Fashion Spotlight: Style and success
Everyday, each of us plays a variety of demanding roles. Whether you’re a son, daughter, sibling, musician, scientist, athlete, sales associate, intern or all the above, dressing the part can make all the difference.
Meet Julian DiIorio and Raphael Thomas, two seniors at St. John’s University who use their sense of style to achieve professional success and exude confidence.
DiIorio plans to graduate from the university in May with a degree in advertising and photography. Dressed in black jeans from the Gap, black and maroon Aldo sneakers, a maroon tee from H&M and a black blazer from Zara, DiIorio looked as if he had somewhere important to be. Sure enough, the night before, he had attended an advertising mixer for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation with a friend and fellow classmate.
Having spent most of the evening networking with industry professionals, the two rushed back to Queens, where his friend lives, to study for their History of Advertising midterm to be held at 7:45 the next morning. DiIorio lives independently in Midtown, Manhattan where he grew up.
“I slept over my friend’s house because otherwise I would’ve had to wake up at 5:00am to get to school from Midtown,” he said, explaining why he was still dressed in business casual attire.
DiIorio said that on a regular day, he would wear what he had on – just not with the blazer. The blazer is a piece that “always gives confidence” and he had worn it for the networking event, noting that other attendees of the mixer were also dressed “fancy.” Everyone, he said, was “dressed to impress.”
In pursuit of a career in the advertising industry, DiIorio strives to become a creative director involved in graphic design, copy writing, visual aesthetics and broadcasting. Working in a “creative field,” DiIorio expects that he will dress “comfortable but professional” and will be able to incorporate his personal style, which he defines as fun, adventurous, and modern.
Raphael Thomas, an illustration major from St. Andrew’s, Jamaica, incorporates his passion for dance into his wardrobe. He started dancing at a young age while enrolled at a performing arts school in Jamaica. When Thomas was five years old, his father moved their family to the United States to be closer to his job as an engineer for the U.S. military. Thomas continued to dance jazz, modern and ballet, and later took up tap dance and all ranges of hip-hop, including break dance, pop-locking and crump.
As a dancer, Raphael described his style as “sharp and smooth, and kind of ambiguous. You don’t really know exactly what you’ll get watching me.”
This plays into his sense of fashion, which he refers to as comfortable, artsy, and the word “dance” itself. From going to auditions to going to class, “you have to look a certain part and a certain way,” he said, “so that’s how I like to carry myself all the time.”
Thomas dances with a company and for a separate agency. With the agency, he has a weekly schedule and can use his own discretion with what he wears. Still, he finds it important to “uphold a certain standard” with his style of dress.
“With dance,” he said, “even though it is my passion, it is also my job. You can’t look indecent; I think it’s very important how you keep yourself. I’m an artsy person, so I maintain a creative style.”
Thomas wore a coffee colored fedora from H&M, a teal sweater patterned with orange and brown cheetah print from Urban Outfitters, ash black skinny jeans from Forever 21, a silver miniature harmonica around his neck and mocha brown combat boots from Aldo that he bought himself for his 21st birthday.
One of Thomas’ favorite items of clothing – besides his gold, black and crimson hound’s-tooth scarf and a pair of “comfy” sweats from H&M – is a cardigan he recently got from Urban Outfitters that he hasn’t even worn yet. The cardigan is colorful with grays, yellows and blues of all different shades, Raphael described.
“The way [the colors] are patterned together is so dope,” he said. When asked why he hasn’t worn his cardigan yet, he said he was waiting for the right time, perhaps even a special occasion. “I feel, for some reason, I’m going to end up dancing in it.”
Both DiIorio and Thomas spoke of “looking good and feeling good,” the idea that you feel more sure of yourself when dressed in a way that represents who you are but also in a way that is appropriate for the roles you play.