We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what’s “you”? These are some of the questions we’re putting to prominent figures in our column “How I Shop.”
A lot has happened since we last caught up with Emily Oberg. She left Kith — where she was heading up women’s design and marketing after a three-year stint at Complex — and New York for Los Angeles, where she consults and art directs for various brands, in addition to working on her own, Sporty & Rich, which she’s now evolving into a full-fledged ready-to-wear line. She also partakes in the the occasional influencer campaign, most recently partnering with nostalgia-inducing watch brand G-Shock on a “day in the life”-style video that sees her hiking, working and shopping in L.A. Her personal style has evolved as well: Once seen as the ultimate “hypebae,” Oberg says she’s kind of over streetwear now. “I feel like it’s gotten so big and so mass that it’s lost its appeal for me,” she tells Fashionista. “Now I am more into super timeless, classic pieces.”
Right now, she’s favoring a mix of vintage denim, high-end T-shirts and cashmere sweaters and luxe accessories by brands like The Row and Bottega Veneta, which have effectively replaced Old Céline in her roster of favorite brands. What hasn’t changed is Oberg’s penchant for thoughtfully posting these outfit details on Instagram for a large, engaged following, which now exceeds 300K.
We caught up with Oberg over the phone to learn more about her favorite brands, her shopping tactics, how her style has matured and evolved and why she tends not to wear the things brands gift her.
“I always loved shopping and I used to actually go shopping with my grandmother every week. She would always buy me something. I was way more of a girly girl I’d say, and then I changed and became more tomboy and more into streetwear. Where I’m from, it’s a very small city, a very small town. All we really have is the mall. That would be the only option. We didn’t have cool boutiques or even vintage stores really.
I love Ssense, I think they have one of the best selections. They have all of my favorite brands. Net-a-Porter is cool. I think MyTheresa is pretty good. L.A. is hard because there’s not really that many great stores. I don’t find that I ever really go shopping that much in L.A. I buy a lot online. I love vintage shopping. The Rose Bowl [flea market] is pretty good for vintage in L.A. I would say Etsy is where I get a lot of my vintage. Etsy and Ebay, they’re really good if you have time to spend a lot of time just searching. It takes awhile, and you have to be on there for a few hours to find something good. I love The Line. It’s a good experience, even if you don’t buy something it’s such a nice place to be. In New York, I love Maryam Nassir [Zadeh].
Since everything is spread out [in L.A.], it’s not as convenient to just go shopping. All the stores are not really near each other unless you go on Rodeo [Drive] or something. I definitely shop online more and I just shop less in general. I really try to not be as much of a consumer as I used to be. I just found I was accumulating so many things and I didn’t want to have so many possession in general. I got rid of a lot of things this past year, actually. I think L.A. in general, you’re more into wellness and health. I think your home and belongings is part of that and just feeling good. I like the Marie Kondo method, I read her book two years ago and I did it after I read it. My shopping habits have changed. I just invest more. I’ll buy more expensive pieces but way fewer things because I know I’ll have them forever and just wear them all the time.
Now that Celine is different, I don’t buy Celine anymore. I used to love it. I think now Bottega [Veneta] and The Row are probably my favorite brands. I just got a couple of The Row bags which I love. They are super good quality, made really well. No branding, which I like. I think Bottega’s bags are really nice right now, their bags and their shoes. I just got a good pair of Bottega shoes. I’m also into jewelry, I think that’s something good to invest in.
I love Totême, I think they do a really good job. I think James Perse has the best T-shirts. They have these really good Japanese cotton T-shirts that cost a fortune but they’re so comfy and I wear them every day. What else is good? Agolde has really nice jeans and they’re really expensive but they fit really well. I like Maryam Nassir’s line. For workout stuff, Live the Process is pretty cool. I love Harmony, my boyfriend’s brand from Paris. It’s very simple and classic and timeless and really well-made. I love the brand Khaite. It’s really nice. I’m just pretty loyal. If I like I brand, I’ll always go to them and always buy from them. I feel like now my brands are Bottega and The Row.
I don’t really just go shopping for fun. I more go if I need something and I know I want something and I’ll just go get it. The brands that are expensive, I like to think about and make sure. Do I really want this? Am I going to be able to wear it with everything in my closet? Am I going to have it two-to-three years from now? I definitely consider a lot of things before buying stuff. A, it’s expensive. B, I just want to have as little things as possible. I think it’s good to be thoughtful about it and make sure you really want it.
I think comfort for me probably comes first when I’m dressing. I think in order for something to look good, you need to be comfortable in it first. If you’re not comfortable I feel like it will just not look good.
I’m not so much into streetwear whereas I was three years ago. I feel like it’s gotten so big and so mass that it’s lost its appeal for me. The reason I got into it and loved it in the first place is because it was so super niche and no one was into streetwear, no one was into sneakers. It was hard to find sneakers for myself. Now it’s gotten so big. I think when something is just so…ubiquitous, I guess it just loses its appeal. Now I am more into super timeless, classic pieces. I would say my style is more elevated luxury with a bit of sportswear. I still wear sneakers and they’re practical. Anything sportswear can be done in a way where it’s chic and not as street and not as graphic-focused, logo-heavy. That’s what I’m into now, I feel like it’s more mature. Getting older, I just want to have a solid wardrobe, kind of like a uniform. I like uniform dressing.
I think [my uniform is] a really good pair of denim, a vintage denim, and a nice white tee or a comfy crew neck sweatshirt. In a way, I feel like life revolves around wellness and working out [in L.A.] so I feel like I’m wearing activewear a lot of the time. You just feel like you’re not getting ready or dressed up. I just try to wear a nice pair of jeans and a nice tee, maybe in winter a nice cashmere sweater or something.
My friend actually started this app called Basic Space a few years ago and I sell [clothes] on there. Once a month I’ll go through all my things, kind of see if I haven’t worn something in three or four months, then I’m probably not going to wear it and I’ll get rid of it. They donate all the stuff that doesn’t sell. I like to do a clean out of my closet every month. I feel like… it’s so easy to accumulate things, especially when I get sent a lot of things.
I would say the things that I get sent are not the things that I always want. I’m not so into all the free stuff, I think sometimes you get some good things, but more or less it’s stuff that’s okay, it’s whatever. The stuff that I want, I feel like they would never send me, so… Most of my stuff that I wear, I buy.
I’ve been wearing my brand a lot lately and I’m going to be making a lot more things, so I’ve just wanted to wear the stuff that I make. I make it for myself anyways. I recently decided to be more consistent with the brand and turn it into a real brand, whereas before it was more of a magazine first and I did releases maybe a couple times a year. Now I’m starting to do releases every month.”