I love catching the Petaluma Antique Faire. It’s held the last Sunday in April and September. Mark your calendar for September 30th to catch the next one!
Personally there are four great things about the faire.
- Russ and I love poking around and brainstorming things that could work for our home.
- We meet my longtime clients (three related families) who come up from Los Gatos, San Francisco, and Mill Valley to spend the morning there. They’re great at antiquing!
- We go to Della Fattoria with the whole gang for brunch. Good food, good stories, great laughs.
- Many people attending the faire wear very creative outfits. People watching is fab.
This year didn’t disappoint. Fun items 1-3 were as great as ever. And I got my fashion fix when I ran into and talked to this woman at the faire. I loved her outfit and I’ll tell you why!
You know me, I’m kind of shy with strangers, but when this woman started walking away I just had to stop her and hope she wouldn’t find me rude. “Excuse me, but I really love your pants!”
“Really?” she said with a smile.
I’m so sorry I didn’t ask her her name. I already felt like I was being a bit intrusive as most people there are on a serious hunt for hidden treasures. I won’t overlook that detail again!
So what do you want first? The details of her outfit or what attracted me to her?
What I learned about her culottes
Let’s start with the culottes which grabbed my attention. I first saw her standing still from the back. I thought she was wearing a skirt. But when she moved I realized she was wearing wide-leg culottes. That earned big style points for me. Many people are timid about wearing culottes. You don’t see them out in public that often.
Here’s her culotte story:
I literally took these pants off the curb. My friend was tossing them out on the street with other things. I took them home and cut them down and added the cuff. They are so comfortable. I ended up making a pattern and I’ve got several now. I’ve made them out of lots of different fabrics including pretty tablecloths and lightweight tapestry fabrics.
The fabric is bonafide polyester. It has to have been from the mod ’70s. I made myself an A-line dress in high school in a print that wasn’t so different from this one. I asked if I could touch it. Yup, polyester alright! Nothing would dare wrinkle this fabric. I love how they really held their shape.
What tickled me about how she put this outfit together
So now I have to tell you all the things I liked about this outfit on her.
I’d guess she’s around 5’1″. Clearly she’s not going for that rule that shorter women should avoid wearing long skirts or long dresses. I loved the amount of skin showing between the cuff and her open-toed sandals. I always like seeing skin somewhere near the bottom because it makes us jump to the skin on the face and neck. It ties an outfit together, makes your eye go up and down. That open space near her ankle gave the outfit a lift. The culottes didn’t weigh her down because we saw skin.
Another thing that delighted me was that from the waist up she’s in classic pieces. A white collared shirt, a black pullover sweater, and diamond stud earrings. Her hair is pulled back into a tight, low ponytail. The shape of her sunglasses are classic as well. If she’d swap her party pants for a classic trouser she could be going to an office. She could be a lawyer. But not on Sunday in her mod culottes. She brings the party with the bottom half.
I liked how the black and white pieces up top played against the psychedelic print on the bottom. That contrast was delightful.
And I loved seeing her oversized tote bag slung over her shoulder in red and white polka dots. Not tiny polka dots but grand ones. This is a functional tote as she’s prepared to pack some purchases in it. But in this case I think the tote serves her in a functional and fashionable way. The oversized tote brings a dramatic but playful flare. One could easily imagine a person 5’9″ carrying off the scale of this tote. But someone eight inches shorter? There’s another rule that petites don’t have to follow. You can be petite and wear large prints.
While the print in her culottes were loud, she was actually very soft-spoken and proper, very ladylike when I talked to her. She seemed calm and like it would take an awful lot to get her frazzled. Loud and soft. Again, that volleying of contrasting elements is what makes this outfit delicious.
She also puts the kibosh to the oft quoted rule that if you wore it the first time around, you can’t wear it the second time. I’m guessing she could have been old enough to have worn this print when it was first trendy. I used to preach that rule: Let the young people play with the trend that you played with once before. I NEVER say that anymore. I think we can wear trends when they come back again. We’ll always do it with a modern twist.
What about the lunch box?
In case you’re wondering, I bought that lunch box for twenty bucks. I’ve been wearing it as a handbag the last two days. You’ll be seeing it in outfit pictures soon!
So let me ask you a few questions: Do you wear previously owned clothes? Do you buy things at antique faires or garage sales? What do you think about the “rule” that you should wear a trend once, not twice? Let’s share stories!