MODA Blog

Quad Style: Emilia McLennan

Quad Style: Emilia McLennan

Hi I'm Emilia! I'm a rising third year Russian/Eastern European Studies major from NYC, but I spent most of my formative years in London. My parents also grew up internationally, so I've always been raised/drawn to all corners of the globe. My interests are pretty scattered. I love traveling and exploring new places, I write music, I draw, I'm always trying to learn some new language on Duolingo—but I think if you asked my friends they'd probably say my biggest interest is my fat cat, Pablo.

How would you describe your personal style?

This one is tough for me. I think overall I try to go for elegant and simple. However I do love a good statement piece. I love pink, and I love being a blonde.

What are you wearing?

The belt and bag were a sixteenth birthday present from my parents. It was a huge surprise for me because they're really against lavish gift giving in general, but especially for their teenage kids. We have a crazy friend Alex who lives on our block back home and we'd always run into him while we were walking our dogs. On these walks he convinced my parents that a Chanel bag is a rite of passage for a young woman. His schtick was that if suburban kids got cars for their sixteenth birthdays, there needs to be a better alternative for city kids that can't drive. I still can't believe they bought that logic—and the bag itself!

I'm wearing a dress by Isabel Marant, a flannel print shirt from NastyGal, and Sorel boots. 

I'm wearing a dress by Isabel Marant, a flannel print shirt from NastyGal, and Sorel boots. 

The matching belt and bag are by Chanel. 

The matching belt and bag are by Chanel. 

Where do you find style inspiration?

As far as designers go, I love Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. I think their patterns are so fun and cheerful. A lot of my style inspiration comes from my mother and her family. I love looking through photos of my grandmother and her sisters in 60s Poland. From the fur coats, to the headscarves, to the perfectly winged eyeliner, I find such timeless elegance in their ability to transform what they had in such a stark sociopolitical era. However, I try to stay true to myself. I'll look at the pieces I like and try them with a twist that speaks to my inner self.

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Where do you like to shop?

I love Uniqlo for basics. For statement pieces I like Topshop (also great jeans) and NastyGal (RIP). Zara always has great stuff too, very designer-esque but at a more high street price. On the higher end, I like Maje and for scarves, Hermés.

Do you have any fashion regrets? What’s your biggest fashion faux pas?

So, so many fashion regrets. Thinking back to early middle school and my obsession with headbands, patterned knee socks, and Juicy tracksuits. Equally bad was my late middle school emo phase. Anyone who knew me then can testify to that being the absolute worst. However, my most recent faux pas was only over spring break. I got my hair cut into bangs and got a keratin treatment, but I used the wrong shampoo and my hair went back to curly again. Also the cut itself was awful and mullet-like after it wasn't professionally styled. I've learned to improvise though.

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What is your relationship to fashion? Why is fashion important to you?

This is such a huge one for me. Ever since I was a kid I've loved fashion. I remember being five and "designing" a fashion line with my best friend Jazzie. We worked super hard on it! It was sort of our passion project until we were about ten. I still have a ton of the sketches and business plans (no joke, we talked about where we would open stores and who our models would be).

I had a tough time defining who I was and what my style was through my teen years. I explored a lot of subcultures and learned a lot about myself. I also had to work around having a back brace which was awful at the time but hilarious in retrospect (luckily it came off before high school). I became way more involved with fashion at the beginning of this academic year. I really wanted to create a look that was true to myself. It's still a work in progress. Before school starts in September I'm going to be interning for Tara Jarmon in Paris which I'm really excited for. Since starting college, my future has become a lot more open-ended than I anticipated. I'm thinking fashion may end up playing a big role in that.

All photos via Kathryn Hicks.

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