So, What're You Wearing?

The Local talks to locals about their looks.

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Mikel Hunter somehow manages to pull off a combination of cosmopolitan, bohemian and rugged rustic. – Photo courtesy Mikel Hunter

One of the appeals of the Vineyard is the laid-back lifestyle. This tends to translate into a devil-may-care, relaxed (if not downright sloppy) approach to personal style. However, there are some locals who have maintained their fashion sense, and make the effort every day to look their best. The following style setters prove that comfortable and fashionable are not necessarily mutually exclusive. So here’s a shout-out to some of those who have helped define the “Vineyard style,” and who make a statement every time they walk into a party (or just make a dash to the grocery store).

Paula Catanese

It’s not surprising that Paula Catanese has great style. Her shop, Craftworks, in Oak Bluffs is stocked with loads of beautiful, unusual jewelry and gifts, and Ms. Catanese fits right in. She’s a fan of layering, and her look often mixes colors and patterns in unique ways. The longtime shop owner is almost always accessorized with fun jewelry drawn from her inventory, and she loves scarves. She also shops in a number of local stores, as well as finding pieces during her travels. “I don’t like labels,” says Ms. Catanese. “I always cut them right off if they’re showing. I don’t want to advertise anything.” The petite Paula proves that you don’t have to be a towering Amazon to wear great clothes well.

Basia Jaworska

Tall, slender Basia Jaworksa has the shape and posture of a runway model. No wonder she’s often tapped for local fashion shows. But on the catwalk or off, Ms. Jaworska always dresses in style. Her look is hip, sexy, and streetwise, kind of like the blues musicians that Ms. Jaworksa, an artist, is known for painting.

“My style is simple,” she says. “It’s in a constant state of evolving, as am I. I use what I have at hand to assemble ‘my look.’ I have had the good fortune of working at Bananas and Once in a Blue Moon clothing stores, and that has added a European, designer flavor to my wardrobe. Living near Chicken Alley Thrift Store and Martha’s Closet in Vineyard Haven has brought me some tasty treasures. And there’s my friend, Marla Blakey, who loves to collect fabulous clothing on her travels, and passes them along to Islanders like me. She helps spice up my closet with dreamy fashions from the Mediterranean and tropics. Together with favorite clothes I’ve collected over the decades, I incorporate the old with the new to create an ever-changing cycle of self-styling fashion.”

Mikel Hunter

Mikel Hunter owns an Edgartown boutique/gallery that reflects his fashion sense — sort of a combination of cosmopolitan, bohemian, and rugged rustic (yes, he does manage to pull this off). Mr. Hunter has enjoyed a long and successful career in the New York City fashion world, and that experience is evident in his inventory as well as in his personal style.  Ms. Hunter’s look is all about unexpected pairings, comfort, and wearability, and a flair for detail.

“With a 25-year career in fashion from both retail, and behind the camera as a fashion stylist and shooting art director, I have been exposed to so many wonderful and varied trends, styles, and points of view, says Mr. Hunter. “I feel that one’s personal style can become their very own ‘classic style.’  No longer do the masses blindly accept the limited points of view of the mainstream media outlets as the beginning and end of what is ‘fashion.’ If you embrace it, wear it, and feel passion for it — well then, that is your fashion style.”