"San Francisco is one of the best places for vintage. I grew up there and worked there for four years in the start-up world—I have a Masters in Global Entrepreneurship—before moving to LA fives years ago. But when I was growing up, it was very trendy to wear all these name brands, but my dad was not going to spend money on that stuff. He put everything into my education. I started wearing vintage and thrifting because it allowed me to have the logo like everyone else at school but not spend on it. Back then, it wasn’t cool to wear vintage, at all. It started as a means for me to feel like I could fit in, and then upon wearing it, I realized, ‘Hey, I’m the only person with this purple, now-mauve-y discolored Lacoste shirt. I’m the only person who owns this.’ It turned from a place of insecurity to this newfound confidence I had never had in my life—I was such a shy little bird back then. From then on, I started wearing vintage all the time, just fully delved into it. Vintage was just an exploration then, but now I go and hunt for hours until I find gems. I’m not a trendy kind of person. Actually, if it’s a trend then I try to stay away from it.
When I was in the tech world, I would still dress the way I do now, but I didn’t know anything about fashion or that it could be a job. I was so far removed from that. When I was working for this startup, people would be like, ‘Your look is amazing, you should try styling.’ And I was like, ‘Styling? What’s styling? Just putting together a look—people need help doing that?’ So I would intern on the weekends at a magazine and be the person getting coffee, just to learn more about fashion. I realized there was this creative thing in me that I wanted to explore. Finally I was just like, ‘If I don’t try this now I’ll regret it, and I can always go back to marketing.’ So I quit my job, and obviously my dad and brother were like, ‘What are you doing!?’ [Laughs] It was really scary, but I’m happy I did it because I really feel like I found myself and tried out a bunch of different things. Now with my own vintage clothing line, I feel like I can apply everything I learned in grad school and at the tech startup to my newfound creativity.
My company is ecofriendly—all of the fabrics I use are vintage or deadstock or recycled. It’s so much more special—my favorite part of vintage is that it tells a story. It’s fun to make up who was wearing this before me. Most of my pieces start as men’s pieces, and then turn into women’s. It’s fun to be like, ‘What man who wears a XXXL was wearing this, and what’s his story?’
I get ready to go out like a tornado. It’s really a tornado—I try on a million outfits, and my house is always a disaster after. I’m always late, but I’m really not doing anything other than trying on a million outfits. I’m very simple when it comes to makeup—this is basically the most makeup I’ll wear, and this is like 10 minutes. I think some girls just have the face for doing all that eyeshadow and crazy stuff, and I just don’t think it looks right on me. Less is more for me—maybe also because my clothes are what’s poppin. My hair was bleached blonde, but now it’s all virgin hair. I grew it out like 2 years ago. Ever since I went back to black hair, I cut it super short—I was like, ‘This is my chance.' Then I got a keratin treatment because it was really short and my hair is naturally ringlet-y. Now I just decided that I’m going to grow out the Keratin and go back to curly. Nick Flores does my cut—he works at Sally Hershberger in LA, he’s my favorite. He also did my keratin—he does all the things I do to my hair. And I’ve been wearing pigtails a lot recently. I did that every day for six months like a year ago, and I just started doing it again because when my roots are growing out it’s just easier to slick it down and put it into 2 ponytails. I use Amika heat protectant and dry shampoo, if I ever have to do that. The gel that I use is the gel that I used to use when I was in high school, which is just a Walgreens brand. But the smell is so nostalgic—it’s yellow. I have a Moroccanoil curly hair cream that I use too, which is probably my favorite because it doesn’t make it too crispy but still really slicks it down. I use this brush, Evolve 511, that I got on Amazon. It’s better for slicking down than other bristles.
My nail place changed my life—it’s called Nail Swag in downtown LA. They use this new Japanese technology which was invented last summer, and it’s genius because it doesn’t hurt your nail. The thing with acrylics is that they shave your nail down, and your nails become super brittle and thin. This is literally a clear nail that goes over the whole thing, it’s just a hard piece of gel. So when you take it off, you just put your finger in foil as though they had painted your nails with gel, and then the whole thing disintegrates. There’s no harm on the nail. And then you get a new set every time. It’s incredible.
