When it comes to personal style, you know it when you see it. I was in the Studio Jewelry Collections in Sonoma visiting with my buddies there when Deborah Scharaga walked in to assume her afternoon shift behind the counter of jewels, jewels, jewels.
I had to know more! I knew what I liked about the outfit but with great style, it makes you want to know more about the person and how she happened to put it all together in that way. In this installment of the Anatomy of an Outfit, there are several things to note. I always appreciate someone who breaks the rules and makes something work that would be difficult or impossible for the rest of us to do. In this case, she’s wearing a trend the second time around, with those fabulous bell bottoms. Many fashion pundits say never wear a trend twice. If you wore it once, that’s enough. I don’t agree with that rule but I do think it can be delicate to pull off. Deborah is pulling it off…in 2014 and at the age of 63! But that’s just one thing. She’s doing several things here that you could translate in your own way. I’ll get to that.
First, let me tell you a bit about Deborah. If we had to put a label on it, she says she’d consider herself to be a fashion mixologist, putting quirky combinations together. “I have to be entertained and it’s an easy way to entertain myself,” she says. She also loves to repurpose things. She’ll turn things backwards and inside out and redesign old jewelry to make new jewelry.
“My father was a manufacturer of fabrics. As a kid I made tents at home out of silk fabrics. Getting dressed is my form of expression. It’s my artistic way of speaking,” she says.
So let’s look at the anatomy of this outfit in conjunction with her style and repurposing aesthetic.
1. I LOVE the simplicity of the 2-piece suit. Remember that from the old days when getting dressed was as easy as putting on a matching jacket and pant? While not many people do that anymore, I still teach the theory of dressing that way. And Deborah gives us a great example for this. She’s really created a suited look. Her navy pinstripe jacket and her denim bell bottom jeans follows the “modern” suit formula, as the pieces seamlessly go together without being matched. Your eye follows the whole length of her body, from head to toe, just like a traditional suit would. She looks tall for miles. You probably do this yourself with a black pant and a textured black jacket. Or a white linen trouser and a white unmatched jacket in white eyelet or white lace, for instance. (Tip for home: To create a put together look, search your closet for unmatched pieces that could fit the new suit formula.)
2. Deborah stayed with high impact by teaming her “suit” pieces with another shade of blue. I love the way she styled her jacket, pushing up the sleeves to reveal the cuff on her sleeve. Great styling makes vintage look more modern!
3. How can you compete with the attention of bell bottoms? Well, you don’t. I’d say the bell bottoms and her red clogs are pretty much the attention grabbers and need top billing. So her accessories are less dynamic but totally relating to her delicate frame and features. Her earrings and the bracelet at her wrist are fine and delicate and feminine. The cluster of lapel pins are quirky and interesting. The add more layers of interest without being distracting or too much.
So let’s talk about her skills and values regarding repurposing.
1. Her jeans and belt were purchased at a consignment store in Santa Fe, New Mexico four years at The Beat Goes On.
2. Her cowboy shirt is a hand-me-down.
3. She found the jacket at the Salvation Army.
4. Her clogs are new from On Your Feet shoe store in Santa Fe.
5. She took apart a necklace and made it into the earrings she’s wearing.
6. Her rings come from a sister and her husband’s mother.
7. The Lapis brooch was a broken pin that she sewed on to the lapel of the jacket.
Deborah is totally in line with her values and her personal style expression while still having her feet in the fashion story that is 2014.