Every time I shop on Magazine Street, I admire the diaphanous paragons of style staffing the clothing boutiques. These women manage to be effortlessly chic and friendly during long hours in hectic retail environments, often on shoestring wardrobe budgets. Leah LeBlanc of Funky Monkey, first in a series paying tribute to Magazine Street shopgirls, shares her fashion influences and tips.
How would you describe your style?
I think my style is quite eclectic. ... I love Hollywood glamour of the '30s and '40s, the bohemian gypsy look of the '70s, and the avant-garde of the '80s. The most important thing to me when dressing is opulence. I love rich colors, textures and fabrics.
Who or what are your style icons?
Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Alexis Carrington from Dynasty, Jerry Hall, Marlene Dietrich, Phyllis Nefler from Troop Beverly Hills, Anita Pallenberg, Dolly Parton. I am really just inspired by any woman who has the confidence to pull off an over-the-top look.
What style blogs or magazines do you read?
Some of my favorite style blogs are I've Got a Lust For Life, Spanish Moss, Oracle Fox, Wild at Heart, and NYane&Mpho. I love Lula Magazine, a British quarterly magazine. However, I get the most inspiration from looking at vintage copies of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.
Where do you like to shop?
To be honest, almost everything I buy is from Funky Monkey. Whether it's a trendy new piece, vintage, or a recycled designer piece, all my treasures come from where I work. When I do shop elsewhere I try to keep it local and steer clear of chain stores; it's easier to be original and have personal style if everything you wear isn't from Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.
What are some of your fashion tips?
- Have the confidence to take risks. No one gets noticed for dressing like everyone else. Be inventive and creative when dressing and wear what you love.
- Accessories are great for turning any outfit fabulous. Jeans and a T-shirt can transform into an amazing outfit with the right jewelery, belt and shoes.
- Always, always give secondhand shopping a chance. At Funky Monkey we get in some of the most amazing designer and vintage pieces; I don't see why anyone would want to buy these items new. Last year I got a pair of Louboutins for $70! I don't think that can be beat.