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Trashy Diva’s Angie and Shelby.

I noticed a definite vintage look happening in New Orleans: shirtwaist dresses, full skirts paired with tight fitting tops, head scarves and hats. Soon I was hearing the local buzz about a boutique in the French Quarter called Trashy Diva, which offers vintage inspired clothing for women.

Naturally I made a beeline over to Trashy Diva to see for myself. There I met salestaff Angie and Shelby who told me that they like to think of Trashy Diva fashions as “vintage with a hipster twist.”

The silhouettes are mostly 40s and 50s, the fabric prints in cotton and rayon are all designed by Head Diva, Candice Gwinn and in limited editions. So, almost like buying an actual vintage garment you won’t see yourself coming and going. Well, you might a bit in NOLA but that just means you are  a member of the Trashy Diva tribe.

Ms. Gwinn started TD in the 1990s when she moved to NOLA from Atlanta, GA. Initially she sold strictly vintage but after hearing from her customers that fit was often a problem she began making new fashions with the vintage look in larger sizes. Today there are five store locations in NOLA, one in Atlanta, and a vibrant online presence. TD fashions have been featured on the television series Treme, New Girl, and House of Cards. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry count themselves among the Trashy Diva crowd.

The shop itself is located in one of those fabulous old NOLA buildings on Royal Street.  High ceilings and wood floors mixed with kitschy gold gilt mirrors and chandlers make for a charming environment. Retro tunes played in the background as I perused the wide choice of fabric prints. For spring/summer it’s all about color in floral, bicycles, polka dots. This season’s Preservation Hall print features images from NOLA unique music scene in shades of blue. Choose a print and then find it in dresses, skirts, tops, and pants.

Are you thinking – what’s up with the name? I was wondering that too. Here’s what they say on their website:

Trashy Diva was named nearly 20 years ago (before most people ever heard the word DIVA and certainly before it was common). The name was inspired by an article in W magazine about vintage starlets including Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield. We regularly get questioned about “why Trashy”? The Trashy part of the name expresses two different ideas to us. At the start, we sold only vintage, so the idea was that found objects (aka some people’s unwanted items ‘trashy’ ) could be made beautiful and and stylish. Another reason Trashy Diva appealed to us as a name was that it expressed an idea of an irreverent beauty- the girl who doesn’t always follow the rules!!

Name aside, I really enjoyed my experience at Trashy Diva. The clothes, the friendly staff, the vintage vibe … all great fun. Angie says I’m a Trashy Diva, too. Count me in!

 

 

 

 

 

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“What are you going to do with that feather?”

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And this is what I did with my Meyer Hatter feather. Nice, right?

Standing at the counter, I’m thinking that question must be for me since I’m holding a feather. I turn around and address the gentleman in a hat, “Ah, I’m going to use it to embellish one of my hats. I have lots of hats at home.” (The feathers of course are for the men’s hats but why not women’s hats, too?)

“Put it in your pocket,” he orders.

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Me with Mr. Sam Meyer.

I take a second glance at the nice man and notice a name tag pinned to his shirt. It suddenly hits me that it’s Mr. Meyer, the owner of this grand old New Orleans hat shop, Meyer The Hatter located on St. Charles Street.

On a sunny Friday afternoon, the shop is bustling with customers. Many of them regulars served by Mr. Meyer’s grandsons. It’s a three generation business now, having started back in 1894 by Mr. Meyer’s grandfather. Today Sam Meyer, his two sons and two grandsons run the family business keeping customers from around the world happily donning stylish hats. Including Eric Clapton and actor Wendell Pierce from the NOLA television series, Treme.

Mr. Meyer tells me his go-to hat is the pork pie. “That’s what the English call it.” He’s been sporting that style for 40 years with no intention of switching.

I ask about women’s hats and apparently that’s something relatively new to the shop. They added women’s styles five or six years ago and only because “… women kept coming in and asking for hats.”

NOLA residents do like their chapeaux – both men and women. Perhaps it’s the sunny weather, the heat, or just good old fashion southern tradition. Whatever, this hat gal likes it!

