or things that inspire your look?
On a day-to-day basis, I am very inspired by emotions. I like to play with that, and see how I am feeling that day; it affects what I wear, because you dress how you feel a lot of the time. As far as people in the fashion world, I would say I'm inspired by Craig Green. When I am feeling girly, I like Zimmermann and Rodarte. Of course, l like Virgil Abloh because...who doesn't? I like what he does with Off White, mixing high-end fashion with streetwear. I think he does that well. That is why I like to incorporate Off White into my outfits.
Do you own a lot of Off White pieces?
I have a few. I have the belt, and some sweatpants. I am just inspired by the look of it. I like other street-wear brands as well. I like the casualness that street-wear has, but it still gives you that high-end fashion feel. It is still put together and gives you some runway-inspired vibes, because you can get creative with it, but it's not high-end, per se. It's edgy. By adding something like the Off White belt to an outfit, you have immediately elevated your outfit from regular to another level because it is such a statement piece and will automatically make any outfit. It is the focal point of an outfit and cinches your waist. I like that kind of statement to stand out. I think that is what a lot of streetwear brands do well.
What is your dream job within the fashion industry?
My hopes and dreams and aspirations, as far as fashion goes, is I really want to be a fashion editor of a magazine or publication, or maybe even start my own publication. I just really like the whole idea of going to events and incorporating my love of writing and fashion into that. ... That's my dream.
How was your experience with Fashion Denver?
I love going to all different types of fashion events around Denver with Brandi Shigley, who is the best boss ever. We just kind of hang out, and I observe everything that is going on. I take photos and I take notes, and then I write. Brandi and I hit it off right away, and we work really well together. It's so much fun. I love it.
What is your favorite color?
Yellow has always been my favorite color. It's very popular right now. It looks awesome as part of an outfit because it adds that pop of color that is bright, happy and fun. You can also get the different hues: You can do pale yellow in the summer and the more mustard yellows for the fall. It's such a good color to draw an eye to you.
What is your favorite accessory?
My favorite accessories are shoes. I think that shoes can be the first thing you pick out and you can make an outfit around them because they are so central. If you have a good shoe, you basically can have a good outfit. If I wear my best shoe, I can wear jeans and a tank top with it. If it is a cool, funky shoe, your whole outfit is made for you. It can be a lazy day where that shoe does all the work for your outfit. Or it can be a day when you're really trying to make a statement: You can incorporate your shoes into your outfit and let your clothes and shoes balance each other out.
What kind of shoes are those?
These are from Zara. They are amazing. They are a slouchy, over-the-knee, pointed shoe and a kitten heel. They're red, so I don't bring them out that often, because they are tall, red and they pop. But whenever I do bring them out, it reminds me why I love them — because they are so cool. I feel like without these shoes, this outfit would't be the same.
Where do you like to shop?
I love Zara and Grailed. Zara is a good place to find great pieces that are on trend, but are not going to break the bank. They do carry a lot of classic pieces and are very contemporary and modern; you can find really good stuff. Zara is like a better Forever 21, because sometimes Forever will ruin the trend with a weird graphic or message, and Zara doesn't do that. They keep it clean, but it is still on trend. Zara is my favorite place to shop for more low-end, budget-friendly pieces.
I like Grailed for getting resold nice, higher-end pieces. It is cool that you can get a high-end piece for a little cheaper than if you bought it online and new. So I love Grailed.
Also my mom's closet. My mom is a fashionista, too, and she has all the cutest things. So whenever I can, I break into her closet and take something. She always tells me how she would wear something back in the day. We think it's really cool to see the transition from how she wore it when she got it and how I wear it now. It's a really cool thing to see the personal styles that go from generation to generation or from person to person.
Does she give them to you, or do you borrow them?
It depends. Sometimes she will be like, "This doesn't look so good on me anymore; take it." This coat actually belongs to my mom, but she wasn't home, so I took it.
What is your jam of the moment?
I love a lot of songs. Since it's summer, I would say I really like to crank up "American Girl," by Tom Petty. When it's nice out, you can have the windows down and your music up and some good rock and roll going. I love Tom Petty. I really like "Late Night," by Odeza, because it's fun dance music. Sometimes listening to these types of music will influence my outfits, too. If I put on Tom Petty when I'm getting ready, I will wear something like a band tee and black, ripped-up skinny jeans with tennis shoes. Whereas sometimes if I am listening to Odeza, I will wear something crazy and funky and weird.
What three words would you use to describe your style?
Edgy, classy and all-encompassing. I don't really pertain to one style. That is a really hard question if you are someone who dips into a bunch of different styles. I can't necessarily categorize myself into one style. Sometimes I am feeling really girly and will wear pink eye shadow, a mini-dress and some heels. And then another day, I may be feeling something street-style, so I will put on a hoodie, my [Off White] belt, a pair of trousers and tennis shoes. I feel like all-encompassing is very important to my style, because it really represents the fact that I like everything.
Do you have any films that you look to for visual inspiration?
Breakfast at Tiffany's. That is such an iconic film for fashion. It's interesting, because fashion is instrumental in some movies but looked over in other films. I feel like today films are more concerned with action and animation and the older films really used fashion to talk about the characters. I appreciate all the outfits and looks in the film and the aesthetic of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
What is your style mantra?
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Be creative. Don't conform. I wouldn't say I have the most original style. But especially being in Boulder, there is a certain look and style there I don't really fit into. When I first got there, that was something I had a hard time with, because I was just figuring out how I wanted to wear my style, but not stand out too much. As I was going through school, I realized I love my style. I don't care what anyone in Boulder or anywhere thinks about what I wear; I don't want to conform to anyone else's opinion or thoughts to make someone else happy. That's the whole part of style, to have fun and represent yourself. I just want to be myself, and I can't do that if I am just trying to fit in with everyone else.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am inspired by a strong female presence. Women are strong and empowering to me. I think that comes through in my outfits. As a woman, I want to stand out and feel respected. I don't want to be overlooked by a man. The things that you wear play a big role in female empowerment. Your voice and your intelligence and your drive and your passion should all be there and be backed up by what you wear. I think they go hand in hand: They are both imperative to structuring and informing the other.
Like Scarola, always be creative and never conform with your fashion and style, Denver.