If, as Shakespeare’s character Jaques suggests in As You Like It, “all the world’s a stage,” then fashion is best thought of as costume. However, associating one’s clothes with “costume” need not call to mind over-the-top colors and tacky plastic jewelry. This week’s Fashionista shows how to make a unique statement with dramatic outerwear that nonetheless remains subtle and classy.
Name: Olivia Wilder
CollegeFashionista: How would you describe your style?
Olivia Wilder: I like really neutral tones. I very rarely wear anything but black or gray or cream. I know when I really like something, but I don’t know how to describe my style.
CF: So when did you start wearing neutrals?
OW: Basically this past year. And I haven’t figured out why yet, or what that means to me. But an older friend of mine was talking about how when she was a sophomore in college, she only wore gray. That was because she was just discovering her emotional terrain, and any other color didn’t feel like her because she didn’t know what it was yet. And I feel like that’s somewhat true for me. Like if I wear a really bright color it either doesn’t feel safe for some reason, or I just feel like I’m lying about something. And I think to most people that sounds really weird. People are always asking me, “Why do you wear so much black?” and I’m like, “Because I feel okay in it, I don’t know!”
CF: Do you feel like your passion for theater is connected to what you wear?
OW: It’s all self expression to me. This has been a more recent thing for me, figuring out how something that I wear can begin to say, “This is how I feel today.” I knew a bunch of people who did theater in high school and they would wear wacky things and I thought it was bizarre, but it makes more sense to me now, I guess. I also think that seniors last year in the theater had a lot of influence on my style. They had a very relaxed sort of, “I’m wearing this thing because it’s comfortable, but I also look fabulous in it” thing, and I was like, “Oh, wow. That’s what I want to do!”
CF: Do you have a favorite costume that you’ve worn?
OW: I really liked the jacket I wore as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet this fall. It’s gray and has shoulder cutouts and a beautiful hood. But I also played Helen Keller in high school and wore this blue checkered dress and apron, and it was really flouncy and really comfortable, and I wore bloomers with it. I was just this little girl and I loved it.