Most stylish New Yorkers: Sasheer Zamata

Vintage threads and thrifty finds fill this comedian's closet.

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  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Zamata picked up these acid-washed jeans from a vintage store in Edmonton, Alberta, when her improv group, Doppelganger (doppelgangercomedy.com), was there for a festival. "I love them because they show off my shape," she enthuses. She pairs the pants with a colorful silk top she bought from a street fair in Prospect Park South for only $3.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    The performer found this pin-striped menswear-inspired vest at a Goodwill (goodwill.org) while she was home in Indianapolis for the holidays. To accentuate her waist, she cinches it with a patent-leather belt, a hand-me-down from her mother.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "Performing dictates my choices in accessories," she states. "I can get very physical if I'm doing improv, and wouldn't want someone to accidentally rip an earring out, or for one of my rings to cut someone," she says. Zamata purchased these vintage gunmetal studs while on a gig in Vancouver.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "They work for just about every outfit," Zamata says of her favorite Dolce Vita shoes, which she bought at Only Hearts. "I love them because they're comfortable, give me some height, and can be dressy or casual."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    The comedian exhibits her quirky aesthetic by mixing unconventional prints and colors. This outfit is in regular rotation: "I wear this for a lot of shows because I can easily move around in it, and can still look cute," she says of the Forever 21 (locations throughout the city; visit forever21.com) plaid top and thrifted suede skirt.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Layering a pair of zebra-print socks from Macy's (151 W 34th St at Seventh Ave; 212-695-4400, macys.com) over Only Hearts leggings is equal parts fashion and function. "It's great if I don't want to wear boots and want to cover the gap between the bottom of my leggings and the top of my shoe," she explains. "I can put a festive sock on over it and create a funky look."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Zamata wears Sally Hansen's Shades of Dark on her nails, a deceiving polish that she says "goes on purple, but looks black from far away."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "It's reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie," Zamata muses of her monotone ensemble.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    The cobalt silk top was another thrifty find from her travels---she scored it for a mere $4 from a Mexican thrift shop in L.A.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    While home in Indianapolis, Zamata often raids her mother's closet for vintage gems. "My mom was fly when she was younger," she enthuses. "She pulled off a very sexy but classy look, and I try to do the same by modernizing her clothes and wearing them today." She uses two of her mom's castoffs, this cotton skirt and patent-leather belt, to demonstrate that theory.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Zamata's ankle tattoo peaks out from her Dolce Vita shoes. "It's an oak tree, which represents strength and connectivity. The roots of oak trees interlock with each other for support, so you can't knock over one by itself," she explains. "If you want to knock over one tree, you have to knock over the whole forest." She got the ink at Three Kings Tattoo (572 Manhattan Ave at Driggs Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-349-7755, threekingstattoo.com) and boasts that the place is "clean, hip and very welcoming."

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Zamata picked up these acid-washed jeans from a vintage store in Edmonton, Alberta, when her improv group, Doppelganger (doppelgangercomedy.com), was there for a festival. "I love them because they show off my shape," she enthuses. She pairs the pants with a colorful silk top she bought from a street fair in Prospect Park South for only $3.

Sasheer Zamata, 25; comedian (sasheer.com); Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Her personal style: "I would describe my style as classic and fun. I like looking like I'm from a different decade and I'll switch up the time period every once in a while. One day will be a '50s-inspired look, another day will be [an aesthetic] from the '70s, and some days I'll just mix and match different eras to make my own look."

Her inspirations: "I really like vintage or vintage-inspired pieces, and I like channeling old icons. Like right now, my hairstyle is inspired by Lucille Ball. And if I pick my 'fro out and wear animal prints, I'm usually trying to channel Pam Grier. I'm inspired by a lot of classic entertainers who I look up to, like Carol Burnett and Diana Ross."

Favorite stores: "There's a Salvation Army near me in Greenpoint, it just says thrift store on the sign (981 Manhattan Ave between Huron and India Sts; 718-383-5005); It's pretty small and really dirty, but I've found the best pieces there. I feel like I'm hunting for treasure, and usually buy something every time I go in. I also love Fred Flare (fredflare.com). They have a lot of cute and cheap accessories and fun household items. The store closed, but they still sell items online. Their shipping warehouse is in Greenpoint, so if I order something, I can walk over and pick it up to avoid the shipping charges."

Favorite New York style icon: "Diane Keaton isn't a New Yorker, but I love her style in Annie Hall, which is a New York movie. I love how all her outfits [incorporated] a feminine touch to male-centric pieces. Like wearing men's pants and a tie with a fitted vest. I love vests, and I went through a tie phase as well, so I'd say a lot of my style is inspired by that look."

How her style has evolved: "Things have changed as I've gotten more comfortable with my body. It wasn't until I got to college that I understood how to accentuate my curves. That's also around the time when I discovered the art of thrifting. Just about everything in my closet is secondhand. I like knowing there's a story behind each item I buy. Plus, there's less of a chance that someone will be wearing the same outfit as me."

How her profession influences her style: "I do comedy, where the dress code is usually the 'I just rolled out of bed and got on stage' look. But I really like dressing up when I perform because I feel more comfortable. Others may feel comfortable when they dress down, but I feel really good when I know I look good. That's how I look at performances, and life, too: I may fail, but at least I looked good doing it."

How her style at work differs from life outside of her job: "I work at a clothing store (Only Hearts, 230 Mott St between Prince and Spring Sts; 212-431-3694, onlyhearts.com), so I have to look cute when I'm there. After work, I perform a lot doing stand-up and improv, and can get very physical onstage, so I want to make sure that what I'm wearing is comfortable and isn't too revealing. I'll wear a lot of skirts or shorts with leggings underneath and a cute top, so it's fun and functional."

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