photo by erika ludwig, hair and makeup by margo gordon
The last time I felt I truly held fashion by the hem? Back in the ’80s, when my Girl Scout troop-mates and I earned our sewing badges. Our final project was to design and create an outfit that we would model at a low-key “fashion show” in the school basement where we met. My mom helped me sew a pair of blousy, elastic-waist culottes and a matching top—a sort of short-sleeved jacket without any structure, fasteners, or lining (well beyond the skill set of an elementary school seamstress). My design, fashioned from a Hawaiian-style floral-print cotton, evoked, generously speaking, retiree cruisewear. (Already corrupted by the influence of brands, I even made labels, hand-drawn with iron-on crayon, featuring the face and paw prints of our family cat, Peaches.)
For the show, I debuted my outfit accessorized with white, high-top sneakers and pink slouch socks. As I proudly strutted the beige-carpet runway in front of a few moms, my flimsy jacket flapped open, revealing a crooked seam. But I didn’t care: As far as I was concerned, it was the height of chic.
As I grew older, I became more aware of other people’s fashion choices and picked up a sense of where mine fit in. These days, I typically resign myself to style choices based more on practicality than personality. While I appreciate the simplicity of this approach, I sometimes miss the “statement outfits,” however misguided, of my youth.
If you, too, have been in a bit of an aesthetic rut, style editor Jahna Peloquin’s fashion feature—a lookbook of bold, dynamic new pieces from top local designers’ fall collections—is sure to inspire. I’ve been admiring the asparagus-green, faux fur sweater and the slinky, peacock dress. Both radiate the same energy of my old Hawaiian-print getup—but with a considerably more refined sense of couture.