A Chicago native, Katie Cushwa moved to Rochester three years ago after 10 years in St. Louis. Though she takes her work as a victim advocate very seriously, her wardrobe lends a playful and carefree feel.
In addition to bold patterns and quirky animal prints, Cushwa’s commitment to environmental sustainability is represented in her clothing choices daily. “I only acquire clothing that has been used. When I’m finished with an item, I swap it with another or I alter it to serve another purpose, whether it be sewing or dying it to give it new life, or using it to make a pillow or rag,” she says.
Cushwa also notes that she uses jewelry as one way to support local and regional artists. “Some current favorites right now are Ann Erickson (Minneapolis) and Theresa Hitchcock (St. Louis).”
She’s a cyclist, avid board game player, calligrapher and enjoys reading fiction.
How would you describe your style?
Comfortable and practical with attitude; only including what I can wear on my bike.
How does your work wear differ from your weekend wear?
My work wear is more polished. My weekend wear is very relaxed.
Any items in your closet that are "uniquely you"?
I have a blue polka dot Po-em dress with pockets that I wear whenever I get the chance. I adore sequins as well. I have an '80s full sequin dress that I got for a glitter-themed bike ride 10 years ago that I wear for special occasions and midnight strolls through town.
90s fashion is making a comeback … love it or leave it?
Items, colors and/or certain patterns you gravitate toward most often?
I love bold bright patterns and colors. I am also drawn to animal shapes and have a few choice chicken sweaters. Pro tip: include “for humans” in your eBay search.
Any sentimental item(s) in your wardrobe?
Absolutely. I have lots of feelings about things that don’t matter.
Favorite (or least favorite) trends you're seeing right now?
I am so excited that comfort is more of a priority. I also love the sell/trade community growing right now that is trading clothing instead of discarding and over-purchasing.
How would you describe Rochester's style?
Professional and conservative.
Favorite season as it relates to clothing choices?
Autumn. I love cozy sweaters, leggings, and light jackets.
And now that autumn is here, which particular items are were you most excited about pulling out of storage?
My wool sweaters and boots!
Best compliment ever received:
“I don’t know anyone else who could pull that off!”
Your go-to places to shop:
Anywhere secondhand — I love thrift and consignment stores. My favorites in town include Goodwill and Kismet.
Lastly, what are the staples you think every well-dressed woman should have in her wardrobe?
An outfit that makes them feel like the most powerful person in the room.