While “Secondhand Sartorialism” is technically a street style blog, I simply have to share the incredible taste and style of my dear friend, Naomi Kelly. Naomi, who has a strong sense of personal style and an excellent eye for what suits her, has long been one of my personal style inspirations. Whether she dons exquisite vintage pieces that showcase her innate elegance, modern pieces that acknowledge her playful side, or outfits that meld old and new in unique and inspiring ways, Naomi always looks effortlessly and seamlessly put together. And she has the most incredible closet I have ever seen — a warmly lit walk-in filled with vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry and art laid out in beautiful displays that meld her accessories with little tchotchkes she has collected over the years.
When I mentioned to Naomi that I would like to interview her for “Secondhand Sartorialism,” she invited me into that closet, where I talked to her about shopping for vintage while surrounded by one of the most amazing clothing and jewelry collections I have ever seen.
Naomi Maestas-Kelly Age: 30s Hometown: Denver, CO Dress: Her mother’s from the 70s. Necklace and Charm: Thrifted. The charm is a tiny bell that actually rings! Shoes: Thrifted.
How long have you been into vintage? My whole life. (laughs) Ever since I started dressing myself.
What was your favorite era in high school? I really liked the 70s, for sure. 60s/70s.
What is your favorite piece from a thrift store? I can’t really say that I have a favorite. I like everything. A lot of the belts that I’ve gotten I really like. I wear them a lot.
Would you say that vintage items have really influenced your personal design sensibility in terms of how you organize your surroundings? Yes, most definitely. And I feel like I really… I’m more drawn to an eclectic style where I mix the vintage with the modern — I really like that.
So, for you, what is the appeal of vintage clothing? The fit. Definitely the fit. And I like the uniqueness because I know, usually, if I find something it’s a slim chance that somebody has the same thing.
Okay, this is kind of a tough question for someone who love vintage so much, but what would you say is the best item that you have ever found at a thrift store, where you were like “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that I just found this”? Those Yves St. Laurent shoes that I gave you for your birthday. Seriously, those are one of ‘em. I am not even gonna lie. God, it is hard, cuz I just like all my pieces. I think it would be, like, jewelry stuff for sure. I mean, I love the clothing, but the jewelry you know is gonna last you forever. The clothing gets older and it can disintegrate, which really sucks. I can say that I had a suit from the 50s that was definitely 30s or 40s inspired. The pants were fitted at the top and then flared out really wide at the bottom and it had the jacket to match, but then my husband washed it and dried it and ruined it.
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I remember that day. I remember. Um, that… that had a ripple effect. Yes. (laughs)
Do you have any tips for the novice thrift shopper? Yeah. I say, just, if you really like something go for it. Don’t be afraid of not being able to pull it off or something like that. Because, really, you can pull off anything you want to. All you have to do is put it on.
Wise words from a well dressed woman. So, dear reader, remember: clothes may disintegrate (or accidentally be washed!) but jewelry lasts forever. And, when you do head out for the thrift, don’t be afraid to wear those new/old pieces that have stolen your heart. In large part, style really is about finding what you love and having the confidence to wear it. If it fits, rock it with pride -- because confidence is sexy and vintage is hot.
-- TaRosa Jacobs