StylingSeries: Michelle Li

Michelle Li – fashion editor & stylist – discusses color theory, the creative challenge of styling her pink hair, and the responsibility of stylists to push the limits of personal expression.
StylingSeries: Michelle Li

How does color fuel your creativity? 

My hair has been pink for almost three years. I remember waking up the morning after I first dyed it. I was freaking out. I thought I had to throw my whole closet out. I only wore black for three days, because I didn’t know what to wear with pink hair. Since then, I’ve found a lot of ways to style myself, but my hair has definitely forced me to get creative about color. 

I’ve learned a lot about color theory and find it so interesting how much a color can really change a look. Adding the smallest amount of one color can completely change how the other colors reflect off it. Adding a purple sock makes pink and red look totally different.  

MICHELLE WEARS THE SCOOP IN CLAY AND THE BIKINI IN CLAY

What role does experimentation play your styling? 

One of our responsibilities as stylists is to identify someone’s style, to understand their personality, and to find a way to push it even further. To make them realize how far their style can go. 

Pushing one’s style is a building process. Trying one piece of clothing at a time. I always say: just try it, it takes two seconds. If you hate it, think about why you hate it. Is it the shade? The way it lays? Being thoughtful in identifying these reactions can really help you the next time you get dressed. Once you know what you want, you can really start to experiment and have fun. 

MICHELLE WEARS THE BALC IN INK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN INK. SHOP SIMILAR STYLES.

How would you describe your personal style? 

My personal style is very colorful, very printed. I love whimsical looks based on different characters. I dress for whatever character I want to indulge that day. I gravitate towards really soft, silky fabrics. Slip dresses and chunky knits or comfy printed pants. Comfort is part of my style, which makes the first layer so important: it’s what touches your skin. Optimizing your underwear for comfort is important for me. 

MICHELLE WEARS THE BALC IN INK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN INK. SHOP SIMILAR STYLES.

 

How has slowing down re-shaped your style? 

This year has really helped me slow down. You want to take your time. For me, I’ll wear an outfit for a week and make subtle little changes to it. I play with the look and find all the possible different iterations of expression. I think of different accessories, different shoe pairings, how each item changes the look. I’ll wear that same, evolving outfit for a week or two and, by the end of the week, I’ve developed the ultimate combination. Slowing down allows your mind to play with new ideas. 

MICHELLE WEARS THE BALC IN INK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN INK. SHOP SIMILAR STYLES.

How did you style look #1? 

The first look features a wrap top from Wray. I actually love the way wrap tops look when they are worn undone. I have been obsessed with this shade of Kelly green – pairing it with navy blues and oranges. I was excited to pair it with an Ink bra: a navy which works as such a functional neutral. It brings out the other colors, compared to a black which can kill color. 

MICHELLE WEARS THE SCOOP IN CLAY AND THE BIKINI IN CLAY

How did you style look #2? 

I first saw this Acne skirt on sale at Opening Ceremony, but it sold out before I got to it. I spent two years looking for it, before I finally found this one on Ebay. I love the delicate knit. It feels like something middle school Michelle would have just loved, so it’s an ode to that character of my past. Paired with CUUP’s Clay color, it reminds of New Mexico; of Georgia O'Keeffe.

MICHELLE WEARS THE BALC IN SALT

How did you style look #3? 

I was really excited about this hand-dyed set. I’m not usually a button-up shirt kind of person, but I love the way this collay lays. It’s formal, but also has a hippie school girl vibe.  

MICHELLE WEARS THE BALC IN SALT

What legacy – in fashion or the world at large – do you hope to leave behind? 

I’d like my legacy to be a reminder that finding your own personal style is something worth working for. Once you find it, it feels really good. You should be able to change and evolve, and your style will evolve with you. But taking the time and energy to really discover your personal style in this moment is like discovering a part of who you are right now. 

MICHELLE WEARS THE BALC IN SALT

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Comments

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Totes need deets on that hand dyed set!

Sugar Tennon

Nov 2020


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