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Style Secrets From Well-Traveled Women

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    It's hard to deny how much other cities and cultures impact the way we dress — after all, where would we be without the effortless polish of Parisian style? With 24/7 access to sartorial inspiration from around the world (thanks, Instagram), our own style identities are becoming more and more globally influenced — a touch of New York edge here, a dose of London quirk there. But, despite the amount of time we spend with our eyes glued to our screens, absorbing all that our distant muses have to offer, nothing ever really compares to taking it in IRL.

    So, that's why we tapped three globe-trotting women to share how their transient lifestyles abroad have led to some of their best styling tricks. Up ahead, get to know singer-songwriter Sophie Auster, rapper and writer TK Wonder, and artist and poet Cleo Wade as they decode their internationally inspired style moves, featuring their favorite pieces and the latest collection from Armani Exchange. The best part is you can create these looks without hopping on a plane, although we wouldn't blame you if you did.


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    Sophie Auster, Singer-Songwriter
    Style Influence: Pared-Down Parisian

    Have you always considered yourself a global woman?
    "Well, I had my first passport at the age of 1, so you could say I was globe-trotting at an early age. I’ve worked and traveled in a lot of different countries, and I’ve been exposed to a lot of cultural diversities. After I recorded my first album when I was 16, that was when I really started to play in festivals in Europe and in Argentina. It was my first taste of traveling and performing. It was at that point I said, 'This is it.' And, now I'm on my second full-length album called Dogs and Men, which will be out on June 9."

    Your debut album was first released in France — do you have strong ties to its culture and aesthetic?
    "That country has definitely rubbed off on me. I feel like my look is very Parisian. I’ve come to appreciate French singer style so much. The first CD I ever owned was from a singer named France Gall, and I remember how striking her sweet, adorable '60s style was. I gravitate towards that kind of look."

    Parisian style is cloaked in sartorial mystery — how do you define it?
    "I find myself, like many other women, attracted to Parisian style because of it's pared-down and effortless look. I rarely see a chic French woman in something that looks ill-fitting or too tight. My beautiful friend Jordane, from Paris, can wear a cocktail dress like a pair of sweatpants. I'm always admiring her whimsical, carefree outfits."

    Sophie's own jacket, shirt, and shoes.

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    What pieces are key to recreating the Parisian look?
    "I think achieving this style is about pairing simple, well-tailored pieces together. Since I tend to gravitate towards boyish looks, it's important for me to make sure clothing is cut well to my body. In this look, I'm playing with that androgyny, but it's clearly really feminine. The cropped pants and exposed ankles make it chic and not frumpy; a pair of easy oxfords and a leather jacket complete the look. It's comfortable while still stylish."

    Would you say your on-stage style is the same as your everyday style?

    "I've learned to hone in on my 'stage style.' The things I gravitate towards on stage have also influenced me off stage, and my look has started to blend and become more coherent. The kind of style I adopted and developed is more androgynous, a Marlene Dietrich kind of vibe. Being overtly sexy is not me; I actually feel sexy when I’m buttoned up."

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    Style Influence: Modern Punk

    You studied theater in London as a teenager. How did that experience shape your personal style?
    "My look back then was more plain: T-shirts, jeans. But, I was living in Camden Town right by Camden Market where there were all these vintage stores. The street style was so eclectic — people were very layered and dressed in accessories — and even then it was still very punky. I remember thinking, Wow, I feel really plain in comparison to all these hip kids walking around! So, I picked up a lot of that influence."

    How do you translate that influence into an outfit?
    "There's an edge and toughness to London style that I appreciate. I think I've incorporated a bit of the London street look into this outfit with the biker hat, oxfords, and oversized jacket. But, of course, it's my own interpretation. I found the jacket at a consignment shop in New York called Ina. It's an old 1980s gem that had been overlooked and priced way down. I think people were afraid of the extreme shoulder pads, but I think it really works when done right! It’s like my Working Girl or Annie Hall moment. The hat is coquettish — a little Beatles-y, John Lennon — a rock 'n' roll vibe that I like to throw in. Feminine, but boyish."

    Sophie's own jacket, hat, and jewelry.

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    Shoulder pads can definitely be intimidating. Do you feel like there is a right and wrong way to wear 'em?
    "It's about contrasting shapes. If I was wearing a shapeless dress or pants underneath the boxy jacket, I'd look like I was drowning in fabric. I think if you're going to go for this you should make sure whatever is underneath the oversized outer piece is very formfitting. I love jumpsuits — it's an outfit all in one; it takes a lot out of the equation."

    As a thrift- and vintage-shopping pro, what are your recs for picking up the best finds while traveling?
    "I’m into one-of-a-kind pieces. I try to look for things that are special to the places I go. For example, in Buenos Aires, they have amazing vintage shopping, and I bought a handbag. I look for funny things that I can incorporate into my wardrobe. I don’t shop every place I go, but I like to look around and see what unique pieces each city might offer."

    Sophie's own shoes.

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    TK Wonder, Rapper & Writer
    Style Influence: Citified Casual/Dressy

    What makes you a global woman?
    "Besides the fact that I travel a lot, I’m culturally aware and conscious of what’s going on in the world. Sometimes people live in a bubble and don’t get to experience what’s outside of their own town. But, being aware opens up your horizons and opportunities."

    You've lived in New York for over a decade now — what impact has that had on your style?
    "I’m originally from Maryland; I don’t feel like my hometown roots have shaped me into who I am, especially in regards to fashion and the way I dress, but New York definitely has. I’ve been here for 11 years now. Fashion wasn’t something that was on my radar until I came here and became immersed in it naturally. I used to dress really crazy when I was younger, but I look back at my younger self and think, You go! You were confident enough to wear that! And, I still have that confidence today."

    TK's own jumpsuit and jewelry.