Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sustainable Style: Vintage Levis, Polished Blazer {#StyledbyShellBCheri}

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Just a few short weeks ago, stylist and blogger Shell B Cheri* waltzed into my apartment to give me a little closet refresh, and I'm so glad that she did. I was participating in a project she was working on with several other bloggers, in which we each chose an item from our closets that we loved but rarely wore so that she could help us style it.

But you guys, she did so much more. For my difficult-to-style items, I had chosen a well-cut creme blazer given to me as a Christmas gift by one of my bestest friends, as well as a vintage beaded bag that I'd worn for New Year's and never really picked up again. I loved them both but was intimidated by the creme and wanted a more casual way to wear a beaded bag during the day.

rachel mlinarchik my fair vanity 2

Well, Ms. Cheri dove into my closet and after pulling out almost everything I owned (ok maybe half), she unearthed a completely unexpected item: a pair of beat-up vintage Levis that had been my father's. I'd worn them in 9th grade with combat boots (yuuuuup), but simply carried them with me ever since then, unable to bring myself to donate them or sell them, but not actually wearing them.

Since my father passed away in 2004, I've held on tightly to the little pieces of him that I have: his old t-shirts, or his 70s jeans that I loved to wear in jr. high.   When Shelby whipped out these jeans from the depths of my jeans pile, she was shocked that I never wore them, and I was just so, so happy to see them, and a little teary.

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When I wore my rad new outfit to the group photo-shoot at Malmaison in Georgetown, several fellow bloggers asked if I had destroyed/distressed the jeans myself or if they "came that way." When I explained that they were my father's, and that he had so artfully "distressed" them by mowing the grass, changing the car battery, and doing various other outside chores in them, I laughed to myself (and at myself) for not realizing what a gem had hiding in my closet! Move over boyfriend jeans, these are Dad Jeans, and they are AUTHENTIC.

There really is nothing like having someone else help you to shop your closet. Aside from the fact that getting more wear and re-styling the clothes you already own is much more eco-friendly than buying new ones, it's super fun, economical, and inspiring. If you have a friend whose style you admire, ask him/her to come over one day for a glass of wine and some style advice. Just as Shelby had us do, pick a few items that you can't let go of but also don't really wear, and let the magic happen.

STYLING by Shell B Cheri  /  PHOTOGRAPHY by Ashley Lettich  / WEARING vintage Levis, bag, gifted blazer, and eco-friendly white t-shirt by Alternative Apparel.

*To see more of Shell B Cheri's handiwork, check out #styledbyshellbcheri on Twitter and IG.

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