Name: Melissa Genova, aka “Sweet Melissa”
Location: Logan Square, Chicago
What do you do, in your own words, and how long have you been doing it?
Jill of all trades. Sexy Secretary. Grad Student. Cocktail Waitress. Musician. Performer. Writer!
What is your personal fashion philosophy?
The easiest thing to change is hair. It is the first thing to go if I am in a mental or style funk.
Where do you like to shop for clothes?
Honestly, a lot of my clothes are thrift store bought, vintage store or hand-me-downs (I have really stylish friends). I don’t spend a lot of money on the standards – tank tops, t-shirts, sundresses, so I will just go to places like Forever 21, Target or H&M for those pieces. I love seeking out really cute boutiques with local designers and Etsy for my more interesting pieces. I’ve found my favorite dresses in the most random places.
How has performing influenced your personal style?
I think it is the other way around! I will find any excuse I can to throw on a tutu or corset or cheerleading outfit and douse myself in glitter. It is also really important, as a musician, to make a stunning impression on stage. I mostly perform as a solo, female artist. It is too easy to get categorized because you even start singing. I try to wear something that will make me stand out yet not peg me to a certain genre.
What’s one thing you’d NEVER wear?
Up until a month ago, it was Jeggings. I broke down and bought a pair, though, so I guess now anything is possible!
If you could live in any era of fashion history when would it be?
I would need some kind of “shopping sweepstakes” time machine. I would just quickly run through and grab as much from Dynasty Egypt to the Ancient Greeks to the Renaissance to the Roaring 20’s up until the 80’s! I love where style is right now – I have the ability to take advantage of all these beautiful, fashionable sillouettes and styles. I would probably just stay where I am for that reason alone.
What are your current favorite clothing pieces, accessories, and beauty products?
I have several polka dot dresses (“ polka dot” and pink are my two favorite colors) but one piece that stands out is my “Jessica Rabbit” dress. My best friend, actually, found it when we were shopping at a thrift store. It is a red and white polka dot dress that has a peephole bust. It is one of those magical dresses that I put on and immediately feel gorgeous.
I am also obsessed with collecting any jewelry and clothing with birdcages and owls. A lot of my favourite pieces of jewerly were my mother’s and my grandmother’s. My grandmother had impeccable style, and her costume jewelry peices that she gifted to me are stunning. She had such great taste! Just adding one of her brooches to a black dress is one of the most stylish things that I can wear. My mother had a very quirky style when she was around my age, and I think it is fun that I get to breathe new life into her old stuff.
If a design house or clothing line approached you wanting you to develop a line with them, who would you want it to be, and what kindof pieces would you create?
It would depend on my mood that day. I would LOVE to help design kitchens, though. They would run the gamit from cheesy 1950’s June Cleaver style kitchens or old, rustic Southern Italian kitchens complete with and old stove, fresh fruit on the table at all times, and beautiful cast iron pans.
As a petite woman (Melissa is just shy of 5 feet tall), do you have any specific style tips for our smaller readers?
Learn to walk in very tall heels and teach yourself to act tall in flats.
Also, and this is for everyone: I don’t care how lazy or sick you are, you can always throw on some damn lipstick and mascara!