Everything Old is New Again: Anna Gray
Tell us about your relationship with the world of vintage.
Secondhand shopping has always been a part of my consumer habit, but when I moved to NYC for college and started working in fashion I realized I absolutely couldn’t afford the things I was hired to sell. Of course, personal style was/is paramount in this here industry so thrift stores let me experiment with weirdness without blowing my income. Then I started researching the environmental impact of clothing and I essentially stopped buying new in 2018 (I yield to new socks and underwear).
Going back to style, figuring out what looks good on your body is more important than whatever is happening in trend reports. I’m not spewing any innovative wisdom here but I really think one’s early investigations into what fits where and why on the body and in the psyche is what creates interest and elegance. Ultimately, cool style is just confidence (sorry, do I sound like Seventeen mag?).
What advice do you have for styling vintage (fashion and/or decor) in a way that makes it look uniquely fresh or modern, i.e. reinventing styles from the past as opposed to simply reproducing or mimicking them (which can feel more like a costume)? Any particular strategies or tips?
My first suggestion is to mix eras. 70s with 50s, 00s with 40s. It’ll always look fresh because you’re interpreting the garment’s original intention in a new way. My second suggestion is that if it fits you really well, it will always look more contemporary than something ill-fitting. My third and least surprising, is that if you add jeans or sneakers your outfit will feel newer (also more casual. Is “casual” synonymous with “modern”?).
Tell us about the vintage wardrobe items you wore in our shoot.
There’s the very epic sheer, blue, puff sleeved organza YSL top I found in a vintage store in Miami for $80. It has incredible oversized mother of pearl buttons. I don’t know the exact collection but it’s from the 70s. The skirt is tag-less but I got it from one of my vintage pop ups for $30, I think. I pulled my tights up to my ribs (pro tip: look for tights on The RealReal — they’re cheap and designer) to make the skirt look more high-waisted and then I paired with these insane giraffe-print pony hair boots I also found in Miami (on a different trip) at Fly Boutique. Miami has great vintage because all the snowbirds realize they don’t need their winter gear anymore.
Tell us about the Larkspur & Hawk pieces you chose and the way you styled them.
I saw the opportunity to sparkle and I took it. The heart earrings and necklace are grown-up versions of the plastic things I wore as a kid. I am wondering if there’s something to elevating nostalgia that creates a beautiful straight line between childhood and true adulthood? Anyway, when it comes to Larkspur & Hawk, more is more! Jewelry is fun because you can match its intensity with your clothing or not. A couple of these necklaces will totally transform a T-shirt as easily as they will a strapless velvet gown, you know?
What inspires your jewelry style in general?
My maternal grandmother is really into jewelry. I have a lot of her pieces that I treasure and many memories of my cousins and I poking through her jewelry boxes and picking out favorites. Jewelry can be both costume and heirloom. Like a watch or a Birkin bag, I guess, but tidier and easier to pack. Once upon a time I was engaged and I had a ring that really read as, “I AM ENGAGED” and I was surprised by my distaste for the automatic assumption that comes with wearing something recognizable, symbolic. That isn’t an insult to the ring — it was really beautiful. After I gave the ring back I started wearing vintage wedding bands on all of the fingers of my left hand so that categorization came less easily. If we were texting, I would insert the shrugging emoji here.