PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Self-CONFIDENCE

“I am too busy to care about what other people think.”  Tavi Gevinson

“Personal style is curiosity about oneself.”  Iris Apfel
My mother crawled into the protective shelf of a girdle almost everyday of her adult life.  When it came to fashion, she was a follower.  Her lack of self-confidence was masked by her innate ability to always appear elegant. She chose her clothes carefully.

High maintenance is a trait I inherited from her, but not elegance.  Early on I was putting outfits together that had an aesthetic appeal to ME, which is not to say I had self-confidence.  Tavi Gevinson, founder and editor-in-chief of RookieMag.com, age 16 and Iris Apfel, style icon, age 90 have self-confidence.  They exude it.

The conversation between these two women was moderated by Judith Thurman: the topic:  Good Taste/Bad Taste:  The Evolution of Contemporary Chic (Metropolitan Museum – Sunday June 17).  You might wonder what kind of dialog a 16 year old and 90 year old can have?  Is it grandmother to granddaughter?  Sage to Innocent? Seniority to inexperience?  No.  These two ladies were talking to each other as respected colleagues.

“I don’t live to be trendy – you can’t be trendy and have personal style.”  Iris Apfel

“Personal style is a chance to create your own fantasy…to have a force field around you”  Tavi Gevinson
I understand that clothes are like performance art.  I often look over my closet and put something together I feel proud of; I put a check next to the self-esteem box.   But sometimes you want to be yourself.  Many years ago, a friend of mine said, what is the first thing you do when you get home?  Take your clothes off and change into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

Apfel “I am freer when I am not dressed up”

and Gevinson agreed, “There is nothing like a good old bathrobe.”

And there is nothing like a great conversation.

___________________________
Visionary
Courage
Iris Apfel may have been the first woman to wear a pair of jeans on a college campus.

“I went to the University of Wisconsin in 1940’s.  I had this vision of myself in a pair of jeans, big gingham turban, hoop earrings and a crisp shirt.  I asked around and found an Army/Navy store in the area.  I inquired of the owner where I could find a pair of jeans for myself.  He immediately kicked me out of the shop.  “Woman don’t wear jeans.”  But, when I want something; I am like a dog with a bone.  I went back time after time; thinking he might take me seriously.  A few months later, I received a call from the owner.  He had ordered a pair of boys jeans for me.”

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