I will miss you Nanette Lepore.


I had no idea who Nanette Lepore was. 

I was at Thrift Culture in Bellevue square, pre-Covid. It's run by LifeSpring and supports programs that feed, clothe, educate and provide emergency support for local children living in poverty. They pay $1 a year in rent, in one of the highest cost-per-square-foot locations thanks to the Kemper family who own and run the mall. Insert applause here!

I was browsing because I believe in wearable fun and part of my entertainment budget goes to thrift stores.

It was there I fell in love with Nanette Lepore.

Now, I’d never met her and still haven't but you know when you know. The suit I'm wearing, well, we saw each other across a crowded store and it was love at first sight. 

The jacket is nipped in at the waist. It has artificial pockets. It has what looks like a broach attached to it, a combination of materials that’s been made to look like a flower and some shiny beads in case you can't see the details and yes, I'm posing. It has a kick pleat skirt. 

The colors are predominantly pink, white, cerise, aqua, lime green, and it’s vaguely a floral slash jungle print, I honestly don’t know what you’d call it. The buttons are enormous, a hot pink with green thread.

And it even came with a matching scarf, silky and long, that could be used in a multitude ways, à la air hostess from the 70’s, or a bandana.

This thing is beautifully made, beautifully tailored and lined, as well. 

Unfortunately, it was three sizes too big but I didn’t care. It was $50, pricy for a charity store but it had one of those green lines through it which means that it was 30 % off. Nanette was mine for $35. I'd never heard of the brand, but I know what I like, and this suit liked me back. 

Alterations aren’t cheap, but they are worth it for the right garments. I had it taken in at the waist, I had the skirt shortened because I’m only 5 foot 2. I had the sleeves shortened and cuffs added. It took weeks to get it back, the tailor worked part time from home, but it was an excellent job. 

And I adore it. When I wear this two-piece, you can see me coming from miles, and that’s just fine by me.

I feel like I’m walking down the street in the 60’s when I wear this. I’m currently looking for a pair of lime green kitten heels or a hot pink pair of kitten heels to complete the ensemble, not that anyone sees my feet right now. 

Back to Nanette. Turns out she's an American designer and had to close her doors this year after losing her label. Here's the story behind it if you'd like to know more. My suit has to be vintage, I can't find anything even remotely like it in her recent collections. The moral of the story - feel free to fall in love with something special and have it altered (if possible, call me first). 

Oh, and  here's a way to know if it's love or infatuation: Try this with all your clothes. Put them on and introduce yourself to yourself in a mirror. Yup, that's right. I do. I extend my hand out to somebody, and say “Hi, I’m Erin from the Happy Wardrobe.” And if I can say that with a smile and feel that yes, this absolutely represents me, then I wear that outfit out the door. Or of course, these days, on a virtual Zoom session with a client and if I'm shaking your hand, we're wearing gloves. Sigh. 

If you can’t look in the mirror and say “hi, my name is …. and I represent …” and feel that that is true, book a free 30 minute Wear Happy Consult and I will help you work out why.

Aroha, Erin.


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