Street Style – This Month: Erika Bocknek
Name: Erika Bocknek, 37
Where: Spotted at a Thread event in West Bloomfield
City of residence: Farmington Hills
Profession: Assistant professor of counseling psychology, Wayne State University
What are you wearing? I am wearing an Isabella Oliver dress from A Pea in the Pod. I’m three months pregnant and this is actually my first outing in it — I think the tag might still be on it! My shoes are new this season from the BCBG store. My bracelet is Gorjana, from Nordstrom. One of my necklaces is of my [two] kids’ initials. We got it at Stone’s and I’ve worn it every single day since I got it. It’s in rose gold, which I really love. I don’t remember where I got my choker; I just really like it. I also consider my hair an accessory. I’ve been dyeing the underside since 2009 and it’s been every shade of purple and pink. I started dyeing it after I defended my dissertation. I had a very “untethered” feeling afterwards, and I happened to be going to my hairdresser that day. I wanted something bold — maybe a drastic cut or something — and she suggested dyeing my hair. She had all of these fun colors and since Cyndi Lauper’s always been my spiritual animal, I decided to dye it. It’s really become part of who I am. I find it empowering that I am a professional and a mother, but I can still express myself with my hair. Besides, even on a drab day, it’s just a fun accessory to add to all my outfits.
Describe your style: I’ve never thought about defining my style before, but I do think it’s important to be present for your day. Like, not seen in my pajamas, but dressed for my event. Whether that be lunch with my friends or work or a play date, I see getting dressed up as showing respect for myself. Right now, I’m really about form and function. I like to wear what makes me feel good. I want my clothes to be fun, but accessible, too. My life isn’t a celebrity life; it’s about work and play. I think I am also feminine. When I’m not pregnant, my style is always really girly. I like having a pretty piece or two in my closet that I can use to perk me up. I have a really beautiful pair of Alice + Olivia wide-legged, high-waisted, blue silk pants. I feel really confident in them paired with a black bodysuit, or I have a ballet wrap sweater that I also love to wear with them. And I love high heels. I love the femininity of them. I used to live in New York and I would walk blocks and blocks in them. They gave me “Barbie feet,” but I just love them.
What inspires you: I really love how fashion can say something about who a person is or how they feel. Not everybody is meant for the same style, so I really appreciate authentic style — people who are confident in what they are wearing and not just a hanger for the newest trend. I love thinking about old pictures of celebrities like Audrey Hepburn. She was so tailored and feminine. Or Katharine Hepburn with her wide leg pants and inspired menswear. Even Ali MacGraw and the American bohemian, ’70s thing she did. For me, shopping is a creative exercise — it’s energizing for me like coffee. I’m very interested in people and I try to notice what they’re wearing. I’ve lived in lots of different places — New York, D.C., New Orleans — but Detroit is one of my favorite places to people watch. There’s so much courage and individuality in Detroit. That’s what inspires me.
What’s something no one knows about you: When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a fashion designer, and I used to sketch designs on this little set that my mom bought for me. Eventually, other passions took over and I’m not in a creative field anymore, but last year I taught myself to sew. I’ve started buying fabric and making clothes for my daughter. One day, if and when I have time, maybe I’ll pursue that passion again.