stylealchemy: Sarah, thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. You’ve become sort of a Flickr/Internet sensation with your wonderful pictures showcasing your incredible sense of style. First and foremost can you tell us about your trademark fringe and your Flickr name: sherbetone
sherbetone: Is it my trademark? I feel so flattered that you think so – since it seems they’ve come back in fashion again and many women have them! I suppose it is. I’ve had bangs (or fringe) for about seven or eight years now. Initially I cut them in very short when I was doing a Rockabilly, Bettie Page-ish thing in my overall style. At that time I was completely obsessed with Pin-Up and Burlesque. I dressed exclusively in fifties fashion. And I liked them so much they’ve just sort-of stuck. I actually have a terrible cowlick in the center so they have to be thick and heavy at all times to avoid a wayward stray.
As for my Flickr name, it’s a blatant plagiarizing of Haruki Murakami. I was reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle around the same time I joined Flickr. In the story there is a particular female character that dresses entirely in the style of the sixties (hair and make-up included). The protagonist remembers that this particular style was called ‘sherbet tone.’ I was particularly infatuated with the idea of such a woman – perhaps because I’ve always been fond of decades past with respect to fashion as well.
sa: What led you to start posting your outfits online?
st: Um, well I have always been a fan of fashion photography. It was a sort-of evolution that started with Vogue and led to Fruits. Once I discovered street fashion magazines and eventually websites, I didn’t relate to high fashion magazines in the same way – street fashion just seemed more relevant to what I was doing in my own personal style.
Also, I love to sit and watch people. I can do it for hours on end – and often times I am carefully noting their personal sartorial traits. So, when I learned about wardrobe_remix it was almost too perfect. At first I only looked – never posted. In time, I decided to test the waters and I liked the feel of the community of w_r so much that I continued to post.
sa: Your style is so unique, how has your personal aesthetic evolved? How would you describe it? Besides the fringe, do you think you have a signature style?
st: A couple of months ago, when asked a similar question I said: ‘An 80s revival of 50s pin-up with quirk and a dash of overseas influence. I have lived in both
Thrifting is actually probably what played the biggest role in the development of my personal style. When I was in high school I was just completely disillusioned with the idea of style-determined castes. At some point about half-way through the four years, I decided to stop striving to fit a mold I could not afford. I started to thrift. And it is not as though things fell beautifully into place and I was an instant fashion plate. It took time to figure out what worked for me.
sa: What are your top three places to shop?
st: Salvation Army, Goodwill Bin Store, and Gabriel Brothers (which is similar to a TJ Maxx, but much cheaper).
sa: Who are your fashion icons, if any? What are some of your style influences?
st: Again, the first person who I really idolized was Bettie Page. She was involved in the construction of many of her costumes worn for pin-up. Aside from the racy, she also understood what worked for her figure. I appreciate that quality in anyone – the ability to know what works for their body. I also appreciate modern girls with real quirk in their style like Chloe Sevigny. She has been bashed by the ‘fashion police’ a million times over and she still abides by her own aesthetic.
sa: What are the best vintage/thrift purchases you’ve ever made?
st: Most recently I was happy to finally find a feminine pair of vintage driving gloves at a local store. I’ve been wearing them quite a lot this winter. As far as thrifted items are concerned, I have a wool, cream and white patterned car coat from the sixties with a silver fox collar that I bought for a quarter during a summer sale at the Salvation Army. I’ve had it for years and I never tire of it. It was at the same Salvation Army that I bought a vintage Oscar de la Renta skinny, silk scarf that always feels relevant no matter what the trend.
Likewise, I bought a silk wiggle dress with a matching bolero from, I believe, the early fifties from the same Salvation Army for two dollars. It’s perfect in every way. And lastly, several vintage bras purchased from Italian outdoor markets – they seem to have the best vintage lingerie in immaculate condition.
sa: Do you have a favorite outfit, something that you’re really drawn to lately?
st: I’ve been ravenously seeking out and collecting bustiers from thrift stores for the past couple of months. I think I am returning to my fashion roots, so-to-speak, at the moment – I’ve been attracted predominantly to high waists and boudoir touches.
sa: Do you collect anything? Any hobbies, interests, etc?
st: In general, I live a relatively quiet life – in the sense that I don’t really spend much time in the ‘scene’. However, I travel all the time and it’s one of the things I love to do most. Having studied in Europe twice (two months in France and one year in Italy) I am always yearning to go back. For the time being, I tend to stay stateside visiting my friends who are spread from coast to coast.
