All photos by Erin Leydon.
If I was going to be perfectly honest with you, the look that I am sporting this week is not one I necessarily would put together for an everyday look. I would maybe wear this if I was going to a really specific event. I kind of just used the week's column as a blatant excuse to play dress up and do a look that let me be a little outrageous. For absolutely no reason other than that it was fun.
I have always been one of those girls that loved to play dress up. Clothing for me is a way to express how I feel in that moment. I am lucky in that my life can take me to the craziest of places and I get to do and experience a lot of extremely diverse things. Which means that I get a lot of opportunities to dress up. Rather then sail on through them all with one predictable look, I prefer to change up my style to suit the event or place. Why not? I have the clothes to do it at my disposal. Plus it is a way, way more fun way to go through life.
When I was a girl it was a big thing to find a signature style. The old school advice on how to do this was to find a specific item of clothing, or an accessory, or a specific silhouette, or color, and wear it all the time. Think Katherine Hepburn and her masculine-inspired pieces; Audrey Hepburn and her gamine flair; Joan Crawford and her strong shoulders; Jackie Kennedy and her over-sized sunglasses and headscarves .. the list goes on and on. Now if you are as famous as these women, or in a specific industry where a set image is important, I think that maybe that makes sense, but I always rebelled against this idea. I love to explore and play with my own style. I like to take risks and sometimes I have failed spectacularly in trying to pull something off. And it doesn't bother me in the least.
Maybe that was part of what drew me to vintage. Instead of having to choose from what is on the runways and in the stores this season, you have as many decades as you want to dig back into and experiment with. After all, why only do Spring 2017 when you can pull looks from any of the seasons from the past 100 years?
I already had it in my mind to showcase this little 1980s Norma Kamali dress at some point. When I had it photographed for the shop, it was styled on the mannequin at its full mid-calf length and those crazy mile long sleeves are all nicely scrunched up on the arms. I don't think the photos really do the dress justice at all and the overlay piece doesn't have the same impact it does on a real person. Some pieces, especially these crazy eighties ones that are jersey, really rely on having a real body in them to make them work.
The Balenciaga boots are a new addition to my shoe closet after obsessing for weeks on whether to make the plunge or not. It was a 2 hour conversation with a client who raved about the pair that she had just bought, that finally pushed me over the edge to buy my own pair, and boy I am glad I did. They are fabulous, they are actually comfortable, and the black makes your legs look a mile long. The instant they were delivered and out of the box I knew that I was going to pair them with the blue Kamali dress for a shoot. The dress already has that Balenciaga vibe to it, especially when you wear it as a mini. I would even hazard a guess that it was dresses like this that served up some of the inspiration behind the new signature Balenciaga look. Which is exactly why the two work together so well.
They really are the perfect pairing and as soon as I popped the two pieces on I was in full "let's do something really crazy" mode. I ran into my studio and grabbed this crazy little red vintage Renata hat, popped it on, pinned it in place and that was that.
And boy did we have fun. Sleeves were swinging, the boots were kicking and I was dancing around grinning like a fool for some shots and playing tough '80s girl in others after a quick switch out of the hat for a pair of sunglasses.
And why not?
Life is short and clothes are fun. Sometimes you just have to pop on something crazy and have fun. Throw the rules out the window, mix up those decades and prance. Dance, grin, make silly faces, live and let your happy shine.