Reflekt Muse: Maya Sonico

A Wes Anderson dream in 60’s mod dresses and flats, sweet blouses, and high waisted everything. She always had a focused eye on how she wanted to present herself. A smart girl who always quietly removed herself from the pack to create her own path. I admired her tenacity and motivation in how she navigated her life and her style. Read her style story in issue º5 available in our webshop.

Tell me your life story.

I grew up in San Bernardino, CA with my older brother and two older sisters. I went to Catholic school from kindergarten though eighth grade, which meant white button ups, plaid skirts and jumpers, and navy blue cardigans for nine long years. I think that’s why I got really into clothes during high school. I was finally free to experiment with different looks. That, and I was really shy and nerdy, so fashion sort of became my preferred form of self-expression.

When I went to Syracuse for college, I became a lazy dresser for a while. That’s what walking to class in two feet of snow every day will do to you. Those wool pea coats with the cute buttons I imagined myself in did not cut it. I basically lived in my puffy down parka, skinny jeans, and black Doc Marten boots. Cold-weather accessories made my outfits. Earmuffs and trapper hats, and colorful mittens, and cozy scarves kept me feeling somewhat stylish. After I finished school, I stayed with my parents in Arizona for a couple months. They moved there a few years ago while I was still in college, so for a while I traveled back and forth a lot from New York to Arizona to California, which was fun, but tiring. Now, I’m back in California. 

What's your occupation?

Shirt-folding extraordinaire? Haha, seriously! I have two different retail jobs, one at Madewell and the other at this vintage-y online clothing boutique called Ruche. I try to keep myself immersed in fashion while I’m figuring out my career. 

How did your style develop?

I guess it started with my mom. When we were younger, she would dress me and my sisters up in these frilly outfits just to take pictures of us. I literally have albums filled with mini photo shoots. It’s kind of funny looking back because that’s what all the mom bloggers are doing now. My mom had really great style, and she kept a lot of her clothes from the 70s and 80s. In high school when I couldn’t find anything to wear, I would just dig through the boxes of old clothes in our garage, and I would always find something cute and unique. That was before I discovered thrifting.

Growing up, my sisters had a lot to do with my style, too. By the time I was old enough to dress myself, they were already teenagers, but we were all really close despite the age difference. I went shopping with them and read their Teen magazines. Our dad didn't like us watching TV so we found other things to do, like put together outfits or do each other’s hair. To this day, they’re the only ones whose fashion advice I trust. 

How do people react to your style?

Mostly I get compliments and people asking me where I get my clothes. Occasionally, I’ll get, “Your style is so blogger.” I don’t really know what that means, but I don’t have a blog haha. The other day at Madewell, my coworker told me that a customer took a picture of me while I was ringing her friend up at the cash register. I hope it was because she liked my outfit. 

Personal styling trick?

High-waisted everything. I have a long torso, and a higher waistline sort of balances it out and makes my legs look super long. I like wearing blouses tucked in to high-rise pants and skirts for a pretty polished look at work, or high-waisted shorts with a cute vintage crop top when I’m just hanging out. 

Do you feel your personal style reflects who you are?

Yeah, definitely, but more importantly I think it reflects who I want to be. I’m still figuring out who I am, so my personal style is constantly changing.

What fascinates you?

Beauty. I think you can find beauty in everything, and that’s what makes fashion fun, finding beauty in unexpected places. 

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What's been going on in your life lately?

Work, work, and more work. When I’m not on the sales floor at Madewell or filling orders at Ruche, I’m busy interning for Ruche’s marketing team. If I have any free time, I go out to eat with my boyfriend or go shopping with my sisters. 

What do you want to do in the future?

Right now, I’m leaning towards a career in fashion marketing, but I also like merchandising and styling. What I really want to do though is travel, so hopefully I can find something that lets me do it all. 

 

Any last words?

“Find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it.” It’s from Never Been Kissed. I was so excited when I found it on Netflix last week haha. I seriously can’t go to bed without Netflix on. But yeah, that quote stuck with me because it’s one of those life lessons I’m still learning, and I think it applies to fashion, too. If you really hone in on your personal style rather than try to emulate a certain look, people will notice. Like, I used to pore over fashion magazines and now I can’t even remember the last time I read one. I feel like trends don't really matter anymore (I don’t think they ever did) because fashion moves so fast with style blogs and Tumblr and Instagram. It’s impossible to keep up, so I just trust in what I like and run with it.