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."
Marjon Carlos is a lot of things: She's a journalist, host and speaker who cut her teeth at Vogue and has written cover stories for Elle, i-D and Cultured — and even been the subject of a few profiles herself. Last summer, she created "Your Favorite Auntie," an advice show and newsletter where she and a guest discuss what's happening in culture, entertainment and, of course, fashion. She's in a unique position in that she can both report on what's cool, but also help dictate it. As Evan Ross Katz put it in Paper, "she's influential without the influencer title." So, we had to ask the tastemaker about her wardrobe, which is filled with pieces from friends like Christopher John Rogers and "faves" like J.W. Anderson, Dries van Noten, Jacquemus and more, as well as how the way she thinks about style has evolved over time. Read on.
"I would say [my style's] evolving, for sure. I've been talking about how I feel a bit more grown now. Not every trend is for me. Not every designer is for me — though I can admire them, they may not necessarily work for me. I feel like I've gravitated towards clothes that are a bit more sophisticated, elevated. There's a lot of fun, still, a lot of color. I'm looking for things that are a bit more intentional.
"What makes Dries van Noten my fave, or J.W. Anderson my fave, or Christopher John Rogers my fave? They're all so different, but they all have a distinct personality. They can take really classic silhouettes and subvert them a little bit, so I like that. I don't like to just look straight up and down — I like something that's a little off, a little offbeat, a little askew. There's got to be a great handling of color, a personality behind the label and the designer. I like to have a backstory, something that I can vibe with.
"[Fashion] was always a passion of mine. I was that little girl who was kind of stuck in the suburbs of Texas. There wasn't a lot of culture around me. I escaped into magazines, and I escaped into fashion and music videos and music. My brothers are the same; we have this little world that we created that was heavy on film and art and fashion and clothes. I gained an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion, from the designers to the models to the editors, by the time I was 12. I was well adept at pointing out what was Todd Oldham and what was Isaac Mizrahi. I would watch fashion television on Saturdays. I always gravitated towards popular culture and fashion and all of those things. I was also a writer, and I didn't know how I was going to combine those two things. It took a long time to get where I am now, but I knew that I wanted to one day combine those interests.
"I definitely am looking at what the girls are doing, like who's next, what's hitting and what's not. Instagram is obviously a huge source of inspiration. You can go there and find different designers and things like that. I still have a love for print magazines —that's a great world to escape into. I'm definitely always actively looking for something. Then, if something on Twitter or a meme or a reality television show or a movie or something like that just gets to me, I'm open to it. I still stay open to it.
"I've gotten really into home design and décor, so anything to do with interiors, I'm really, really, really into. I think there are some certain artists that are doing big things. I can't get enough of Doja Cat; she's really fascinating to look at. Rihanna is always a huge influence of mine. Tracee Ellis Ross, she's also a huge, huge influence for me. There are all sorts of women on Instagram who I just think are really wonderful. There's one woman, Gabriela Khalil, who runs Palm Heights hotel in the Cayman Islands — it's not like she's a fashion editor, but she has more style than any of them; she's really fun and exciting to watch. There are the fashion OGs, like Julia Sarr-Jamois, that I still can't get enough of and are perennially so chic and exciting. Then if I'm watching like 'RuPaul's Drag Race' or something, I'm inspired there, too. It comes in so many different forms and people.
"I like anything Edward Enninful does at British Vogue. There are particular shoots and editorials that excite me. I really loved working with i-D recently on a cover story, and that whole issue reminded me of... this idea that print isn't dead. I'm sitting back and looking at how print is evolving. That's something that really interests me about the future of fashion. I'd like to see more people of color, though, at the top of these major luxury companies. I feel like every time I'm on Business of Fashion, I always see more and more white men being promoted to these roles, even a year after many brands pledged this, that, and the other. I don't know if I see the change that I would like to. I'm still hoping for that in the future. I also really like the construction of the calendar — that's been really fun. I mean, I feel like when I talked to Christopher [John Rogers] about his collection coming together, it isn't in this linear way. He's like, 'You know what? I can't create the best things in that way.' That I really find very freeing and exciting to watch. It doesn't always have to be this one way. I hope we continue to apply that.
"I actually think stepping outside of the fashion industry, working in more of a freelance capacity rather than working at a major magazine, was the most eye-opening moment for my style. I could afford to indulge when I stopped working so primarily in fashion, but I was also free of other people's opinions. I could hone in on what spoke to me and who I was at that time in my life, rather than buy something because I knew it was big. That's been really transformative. And then, figuring out what's the difference between fashion and style — that's been really important for me. Style is how you move, how you live, how you put all the clothes together. It's an essence. Fashion is one of the industries. I had to really kind of figure out that distinction, in that it helped inform my own.
