MODA Blog

Quad Style: Frances Chen

Quad Style: Frances Chen

Meet Frances Chen, a fourth year Economics and Psychology major from San Diego. Frances tells us she's "dabbled in a handful of clubs but the most important RSO in my college career has been MODA. I started with MODA Magazine my first year as a staff stylist and spent the past year as Co-Editor in Chief. I’m a fan of baking, art museums, and a lot of cliché California things like acai bowls and the beach."

A canvas dress from Uniqlo’s Uniqlo U line. I liked that the neckline and the pocket made it look a little 60’s retro. The boots are Ted Baker. Every year or two I buy a new pair with a slightly higher heel but otherwise exactly the same. They’re just easy to wear since I’m lazy.

A canvas dress from Uniqlo’s Uniqlo U line. I liked that the neckline and the pocket made it look a little 60’s retro. The boots are Ted Baker. Every year or two I buy a new pair with a slightly higher heel but otherwise exactly the same. They’re just easy to wear since I’m lazy.

How would you describe your personal style?

In theory, I aim for minimalist ceramics artisan or boutique owner living by the beach in Southern California meets late 60s French bohème-chic actress meets Emma Stone. In reality, my style is determined by whatever I throw on my body and face before running out the door--I’m insanely lazy and always running late. I don’t even think I’m all that stylish 80% of the time. That’s why I’m a fan of dresses, because they’re comfortable and make a complete statement in one garment.

Where do you find style inspiration?

I watch a lot of Youtube videos, read a lot of fashion blogs and follow a lot of designers. I’m pretty sure that learning from sites like Lookbook.nu and Into the Gloss during the formative years of my life left a permanent mark on my style. I’m also obsessed with architecture and interior design (I’m pretty sure I’ll have a mid-life crisis and become an interior designer). I find the way architects and interior designers create such a strong aesthetic in a space inspiring and relevant to personal style. Same thing for artists and musicians: everything fits together. 

Where do you like to shop?

ASOS, Zara, Aritzia, And Other Stories, my mom’s closet. For special stuff, there are some Australian brands that have really unique designs.

My yellow dress is from Monki. I always imagined I would wear it to a cool art gallery opening or something like that but I seemed to have forgotten I am not artsy or hip enough to ever be invited to a gallery opening. The earrings I made.

My yellow dress is from Monki. I always imagined I would wear it to a cool art gallery opening or something like that but I seemed to have forgotten I am not artsy or hip enough to ever be invited to a gallery opening. The earrings I made.

What is your relationship to fashion? Has it changed over time?

When I came to college and got involved with MODA, it pushed me a lot to think about style and fashion beyond just myself. Since I was young, I loved seeing the images in Vogue and stuff like that, but participating in the creation of magazine shoots widened my perspective a lot. I put a lot more emphasis on using fashion and images to celebrate a plurality of styles and different types of people. I like that fashion can be a platform for serious conversations that engage a lot of diverse people, but also just a fun thing that I can do purely for myself.

Making my own jewelry has pushed that confidence in my point of view even further, since most of the other fashion related stuff I do is centered on curating, which is creative, but in a different way. My interest in making jewelry started when I was in middle school, when I would make bracelets out of empty Capri-suns! I enjoy being in control of every part of the design process and making stuff with my own hands, even though the end result can be really terrible quality and break all the time. It’s my own little creative outlet and a great exercise in wabi-sabi.

Why is fashion important to you?

Fashion has helped me become confident with my own voice. I was a pretty reserved kid; I wasn’t shy but I always felt a little awkward expressing my thoughts, partially because I myself didn’t think my own perspective was worth much. But when I started getting into choosing my own outfits in high school (my school had a uniform so free dress days were a big deal), that helped me slowly become more comfortable with myself. Just walking around, living my life in an interesting outfit that I myself had thought about, chosen, and felt good in, built up my overall confidence in voicing my opinion and being proud of my point of view.

The collared jacket is from ASOS. I’ve had a long-term love for French worker’s jackets probably since 8th or 9th grade when I discovered Bill Cunningham and wanted a jacket like his. This past summer, I was at FYF Fest in LA and saw this girl wearing a collared jacket with her name embroidered on the back. I wanted to recreate that so I bought iron on patches from Michael’s and DIY-ed it before realizing I’d be too embarrassed most days to wear a jacket with my name on it. Jeans are also from ASOS.

The collared jacket is from ASOS. I’ve had a long-term love for French worker’s jackets probably since 8th or 9th grade when I discovered Bill Cunningham and wanted a jacket like his. This past summer, I was at FYF Fest in LA and saw this girl wearing a collared jacket with her name embroidered on the back. I wanted to recreate that so I bought iron on patches from Michael’s and DIY-ed it before realizing I’d be too embarrassed most days to wear a jacket with my name on it. Jeans are also from ASOS.


All images courtesy of Ruben Abbou

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