When you ask Mikey J for style advice, you're going to get answers that are both honest and encouraging. Their Instagram page has light, poppy, colorful vibes. It describes them as a person, because they not only exude style with every outfit they wear, but also have a refreshing personality. As a queer mentor and mental health advocate, J speaks openly about giving back to the LGBTQ+ community and being non-binary themselves.
To them, expressing their style through androgynous fashion is a way of "reclaim[ing] the identities of masc and fem that I have often found myself conflicted with." J also has lots of fashion experience under their belt as a stylist and resale associate at Uptown Cheapskate, a highly-rated thrift store. Currently a design apprentice and Public and International Relations major in college, they have their sights set on fashion school.
In our interview below, I got the chance to ask Mikey J about summer style recs and what it's like to be a stylist.
Q: What do you do as a stylist?
A: "I help people find their own personal style based on what we carry at Uptown Cheapskate. I’ll get to know buyers during their visit and maybe see what they’re looking for and if they want to diversify their closet. In addition, we do social media posts. Typically, we’ll post an outfit of the day, featuring the current clothes in the store. I’ll style a display or mannequin for people to see what kind of outfits they can create with the clothes we carry."
Q: What are your style recommendations for summer?
A: "First of all, don’t try too hard to be trendy. Trendy clothes are cool and mainstream, but they lose their value and attractiveness over seasons. Try to find your personal sense of style. If you do want trendy clothes, always go secondhand or try online resale stores.
With this being a quarantine summer, I would suggest people focus on house clothing and active wear. Shop for comfort this summer.
For more masculine-presenting people, I suggest graphic tees, light but with a statement of style. Play around with sleeveless and tie-dye. Throw on light outerwear like a vintage athletic jacket for those breezy summer nights.
As for the feminine-presenting people, flow tops and denim/casual shorts are a closet necessity. They are easy to mix and match. In addition, they give a more dressed up look. I’m also a big fan of crop tops, especially vintage graphics, and I think they’re a good closet snag.
As for shoes, I suggest getting some chunky Filas or some Nike AF1s. They’re a good closet staple and they’re easy to match."
Q: What's the most common thing about fashion people ask you?
A: "The most common question I get is: “Do you think I have good style?” Which I understand, as a stylist, it is our job to help people with their wardrobe but that’s honestly what we do. People have their own style and outlook of what they want to dress as but they just don’t have the opportunities or the cautious eye. This is where a stylist comes in as a visionary.
They typically [also] ask me how they can be more stylish or trendy in the most affordable way. I personally advise people to go to resale stores, vintage e-stores, utilize social media resale markets like Depop and Poshmark...Not only are you maintaining a sustainable closet but you’re also able to explore new styles without spending so much and you’re able to make some money off your clothes."
Q: What is your favorite piece of advice to give others?
A: "I just want to say that if you ever have a fantasy of how to dress or present yourself, go for it. How you feel and look at yourself is something so gratifying. It can be an authenticating and liberating experience. Don’t be scared to try different styles. Skate, punk, boho, vintage, whatever! Body types and masc./fem. are just labels and frankly they don’t matter as much as you think!"
You can find Mikey J at @yo.mikey.j on Instagram.