How to Unplug, Stay Chic, and Get Everything Done, According to Cleo Wade

Sweat Engine

Coach 1941 Puffy Sleeve Front Bib Dress, $795;; Coach 1941 Dinky Crossbody Bag, $295;; Jeans; Wade’s own; Coach 1941 Pave Multi Feather Bracelet, $95;

The Coach 1941 spring 2016 collection is one part bohemian, one part collegiate, and one part rocker—making it the perfect mix no matter what your personal style is. At ELLE, we talk a lot not only about the chicest clothes, but the women who wear them. Like a budding poet who writes exclusively on a typewriter, a tomboyish DJ with a newfound feminine edge, and a model with an edgy sense of style that street style photographers dream of. In this collaboration with Coach, we explore a day in the life of their personal style.

Cleo Wade is a poet, an artist, and a speaker. But above all, she is a warm friend, whose words of female empowerment make adults and teens alike feel things immediately and deeply. Just 10 minutes into a visit to her otherworldly apartment in East Village (she found it on Streeteasy, people!), Wade made us feel completely at home. Here, she shares her daily routine and her approach to fashion. 

I wake up at 6 a.m. I’m a sunlight person. I always joke that I’m a flower that is literally wilting when the sun is not out. I’m most productive in the morning, and I do all of my writing in the morning. Especially when you live in New York, there’s kind of this veil of time before everyone gets going where the city is really the most peaceful and not highly communicative. Until about 10 a.m. in New York, that’s when all of the chatter of everyday living is at its most chill.

Sweat Engine

Coach 1941 Long Military Dress, $995;; Overcoat, Wade’s own.

I sit with myself for a little bit. Then I meditate. I make coffee and breakfast every morning. I skim the New York Times, and then right after I jump into writing.

I’m really lucky that my friend Sarah Sophie Flicker always keeps in mind amazing articles for me to read, so I usually have an e-mail from her of an article that I’m dying to jump into.

New Orleans is my lifelong muse. Even when I go through periods where I’m like, “Okay, I really can’t travel because I have to focus on finishing this project or meeting this deadline or working on this art installation,” somehow I’ll still end up going home to New Orleans at some point. It’s a really nourishing environment because, in New Orleans, the needs we have as humans are a priority. Everyone’s eating at a neighbor’s house and listening to music in the street. It’s nice to go and be in such a heavily community-oriented place. That always inspires my work.

Sweat Engine

Coach 1941 Long Front Placket Dress, $795;; Velvet coat, Wade’s own; Coach 1941 Pave Multi Feather Bracelet, $95;

Some artists create from a space of “I need to just get this out of me.” I admire that, and I think a lot of great literature has been created from that space—like the Hemingways of the world, where it’s a pretty self-indulgent process. I personally make everything from a place of service. I’m a woman from a mixed race background and everything I write is from that space. Even when I’m getting dressed up, I’m living my life to be an example of self expression and self love and confidence.

I think [about getting dressed] more like, “What am I doing today?” If I’m painting in my studio in Brooklyn, then I’m wearing things that don’t get in the way of that. If I’m having a writing day at my apartment, I write mostly in nightgowns.

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