Glimpsed in Ellicott City

Jennifer Austin

January 20, 2008|By Tanika White | Tanika White,[Sun reporter]

People who spend all their time shopping in mega-malls can look fashionable and stylish. It's just more likely that their style will look very similar to someone else's.

If you really want to have a style few people can emulate, take a page out of Jennifer Austin's book. She travels the world, working, visiting and doing good works. But she doesn't neglect the fun stuff: shopping.

Everywhere this jet-setter goes, she picks up a unique item of clothing - many times made just for her - which almost guarantees a look truly her own.

Age: 25

Residence: Catonsville

Job: Server

Self-described style: "I'd have to say very eclectic."

The Look: Brown wool jacket with double collar, toggle closures and satin trim. Silk scarf. Light wash jeans. Brown, round-toe flats. Handmade, printed, cotton handbag.

Where it came from: Jacket made in Vietnam. Silk scarf purchased in Thailand. Jeans from Kohl's. Shoes are her mother's. Purse bought in Laos.

She's a traveler, not a stylist: "I've never really been much of a fashion guru. It's funny that you noticed me. I don't really keep up so much with fashion trends. I kind of have my own style I draw from a lot of places. I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines for two years. I picked up a lot from that. I have traveled a lot, and I have picked up a lot of things from different countries, especially the Southeast Asian countries and the Central American countries. What I end [up] doing is I throw [a] bunch of things together and that ends up being what I go out in."

If you can make it, she'll buy it: "I definitely have been very intrigued by a lot of the textiles and the creativity that comes out of the clothes in different countries. A lot of times they have really interesting patterns [because of] the people making the clothes. I think what really draws me, too, is the handiwork and the effort that goes into the clothes. Most of the things I'm wearing, aside from the shoes and the pants, are handmade."

Clothes that care: "When I purchase all those things I sort of look to be able to help out the people who are making [them]. And that has always been an attraction for me when I'm buying items."

That's a hot jacket. Literally: "I was in ... Hanoi in Vietnam which is known for ... tailoring. I saw this jacket in a shop and I fell in love with it. It was 90 degrees outside, but I knew that I was coming home to a Maryland winter and that I would be able to wear it eventually. So they made it to size, they made it to fit me. It's wool and the inside of it is satin. It was just sticking to me. I was so sweaty. I was probably complaining the whole time about how hot it was. But I love it now. I've been wearing it a lot lately."

tanika.white@baltsun.com

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