It has been a long- time goal of mine to start documenting my personal style on my blog. My vision was inspired in part by my fashion bible, CHEAP CHIC, Tavi Gevinson, Style Maven Iris Apfel, a woman in Narberth I call Narberth Iris (Apfel) and another woman I met at a Dalai Lama teaching . My style is a work in progress; constantly evolving due to my thrift store finds, my cultural experiences ,travels and moods.
I think there is a big difference between fashion and personal style. I also feel that just because everyone is wearing a certain designer or a specific piece of clothing, that that alone does not constitute fashion.For me, fashion is timeless. A dress made in the 60s could be worn now and look fresh. My personal style can be summed in the following way: colorful, ironic, vintage, handmade, fun, comfortable and eclectic.
I grew up in the 70s on a steady diet of SEVENTEEN, MADAMOISELLE, GLAMOUR and VOGUE magazines. I never really found clothing I wanted to wear in the magazines of that time period. Around the age of 15, I started making trips to San Francisco and would visit the Esprit factory outlet and various small boutiques. This is when I started dressing for myself. A geisha print white sweat shirt, a black pleated wool skirt, white tights with black Japanese characters, oversized red plastic ball earrings, Mary Jane shoes and red lipstick was characteristic of the way I liked to dress in high school. Sadly, someone else who was popular stole my look and won the title of fashion trend setter in the high school yearbook.
Growing up, I had a huge aversion to shopping for clothes at thrift stores for reasons I do not wish to discuss. I’m not skinny , and my poor body image kept me from being bold and daring. When I entered art school, I started to give myself more permission to be who I was, and it dawned on me that what I wore was an extension of myself as an artist. I overcame my distaste for thrift stores when I moved to Philadelphia in the early 90s. Finding cool vintage clothes in Philly is like shooting fish in a barrel. Seriously, if you love thrift stores and vintage clothing, move to Philly.
As soon as I buy a piece of clothing, it goes straight into the washing machine or to the dry cleaner . Oxyclean is King in my house. I’ve been able to perform miracles with it. I fear no stain or yellowing fabric. I love children’s graphic prints, pajamas pants, and African textiles ( to name but a few of my style influences.). Unlike Iris Apfel, I don’t wear a lot of accessories. The jewelry I wear usually has spiritual properities. You will never see me without a Hamsa necklace. I dress for comfort. I do like to smell nice, so scent is a must for me ( as mentioned in a previous blog). Depending on what I’m wearing, I will change my scent O.k. now on to my outfits in this entry. Photo #1.
I call this ensemble “Fishing”. The t-shirt is vintage- a giant shark with its mouth open. I bought it for $2 at the Uhuru Flea Market in Clark Park ( West Philly). I love this t-shirt. I love the fit and the cotton is soft. The pants are soft cotton mens “pajama pants”, Dr. Seuss-One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” . I bought these at Target several years ago for around $17. I love the pop art colors and the fact these pants have pockets. When I wear these pants out in public, children will squeal and point at me and their mothers will smile. My shoes are Mens fisherman sandals which I purchased at DSW for around $40. Fisherman sandals are great for so many reasons. They cover your whole foot but allow it to breathe in the summer. They are wonderful walking shoes. Most sandals are not great for walking and leave feet vunerable to injury. Lastly, these sandals are great for people who have ugly feet or toenail issues. The straps are velcro. My feet feel secure in these sandals.
Outfit #2 is a crop tank top with a hand printed image of a punk Grace Jones- nice soft sheer cotton. I bought this item from Uhuru Flea Market also. It was made by someone at the Philadelphia Print Center and there were other incredible t shirts at the table, all handmade by various Philly artists. I paid $20 for the tank top. The short flared skirt is one of my most prized possessions. A retro- inspired children’s happy print featuring colorful cute bears, birds, rabbits, snails, little blond girls, carrots, apples, mushrooms, flowers & trees. The skirt was handmade in NYC by Wally & Bebop. They sell at the Rittenhouse Craft Show which occurs every year in early May. The skirt was $50. The look is kind of neo 80s. I have a tummy and a big chest, but I love this outfit nevertheless.
Outfit #3 is classic me. I designed the pop art hamsa t – shirt. The image originates from an original painting I made on an old wooden kitchen cutting board. I digitally changed the image and had it printed by Zazzle. You can purchase it here:
I cut off the arms of the t shirt. It is a mens large. Nice soft cotton. The pants are African; red horses with black outlines on a yellow background. The pants have pockets and a drawstring waist. I found these pants in the West Village NYC. A guy had a stall and was selling African pants. I bought these for $20. African clothing and textiles are HOT!!!! I have several pairs of African pants and a few dresses & daishikis. Ironically the ODUNDE festival just happened yesterday ( June 8th), but all you fashionistas- mark your calendars now for 2015. Odunde is a huge annual African street festival in Philadelphia which spans many blocks. It features tons of wonderful clothing and textile vendors, as well as beads and jewelry vendors. African street faires are the perfect place to find unique handmade clothing if you desire to be an OOAK ( one of a kind) and develop your own personal style.
Outfit #4 – I love anything with the Statue of David on it. This cotton tank top is no exception. This is a mens cotton tank top with a photographic of David and the caption “NEVER NUDE”. I found it at Buffalo Exchange. I thought it was a little pricey at $14, but I had to have it. The pants are vintage ( 90s!) Old Navy orange Halloween “eyes” pajama pants which I bought on eBAY for $5. They are form- fitting and people always comments that “ it isn’t Halloween” when I wear them. Oh really? I had no idea.
Thank you to my crew who helped make this blog entry possible. You know who you are and I really appreciate your help. I’m opening up this blog entry for comments. I would love to hear about your personal style and anectdote on your beloved pieces of clothing.