Last week I took part in a “style challenge” put on by Bright Young Things, a new line from designer Eliza Starbuck. Of course, the word “line” is misleading because Starbuck’s collection consists of one super versatile, super cute, little black dress.
You’ve probably heard about Starbuck’s dress–Sheena Matheiken wore it for a year (styled in every possible permutation using only vintage duds to accessorize) as part of The Uniform Project, and in doing so grabbed headlines everywhere from the New York Times to the BBC.
Starbuck, who previously designed for J. Crew, Coach and Club Monaco, is all about slow, sustainable fashion at its purist. She is now selling her renowned LBD for $185 on her site and at Maryam Nassir Zadeh in the Lower East Side.
But back to the challenge at hand. A handful of eco-friendly fashionistas and myself were invited to try on the dress and style it to our hearts’ content using anything in East Village vintage shop Cobblestones. I was to create two looks which will judged by Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava, Chris Benz, Elettra Weideman and Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces (be kind, Chris!).
Pushing my nerves aside at the prospect of being judged by Vena Cava and Chris Benz, I tried to embrace the challenge. Starbuck’s dress is the perfect canvas. Buttoned on one side, pleated on the other, it can be worn either way. Or unbuttoned and belted over a longer dress. Or wrapped. Or tucked under a skirt. You get the point–the possibilities are endless. So taking Starbuck’s incredibly versatile LBD and pairing it with any or all of the countless treasures at Cobblestones was a little overwhelming. And I didn’t have much time.
But playing dress up is pretty much one of the most fun things ever and I quickly forgot about being judged and worrying over how much more creative the other challengers would be and started trying on shoes. As the Bright Young Things post mentions, I have very small feet which means I can fit into all those amazing tiny vintage shoes. And I tried on most of them.
While I experimented with some different looks (in the stop-motion video you can see I tried on a big flouncy ’50s skirt over the dress) I stuck with what I felt comfortable in: a bright striped sash for a belt, a heavy gold tasseled lariat I really didn’t want to give back, and a black and red floppy hat. I certainly wasn’t as risky or creative with my styling as the other challengers (Yuka Yoneda brought her own lace petticoat and matching lace lab glasses and held a crop and Tiffany brought her own turban, and so really, how am I supposed to compete with that?), but I had fun.
So show me some love people! You can vote for my look on the FB and size up my competition, too. They all look amazing.