A big thank you to Sam Meyer and to all the friendly folks at Meyer The Hatter. It was a pleasure!

 

 

 

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Iman with her husband David Bowie in 1991. Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

I’ve always lived by the philosophy that in a world full of trends, I want to remain a classic. True style is like a great black-and-while picture: It never looks dated. 

Iman, the great Somali-American fashion model and icon.

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IMG_20180606_185921 (1)Now this guy knows how to beat the heat with style. He was parked here on the corner of Canal and Royal streets on a partly sunny and humid Friday afternoon.

White crop slacks in linen (or maybe cotton). Ah, yeah! Is all I have to say. I have never seen a man in cropped pants but I like it and clearly it’s a smart choice in hot weather. HOWEVER, you better know what you’re doing and he does. He’s paired the slacks with a loose fitting lavender short-sleeve shirt, untucked. Lavender is so nice with white – very summer. White shoes are A-OK after Memorial Day. To top it all off he’s wearing a hat, which by the way is not so unusual in NOLA. The Pork Pie is his hat of choice. Pork Pie was a go-to style for Jazz saxophonist Lester Young. I wonder if my dapper friend is a musician.

Sure this look is unusual but he pulls it off and hey, we’re in New Orleans where everyone marches to the beat of their own drum.

More NOLA Street Style coming up next week.

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On a recent visit to New Orleans, I found some unexpected street style.

I spotted this lovely woman one evening in the French Quarter, where the air was thick with heat and live jazz – New Orleans style. She really stood out among the crowd of people milling about dressed in shorts, jeans, and sneakers.

First of all she’s wearing a dress! A dress is always an upgrade and it fits her well, successfully balancing sexy with polite. The bold print and shades of green and blue are ideal choices for the sunny weather. The long scarf in two tones of pink adds even more color but she correctly stops there choosing a pair of sophisticated heels in black to top off her look. I think her hair looks fabulous, too.

So nicely done.

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Me at 5 years old with my red patent leather handbag. Don’t I look pleased with myself. 

Playing dress-up begins at age 5 and never truly ends.

Kate Spade (1962-2018), American fashion designer.

Kate Spade was known for her handbag line which she launched with her husband, Andy Spade, in 1993. The business was a huge success with affordable Kate Spade bags becoming a staple in every stylish woman’s closet. What is lesser known is that the Spades sold a portion of their company shares to Neiman Marcus in 1999 and the rest in 2006. Today the company is owned by Coach.

In 2016 the couple got back into the biz with a new line called Frances Valentine.

 

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I chose this quote because I think many woman can relate and it reminded me of myself at 5 years old when I was all about handbags. I had a small collection which included a couple of patent leather, a wicker, and one orange cloth with a faux tortoiseshell handle. (That one had belonged to my mother but I loved it so much she let me have it.) Indeed I liked to play dress-up with my handbags (and hats), creating outfits to go with them. It made me feel grown up.

Thanks Kate Spade for the reminder and for giving us the opportunity to continue playing.

Sadly, last week the designer hung herself with a scarf in her NYC home.

RIP Kate Spade.

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On the 20th anniversary of Sex and the City we are looking back at one of my favorite style moments in Unoriginal Sin (season five, episode two, 2002). Recap: Miranda has asked Carrie to be Brady’s godmother but Carrie is feeling unfit for the job. It doesn’t help that Charlotte tells her she’s becoming cynical. This is also when Carrie finds out that a publisher is interested in a book deal. (Yes, I know my S&TC pretty darn well!)

In one outside autumn scene with Charlotte, Carrie is sporting a sweater that I adore. It’s a beige shade with a turquoise C  in the middle. Simple but oh-so charming and I really like the odd color combination.  I’m also a big fan of initials. She’s paired that with a plaid cap, which suits her face. The heart brooch is a nice touch and we see it repeated throughout the season.

I found out recently that this sweater was part of an Isaac Mizrahi collection back in the day. Sara Jessica Parker called up Mizrahi and asked to use this sweater in the show. Later in 2016 it was part of his retrospective exhibit at The Jewish Museum in NYC. 

Readers, are you/were you a fashion fan of S&TC? What were some of your favorite looks from the show?

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