Juliana Salazar always loved fashion; she just never saw it as a career. “I always thought of fashion as a pastime,” says Salazar, who studied business at George Washington University instead. “I guess I wasn’t really thinking of my actual future when I should have been, because it got to the point where I hated all my classes and all I was doing was looking at stuff online.” One day, bored in class and particularly smitten with a dress she glimpsed online, Salazar decided to start a blog, Made in Chicistan, to chronicle her passion. When that site started taking off, Salazar realized she might be onto something: Fashion could be more than a hobby. And the rest, as they say, is history—after college, she went on to work for Intermix and eventually landed at luxury store Hirshleifers, where she is social media director. Here, the jill-of-all-trades tells us how she approaches dressing for everything from market appointments to Instagram shoots to Fashion Week after-parties.
I’m social media director at Hirshleifers, a specialty luxury store. Within the past year since I started, I think our digital audience has increased by 300 percent. I also help with buying and with creative projects too—ways to up our social presence so we can progress and stay modern. I’m kind of a social brand ambassador—Hirshleifers is a huge business but it’s very tightly run, so going to fashion shows is not something they did before I came on board. It’s funny, people ask me what I do and I never know exactly how to explain it—it doesn’t fit that neatly into a job title.
I dress depending on my mood and what I have going on for the day. Today it’s raining and gross out, so I’m wearing slouchy pants [from Calypso St. Barth] and a slouchy denim button-down [from Current/Elliott] and sneakers [from Saint Laurent]. I feel like I’m in my pajamas. I wear a lot of denim shirts—they’re just easy to throw on. My Canadian tuxedo is like my sweatsuit—like when I don’t want to think about anything but I can’t wear sweatpants to work, that’s what I throw on. I’m all about comfort. I never wear anything where I feel like I can’t breathe, but I don’t like looking like a bum either.
Last week, I was having a terrible week and I thought, I need to do something to change this, so I put on these bright yellow silk wide-leg pants from Rag & Bone—like, hopefully this brings the sunshine in. I wore them with a denim top from Gap and strappy sandals from Dolce Vita. People say dress for the job you want—dress for whatever it is you want—and it’s kind of true. For instance with the yellow pants, I got so many comments on them; even guys on the street were making funny little comments about my bright yellow pants. It’s things like that that can actually help take your mind off of whatever is actually bothering you. Fashion is not a serious thing at all; it should be fun.
Hirshleifers is such a hidden gem and my job is to expose it as the jewel that it is. My day-to-day usually involves shooting pieces for our website, Instagram, and blog—I’m also basically the in-house model so there are days when I’m trying on clothes all day. When it comes to our Instagram, I notice that people are really into labels—I’ll post a Louboutin and even when it’s nothing special, that red sole will still get a thousand likes. Same with the Alexander McQueen skull scarves. Whereas then I’ll post a really sick Céline scarf and it won’t even break 100 likes. I guess you have to know your audience, especially if what you’re after is user engagement.
For my personal Instagram, I try not to think about it too much. If I really like what I’m wearing, I’ll post my little selfie in my hallway. But if I think too much about it then I second-guess myself and I feel dumb. Instagram, when it’s personal, has to be done on a whim for me. I’ve actually gotten styling gigs through friends who have seen me on Instagram.
Contrast Is Key
I’m all about contradictions—I love, for example, a really feminine flirty skirt or a little lace dress with sneakers. Or if I’m wearing boyfriend jeans and a T-shirt, I’ll wear really sharp oxfords. I rely a lot on statement accessories. I’m obsessed with these Dries Van Noten shoes that have cowrie shell straps—one strap is red snakeskin-stamped leather, with a wooden sole. They’re such a standout shoe, but I wear them with everything. Another recent go-to is these Sophia Webster heels that are pretty crazy—they’re black and white with pink racing stripes. They look amazing with just a plain white T-shirt and jeans.
During the workweek I wear a pretty big bag because I have to carry my laptop: The bag I’m carrying right now is from Ready-made, a Japanese company that uses all U.S. Army recycled materials. It looks like a Birkin but it’s made from all this vintage army material and in a way, it’s so much cooler—I Googled some of the sayings on mine, and it turned out that it was made from material from a warship in World War II.
Photo: (Clockwise from left) Courtesy of net-a-porter.com; Courtesy of J Crew; Courtesy of hirshleifers.com; Courtesy of mytheresa.com
Wearing H&M to Chloé
Then there are days when I’m going to market appointment after market appointment, and there, I’m representing Hirshleifers so I try to wear things that are more current instead of just my favorite shirt from however long ago. During market week recently, I wore this off-the-shoulder blue top that I really love. It’s from H&M, if you can believe it. I was literally stopped at every appointment—I felt so bad, I was in Chloé telling them about my shirt from H&M. But when it’s good, it’s good! I wore it with these Zara wide-leg gaucho pants in a baby-blue denim.
All day I’m surrounded by all these really amazing clothes—but let’s face it, I can’t afford everything. So I’ll do my research and see what’s out there, what my best option is. If anything is too much of a designer knock-off, I won’t buy it.
During Fashion Week I have access to a lot more things that I wouldn’t normally get to wear because brands will lend me: I got to wear this awesome Chanel tweed dress that was my favorite thing ever; and another day I wore a full Céline look. But if you feel comfortable in something it exudes confidence, and sometimes actually just a basic outfit will do that best. Recently during Fashion Week, I had shows all day and then I went to a Kanye West concert, and then to the Stella McCartney after-party. I wore a black blazer, boyfriend jeans, and comfy Chelsea boots—very laid-back. It wasn’t that special, but I felt very cool in it. You know how some clothes you put on and you kind of have a “pimp walk” in them? That makes all the difference.
Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Courtesy of H&M; Courtesy of Zara; Courtesy of mytheresa.com; Courtesy of caseify.com
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