Left : Her closet in her New Mexico home. Right : Her collection of wrap dresses.
A shoe collection. She is known to have repeat offenders once she found a style she liked. Vintage Ferragamo ballet flats without shiny hardware and heel.
This print became trendy during a certain year. She bought the fabric and made the skirt to include into her closet. She wasn’t oblivious to trends.
This silver pin appears to have been worn in lots of photographs over the years.
This brass pin has her initials. Although she preferred to wear it sideways.
She recognized denim as American worker uniform and paired them with utilitarian shirting.
Vintage Levis jacket.
Husband’s cape that she often borrowed.
She is known to have collected scarves and wore them to protect her hair from the desert sand/sun.
Her signature accessory: The belt with silver buckle.
She wore the V-neckline a lot. Kimonos and wrap dresses got worn a lot when she made public appearances.
Something just hit me about the way she lived. Her frugality – all of her liners were frayed – is a reminder that we don’t need much. She had a simple life : she worked every day, grew a vegetable garden and ate well, walked on this land that she was so drawn to. She was the real thing.
Style should be a result of something deeper. Her cohesive closet and understated clothing say more than any filler words I could write in this post.
Questions I am asking myself:
- She chose her way of being feminine. She chose her way of dressing up/down. She chose her work wear. She chose her accessories. Why can’t I do that for myself! The notion of dressed up that I currently envision, who put it in my head ?
- Will I have garments that I will wear for decades? Ones I cherish, repair, restore and wear over and over again? Or will I be one of those women who gets bored of a garment I currently own, in a year / two and sells them away?
- An understanding of textiles and sewing techniques. I assume the role of a scientist when I work and cook. Why not extend it to my love of fashion?
- A renewed interest in tailoring. I believe a garment should be as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. I want to learn a few basics and be able to identify expert craftsmanship when I see it. Why haven’t I learnt anything yet ? There were tailors in every corner in India and books in every corner in America.
- I finally grew into my trench coat. It used bother me that I am not dressed like my peers. I want to wear what I like and own it. Did she have eyes on her all the time for the way she dressed ?
- Gray and black clothing – everytime a Yohji or Rick Owens or an O’Keeffe happen, it’s like reading poetry on an inexplicable love. Why can’t I give myself the permission to declare the color navy universal and adopt it as my primary?
- I wonder if I will have a personal style that will stay with me throughout my life. I would like to.
- I wonder if my garments stand the test of time and stay with me through the decades.
- I am embarrassed every time I post something trivial on Instagram, like a picture of a leaf I liked. Who put that notion in my head that a leaf is a trivial beauty?
- Her relationship with her husband is very inspiring. ( Their letters. ) Will Harsha and I leave a legacy that makes the world a more inspiring place? Are we trying hard enough?
( To read about the construction, fabric, and significance of each of these garments, read: Living Modern.
Photo Credit for individual garments : Gavin Ashworth.
Photo credit for the rest of the images : Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation. )