We featured Lagusta Yearwood, founder and owner of chocolate paradise Lagusta’s Luscious, last week in an in-depth Q&A about her business, but we were so impressed with her style that we had to do a second post focused on that alone. Lagusta’s look is truly her own, authentic and effortless, self-conscious and candid at the same time. She was also willing to get into some real talk about how far ethical fashion still has to go, and why we should think twice before judging others’ consumption. Truly inspiring.
Without further ado, here is what Lagusta wears -- and why.
Oy! Literally that, oy. I think way too much about my clothes and often I look ridiculous. I can't stand mall clothes. I love color and pattern and weird, ill-fitting strange things that feel good to me one day and that I realize are ludicrous the next. I'm very lucky that I can wear whatever I want to work, as long as it's not white and I can roll up my sleeves, so I just mess around with outfits. When I was in school I used to be so nervous about my clothes every day because I never had -- or wanted -- the "right" clothes, but these days I swim around in such a supportive community of people who only make fun of me out of love and amusement, that sometimes I wear weird things just to mess with them. Why not?
I have sort of two, um, "looks." I feel very self-conscious talking about this! The first is dark jeans, a chambray shirt, and a sweater or sweater vest -- a very simple, androgynous look I like a lot. I can be dressed in five minutes, and I can layer on a hoodie, thick sweater, thin sweater, whatever. If I have more time, I wear a weird look that suits my love of vintage dresses and [the fact] that I am always cold: leggings, usually patterned, leg warmers (usually weird ones from the 80s, or arms from weird sweaters from the 80s), a dress from the 60s, 70s, or 80s (I love Lanz flowery dresses the most because they are cottony, and I always hem them and they come out too short because I refuse to take the time to measure), plus a vintage cardigan or other sweater over everything. It's not a hipster-y look, though it sounds like all the layers would make it so. It's just sort of mish-mashy, which I like a lot. When it's really cold, I wear thick thigh-high leg warmers I bought on Etsy and fleece-lined leggings -- much warmer than jeans!
I made a vow a while ago not to buy fast fashion, or anything I suspect was made in sweatshops. I've broken that vow a whole lot, but it still guides me, and at the very least makes me take a breath before I plunge ahead with a cheaply-made trendy dress. Because I live in the country and work six days a week, I'm lucky that I don't feel the pull of constant fashion consumerism like I did when I worked in NYC. About 80% of my clothes are vintage or used. I used to shop at thrift stores more, but these days I'm that person who keeps really detailed measurements on my computer and buys on Etsy or eBay, which I like because I'm supporting small businesses and real people. When I buy new clothes, I try to really splurge on quality things made in ethical ways -- just like I know people splurge on our chocolates for the same reasons. I've been loyal to Leanne and Vaute Couture since the day she started. I feel like she and I have such similar businesses in many ways, and our back stories are so similar too. In fact, when I was a teenager, I once bought an anti-fur T-shirt she designed when she was a teenager! We do a trade for chocolate that keeps me supplied with a new coat a year -- it's the best barter I've ever done.
I regularly wear so many clothes from high school. I don't follow trends, so old clothes are my old pals, and I love how comfy they get over time. Sometimes I catch myself seriously worrying about how sad I'll be when certain T-shirts become too threadbare to wear.
Fashion wish-list topper:
The ever-elusive pair of comfortable, soft, well-fitting jeans. Sigh. Someday!
Favorite beauty product:
I don't wear makeup, except lipstick -- I can't resist adding another color to my outfit -- so my "beauty" routine is just two products: Meow Meow Tweet face oil and Lush lipstick (all Lush lipsticks are vegan). Meow Meow Tweet is such an inspiring company, run by Jeff and Tara, who are artists in so many art forms. Once you start using their body oil and face oil, you're pretty much ruined for anything else. I'm big into using oil instead of lotion. You really begin to notice how drying lotion is when you switch to body oil. Meow Meow Tweet is an all-vegan company, too, which always feels good.
Right now it's "Inferno," by Eileen Myles. [It's] the best written novel/poem I've ever read, the sort of book you can read over and over again, and it keeps getting deeper and deeper into you.
Three cats: Sula, Noodle, and Cleo. They're the best.
Fashion as activism, yes or no:
Sure -- everything we buy is a form of activism, though I think we have to be careful not to pat ourselves on the back too much about it, you know? Ethical consumption is nice and helps you sleep at night if you have the funds -- and I've devoted my life to it, really -- but it's not what's going to save the world. It takes some serious wealth to be able to participate in an ethical economy, and I have to really check myself when I catch myself judging people for buying cheap sweatshop clothes, or chocolates, or anything. Everyone is struggling, and though I try to analyze my own consumer choices pretty carefully, I'm aware that it's such a privilege to be able to do so, and that I'm probably buying lots of other crappy stuff I'm not even thinking about (hello, Pellegrino water boated over from Italy). I guess I think of ethical consumption as the bare minimum [that] people who can afford it need to do in order not to feel like assholes. Does that make sense? Also, as a woman who shaves her legs sporadically and lazily and her armpits not at all and doesn't tweeze her eyebrows or do much else in the way of "beauty,” but still can "pass" as a girly-girl because I'm white, skinny, not too hairy, and wear short dresses, I'm conscious of the activism needed to widen beauty standards and make a place for all women to feel comfortable in their skin.