Today, I’m writing to you (especially my biggest fan, my grandma) about my latest style hero and career inspiration, Chloë Felopulos! She is a working stylist, and when I saw this post of hers on my explore page, I was immediately taken aback. Looking through the rest of her page, my heart swelled with admiration and excitement: sometimes I feel alone in the way I view making outfits as opportunities to create friction with the world that forces ourselves and others to think harder about what it means to be a corporeal being amongst others, how we affect each other with the ways we choose to move throughout the world, and how our presentation can invoke a kind of magic in our quotidian lives. Style might not change the world, but it can change the mood in a room, or a child’s idea of what kind of adult they want to grow into, or the excitement level of someone’s commute, whether it be yours or that of a stranger in your train car.
Chloë recognizes the power of curating a material reality that creates this friction without losing a sense of generosity and levity. She makes getting dressed look so fucking FUN! I have been feeling extremely lost and scared of pouring myself into this tiny blog, of letting myself hope that one day I will be able to support myself doing something that I feel a natural aptitude and passion towards, and Chloë’s outfits and vlog renewed my desire to pursue this with intensity. I reached out to her with a few questions on her career trajectory and she responded quickly, graciously, and thoroughly, which truly blew me away: in the past 7 years, I’ve encountered many people in the “fashion world” who have been withholding, icy, or downright mean to me when I’ve tried to connect with them. All this to day, Chloë is an earnest, good-hearted, and extremely talented person who is not only a style hero to me for the way she dresses–her attitude and generosity are cool as hell and make her one of the most genuinely stylish people I’ve ever encountered.
Here are some of Chloë’s more recent looks and breakdowns on what make them work so well, as well as recs on how to incorporate those elements into your fits. Chloë is outspoken about thrifting/buying secondhand most of her clothes, which of course I also endorse on this blog, along with buying from independent designers/friends who make clothing. All of these looks are replicable if you have the time and ability to get to a thrift store, but if you don’t, feel free to comment below or DM the HR instagram and I can do some hunting for you!
This look is a great example of how a fit can be straightforward and generous (i.e. not “ironic” or pulling any punches) while having a sense of humor and an electricity that doesn’t require analysis or debate. Color is the simplest way to inject undeniable vitality into an outfit, though it can be difficult to pair colors in a way that creates the tension I mentioned above instead of just going for indiscriminate eyeball assault.
You can think of color in terms of three characteristics: hue (what color is it?), value (how bright or dark is the color?), and saturation (how intense or weak is the concentration of the hue?). This is an oversimplification of color theory (I have a BFA, don’t come for me) but it’s helpful to keep in mind when pairing colors. A useful recipe to create tension between colors is to choose two of the three above characteristics to keep the same between the colors you’re trying to match, while differentiating the third variable. In the above fit’s three main colors (chartreuse, hot pink, and cool orange), the hues obviously differ while the value and saturation of the three pieces is consistent.
This creates tension, which I’ve been writing about abstractly, but in my phenomenological understanding means the colors “vibrate” or “activate” next to each other, which might even hurt or confuse your eyes a little. That’s why adding the knit poncho which vaguely matches the hue of the hot-pink garment but is much lighter and less saturated is such a genius move. It gives the eye respite from the intensity of the tension, adds texture and depth to what else would be a fairly flat (spatially) outfit, and injects the look with a sense of humor through self-knowledge: Chloë knows the fit is intense to look at, so she cheekily tops it with what could, in other contexts, be a dowdy, matronly garment, like wearing a corset to church but topping it with a modest cardigan. I could go on about the perfection of this fit, but I’ll spare you, ’cause I’m sure you can see for yourself.
This look’s approach towards color is much more simple. Chloë chose a neutral tan as the dominant hue, then made the focal point a saturated, oceanic blue. Upon this color canvas, she mostly played around with what I think of as character creation: each piece seems to add to the story of a character who would wear this outfit. A Greek sports star/fan (jacket) grandma (dainty purse) visits Reykjavik (fur hat) to perform (whatever lacy black scarf? thing is hanging down, I can’t quite tell what it is) in a butter-churning ceremony (peasant skirt) that requires hiking up Mount Esja (what look to be hiking boots).
These stories are fun to either come up with after the fact, once you’re all dressed and trying to decide what spirit to embody for the day/night, or they can be great prompts to keep in mind while getting dressed. You could create a mad libs chart, e.g. “This character hails from |place| where they work as a |occupation| but their true love is |hobby| and they would never wear |garment|” and ask your friends to each give you a word to insert, then work with or against the character created as much as you’d like.
Character dressing creates an aura of unity about an outfit of even the most seemingly incongruent parts, and it’s really fucking fun. When I dress as either a specific, preexisting character from a movie or book or as an invented character, I find myself emboldened and soothed by their imaginary spirit the whole time I wear their fit.
I’m not even sure what I can say about this outfit, but here goes nothing. In order to make all the disparate elements of this fit congeal, Chloë chose to stick to what are considered warmer colors, though the pop of yellow is of a cooler hue than the rest of the look, bringing back that tension I talked about earlier. This outfit could easily be fit into the character creation schema as well, but the main lesson to take here is that unexpected layering strategies are extremely compelling. The frilled socks layered over the lacy tights, the warmer orange jacket layered over the cooler orange sleeves that spill out in frills, the inner collar that lays atop the outer collar, the stacked hair accessories and jewels… This is maximalism done thoughtfully and strategically, in opposition to the recent trend of wearing anything but the kitchen sink in a haphazard way that only sometimes looks compelling.
Chloë’s talent for creating characters and strategically employing color and layering to bring them to life is staggering, and I hope you check out her IG and YouTube for constant new inspiration! Thank you, Chloë, for letting me nerd about your style, and I can’t wait to see what you do next.