Associate Professor of English
What are you wearing today?
Lace-up boots by Michael Kors, the pants are Max Azria, my shirt is from Forever 21, and the sweater I picked up in Spain at a little bitty boutique.
How would you label your style?
My style is always funky, unexpected, and slightly inappropriate. My personal rule is that it’s always better to be underdressed than overdressed. I feel more like myself when I’m underdressed. When I’m overdressed, I feel like I’m trying to be someone else. It’s really a matter of temperament.
What is your style inspired by?
I don’t really have a specific inspiration because my look changes so much. I love international street fashion, especially Japanese and Parisian street fashion.
What is it about street fashion that attracts you?
I think the fact that it’s so unconventional. You’ll see people dressed in ways that seem to speak more to the individual than that sort of broader fashion culture. I think in the U.S., most people are really just trying to fit in and look appropriate. But with international street fashion, because it’s so centered around youth, there seems to be less emphasis on conventionality and more emphasis on expressiveness.
Do you dress differently when you’re in the office than you would on a day off?
If anything, my skirt length changes. I tend to not wear short skirts in the classroom. I don’t want to risk giving any sort of peep show.
Where do you shop?
Free People is one of my favorite boutiques. I love Rouge in Princeton. I also love European discount stores like Zara and Top Shop.
Have you always been into fashion?
Yes, since I was tiny. Some of my earliest memories are putting on my mother’s wigs leftover from the ’60s. I played dress up every day as a child. If I knew I was going to watch “Hee Haw” that evening, I would have a special outfit for that. I would pull out all of my country and western gear.
Did you ever consider a career in fashion?
When I was younger, I worked for a fashion magazine called Platinum, and I modeled as a teenager through college. I found the fashion industry to be a little oppressive. The “industry” wasn’t about all of the things that I loved about fashion. It was more about the efforts of a particular company to sell products than it being a form of personal and artistic expression.
Do you have a favorite designer?
I love Roberto Cavalli’s designs. Cavalli was one of the first designers that went for the “deconstructed look.” He has a way of producing clothes that look both upscale and slightly grunge at the same time.
Do you have any style icons?
My mom had a really edgy style. She would wear four-inch heels that would be red or gold. She would wear incredible scarves that she would tie in a sort of French fashion. She had amazing clothes. Mila Jovovich also pulls together some extraordinary looks. She has a great way of putting together totally unexpected pieces and making them work.