When I graduated from college and entered the working world — a long time ago — I bought into the notion that it was good to stock a wardrobe with basic black. Supposedly, if everything you had looked the same, no one would know how many or how few clothes you had, how often you wore things, or what season they were from. A distinctive print? Perish the thought! Fashionistas would know that you weren’t keeping up with the times!
Developing an interest in vintage clothes changed my mindset. The best vintage pieces are the most identifiable ones. It’s fun to know what year the clothes are from, especially for people like me, who are interested in history. And once I got interested in vintage, I lost my fear of buying distinctive current-season clothes. They don’t get old; they just turn into vintage!
In the past week, I’ve worn three different dresses that are in various stages of the aging process. (I actually think of two of them as “new,” but I’m not sure Anna Wintour would agree because the newest is a year old.) I got this Prada lip-print dress in 2012. Here it is after I wore it for my anniversary dinner with MrB that year.
I wore it again last Thursday for a dinner at The Radler, a cool German restaurant in Chicago. I was there to celebrate my stepson’s graduation from Northwestern University. Notice that I carried the same seven-year-old Prada purse as in the above photo.
The graduation ceremony for the entire university took place on Friday. (Stevie Wonder got an honorary degree, as did the legendary actress Cloris Leachman.) I dressed casually to sit outside on the bleachers in the football stadium, so I didn’t bother to take an outfit picture. Besides, no outfit photo could have lived up to this photobomb. I made more of an effort for Saturday’s smaller, indoor ceremony for the music school. (My stepson majored in classical guitar.) The Jason Wu dress I wore was just purchased last year. The first time I wore it was last June — also when visiting Northwestern.
I changed the shoes for this wearing, but not my pose!
What Wendy Wore in 2014
Dress: Jason Wu (2013)
Shoes: Prada (2011)
Lipstick: So Chaud by MAC
Back in New York, I had another dressy occasion last night: Gerald Loeb Awards for business and financial journalism. MrB presented the lifetime achievement award to James Flanigan of the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, having won that award himself in 2002. The Versace dress I wore last night was probably purchased at the end of MrB’s award year. The first photo I have of it, however, is from 2003.
I decided to wear it last night because I remembered wearing it to the Loeb Awards four years ago.
It amuses me to wear the same outfits to the same events.
What Wendy Wore in 2014
Dress: Versace (2002/2003)
Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti (2014)
Purse: Prada (2007)
Lipstick: Pleasure Bomb by MAC
Jewelry: My own designs
Despite my post-college fears, no one has ever confronted me and said, “Hey, that dress is old!” And if someone did, I would say, “Thank you! So am I!” My fashion advice to all those recent graduates I saw: Don’t be afraid to stand out, and, whenever you buy quality clothes, keep them forever!