Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rare Birds of Fashion

I have a friend who is afraid of birds. Not just birds of the Hitchcockian variety, but all birds. As such, I'm pretty sure he will not be a fan of this dress, even though the little bluebirds twittering about on it are more of the Snow White variety. That's ok. I don't choose my wardrobe for other people. It's all about what makes me happy and what suits my personality and body type (which is why you'll never see me in jeggings). 
Dress (Dress Barn); Shrug (Jessica Howard, Carson Pirie Scott); Necklace and Earrings (vintage 1950s finds)
It's also why you'll never see me wearing something with chickens on it. I'm good with birds, but chickens are foul (or fowl...sorry, couldn't resist). Seriously, in the late 80s I was once chased by a flock of "hangry" chickens on a friend's farm until I fell down, covering the knees of my favorite multi-colored pinstriped Jordache jeans in grass stains. I only escaped a mad pecking when I duped them by throwing fistfuls of grass they mistook for food. Good thing chickens have little brains (they are literally bird brains)! 
You'd never know the dress, hat, and shoes were all purchased years apart at different places.
The birds (or lack of chickens) actually have very little to do with my fondness for this dress. I don't subscribe to the "put a bird on it" mentality satirized so delightfully on PortlandiaIt was all about the retro style and fun colors (oranges and greens are my faves). Unexpectedly, the dress was a perfect match for a pair of colorblocked, whipstitch leather heels that have been in my closet for years, and marrying them together made me love both the dress and the shoes even more.
The Bodhi Safety Pin Clutch is one of my all-time favorite bags. I love it so much I may or may not have it in pink and orange, too; The bangle bracelet from Erwin Pearl's Van Gogh collection (an airport purchase!) has become a staple Summer accessory.
Completely by chance, I stumbled on this $7.99 fedora at Meijer last week (I was there to buy chicken, of all things...) Meijer, like Target, is one of those places I always find random things I don't need but suddenly can't live without. I knew the hat would be a fun complement to this summer ensemble, and I just love to coordinate happenstance finds into a unique, cohesive look.
The fabric on the hat is nearly identical to the print on the dress. A perfect random find for $7.99.
I've said it before, but it's worth repeating - style does not have to cost a lot of money. Sure, haute couture craftsmanship and creativity is high art that cannot be matched by department store finds. But, with vintage jewelry from the 50s, a fun bag, and the right shoes, even a $30 bargain basement dress and grocery store hat are elevated beyond their humble beginnings. 
Shoes (Chinese Laundry); Sunglasses (Rayban); Bracelet (Erwin Pearl's Van Gogh Collection)
One of my style idols, Iris Apfel, now in her mid-90s, has spent a lifetime developing her own personal style that mixes high and low end pieces with abandon. Though she lives in a Park Avenue penthouse, she is just as happy to find the perfect funky ring for $4.99 from a New York street vendor as she is to wear Harry Winston. She has been dubbed the "rare bird of fashion" and is the subject of a current documentary playing at the Keystone Art Cinema now through June 4th (which I highly recommend). A rare bird, indeed, Iris truly embodies the Red's Shoe Diaries style mantra:
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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To enjoy some other rare birds of fashion, check out the Style Crone's monthly Hat Attack!


  1. I've checked out all of your posts, with the divine hats that you wear, and want to express my appreciation for every contribution that you make to Hat Attack. I always love to see your beauty and your headwear pop up on the first of every month. I can't thank you enough for all that you add to my monthly hat party. xoxo

  2. You are a very colourful person. I love that. Makes the world more fun. Great outfit, fantastic shoes.

  3. Hi Jody, This is Carolyne from the Indiana Repertory Theatre! Thanks for attending our vintage sale last night. We hope you had fun and found lots of treasures. If ever you wear anything out or blog about your finds let me know so that I can share on our social media sites! My email is cholcomb@irtlive.com.