How do you describe your style?
I don’t want to say “eclectic.” One day, it can be an 18th century look. The next day, I’m rocking some David Bowie, 1970s vibes. I would say my style is very universal. It’s whatever moves me or I’m in the mood for.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
I have been this way since I was a child. Even at a very, very early age, I was making dresses out of my father’s T-shirts. If I didn’t have it, I created it with a sheet or a curtain or even paper. I would literally put on every single necklace my mother owned, and I was like, This is a look.
Your Instagram feed (@aerincharles) is gorgeous. Where do you get your clothes?
It is a hodgepodge. Most of it is thrifted, or I’ve been fortunate enough [to receive] vintage hand-me-downs, or I design it, or I make it. I Frankenstein it. I go out and get an oversized prom dress from the ’80s, and I’m like, “Ooh, this material’s great,” and make it up as I go. Some stuff I do buy online. I’m not opposed to—and I know this is kind of blasphemous, but I don’t care, I have no shame in my game—Forever 21 or Zara. You can find some good stuff there. I would say, primarily, 92 percent of it is all thrifted.
What’s your favorite piece in your closet?
My all-time favorite piece is this 1980s sequined matador jacket, and it is so heavy. It feels like wearing an 8-pound baby, almost. It feels like you’re just carrying a baby around on your shoulders. I hardly ever get to wear it, but I just pull it out sometimes when I’m just schlepping around my apartment. It’s a great light-catcher. It’s my favorite piece to wear out if I’m going to go dancing or something, ’cause Mama wants to snatch all that light.
Where did you go the last time you wore it?
The last time I wore it was Halloween of 2019—I went as Columbia from Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Your Instagram profile IDs you as a stylist. Do you work in fashion?
I love “stylist”—you’ve gotta add quotations around that. I style my friends, or I stage their houses or their apartments. What I find fashionable is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve always been very good at dressing people’s bodies for them: What color looks good on them? What fit looks good on them? Every time someone has an event, they’re calling me. They’re sending me pictures. I’m like, “I’m at work right now!” They’re like, “Is this in style?” OK, I hate that. Not that they ask me—I love styling—but I hate when people say, “Is this in style?” Who cares what’s in style? It’s what makes you feel fabulous. It’s what looks good on you.