Name: Eric Lee
College: Duncan '16
Major: Computer Science
Personal style quirk?
I have a hard time treating my clothes like fast fashion, I get pretty attached to them and can’t throw them away.
I do most of my shopping online, because stores generally don’t carry my size and I don’t have the patience to thrift.
Uniqlo, Gap and Old Navy!
"The light blue denim shirt with elbow patches is from my junior year in high school. This shirt was part of an online Urban splurge that happened a couple of weeks before AP Testing because I was super stressed out. At the time I didn’t even have a credit card so I stole my mom’s from her purse. My conscience got the better of me so I told them--while we were eating out at Chinese restaurant. I could tell that my parents were trying to do their best to hold it together. Dinner was pretty awkward and silent after that. My parents blew up right when we got back in the car.The shirt originally didn’t have elbow patches, but I wore the shirt so often that there were massive holes on each elbows. I couldn’t get myself to throw it away, so I went on Amazon and bought a set of tan elbow patches. When the patches came in they were larger than the sleeves. So I made a stencil, and at one point I had to use servery cups to draw the round edges. I spent an afternoon poking holes in the tough hide. Later I borrowed a friends sewing kit and watched a lot of Youtube to figure out how to backstitch."
Never caught wearing/worst wardrobe malfunction?
In high school I wore denim on denim one day and my American literature teacher pointed it out. She said something along the lines of “Wow Eric, denim on denim”. But I didn’t quite hear her, so I responded, “What? diem on diem is like a latin motto, day the day?" The whole class broke out in laughter and I was still pretty confused. To this day I consciously check if I am wearing denim on denim.
"The blue cardigan was from sophomore year in college. It was the morning before Esperanza--my friend and I went to Rice Village to get new ties. Urban just so happened to have a clearance sale going on and both he and I ended up getting these cardigans for a really good deal — he got a maroon one and I got a navy one. I ended up forgetting the main reason why we went shopping and wore his senior prom bow tie for Esperanza. This cardigan is actually a victim to the occasional bleach stains that I get from using the Duncan washing machines. I’ve never personally used bleach, but I guess sometime people use too much bleach and the leftover bleach ends up going on the next person’s load. Like the denim shirt I was too attached to this cardigan throw it away so I mixed together blue pens, blue markets, purple markers, black pens and markers to make this dye cover over the stains."
When you were in high school, you wore?
I started really caring about clothing in middle school and since then my style was mainly inspired by the preppy and waspy styles. The style suited my inner motivation then for fashion, because I was driven by this desire to use my clothing to control what others perceive of me. I wanted others to think I was affluent. By mid-sophomore of college year my preppy style was been pretty solidified. Back then my staple was a v-neck sweater over a collared shirt.
How has your style evolved since you came to Rice?
As I grew in college and became more secure in my identity, I no longer wanted my motivation for dressing up everyday to be to impressed others, but for myself. Since then I’ve been trying to find new inspiration.
For a while Americana was my inspiration and streetwear seemed pretty cool, but I am still unable to get myself to pull the trigger and make any drastic style changes. So my current style is still very predominately collegiate looking, but it has eclectic pieces here and there from the various inspirations I find.
If there was an Eric Lee uniform, what would it be?
There can never be enough blue.
A typically daily go-to outfit would be a crewneck sweatshirt with whatever comfortable pants. I recently bought a pair of joggers off of Amazon, so I’ve been wearing that combination a lot.
I try to dress a bit nicer on Fridays and Sundays. My go-to for looking nicer is a denim shirt. In my opinion a nice clean denim shirt is perfect for any occasion, you’ll never have to be afraid of over or under dressing.
"Today my style goals come from a fashion blog on Tumblr called death-by-elocution, even thought the blog is mostly pictures of women wearing flowy androgynous urban styles. I think this again comes from me being more comfortable with myself. I’ve come to accept that my smaller body frame can seem feminine at times. In my early college days I was asked if I was gay a few times, because of 'how nice I dressed' and my internal response then was fear. I was afraid to be different. I thought about 'dressing down', hitting the gym to get 'bigger' or ways to dress more 'straight'. Now, I’ve come to accept my body image and willing to accept that my body isn’t chiseled like Captain America. I embrace that my body is feminine. I really like this blog because even though the models tend to have more masculine bodies and outfits are all masculine inspired, yet the outfits accentuate the models’ feminine beauty. I study these outfits because I keep wondering if I can reverse engineer them so that males with feminine bodies can wearing feminine inspired clothing and accentuate their masculinity. I haven’t experimented to much with this yet."
"I have also learn to accept my Asian American heritage and I’ve been looking for inspirations on incorporating it in my taste. Although I can’t afford high fashion, Shiatzy is a design house that I really admire. She beautifully intertwines Sino and Western culture seamlessly in her designs. A purchase I’ve been wanting to make is a nice mandarine collared shirt. I’ve also thought about instead of buying a new shirt, just cutting the collars off of one of my shirts. But I’ll need to learn how to use the sewing machine for that."
Best fashion advice?
My advice would be for the all smaller guys out there don't limit what you wear just because there is guide out there online saying that you need to wear this and this to look bigger or taller. Wear whatever you like. Embrace your bodies. Body positive!
A huge thanks to Eric for sharing his style!
Photography by: Wesley Yee
Interviewed by: Joanne Shin