Thursday, August 1, 2013

Riotous Summer Color

Fashion gurus suggest not dressing head to toe in retro garb, but instead choosing one standout piece and accessorizing with more up-to-date items for a contemporary look. I followed that advice when selecting my attire for Tuesday’s commute to the Library of Congress from my home in Baltimore County, Maryland.  Let’s just say I wanted to shake things up a bit at the Nation’s library.  

I purchased these wild leggings, by Marika Activewear (Marika), in Northern California at a time when the fledgling company was riding the Aerobics fitness wave to thrilling fashion heights in the early 1980s.  The cropped pants, in a brilliant “paint-splattered” pattern of orange, pink, purple and yellow, fit me as well now as they did back then. They’ve lost none of their elasticity or opacity, and don’t even seem to have given up any of their brilliant coloring, though I’ve tossed them in the  wash with my other laundry for over thirty years now. 

I paired the crazy bottoms with a solid white ribbed tank by Faded Glory and layered an of-the-moment sheer orange, flutter-neck, surplice-back top from Michele Bohbot’s line, Bisou Bisou, over that.  Plain white patent, strappy, cork-heeled sandals by City Streets finished my look, which I embellished with an enameled bracelet from JCPenney’s “Mixit” collection and a pair of vintage drop earrings in neon orange that I’ve owned since the 1970s.  

I was a tad bit concerned about seeming too “out there” with this ensemble as I stepped into the sunshiny Mid-Atlantic day. I needn’t have worried.  I received so many compliments on my attire that I lost count.  Everyone, from conservatively dressed women in the staid Library halls to 20-somethings on the subway train, had something positive to say about my clothing.  And men, too.  A young man in a suit and tie stopped me in the grocery store on the way home from work to comment about how “put together” I looked.  Well, okay!

I have some other Marika leggings in my dresser drawer.  Looks like I’ll be making fun outfits out of these outrageous pants for the rest of the summer!  Goes to show you that vintage dressing is not for sissies.

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