“I’m scared of bright colors,” admits Alexa Chung, the coanchor of the nightly music-news show Fuse News (fuse.tv). Yet despite the model and DJ’s aversion to typical spring shades, she looks forward to the warmer season: “I like seeing trees that don’t look like they’re from a witchy nightmare.” The British style star has been feted by the fashion industry for her effortlessly cool aesthetic, receiving praise from Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld, designing two sold-out collections for Madewell, and collaborating on campaigns for Maje and Stella McCartney. Her style evolution hasn’t always been a smooth one. “I got punk a bit wrong when I was 17,” she admits. “I misinterpreted it and crossed it with some weird Pokémon-Tamagotchi hybrid, so I had this weird cyberdog look, which was really unfortunate for a lot of years.” Today she cares less about emulating others and dresses for herself. “I like to wear dungarees, and at the moment I’m into things that are comfortable,” she says. “People don’t take risks, because they’re afraid something isn’t in season, but you should have fun with fashion and wear what you want.”
RECOMMENDED: Spring fashion trends 2013
Time Out New York: Who is your dream interview?
Alexa Chung: I’d love to interview Mick Jagger, but that might be scary.
Time Out New York: What song do you currently have on repeat?
Alexa Chung: “Everything Is Embarrassing” by my friend Sky Ferreira. [Watch the music video]
Time Out New York: What music genre’s style do you relate to the most?
Alexa Chung: I’m indie through and through. I’ve always gone out with boys in bands. I designed a collection for Madewell two years ago, and the whole inspiration for that was girls backstage. Maybe I’m pop sometimes. I think now there’s really no distinction throughout the categories. Back in the day it was more clear, but now everything is a bit wishy-washy because indie isn’t indie anymore, because it became popular. Like [now] everyone just dresses like a hipster.
Time Out New York: Who are some of your style icons in music?
Alexa Chung: There are so many. Iggy Pop, George Harrison, Jane Birkin, Patti Smith, Courtney Love…in the ’90s.
Time Out New York: What is your favorite thing to wear right now?
Alexa Chung: Well, today I turned up in my pajamas, so that is sort of an indication of where I’m at, clothes-wise. At the moment I’m into things that are comfortable. I’m on TV every day so I have to wear a full [done-up] outfit, so when I get home I’m really focused on jeans, sweatshirts and comfort.
Time Out New York: What is your style philosophy?
Alexa Chung: Stick to the classics, and you can’t ever go wrong. I see old ladies on the street who have fabulous style and realize it’s because they are probably wearing really classic items that they’ve had for years and years. I think if you find something that suits you, you should just stick to it.
Time Out New York: What’s your favorite era for style?
Alexa Chung: I love the ’60s and sort of wish all design stopped in 1967. That would be my dream. They were really just nailing it, everyone looked great, but then it started getting a bit slippery after that.
Time Out New York: Do you have a typical tiny New York City closet?
Alexa Chung: I have a really small apartment [in the East Village] and small and messy closet. I like how disordered it is, though. I’m never going to be one of those people who is good at organization. But I’m very visual. I have a catalog in my head of things I already own, so it’s easy to shop and I always know exactly what I’m looking for. I collect everything in multiples. You should see how many white shirts I’ve got.
Time Out New York: Where do you like to shop in NYC?
Alexa Chung: I love the Reformation (156 Ludlow St between Rivington and Stanton Sts, 646-448-4925 • 23 Howard St between Crosby and Lafayette Sts, 212-510-8455 • thereformation.com). I think they are really clever, and I like that they use recycled fabrics. It’s often smaller shops like them that can mimic street style quicker and in a more authentic fashion. By the time it gets regurgitated [to larger stores], it’s sort of a watered-down version, but because [the Reformation owners] are friends with the people that are wearing the cool shit, they can just design for their friends.
Time Out New York: What items do you save on? What do you splurge on?
Alexa Chung: I love Gap for affordable men’s sweaters. I tend to splurge on fancy dresses because I always think I’ll get a lot of wear out of them, but it’s false logic. You should really spend more money on the things you wear every day, like jeans. But I only own two pairs of jeans. One I designed for Madewell, so they are literally made to fit me. Another is a cheap pair from Danish brand Vero Moda that I got from a photo shoot.
Time Out New York: What do you look forward to in spring?
Alexa Chung: I like being able to walk outside without wincing at the cold, and I like when my eyeballs don’t freeze over. But I find spring and summer in NYC particularly difficult to dress for because my style is absolutely based on layering. When I can’t do that, I don’t understand what I’m going to do. I hate anything sexy, and I hate a lot of flesh showing, but there’s no other option. If I could walk around in a bikini I’d be okay, because it’s that hot.
Time Out New York: So what’s your go-to spring outfit?
Alexa Chung: Jean shorts always.
Time Out New York: What’s next? Do you plan to design more?
Alexa Chung: I’d love to design more, but I’m just too busy right now. I’m [also] always conscious that I need to do other things like writing, deejaying and TV presenting. I still keep up those pursuits because I don’t think you can rely on an ever-changing industry like fashion to constantly support you. I’m also writing a book right now.
Time Out New York: How is New York style different from British style?
Alexa Chung: New York style is really good because it’s so well put-together. I admire American women because they are really good at putting a look together that is sophisticated. As British girls, we lean toward being a bit more messy, a bit more undone and maybe a little more eccentric. I’m always amazed by how thick and shiny everyone’s hair is and how white everyone’s teeth are.
Follow Rachel LeWinter on Twitter: @Rachel_LeWinter