Dreams + Jeans blogger and Madewell graphic designer Alex Yeske knows a thing or two about pared down, denim-friendly style. Whether she's putting together an outfit, decorating her apartment, or designing something for work, she's a fan of clean lines and simple, yet thoughtful, basics. Her style philosophy extends to manicures—Alex loves minimal nail art and has been coming to Paintbox since we opened to get her fix. And considering her love of jeans, it came as no surprise to us that she chose an indigo gel shade to complement her daily denim uniform.
Alex photographed outside of her East Village apartment wearing a sweater from the Madewell et Sézane collection.
Why do you paint your nails?
My nails are always painted—I can't even recall the last time I had them bare (probably years!). For me, I love that it's an extension of my outfit and it's an easy place to experiment. This was my first time getting a matte manicure and I have to say that I'm really into it. I love how it contrasts with the glossy half moons, yet doesn't stand out too much. It's all in the details for me and I love this subtle element that you may not notice at first. I also really like that there is something about it that looks like leather.
Is there a polish you find yourself wearing again and again, or a look you love?
I'm really into neutrals and denim is the foundation to almost every outfit I wear. That's the basis behind my blog, and also a huge part of our style at Madewell. Navy has always been a favorite color of mine and it fits seamlessly with my denim choices. I find black nails a bit too harsh for me, so wearing navy is a bit lighter and softer. Nudes, white, and greys are other favorites. During the warmer months I'll do brighter colors like an orangey red and this summer I fell in love with a pale lilac. I'm really into minimal nail art lately and my favorite look is a tiny dot at the base of the nail (like Semi Sweet at Paintbox). Earlier this year I was on a mission to find the best nude polishes—my favorites are RGB Doll and Essie Topless and Barefoot.
Alex wears Femme Fatale from the Paintbox FW'14 collection. To get her look in polish, opt for Zoya Sailor and create a matte contrast using Essie Matte About You.
Where do you find inspiration?
Living in New York means inspiration is around every corner. It can be found just about everywhere—someone’s outfit, an art exhibit, a conversation you overhear on the subway. I also spend an insane amount of time on the Internet and on social media. I love Instagram for finding inspiration because it gives me a window to what’s going on all over the world. I can find out about small brands in Australia and cool shops in Paris and see what they’re doing. I'm always hunting for cool stuff and my phone is full of screenshots of things I find! Design-wise, I really love simple but smart design. I'm drawn to beautifully printed things (I have so many saved pieces of ephemera at home). Since living in New York, my personal style and my design style have both become more pared down and I'm most interested in thoughtful, elevated designs, whether in my work or my clothing or manicure choices.
Alex's East Village apartment.