My Uniform: Outer Reach Co-owner Aimee ChoShare
Aimee Cho is one of those elusive people who possesses many, many talents. Her career has included editor at Vogue, founder of cult-loved fashion line Gryphon, co-founder of editorial site The New Jock and now owner of Tribeca stretch studio Outer Reach. “Fearless” is the word that comes to mind when you think about Aimee and her diverse resume—daring to dive head-in (never just “dabble”) in many different roles. Her approach to dressing seems to have been an early indicator of this quality, Aimee was never afraid to stand out: She sported heels and mesh tank tops to class in high school amidst a sea of preppy rollnecks and khakis. We spent a morning with her at her new (gorgeous) studio, stretching and talking style—starting way back in the very beginning.
EARLY STYLE INFLUENCES
I was born in Brooklyn, moved to Staten Island and then spent most of my formative years in New Jersey. We moved around New Jersey quite a bit as my parents got my brother and I into better and better schools. By the time I was in high school we had lived in six different homes. I was never very academic but I would say I was a high achiever, I’ve always been a very ambitious person. I guess I’ve always known what my strengths are and have worked towards them. Writing, for instance, has always come naturally to me. I was always interested in style, my mom and her sisters were very glamorous. They grew up in a time in Korea that was very formal. You put your best foot forward. When you would go out in public, you were dressed. There was a certain level of formality. It made an impression on me in terms of thinking about the way I presented myself. As soon as I could draw I wanted to draw different outfits. I was interested in Barbies, not the storytelling aspect of them, I reserved that more for books and make believe play. Barbie was about outfits.
FIRST STYLE CHOICES
I didn’t see the point in expending energy on my hair and skin in pre-adolscence. By age 12 I was all about sweatpants—pegged and rolled—with Reebok high tops (and just the right amount of sock poking out of the top), plus a popped collar. I’ve always loved an oversized shirt and at that age I would take my father’s clothes. My dad was a size medium and it probably looked like I was drowning in his dress shirts. By 16 I was fully into fashion. I read fashion magazines religiously, my entire teenage bedroom had stacks of fashion magazines: Sassy, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar... Anything I could get my hands on in suburban New Jersey. I was interested in fashion for fashion’s sake. Most of my classmates were in khakis with J.Crew rollneck sweaters and I would be in heels, a sheer skirt and netted top with a tank underneath. I never minded standing out!
VOGUE DRESS CODE
I was trying to find my footing style-wise when I got my job at Vogue. It changed my idea of style. Whereas I had been interested in the newest fashion, but having the level of access that we did—seeing it all first hand—decreased my interest in it. I was surrounded by all these women who looked amazing but weren’t necessarily wearing the newest thing. They often gravitated towards uniforms. I tried to figure out what my uniform was during those years. I had a pair of Sigerson Morrison boots that my now-husband bought for me and I remember they were so expensive—like $500 dollars—and I wore those quite a lot. Up to that point, they were the most expensive thing I had ever worn. I was queen of vintage consignment and outlet sales. I found that challenge of putting together my looks with those pieces really interesting.
THE ENDURING APPEAL OF CLASSIC WARDROBE ITEMS
I launched my line Gryphon entirely around the concept of a trench coat. I’ve always liked jackets and coats and if you do have a uniform you change it completely when you put something over it. I remember when I was younger being fascinated by all the moms at school pickup who wore full length mink coats. When they would take the coat off they’d be in a ratty sweat suit. A beautiful coat changes your presentation to the world. I love the trench coat. I think it’s one of the chicest things. Now as a mother of two boys, 7 and 4 years old, I especially relate to the idea of using a coat to transform myself.
ON HER CURRENT STYLE AS OWNER OF OUTER REACH
I almost always wear a pair of leggings or bicycle shorts underneath what I’m wearing. My pants, jeans or jumpsuits are loose enough to have another layer underneath. I’m always ready to stretch even on the days I don’t find the time. I like the utility of a jumpsuit, I’m very interested in the utility of clothing. The wear and tear of it. As a mom, I’m mostly in dark colors. I’ve also embraced imperfection. I’m more interested in worn, paint-splattered clothing that’s specifically mine. The wear of clothes shows the life you’ve lived.
3 THINGS WITH AIMEE CHO
3 things you never leave home without:
A necklace that has picture pendants of my children and a ring that says “Han” which I bought when I married my husband (I kept my maiden name, and wear the ring with his, and now my sons’, name)
Sunscreen (I wear Supergoop)
3 things that every person should have in their closet:
A really great all-season coat (potentially a trench ;))
One pair of nice shoes that are a go-to for dressing up
The third is more abstract, but one item that always makes you feel safe (for me it’s an old college T-shirt of my husband’s that’s thread bare at this point but it’s the thing that I reach for when I want to be really comfortable)
3 ways stretching has benefited you personally:
I have more energy: Similarly to how I view high-intensity exercise I get that same boost and it’s much lower impact
Fewer aches and pains in my body
After having two children and going through a minor injury my body didn’t feel like my own anymore and mentally in your head you’re a certain age and then you sometimes feel like you can’t keep up. I was active and I still didn’t recognize my own body. Stretching regularly changed that.
As told to AM November 25th, 2019
Aimee was photographed by Taylor Jewell at Outer Reach in Tribeca, New York City