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By Elizabeth Kerin

Staff Writer

LarisaChavezMalM WEB

EK: Though you were raised in Houston, your parents are Mexican. How much of an influence does your family’s cultural heritage have on your style? Do you identify your fashion as being American?

LC: I really do think that my mom was pretty fashionable, from the photo albums. I think there’s some influence and from my parents and their background. Even though I grew up here in the U.S., we would always see movies and magazines — beautiful style, not just the everyday, mainstream things. My parents traveled a lot when they were younger and they had a lot of styles from Europe, where my dad was working. They really had this “be eclectic” sort of thing. I think it was always an eclectic house, me and my siblings probably grew up to have your basic things with a little pinch of “eclecticness.” So I think the way we were raised in that background has been influential.

EK: Do you have any style icons?

LC: I don’t know her real name but she writes the blog Man Repeller. She is so fun to watch because she wears the funkiest things and she combines things together that you would never expect. And then there’s George Clooney’s wife, Amal. I think she’s a goddess, she’s beautiful, she’s seamless. Effortless. That’s the thing; I never want to look like I’m trying too hard. I don’t want it to ever be like, “Hey, look at me.”

EK: How do you think art history influenced your style? Do you see your love of art as being influential on your style?

LC: Yeah, I remember being a freshman thinking, ‘College is the opportunity: I’m young, I’m alive, you know, I have this semi-independent lifestyle. I can wear whatever I want because no one knows who I was or what I looked like in high school, so now is the time to rev up what I’m wearing and go out there and wear this bright-colored skirt or dress, or put two funky things together.’ And since I knew the average art person would dress a little more funky, I feel like I had a pass. I thought, ‘I can do this, I’m art history.’ And then you know when you’re looking at things for five to eight hours a day, or even more, art history classes were my favorite and I wanted to dress appropriately for class. You felt that you were able to be influenced by whatever period you were studying that week. I enjoyed dressing like I was a college student — in a proper way, not in a grunge way.

EK: What was your time working at the Vatican Museum (sic) like?

LC: It was amazing and it was so beautiful. For my internship people wore the same things. The women in my office, beautiful! Simply dressed. Nothing bright. I could pinpoint what I packed and what I bought when I was over there — I’m never going to wear that J. Crew top, because it doesn’t go. It’s so “look at me” style, but it’s not at all what Rome was like. You definitely had to measure modesty. You had to make modesty your No. 1 priority. But then good sense of taste because you’re meeting international donors. And then you want to mirror the beautiful art. The first couple of weeks I was dressing very American.

EK: You’re working over in the Office of Advancement now, how has that influenced the way you dress? Is there an expectation to dress a bit more conservatively there?

LC: You definitely have to be mindful of what you’re wearing because you’re meeting with people outside of our campus. You have to know what kind of alumna or generous donor you’re going to be seeing that day for a meeting off campus. You are the one person, perhaps, who they’ve seen in x-many years who is going to be their first impression again. But you don’t want to be too stiff — or at least I don’t — you don’t just want to wear black-on-black or just khakis. I never wear khakis, but I’m wearing khakis today … But then I’m going back and forth so much with administration and seeing [the university] cabinet and you have to look presentable in front of the president, dean or provost. I think there are a lot of people down there who also have their own sense of style. It’s really interesting to see how people fit into their own niche. It’s really nice, especially the women.

EK: Do you have any fashion advice for the reader?

LC: Just don’t dress in a certain way and don’t go to certain stores just because all your friends go there. You’ll find that if you’re just trying to fit your little clique’s common chambray shirt fad, you’re just going to look like a cookie cutter. Everyone can find themselves and feel a little bit more comfortable with who they are by just saying I’m going to wear this because you love it. If you love something —buy it. Don’t own something you don’t love.

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