As a rule, I’m not a fan-girl kind of a girl. But I do have a wee crush on Karen Walker. Not that I own much of her stuff, as it’s beyond my financial sensibility (mine’s all second hand or from end-of-season sales). But her design aesthetic genuinely appeals to me, and I always look to her campaign images and runway shows for styling ideas. She’s one part girly, one part blokey, a dash retro-op-shop-girl, and school-girl nerd. And there’s always something boundary pushing about what she does, as in, ‘a little bit wrong”. There’s a lot there that resonates with me!
This dress is by Ms Walker, and I wonder, would she approve of how I’m wearing it? I can’t say it’s one of my finest styling moments – it’s a bit undercooked, and my hat has seen better days. But it’s what I wore last week, and it’s “me”.
Needless to say, my look is about the dress. It has a retro sensibility, a bit 70s, with a stiff zippered collar. I’m actually looking forward to wearing it when it’s cooler, so that I can wear some layers with it. But for the now and its ridiculously hot summer sun, white sneakers and a sunhat was where it needed to be.
I actually tried styling it more heavily, with scarves, brooches and different hats. But somehow a minimalist approach was where it needed to be. The vintage house coat in all of its chartruese and white boldness created a very crisp contrast with the ‘summer denim’. I loved the way the two collars ‘interacted’ with each other, kind of geometric, like puzzle pieces. They didn’t need anything else to distract from them.
Taking a minimal approach to styling is sometimes a discipline – it can be the art of resisting the urge to ‘add more’
White shoes were a ‘no brainer’, but I chose Keds over anything more formal, keeping the look light and sporty. The hat and bag were a natural complement to the overall look – light, a little ‘retro’, and summery. So Karen, what do you think?
The dress is by Karen Walker, and I found it at Karen Jordan Pre-loved Style. My coat was a real treasure I found at one of Maria Henare’s (from Eclectic) Jumble sales. Both my hat and basket were op-shop finds, and my Keds were a purchase from Taylors. My only jewellery is a silver tusk pendant also by Karen Walker – it’s a piece I bought using some of the last pay-packet I received from the Tasman District Council, before I went on maternity leave before our daughter Harriet was born. It has sentimental value and it’s the most worn item of jewellery I own other than my wedding ring.