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How I Shop: Candice Huffine

"I don't have any shopping regrets, but I can always wish the experience would be more exciting and available and inclusive."
Huffine at the 'Harper's Bazaar' Icons party at The Plaza in September. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar

Huffine at the 'Harper's Bazaar' Icons party at The Plaza in September. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar

We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."

I'm basically interviewing model and body-positivity activist Candice Huffine next to a ginormous and very deep ball pit for grownups. But the venue, a Fossil pop-up in SoHo, actually provided the perfect backdrop, considering how incredibly friendly and down-to-earth she is. Plus, her energy just infectious and her honesty so refreshing. 

As a brand ambassador and campaign star, Huffine dropped by the pop up — hence the ball pit, which almost swallowed an influencer — to celebrate the new Fossil Sport Smartwatch. Huffine was also on hand to lead a panel discussion on women's empowerment and inclusivity through fitness and fashion. (Coincidentally, the event also took place on the same evening as a certain annual lingerie runway show that's receiving some major heat for doing the opposite.)

The two-time marathoner — she trained for and ran last year's prestigious Boston Marathon on a dare — also has her own athletic-wear line, cleverly named Day/Won, which she confidently and comfortably wore for the event. Because Huffine, who's walked runways for inclusive designers, like Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung, plus modeled for the 2015 Pirelli Calendar (and prestigious high fashion glossies), will be the first to talk about how much she loves athleisure for reasons beyond staying comfy. Plus, she talked about how her style icon inspires her and her biggest shopping regret — which doesn't actually have anything to do with a purchased item. 

"I just keep buying sneakers without thinking I have the same one already. They're all different, you know? I'm a rejuvenated sneaker girl now because I wore them all the time in high school and it was my main style piece and very much my signature. Then I glammed it up and did the whole heel thing in fabulous New York City, and the trend has come back, which means my old love has been reignited. Now I'm just stockpiling. Like, how many white sneakers does one need? How many high tops does one need? I don't think I need to explain it, right?

I actually don't understand all that [about staying informed with sneaker culture updates]. That overwhelms me because there's already so much to keep up with. I'm like, 'oh my gosh, there's limited dates for things?!' So that's intense, but I did just buy two of the exact same pair of Golden Goose sneakers, but in different colors. That's my impulse, where I'm like, 'yes, I need that in leopard and I also need that in blue.' So they match our new Day/Won collection. There's a reason. There's a method behind the madness.

I live in a lot of spandex now, but I'm not mad at that. I thought about that recently, too, as well because I'm representing my  brand and [Day/Won] it is me, basically. It's an extension of who I am in physical form and in clothing form. I've found myself going to meetings a lot lately in athletic gear. It's great because I'm [wearing the pieces] for function and fashion, which is very of the times, as well. Also, using and testing the items to make sure they can also get you 26.2 miles, if you want to, or through the new 'House of Cards' marathon. Whatever you want. I'm extremely empowered in my leggings.

My personal style is just very laid-back. I do love to get dressed up, but for the life that I lead, that doesn't fit in anywhere. I have a whole side of my closet that's sequined and fringed and heels and all of that, but it's about time that I finally get realistic in admitting that I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of gal. Vintage tee, jeans, sneakers and a leather jacket: That most sums me up.

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I have a very coveted Rod Stewart vintage tee [above] that I got a long time ago. It's very neon. It's from the year that I was born and has some great colors in it. I have some great Grateful Dead ones because I'm a Grateful Dead fan by association because of my husband. I started learning about them in the beginning of our relationship and now I'm a fan. I've always loved Queen and obviously they have a new movie that just came out.

I love to just go online [to find vintage tees], you can just dig forever online. A friend of mine that has an Etsy T-shirt shop that's specifically vintage T-shirts called Never Gonna Turn Down Again. Because you gotta just turn up all the time. Metropolis Vintage, here in New York City in the East Village, is where the Rod Stewart one came from.

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Dia&Co

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Dia&Co

I have a stand-out style icon — I really do — and she might not be the one that you expect, but then when I do say her name, everyone's like, 'oh yeah.' To me, it's Jenna Lyons, honestly. Every time I get dressed, in the back of my mind, I do a 'What Would Jenna Do?' scenario so I don't overthink the outfit or my style to the point where I play it safe. I do think she puts such unexpected twists on things and you can tell that she's having fun. She's gonna wear this peacock skirt to [Solange's] wedding. She wears unexpected things to unexpected places because that's what she's feeling at the time. That's what she wants to do. So I always admire everything that she wears, because you can tell she just feels so much like herself. 

I used to do wild things in high school and I would just wear what I wanted, like, knee-high go go boots to 11th grade because I felt like it on a Tuesday morning. Then there's a part of us when we grow up, [we say], 'Oh, I can't do that. Is that appropriate? Will I be too overdressed? Will I be too underdressed?' And we just think ourselves out of doing the things we want to do, so I always like to give a little nod back and just: WWJD?

I love leopard and also feel that's a very Jenna thing. Maybe I'm obsessed. She does say leopard is a neutral. I fully believe that. I always say it's my favorite color because it's like if I have a choice for a solid color or a leopard, it's just a no-brainer. It's getting to the point where people are sending me photos of leopard stuff. I'm like, that's either great or I'm turning into my mom or all of the above and that's great, too.

Campaign star Candice Huffine wears the Fossil Sport Smartwatch. Photo: Courtesy of Fossil

Campaign star Candice Huffine wears the Fossil Sport Smartwatch. Photo: Courtesy of Fossil

I don't have any shopping regrets, but I can always wish the experience would be more exciting and available and inclusive and I will cross my fingers and hope and work toward that day, of course, because I believe it will come. But you can't have regrets on things that you can't fit. I had to sum it up, it's more just sad that maybe some brands don't understand the necessity or the need and it leaves the customer walking away kind of sad. It's like, 'I just want you to know, now I left having a shitty day.' Not regretful, I'm just a bit bummed.

Which is why I'm so excited to be a part of [Fossil]. When you usually see anything that's sport or athletics-related, you usually only see one body type portrayed as the face of that and I consider myself a very strong athlete. I've run two marathons. I feel proud of that and to be recognized on a level like this for a sports campaign — and not as just the girl in the back to tick the box. We're inspiring through watches! I love it on all levels. We have to stay motivating the masses because women should 100 percent know their worth and not based on their size. We want them to live their best life and shop and have fun and all those things — wear leopard."

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