STYLE GURU BIO: Mia Windisch-Graetz

STYLE GURU BIO: Mia Windisch-Graetz

Somewhere between a dying bonsai tree, Simone de Beauvoir and postponing laundry sessions would best describe my 24-year-old self in a few words. Besides getting excited about the city I have always dreamed about, on a daily (and nightly) basis, I am currently about to finish my MA in Global Communications, majoring in fashion at the American University of Paris.

Fashion is over- and at the same time, underrated. Overrated because it is often associated with glamour only. Underrated because it is so much more than that. I do not believe in trends but if I did it would be self-expression: clothes are not superficial but go beyond the surface and are deeply connected to the way we think.

When it comes to me it is my dear friends, people on the Parisian metro and my grandmother who inspire me the most. I have been a picky child and started to disagree with my mother’s fashion choices at the age of four. She took my flaws easy, whereas my grandmother was just as stubborn as me. My grandmother is a very unique woman. Her graceful appearance reveals that she is nobility. She would teach me what is considered “appropriate” or “inappropriate.” I can remember watching her get dressed, put on make-up and accompanying her to ‘Kario,’ her hairdresser. I did not and still do not agree with all her “dos” and “don’ts” but finding myself proudly wearing her vintage pieces or put on blue eyeliner just as she did, only proves that this woman has inspired me for a lifetime.

So do my friends: we do not necessarily have the same taste, but I value their opinion. Those “what-do-you-think” or “does-this-make-me-look-big” questions we used to ask each other when we were back at high school turn out to be a twenty-something thing too.

“There is nothing better than a really pretty dress with an ugly shoe,” was said in Vogue three years ago. I couldn’t agree more. While it was “oh so German” (I am from Vienna) when I arrived in the capital of fashion last year, it seems that the Birkenstock syndrome has finally reached the masses in Paris this summer. No wonder the ugly shoes stepped up again pretty late in the world’s prettiest city. Speaking of pretty: beautifully dressed Parisians supported my trying-not-too-hard-but-still-looking-good kind of attitude towards fashion. I think what we wear and how we style ourselves should be about the freedom of an individual’s expression. Someone’s fashion style should never be judged by anyone. Nothing is ever “inappropriate” or “ugly” unless you and only you decide it to be.