To open the Style Files for the Fall 2017 semester, I spoke with Alice Heeger ’18, a senior geography major from Montclair, New Jersey and New York City. She can often be found sporting a gem-colored slip worn as a dress, oversized denim overalls, or majestic satin gowns paired with sneakers, her fierce eyebrow piercing and with a bright red headband tied into a bow at the top of her head. We spoke about her family’s intergenerational sense of fashion, how her style influences her living space, and how style can be used as a tool to transform how you feel.
IE: Who or what do you look at for inspiration for style?
AH: My parents got divorced when I was 13, so I lived primarily with my mom and my sister. They both have very distinct styles, in the way they dress but also in the way they style their living spaces. I’m influenced by being with other women that I look up to. It goes back to my grandma on my mom’s side. Our style is passed down because we all like the same things. There are things that I have that were my grandma’s that she gave to my mom and then [my mom] gave to me.
IE: Can you say more about how your style influences your living space?
AH: My great-grandma and my great-aunt were artists, so I saw a lot of art that is from within our family. That’s how my mom designed our house. I’m drawn to old things. A lot of the furniture in my house is very mid-century modern or wooden. I’m very attracted to tchotchkes and little knick-knacky things. My mom and my sister are both artistically creative in more of a traditional sense. My sister does weaving, textile design and collages. She’s also done a lot of drawing and painting in the past and that’s what my mom and family also does . I never thought I had that talent. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out the ways I feel creative through the way I dress and how I decorate my room.
IE: How do you think your eyebrow piercing adds to your style?
AH: A part of getting an eyebrow piercing is tied to why I stand out through the way I dress. It’s the part of my appearance that I can control. Have you ever seen that documentary Iris? About Iris Apfel [an American businesswoman and fashion icon]? I’m obsessed with it. She’s amazing. She and her husband have the biggest collection of amazing clothes [and] jewelry, and they started this textile business. There’s this part where she talks about when she was in a vintage store and the owner said, “You’re not pretty and you’ll never be pretty. But you have something better and that’s style.” Even on days where I’m not feeling that good about myself, I can wear something I really like and that makes me feel better.
IE: Can you talk more about your jewelry? Like this ring you have on now?
AH: It’s just a big, glittery, snow globe on a ring. I like fun stuff and kitschy stuff. For my bat mitzvah my grandma collected locket hearts from antiques stores. One of them says “Alice” and it has a date on the back, 1946 or something. She got them all put on a necklace. I think that is my favorite thing that I own.
IE: What do you think your clothes tell people about yourself?
AH: I think people think that I’m kind of weird and funky. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, why would you dress in a boring way if you could dress in a fun way? As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more confident and comfortable with myself.