Ask 22-year-old Oumayma El Boumeshouli to describe her personal style, and she almost yelps, “Urban chic!” The enthusiastic Moroccan blogger behind Desires By Me gravitates towards luxury-meets-streetwear labels such as Vetements and Off-White that she elevates with tailored separates. “I’m a huge fan of Virgil Abloh and I can’t get enough of Demna Gvasalia and what he’s doing at Balenciaga and Vetements,” she says. El Boumeshouli – who’s collaborated with My Theresa and did an Instagram takeover for Moncler during Paris Fashion Week Spring 2018 – describes her looks as modest. “It’s a state of mind. It’s about being humble. I prefer to evoke a sense of mystery in what I’m wearing, instead of being over-the-top and obvious with the brands I choose.” She is drawn to a neutral palette of ecru, black, and gray, and injects the clean slate with vibrant accessories like a poppy red Off-White shoulder bag, her new cobalt blue, geometric Céline sunglasses, or the occasional floral print in the form of skirts by Balenciaga and solid- colored, long-sleeved dresses from Rochas and Copenhagen-based brand Samsøe & Samsøe.
“Investing in basics is essential to me,” shares El Boumeshouli about her wardrobe’s future-proof foundation. “They’re the pieces I wear the most, so I’ll pay a little more for them to last.” She points to a white, oversized Saint Laurent button-down shirt. She aces smart buying with black turtlenecks from Acne Studios, a plaid, shin-grazing coat by Stella McCartney, and bespoke black pants. “I love wearing loose pants, but it’s difficult to find a pair that flatters my curves, so most of my pants are made-to-fit.” When it comes to denim, though, her go-to brands are Levi’s and Closed. “Cropped jeans are a must, because I want my shoes to show. I’ll also cut them myself.”
￼￼Her love for kitten heels stems from her not wanting to be slowed down by anything. Arriving in a pair of black and white, polka-dot slingbacks from Zara, she’ll later slide into a pair from Christian Dior, with grosgrain ribbon details. Her most recent splurge was a pair of Balenciaga kitten-heeled mules that are subtly adorned with a bow. “I’m also obsessed with babouche mules by Moroccan brand Zyne,” she says, and when she’s not in dainty, ladylike shoes or her go-to slides, she can be found lacing up trainers. “I love my Off-White Nike Air Max 90 sneakers. They are my favorites and I like that they have a description on the inner sides. I’ve always wanted a pair of Air Max, but these are special because they’re in collaboration with Abloh.”
IN THE BAG
When it comes to bags, El Boumeshouli’s closet is seasonally minted with major players. Her picks de rigueur include Loewe’s architectural Puzzle and a supersized Balenciaga Bazar with bold stripes, which she’s especially fond of. “It reminds me of totes from Marrakech’s souks,” she explains as she shows off a picture of her holding the shopper in the terracotta labyrinth market. “Even if it’s not in-season, I will carry this bag, because I like wearing pieces that reflect my Moroccan roots.” While today’s chic ensemble includes a navy blue Balenciaga T-shirt that riffs on the Bernie Sanders campaign logo and an asymmetric heritage skirt from Zara, she gives her look a polished finish with a black, geometric Jacquemus bag. “It’s so noisy,” she laughs, referring to the gilded robe chain straps. “I love it because everyone thinks it opens from the top and not the bottom.”
On the topic of accessories, El Boumeshouli raises a sharply-arched eyebrow and reveals: “I feel naked when I’m not wearing statement earrings.” Sporting a slick middle part with her locks pulled back into a low bun, she showcases a pair of coiled hoop earrings. “These are from Reliquia. It’s an Australian brand I recently discovered, which makes jewelry that looks like architectural art. My plastic Marni earrings are also one of my favorites.”
Gearing up for a trip to Zanzibar with her parents in January, El Boumeshouli will pack an assortment of sun dresses and breezy kaftans that can be worn for both sightseeing and sunbathing on the Tanzanian island. “I always think about the scenery and climate of the destinations I’m visiting. Zimmermann and Kalmar take up most of the resortwear section of my closet.”