With Annie Vazquez, Miami's Fashion Poet
When Annie Vazquez isn’t out on the town looking generally glamourous, she’s teaching English to middle schoolers. And while many don't associate glamour with teaching, or for that matter, poetry, Vazquez has it in spades. That probably has more to do with her laidback attitude than her red high heels. But the heels do help.
A freelance writer for Stylist, Ocean Drive and the Miami New Times, to name a few, Vazquez is the go-to girl if you want to know what's what and who's who around town. I recently caught up with her to talk style, fashion faux pas and her blog, The Fashion Poet.
Growing up, what was your greatest fashion faux pas?
Oh, God! I would say seriously, when I was in seventh grade, wearing Z Cavariccis, big Chinese name plates going down, and the MC Hammer pants, and my hair all, with a glob of hairspray and those big spiky bangs. I would say that. Most definitely. And, when I used to crimp my hair with a crimper.
What is it about fashion that makes you so devoted to it?
I grew up around it. My mom pretty much was the first person that I saw taking the time to get dressed to look good, [wearing] different [kinds of] outfits. She would go from like being bohemian to dressing like Jackie Kennedy. She was like all about dressing all totally jeans with like neon pumps. It was like fun watching her. As I got older, I got embarrassed, because she wasn’t like other moms.
It’s like writing for me – another outlet for me to express myself. I would say ever since I was like eight years old, I got really into it. I wanted to be like Madonna, to dress like her and then high school, it was all about being a hippy and whatnot. Nowadays, it’s just funny that if I want to wear a tie, I wanna wear a tie. Yesterday – I was crazy – yesterday, I was wearing an American Apparel green dress with an Indian camisole, see-through, and I put one of those dots on my forehead. It’s just fun for me.
You’re know as the fashion poet, why’d you choose that title?
I was trying to come up with something that would demonstrate who I was. Then I started to meet all these other bloggers, like Cupcakes and Cashmere, there’s a list, and I didn’t know what to do, and I remember... Abel [Folgar, of Miami New Times, and Miami Poetry Collective], actually, I was dating some guy he’s friends with, and he’s like, “oh, you’re going out with a poet.” And I never forgot that, because most people say: ok, the writer. And to me, it was such an honor that he said that, acknowledged that. For me, the two things I love are fashion and writing, but what sticks out more is the poetry.
At the Literary Death Match reading back in March, the poem you read was both hilarious and personal. It was about having “the Cuban curse” – thick on the bottom, and flat on top. How do you feel about dressing for your body, and loving your body in a world where fashion seems to encourage slender, cookie-cutter bodies?
I think it’s important to dress for your own body and to love your own body. I know for me, growing up, I hated it, I was embarrassed. That’s a true story [of] what happened, that poem. I mean, I changed certain things, but when I became aware of my body, I tried to cover it up. I would never wear skirts. I would always be in jeans. I never liked showing anything. And, I think people like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian, they’ve done such a great job of being figures for other women and girls and showing you can be beautiful at any size or shape. I think women need to be like, "alright, OK, I don’t have perfect legs, I don’t have perfect breasts, but you know what, that’s me, that’s the way God created me, and I have to love that." I think that when you feel good about yourself, it’s going to show, regardless. You can accentuate certain parts, like me, for example, I’m small on top, and I’m big on the bottom, but I’ll wear more fitted tops. You have to know your body and dress accordingly. You wouldn’t want to wear a baggy shirt and tight pants if I don’t have good legs.
Who are your favorite local designers?
I love Lorie Lester – her summer collection, it’s all about color, and I like that a lot of it’s made out of silk. And I think it’s a very Miami design. There’s high-waisted shorts, there’s loose short dresses; she has variety, and I think the fabric is perfect for Miami, as well as being a Miami look. Bianca Coletti’s another one. Her collection for summer and spring is amazing. She’s done a lot of different tribal pieces, and again, she uses silk – it’s not like cheesy fabrics – and I just feel that she’s one of the up and coming designers, for sure. She only used to do swimwear, and now that she’s teamed up with her partner, I’m in love with their new line. I really admire David Jon Acosta from Gold Saturn because I think it’s cool, that it’s that hipster look here. You can wear a T-shirt and jeans and look feminine and chic. I think that’s awesome, especially for the climate here. I really like Taudrey, her jewelry. Danittza Zimic’s coming out with a vintage-inspired line, a lot of wrap dresses. Aily V has a cute collection, she’s local, Sergio Zelcer - that’s the brand name, the designer’s actually a woman. They make incredible shoes. Karina Grimaldi, Lola James, that’s pretty much who comes to mind. Adriana Castro, the bags, she was the one, her stuff was featured in Sex in the City, in the second movie. They’re just beautiful, gorgeous bags.
Do think Miami is fashionable?
I do think there's a growing fashion scene in Miami otherwise I don't think all these celebrity designers like Rebecca Minkoff, Nicole Richie, Sam Edelman, and Oscar De La Renta would be visiting to promote their products. I do, however, think we are in no way close to New York or LA in style. I find people here to be a lot more conservative and plain when it comes to dressing. They're not as daring. There's probably handful of people here I could say that are risk-takers and have fun with their clothes and accessories. I mean, there's trends that start in NYC and LA that take a couple of years to start here and even then I see people here [who] just don't get it. Like for example, the trend of wearing socks with sandals. New Yorkers have been doing it for like two years already. I posted a blog about it and so many people were either clueless or hated it. Same thing with feather extensions. Miami is just a lot slower when it comes to fashion. Maybe it's the laid back attitude we have here. And the heat.