Thinking Deeply About Fashion

Fashion makes you think deeply sometimes. Yeah, I know, it’s full of surface-level judgments and there are some who would suggest fashion is all vanity, but when you take on a project of revamping your ideas about what style and fashion are, it can get you to thinking.

There was a time in my 20s and 30s when I wore fashion as a badge to show the world how successful I was. I felt dressed up, but I didn’t feel “me.” The fashion didn’t dig in any deeper than that. At least, I didn’t think it did.

Then one day, I moved to Phoenix. It has to be one of the most casual places on the planet. And why not? It gets so dang hot in the summer that all those tweeds, wools, and layers I brought from Seattle were just abysmal.

Besides the heat, though, Phoenicians are real, authentic people. They wear what they wear for practicality as well as to express their pride in living in one of the hottest parts of the world. (I also need to say that not every Phoenician dresses casually. This is just an overall generality that I’ve seen in my own family, friends, and neighbors.)

Because I didn’t want to stand out, I changed the way I dressed when I moved to Phoenix. My wardrobe is now full of jeans, cropped pants, and t-shirts. I wanted to fit in, so I changed. Here’s a photo taken at a birthday party with my husband and pup a couple of years ago:

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This is where the deep thinking comes in: To find my signature style, I need to find out what’s really me. To do that, I’m looking back — over the decades of iconic fashion, as well as over the decades of my own fashion experiences. I might have worn a badge of success early in my 30s and then changed to fit into a regional style, but now I’m starting to see how it all adds up to create a look that’s all mine. Those clothes from my past represent something about me that goes deeper than the surface. They represent my past and a really happy time in my life.

I kept a lot of those clothes I bought when I was in my early 30s. I don’t know why I kept them except that I love the look and feel of them and I guess I thought that one day I would wear them again. Who knew I would start blogging about my journey to a signature style and rediscover them? Who knew they would even fit right into my project of trying on iconic styles from the past? Doesn’t this outfit look like it could have come out of the early 1920s?

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Trying on my old clothes is as rich an experience as trying on the iconic fashions of decades past, possibly richer. This is my past, after all, so it’s far more personal. I wonder where it will lead me.

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Most of the pieces in this outfit are old, but I’ve put together some links to similar pieces which you can find in shops today. Click the links below to shop this look.

The brown velvet topper is Zenobia of Canada, which sadly no longer exists. You can find some of their pieces on eBay if you search for Zenobia of Canada. Here are some other ideas from Nordstrom, Sundance Catalog, and ThredUp.com:

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Similar at Nordstrom.

Similar at SundanceCatalog.com.
Similar at SundanceCatalog.com.

Similar at Thredup.com.
Similar at ThredUp.com.

The sweater skirt is vintage Eileen Fisher, my all-time favorite clothier. Here are some similar skirts from Eileen Fisher and Anthropologie:

 
Exact item on eBay in PP!

Similar at Nordstrom.

Similar at Anthropologie.

The top I’m wearing is vintage J.Crew. I got it on eBay eons ago. It’s actually a sequined tank layered over a silk Eileen Fisher tee. Here are similar styles from ThredUp.com. If these aren’t in your size, be sure to search their site for Petite Sequin Tops. They had a whole bunch when I searched!

Trina Turk top from Thredup.com

Banana Republic top from Thredup.com.

Inc International top from Thredup.com.

The shoes are Stuart Weitzman. Here are some similar styles available in regular stores, plus a link to search the exact style on eBay!

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Similar style at OnlineShoes.com.
icon Similar style at OnlineShoes.com. Click here to search these exact shoes on eBay!

iconThe necklace I purchased at Nordstrom a couple of years ago. It’s Anne Klein. Here are some similar styles:icon

Kendra Scott necklace from Nordstrom.

Kate Spade necklace from Nordstrom.

Malinda Maria necklace from Nordstrom.