IF YOU ever need a pick-me-up to feel inspired to dress up for a weekend brunch with a friend, most probably after the MCO (movement control order) is lifted, or whether you are planning outfits for your next holiday trip, you would not be disappointed with Alyssa Johaan’s Instagram feed.
“I literally only take my pictures with an iPhone. I don’t edit much besides changing the tone, I prefer my pictures less saturated and in cool tones. So, whomever I’m out with on that day, they will help me with my pictures. They know the drill! I will make do with the pictures they take for me because I am not that fussy,” Alyssa shares.
The 23-year-old who is currently doing her Masters at Imperial College Business School, London, is a fan of anything artsy, from visual art to fashion. Alyssa admits that moving to the United Kingdom for her studies has ignited a greater passion for the arts especially fashion, owing it to the environment and inspiring people over there.
“I never studied fashion, and it has never been something that I did a course on. I was involved in the fashion society at my university. Whenever there were events or anything back in London, I would attend to get some inspiration and meet people from various industries. Most of the time, I attend these events by myself and I didn’t mind because it was to learn and gain experience.”
Alyssa acquires her fashion inspirations through the creative works of influential people from all walks of life.
“I get a lot of inspiration from international fashion bloggers and fashion enthusiasts. I wouldn’t specifically say that I have one person that I look up to. I look up to so many people from different places as well. I always try to see how I can adapt it to my own style.”
If Alyssa had to pick one fashion icon that she admires most, it would be the late Princess Diana. “I am a huge fan of Princess Diana’s style. I love her paparazzi shoots, chill outfits, and she looked so chic without even trying.”
Alyssa describes her style as chic, simple, and trendy. “I’m very much inspired by styles from the ‘70s and the ‘90s because I love the whole oversized blazer look, pants suit, so chic but effortless.”
Not every look can be pulled off in Malaysia, given our tropical weather. Yet, Alyssa maintains her style when she is back home, but with some tweaking.
“When I’m back in Malaysia, I never wear knitwear or jeans. I like to wear more loose items, so whatever fashion inspiration I see on Pinterest or Instagram, I always try to incorporate linen or cotton fashion pieces instead. I’m always wearing linen when I go out, or even when I am at home.”
When it comes to shopping, Alyssa prefers quality over quantity. “People always assume that I have so many clothes! My shopping habits have changed throughout the years and I prefer to buy quality pieces over quantity so that I can wear them again and again without looking like it is the same piece,” she shares.
Alyssa gives her two cents on staple fashion pieces that every person should have in their wardrobe: “I think that everyone should have at least a long white sleeve top, and there are so many possibilities. You can style it up or down with joggers, jeans, skirts, pants, everything! In addition, a pair of comfortable white or black pants or jeans is an essential. You can match it with so many items!”
For Alyssa, practicality is key when it comes to colour coordinating outfits. “I would say white with brown, around that colour palette. It would look really nice! Natural colours are always safe, and you can wear them for whatever occasion.”
And what is fashion without mentioning fashion trends? Alyssa shares both her favourite and least favourite trends.
“The fashion trend that I dislike is patterned tights, and a trend that I like is exaggerated sleeves. Anything with thick sleeves that gives character, I’m always into that!”
Having variety is great, but if Alyssa had to pick one item from her wardrobe, it would be a precious piece inherited from her mother.
“I’m more of a bag person than a shoe person, so I would say that it is my mum’s hand-me-down Chanel vintage bag, which she bought ages ago. It’s a little white bag and it is in a very cute shape, but I can still fit stuff in it. I can carry it out, day or night.”
For some of us who are struggling with the idea of being, feeling, and looking like our best self, Alyssa suggests: “Be confident with yourself because we all have different tastes in clothes or designs. It is really how you want to present yourself. If you want to feel good, then confidence is important. You need to believe that whatever you wear, you look good in it and you shouldn’t be doubtful.
“At the end of the day, you are doing it for yourself. You shouldn’t be doing it for others, such as [to gain] likes on social media.”