My Style: Alex Catarinella

Portrait of fashion writer Alex Catarinella by photographer Paul Sepuya

Photo: Paul Mpagi Sepuya

How do you select your clothing every morning?

It can get messy. I’m incredibly indecisive. I’ll often take some time to pick out a look the evening before and by morning, I’ll end up bolting out the door wearing my typical uniform (leather jacket, shirt, jeans…) with the aforementioned planned look rolled up in a ball on the floor and covered in cat hair.

Please describe your style in three words.

Crazy, sexy, cool?

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Please don’t Instagram/blog/etc your daily looks.

Do you believe in role models?

When singing along to “Hero” by Mariah Carey, YES.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Dirty denim. Soft and a maybe just a little bit smelly.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

I’m pretty down for whatever makes you feel how you want to feel. BUT Crocs and those terrifying webbed-toe “shoes” or whatever they're called won’t ever look okay paired with anything. I promise.

Which city has the best-dressed men?

I think I’m supposed to say Paris? But to be honest, I was sort of surprised that I fell in love with Kiwi boys in Auckland, New Zealand when I was in town for their Fashion Week. Similar to a 'downtown' New York style, but with a little more colour/patterns, great hair and with a cute accent. Yum. I’ve still never been to Tokyo though and am pretty certain I’d lose my damn mind over the dudes there.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

Conservative amongst a sea of crazies in New York, but 'you look like a farmer' etc. kinds of bold when I visit my family in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA.

What are the rules, if any, in the way you dress?

Getting dressed while under the influence is only fun in the moment. I make sure to ask my roomie if I look a mess before heading out the of door.

Celebrities and style...

Are mostly either all kinds of tragic and over-styled (pop stars) or totally boring (actors). But I do love you, Pharrell Williams.

One garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Flannels. Still can’t quit you. :(

A man should always look like...

However he wishes.

Who taught you what you know about style?

I’ve always been fascinated by my mother’s meticulous style. She’d leave red lipstick kissed notes for me and my siblings on Saturday mornings, while she routinely went to the salon where she’d get her nails and her raven-coloured Anna Wintour-rivaling bob perfected. But I definitely didn’t acquire her chic gene. The only Vogue I’ve ever purchased was the Spice Girls’ cover in like, 1997. Growing up, I was more into my Ginger Spice shrine, stealing my sister’s dELiA*s catalogues, the immaculately-dressed Kelly Taylor from Beverly Hill’s 90210/some cast-members (specifically the Disney-created pop group THE PARTY!) from the Mickey Mouse Club/and Christina Applegate in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. That’s the kind of nostalgia-friendly fashion that makes me smile instead of rolling my eyes, which is a good thing.

What is your biggest regret?

My high school wardrobe/waist size.

The three essential things a man should know about style are...

Matching socks without holes matter. Easy on the metrosexual thing (see: tweezing). When in doubt, put on black Levi’s 511's.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

Just experiencing the perpetual inner dialogues that go something like, “Oh, well those shoes are like four cocktails, so…” — *takes out credit card*.

We will never see you wearing...

Heels?

The only article of clothing that a man needs to pay close attention to is...

His underwear.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Hope not.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

Patti Smith, always.

What is the first thing you notice on a man?

Eye contact quality.

The one image that defined your approach to style...

Too many and still discovering more.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

I’m often blown away by my designer friends because I get to see them in their environment. Someone like jewellery designer Chris Habana, who works out of his cozy Alphabet City studio apartment and creates interesting, pop-meets-goth inspired pieces all-night long whilst getting stoned and blasting Everything But The Girl. To me, he gives hope for the cool, creative downtown New York artist post-Giuliani.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My Pap Pap’s conversation-starter shearling coat from the ‘80s, my Zack Morris-friendly vintage Missoni sweater, concert t-shirts (Janet Jackson’s “Janet” and “Rhythm Nation” tours, Spice Girls’ ‘98 world tour, and Amy Grant ‘94 tour!), a super shredded pair of cheap black skinnies, and my Christopher Shannon x Eastpak backpack — my laptop’s home!

Which designer never fails to impress you?

I’ve attended Prabal Gurung’s last three shows and A LOT of goosebumps happened more and more each and every time. I’m always moved by his storytelling, and those ridiculous patterns are always SO ON POINT. He makes art. Oh, and I’m also pretty obsessed with Karen Walker’s always playfully tasteful and girlie duds — she’s not afraid of a popping colour or zany pattern, a good chunky heel and no one comes close to her sunglasses. Ladies, take note.

Who would you like to see next in My Style€?

My super talented friends who dress better than me: musician Lissy Trullie, jewellery designer Chris Habana, DJ Mia Moretti, photographer and soon-to-be Bravo TV superstar, Angela Pham.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

Be kind to yourself and never take anything personally.

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