REFINERY 29: Sami Miro Is The Queen Of Vintage (& Will Help You Become One Too) by Sami Miro

Written by Erin Cunningham, March 24, 2016

If discovering the ultimate in vintage apparel and accessories were a superpower, Sami Miro would be Wonder Woman. The L.A.-based stylist, model, and curator (oh, and significant other of little-known actor Zac Efron), happens to be an expert on all things thrifted: She's amassed a collection of enviable ready-to-wear, shoes, jewelry, and so much more that has us rethinking why we've ever even bought anything new. Her eye is truly one-of-a-kind (like many of the pieces in her closet) — so much, in fact, that we needed to know just how one becomes that good at treasure-hunting (because, let's be real, anyone who's stepped foot in a vintage shop knows it requires lots of digging). 

This isn't something that happens overnight. Rather, it's a talent that takes years to cultivate. Miro has been collecting since she was 14 (she says she first discovered the world of secondhand everything as a means to gain confidence) and has since "been on the hunt for finding unique pieces." The result isn't just a ridiculously amazing set of material possessions, but a knowledge of how to find, style, and feel incredible in said goods. Her style may be totally individual, but her words of thrifting wisdom are something anyone (from newbies to vintage vets) will find refreshing, useful, and sartorially empowering. Click through to get the inside scoop.

Special thanks to Diamond Supply Co.

Have A Secret Layering Weapon

Everyone has that one item they can wear anytime, regardless of season or situation. For Miro, her "go-to these days is definitely a sheer bodysuit, typically with a turtleneck," which she says she wears frequently. 

"It's a piece that goes with everything — they add a sexy element, but are still covered in a way — it's like an understated sexiness — you can find them in so many different colors, and they're just a fun, versatile piece that can add some femininity to basically anything."

Since a bodysuit can be a very neutral piece, it's a perfect foundation for an array of loud pieces, patterns, and styles. "Two things I love right now are: 1. animal print (which is where the boots come in), and 2. plaid skirts. I was recently in Japan and every girl there was dressing like a schoolgirl, so I came back with a whole bunch of vintage skirts."

Vintage trench, bodysuit, and jewelry; O-Mighty skirt; Amanda Gregory boots.

Sure, piling on so many shades and prints may seem like something reserved for fashion risk-takers. Miro insists that anyone can go all out with their look: "With anything in life, and in your outfits, try to push yourself and push the limits — but always feel comfortable in what you’re wearing," she says. "Never wear something because it’s on-trend or because you saw your favorite celebrity wearing a certain piece. Only wear it if you actually feel comfortable in it. Because if you’re looking uncomfortable, it definitely shows. Clothes aren’t that important [Laughs]. Even though they are important to me, at the end of the day, you should feel comfortable and confident in everything you wear."

Always Begin With A Standout Piece

"With every outfit, I usually start off with one single piece that I want to use, and then, I style around that," Miro says, emphasizing how much easier getting dressed can be when you zero in on a bold item (or two). "I like statement pieces a lot, especially one-of-a-kind ones. I definitely gravitate towards items that you most likely have never seen before, and will most likely never see again."

For this look, the vintage denim and leather pants were where Miro began: "They're custom reconstructed vintage, and look like somebody bought a pair of jeans back in the day and then added their own leather paneling to them. I wanted to make them feel a little bit sexier, since they are strange and ugly, in a way — but in a good way."

Vintage pants, blazer, choker, and jewelry; Gemy Maalouf bustier; Alejandra G. heels.

Wear Your Clothes In An Unexpected Way

When things don't work out in the conventional sense, Miro is a major proponent of playing around with them until they do work. 

"I don’t like to style very simply," she says. "I’m actually wearing this bustier backwards. It's really beautiful [the detailing is sheer and nude with black sequins on it], but when I put it on the proper way, it ended up going down almost to my hips. Since I wanted to show the waistline of the pants, I turned it around." 

This isn't the first time she's done this, either; Miro says she actually finds herself wearing shirts backwards regularly.