When I travel I usually indulge in my three other intense loves:music, food, and visual culture (everything from fashion to film to art). Film, in particular, is something that I consume at a tremendous rate whenever possible. And I’m ever and always willing to try new delicacies (within the realm of my vegetarian diet), bake new cakes, and tweak existing recipes. In general I also very much enjoy: Mid-Century design and furniture, sickeningly cute, kitschy bric-a-brac, old cameras (especially of the Polaroid variety), mixed CDs made just for me, stop-animation, and Japanese dollar stores.
sa: What’s your favorite era for fashion?
st: This is a difficult question to answer because I really do love them all for different reasons. Obviously I adore the fifties because it suits my body’s shape, but I also have a deep appreciation for the earlier decades of the forties and thirties.
Also, the sixties with respect to French pop (yeye) and certain film styling. And though you may not believe it, I was once exclusively into Hip-Hop, both the fashion and the music. So, I have a deep-seated attraction to the style of early Hip-Hop before commercialization.
sa: What piece of clothing can you not live without?
st: This is a terribly difficult question as well! I think I’ll say the vintage dress – I have a ridiculous number of them.
sa: Most of your clothes seem to be thrift finds. Do you have a strategy when you go thrifting?
st: To be completely honest, no. I do have a way in which work through I thrift store, but I think that is based on my own methodologies. For example, I always start with the shoes since it is difficult to find quality vintage in a size 10. Then I move into the dresses. And I think that this routine is based entirely on the paranoia that someone else might get there first. Ha. One thing I do suggest is to know fabrics and textiles really well. I think it aids in being able to spot the quality vintage on a crowded rack.
sa: I’ve noticed in your Flickr descriptions that you write a lot of clothes are remixed, what exactly does that mean? Share a creative tip for others to remix their clothes in an interesting way.
st: Oh, ‘remixed’ just means that you’ve seen that particular article of clothing in a previous photo – meaning I have worn it before in a different way.
Well, as far tips for remixing clothes, I’d say don’t limit what you own. As in, don’t think of t-shirts as strictly ‘casual’ or skirts as ‘dressed-up.’ It keeps things interesting.
sa: What is your profession/what do you do for a living?
st: At the moment I am doing architectural preservation and restoration of historic finishes.
I have two degrees, both in cultural preservation. I need to get a third, a Master’s Degree, in Painting Conservation. Then I will be able to work in major institutions or set-up private practice in my field.
sa: For the recent shoot with your friend/photographer (Laura Kicey), you did the incredible styling. How did you get into that? How did that beautiful shoot come about?
st: I am very fortunate to have a good number of extremely talented photographers as friends, Laura being one of them. She and I have collaborated in the past. Knowing that she is more than capable of producing beauty, I had mentioned a particular shoot I had in mind concerning fashion. She scouted the type of location I was envisioning, so we went for it.
In the case of this shoot I styled myself because I felt the clothes were a bit more eccentric than previous shoots, but I wanted them to convey a sense of softness. I wasn’t sure how to convey that overarching idea to a model, so I decided to attempt it myself. This is also why I wanted Laura to act as photographer – because I knew she would capture the clothes in such a way.
sa: Is it safe to assume that you are available for professional styling?
st: Yes! I have styled two other shoots in addition to the shoot with Laura.
I really adore doing this – it’s just so genuinely gratifying for me to see the end result.
sa: Is there anything else you would like to add?
st: Just want to say thanks so much for allowing me to fill space on your blog. And many thanks to those who find what I do with clothes of interest.
To the left are five images of Sarah’s everyday life that inspire/make her happy.
Clockwise from top left:
1. My Cat Astrid, 2. Cheap lunch specials with people dear to me 3. Old cameras, new photos and finding things others have abandoned 4. Large breakfasts 5. The Santo Spirito Market in Florence, Italy and my lovely friends who I met there.
Thanks again, Sarah! Check out her style: http://flickr.com/photos/sherbetone
♥ the alchemist
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