Mariah Colbert, 23, works in an upscale specialty food shop and hosts French wine tastings.

Liz Armstrong: Where did that dress come from?

Mariah Colbert: It was in my friend Colleen’s closet and I think I smiled at it so many times that she was like, “You can have that.”

LA: This is like a bitch belt–or a witch belt.

MC: Witch. Yep. That’s my new theme. A couple days ago I bought Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk album and I like the Stevie stuff the best, obviously.

LA: So how are you incorporating this theme into your life?

MC: It started out because my friend Sara and I were talking about things that will get us through winter, instead of getting bummed out about it.

LA: What else did you guys come up with?

MC: Black metal, Native American spirituality, Dr. Zhivago–but that kind of got booted out–and the Marble Faun.

LA: The Hawthorne novel?

MC: No, the character in Grey Gardens.

LA: What’re you doing to be witchy?

MC: I’m looking to purchase some longer clothing. I want to move into long skirts but it’s hard because I’m short. It’s a new thing that isn’t fully developed. I’ve been into patterns and bright colors for a long time.

LA: Last time I saw you, you told me someone came up to you at a party and said, “Oh, you decided not to match today.”

MC: In my mind everything is always matching because I’m really careful about colors, but everything I own is intensely patterned with lots of bright colors. It’s more challenging to match them to other crazy patterns and colors. So I wouldn’t expect her to think that it’s awesome. It’s more fun that she didn’t.

LA: Lots of people are into dressing for ease. You’re into the challenge?

MC: Maybe the patterns are calming to me. I had a dream one time I was talking to people in a room. I asked how many tones do they have? Someone said four. I had six. In my dream, “tones” were how many colors and shades you could be wearing that coordinated perfectly. I woke up and thought, What the fuck was that about?

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mireya Acierto.