I recently interviewed our new Contributing Editor, Sasha Maksutenko. Sasha has incredible, chic taste and is a very talented stylist. She is the owner of Sasha Maks Vintage and Styled by Sasha Maks, both based in San Francisco, CA.
Sasha and I covered a wide range of topics from fall / winter trends to how to develop your own personal style.
Glamourist: Sasha, what was on your shopping list for winter?
Sasha: I got a pair of Lugmainline OTK boots I’ve been eyeing for awhile from Stuart Weitzman. They keep me warm, and lend an edge to more feminine pieces and make everything look sleek and chic. I loved the poncho trend from 2014 Fall runways–Burberry’s where my favorites. Last time I wore one, I was around 9 years old. It was a hand knit by my mom, I loved it! I found a vintage wool/angora blend from Turkey from the 80s., that I’m wearing over a short camel coat and over tunic dresses. Now, I’m on the hunt for vintage oversized sweaters, a shearling jacket and a robe coat.
Glamourist: I love vintage, too. But why do you gravitate towards vintage?
Sasha: Most of everything you see on the runway or in stores—it’s all been done before. I find that vintage from the 60s and 70s, these are my go-to fashion eras, fits me really well and I love the colors and fabrics. I also like the fact that no one else will have it. I’ve been buying vintage for so many years—it’s part of who I am. I was buying vintage clothes before I started buying vintage jewelry and launched my e-boutique. Also, it’s just really fun to find things at vintage stores and fleas markets, it’s like a treasure hunt. You never know what you will find and have to keep an open mind.
Glamourist: In terms of accessories, what are you liking right now?
Sasha: Belts for sure. They are really prominent right now. Belts are a really nice piece to incorporate into your wardrobe: skinny, medium, wide. All different types of styles. Vintage chain belts, anything with embellishment – you can make those new again. I recently found a rare, drop-dead Kenneth Jay Lane rhinestone belt from the 60s, it’s very ornate but the colors are understated.
Kenneth Jay Lane rhinestone belt from the 60s
And a statement bag. I just snagged one on sale, a gigantic patent leather tote from Maje in a gorgeous oxblood.
Glamourist: What’s a new trend that you are dying to try?
Sasha: I was intrigued by the single earring trend that was all over the Fall 2014 runways: Celine, Isabel Marant, and Louis Vuitton. Now, I’m inspired by the mismatched earring trend on the Spring 2015 catwalks. I think this one will be easier to pull off, and fun to play with!
Glamourist: Sasha—what’s the trick to wearing vintage in a modern way?
Sasha: I really think it comes down to how you put it together, which is the essence of style—that magic.
I would also stick to classic silhouettes like an a-line, a sheath, a maxi dress. Focus on good quality fabrics and flattering colors. And make sure whatever you are wearing fits properly—which is the key to looking good in general.
Glamourist: Sasha—I love the way you layer your vintage jewelry. You never look overdone—what’s your secret?
Sasha: You should balance your jewelry with your outfit and, I might add, hair and make-up. If you wear a really ornate piece of jewelry, don’t do a lot of layering. If you wear a statement shoe, maybe wear more subtle jewelry. That said, it’s always fun to experiment, sometimes an over-the-top look can really work. It pays to play–inevitably you will discover a combination that shouldn’t make sense, but does when all the disparate elements come together. I think that’s how true individual style can be achieved. You have to willing to take a risk and feel confident pulling it off.
Yours truly in a modern tuxedo look by Styled by Sasha Maks
Glamourist: What are the three key pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe?
Sasha: Definitely a good blazer. I always tell my clients to buy a blazer that you can wear for a lot of different occasions. Over a cocktail dress or with boyfriend jeans. Maybe a little over-sized, masculine. Look for simple lines, good quality fabric.
Another piece: a good bag. Good quality leather, minimal hardware, strong lines. For me, I tend to gravitate toward a larger bag for day, a tote or a satchel, since I tend to carry a scarf or a pair of heels if I’m going out later.
Then I would say a statement piece of jewelry, like an over-size pendant or a wide cuff or a knuckle duster. I would get a statement piece for that particular woman’s personality: cool rock chick, classic, etc. That could become your signature piece.
Lanvin Modernist Necklace 1970s
Glamourist: What are one or two things that people could do that would make an quick improvement to their look?
Sasha: Find a good tailor and to make sure your clothes fit properly. This will make you look 100% better. And this relates to the previous answer. Find a signature piece whether accessory or clothing and make it yours.
Glamourist: What would you say to people who say that they don’t know their style?
Sasha: It’s really about educating yourself. There are so many resources out there. Get some fashion magazine subscriptions, follow street style blogs. I would start a Pinterest board and pin images that you like. Also, find a muse—someone whose style you admire and can emulate. It will soon become obvious that you have opinions and preferences and once you have the basics down, you can start on creating your own unique look.
Glamourist: Who is your muse?
Sasha: Caroline De Maigret. She’s a model in Paris and a music producer. She adds masculine touches to her style, which I love. Sexy as hell in a men’s shirt and masculine blazer. She never looks over-done. She’s beautiful and just looks liker herself: sexy, fun, and laid-back.
Glamourist: What’s your favorite part of the styling process?
Sasha: I really enjoy the purge. Getting rid of what doesn’t work, what isn’t flattering, etc. I love the editing process and getting down to the bare minimum, having an essential, but smaller selection. Followed by a marathon shopping session to add what’s missing!