Style Profile: Magda Wittig

What keeps me interested in fashion and keeps me (admittedly somewhat obsessively) paying attention to how people dress is just how differently they do it. I find it’s the varied way in which people have decided to adorn their bodies in fabric incredibly engaging. Basic as it sounds, everyone is different and clothing is an expression of that. There’s a reason no one wants to show up at prom in the same dress as some other girl. Vanity is only part of it. There’s an implication in such a social SNAFU that indicates that the individuals with the matching outfits just aren’t as individual as they thought they were.

Clearly my style is only one tiny snippet of a vast array of potential ways of dressing. Everyone puts at least a little bit of thought into getting dressed in the mornings. But the way my mind works when I’m putting together an outfit clearly isn’t the same as someone else’s. So I wanted to hear about the ways in which other people think about how they’re going to present themselves. In an effort to explore this a bit further I decided to ask people about it. In this case, Magda Wittig, one of the dopest and strongest chicks I know. Girl plays rugby and puts outfits together in a way that conveys so much of her personality. So I figured there would be no one better to be my inaugural style profile. I’ve taken enough pictures of myself prancing around in booty shorts. It’s time to give someone else a turn.

LK: How would you define your style?

MW: Well I thought you’d ask me that. I dunno, funky? Whimsical? Quirky? Bohemian? I think that in a way it perfectly conforms to a patriarchal ideal of femininity, but in, I hope, a kind of ironic way. I like frills and pretty stuff, short skirts, high heels, lipstick, but I always know I am doing it for me to add a little bit of whimsy to my life.

LK: What goes through your mind when you’re getting dressed in the morning?

MW: Well I like to add at least one weird thing to make a little punch. I feel like that’s something I try to consistently do with every outfit. Every outfit is like a little snapshot of, like, one Magda. Ya know? People are all so varied and different and we’re always changing. Every five years you’re a different person, you know, so it’s like every day it’s like that’s how I’m feeling. I always try to have one thing in there that makes it not too hoochy, not too girly, not too fuck-you, not too anything. I dunno. Keep it funky.

LK: Do you think being a feminist competes with your love of fashion?

MW: I like being a lady. Girls are hot and why shouldn’t it be something that’s celebrated? I don’t think that it’s derogatory to show off your body. I never have. I don’t think it degrades women to show off their body unless they’re doing it in a way that they don’t want to. I wear short stuff, I show my boobs off. I do have boobs. They’re gonna be there, people are gonna see ‘em no matter what. So I dress to show shit off sometimes cause why the fuck not?

LK: Amen.

I like clothes. Maybe they’re a little bit vain. But my outfits are like cigarettes or a sports addiction for some people. Every day I need a little bit of ‘Ah’ what’s in my closet? What outfit can I put together? This will look funky with this. It’s definitely a…ritual.

LK: Is there anyone whose style you particularly admire? Your style icon, if you will.

MW: Have you ever seen Fredrico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita?

LK: …No

MW: Well there are these two women. One is this Marilyn Monroe type woman who is just like, blonde and just like fuckin’ bodacious. And the other is like this really classy, mysterious, dark-featured catwoman, ya know? And I love how it’s like these two sides to women almost. And they’re so cliché and so horrible and Fellini is at times a horrible misogynist, but at least the costumes in the movie are to die for. I don’t know what celebrities wear but I know movies that I love and costumes that are so whimsical and fabulous and fascinating and stuff.

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LK: So what other movies inspire you?

MW: M

Marie Antionette. Oh my god I just died, it was just too perfect. Like Moulin Rouge. Just crazy costumes are my shit. I think it’s important to be a little whimsical with what you’re wearing and take a bit of a cue from absurd stuff you love. Fashion is something creative but it’s very tangible, and it’s very…there. And everyone sees it.

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LK: So what argument do you think you’re making with what you’re wearing? Style is conveying a message to people, and what argument do you think you’re making with what you wear?

MW: I try to make my outfit not-standard. Like I try to make it weird. I don’t think I’m super cookie-cutter, I don’t want my clothes to be super cookie-cutter.

LK: So is that the message you think you’re sending to other people?

MW: I think my clothes are more a constant reminder to myself not to take shit so seriously. I’m pretty driven, and I like to think I have most of my shit together and stuff. I want to accomplish things. Super type A sometimes and I need to remind myself to take a breath. Things are meant to be enjoyed and I think clothes can be a fun, goofy way to remind yourself to have a bit more fun sometimes.

Images courtesy of:

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The Reason Clothes Matter: The First Day of School

Another outfit that undoubtedly requires contemplation is what to wear on the first day of school. Obviously, second year of college the outfit isn’t as big of a deal, and you’re only making a genuine first impression on a fraction of the people in your class (especially at a small liberal arts type of school). So, no, first day of classes outfit does not require the same level of deliberation as other outfits, it’s also not a day people tend to just roll out of bed either. Even my male friends have admitted to putting slightly more thought into their apparel than they ordinarily would, as they are fully cognizant of the fact that there will be some type of impression made.

