My Style: Samantha Duenas

Portrait of Samantha Duenas, also known as DJ So Super Sam

Photo: Taylor Okata — Courtesy of Samantha Duenas

What is your biggest regret?

In my life? I don't have any life regrets, everything that seems like a horrible decision at first, usually works out and makes sense later. Style-wise? Here's where some regrets start happening for me. I mainly regret not investing in some of the designer shoes I adored years ago. There are some Marni platforms, Prada heels, and Proenza boots in particular that I wanted, but I didn't trust my instincts enough to pull the trigger at the time. I was also naive in thinking I'd always be able to find them on eBay if I really wanted them later. I passed on those amazing shoes and instead opted to fill up my closet with cheaper throw-away shoes. Now that I look back on those pairs, I still like them and if I owned them I would probably still wear them a lot — would have really been worth the investment! I learned to trust my instinct and my taste, and I now invest in the shoes and pieces that I am in love with.

Please describe your style in three words.

Tomboy, comfortable, classic.

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

Not checking the weather before getting dressed. Nothing worse than getting caught in a downpour in your favourite suede boots.

Do you believe in role models?

I do. I also believe that you should try to avoid meeting your heroes. The disappointment in realising their fallibility is almost always irreversible.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Heather grey jersey cotton, black leather.

Which city has the best-dressed women?

Tough call between Tokyo and Paris. Tokyo is bright and avant-garde, which I love. But in Paris, most of the women are so classic and chic at every age. And Paris is home to some of the most legendary fashion houses of all time.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

Conservative, in my simplicity and tomboyishness.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

First rule is I want to feel comfortable. I don't like any fuss. My general formula is a lot of black, white, grey and denim, then add a pop of accent colour.

Celebrities and style...

Need a very talented stylist involved 99 percent of the time.

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

I think my style has evolved a lot over the past ten or so years, and continues to evolve and become more refined. But along the way, green military jackets are something that have always been part of my wardrobe. I have accumulated so many over the years in different cuts, vintage, designer. I also can never have enough sneakers. Because I was a tomboy growing up, and also a hip hop dancer for a number of years, sneakers were my first style obsession. I've trimmed down my collection significantly, keeping only my classic Jordans, Airmax's, Vans Skate Hi's, Jack Purcells, Chucks, Vision Streetwear, and running shoes. I still purchase new pairs of my favourite silhouettes like Jordan 1's, Vans Skate Hi's and Airmax 90s.

A woman should always look like…

She is comfortable, confident, and natural.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

I start with shoes. If I'm going to be running around a lot, a flat is necessary. If I'm deejaying in heels, I'll almost always pack flats in my DJ bag! And then I work my way up from the shoes.

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

Fit is everything. An $800 pair of pants can look cheap and awful if they aren't tailored right, just like an $80 pair of pants can look like a million bucks if they are the right length and fit for your body. Buy less, buy better. Identify your staple pieces and invest in the best quality of those pieces. It's great to keep your look updated with the most current trends, but don't overdo it or change your whole personal style every season. That's the easiest way to tell the difference between a stylish person and a fashion victim. I usually pick a trend or two that I think are cool and incorporate it into my existing style.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

At the chagrin of many retailers, I tend to shop at places that have a good return policy because I like to purchase a bunch of "maybes" and try them on at home, then make my decision on what items I will keep. I also usually shop in the morning. I like walking into a crisp clean store at the beginning of the day.

We will never see you wearing...

Kitten heels. They make me so angry, and I still cannot figure out why they exist.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Steph Krasner and Olivia Wolfe own my favourite boutique called American Two Shot. They curate the store so well with a mix of emerging designers and vintage, always in the vein of their own personalities, clever sense of humour, and downtown cool. They have started designing their own line so I'm definitely excited to see how their line will develop in the coming seasons.

Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?

I've never met her or anything but I've always been a big fan of Christine Centenera's style. Her outfits always look inspired but still approachable. Feminine, yet strong, sexy but not overdoing it.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Her shoes, then her eyebrows.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

I have a grey Gap T-shirt that I stole from my college boyfriend, and it has been washed so many times, worn down with holes, but is my favourite T-shirt. My custom V6 football jersey. My gold nameplate necklace.

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

There's a street style photo from four or so years ago of Christine Centenera wearing grey sweat pants with heels and a big fur coat. I'm a big sweatpants wearer and that just really blew my mind and did it for me.

Which fashion house never fails to impress you?

Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Acne, Phoebe Philo.

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

Hmm. Actually I think a woman needs to pay attention to how many ways she can wear an article of clothing. The women who I think have the best style don't have the largest closets with the most clothes. They just have the best pieces that they can wear 10 different ways over and over again and still look amazing.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Not at all, there are many ways to achieve comfort without compromising style, and vice versa.

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

My best friend Taylor Okata, he is so fabulous inside and out. Mellany Sanchez of KITH, I have a big girl crush on her. And my friend Chris Black, he's got witty and informed style opinions for days. I would love to hear their answers to these questions.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. Very cliche, but true nonetheless.

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