Take Monochomatic To New (Colorful) Heights

One look at this all-red outfit and color-phobes (you know who you are!) will likely be running towards their all-black wardrobes for dear life. Though Miro admits that she, too, used to gravitate towards neutrals, she said that she finally found one shade she could embrace ("I have a thing for all-red outfits and I have for a very long time," she says.) — and you should, too.

Vintage skirt, top, necklace, choker, and jewelry; IRO jacket; Amanda Gregory boots; Diamond Supply Co. skateboard.

"Monochromatic looks are very in right now, especially with nudes, grays, and neutrals," she says. "But, there are two different ways to go about it: If you’re going to do a monochromatic look with any color, you can go the route where everything is the exact same tone and the exact same texture, and there’s not much variation.

"That ends up looking very clean. Or, you can go in the opposite direction: If you’re wearing one color, you can incorporate different shades and materials. The latter is what I did in this look (here, there are two different kinds of leather — the fringed skirt, which has a shiny finish; and the jacket, which is pretty matte and has a little more of a pinky hue to it)."

If you can't imagine wearing just one color completely, accessories are the perfect way to break things up. For jewelry, in particular, Miro suggests going vintage (the necklace she's wearing was purchased at a thrift store in Savannah, GA) or D.I.Y. 

"I actually made the choker I'm wearing," she explains, citing that she crafts almost almost all of her chokers herself. "It’s red velvet, and the emblem on it belonged to my great-grandmother." That's one way to make something old feel new again.

"Vintage" & "Vintage-Inspired" Aren'tThe Same Thing

As someone who truly appreciates the world of thrifting, Miro says she's "actually very against the idea of doing a 'vintage-inspired' piece. For me, it’s either vintage or it’s not, and there’s no in-between. So, when people try to do 'vintage-inspired,' I find it a big turn-off."

One exception, however, is the Product of Privilege hoodie she wears here. "Usually, when people try and distress things, it comes across as very man-made and uniform, as if it was just done by a machine and all of the holes are in the exact same place every time," she explains." Made in L.A., [Product of Privilege's] designer takes a nice sweatshirt, makes holes in it, and wears it down a little bit. She does it in the most natural way I’ve ever seen." This is definitely one of those rare exceptions, though — Miro recommends (for the most part) sticking to the real, vintage thing.

Vintage vest; Product of Privilege hoodie. O-Mighty Silk Zebra Skirt, $25.21, available at O-Mighty.

Though the zebra skirt may have seemed like statement-maker of this look, Miro admits that she "actually started off with the boots, because they’re so awesome. They’re basically the type of boots you wear when you go snowboarding. But they’re the chicest snowboarding boots you could ever find. There’s some crazy pony hair detailing on the strips in different colors, too. They’re pretty wild, but also fun."

Tailor Everything

The ultimate key to making vintage work for you, Miro says, is altering the fit so that it, well, fits. "I alter almost everything I have in some way," she says, "whether it’s cutting it with scissors or getting it professionally done. That’s the thing with vintage: because the clothing is so old and used and abused, it often doesn’t fit. A lot of people don’t realize that you have to see the beauty in the uniqueness of the fabric or the color — the most important parts — and that you can always change the fit. You just have to be able to see the future in what that piece can be." 

Vintage pants, top, jacket, choker, jewelry, and beret; Amanda Gregory shoes.

Miro has, of course, found beauty in so many different pieces, like these floral bell-bottoms (which she describes as "very Coachella"), her top (which she purchased on Etsy, a place she describes as one of her "favorites in the world"), pearl choker purchased in Japan, and a vintage beret (which she says is "definitely a signature of mine").

Wondering how you can discover these one-of-a-kind gems, too? For vintage newbies, Miro offers up her words of wisdom: "It’s always intimidating to people who aren’t used to vintage to walk into a big store that's all dusty and gross and smelly, and they don’t know where to begin," she says. "But I always tell people: Start with one specific item — so, if you’re looking for denim shorts, a T-shirt, or a leather jacket, start in that section. And if you feel like you can venture out a little bit when you're done, go from there. Or, you can easily just stick to that one area, and move to another one next time." Taking things one step at a time is key — how else would you be able to take note of those hidden treasures?

