How I Shop: Marquita Pring

The 29-year-old IMG model has big sartorial plans for when social-distancing guidelines relax.
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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."

Marquita Pring has a few codes that guide her style. 

"Comfort above all. Eclectic. Subtly sexy," she tells Fashionista over the phone, from her apartment in New York (more specifically: from her closet, which she redid last year). 

That means she owns a lot of jumpsuits and slip dresses, she says. Pring's quarantine style, however, has been a little different, naturally. There are less slips and way more sweats, for one. But over the past few weeks of self-isolation, she's still found herself sticking to her go-to silhouettes: Her favorite right now is "this tie-dye jumpsuit, because I'm pretty much in sweats all the time," she says. "It's cotton candy-colored, so it's one of those things that looks like a sun setting, it's so beautiful. The trends of quarantine: tie-dying, banana bread." (The proof is on Instagram.)

The 29-year-old model — who's repped by IMG and has walked the runway for designers like Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung, Cushnie, Tommy Hilfiger and many others — has big sartorial plans for when social-distancing guidelines relaxed. She's been spending a lot of time amongst her clothes, plotting her post-quarantine wardrobe and discovering pieces she may have overlooked before but is eager to break out. 

"I've been getting into baggier jeans, which are really hard to find with my size and body," Pring says. "I'm really excited to wear those." (Her pick: a pair by Isabel Marant.) 

Ahead, she tells us about the pieces that are bringing her joy, her style signatures and why she feels "compelled to really give zero fucks" when it comes to what she wears. 

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"I've been going through my closet, getting inspired by what I have and piecing together new combinations that I had never even considered before. The monochromatic [look] is huge for me these days — I've always done that in the beige, natural world, but now I'm itching for color and prints. I think I've been kind of timid or more reserved in the past. I feel like I'm transforming in the midst of this self-isolation. It's one thing to come up with all these ideas in the safety of my own apartment; now I've got to go out into the world and really stick to this. But I feel compelled to really give zero fucks, honestly, and just wear what I want to wear and not care what anyone has to say about it. Then, hopefully, I can inspire that in other people. 

"I have this bright-red leather, mid-thigh-length coat that I cannot wait to wear with a zebra skirt. One of my new favorite things is this oversized Isabel Marant yellow-and-white zebra-striped jacket — it's become my spiritual garment for this entire quarantine. Whenever I go out, I put it on and I just feel fucking awesome. 

"The other day, I went to the grocery store in my brightest outfit possible. I definitely got a lot of stares but also what I assume are smiles under masks. I'm going to take them as smiles. 

"I got my closet redone at the end of last year, so I've really been spending a lot of time in there trying to figure out the perfect flow for everything. I knew that I wanted everything to hang — shirts, sweaters, dresses; then, as far as jeans, my workout stuff and loungewear, I have everything rolled, and I got big baskets with all of my underwear and socks. The layout works really well for me. It's my perfect little walk-in closet world that I've always dreamt of.

"I've been purging, getting rid of things that no longer serve me and that have been taking up space, giving things to friends. I'm really trying to focus on, moving forward, only purchasing things that really make me feel [joy]. 

"I've gone through phases. When I was in my early teens, I remember in high school, I really loved to express myself through earrings — really loud, vibrant earrings — because that's all I could find that could fit me at the time. Then, I grew out of that and started to be a little more safe or conservative. I played the role of the model that my agency at the time sort of dictated. I think around 25, I started to step into myself as a woman more and really connected with what I want. I saw how I was torturing myself trying fit into this mold of what past people wanted me to do and be. I started to break from that and listen to my body, listen to what made me happy. It's an ebb and flow, and it's always changing.

"I have these two really vibrant jumpsuits. One has these cutouts around the waist, which I really love because it's this random midriff that's unexpected — in the summer, I live in that, it's easy to travel with and great for location jobs; the other is zebra-striped with yellow. 

"Anything iridescent is my freaking jam. I've got a backpack, I've got jeans, I've got sneakers, I've got heels. Iridescent things make my heart sing. Even in my apartment, I've got iridescent curtains, iridescent shower curtains, streamers, details on my windows that blast prisms. Definitely, people know me for that.

