When it comes to fashion Lisa Quarnstrom does not follow the trends and she is not going to buy something just because Hollywood is telling her it is popular, instead Lisa opts to find inspiration elsewhere. Whether it is walking the streets of Philadelphia, Montreal or New York City, she finds that the people she passes give the best ideas. Lisa adapts some of those ideas into her own wardrobe. As a bilingual media analyst at TNS Global Media, Lisa, 23, doesn’t get to display her love of fashion at the workplace, however she uses her weekends and activities as a chance to showcase her favorite outfits. While Lisa enjoys shopping in a few chain stores, her favorite pieces always come from thrift and vintage boutiques. “I love vintage and the vintage lifestyle,” she says.
1. Are you inspired by a particular designer or celebrity?
More than a particular designer or celebrity, I am inspired by the personal styles of very fashionable people I pass on the street. Witnessing others' self-assured personal expression moves me to come home and take an appraising look at my closet, or spring for something in the store that I secretly love but may have been too demure to wear otherwise. I do however get routinely inspired by mid-century European films; I'd say the closest to a style icon I have is Anna Karina, for her painfully adorable and bold fashions in many a 60s French flick.
2. Where do you shop?
My absolute favorite place to shop in West Chester is Malena's Vintage Boutique, blocks away from my apartment. I also like visiting the Woman's Exchange in town to look at their jewelry...amazingly cheap prices for delightful baubles, but it's always a crapshoot (which makes it fun). I'm also a sucker for Anthropologie and BCBG. Whenever I am in NYC, I pay a visit to Old Hollywood, a great vintage store that has excellent pinup girl styles.
3. How often do you shop?
More often than I should! I probably pop into Malena's once a week; the idea that a marvelous, one-of-a-kind piece could arrive and be gone the next day makes me nervous, so I stop in often. Browsing in my other favorite stores on lazy Saturday afternoons after a nice lunch is a pastime that I actively enjoy, too.
4. Do you look for a bargain or is price not an issue if you really love it?
I'd love to say that price isn't an issue when it comes to buying something I adore, but the fact is that for a recent college graduate with loans to repay and financial responsibilities, price is an issue, so I do look for bargains. However, this is yet another reason why I love shopping in vintage stores, because you will be amazed at what you come across for what the price-tag reads. My favorite dress, the shining jewel of my closet, I got for just under 50 dollars. Bargains are not hard to come by at all if you have a keen eye about you.
5. Do current fashion trends affect your personal style?
Only if I like the trend in question. I'm not one to buy into the newest look simply to fit the fad, it has to be something that I like both within the context of the trend and outside it, and that I can predict I will like for years to come. Fashion is ever-changing and dynamic, which makes it very exciting to watch on the periphery, but I only jump in the flow if I am personally motivated.
6. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Somewhere around 40 pairs. I used to work at a lovely shoe boutique in Greenville when I was in college, and I accumulated a nice closet-full of timeless, well-made shoes which is why I rarely see the need to buy more. Purchase one pair of extra ordinate shoes and you will keep and love them for life if you treat them well.
7. Do you continue to use and wear the clothes that you already have or does every new season require a new wardrobe?
I have clothes that date back to high school! However, I try to mix the clothes that I've had for years with new pieces or accessories so that I never get tired of the contents of my closet.
8. Does your job / life style play a part in determining what you are able to wear?
My work doesn't necessitate an impeccable wardrobe because I rarely have contact with clients face to face; however, the lifestyle that I lead outside of the daily 9-to-5 allows me to dress to express myself, especially when attending the film-related activities with which I am involved. I truly enjoy dressing to present an old French film, say, and I consider my outfit thoughtfully.
9. If you had endless amounts of money what article of clothing would you purchase?
I would buy fine leather goods. A rich leather jacket, a sumptuous leather bag, supple gloves.... I love the look, feel, and smell of very fine leather but can rarely afford it.
10. What shopping secrets, strategies and or recommendations can you share with Living Well Magazine readers?
One recommendation that I'd like to share is to cultivate a good tailor or seamstress. Never mind the fact that your chances of salvaging something you may think ruined are much higher, but also I've found that a good seamstress can make fantasy changes I would like to make to a garment a reality. Also, never underestimate the power of a good scarf. I've gotten more compliments on one gorgeous brown and gold scarf than any other article of clothing I own.