Kayla Mento knows some people stare at her — most likely because of her outfit.
Mento likes to wear jackets and boots with studs and items with lots of zippers and other embellishments. She isn’t afraid to put on distressed jeans or crazy tights with maps or pops of neon colors.
Punk style is her style.
“I guess I just have an eclectic taste in clothes,” says Mento, of Greenfield, a junior at Chatham University, Pittsburgh. “I know people might look at me, but I like to dress differently and to wear clothing with studs on them. I have some great boots with studs. That’s my fashion style.”
She is not alone. The punk look has gained attention recently because of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition “Punk: Chaos to Couture.” It was the theme for the museum’s annual Met Ball.
Attendees were asked to “go punk.” Many of the stars embraced the dramatic theme from Miley Cyrus’ Marc Jacob’s fishnet dress and spiked hair to Sienna Miller’s Burberry floor-length white dress, studded jacket and headband. Sarah Jessica Parker wore a Giles Deacon dress, a Philip Treacy headpiece and Louis Vuitton boots.
Punk can be interpreted in different ways.
“When I think of punk, I think of expressing yourself any way you want,” says Roberta Weissburg, owner of Roberta Weissburg Leathers in Shadyside and SouthSide Works. “It’s about rebellion.”
Weissburg is featuring a black jacket from Double D Ranchwear with spikes and bullets in her Shadyside store.
“This jacket is short, spiked and sassy,” she says. “It’s embossed to look like snakeskin and lambskin, but it has an edge to it.”
As a handbag designer, Helena Chraime of Helena + Troy, says she looks to all fashion for inspiration, including the punk genre.
“But one era I always refer back to time and time again, is punk,” she says. “To me, it’s an everlasting theme that will forever be reinvented. It’s a way of expressing strength and rebellion while still remaining feminine and magnificent.”
The Met’s punk exhibit represents a bigger idea happening today in women’s fashion, which is individualism, says Josh Saterman, Macy’s vice president fashion director.
The idea of punk inspires more than simply hard-core or edgy style, he says. It’s about empowerment and self-expression.
“We at Macy’s embrace all self-expression by offering all the right trends to pull this look together,” Saterman says. “Leather, sport influence, denim, bright colors, embellishment with studs, grommets and rivets are all part of our offering to create and inspire your punk look.”
The best way to try this trend is to start simple and embrace what you are comfortable wearing, Saterman says. Maybe go with a great motorcycle leather jacket with studs or grommets. Pair it with slightly ripped jeans in a fresh new blue or punk gray. Whatever style you enjoy, you have to feel comfortable in your own skin, Saterman says. Explore and have some fun with it, he says.
The Met gala, along with some of the punk and grunge looks that were on the fashion week 2013 runways, showed women that they can be edgy or punk and maintain their femininity, says Rosanne Karmes, founder and designer of Sydney Evan fine jewelry.
“Women can experiment with a punk look with their accessories — small details,” says Karmes. “I never believe in changing your whole style to adhere to a trend. If you’re the kind of girl who wears feminine dresses, then I wouldn’t suggest suddenly trying a faux-hawk and studded boots. Instead, opt for a pair of safety pin earrings or a pyramid-stud bracelet to add a little edge without looking like you are trying too hard.”
She has always designed skulls, spikes and safety pins in the line that she started in 2001.
“I wouldn’t exactly call us punk; however, we have some “refined” punk pieces,” Karmes says. “The Sydney Evan aesthetic tends to be very clean, but also really functional. Even our ‘trend’ or edgier styles always have a classic appeal.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7889.