"I really find my inspiration from out and about, interacting with different models and stylists. It's really from the people. You get to work with so many awesome people in fashion. This makeup artist, Carmindy Bowyer, she turned me on to Caravana — it's a sustainable brand that uses traditional techniques to create the most epic, beautiful pieces you could ever imagine.

"Danielle Redman [is my go-to shopping partner]. She's a really good friend of mine. She's just got great taste. She thinks outside of the box. She can be weird and funky, kind of tomboy-ish. I love her style. She inspired and pushes me out of my comfort zone, which is huge. I mean, we all want friends that challenge us like that, so I really appreciate shopping with Danielle.

"The way I shop is pretty much all online because I'm working so much and constantly changing clothes and traveling. Going to a store and shopping is the last thing I want to do, especially when it comes to trying things on. Maybe I'll go to a store, get a bunch of things, try on at home and return. But for the most part, Net-a-Porter is my jam.

"I find it very difficult, especially in the designer world. I try to be, especially lately, very conscious of the fast-fashion brands and avoiding that. But then when it comes to finding sizes that fit me, my options are much more limited. It's been interesting, finding brands that I can identify with, that I really love their style, and that also accommodate my size. I'll try a bunch of things, and it's usually very disappointing.

"Isabel Marant is probably my go-to right now, because her sizing has been very accurate, in my opinion, whereas most designers are on the much, much smaller end. I like YSL tops, I love Haider Ackermann — anything by him is just so elegant and sexy. But Isabel, that's my girl. 

"I have always hated shorts. I don't know what it is — just self-[consciousness] about my legs or feeling too exposed — but recently I found two pairs that really flatter me. They're kind of on the baggier side, which I think is why I like them more, because I don't feel scandalous. I can be a lot in shorts sometimes, and I don't like that kind of attention. I found that I always avoided shorts, but these are spacious and comfortable. I don't feel like I'm exposed. [I'll style them with] a tank, a crop top, a [bodysuit] and any kind of shoe — I really love a gladiator sandal, heels if I wanted.

"[In terms of jewelry] I have settled on my thing. I have a lot of holes in my ears — on the left side, I think I have five really thin gold hoops that I'm obsessed with and never take out unless I'm working, and then on the other I have four. I'm really, really, really obsessed with rings, but I never switch it up: I wear my gold midis, my scarab ring that's sacred to me and this other ring that I'm actually working on recreating for sale with this jewelry designer. 

"I love bags so much. I've definitely chilled out on bags because I have so many. I love to mix it up or have my bag be a statement piece. I have this one, I don't even know where I got it, that's a face — it looks like a marble material, it's wooden and hard, and you have to really look at it to figure out [what it is]. I do really love that abstract accessory, where you're not really certain what it is. I have a lot of earrings that are like that, with faces or boobs that can't tell are boobs. Weird, quirky things that you have to really think about.

"[I have] this really stunning small leather backpack with serious fringe — I love fringe — that was a gift from the Sports Illustrated team after shooting with them in Wyoming. It was day two, which is the video day, and I had to interview a bunch of local store owners and restaurant people in the town. At one of the stores we went to, I found this bag that I absolutely loved. And they got it for me! It just makes me so happy, because that shoot was a career high, dream-come-true, so there's a lot of significance attached to it. 

"When traveling, I like to find the vintage stores. If I'm in San Francisco, [I'll ask] the stylist what they recommend — they always have the best advice if they're local, as far as the best shops to go to. In Paris, there's quite a few. I kind of go in and black out. I'll find colors I like or I'll happen to be inspired by a certain outfit and have that in mind. Like last summer, I was obsessed with finding the most perfect white cotton slip dress that wasn't too revealing. But I don't have a strategy. I wish I did. Unless I have a goal in mind, it's like: Go crazy, see what finds you and if it works, it works and if doesn't, sometimes you walk out with nothing and that's okay.

"I've definitely shot things and remembered to go back [to buy it] — or I've seen an ad or the picture that we shot. Even throughout the years, I've made stylist friends that'll send me pictures of what they're shooting on set and say, 'Thought of you!' Or, 'You might want to try this.' I get really great recommendations that way.

"Recently, I was shooting with some friends and they pulled a bunch of different suits, and there was this Theory suit that fit me like a glove. I actually had something the following day where I needed a suit, so they sold it to me right then and there, which was really convenient."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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