paloma ford
How To Shop Like

Singer Paloma Ford on Fashion’s Role in Her Career

Plus her favorite shopping tips and tricks.

Graphic:
Stacey Toth

Welcome to our How to Shop Like series, where we spotlight personalities within the fashion industry and take a deeper look at their personal relationships with fashion and how they shop—think all the best insider tips and tricks. This week we're chatting with R&B singer/songwriter Paloma Ford.


While fashion is, of course, a fun excuse to play dress-up, it's first and foremost a tool of communication which can be expertly employed to craft an identity—the magnitude of which only escalates once you're in the public eye. Clothing is the first thing an audience sees when a star is on the red carpet, performing onstage, or even walking along the street. Just ask R&B singer/ songwriter Paloma Ford, who is first to admit her work in music does not exist in a vacuum.

Ford cites fashion as an integral part of her career. “[It] plays a huge part in the way I express myself as an artist," she tells Coveteur. The artist exemplified this mentality in a recent collaboration with designer Tia Adeola on her fashion film Black Is Beautiful, or Le Noir Est Beau, which depicted Adeola's latest collection by innovatively reinterpreting scenes from Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, only with a “Black twist." When she's not donning renaissance-era garb, Ford wears everyone from established labels like Prada to of-the-moment emerging brands, counting Romeo Hunte, Theophilio, and, of course, Tia Adeola as a few of her favorites. We caught up with the multifaceted talent to discuss fashion's role in her career and more.


Shop Paloma’s Current Picks:

Revival Mule

Louis Vuitton
$830

BV Curve Sandals

Bottega Veneta
$1650
paloma ford

Photo: Devaugn Williams

When did you first fall in love with fashion?

"The concept of fashion is something I remember being aware of since childhood. I have vivid memories as early as five going back and forth on which color sweat suits I would wear for the day. Choosing between pink or purple seemed like the hardest task [laughs]."

What role does fashion play in your career?

"It's inseparable. Fashion plays a huge part in the way I express myself as an artist. From the visuals I make for my music to the outfit I'm pulling together to go record a song, it all matters. It goes beyond music, too—beyond my career. That intent is there daily for me."

What does personal style mean to you, and how would you describe your own?

"Personal style is unique to that individual person, and that's the true beauty of it—everyone has their connection to it. My personal style is an extension of who I am and how I feel. Your style adds to your image, and your image allows you to make a statement without saying anything. They say nonverbal communication is one of the best ways to get your point across. Style is what I play with to express sentiments that are true to me. My style differs based on my mood, honestly. It's not monolithic and can't be summed up by a word or two. Or even a look. I can say that it all derives from my experience growing up to who I am today—being a L.A. girl exposed to '90s culture and all that came with that perfect blending of worlds between fashion and music."

paloma ford

Photo: Devaugn Williams

Do you have a uniform?

"I used to. All-black was it for me. Today I've opened up to more color [laughs] while sticking with the basics. Keeping it cozy is my uniform, I'd say."

How does your personal background influence your style?

"What I gravitate towards with styling, whether it is a brand or an overall aesthetic, has all to do with my background. It's that uniqueness I mentioned earlier that keeps things distinct and fun. I'm a Cali girl, so my love for street style is a given. It's funny looking at how things have shifted today because streetwear has taken a high-fashion twist, so to say. Back in the day, high fashion was high fashion. My appreciation of high fashion came from spending time with my stepmom, who was Swedish. She always had extremely good taste when it came to aesthetics. And she's also a Leo—like me, might I add. You could see the influence of fashion in everything that she did. I remember being enamored by the way she styled our family home and the designers she would wear. She always had the latest Louis Vuitton bag and designer boots to match. The last thing that brought her signature looks together was her perfume, and little details like that separate those who are fashionable to those who live for fashion."

Favorite thing to splurge on?

"Shoes and perfume."

Where do you find inspiration for getting dressed?

"Depends on the occasion and the mood I am in."

paloma ford

Photo: Devaugn Williams

Favorite thing you've ever worn?

"That's a good one. It's tough to choose, but I remember wearing my first Balmain dress and how memorable that moment was."

Which stores do you frequent?

"Barneys before it closed. I like to visit Fred Segal, too, but only the vintage section—you never know what you may find there!"

The mark of a great outfit?

"The confidence of the person wearing it."

What do you have to keep in mind when dressing for a performance? For a red carpet?

"Making sure I'm able to be mobile, whether I'm on the stage or the red carpet. Also, it's important to remember how long the event is because once I commit to an outfit, there's no going back."

paloma ford

Photo: Devaugn Williams

Fashion has the power to…(fill in the blank)

"Fashion has the power to be eternal."

Vintage or new?

"Vintage."

Online, or brick-and-mortar shopping?

"In-person shopping for sure, but they both have pros and cons. I appreciate going to stores and seeing what I am purchasing in person. That's how you gauge whether something is suitable for you or not. The upside to online shopping is having more options, which a girl can never go wrong with having!"

Style icons?

"There are many, but I would have to say Lil' Kim, for sure, Aaliyah, and Tupac."

paloma ford

Photo: Devaugn Williams

Fashion advice?

"Less is more, and always remember that you make the outfit, the outfit does not make you."

Who are your favorite emerging fashion brands of the moment?

"Shoutout to Tia Adeola! She's great, and all the work she's putting into her brand is empowering. Romeo Hunte is one of my favorite brands that always hits the nail on the head. I also love the work Louisa Ballou and Theophilio do."

What are the top five most worn items in your wardrobe?

"My classic CHANEL Flap in black, my vintage tees, and my Jordan 1's (Bred). My light Moncler jacket comes to mind (since it's a little chilly here in L.A.), and my 'Westside' trucker cap from my own brand. It will be released soon!"

If you could live in one era simply for the fashion, which would it be?

"That's easy. I would live in the late '90s early '00s. That period had the perfect blend of crazy, sexy, and cool fashion."

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