CREDITS

Creative Direction & Styling: Sami Miró

Photographer: Derek Wood

Makeup: Cherish Brooke Hill

Hair: Collen Duffy

VOGUE ITALIA: #TBT Sami Miró Style Memories by Sami Miro

Written by SHOMARA ROOSBLAD  March 24, 2016

What fascinates me most about fashion are the story behind someone’s personal style and the story behind a unique garment. So, when I stumbled upon Sami Miró, I was immediately impressed by her remarkable sense of style and her knowledge of garments. The LA-based style maven works as a vintage curator, stylist and creative director and often collaborates with brands on campaigns, cover shoots and lookbooks, advising them with her expertise and passion.

Today, Sami shares some of her most memorable style moments with “Vogue” that made her one of the most coveted girls of the moment. Let yourself in on Sami’s style memories, that are a reminiscence of growing up in San Francisco, the influence of her father and of course, vintage.

On her earliest fashion memory…

“I was 3 years old, it was 7am, and my dad was dressing me for pre-kindergarten. He raised my older brother and I on his own and I was greatly influenced by male style, even back then. He was trying to dress me in a pink outfit. I’ll never forget my reaction: ‘Daddy, I don’t like pink! Pink is my least favorite color!’ I don’t think I ever wore pink again until I was in college or grad school.”

On her teenage years and how this affected her love for vintage…

“Vintage became a part of my life when I was 14 years old and now I consider it an art form. In my San Francisco high school, I was one of the few students who didn’t come from extreme wealth and was therefore unable to afford designer trends. I started wearing vintage first as a way to keep up with the ‘cool’ brand names at an affordable price. Back then, vintage wasn’t fashionable like it is now – it was looked down upon, like hand-me-downs. But, I came to appreciate the individuality and beauty in my decade old, used, faded pieces with holes – the age told a one of a kind story. From there I started collecting vintage and now my collection is massive.”

On her first vintage store discovery…

“My first vintage-store discovery was pretty epic. I was 14 years old, in high school, and went shopping with $20. I walked into a trendy shop near my home to simply browse and try on clothing I couldn’t ever afford. But, then something amazing happened. After looking through and drooling over the expensive clothing, I came to the back of the store to what seemed like a hidden section: there it was…racks and racks of affordable vintage from all decades! I never looked back after that. And today my wardrobe is about 75% one-of-a-kind vintage. I have vintage clothing and accessories from around 15 countries and each find has a really special memory. A lot of these memories involve dusty, dark shops and a lot of digging. In the end, the effort that it takes to find a great piece makes it that much more special.”

On how her father influenced her love for men’s clothing…

“Like I said, my dad raised my older brother and I alone. Besides the androgyny that he provided with lots of love and hugs and kisses, fashion-wise I had zero female influence. All my hand-me-downs were boy’s clothing, which I hated at the time, but still made it work: I turned their shirts into dresses, and cut holes in their oversized jeans to make it sexy. Men’s clothing is still a big part of my style today. About 30% of my wardrobe is menswear – mostly vintage.”

On her style influences…

“Living in Paris when I was 19 also greatly influenced my style. Paris taught me that you could never wear too much black. It also reminded me to wear a lot of berets. However, my economic limitation is what influenced my style the most. That simple moment of discovering vintage, and using it as a tool to keep up with the trends, in an affordable way, has created my career today. When you have a limitation, no matter what it is, it’s important to play it to your advantage. You never know, it could propel you into something that you never even knew you could do.”

TEEN VOGUE: Why You Should Be Obsessed With Stylist & Vintage Pro Sami Miro by Sami Miro

Written by Noor Brara, March 17, 2016

Vintage curator Sami Miro is the next person you want to be friends with. A San Francisco native, she fell into fashion the way so many NorCal intellectuals seem to: By bringing her academic lineage and background in tech and entrepreneurship to L.A. 

“I feel like I kind of did it backwards,” she says of her career trajectory, counting off the impressive master’s degree, international internships and brand building projects that preceded her fashion life. Well-aware of the fate of most L.A. hopefuls who start out with dreams and end up with desk jobs, Sami knew that “making it” was going to be a bit of a crapshoot. 

