Living close to the ocean (Boston-hence the running nautical theme) with incredible boutiques like hippie chic George’s Folly (just down the street) to Paraphernalia (where designer Betsy Johnson got her start) set the stage for my budding fashionista self. My first favorite outfit, a purple suede fringed vest with matching lace front miniskirt had a magical, transforming effect on me the night of a school dance. Do I remember if anyone asked me to dance? No, but I can still feel the gained sense of confidence I had wearing a put together look in what would later become my signature color.
I experimented with looks ranging from denim overalls, plaid shirts and vintage furs (an old muskrat purchased for $20) and my grandmother’s Persian lamb. Safari jackets, hair bandanas, Huckapoo shirts and “Goody Two Shoe” wedgies were au courant. I loved witnessing the evolution of espadrillles, Gucci equistrian themes, preppy madras, hand embroidered peasant blouses. I loved all the fresh interpretations of classics I adored. I was fearless in my experimentation. My mother (the slim, fashionable, Jewish Jackie O) would disapprove of my misguided adventures into vintage. “You’ll catch leprosy”, she said. This was my fashion journey and I was cultivating my style. I learned about the illusion of prints, the value of a good, classic outfit and the elements of plus size style.
From my tailor grandfather, I learned about fabric quality and cut. My mother taught me how to buy an outfit, a look. Her fashion philosophy was to buy quality over quantity. Wardrobe is an investment. Never underestimate the value of a great black sweater or a navy blazer. When I wanted to wear Edwardian or flowing vintage, my mother pushed me towards tailored pieces. Her style sensibility became part of my DNA and I subconciously adopted a version of her style.
There were so many aspects of fashion I love like the drama of the entrance. I was the “girl in the pink sweater walking on the beach” so making a memorable impression was theatrical and I was/am a true ham. I loved the hunt for the perfect accessories to an event and the “what will you wear” conversations. As I became more self-assured and joined the ranks of plus size modeling, I became intrigued with the emerging plus size garment industry in 1980s Los Angeles fortunate to play a role in bringing fashion to a “ forgotten woman”.
I kicked in the door to a world that had little use for me as a plus size woman, but I’m relentless when I’m in pursuit of an ideal. The road I traveled, ironically hired to sell plus size lingerie, led me back to where I belonged all along at Plus Size Plum.
About Personal Style
Some rules can be bent. I can wear a fur vest even with a big bust (if it’s cut right), but I can’t wear kelly green anymore despite the fact that I still have the Studio 54 disco dancing girl inside me, it doesn’t suit me in my fifties. I dress with a youthful perspective (so no more Misook) . I love linen as it reminds me of summer in Milan (where I’ve never been). And I am crazy for plaids, stripes, paisley and Chanel. For me, to quote my other style icon, the fabulous, Mouna Ayoub, “Fashion is art”. Madame Ayoub (who I once had as a customer) came decked out in Chanel from her thigh high boots to her necklaces. Her style left me awestruck.
For those of us who love fashion, it’s an expression of individuality, style and an endless source of joy.