Natalia Cote-Muñoz ’12

Swat Style Snapshot: Mexico City, Mexico, David Kemp

Sera Jeong/The Phoenix

Her Current Outfit:
Cote-Munoz wears a solid tangerine-colored dress with three-quarter length sleeves and a scooped neckline. She has accessorized the dress with a slim, patent black belt. Purchased from H&M, the dress has a fitted upper silhouette and a full skirt, when paired with the belt, accentuates her waist. To balance the bright hue of the garment, she wears black leggings and black Camper boots. Of the established Spanish footwear company, “they have really comfortable shoes that last forever,” she said. Durability is important for Cote-Munoz because like many Swarthmore students, she walks routinely and is oftentimes unable to maintain her shoes. Cote-Munoz has kept her use of accessories to a minimum, but wears a J.Crew headband studded with diamantes to keep her wavy hair in place.

Sera Jeong/The Phoenix

Building Her Wardrobe:
One way Cote-Munoz procures clothing is by raiding her mother’s wardrobe. Cote-Munoz calls this “consensual stealing,” because her mother will oftentimes allow her to keep the clothes she has purloined. While on campus, Cote-Munoz, who is often strapped for time, shops online especially at websites with good sales such as Urban Outfitters. Other stores she frequents include The Gap and H&M. She notes J.Crew and Desigual, a Spanish brand specializing in casual wear, for their creative use of colors. But she is not exclusive to certain brands and will buy “random” things at Springfield Mall. “If I tend towards certain brands, its more about convenience,” she said.

Penchant for Bold, Bright Colors:
Color is the dominant focus of Cote-Munoz’s outfits. “I really like solid colors. Usually I pick one or two bright colors with a combination of neutrals,” she said. Cote-Munoz attributes her sense of aesthetics to her upbringing abroad. “Growing up in Mexico City, I’ve always been exposed to colorful things,” she said. Her taste for color has developed by being exposed to colorful environments, for example through visits to the neighborhood Coyoacan, known for its colorful houses such as Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. According to the political science major, wearing eye-catching hues makes her happy and wards off feelings of depression. “I think being at Swat has made it more necessary for me to wear brighter colors,” she said.

Aesthetics and Art:
As a Film and Media Studies minor and the coordinator of the Movie Committee, visual art is an interest that Cote-Munoz holds strongly. Films play into her sense of aesthetics, which then ensues into her style. But rather than being inspired by the costuming in films, Cote-Munoz is inspired by the overall aesthetics of films, which she abstractly describes as “things being framed a certain way.” Particular films like Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie” and Stanely Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange,” have left a mark on Cote-Munoz for their innovative use of color. Having taken painting classes throughout her elementary and high school years, Cote-Munoz is also an aficionado of art. She names artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Gustav Klimt and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser as additional influences on her sense of aesthetics. Her established taste for bright bold colors in visual arts correlates to her personal style, as she likens her appreciation for cheerful artwork to her attraction to wearing bold colors.

Her Style:
Fashion is not one of Cote-Munoz’s interests. She is neither attuned with fashion houses nor a fan of fashion blogs. “Mostly I just try things on my own, and it either works or doesn’t,” she said. When it doesn’t work, she feels it is very apparent, as she will receive comments or looks from people. Oftentimes, she feels people are bothered by certain color-combinations. “Too many colors throws people off,” she said. She attempts to create a sense of balance in her ensembles, for example by offsetting vivid colors with neutrals and pastels. “Otherwise I’d look like a clown,” she said. With the exception of heels, which Cote-Munoz wears to add height to her frame, dressing is about being comfortable. She also considers elements of garments that flatter her body shape, and is fond of voluminous skirts and dresses as well as belts that highlight her waist. Because she has a penchant for solid, bright colors, she usually refrains from adding patterns and textures to her outfits, especially animal print or fur which Cote-Munoz is particularly averse to. Ultimately, for Cote-Munoz, “[Style] is a form of expression. Like art.”

Do you think you (or a professor) have great style? Then submit a photo of you in your best outfit to sjeong1@swarthmore.edu. Please include your name and contact information.

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