“I like that I have something solid to fall back on,” she says, a little skeptical of her early success. “I mean, everybody wants to do fashion or music or acting, you know?” 

Already an on-the-rise talent in the world of styling and vintage, Sami is refreshingly earnest, down-to-earth and passionate. Playing it cool is — quite coolly! — not her thing. When speaking of vintage, she talks about her early experiences in second-hand stores as though recalling a first-time meeting with a close friend. Following her shoot for Teen Vogue — which she styled, directed and produced herself— she sent over several raw images just because she was excited about how they had turned out. 

On a typical day, Sami would describe both her style and schedule as atypical. “I wake up and usually check my email, which I know is not the answer you want,” she says, laughing. “But it varies day-to-day. Typically, there are some pretty cool collaboration opportunities I read through every morning; sometimes it’s styling and showcasing my personal vintage collection for editorial, sometimes it’s doing creative direction for other brands and styling their campaigns," she explains. 

"I also enjoy styling personal clients — they’re all men, which I love, since I’ve always enjoyed interpreting men’s fashion. As the only girl in my family, it’s my go-to for inspiration. I’ve been wearing men’s shirts as dresses since I was 14 years old. Seriously, my style has not changed that much,” she jokes. 

As offhand as she is about her extensive knowledge of vintage and the sartorial icons of yesteryear — “David Bowie really knew what he was doing,” she tells us — she takes her work very seriously, and chooses projects with conviction. 

“I’m really picky about the people I choose to work with because I want the work to represent me, authentically. I want everything to tie back into vintage, because that’s the real me, and it’s always going to be the real me,” she says. “I don’t want anything to come my way because of superficial reasons, like who I’m with.” (For those of you who don’t know, that’s Zac Efron — though her relationship is probably the least impressive thing about Sami.) 

From a guide to scouting vintage to general tips for girls in life and in love, read on for Sami's take on her incredibly cool life. 

Teen Vogue: Your love of fashion began with discovering vintage at an early age. When did you start wearing it and what do you like about it?

Sami Miro: I grew up in a pretty wealthy, white neighborhood in San Francisco, but my family didn’t fit that mould at all — neither white nor wealthy. I grew up with kids driving fancy cars to school right when they turned 16, wearing high-end designer clothes. I couldn’t afford those things, so I really found vintage as an alternative means to be able to wear the same designers, but at a tenth of the price. 

I eventually realized that vintage clothing is actually so much more special to me and has a sense of individuality that a new piece just doesn’t — I stopped caring about the brand part entirely. Now, it’s more about the wear and tear of an item, and how it has become what it couldn’t have been 20 years ago. 

TV: What was the first piece you fell in love with?

SM: Lacoste polos! At the time, in high school, everyone was wearing those polo shirts and I found this rack of them for about $8 each. They had holes in them and the colors were all screwed up, but they still had the alligator, so I was like, “Alright this is cool!” [laughs]

TV: Your entry into fashion is, as you’ve said yourself, a little roundabout, since you’ve always loved it but studied marketing and global entrepreneurship in school. Tell us a little about how you got to where you are now.

SM: I think if you’re from San Francisco, you go on a path that’s pretty tech and business-oriented. My dad is an engineer and has a doctorate degree, my mom has been a professor of business for the last 20 years, and my brother is a Stanford Law graduate. 

I wanted to be just like my family growing up, so I pursued a somewhat similar career at Santa Clara University, where I studied marketing. I went on to a really unique, incredible grad program afterwards, in global entrepreneurship, in which you spend a third of the time living and working in Barcelona and Taipei. That was really great because I got to experience what it was like working in America, Asia and Europe, across different markets. 

After I graduated, I interned and worked in marketing and sales for a startup that grew to be a multi-million dollar company from just two dudes with an idea. I handled communication with all of our retailers as well, so I would do a lot of traveling, and worked with big companies like Apple. 

