Joi Carey's Vintage-Meets-Fetish Fashion

It's hard to pinpoint (or pigeonhole) the quirky personal style of photographer Joi Carey.

As her sinister and sexy snapshots portend, Carey's fashion sense is partially inspired by gothic and fetish influences, but she's also fanatic of vintage clothing and accessories, as well as clothing with a glammy and rock 'n' roll bent.

That might mean that she'll be rocking a retro concert tee and cutoffs one day, or a pleather-and-corset combination the next.

"It is a bit all over the place," she says. "My closet is filled with wigs, fetish attire, vintage girdles and gowns, baby doll dresses and way too many shoes for one woman. I am a bit of a pack rat and have kept T-shirts from every concert, vacation, or life experience I have."

Carey (who describes her personal style icons as "Audrey Hepburn meets David Bowie, circa 1970s") chooses her wardrobe based on how she feels that day.

"I tend to wear whatever attire matches my mood," she says.

What are you wearing?
I am wearing harem pants, an ancient Social Distortion shirt, and bare feet.

What's your favorite outfit to wear?
I don't have one favorite outfit. I tend to get lazy once the heat kicks in, so I live in dresses in the summer. I am loving the hand printed dresses from James Anthony.

What do you like to accessorize with?
Large chunky old necklaces, pearls, scarves, feathered headbands and other head pieces by Taissa Lada. I like one of a kind jewelry and handmade necklaces. One of my favorites pieces is my conjoined twins necklace by Ugly Shyla.

Where do you shop normally?
I love thrift stores, Goodwill is my second home I shop often at designer outlet centers as I have good taste, but I am cheap/poor. I [also] shop online a ton. I stalk Etsy for one-of-a-kind stuff and ebay for all the stuff I don't want to pay full price for.

What is the last item of clothing you bought?
An "Eat Cake and Worship Satan" T-shirt from a photographer in the U.K.

What is the item of clothing or outfit do you most covet at the moment?
A pair of Jeffrey Campbell "Benched" platform shoes and thigh-high motorcycle boots. They are both out of stock/production so I am pretty much out of luck.

Where would you love to have a shopping spree?
Just drop me off in New York City. I will find my way.

Give us a childhood memory of you and clothes:
I was fixated on figure skaters and worshiped Dorothy Hamill when I was a little girl. I had one short dress I used to wear constantly for years as it reminded me of the skaters' costumes.

Name five items every woman should have in her closet:
1. A classic evening gown
2. At least one pair of quality boots
3. A vintage Girdle (they kick Spanx's ass)
4. One formal overbust corset. Put one over any full length skirt and you have formal wear.
5. A catsuit of whatever fabrication you prefer. They are great for layering, costume bashes, robbery, and working out. Well, unless you love latex.

Name an item of clothing that's best when it's vintage:
I will have to go back to vintage foundations. Modern ones are just not made as well and don't do the job quite as well.

What is your one piece of fashion advice for Phoenix?
Enjoy your layers in the winter. The rest of the year you are going to melt. Fill your closet with vintage sundresses and rompers so you can stay cool in the summer...just match them up with fabulous shoes.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.