Womenswear Wednesdays: Hostess Morgan Johnson on her modern-retro fashion

Sometimes style and research can go hand in hand. The more you learn about the looks of the past, the more you can create a new visual for the future. This practice is exemplified by local sushi bar hostess Morgon Johnson, who tweaks the styles of the 1940s and '50s to create her own updated fashion look. Keep reading to learn her style icons, where she shops and her her style mantra.

See also: Womenswear Wednesday: Saleswomen Ashley Warmington on her concert style

Name: Morgan Johnson.

Spotted at: At the Denver Public Library at 14th Avenue and Broadway.

Profession: I'm a hostess at a sushi restaurant/bar.

2013 jam: "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J. That is the song I am really about right now, at the moment.

Favorite film: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I also really love Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It's several episodes and they make commentary on movies.

Style inspirations/icons: Pin-up girls and burlesque. Ava Gardner. I'm a big Sinatra fan, so I'm getting into the 1940s and 1950s to see how they do their hair. I do most of my research and take inspiration from those two decades for all my life, not just style. Lana Del Ray and Katy Perry have a killer retro style, but they tweak it to make it modern and not costume-y. If you dress too spot-on for a decade, it can look like a costume at times.

Favorite color: Mint green.

Favorite accessory: Gold chains. I get them all the time from thrift stores, a nice old-school gold chain. If I don't do my hair that day, I'll wear a hat.

Style mantra: Be striking. Sometimes feminine pretty girls can be overlooked because they are ordinary. Being striking makes people stop and notice something about you. Like today I am wearing dark purple lipstick, so it stops people and makes them say, "What?" My grandmother says I'm very striking because of my black hair and I'm white as a ghost, so I like to live by that.

Shops at: All over the place: Ross, Forever 21, Hot Topic, Demi's Thrift Store in Northglenn, TJ Maxx, anywhere in the Pavilions and American Apparel. Mostly cheaper stuff, because I'm just a hostess and don't have a large amount of money to spend. I steer away from online shopping because I'm afraid I'll become addicted.

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Johnson has lived here for seven years. "Denver style is really eclectic," she says. "There is style inspiration everywhere you look. Everyone is different; you see people who can pull off almost anything all the time." Here she rocks a Diane von Fürstenberg handbag that she found at Ross. This manicure is speckled green and black, and adorned with a 3D bow on each ring finger.

Style analysis: Johnson studies fashions of the past at the DPL in order to expand her fashion palette of today. Her high-waisted tan pants from American Apparel with a cream blouse and light-toned flats create an overall effect that evokes the nostalgia of '40s fashion. The pop of deep violet lipstick along with her black hair, pink headphones and killer designer bag make Johnson stand out. She soaks up inspiration from all around her and pairs that with her adoration of the past to create a modern retro style all her own.

When in doubt, be striking, Denver.

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Mauricio Octavio Rocha graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English writing and a minor in cinema studies; He has been writing about fashion and style for Westword since 2012. Rocha also writes songs for his music and art project, VULGAR FEVER.
Contact: Mauricio Rocha

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