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In My Closet: Wandini Riggins

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About the series: In My Closet is a regular Sky Blue Window feature, taking readers inside the wardrobes of some of the city's most fashionable women and men.

Name: Wandini Riggins

Her work: Owner of Profyle boutique, 2727 E. 86th St., Suite 125, Indianapolis. Riggins is also an associate attorney at Lewis Wagner.

Her play: "I love to dance, write, travel, eat and get lost in a great book."

Closet Cliff Notes: Dresses, jeans, menswear-inspired clothing, high heels with intricate details. 

Favorite pieces: A snow leopard print Diane von Furstenberg dress; a bold, gold-and-diamond necklace by BCBG; a pair of Badgley Mischka purple heels with an accent feather; a pair of nude, studded Aldo pumps. 

Something she'll never have in her closet: Elastic-waist pants or midi skirts/dresses. ("Midi" refers to dresses and skirts that hit at the shin. It's a length that she says looks awful on her). "Sheer horror."

Her style philosophy: "My style is classic and feminine, but with a bit of an edge," says Riggins. "You can't go wrong with the classics reinvented to reflect your unique personality. Fashion chosen from that place will always work."

"My parents were immigrants," says Riggins. "My parents know what it's like to really, really struggle, and so their focus in moving my brother and me to the States was, 'You get your education, you get something steady.'" - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • "My parents were immigrants," says Riggins. "My parents know what it's like to really, really struggle, and so their focus in moving my brother and me to the States was, 'You get your education, you get something steady.'"

Wandini Riggins remembers the exact moment she fell in love with fashion.

It was in Nigeria, lying across her parents' bed watching her mom get dressed for one of the many social events they would attend that year.

It was a ritual that began when she was 3 years old.

"My mom was beautiful, but she would be transformed afterward, and I would just be taken with everything," says Riggins. "My parents were professors in Nigeria and they had quite the social calendar in addition to their work responsibilities. My mom always made time to take care of herself. It was beautiful to see."

Riggins' love for fashion turned into dreams of attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and becoming a designer, but that plan didn't go over well with her parents. By then, the family had moved from Nigeria to Greencastle, Indiana.

 "I pitched (the idea) to parents who are hardcore academics and they scratched their heads in disregard, and that was kind of the end of that notion and the reality," says Riggins. "My parents were immigrants. My parents know what it's like to really, really struggle, and so their focus in moving my brother and me to the States was, 'You get your education, you get something steady.'"

Riggins bowed to her parents' wisdom and advice. She earned an economics degree from DePauw University and her J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law.

But fashion kept gnawing at her.

"Fashion just kept rearing its head," says Riggins. "I think there are certain things that you're called to do, even if other people don't consider them to have gravitas. But, for me ... (fashion) was always my calling."

Riggins, who works as an associate attorney at Lewis Wagner, tried to satisfy that hunger for fashion in various ways, but the further she ventured away from that world, the more unhappy she started to become.

 "It was in recognition of that, that my husband (Nigel) said, 'You know what, you just need to go ahead a chase this thing. "

As a busy working mom, Riggins usually wears dresses as an effortless way to achieve a sleek, pulled-together look . - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • As a busy working mom, Riggins usually wears dresses as an effortless way to achieve a sleek, pulled-together look .

In 2014, Riggins opened Profyle, a high-end women's boutique in Indianapolis.

Despite wearing many hats -- lawyer, boutique owner, wife and mother of two children (Ami, 6, and Kai, 4) -- Riggins makes it a point to put her most stylish foot forward every day. Just like her mother did when she was a child.

She describes her style as classic with a bit of an edge.

"There's always an element of interest, whether it's a print or some sort of interesting structural detail. But the lines are always very, very clean, because to me those pieces have staying power and years from now I can see myself in a picture in a piece like that and not want to burn it and track down everyone whoever saw it," she says, with a laugh. "So what I try to do is find pieces that are statement-makers, but in a very quiet way. I love color, but I really do tend toward monochromatic looks, and I love gray and I love black and white, and I do a lot of tone on tone. Once in awhile, I veer toward the edgy and bring in elements of leather or buckles, studs and spikes on shoes for edge, but I'm pretty classic. Sheaths, I'm all about the sheath dress."

Although she loves to wear jeans with boots, a skinny belt and a sweater or blouse, most days you'll see her wearing a dress.

"It's part of being a busy mom, a working mom and a professional. I find that I'm pulled together when I wear a dress," she says. "I feel really feminine and it's one item that I can pair with some shoes and barebones accessories, if ever, and I'm done. That tends to be my home base."

Diane von Furstenberg is one of her all-time favorite designers. She's also a fan of Gucci, but admits that above all else it's about what's flattering to her figure not the brand name.

"Honestly, if I see something that speaks to me at Target, I buy it. I'm not so much married to the brand as much as the lines and whether it's flattering to my figure or not," she says. "That's really what speaks to me most."

Here's a look at some of Riggins' favorite pieces:

"It has mixed media. It's got my favorite print of all time ... my favorite color of all time, which is gray, and it's visually broken up with geometric lines,"  Riggins says of her favorite Diane von Furstenberg dress. - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • "It has mixed media. It's got my favorite print of all time ... my favorite color of all time, which is gray, and it's visually broken up with geometric lines," Riggins says of her favorite Diane von Furstenberg dress.

