Closets@Brown: Allegra Chapman
May 16, 2016
Interview by Clarice Brough and Adam Malkin
Photographs by Lauren Shin
Allegra Chapman '19 is a Modern Culture and Media concentrator from New York, New York who caught our attention with her infectious smile and fun taste in fashion. Not only is she an avid film buff, but she can also be found doing her thing as a member of the Brown Poler Bears. Take a look at what she had to say about her amazing style!
So Allegra, can you tell us about what you’re wearing today?
Sure! I usually wear black socks, and I’ve recently started wearing mostly straight leg jeans because they’re so much easier to tailor and pants are invariably too long on me. This shirt is from a line that Opening Ceremony did with Spike Jonze, who’s one of my favorite directors. Each shirt has a photograph he took at the beginning of his career, when he was only making skate videos. I love some of the stuff he made during that time, especially Video Days, but his movies and music videos are what I’m really obsessed with. “Drop” by The Pharcyde has my favorite music video of all time. The entire thing was shot in reverse, so it has this fluid, almost hypnotic effect. He even brought in a linguist to teach the group how to perform the song backwards so that their mouths would be in sync! Everything he does is absurdly imaginative.
Oh, that’s awesome! More generally, though, how would you describe your personal style?
I’d say pseudo-athletic, monochromatic, and sometimes exaggerated. Maybe impractical too.
Love it. So how did you come to develop your style?
Well, I’m terrible at matching, so I get overwhelmed with too many patterns and colors. Sticking to black and white makes everything easier. I guess a lot of it has to do with this crazy hair that I have. I like wearing things with clean, geometric silhouettes to contrast all the curls. I’m definitely really into crisp lines. I actually burnt myself pretty badly trying to iron something last week. Fashion is pain.
Ouch! Ok, what piece or outfit of yours best reflects your personal style?
I guess this dress best represents my style. It’s sort of futuristic and sporty, but it also just makes no sense. It’s part dress, part sweatshirt, and part vest. I like silly clothing such as this–things that are out of the ordinary. These shoes also fit that aesthetic. They really remind me of the artist Kenny Scharf, whose work my dad has always loved. The magnets on my fridge are actually by him.
Super cool. And then what’s your go-to outfit?
Definitely sneakers And then either black jeans or this pair. Usually I wear a sweatshirt on top too. I think everyone should have a simple grey one like this. The zippers allow you to change the fit depending on the silhouette of what you’re wearing underneath. The cut is a lot more flattering when you can unzip the sides. It definitely adds dimension and makes it more versatile.
For sure. What piece or outfit do you wear when you want to stand out?
Probably these pants. I’m obsessed with them because they’re low-key just sweatpants, but the silk makes seem as though I’m putting in some effort. I probably wouldn’t wear anything crazy on top because it would be too much, although I do have fun testing how weirdly I can look and still get away with it. Oh, wait! I have these too. These are pants that I found a few days ago at Saver’s. They were really long, but I cut them so now they hit above the ankle. They’re literally Jennifer Lopez brand, so at first they really fit this early-2000s J. Lo aesthetic, which is part of the reason that I bought them. And then this anorak. It’s just so silly. All of this clothing is so indicative of my tendency to find things that are just unwearable.
But that’s what makes it your own! What outfit of yours are you currently obsessed with?
This two piece set is fun because it’s different from what I normally wear. It’s also very feminine for me, but I’m going with it because spring is coming. Well, actually, it’s almost over, but it’s so cold still! I’d also maybe wear this ridiculous crop top that my dad got me in eighth grade for my birthday. I don’t quite know what his thought process was. I think he thought it would fit differently, but it’s definitely a crop top! These shoes are by Alpha 60. I love how they look like weird little bugs. This is something I would be a bit terrified to wear, especially because of all the patterns, but I kind of like how it looks.
We do too. So then besides the weird little bugs, what’s the quirkiest piece or outfit you own?
I get so excited when I find pieces like this. The dress is by V-Files. It definitely fits the weird, sort of futuristic and athletic aesthetic, but it’s also really comfy. I know I keep repeating this, but I love things that just amuse me and are fun to wear. The hat is also by V-Files, from their collaboration with Björk. It’s the title of one of my favorite songs. I sat next to her in a restaurant once, and I waited for hours to be in the front row when she performed at a music festival last year. My queen.
Love it. Next question: What do you have the most of in your closet?
Definitely sweatshirts, and I can prove it. This first one is DKNY for Opening Ceremony. My mom found it in my room and tried to take it away to a thrift store because she thought it belonged to an ex-boyfriend or something. I was like, “No! I bought that for myself!” She’s always asking why I cover my body so much. This second one’s by COS. It kind of makes me feel like a teddy bear; it just envelops me. I have pretty bad insomnia, so sometimes I just take walks around Providence at 4 AM wearing this. It’s maybe not super safe. I really like when things have giant hoods, because my hair doesn’t fit otherwise. And then this is Opening Ceremony, and I love it, but I have to be careful to wear something underneath. Otherwise I’m in danger of a gust of wind coming and completely exposing me.
Well we wouldn’t want that. It seems unimaginable now, but have you ever committed a major fashion faux pas?
Oh, so many. When I was younger, my clothing was a lot more colorful. I had this one Lilly Pulitzer sweater that was bright green with a giant pink parrot on the front. I used to wear it with my hair parted straight down the middle and pulled into a ponytail, which looked especially goofy because I had glasses and a gap between my two front teeth. It was a bad look. Other that that, I had to wear a uniform, so it was usually just the accessories that were brutal. I was a huge bow person, oh my gosh. So many bows, so many weird pairs of socks. I was also very into Juicy Couture, which is something I’m really ashamed of.
Wow, how times have changed! Who’s your style icon?
Probably Tilda Swinton. She’s just unreal, like an alien. I love her whole monochromatic, androgynous look. Or Björk. I don’t really dress like her, but she inspires me to take risks.
Always important. So is there a particular media outlet (magazine, website, blog, Instagram account, etc.) that you think our readers should check out for some #fab fashion?
I don’t really look at fashion blogs, but I have fun keeping tabs on what some celebrities wear, like Rihanna. I also like to pay attention to menswear. I’m always really jealous of what comes out, especially the sneakers. Sometimes I do just buy men’s clothing, even though it’s huge on me.
That’s so cool. Ok, last question: What is one piece of style advice that you can share with our readers?
Just amuse yourself. Let fashion be something that you have fun with.
Pearls of wisdom from Allegra Chapman. She certainly amused us too, and we hope you feel as inspired as we did to celebrate how playful fashion can be.