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 Portlandia. It 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!