Quad Style: Paris Bezanis
My name is Paris Bezanis and I am a third year in the College studying Russian Eastern European Studies and Visual Art. I am involved with University Theatre as a scenic designer.
This look is a combination of some old and new pieces. The shoes are Allen Edmonds, a graduation gift. I’ve worn them religiously since getting them, and they are a little worn out now. Nonetheless, these are great shoes and they mean a lot to me. The pants and coat are both new pieces I bought while abroad last quarter. They are by a Russian design brand named Blizko.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style changes seasonally and is definitely dependent on what I’m working on at the moment but there are a few constancies: texture, color coordination, and fit are all important to me. I am a big fan of material with unique visual and tactile properties such as leather, cashmere, wool, and denim, and I generally prefer natural materials. I also tend to wear solid colors, as those are easier to coordinate. Lastly a good fit is very important to my personal style. I tend to avoid loose fitting or oversized articles and instead opt for something more form fitting. In my mind, you want to work with what you’ve got, and a few well-fitted pieces will help accentuate that.
A foundational piece in my wardrobe is the turtleneck. As so many months of the year are cold in Chicago, turtlenecks are a very versatile and practical base for any outfit. It’s actually pretty funny–as a kid, I used to loathe turtlenecks, I found them uncomfortable and I hated being forced to wear them. Now I spend my own money to buy a well-fitted (usually black) turtleneck. All this said however, I definitely frequent the jeans-and-a-t-shirt look. If I’m working in the shop or in the studio, the comfort and practicality of a worn pair of jeans and an old t-shirt is unparalleled.
Where do you find style inspiration?
In general I find style inspiration in a lot of classic looks, which is why I opt for the pea and trench coat for my winter outerwear. I come from a family of tailors–both my great grandfather and grandfather worked building suits and coats in Chicago. I think I draw a lot of style inspiration from the heirloom wardrobe of my family which has been passed down to the men of each generation for almost 100 years now. A lot of the pieces are time-honored staples in menswear–layered, double-breasted wool coats, silk scarves, vests. My sense of style has definitely been influenced by these pieces, which my father gave to me as I left for University. Outside the classic style, I draw a lot of my inspiration from mid-century looks. I love the layering of blazers, cardigans, and light coats. Plus, layering-inspired fashion really lends itself well to cold Chicago weather.
I’ve had this denim jacket since sophomore year of high school, and I’ve been working on it since. This jacket means a lot to me, as it’s seen a lot of different periods of my recent life. My favorite part of this jacket are the patches, of course. I’ve collected these patches over the years during travel or received them as gifts. Moreover, almost every patch on this coat has been sewn on by someone important to me. As such, this coat is the work of a lot of different people who are or were once close to me. The inside of the jacket has some signatures, too. I don’t wear this jacket often anymore, but it represents a lot of love for me. The pins are also important. They represent all kinds of things–a coqui frog from my mother’s home in Puerto Rico to a pin from a friend’s gallery opening. This jacket is still a work in progress. I bought some more patches and pins in my latest travels, and I hope to add them soon.
Where do you like to shop?
I don’t think I have a particular store I love to shop at. A lot of the clothing I’ve accrued over the past years has been from an amalgam of thrift stores and outlet malls. But for staples (especially pants) I have a few go-to places. I like to buy Dockers Slim and Tapered fit pants and for jeans, I buy Lucky Brand on layaway. The fit of Lucky Brand is the best for me.
Do you have any fashion regrets?
Fashion regrets? Not really. Not because I don’t have any horrible past outfits draping the skeletons in my closet, but because I don’t really look on them as regrets. Fashion is a fun and experimental thing, and sometimes we wear things we think are “the look” but are really not. I think it’s important to experiment and every once and awhile look a little silly. If I have to pick one misstep, I think the entire ten years I wore board shorts might qualify. Board shorts are certainly not “the look”.
What is your relationship to fashion? Has it changed over time?
My relationship to fashion has certainly evolved over the years. When I was younger, I think like most kids, I didn’t really pay attention to what I wore and mostly just went with whatever trend was in. Growing up in Texas, that meant a lot of khaki shorts and polos. In high school I started to become more conscientious of what I wore and started making my own choices, which led to the development of my own style. I think developing one’s own style is important to formulating a notion of self. Now I am definitely more deliberate in my outfit choices; I choose things that make me happy. On a broader level too, fashion is something I am more aware of now. I notice how people present and arrange themselves.
Why is fashion important to you?
To me fashion is a medium of synthesis. Fashion connects distinct times, locations, and realities and coalesces them into a singular image. I’ve found this in my own style. There are parts of my wardrobe that reflect different parts of my life and story, and as such, different parts of my identity. From my great grandfather’s coats to the rings I wear each day, these articles connect all the disparate aspects of my character and help create a cohesive narrative.
All images courtesy of Owen Rudalevige.