"I don't think I had an 'aha' moment. There's this idea that everybody gets in some box: Are you classic, are you minimalist, are you hippie, are you whatever? I could be any of those things, any day of the week — that's okay. Currently, I allow myself a bit more freedom with that, and that's been really cool. Again, it's like an essence; it's elevated, more grown. That's at the core of it, but I think it changes every day.
"I'm a super hardcore online shopper. I am on the sites. I'm so bad. Net-a-Porter, MatchesFashion, Browns, Farfetch, Ssense, MyTheresa — anything. I'm on those sites all the time. I have my measurements down. I know DHL's shipping window at this point. When am I going to get it? When am I not? When should I order? When's the last day I got so I can get it for an event or a trip or something? That's my game. I'm in deep. But that has a lot, obviously, to do with Covid. We were just on our computers.
"I look at designers first — like, 'Okay, I saw this Wales Bonner dress, I'm going to see if they have it. Oh, they don't have it here, maybe they have it at this site. I'm going to compare.' Sometimes if I'm after a particular item or designer, that's how I'll do it. Then, there's going for new arrivals and putting things in wishlists and going back to my wishlist like, 'What did you like that you saw two months ago, but you never bought and is now on sale?' That kind of stuff is really helpful. If I'm doing the most, I might put together a little mood board, but it's literally a Google deck with images of stuff that I like. That's kind of how 'Auntie's Favorite Things,' which is part of my newsletter, came to be. I have so many screenshots on my phone that I was like, 'Let me put this all together.'
"I have had a uniform lately. The big Frankie Shop button-downs, I've been wearing them open with a little bra by EmRata. I don't think she makes it any more. Then I got these The Row Igor khakis and I've been wearing them every single day to go places. It's just a great 'put it on and I'm out the door' [piece]. I have Birkenstocks on or I got some J.W. Anderson slides that have a big gold buckle on them — they have that weird, unnecessary thing on them but they're really fun. If I'm trying to be a little elevated, I might do a nice trouser with like just a simple white tank. I have a few from Jacquemus that are really good. They have like a fun print, but they're a classic shape.
"I got a lot of house dresses in quarantine. There was a Pleats Please Issey Miyake house dress I wore all the time. It's really colorful so it put me in a mood, so I wasn't always in my Hanes sweats. I still wear that for running errands, going to get a coffee, going on a date. It's just one of those easy dresses to put on with Birkenstocks and you're out the door. Mara Hoffman has some really easy dresses, too, that feel like a uniform to me.
"During quarantine, I found a lot of solace in just shopping and finding pieces. I don't know if I'm a capitalist in this way, but I was having a bad day and was like, 'Oh why don't you buy yourself something? You may be able to wear it in the near future. You never know what's going to happen. Maybe you'll wear it around your house, or maybe you'll wear it when you're doing 'Your Favorite Auntie.' It was just like an opportunity for me to dress up. That was fun, because we really were in such a bad state.
"I bought some Marni earrings recently that are really, really gorgeous. They look like crescent moons and have little fake diamonds. They're just really, really beautiful. I haven't figured out a place to wear them just yet, because they're kind of precious, but when I do, I will bust them out.
"My birthday was March 26 — we went into lockdown March 13, 2020. Aries were just fucked that year. We didn't have a good birthday season. People were just like, 'Dang, it sucks to be you.' So I bought a pair of these big Prada seashell earrings. I didn't even think I could get that because at that point, shipping was so weird, but I was like, 'I want to have some type of moment or something in my life to signify this birthday.' They came and I was like, 'I definitely will have these forever,' because they remind me of a time and they're just so precious. They take me back to that moment.
"One of the best purchases I made over quarantine was a Dyson. I highly suggest that to everybody, [for] when you're cleaning up your house every day because there's nothing else to do. I got a vintage 1970s Kartell magazine rack and I love it so much. Oh, and I bought the 'Rihanna' book. I think that was one of the most important purchases I've ever made. I built out a section for it in my home.
"There are [many emerging labels catching my eye.] Isa Boulder, she's a swimsuit designer and also does knits. I bought a bathing suit from her recently and I love it. There's this woman based out of London, Supriya Lele. She's super, super fab. I would love to get something from her. He's not really emerging — he's an icon — but Raul Lopez is coming back this season with LUAR, and I'm excited to see what he does."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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