Welcome to the newest feature on this blog- Local Style highlights the best of the Boulder/Denver sartorial scene, the people who help inch our city past its reputation for fleece, with their passion for style across various mediums.
I’ve always believed that incredibly stylish people have interesting stories, specific opinions, and unique ways of expression that come as naturally as breathing. Vanessa Barcus, the founder/owner of Denver’s top boutique Goldyn, proves that great style is anything but arbitrary.
How would you describe your personal style? Fairly minimalist, but with a bit of downtown edginess (I hate how much I overuse that word, but I suppose it fits…) I prefer simple, layered pieces with more bold accessories usually.
What is the most prized/favorite item in your closet? That’s a tough question! Probably my Iro shearling-lined leather motorcycle jacket. That thing gets a lot of wear, and just makes anything look a little more bad ass. I also really love this black, midi-length Mara Hoffman dress that has cutouts at the waist… It’s basic but with enough interesting details that make it a great go-to for events, travel, etc. And then of course there’s the jewelry, if that counts…. I am a jewelry fanatic. In which case, my most prized pieces would include an antique gold locket that’s a family heirloom that survived the holocaust, my gold Pamela Love Talon Ring that I wear everyday, and my raw diamond bangle from The Woods.
What is the best style advice you’ve given or received? Most of the time our style advice here in Goldyn ranges from encouraging people to get over their preconceived notions or fears about themselves (yes, you can wear slouchy pants, and no, wearing something very fitted does not necessarily make you look skinnier), to showing what silhouettes work best on what body types. However, I’d say the best style advice in general I can give is just to throw “the rules” out the window, and don’t feel like you have to try out every trend that comes along But at the same time, be adventurous! Try new things! Style is an outward projection of our personalities, both who we currently are, as well as who we hope to be. Screw the rules, go with what looks good on you and makes you feel good; wear white whenever, pair navy with black, stack on 30 bracelets… In the end, just do what makes you feel the best, because that’s all that really matters anyhow, right? Confidence always looks good.
What are your favorite local shops? Well, Goldyn of course 😉 But on the off chance that I actually make it out of my own store, I definitely only shop local and independent. I love to check out the art, crystals and curiosities at Ironwood, vintage clothes at Boss Vintage, and Hazel & Dewey is my go-to for wedding gifts with their selection of hip kitchen accessories. Fancy Tiger is another great clothing store in town for the 20-something hipster set, and of course Twist and Shout as well as Wax Trax are both great for music. Oh and Mod Livin for their selection of both vintage as well as new/modern furniture and home goods.
What is your favorite decade for fashion? Well, firstly the 70s, because I’m a hippie at heart and it makes me nostalgic for my parents and their friends living in Boulder back then (or at least my fantasy of them via photos). I love modern takes on psychedelic culture. At this very moment though I am really vibing with the 90s. They’re having a major fashion moment, and I kind of love it. Again, I think nostalgia for my childhood plays a part in that, but also being a minimalist fanatic, it works well with my personal style.
Fill in the blank: I wouldn’t be caught dead in ___? Pink
Who influences or has influenced your personal style? I’m always fascinated with subcultures, particularly relating to music, and that often influences my style. I guess I’m around that scene a lot in my personal life, so it starts to inform what I wear in a way. I love watching women in music and following what they wear – women like Karen O., Leigh Lezark, or Patti Smith. They’re confident and they do their own thing. I suppose that’s the common thread with most of the style icons I look up to – Daphne Guinness, Iris Apfel. Apparently I gravitate towards the characters and eccentrics. And then of course there’s my mom- She has always had her own flair and unique style, and that certainly must be what got me interested in fashion from a young age.
What are some of your other interests/hobbies? Again, music is a big part of my life. I no longer play any instruments, but I love going to shows and checking out new music. That’s probably my favorite pastime. Aside from that, and despite the way I look, I am also a fairly outdoorsy person (just don’t ask me to wear a fleece jacket, ok?) I love hiking and skiing especially. I’m also big on watching documentaries and weird, disturbing movies, as well as reading biographies/autobiographies, particularly about musicians. I’m so predictable.
What is your biggest fashion steal? I once found this antique turquoise Navajo cuff bracelet at an antique mall that I paid $150 for, and when I brought it to an antique dealer to appraise I found out it was worth $1000!
If money were no object, what is the first thing you’d buy for your closet? Probably a Celine bag from this season’s collection. They’re so elegant and timeless, and of course work well with my minimalist look. Honestly though, I carry most of the designers I love, so I feel pretty lucky in that regard. But then again, if money were no object, I’d probably be lying naked on a yacht just off of Morocco right now, so I guess I wouldn’t need much in the way of clothing then anyway, would I?