The question of what to wear on the first day of school encapsulates the entire idea of why we wear what we wear. It’s another outfit that requires balance—the level of blank slate versus exhibition of personality. Obviously you want to make some type of statement about who you are as an individual, but not make so strong a statement that people don’t feel a need to get to know you beyond your clothes. You know that in this moment, in this outfit you are saying something about yourself, and you are the master of your own first impression, able to make people think that you are any type of person.

For my freshman year of high school, I remember this same debate running through my mind. I remember thinking back to High School movies and the stereotypes that every single individual portrayed in them seemed to adhere to, and not wanting to be thought of as strictly any of them. I wanted my peers to think of me as a blank slate, someone who they would have to get to know in order to think they knew me at all. With the desire to be a tabula rasa in mind, I opted for a white tee-shirt, Converse low-tops and blue jeans. I didn’t know who I was at 15, so I wasn’t about to make a strong statement about it. You can’t make an argument if you don’t know what to say, so I opted to keep quiet.

This time around, I didn’t labor over things as much. I am still obviously over-analytical, but I’m slightly less anal ie give a few less fucks than I did back then. It was only somewhat serendipitous, therefore that my first day of school outfit this year was reminiscent of what I had worn back then. The same principle of not wanting to be judged too much still held true, but I also did want people to be somewhat more aware of who I was as an individual, because I was more aware of who I was as well.

I had been feeling the skirt from the get-go, but finding a top to balance out the volume without being too skanky or too flowy was the mission of the morning. The winner ended up being this nicely long Victoria’s Secret crop I got from the thrift store. The basic-ness of such an ensemble was amended by the addition of the sandals. Not the boldest of outfits, but still exhibiting some form of communication. Studded bright orange Steve Maddens to me say “I’m really fun and sturdy enough to be relied upon, but also don’t fuck with me. Also I’m cute.” Or at least that’s what the shoes were saying to me. There’s something I find very true about this statement in regards to myself, so I let my sandals do some of the talking for me.

Clearly there’s a lot more that goes into a first impression than just the outfit. (Interestingly enough everyone I met on the first day of high school thought I was a bitch, so my attempt to transcend judgment was clearly unsuccessful.) However, the part clothing plays in the first moment of meeting someone is undeniable, and balancing the first impression is essential.

The Middle Path to the Airport

As we all know packing for a long trip is one of the biggest clothing-related struggles in a person’s life. After the suitcase is zipped, however, people often neglect an important part of the travel: they don’t really truly consider what they are going to wear to the airport. It seems like a silly think to think about before embarking on what will hopefully be an adventure, but you and that outfit are going to be spending a lot of time together. I know people tend to be in the mindset that if they dress like they do when they sleep then maybe they’ll actually be able to do it on the flight. But let’s be real folks: there is never as much sleep happening on planes as we want. You’re gonna feel disgusting after sitting for 8 hours. That’s inevitable, but I feel slightly better when I finally disembark when I don’t feel like I look like an absolute slob.

As a college student I am certainly familiar with the comfort factor. (I live in a dorm room—I get the whole sweats thing.) When traveling, however, I try to keep the pajamas in my luggage. When I look sluggish I feel sluggish as well and I don’t know about you, but airports are not always the most relaxing of places. If you have a connecting flight there’s generally some running around and who really wants to be the kid sprinting through the Frankfurt airport in a Juicy sweat suit? No one likes that kid, and wants to make space on the moving walkway for them either.

Comfort being the sole focus has the irksome effect of causing generally stylish people (or even general members of the population) to dress like they are in the midst of finals week and have a Geology exam in the 3 hours. The international terminal causes people to forget about the fact that there are other humans at the airport and focus solely on the comfort factor. Airports are a place to people watch, so this practice is particularly annoying here. I can only take so many worn-out yoga pants and U of I sweatshirts before even humanity starts to hold less interest. I understand that the airport is not New York fashion week, and I, too, laugh at the lady who is just clearly trying way too hard as she teeters around in stilettos. Really, you don’t need to look that fancy.

This brings us to my attempt at the airport-outfit balancing act. On a recent flight back from Berlin (with a little bit of a jog through Frankfurt airport, and by jog I do mean panicked sprint) I opted for this:

The jeans are loose fitting so I could curl up like a little fetus in my seat and (attempt) to sleep. The jacket is also one of my favorite things in the world. I like to call it a tailored sweatshirt jacket, as it is made of sweatshirt material nut is but like a jacket. Comfy and put-together! I call that a definite win-win. I recently re-discovered it coming back from school and re-fell in love with it.

As far as shoes goes the practicality of the platform sandals is not immediately apparent. However, I always find myself in a bit of a crunch as far as space for packing is concerned (this fact should surprise no one), so I always have to wear the shoes that will take up the most space. In this case it was these beauties I got for 15 Euro on sale at Promod. (They were the last ones left, and in that moment I gave a little ‘thank you’ to genetics for cursing me with absurdly massive feet.) Luckily these clunkers are actually easy to walk in, so dragging along my suitcase was not made particularly more arduous by my choice of footwear. The rubber soles also meant that they had decent traction, which is a definite plus. After all, wiping out on a moving walkway is worse than wearing a velour track suit on one.

Top: Roxy, Jacket: Nolli, Jeans Mango,  Shoes: Promod, Cuff: Some Italian leather store in Florence