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If you haven’t heard of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso , it’s time to crawl back under that rock you came out from under. Since launching her vintage eBay store in 2006, the entrepreneur has built her Nasty Gal online fashion empire, beloved for its affordable and provocative namesake line, not to mention an evolving roster of like-minded labels and an impressive selection of vintage.
These days, Amoruso makes her retail magic happen from her newly minted downtown Los Angeles headquarters, where, alongside 300 employees, she oversees her company, which boasts upward of $100 million in annual sales. We paid Amoruso a visit in her corporate pad, one day after her new book, #Girlboss — part memoir, part business guide — landed on the New York Times best-seller list. In between shots (during which, at the request of Amoruso, her staff made a cacophony of fart noises to make her crack a smile for the camera), Amoruso dished on her own style — and gave us a few pointers on how to dress like a girl boss, natch.
Congrats on the release of your book. How does it feel to be a New York Times best-selling author?
Pretty crazy! And I wish I had more energy to be more excited about it, but I think it will sink in.
Who do you consider your style icons?
I think Bianca Jagger is really great. And obviously Betty Davis — she inspired the name of the brand. I don’t have a lot of style icons. There are not a lot of people today who I look to.
When it comes to fashion advice, whose opinion do you value?
I don’t read fashion blogs all that much. I do read magazines, and I trust my friends’ opinions, even though we all dress very differently. And my president [Sheree Waterson], who is the most stylish person I know. She’s got an awesome uniform that always looks a little different. She wears black from head to toe, which makes it a little bit easier but she’s always work-appropriate but wearing something crazy all the time — but it doesn’t look crazy. Work-appropriate at Nasty Gal is anything, I think, as long as you’re not distracting with too much skin. It’s a place where people can explore their personal style, which I think is very special for a workplace like this.
Which trend do you wish would go away?
I think the current incarnation of the boho look is a little tired, something that Nasty Gal probably nailed the first time around. But I am tired of thinking about Coachella dressing. I want that to go away.
How long have you had your signature look?
Maybe a year and a half, or two years? It wasn’t my intention, but it’s really low-maintenance to have this shape of a haircut, but it looks like a style and that I tried, which is kind of perfect. I also get Brazilian blow-outs — I have really curly hair and I have crazy cowlicks all over the place. Your hair can just air-dry and it’s stick-straight.
What’s the one thing in your closet that you can’t part with?
High-waisted pants. I have this arsenal of high-waisted wide-leg ’70s pants and overalls. They are more roller-disco than Alexander Wang overalls. I don’t know if I will ever wear them again. A lot of them are polyester, and once I moved to L.A., wearing tight polyester pants became less of an option than in San Francisco.
You’re not wearing a lot of accessories today. Is that a look you’ve been going for lately?
No, I’ve actually been pretty accessorized lately. I think I’ve just gotten really good at accessorizing personally. I’ve always been good at accessorizing other people, and intellectually, I’ve known how to accessorize, but I was pretty minimal personally — although I was wearing a ton of rings. I kind of stopped doing that, but I’ve been accessorizing more lately and investing in a ton of pieces. I wear a lot of vintage accessories and Nasty Gal pieces, and I’ve had a few Barneys splurges lately.
In three words, describe your style.
Statement, vintage and high-low.
What do you wear when you’re alone at home, eating popcorn on the couch?
I hang out in a bathrobe, or I hang out naked. I should have sweatpants. I sometimes wear yoga pants or Lululemon leggings. Having tight clothing is not as comfortable as loose clothing, but that’s my version of sweatpants, I guess.
1. Jacket: “The jacket is Nasty Gal. It’s just a shrunken motorcycle jacket with three-quarter sleeves. It’s something easy and comfortable that you can throw on. Motorcycle jackets are a really important part of the Nasty Gal aesthetic.”
2. Necklace: “This is a #girlboss necklace, we’re selling these on the site now. I don’t wear a lot of hearts, but if it says #girlboss on it, I will.”
3. Dress: “I have this Shakuhachi dress in black, also. I love the length. It’s like a short dress but there’s some lace hanging out down below that gives you more of a demure, lady-like length. And the color is just insane. You don’t see a lot of stuff in this shocking pink. I used to wear a lot of color, but I’m wearing a lot of black lately. I’m in a neutral-wearing phase.”
4. Shoes: “These are Shoe Cult by Nasty Gal. I think with this outfit, toughening up the feet is really important. I think another option would be boots.”
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