Art

Designer Caroline Ventura Finds Wardrobe Inspiration in Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes

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As the designer behind the jewelry line Brvtvs and co-owner of the West Village design store Calliope, Caroline Ventura wears a lot of hats — but never too many frills. “I try to keep it minimal,” she says. “Basically, I find pieces I love and wear the shit out of them.” Ventura, a native of Los Angeles, has the sass of her adoptive home: “That one store I was telling you about,” reads the signboard outside Calliope one afternoon. A busy day might include metalworking at her jewelry studio in the diamond district, sketching and painting at home, and walking her dog, Darryl, named for Eighties rocker Daryl Hall. “My clothes need to be able to get dirty and comfy,” says Ventura. “I channel Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. She’s feminine but never dresses like a quote-unquote woman. And she’s a bit loudmouthed and says what she thinks.”

The shirt: “I troll eBay and Etsy for vintage Liz Claiborne linen button-downs.”

The shoe: “Never heels. My go-to shoe is a men’s shoe, like an oxford. That’s a place I love a bit of color. For instance, I have a beautiful lilac lace-up pair from Dieppa Restrepo.”

The jewelry: “All my own stuff. Not out of vanity, but out of utility. I want to make sure it works well and is comfortable — I’m testing it.”

The jacket: “I usually wear a chore jacket. I like that they have these little patch pockets in the front where I can put my tools.”

The pant: “I have short legs compared to my torso, so high-waisted jeans are my friend. I have an insanely comfy pair from Imogene and Willie. And I love vintage Levis. I was wearing them long before every girl in New York — there’s proof on the internet!”

The color: “I like to wear all one tone. All white, all black, all navy, all burgundy.”

The takeaway: “There’s not one bold thing that’s my signature — it really is a uniform. I find confidence in the comfort of that.”

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