Monday, April 13, 2015

Women and clothes: Dominique Lee

My friend Dominique radiates warmth and positivity. It's like she was born with an extra dose of sunshine. She's fun-loving, makes me laugh whenever I spend time with her and is kindred with my sassy, fashion-loving 5-year-old ("We are two peas in a pod!" she exclaims whenever she sees my daughter).

And the girl knows clothes.

When Dom was a personal stylist at Anthropologie her customers flocked to her for advice. She has an instinct for what looks good. She can throw outfits together like a fashion ninja. Women trust her.

When she's not working as a marketing coordinator at Huntington Bank, the native Ohioan loves to vintage shop, cuddle with her beloved pup Gizmo and spend time in the great outdoors.    


Jennifer Cho Salaff (JCS): Is fashion important?
Dominique Lee (DL): There are many different views on fashion and its importance. The infamous Coco Chanel once pointed out, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening..." So to answer the question, "Is fashion important?" Absolutely. Fashion is about personal style, confidence, as well as what feels good to you.

JCS: Is there a difference between fashion and style?
DL: Of course! Fashion is an ever-changing trend, while style is an exterior manifestation of our interior self.

JCS: Should one keep up with fashion?
DL: The mutability of fashion can make it difficult to keep up with fashion and its trends. But with the right practices and effort I think everyone should keep up with fashion. It's another way to express yourself. It's a work of art.

JCS: Is there an article of clothing or accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
DL: I'm a sucker for a great handbag! I feel like a good handbag ties an entire outfit together. Without it my look feels incomplete.

JCS: Did your parents or other family members teach you things about clothing? What lessons do you remember?
DL: I knew I loved fashion at a very young age. I always wanted my shoes to match my dresses and I never left the house without an accessory. I first discovered fashion when I was seven years old. My mother bought me my first Louis Vuitton monogram mini sac. I cherished this bag and instantly fell in love with not only fashion, but also everything about fashion -- the designers, the collections and the stories behind the work. Fashion was the one subject I just couldn't get enough of.  

JCS: Who is your favorite designer?
DL: Alexander McQueen's work is just something out of a fantasy. It's a collection for the wild girl but it's detail and crazy designs make it perfect! No one can ever duplicate his designs nor can come close to being the amazing artist that he was.  

JCS: Who is your fashion muse?
DL: I would have to say Audrey Hepburn. She's known for her classic, chic style and she also starred in one of my favorite movies, "Breakfast at Tiffany's." The golden rule we can learn from Audrey is to always be a lady. 

JCS: What is "you" and what is "not you?"
DL: "Me" is effortless, chic and my own. "Not me" is trends and what others like. It's about being unique and finding your own style.

JCS: Most ridiculous trend in fashion (past or present)?
DL: Haha, I would have to say extreme platform shoes. You've seen them on the runway with Alexander McQueen, as well as Chanel. These shoes look gorgeous but are not practical to walk in!

JCS: Tell me about something in your closet that you keep but never wear. What is it, why don't you wear it and why do you keep it?
DL: I have a beautiful fur coat that is real mink that was passed down to me from my great-grandmother. It's a swing style coat and it fits beautifully, but it's one of those items that I cherish and only wear on special occasions. It also has its own little space in my closet. It's truly a beauty. I also envision having a winter wedding someday and I'll wear it for that special day!

JCS: One of my favorite fashion statements of all time comes from you! Your trademark phrase, "Pop a red lip." Where did that come from?
DL: My great-grandmother (the same woman who gave me the mink coat) was one sassy woman. She always told me that a complete outfit is always accompanied by a colored lip, preferably red. The "pop a red lip" came from my lovely gals at Anthropologie -- they know that a pretty red pout is a great way to glam up an outfit. I even have customers living by this golden rule! (Advice: the best lipstick to pop a red lip is MAC Russian Red. This color looks good on everyone!)

JCS: If you were building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
DL: Honestly, my style evolves each year and I'm usually the one to always go for the glam look first. If I had to start again, I would probably start with the basics. Great classic heels in nude and black. Just all classic pieces that will last for a lifetime and never go out of style.

JCS: Describe your figure.
DL: I'm an extremely curvy girl with an hourglass shape. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love my curves and embrace them in all of fashion and its trends!   

JCS: If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
DL:  Oh this is such a tough question! I really value every item of clothing that I buy and love each and every piece. But to keep only one? It would be my fox fur vest. It's such a classic piece that I love each fall and winter.

JCS: Do you address anything political in the way you dress?
DL: Never. I dress how I feel. And I love what I love.

JCS: When do you feel most sexy?
DL: I feel most sexy that moment before I get dressed up. Great lingerie, freshly curled hair and a spritz of perfume. How can a girl not feel sexy? 

JCS: Do you have any shopping rules?
DL: Yes. Never think twice. Just buy the damn thing!  

Photos courtesy Dominique Lee.