The Curated Closet: Gabrielle W., Psychology Grad Student, Pepperdine University

Gabrielle can make a $20 shirt look like it came off the runway. She can find a pair of $9 pants from an American Apparel sale and DIY them into her go-to staple item. It's really not fair. 

I have been in awe of her skills for awhile (I have had to stand in vacation + holiday photos since we were four years old...) and thought it was time I learned her secret and who inspires her “casual comfort chic” style. 

What takes up your time? 

I’m currently getting my Masters in Psychology at Pepperdine University and working at a drug rehabilitation center. When I am not studying or working I watch TV (anything on Bravo or CNN), eat myself until I can’t breath [she said this, so I’m keeping it], try new restaurants, do some “LA” hiking.

How would you describe your personal style?

Comfy basic, lots of Canadian tuxedos, a lot of monochromatic and then my typical outfits include booties or Converse with jeans and a big sweater.

Gabrielle hangs out in a Canadian tuxedo from  Urban Outfitters  (jacket is vintage from  SquaresVille Vintage  in Los Feliz, CA) at  Galco's Old World Grocery  in Highland Park, CA.

Gabrielle hangs out in a Canadian tuxedo from Urban Outfitters (jacket is vintage from SquaresVille Vintage in Los Feliz, CA) at Galco's Old World Grocery in Highland Park, CA.

How has your style changed from college to work world to then back to grad school?

In high school I was all about being trendy and going to Goodwill to find something that was cheap but trending; I basically wanted to be Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. I also had a weird headband phase then.

In college, I started going out and clubbing so my favorite thing was a bandage skirt at night. I was also in Boston so I did the skinny jeans and peacoat when not going out.

Cold weather, college Gabrielle.

Cold weather, college Gabrielle.

After college I worked at an accounting firm so I had to dress a bit nicer. However, in grad school I don’t have to dress up for anyone or anything so I always put comfort over trying too hard. This has even expanded to like outside of school. Previously I would would have worn high heels, a tight tank top, and blouse to go to dinner and now it is jeans, tennis shoes, and a jean jacket or leather jacket.

How did you go from trends to comfort?

Chokers, ripped jeans...buying into all of the trends affects your wallet. It also gets tiresome to keep up and to keep buying more and more fast fashion.

Now I am more thoughtful about the trends. I am a huge fan of skinny jeans and that's okay because it has become a lasting staple for me. I got my first pair from Goodwill and sewed them to get the skinny cut. Trends are okay, just make sure it is you and your style.

I also mix and match nicer pieces with more price-friendly ones. I would say only 1/4 of my stuff is nicer things but you can mix and match and then you look more put together. 

Comfy shirts.

Comfy shirts.

Comfy sweaters.

Comfy sweaters.

Who inspires your style? 

My mom dresses "casual comfort chic". I realized she has never owned a trendy thing in her life and has nice staple items. I started to emulate her and how she mixed expensive with more relaxed price points.   

Like mother, like daughter: Gabrielle selfies with her scientist mom Jami at a family dinner. Gabrielle wears  Warby Parker glasses , a  J Crew turtleneck , and  All Saints leather jacket .

Like mother, like daughter: Gabrielle selfies with her scientist mom Jami at a family dinner. Gabrielle wears Warby Parker glasses, a J Crew turtleneck, and All Saints leather jacket.

How do you make sure your outfits can go from work to school to out and more?

It is all about the shoes and the jackets to transition you. You can go to dinner with your parents in nice pants and a blouse and dress it down with a leather jacket to go out to a dive bar later.

What's your favorite go-to piece? 

I love this one blouse from Target so much I bought a second one. I can wear it casually or for work with a blazer, with my parents, at school, out, everywhere. I am a big fan of turtle necks and love the turtle neck feature. People are always surprised I got it for less than $20. 

I also love my jeans from a factory sale at American Apparel I bought for $9. I ended up not liking the length so cut the bottom and created a cool frayed look. They are the perfect amount of high waist and cut just above ankle. When we were supposed to start planing for the California fire evacuations they were in my "take" pile with my passport and phone charger.

Gabrielle hanging on her closet floor in her go-to items.

Gabrielle hanging on her closet floor in her go-to items.

What item is something a bit more out there, more fun, that you let out to shine every once and awhile?

My mechanic jumpsuit. It's Vans and I bought it on sale from Urban Outfitters. It is super comfortable and my favorite musical festival piece. Or I'll wear it to a fun bar.

What are your favorite brands/stores? 

I'm into Athleta, Uniqlo, Vince sweaters, All Saints leather, Old Navy, and Gap

What's your style philosophy? 

If you're not comfortable in it, get rid of it it’s not worth.

It is comfort first and then longevity. Trends are fine once in awhile just don't base your whole wardrobe on them. 

And lastly if you are confident you will always look good.

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Thanks Gabrielle!