I got really used to the traveling part, so one day, jut on a whim, I decided to move to L.A. I made friends with people who were trying to do the creative stuff — it made me realize that I had been suppressing my own creative instincts. I just knew if I didn’t start pursuing those interests right away, I would regret it. So now, it’s great to be able to combine my love of vintage with my business acumen. It really pushes me to combine the creative and more technical sides of what I’m trying to do, from styling and design to business, marketing, and press (all of which I handle on my own). 

TV: What’s your work/life motto?

SM: Sometimes things you want are terrifying, but if you don’t just go for them, you’re going to look back on it one day and all you’ll remember is the chance you didn’t take, not really the fear part. You really have nothing to lose. That’s my motto for everything in life — I also tell this to my shy girlfriends when they have trouble expressing interest in a guy they like. What’s the worst that could happen? You tell someone you like them and they say they don’t like you? You’ll never see the guy again, you know? [laughs] 

TV: Agree! For readers who have never shopped for vintage before, how do you suggest they get into it? It can be a little overwhelming walking into a vintage or second-hand store for the first time.

SM: It’s really exciting for me if I find a huge, messy place, but I totally understand that very few people feel that way. I suggest going in looking for a very specific thing. Whether it’s jeans or a vintage t-shirt or jacket, go in and start in that section. See if you can survive it. If you can, then walk around and explore, but as a starting point have only one thing in mind and look for that piece. 

TV: What’s in your own closet?

SM: I have a pretty hefty closet, so I like to keep a large selection of things — what I’m feeling that day is going to determine what I want to wear. So it’s nice to be able to decide, like, “I’m in a boyish mood today,” and have go-to baggy clothes. There are definitely some pieces I incorporate more frequently though. Jackets and coats are definitely my favorite vintage items, especially coming from San Francisco where it’s layering season all year. Basically, my entire apartment is a closet and it’s gotten to the point where I’ll create little installations with my clothing and accessories because there’s no space in my actual closet. 

TV: Do you have thoughts on vintage fur?

SM: I do. I’m really against wearing real fur — the treatment of animals is crazy and watching those videos will make you want to throw up and never wear fur again. Good quality vintage faux fur is hard to find because it’s pretty plastic-y and synthetic, but when you do find it, it can be great. The demand has increased for it now, too, and they’re finding ways to make it better and more affordable.

TV: Who are your style muses?

SM: I love old rocker guys from the '80s and '90s — David Bowie, back in the day, was always on point. It depends what time of year it is. I’m also pretty inspired by grandpas at the bus stop. They’re so swagged out. They don’t even know what they’re doing or why, but I think they’re great. [laughs] 

TV: Fly grandpas at the bus stop, okay [laughs]. Finally, do you have any advice for readers hoping to join the industry?

SM: I think for every career path, you can’t half-ass — can I say that? — anything. You have to give it 110%, whether it’s an internship or an actual job, give them the same amount of time and attention. That’s another thing for people pursuing creative careers: Internships are everything. You learn what you don’t want to do, and your relationships are built early. Those can be hard to start to form later, so it’s great to develop a network as soon as possible. Work hard, do internships, learn to be good at representing yourself, and speak to people properly and with respect. Be curious!

Creative Director: Sami Miró

Stylist: Sami Miró 

Photographer: Anouk Morgan 

Makeup: Cherish Brooke Hill 

Hair: Colleen Duffy & Daisy Ontiveros

Leather jacket look: Sami Miro Vintage (vintage leather jacket, vintage levis, vintage rhinestone high neck bathing suit); Office look: Sami Miro Vintage velvet dress and beret, Ferragni shoes; Faux fur jacket look: Sami Miro Vintage (vintage faux fur coat, vintage red gucci sweatshirt, vintage burgundy trousers); Leopard shorts look: Sami Miro Vintage bomber, GCDS bodysuit, Lazy Oaf shorts; Leopard jacket look: Sami Miro Vintage (Faux fur leopard coat, vintage tee, and custom denim skirt); Pink look: Sami Miro Vintage (70’s pink high neck dress w/ matching cropped trousers); All jewelry: Sami Miro Vintage

NYLON: March Issue Girl We Heart by Sami Miro

The following feature appears in the March 2016 issue of NYLON. Written by Lisa Butterworth.

