My Style: Laurel Pantin

Portrait of Laurel Pantin of Lucky Magazine

Portrait: James Ryang — Courtesy of Laurel Pantin

How do you select your clothing every morning?

I try to buy things that work well together so that I can get on with doing neat things and enjoy my day! It’s kind of a blind reach into my closet. I have a uniform though, which is a white men’s J.Crew button down with everything, or high waisted, straight-leg jeans. I also love prairie dresses, so if I’m really stuck, but I want to feel kind of fun, then I’ll put on a prairie dress.

Please describe your style in three words.

Carolina coastal mom.

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

Overthinking it, or going against what feels most like you. Don’t try and be someone else! Always wear what feels good.

Do you believe in role models?

Sure!

What are your favourite fabrics?

Denim, cotton, anything rough or handmade feeling. Anything with fringe!

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

For myself, sure, but in the greater sense, not really. I believe in letting your freak flag fly and being yourself.

Which city has the best-dressed women?

Pass!

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

I fall somewhere in the middle. I appreciate classic Americana, and I love preppy late 70s early 80s looks, but I also like some things that seem out of left field.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

Always feel comfortable, always feel like me. This summer I’ve been trying to translate the feel of a 1970s cream Mercedes convertible into my dress sense. I keep a vibe in mind when getting dressed and I try not to stray too far from that, or else I know I’ll feel weird all day.

Celebrities and style...

I think there’s this movement to vilify celebrity style watching, but the truth is, the people who are cool to idolise now, like Françoise Hardy or Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy were celebrities. I think everyone should just embrace whatever inspires them and not worry about whether or not it’s cool or dorky. Personal style is personal style and if someone has great fashion sense, then it shouldn’t matter who they are.

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Underwear and running socks.

A woman should always look like…

The happiest version of herself.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My mom has a lot to do with the way I dress. She’s really cool and kind of doesn’t realise how chic she is. She’s incredibly busy and incredibly smart, and getting dressed was never a huge issue for her. Her attitude is more like, ‘Just put some clothes on!’ There’s always something more interesting she wants to do than get dressed. That said, she always looks really beautiful and well put together, and I think that comes from an instinctual way of dressing. She never overthinks it or tries to be anyone but herself. It also helps that she has incredible taste and knows exactly what cuts and fabrics look good on her. Getting dressed should be fun and it should be an expression of yourself, but I don’t believe it should get in the way of your life.

What is your biggest regret?

Not buying the most perfect peacoat at an Honor sample sale a few years ago. It was a dream, and I don’t know why I didn’t pull the trigger.

The three essential things a woman should know about style are…

It’s individual, it should always be evolving, it should be fun!

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I love to go window-shopping with my friends, but most of my actual shopping I do online or solo, weirdly. I get nervous when I’m going to make a big purchase and I have to do it alone!

We will never see you wearing...

Never say never!

Which new designers do you follow and why?

I really love Isa Arfen; the clothing is gorgeous and sexy in a subtle way. Every piece is unexpected and cool, but very wearable. I also really love Jasmin Shokrian—I want everything from her fall collection!

Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?

Oh man, too many to count! I grew up in Texas, and the women there are very confident and cool.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Her attitude. I like enthusiastic, warm people!

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

A very very well-loved French army jacket I bought during my freshman year in college. It’s kind of basic, but it has a million pockets and it goes with everything.

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

A lot of pictures of Lauren Hutton, Bianca Jagger, and also Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy. My look is kind of a disco, safari, cowgirl mashup. Paul Newman was the babe of all babes.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

It’s not so much my thing personally, but Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy and Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen always do it for me. Dries van Noten is my favourite though.

One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is…

Her bra. If you’re uncomfortable, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Ha ha, definitely not! If you feel more stylish being uncomfortable, then go for it, but I think ease and practicality are a huge part of my personal style.

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

Megan O’Neill at Lucky, Emily Holland at Refinery29, and John Jannuzzi at GQ.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

Be brief, be brilliant, be gone. My mom said that to me when I was asking her advice about a difficult work-related conversation. It sounds harsh, but there’s a lot to saying what you need to say, then moving on. Also to just always be nice. Nice gets you really far.

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