“Anyone can put clothes on; that's easy, but what I want to know is the story your clothes tell.”
– Thuyvi Vo
Today, Thuyvi tells her story both through her words and through her inspiring style. A believer that clothes can speak gracefully about the life you love, she gives insight into her passions and how they've helped develop her sense of style – the definitive example of effortless.
Thuyvi, pronounced /tree-vee/, moved to Memphis from Vietnam with her parents and two older brothers at age five. “My family moved to America for the single reason most people do - better opportunities,” she says.
It’s also clear from knowing Thuyvi that she has a strong love for Memphis specifically, actively supporting and encouraging other Memphians around her. Her artistic endeavor Dear Sir Paper Co., illustrates it well with watercolor quotes such as “Memphis is It.” As a creative, she often incorporates local artists and artisans in store events at Madewell in Saddle Creek, where she is store director. What does she take most from living in Memphis? – “the pride!”
“I genuinely love Memphis. It's such a wonderful city. There are so many cool things happening here, and to be in the middle of it and witness the growth from the ground up is something I will always treasure. The resurgence of Overton Square, Crosstown, downtown and everything in between is truly remarkable. It just goes to show what we can accomplish together as a unified city with a vision. If you're a naysayer, I'm sorry, but you can't sit with us. Sorry for going Mean Girls on you.”
When asked about how her personal style developed, Thuyvi takes us back to her early childhood. She credits her mother for her love for clothes.
“I am the youngest of three and the only girl, so naturally, my mom was ecstatic when she found out she was having a little girl. I think my childhood closet could rival that of Carrie Bradshaw's. My mom made all of the clothes, and I definitely rocked the ’80s trends like no other. However, somewhere in the middle, though still very interested in fashion, I cared less about the dresses and colors, and moved towards the minimalist and tomboy, much to my mother's dismay. It was in finding my true style that I think I finally found my identity: simple and understated yet artful and refined, with touches of edge. Sometimes I like to push the envelope.”
Using the beautifully renovated Lofts at Merchants Row
as our stage, Thuyvi shares 7 outfits that define her style from everyday to a night out.
"When I paint, jeans and tees are the way to go. Like I said before, I love simple graphics and own so many tees from all the places I've visited. If there's a festival, and you're selling t-shirts, I've probably purchased something from you. I tend to get paint on a lot of my clothes, but I still to wear it out. It's a reflection of who I am and the life I live. Those little things, in my opinion, are the elements that specializes what you wear. Anyone can put clothes on; that's easy, but what I want to know is the story your clothes tell."
"This is very much a "Monday" outfit for me. My typical Mondays are spent in the office crunching numbers and analyzing data. In order to do that, I need to be in my element, clothing and all. Nothing says comfort better than a sweatshirt, loose-fitting jeans and sneakers."
"I am a Madewell fanatic as you can clearly tell; however, I like to invest in interesting pieces that are timeless, like this top. I love simple graphics, especially ones that are linear. Confession: I have an obsession with shapes. For me, black and white is never a regrettable choice."
"Talk about a denim tuxedo! It's so interesting to me - people assume, because I look pulled together and "cool," that I must spend a lot of time getting ready. Truth: I don't. I wake up at 6:45am, make my way out of bed by 7:00am and leave the house by 7:15am. If you are purposeful in buying pieces you love that are versatile, you ultimately save so much time trying to get ready. The beauty of this formula - generally everything in your closet complements each other well. "
"This is one of my favorite outfits because it feels so effortless, yet it's got this total cool-girl vibe. It's my "Look Good and Get Shit Done" outfit."
With Her Other Half - Jacob
"I met my husband at Republic Coffee through mutual friends. We share a lot in common - travel, arts, fashion, and best of all, he's my favorite person to goof around with. And let me tell you, we are a pair of goofy people.
He works at Gibson and helps build guitars. Specifically, he works in final assembly, the last step before the guitars hit the market. He's also their team leader, and he's pretty fantastic at what he does, but it also helps that he has incredible worth ethic. That's also another trait we share. I don't think I could've ever married someone who wasn't motivated to succeed. On top of it all, he's an amazing guitarist. That's how his job at Gibson all began - because of his passion for playing the guitar.
Though I am a terrible singer, Jacob and I really love making up songs. We'll make songs about each other's names, how our days are going, the weather - it doesn't really matter. If it's a part of our lives, we'll make up a song for it. During these sessions, he's usually playing the guitar or some kind of instrument picked up from around the house and I'm the choreographer. And by choreographer, I mean I usually bust out with moves you've probably never seen or probably never want to see."
"Black is my go-to date-night outfit. It's easy, simple and classic, just like everything else in my closet."
Pictured above is her favorite quote. "She has fire in her soul and grace in her heart. That quote embodies how I want to live my life. The juxtaposition of those two words - fire and grace - is part of why I love this quote. I want my ambitions to burn bright like fire but be poised in execution," she explains. Below she also explains the inspiration for finding quotes like these to paint.
"[Dear Sir Paper Co.] started as a creative outlet to offset my constant need to work 24/7. This forced me to make time to paint, so I wasn't burned out from working constantly. I'm a big fan of social media, so I began posting my work just to share with my friends. I slowly started receiving requests for commission work, and that's when I realized I could make this into something more. I participated in two juried holiday markets, Porter Flea and Memphis Indie Holiday Market, and absolutely loved it!
"As for what inspires the art I make, it most definitely depends on my mood and the experiences that have helped shape those moods. There are days where I am jovial and in a quirky mood, those are generally the days I come up with my punny cards i.e. “You're the radish.” Then there are days where I read these amazing stories about women empowering one another, and I'll find this really great quote that coincides with it. I feel like I bring those words to life in a way when I am able to make art from it. It makes me feel like I played a small part in telling their stories. And every time I read the quote, I feel empowered because of it. It's like my circle of life in art form: create art through use of powerful words, be inspired by powerful words, repeat."
Using style powerfully is also something she has taught other women when they ask for her help in developing their wardrobe.
"One of the most frustrating things I hear is when people ask me about 'the rules,' as if there is some kind of handbook for dressing. I know this is totally cliche to say, but the only rule is that there is no rule. If you want to wear black and navy together, do it. In fact, I highly encourage it. Those colors look great together. And if you want to wear white after Labor Day, I'm certain there is no mythical taser that will zap you if you choose to wear it.
Aside from that, I would encourage women to look in the mirror and list their favorite physical features and learn how to accentuate those features. For instance, I like my shoulders, so I try to wear tops that are sleeveless. I like my legs, so I cut the bottoms of all my jeans (that, and I am also short), so a little ankle skin is on display. Showing off the smallest part of your ankle helps elongate your legs, too. It's all about finding the parts that make you feel beautiful.
And before you leave the house each day, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you look good and will get shit done."
Special thanks to Lofts at Merchants Row
, APG Furnishings
Memphis, Stock & Belle
, and Farmhouse Marketing
All photos taken at Lofts at Merchants Row.