Model, designer, and content creator Pat Cortez is a creative through and through. Welcome to her world of innate dressing, styling for expression, and free, no-holds-barred fashion
This is an excerpt from MEGA’s February 2024 Stylephile story
What does it take to reinvent oneself? For Pat Cortez, it’s an unintentional process, one that is slow and steady. She’s never been shy, but she feels like she held herself back and laid low—until she decided not to.
From wanting to start a fashion blog in her teenage years and falling in love with the thrill of thrifting to landing projects with major fashion and beauty brands and creating her own label called Overlay, it’s safe to say that Cortez lives the life of a creative. Now that she’s breaking her shell—going from one campaign to the next, planning and designing for her brand, and filming new content—Cortez is making the world wholly, truly her own.
Who are your style inspirations and how did they influence your current style?
My style inspiration is my mom, I love getting her vintage ternos and skirts. I also love grandparents around Japan. They both have a way of dressing up so casually, like it’s just normal for them to pair all these textures and colors together. I really want to dress innately just like them.
I think since we’re living in a time of social media, there are trends that come up, shoes that everyone has, or another bag you want to look around the mall for. Then, I think of my mom and the grandparents in Japan, and they remind me to work around with what you have. Wear them a lot and just don’t think about it that much—innate dressing.
What was your most memorable fashion moment? How about your least favorite?
Recently, it’s for an event I attended. I really wanted to express myself, so I got white pieces with cool textures and cuts in the thrift store. I asked my friend RIO to sew all these cool patterns together to create a one-of-a-kind piece. I also placed real flowers and put them under my stockings and did my own hair and makeup.
As for my least, I’d say I have plenty, as well. From buying fast fashion pieces that end up being worn once or never at all, to anytime I don’t steam my clothes or forget to accessorize.
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? What’s your ultimate closet staple?
This might be very specific, but it would always start with statement shoes. This can be pointed heels or sneakers, maybe cowboy boots—anything that’s just a fun piece to style around with, then the clothing can follow. Maybe a tacky, ugly, bedazzled tank top, a colored leather jacket, low-waist boy shorts or skirt, and stockings. I think you can tell I love adding stockings to my outfit. Lots of piled accessories and an Overlay bag. Then always finishing it up with makeup and hair. Seems crazy and a lot. Styling from the shoes first is always easier for me. So depending on the shoes I wear, the clothes’ colors, textures, and vibe can always change.
My closet staple is probably nice socks or stockings. It draws attention to the shoes, creates a seamless fit, makes me look more polished, and looks so fun.
Discover more of Pat Cortez’s style secrets in MEGA’s February 2024 issue, now available on Readly, Magzter, Press Reader and Zinio.
Creative Direction JONES PALTENG. Photography SELA GONZALES. Production BITHIA REYES. Sittings Editor MARIAN SAN PEDRO. Shot on location SANCTUARY MNL. Special thanks to JON FRANKS and EARL SEMITARA of SANCTUARY MNL.