Twenty-two year old Paulien Riemis combines a modelling career with studying hard to obtain a degree in literature and languages. She is quite the mixture of polished and RATE (rough around the edges), and is a neutrals gal at heart. She loves slouch as much as skinnies, adores sneakers, and is a pro at remixing classic pieces into her casual outfits.
“My style has evolved from very girly and chaotic (more was definitely more!) to something more minimalistic and sometimes even boyish. I would describe it as fun, elegant and casual!”
While browsing her blog, Polienne, I was delighted to discover that Paulien also lives in Antwerp, so I jumped at the chance to get together with her. Last Saturday we plopped ourselves down at an outdoor café in the city centre where I quickly discovered Paulien is a spontaneous, down-to-earth and easy-to-get-along-with lass. We chatted (in Dutch) about how we are both night owls, her favourite fashion haunts (Zara, H&M and Massimo Dutti), slow-going reading assignments (Dickens and Eliot), blogging in 2014, shopping at the international food market, and investment pieces. Paulien is hesitant to invest in expensive footwear because “shoes will get dirty immediately anyway, and they wear out so quickly”. She prefers to save up for a fab investment bag “that you’ll have for years and years and will develop a nice patina as time goes by”. Paulien, it was lovely to get to know you a little better, and I’m sure we’ll run into each other again soon.
The knee-length man coat with fun loop detail is the star of the show. The slightly wider lapels, low stance, tailored fit on the shoulders and scrunched sleeves give it just the right amount of unstructured structure. Opting for a light colour like this pale grey is a great way to start celebrating Spring when it’s still cold enough outside to need a wool topper. The relaxed fit striped pullover with white background further lightens up the look. The bright pink beanie is a gorgeous colour contrast and youthfully playful. What really sold me on the look though is how Paulien folded over her black skinnies to just hit the top of her patent pointy toe ankle boots. It’s a nonchalant rockers touch for which I’ve always had a soft spot. Choose the same colour footwear and bottoms if you want to lengthen the leg line. A black leather tote, roomy enough to hold her books, finishes off the look.
Paulien’s skater girl look makes me smile. It’s such a great example of her tomboy side, and features two pieces that are very much part of our blogger’s casual wear uniform: skinny boyfriend jeans and fun sneakers. Oversized fits are all the rage these days, and trend-savvy Paulien was already sporting this very voluminous cardigan with big balloon sleeves early last year. The cheerful pink plaid pattern gives it a girly touch, as does the fluffy pink sweater that provides textural interest to boot. The cardi’s volume is offset by the slim-fitting BFs with rolled-up hems. Showing a bit of bare ankle also adds structure to the look. And notice how she, just like Angie, neatly tucked away the laces of her customized Puma sneakers.
Paulien has a real knack for remixing classic pieces into her outfits. Here she is sporting one of her favourite coats, a wool camel Massimo Dutti number that goes with practically everything in her closet. I love how she’s paired it with another super versatile player — the simple striped tee — and then added an unexpected third layer: a leopard print coat. Subtle, but very effective pattern mixing. Black skinny jeans tucked into black motorcycle ankle boots again lengthen the leg line. With their slouchy fit and buckle detail they’re a fab juxtaposition against the dressy coat. That tougher vibe is continued with Paulien’s oversized black Balenciaga bag, an investment item she can see herself carrying for years to come.
Our blogger is a neutrals gal at heart, and here she’s sporting one of my favourite colour combinations: crisp white with different shades of grey. This soft colour palette always feels fresh, plus Paulien makes it extra interesting by going for maximum textural interest. The light grey tee has a marled effect, her delicate necklace consists of two-toned light and dark silver metal, and the rips and tears in her destroyed jeans create even more outfit depth. Ripped jeans are a RATE (rough around the edges) look, but the crisp white counterbalances that effect. Because of the longer, calf length and relaxed fit, the cosy maxi cardigan adds volume to the outfit, but it’s kept in check by the skinny jeans and wider scoop neckline of the T-shirt. Iconic white Converse and a simple cream and black colour blocked tote complement this effortless casual look.
I’m dubbing this sporty urban nonchalance. By now you’ve surely noticed that the Breton stripe — just like skinny jeans and sneakers — plays an essential role in Paulien’s casual closet. For this fashion forward volume-on-volume look she is wearing the roomy sweater version over baggy pleather pants that have a nice drape to them. There’s a bit of scrunch going on at the calves and ankles, which adds back in structure. So do the 3/4 tab sleeves on the army green trench coat. It’s a unique piece that really makes this outfit for me. It’s almost like a mix between a military jacket and a French workman’s jacket à la Bill Cunningham. Fab! Paulien throws on her camel coat and on trend bulky scarf to stay warm. Worn-in black sneakers, big Balenciaga bag and sweet cat necklace are the accessories of choice.
Denim on denim, almond toe pumps and flares, they’re all big this season, and once again, our blogger was ahead of the curve and sporting these trends last Spring. It works fantastically well thanks to the mix of two shades of faded denim with cream and white. Soft casual and feminine at the same time. The longer length biker jacket has little detailing and an uncomplicated vibe that really appeals to me. In fact, the entire outfit exudes a minimal simplicity that’s close to my heart. The nubby texture on the sweater adds subtle textural interest. It’s the same length as the jacket which helps to achieve a clean line. The collarless white shirt gives the look a polished touch that is dressed down by the big scarf. The stunning Celine bag brings beautiful architectural lines into the look. The cream suede pumps are perfect with the dramatic drape of the flared jeans, and provide attractive colour repetition with Paulien’s shirt and sweater.
Between the pleather pants outfit, beautiful light grey coat look and the feminine flares, I’m having a hard time picking a favourite, but I am going with the flares because the silhouette feels fresh to me and the elegant simplicity is right up my alley. Let us know in the comments what you think of Paulien’s neutrals-inspired mix of polished and RATE style. Then hop on over to her blog for more outfit inspiration, or check out her pinboards to find out what inspires her.
For our meetup, Paulien was sporting her trusted camel coat layered over that fab army green trench, fun graphic tee, relaxed skinnies, Nike sneakers and her beloved Balenciaga bag that is just starting to develop the worn-in patina Paulien is after. And don’t you just love her sassy shorter ‘do!