Right now I'm busy with final edits on my novel before it goes on sub to publishers (!!!!). In order to give myself a break every so often (translation: to keep myself from freaking way out) I peruse catalogs, browse online, comb through magazines in search of--Ta-Da!--the perfect fall ensemble.
Summer clothes don't do it for me. And Chicago weather makes spring a wet, muddy disaster. Forget winter as well--we hearty folk cover ourselves in down and wool. But, fall, or rather, autumn, is absolute glory. The clothes attached to this season are perfect as well. Knee-high coffee color leather boots. Herringbone tights. Corduroy jackets with leather patches at the elbows. Cashmere everything--scarves, sweaters, even socks! Ooh, la-la!
There's one problem, however, with my fantasy of waltzing into Prada or Burberry, or even the much-more-likely Target, and choosing my fall outfit: My husband and I are saving to remodel our kitchen, so my clothing budget doesn't really exist.
It's a good thing, then, that my look hasn't really changed all that much over the years. I don't rock a mullet or wear acid-wash, but my style is definitely that of a woman whose girlhood was spent watching way too many old-style Hollywood movies. One example: I wear ballet flats, all the time, and have for years. In fact, years ago, before ballet flats came back big-time, I'd buy real Capezio ballet shoes and have them soled at the shoe repair dude. That's my homage to Audrey Hepburn. My other purchases over the years have been reflective of my obsessions with Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, Ali McGraw in Love Story, Katherine Ross in The Graduate, and Katherine Hepburn in just about anything. Oh, and Cher during her gypsy phase. More recently, the feast for the eyes known as Mad Men has made me want to scour every vintage store in Chi-town for tight cashmere sweaters and pencil skirts.
When borrowing heavily from the past, though, it is important to find balance in your presentation. I've made mistakes with this. Like Paris Hilton, ridiculous in head to toe Juicy Couture, I've gone all-vintage and ended up looking like a museum exhibit. A few key modern pieces must be added to the mix. It's kind of like creating a character based on someone you know in real life (You knew I'd bring this back to writing somehow, didn't you?). If it's a mere recreation on paper, then it's kind of a cheap copy, no? You have to add a little creativity to it, a little bit of you. Then the character really jumps off the page, right?