Gray and black Diane von Furstenberg dress

One of Riggins' favorite dresses is a gray and black Diane von Furstenberg that she purchased a few years ago for her birthday.

"It represented my very first Diane von Furstenberg purchase, a woman who really matters to me and who I find to be an inspiration," says Riggins.

The dress just happens to marry all of Riggins' favorite design elements.

"It has mixed media. It's got my favorite print of all time, which is snow leopard. It's my favorite color of all time, which is gray, and it's visually broken up with geometric lines, which I like," she says. "It's a print but it has striping going on. I love fashion that has a way of having multiple elements without looking busy. Beyond that, it feels like air."

Another favorite detail is the tie front, "which is an element that I've always loved." But it's the snow leopard print that probably sealed the purchase.

"I love snow leopard because it's a print that's subdued," says Riggins. "I love leopard prints generally, but traditional leopard print has a way of veering left very easily. Just accessorize it wrong and it looks like you're doing too much. What I like about this is that it's leopard calmed down in gray and black tones. To me, this (dress) is doing the whole leopard thing, but it takes the edge off."

Riggins felt as if she'd hit the jackpot when she found the studded Aldo pumps in a nude shade complimentary to her skin tone. Metal embellishments lend an edginess to this sophisticated neutral-toned heel. - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • Riggins felt as if she'd hit the jackpot when she found the studded Aldo pumps in a nude shade complimentary to her skin tone. Metal embellishments lend an edginess to this sophisticated neutral-toned heel.

Heels ... with studs, feathers and more

"I really am a pumps girl. Peep toe and severely pointed is where I live. So I really can't get enough of a really feminine, high-heeled pump," says Riggins, who wears heels every day -- EVERY day. "It does great things for the legs, and I really just can't get enough."

She recalls the first time she donned a pair of heels.

"I was 9 years old and my dad took me shopping for a pair of church shoes. I persuaded him to buy me a pair of what really can only be called stilettos, and that Sunday for children's time, I walked to the front of the church as a 9-year-old in stilettos," she says, with a chuckle. "My mother has never forgiven my father for that moment, but I was hooked."

Although she has a closet full of heels now, there are few that are among her prized possessions.

Riggins loves the playfulness of these Bradgley Mischka pumps. - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • Riggins loves the playfulness of these Bradgley Mischka pumps.

Badgley Mischka Purple peeped toe pumps, with feather accent

"I love a peeped-toe pump, but this was kind of out of my comfort zone," says Riggins. "But there was just something really playful about them, and I've not regretted that investment, even once."

In addition to being fun, Riggins says the shoe also is a conversation piece.

Seriously stylish heels fill Riggins' closet these days, but her mad love for pumps began at age 9 when she persuaded her father to buy her a pair of stilettos to wear to church. - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • Seriously stylish heels fill Riggins' closet these days, but her mad love for pumps began at age 9 when she persuaded her father to buy her a pair of stilettos to wear to church.

Nude, studded pump by Aldo

"You know, when you're a dark-skinned black girl nude pumps are impossible to find," says Riggins.

So when she spotted these nude, studded Aldo pumps it was like hitting the shoe jackpot. Not only was it a shade of nude that works with Riggins' skin tone, but it also had studs and came from her favorite shoe store.

"I love studded pumps, I've always wanted a pair," says Riggins. "I don't like a ton of contrast, I really like monochromatic, so when I saw this pair I thought, 'How great ... it brings in this trend of edginess but it's in this nude pump thing.'"

She usually wears the studded beauties with a slim-fitting sheath dress.

"It's just kind of an unexpected bit of edge to a very feminine look, and I like that," she says. "I can actually wear them to the law firm, and I do."

Riggins also favors feminine fashions that borrow subtle design elements from menswear to create a slightly androgynous look. - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • Riggins also favors feminine fashions that borrow subtle design elements from menswear to create a slightly androgynous look.

High-heeled, brown oxfords by Aldo

This shoe brings in that menswear element that Riggins is drawn to.  

"I love a menswear influence. If it has tuxedo influences, if it has an oxford sort of leatherwork detail, I'm really, really drawn to that," she says. "There's something really compelling to me about juxtaposing femininity and elements that people associate with menswear. I love that. I'm someone who has had to be really adaptable in my life and in different environments. I like the idea of menswear being transformed in certain ways to accommodate me."

"I tend to just avoid accessories altogether, so it takes a really special one for me to buy it," Riggins says. - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • "I tend to just avoid accessories altogether, so it takes a really special one for me to buy it," Riggins says.

BCBG gold and diamond necklace

 "I feel like the only necklaces that ever speak to me are statement-making, and the big, bold and chunky pieces that appeal to me have a way of looking cheap or they aren't in my price point," she says. "So it's very rare that I do a necklace at all and when I do, it's usually a very, very bold kind of ornate or bold piece, and I think this is representative."

She usually wears this piece with a dress or a simple, long sleeved T-shirt with a pair of jeans. Most days, however, Riggins is sans any accessories (including earrings).

"I tend to just avoid accessories altogether, so it takes a really special one for me to buy it," she says. "I avoid them because I don't think that I'm good with them. For me, the emphasis has always really been on the clothes. I really love clothes that much, that I really want the focus to be on the clothes."

"I feel like the only necklaces that ever speak to me are statement-making ones," says Riggins. - PHOTO BY PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Photo By Perry Reichanadter
  • "I feel like the only necklaces that ever speak to me are statement-making ones," says Riggins.

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