portraits of style: christine, 43
A friend once said "style is personal and political," and I love that concept: dressing for your expression of self, what you stand for, and not for the pleasure of others. And so Portraits of Style is a new feature, sharing the portraits and interviews of people who are over 40, and who define what it means to be stylish, focusing what happens when they throw away the fashion magazines, and instead choose what they wear based on what makes them feel great and what they want to express. This is style -- on their terms.
This week, I'm featuring my friend, writer, speaker, podcaster, vlogger, designer, consultant, and Internet unicorn Christine Koh. I don't even remember how long I've known Christine, but she's absolutely one of my favourite people on the internet. She's elegant and bawdy, brilliant and irreverent, funny and kind. She's also a PhD neuroscientist and a marathon runner, so needless to say, with all this thriving going on, I begged her to be in my upcoming book, Make Light. I hadn't seen Christine in a couple of months, but while we were both attending the Mom 2.0 Summit earlier this month, we had a chance to catch up -- and here's what she had to say about her style philosophy.
I hope what I wear exudes a sense of warmth and creativity. Vibrancy. And also lets you know that I think you're great.
~ Christine koh
KW: Christine, you are always, always, always so stylish. Do you think about and put a lot of intention behind what you wear?
CK: You know, I do! I grew up so poor -- like, I would wear something for a week at a time -- so I really didn't have the means to be fashionable. So nowadays, yes, I do think about what I want to express with what I wear.
KW: And what do you want to express?
CK: Well, I hope that what I wear exudes a sense of warmth and creativity, I suppose. I want to appear approachable. Vibrant. Receptive. And I want what I wear to let you know that I think you're great.
KW: Gosh, I love this so much. Do you have any style icons?
KW: So using Reese and Lupita as inspiration, what's your fashion philosophy, then?
CK: I try to be experimental with my look. I think fashion and style are just another expression of creativity and art -- and I think art is the answer to everything.
KW: Well, you are a designer. So, art and vibrancy -- do you have a signature colour?
CK: Well ... it used to be bright yellow. Nowadays, I'm really into rich corals, and rich blues.
KW: How about a throw-down item of clothing -- is there any item of clothing that you turn to all the time, that makes you feel great when you wear it?
CK: Oh, without a doubt, boyfriend jeans. They don't squeeze anything I don't want to be squoze.
KW: (laughing): "Don't squeeze anything you don't want squoze." That's some life advice, right there.
CK: It is!
KW: What other advice would you give someone, when it comes to style?
CK: Honestly? That you should push your limits, and go outside of what feels comfortable. Style should be experimental ... and very, very fun.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Christine! To learn more about this Renaissance woman, be sure to check out her site, her line of activist t-shirts (Whoopi Goldberg and Alyssa Milano are fans, no lie!), and her podcast with the lovely Asha Dornfest, called Edit Your Life.