Timing on her side

While studying fashion advertising, she continued to work in the industry, assisting then-freelance stylist Joe Zee, now creative director for Elle magazine, on shoots for Vogue and Vanity Fair. The week she graduated from FIT, two of Zee's assistants moved, and she was hired full time.

Six months later, Zee took Ladino with him to Elle, where she worked four years before going freelance for the past two. She now counts Brooklyn Decker and Jaime King as clients. She recently dressed "Call Me Maybe" sensation Carly Rae Jepsen for the "Good Time" video with Owl City. She also serves as chief stylist for the Shop It to Me website.

"Things always work out," Ladino said on a return visit to Chicago, where her style on a July morning — an Altuzarra perforated leather and tropical-print jersey miniskirt, Three Dots T-shirt and Current/Elliott denim vest — underscored her assertive yet easygoing approach to fashion.

Describe your personal style:

"I'm trying to elevate it. I'm turning 30 in a couple of weeks.

Can't live without:

"My Balenciaga motorcycle jacket, or a motorcycle jacket, period. I have several lighter ones to wear during summer. It's something else that goes with everything."

Shoes for style and speed:

"These gold glitter Miu Miu sneakers. I've decided these go with everything. Guys, girls, grandmas are always like, 'I love your shoes!'"

Style idol:

"Brigitte Bardot. I love French culture."

Cinematic fashion hero:

"Cher Horowitz in 'Clueless.'"


Favorite blogs:

"The Coveteur, Style by Kling (Elin Kling), Who What Wear. Apartment Therapy. Lonny, Elshane and Just Jared.

Fashion informant:

"Red Carpet Fashion Awards, a blog. It's how I keep up with what everyone has worn.

Favorite handbag:

"Proenza Schouler PS1. I've been eyeing a Celine trapeze bag. But I'm more of a shoe girl. I get a new handbag about once every three years. They're as much as rent!"