Closets@Brown: Ellie Kitman

April 29, 2016

Interview by Clarice Brough and Adam Malkin

Photographs by Lauren Shin

Ellie Kitman '18 is an American Studies concentrator from Palisades, New York. We first met Ellie on the Main Green when she stopped us dead in our tracks with an iconic combination: an amazing white, black, and red "speed racer" jacket and Louis Vuitton backpack. After striking up a conversation, we knew that Ellie had a lot more that she could show us. So, for our inaugural style profile, we raided her closet—check it out!

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So, Ellie, can you tell us a bit about what you’re wearing today?
Well, this is a dress I made last semester when I took time off. It’s kind of like a giant baby dress but with a playboy bunny on it and my name. Then, this jean jacket. My family has a weird thing with denim. We have a basket that has loads of denim stuff in it and I just found it in there. I also have the world’s crustiest Air Force Ones.

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Love it. What is your go-to outfit?
Ok, so these are my favorite jeans. They’re very old 501s, and they’re slowly falling apart, but I’m obsessed with them anyway. So usually if I’m just running around, I’ll wear those, a wife beater, and this leather jacket, which I’m hanging on a children’s hanger.

Jeans: Levi's

Jeans: Levi's

Jacket: Alexander Wang

Jacket: Alexander Wang

Nice. So what piece of yours do you consider to be a must-have for everyone?
This skirt. My mom ordered it for me, saying that I had to have a leather mini skirt. My mom is cool. A lot of my stuff is hers actually. Leather mini skirts are good pieces because you can dress them up or down. This one’s actually very sweaty, though, so maybe don’t wear it to the beach.

Mini skirt: T by Alexander Wang

Mini skirt: T by Alexander Wang

Noted. What three words best describe your personal style, and what piece here best reflects your personal style?
Three words? Americana, socially-acceptable-pajamas, and skate-poser. And then for the piece, I'll go with this is tube top. I got it over spring break. I think it exemplifies my style in all its different phases; I wore a lot of kilts in middle and high school, and, like I said, my style is inspired by 70s Americana. My mom ordered a book about “smocking” after I bought this so that we can learn to smock and make things together. Speaking of my mom: this is a picture of her holding me as a baby—who dresses their baby in black velvet?

Tube top: Molly Goddard

Tube top: Molly Goddard

Tube top: Molly Goddard

Tube top: Molly Goddard

Your mom, obviously—maybe we should interview her for our next style profile. But aside from that, what outfit of yours do you wear when you want to stand out?
I went to a party last year called Space Prom, and I thought of both of these items. This shirt is by Aza Ziegler, who I interned with last semester. 

Shirt: Calle del Mar

Shirt: Calle del Mar

Those are both absolutely amazing. What else are you currently obsessed with?
Besides this? So I got this jacket last semester. It’s by Aza too. And then I guess these pants also speak to the 70s Americana thing. Having them be featured at Dover Street Market is awesome because it’s time to expand into atypical fashion markets.

Jacket: Calle del Mar, Jeans: SHUSHU/TONG

Jacket: Calle del Mar, Jeans: SHUSHU/TONG

We agree. How about quirkiest thing you own?
Clothing wise, I have this Mexican wedding dress that bought at a bike store in LA. I have other things that are similar to this that I found in a box in my grandparents’ house. And then I have these religious candles, of which I have too many for a Jewish girl. I have one at home that’s for hexing people. I’ve yet to use it, but you never know. Don’t fucking cross me, because I can hex you.

So great. What do you have the most of in your closet (apart from the candles)?
Probably pants. My roommate commented on how many pairs of pants. She hasn’t worn jeans since September.

Wow. Have you personally committed a major fashion faux pas?
Oh, so many. My parents always let me dress myself so I would wear all these crazy different colored stripes—lots of power clashing. I also recently found a photo of myself wearing brown velvet bell bottoms with pink flowers on them, a shirt with a baseball on it, and, like, seven chokers. Terrible.

So much velvet in your childhood! Now, though, where is your favorite place to find clothes, and what are your favorite labels?
It’s a combination of places. I really do like Dover Street Market and Opening Ceremony, but for me, just dressing in really expensive things isn’t that interesting, so I also really like eBay and five-and-dimes. That’s where I buy a bunch of t-shirts.

As far as labels go, I love Marques’ Almeida—this shirt and bag are from them. I think they use denim in really cool and new ways. Also, I think it’s cool that their stuff is shapeless, because everyone is wearing really tight clothes around me all the time.

I’ll drop Aza and Molly Goddard in there again. I’m also really oddly into skatewear. I’m a terrible skater, but I love skate culture and skate clothing, so I love Paradis3, Fucking Awesome, and Supreme, even though it’s really hypebeast. I bought a pack of Supreme boxers that I wear to sleep.

That is quite the roster. Alright, lastly, what is one piece of style advice that you can share with our readers?
Just be yourself. Just dress how you want to dress.

And there you have it: Ellie’s heeding her own advice, and we’d say it’s working.