My skincare routine got started only two years ago. Now that I’m 30, I really need to start doing it. I just started using CE Ferulic and I feel like it’s transformed my face. My skin’s kind of dry, and LA is hot and dry, so my facialist gave me Wrinkle Warrior with hyaluronic acid. I use Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift, Wrinkle Warrior, Deep Tissue Repair and the CE Ferulic day and night, and Osea Eyes and Lips. I also have Osea Hyaluronic Acid Serum, too. At night, I like to use Tata Harper’s Retanoic Nutrient Face Oil. I just feel like they all make me look more youthful and hydrated and bright.
For foundation, I really love Armani Luminous Silk. I only use that when I really need to look nice. I don’t know if it’s in my head, but I’ve always felt like liquid foundation makes my pores look bigger. That’s why I like the powder foundation, it doesn’t do that to me. I really love Bobbi Brown Skin Weightless Powder Foundation because it looks really natural. I blend it everywhere. I get really oily, so I use MAC Finishing Powder on the corners of my nose, T-zone, and chin. I just started using the Nude Air Luminizer from Dior, and it is bomb. It’s so beautiful. Before I do that, I put some of the Dior Mineral Skin Bronzer on—just a little on the hollows of my cheeks. Then I put the Nude Luminizer on, and it’s so fun because it has little droppers. The Dior Luminizer is kind of like a bronzer, too.
On my brows, I just started using this Dior Brow Ink, and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. I actually haven’t done anything to my eyebrows in about three years. But I just started filling them in last week. I also have Boy Brow. I either wear no mascara, or I’m Twiggy. The Dior Pump'n'Volume Mascara is my favorite. It lengthens and volumizes, which is what I need, and I do top and bottom. I also love Cloud Paint in Beam. I put blush on the apples of my cheeks. I just started wearing it, and I like it—it’s a pretty look. For my eyes, I have this Dior Palette that looks coral but is kind of bronze-y on. It’s funny, because when you have brown skin everything looks totally different than it does in the palette. It’s Dior Cool Wave in Heat Up. If I do wear mascara, I really only wear shades of red and bronze, like burnt shades, on the rest of my face.
I’m a big lip gloss girl, so I love the Glossier one very much. The Dior one is good too, but it’s like seafoam Tiffany-color in the tube. I was like, ‘What am I supposed to do with this blue lip gloss?’ And then I put it on, and it was perfectly clear. Not enough brands make a nice, clear lip gloss. Glossier Balm Dotcom is my go-to for every day—I have one in every bag. If I wear lip color, I like Rouge Dior Liquid in No. 999, which is matte. If it’s a color, it’s matte. I also like Sin by MAC, and Ruby Woo. A common thing I’ll do is just Twiggy lashes and line my waterline. I have a bunch of different eyeliners, but I like the ones that are the most waterproof and don’t run.
My favorite deodorant is from Benedetta. This one is incredible, and the reason I have so many is that I keep them in my purse so I can reapply throughout the night. It’s just delicious. My favorite body care brand for soaps and lotions is EO. It’s all organic and it’s made in the Bay Area—it’s all over Whole Foods. People confuse it with EOS, but it’s not EOS.
One of my favorite things is really going to a long dinner with friends. I’m not a clubby type of person—I hate the club. Fun places that are obvious are like, Delilah. You can go there for a meal, and then it turns into a kind of intimate nightlife environment. Marvin is a really yummy restaurant with a lot of great seafood and wine. For something special, I’d love something like an Omakase dinner situation. Omakase means chef’s choice in Japanese, and you sit at the sushi bar and the chef just gives you whatever he makes. It’s fun because it’s kind of explorative, so you eat fish you maybe wouldn’t normally order—it isn’t just tuna and salmon, so boring, you know? Sushi Park is divine, in West Hollywood. I’ve traveled to Japan many, many times, and I have to say that Sushi Park is one of the best sushi places I’ve ever been to. With food, I’ll try anything. My mom used to put pickled quail eggs in my lunchbox when I was in 7th grade.
I am not a hostess with the mostest, but I can pour a good shot. I like tequila because it’s the only alcohol that doesn’t make me want to fall asleep in one second. I’m usually not the first to leave. All of my friends are kind of on the same page, so we’ll all leave at the same time. If it’s a heavy drinking night, I’ll probably go get food somewhere. I’ll probably order something, but I live downtown so there are a lot of late night food places. LA Café is pretty close to my house, and that’s really good drunk food. Pizza is always good—I’m really healthy normally unless I’m drunk, but Bottega Louie has really yummy bread."
—as told to ITG
Sami Miró photographed by Tom Newton.