Chatting with Nichole Criss
Updated: Feb 12, 2019
As A New Look prepares to take on a new life, we look back on popular posts.
During my undergraduate studies I had the opportunity of taking several vocal classes, in which I met the lovely pianist and vocalist Nichole Criss. Nichole's style has always intrigued me and after seeing photo after photo of her ever-amazing wardrobe I had to ask her a few questions!
A New Look: I have always SO enjoyed seeing your photos on social media and blogs of you and your friends at church conferences/events. If you don't mind, can you tell me a bit how your faith plays in to your style?
Nichole Criss: Thank you, Sarah! That is so kind of you, and I really appreciate the opportunity to share my heart with you about my fashion choices and why I dress the way I do. My faith definitely does play an integral role in the way that I dress, and I try my best to use my personal style as a way to convey what I believe in.
As an Apostolic Pentecostal Christian, there are specific guidelines that I do follow; however, for me, the way I dress is more of a matter of personal conviction and beliefs rather than a set of rules set out for me by someone else. I wear skirts and dresses on a daily basis, and I truly love it! I do not feel limited in my clothing choices, nor do I feel like personal style is stifled by not wearing pants or shorts. Furthermore, I do not feel like my value as a strong, independent young professional woman is undermined by adhering to a set of "rules" or "regulations" implemented by church fathers; rather, I honestly believe that dressing in the way I do has enabled me to truly become the woman I was meant to be.
A New Look: Aesthetically, how would you describe your clothing choices? What styles/fabrics/cuts are you drawn to? Have you always been attracted to these things or has your style developed drastically over time?
NC: I have always enjoyed fashion and style, although it has changed and developed quite a bit since my younger years. I specifically remember trying to dress myself in the morning as a young girl, and while my mother was always very encouraging and never tried to squelch my clothing choices (pretty sure I would have drawn the line at the red corduroy skirt and turquoise t-shirt combo I favored...), she was always very careful to direct me to make outfit decisions based on who I was as a person. I think that has always helped to influence who I am and how I portray that with my personal style.
This black tutu from Sweet Pea and Buttercup over on Etsy is one of my current favorite skirts to wear with everything and to everything! I found the J.Crew blouse in a thrift shop for $2, the fascinator was a gift from a dear friend, and the Poetic License shoes I scored at a sidewalk sale for $14.
I'm all about a good deal, and combining all four of these favorite items made this photo shoot with Jaime Lenhart Photography for my upcoming EP crazy fun!
I am currently drawn to very high-waisted, vintage style, midi skirts. They work well with my small waist and larger hips, and are also extremely fun to wear! I like pairing them with tops ranging from basic t-shirts for casual day-wear and more formal blouses for dressier occasions. Whether we're talking tulle, plaid, knits, or more structured fabrics, these high-waisted skirts have really become my go-to outfit choice for just about everything. Additionally, maxi skirts, maxi dresses -- anything long, flowing and ankle length makes me extremely happy. I love the ethereal, carefree princess feel that they exude, and I really adore how they're so appropriate for both work and play. I also love bright and bold colors, but I've recently begun to notice that I'm gravitating more towards neutrals in all shades with a simple pop of color or print in an unexpected place. On the other hand, while it has its limitations in certain settings, I also love mixing various prints. It gives me freedom to express who I really am, what I'm feeling at any given moment, and not to mention - it's just fun!
A New Look: As a musician, how do you use your appearance when performing? Are your clothing choices for a performance ever influenced by the music or by your emotions? Do they convey a message or story?
NC: Being a musician has its advantages to be sure, yet at the same time, choosing an outfit for any kind of performance is downright stressful. Do I dress to blend in with the crowd or do I dress to stand out? What is the appropriate decision based on the venue? Therefore, clothing I choose for a gig is usually directly related to what kind of performance I'm giving. For example, for a more formal, traditional, classical concert in a recital hall or similar venue, I would wear a formal gown or skirt. Probably not glitzy and full of bling, but more understated, classic elegance. For a coffee shop gig, I would go for more of a hipster feel. Pattern mixing, less structure and more free-spirited in nature. When performing in a work setting, for a wedding or cocktail hour, I usually opt for a modest cocktail-style dress in a neutral color or non-bold pattern. I almost feel like I have three different personalities going on here by answering your question this way, but while dressing for each of these three different performances, there is definitely a different kind of preparation necessary. What I'm wearing can and does directly affect the way I present myself as a performing musician, and as a result I think that any given outfit has a significant emotionally-based influence on the audience. I do try to use that to my advantage in musical performances. People listen to lyrics, to the sound of the melody, to the rhythm of the music; but they also listen to what they see. Whatever it is that they see is what is going to speak to them and can either enhance or ruin the music itself, so I think it's extremely important to be cognizant of that fact.
You can learn more about Nichole here.
All photos courtesy of Nichole Criss.
This article from Sept 17, 2014.