Instagram’s best-dressed have one thing in common: they each have a signature style item that they wear more often and better than anyone else. For one person, it could be a string bikini, worn on and off the beach. For another, it’s a standout hat or expertly layered jewellery. Whatever the piece may be, it’s their thing. With our column My Thing, we’re talking with those same experts about that one specific item they have made into their signature — and style unlike anyone else.
The ‘70s brought many trends that still swing today. Think: corduroy, high-waisted jeans, platforms, and arm jewellery. But while some jump on these fads for a season, for 20-year-old FIT student Brianna Jones, these are staples for her everyday look. From halter tops and gold-circle chain belts to oversized eyewear, Jones has fully embraced the decade with her retro style.
“I grew up watching Soul Train on YouTube, and I was so obsessed with it,” she tells Refinery29. So much so that last summer, she rounded up her closest friends to put together their own Soul Train-esque video for which the group showed up and showed out in their best groovy attire.
But while her style ranges from disco queen to Pam Grier-inspired — “I’m really into Blaxploitation films and the ‘70s in general,” she says — no outfit is complete without her afro. Whether she’s rocking her blonde wig (her alter ego “Coco Jones”) or her natural hair, it’s all about serving bad mama jama vibes.
“I [used to] always wear braids. I told myself I need to be comfortable wearing my afro because, hello, this is me. God made me like this, and people need to see it," she says. "The more I dressed up in '70s fashion, the more confident I felt in my afro.” Now she’s helping others do the same. “I saw you rocking your afro, and I decided to take my afro out,” is a common DM she gets from her 11,200 followers.
Naturally, she sources her looks, that range from brightly coloured knitted vests to genuine '70s leather blazers, from vintage stores. From a young age, Jones’ mom introduced her to thrifting. Back then, the Brooklyn-based creative hated wearing “old and recycled” clothing but her perspective changed as she got older: “Going to the thrift store gives you the opportunity to make a whole life. You can wear one shirt one day and be a totally different person the next. It’s pretty cool and sustainable.” When she can’t find exactly what she wants, she uses her sewing skills to customise other clothes.
Now that she has her '70s style down, she is not looking to change her wardrobe anytime soon: “If you ever see me wearing skinny jeans instead of bell-bottoms just know the world is ending or it’s laundry week.”
Ahead, see how Jones styles her funky wardrobe.