Style Logs: Welcome DJ Ayes Cold

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My first confession: I’ve never really been into fashion.

I’m a DJ, and music is the world to me. Everything else, including what I wear, had been an afterthought.

I started spinning in DC two years ago, while working a day-job. At night and on weekends you’d find me at bars, clubs, and art openings; and during the day, I’d be at my 9-5 (researching electoral systems) and daydreaming about more creative work.  In this scenario, my wardrobe was a reflection of my state of mind—a frenetic mess of things I’d blindly accumulated over the years, mixed purchases largely informed by catalogs and store clerks. Looking back, I had probably purchased clothing to feel better about my daily lack of inspiration. I lacked time, and my closet lacked identity. Style just wasn’t a priority.

The moment I realized I cared about personal style was after quitting my day job and literally shed the belongings of my 9-5 life. To stay afloat financially I had to move houses, and now I live in a 5-person group house north of Columbia Heights. To accompany the smallest room in the house, I am the proud owner of a tiny closet. So, I’ve let go of most of my clothing, only keeping pieces that:

1. Make me feel good. I threw out every threadbare baggy sweater I’d ever owned, making room for crop tops and silky kimonos.

2. I can repeat. This is my second confession: being a busy person these days, I am a serial outfit repeater.

3. Are versatile. Think sweatpants that you can wear at home in bed, but also in the club. 

These principles ultimately sparked what I now call my personal style—a blend of practical and sleek (this can veer to the sexy side—I’m a DJ, after all), with a few statement pieces. Also emerging from these principles is a color palette of blacks, grays and whites, occasionally sprinkled with denim, camo and olive greens.

DJ Ayes Cold. Photo: Currie Lee

DJ Ayes Cold. Photo: Currie Lee

Another reason I stick to the shades above is because of my hair. During my transition to full-time DJing, I started experimenting more with my hair and taking more risks with color. Now that I’m self-employed, I don’t feel the need to look ’employable,’ and that’s been truly liberating. I’m currently rocking a bright blonde ombré, and I’ve just splurged on some deep red ‘hair-chalk.’ I definitely believe in keeping my closet neutral enough to encourage crazy hair decisions. I also think similarly about make-up (I’m rocking Kat Von D’s shade L.U.V in the pic).

The point of my story?  It took recovering my own sense of self, or identity, to develop a sense of personal style—a phenomenon that I’m sure many can relate to. As someone newly aware of this, I’m excited to write more about it on Strangers With Style.  Stay tuned for more notes from this ride…

xxx Ayes

Ayes Cold is a DJ based in DC. Two years into the District's music scene, Ayes Cold has made a name for herself as a selector with an ability to curate diverse musical styles in a seamless way. Starting off in D.C.'s basements and living rooms, Ayes soon moved on to perform at a range of DC venues (e.g. Tropicalia, The Howard Theatre, Liv, 930 Club, Union Arts, DC9, Den of Thieves, Flash, Backbar, and U Street Music Hall). Originally from India, Ayes Cold has lived in cities like Madras, Chicago, London, San Francisco, Bangalore, and Los Angeles and her nomadic past is one of the biggest influences on her selections as a DJ. Every other Wednesday you can find her and Native Sun spinning at the Velvet Lounge on U Street. Check her out at