Sami Miró is a vintage-clothes whisperer. An ’80s suit with gigantic shoulder pads becomes a totally sexy ensemble when she’s done with it. A men’s leather jacket that most would overlook becomes completely covetable after she plucks it from the rack. When we meet at a French café in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz hood, she’s wearing an old oversize black Malcolm X T-shirt paired with a velvet-adorned sheer turtleneck, black jeans, booties, and at least one ring on every finger (including her mom’s wedding band). The 28-year-old’s got a serious sixth sense when it comes to making the old new again, which is what helped her make the leap from a career in marketing to what she does now: vintage curation, styling, and an upcoming secret venture that she won’t say much about except that it will combine her three main passions—business, vintage fashion, and creativity. 

There’s another major element of Miró’s life that she doesn’t much want to dish on: her relationship with her super-famous boyfriend, Zac Efron. But that doesn’t stop other people from talking. Tabloids keep constant track of the couple, even on their recent monthlong vacation in Asia. “Some media outlets are like, ‘And so-and-so’s model girlfriend.’ I’m like, ‘You guys, stop saying I’m a model. I’m 5’5”—let’s be real,’” she says with a laugh as our almond milk lattes arrive. But Miró has done some modeling for brands like Levi’s and Missguided—not an easy feat for a person who’s happiest when she’s not the center of attention. “You have to kind of grow a pair and do it,” she says. “And that’s taught me a lot on life in general.” She will bring up Efron when it comes to work, however. “I’m styling Zac, which is a natural transition,” she says. “It was something we did—now it’s just having an official role for it.” 

Even though styling is new to Miró (with a B.A. in marketing and a master’s degree in global entrepreneurship and management, she worked at a tech/consumer electronics start-up until well after her move to L.A. in 2013), vintage clothing is not. She was a teen in her hometown of San Francisco when she first discovered it as a way to keep up on the cheap with her rich, designer-clad classmates at private school. “Then it turned into me realizing, ‘Oh wait, this Lacoste polo that went from the traditional purple to the faded purple and now has some random holes in it is actually so much more awesome than your new Lacoste polo,’” she says. “I realized the value that age gives to clothing and how special it becomes. Everything is one-off, everything is unique, and everything tells a story.”

And while her epic clothing collection, enviable style, and, yes, hot Hollywood bae make Miró an obvious Girl We Heart, it’s her attitude that takes our love to the next level. “I don’t ever dress for anyone else, ever, ever, ever,” she says. “It’s like, ‘Does this outfit complete me? Okay. I’m ready to go.’” 

Miró’s Musts:

Eating: L.A.’s Sushi Park—definitely the uni 

Drinking: I love a good cold-pressed juice. I’ve been drinking the green ones that have no fruit in them. You can’t sip those things, you gotta just chug. 

Beautifying: Organic sunscreen’s a must. And EO’s lavender body oil. 

Listening: I love me some hip-hop, always. Ty Dolla $ign is my favorite right now. 

Reading: My dad gave me the autobiography of Lenny Bruce. He used to know Lenny like a million years ago and it meant a lot for me to read it. But it’s actually really incredible and still very relevant. 

Visiting: Museums—it’s something I need to do more of. 

Believing: In always being yourself. I’ll go back home and see all my friends, and they’re like, “Oh my god, I’m so happy you’re still you.” I’m like, “Duh, what did you think?”

Rejuvenating: Yoga, the sauna, and the cryosauna, which is basically like an ice chamber

CREDIT:

Creative Direction: Sami Miró

Photo: Scott Leon

Styling: Sami Miro Vintage

Makeup: Tori McConkey

Hair: Daisy Ontiveros 

Styled by SMV: Kiersey Clemons x Aus Fashion Label Campaign by Sami Miro

Aus Fashion Label's Anti Valentines Day Campaign starring Kiersey Clemons, styled by me. In this campaign, I combined my vintage coats, jewelry, glasses and other accessories with BNKR, C/MEO Collective, Finders Keepers, Keepsake, and The Fifth Label. Photographed by Ted Simmons.