Feb 13th, 2017, 07:42 PM

Travel's Influence on Style

By Eryn Amodeo
Image Credit: Shutterstock/I Am Kulz
California-bred, now Paris-based fashionista, Leah Levine, talks about fashion and travel.

A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Leah Levine is an expert in everything fashionable. With years of experience under her belt working in the industry, she discusses how fashion & travel are much more intertwined than you might think. 

How has traveling changed the way you dress?

"I grew up traveling a lot because of my mom's work—she used to be a flight attendant. I truly learned the value of money because at a very young age, my mom told me that I needed to get a real job if I wanted to go shopping as much as I did. Thrift shops were, and still are, my go-to's. I was going to Goodwill long before Macklemore made that popular. For me clothing and traveling go hand and hand. Fashion, like travel, is not a necessity, it's a discovery!"

"I find myself getting bored of wearing the same look everyday—I like to change it up! I wear whatever inspires me."

Image Credit: Instagram/Leah-Levine

In what ways has moving to Paris influenced your style?

"In a way, I didn't think moving to Paris would influence my style at all. I used to wear a lot of color and now I wear more black. After moving to Paris, I'm much more conscious about the lines my body portray. I learned that not everyone is supposed to wear everything. I learned to let go of what was cool and began to dress the way I wanted to! I notice that a lot of people have a certain uniform look that they tend not to stray far from... I find myself getting bored of wearing the same look everyday—I like to change it up! I wear whatever outfit inspires me that day."

What makes a person's style impressive? 

"When what you wear is diverse and you're confident about it. You could be wearing pajamas, which is ironically in style right now, and pair them with your favorite pair of boots. You make this outfit look as good as you feel in it! The same pertains to fashion when traveling. Even if you're on the road and don't have your entire wardrobe at your disposal, people who are confident in what they're dressed in simply look better. People tend to buy the 'mannequin outfit' because it's easier. But, mind you, the outfit that's prepared for the mannequin often doesn't suit our varying body shapes."

Image Credit: Instagram/Leah Levine

Do you buy clothes when you travel?

"Yes! I was with a friend in Rome who bought me a necklace for my birthday. I think of that trip every time I wear the necklace. I always like to take a piece of where I'm traveling to back home with me. I have full outfits from my trip to Thailand, and one of my favorite sweaters is from when I visited Seoul. I like to find the items the location is known for their excellence in producing. For example: I got gladiator sandals when I traveled to Greece because they're specific to that place and therefore relatively inexpensive! On that note, I got an infinity bracelet in Greece that reminds me of life's infinite possibilities every time I look down at my wrist! "

What's your favorite season to dress for & why?

"Definitely Fall! You get to put so many layers on and then decide which of those layers you take off or keep on throughout the day. I'm also a huge fan of hats, scarves and gloves which can totally pull together your look, not to mention boots! You get to choose from your flat boots, high heel boots and even Doc Martins—there's never just one choice in any category of clothes.

Tights are an obsession for me! The lines of your leg simply look better in tights, something that I learned from my ballet days. Whether paired with a skirt to show the full leg, from the calf down, or even under a pair of pants to peek out right at the ankle, tights add a completely new element to an outfit! The way I look at it is: express yourself in the most possible ways through fashion. If you can take an ensemble to the next level, why not go for it?" 

What are your "go-to" items when packing for a trip? 

"Well, when I made the move from L.A. to Paris, I really had to prioritize. I ended up donating three boxes of clothes to Goodwill before I moved! On shorter, more leisurely travel ventures I always make sure to bring a pair of tights, a sweater that I love, and a black dress (because, let's face it, that's a staple). I pack a hat for accessorizing and always make sure to bring bobby pins!" 

"Don't strive to be fashionable. Don't over think it! Just strive to be the best version of yourself that you can."

Image Credit: Instagram/Leah Levine

What challenges did you overcome in fashion and travel?

"I had to overcome two major challenges when it comes to fashion and traveling:

  1. People being overly cynical and shallow in terms of certain fashion statements while traveling.
  2. Especially not allowing these same people to identify me with racist assumptions that pertain to my sense of fashion.
  3. Not going broke!"

What piece of advice would you give to someone striving to be more stylish?

"Like travel, fashion is not definable! The best piece of advice I would give is: don't strive to be fashionable. Don't over think it! Just strive to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Fashion is innate, it's all about how much you truly understand and believe in yourself!"