Rié Aoki Creates Elegant Ensembles With Vintage Flare

Photo by Joe Del Tufo

First State Ballet assistant mistress—and former dancer—Rié Aoki turns vintage apparel into enviable ensembles.

Define your style:

I’m just a very vintage-era person inspired by classic films and a peasant girl in the field. My style has a hint of cottagecore [a movement led by Studio Ghibli, a Japanese animation company that values the pastoral, traditional and natural]. I dress like characters in the films. I’m often told I’m like a chameleon but always have vintage vibes.

Takeaway from growing up in Japan:

There is a Japanese aesthetic called wabi-sabi, the view or thought of finding beauty in every imperfection in nature. This way of thinking influences me in many ways.

Fashion philosophy:

Consume less, be more conscious and enjoy fashion fully. I have this rule for myself that I’ve followed for 14 years: Never repeat the same outfit twice. I create new looks by wearing clothes I already have in my closet but in different ways. It keeps me creative and makes me see things differently.

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Most popular blog post on your site, rievictoriaaoki.com:

Rié’s 7-Day Challenge series, where I share seven ways to wear one thing.

Top accessory:

In summer, I wear vintage straw hats. In autumn and winter, I switch to berets. I have at least 10. I adore scarves all year long; they always add depth to my outfits.

Oldest item:

My grandmother’s vintage purses. Some are from the 1920s or before.

Rié Aoki

You never leave home without:

Earrings and lipstick; I feel naked when I don’t have them.

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Wince-worthy fashion faux pas:

I’ve worn many questionable outfits, but I’ll take it as a life lesson. I regret choosing fast fashion when I was younger.

Designer icon:

Issey Miyake.

302 go-to:

Great Stuff Savvy Resale in Talleyville Center. [The north Wilmington shop benefits the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.] [At] The Zeppelin & the Unicorn [Antique Shop], I always find something so unexpected.

Style mentors:

Fashionistas in Denmark and Italy—I randomly find outfits on social media, and the people are usually from those countries. They know how to play with patterns and colors and how to mix and match. They also enjoy simplicity.

Signature jewelry:

Pearls, for sure.

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Favorite color(s):

Yellow and white.

If money were no object:

I’d design my clothes and have them custom-made.

Cozy clothes:

I don’t own sweatshirts and sweatpants on purpose, but I don’t want to ruin my vintage clothes. I have five [casual] dresses I rotate at home.

Most-loved ballet costume:

So many characters hold special places in my heart: Kitra from Don Quixote. Giselle, and Odile from Swan Lake. My absolute favorite costume is Lucy from Dracula. I would totally go out wearing that vintage-inspired dress.

Ballet’s impact:

It adds elegance. Ballet dancers can spot other ballet dancers on the street, even in regular clothes. The posture that ballet gave me makes anything look better than it actually is—posture is so important.

For more vintage fashion inspiration, follow Rié Aoki on Instagram or visit her website.

Related: Wilmington Designer Shakira Hunt on Her Signature Style

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