Monday, March 23, 2009

Closet Case: Christiana Jackson

Christiana's closet is a mix of found, bought, and family treasures.

Christiana (Ms. Jackson if you're nasty!) is a good friend of mine from the hallowed halls of Rutgers University. We met in the "arts" (read: crazy people) dorm there when we were both undergrads and bonded over a shared love of Sally Bowles and fun trades of the backhanded compliments we would get as curvier girls in a skinnier world. I think our favorite was, "You have such a pretty face!" Actually, that was tied with "You carry your weight so well." We liked that one because it made us sound like we could compete in some sort of Olympic competition with medals awarded. In fact, at that time Christy was very skilled at winning gold, albeit on the newly poppin' eBay. She was a talented bidder who often scored great finds, from P-Funk posters to '60s dresses, all from the comfort of her cozy dorm room. I was jealous, so I convinced her to teach me the ropes and a solid friendship was formed over fashion hunting.

This dress is just for decoration, never worn. Christiana highly recommends decorative clothing.

A Obama pin next to a cute package of bobby pins from Ricky's on 14th st.

A perfect sign for the entryway of the closet, a Zoe Strauss photo.

Now I have to say that while interviewing Christiana for this piece I became increasingly saddened by the fact that I hadn't been her friend much earlier in life. I missed out on quite the kid-hood. Both of Christiana's parents were performers growing up. Her father tickled the ivories and her mother was a storyteller/actor who held young (and not-so-young) adult theater workshops, and sewed clothing on the side. When she was a wee one her house was stuffed with costumes; large closets were filled with used and possibly to-be-used performance gear. It hung off of every hangable surface and made Christiana's early penchant for theatrical dressing a given. She walked the halls of her high school with a cane, some wing-tipped shoes with taps on 'em, a pair of handcuffs dangling from her belt loop, and a metal lunchbox-as-purse. She had no photographic evidence of this on hand, but I can only imagine that she was rocking this stuff with enough bravado to carry it off. That's just how she rolls.

Favorite scarves from Christiana's vast collection.

Since I've known her I've never seen Ms. Jackson with a cane, but I have witnessed her transition into a more polished version of her funky self. One of the big reasons I wanted to profile Christiana here was her positive attitude towards her curvier figure. She dresses to flatter her shape but consciously avoids hiding out behind shy clothes. She likes color, accessories, patterns, and pop. She's no wallflower, unless of course your walls are brightly, colorfully, funkadellically flowered. She breaks rules and makes her own (no frilly, girliness, no animal prints, no skimpiness) always looking tastefully eclectic and inspiringly confident.

Butterfly pendant from a New Brunswick second-hand shop.

Shoes! Crazy, futuristic, Vaudeville flats, sweet metallic flats from Arnott's Department Store in Dublin, and red wedges from Jubilee Shoes on Broadway.

Christiana's collection of clothes comes from all over. She used to spend a lot of time in Boston and picked up items in the Garment District with a particular fondness for now-closed used-clothing mecca Planet Aid, and the city's other secondhand shops. More recently she's been traveling a bit further afield. Frequent trips to Ireland, for love and clothing, have broadened her horizons and wardrobe. She's discovered new favorites, like Euro brand Skunk Funk.

Bags! Vintage, mint suede from Dublin's South Side, flowery powery canvas from Mono in Amsterdayum, and a Skunk Funk favorite.

Used racks bought from a closing clothing store.

Christiana has an amazing "closet" she's a real estate agent in Harlem and thus found herself some pretty sweet digs. She has a whole room to house her collection of fashion finds. She's outfitted the place with a comfy, velvet couch, store-like clothing display racks she scored second-hand, and lots of storage space. She's a holder-oner and even this extra room is packed with stuff. Giant plastic bins abound behind closet doors, and lucky for you she parts with some of her stuff about two times a year when she holds clothing sales at her apartment for her friends and friends of her friends. That, among many other reasons, is a great motivator for befriending Christiana. She also has a passion for cooking tasty, healthy food and entertaining. Basically, she friggin' rocks. Her clothes are the icing on the cake. Her wardrobe is great, her attitude and joie de vivre are even greater. I'm a fan.

Gorgeous Christiana in a gorgeous jacket from A Wear, found on her first trip to Dublin on '06.

1 comment:

laursn said...

If that dress is just for decoration, would you mind sending it over here so I can decorate myself with it??