December 24, 2008

Unlikely Style Icon: Claudia Kishi from the Baby-Sitters Club

There are some style icons: (Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Jackie Kennedy) whose stylishness is undeniable and almost universal. Then there are those who teach us style lessons in their own, often overlooked way. They are (cue super hero music) Unlikely Style Icons!

This month’s? Claudia Kishi of Baby-Sitters Club fame.

Why Claudia: For those who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, the Baby-Sitters Club was a way of life. The books focused on a group of friends, the coolest of which was undeniably Claudia.
Claudia was a crazy artsy girl who made paper-mache jewellery and painted clothing. She was known for putting together “theme outfits” (such as an “under-the –sea” one where she wore a blue skirt and jelly sandals with fish painted on them). Though she would never wear the same outfit twice, her staples were men’s shirts (snagged from her father’s closet), push-down socks, and brightly coloured leggings. Her inventiveness and self-confidence seem refreshing in today’s often conformist fashion world.

Embrace Your Inner Claudia:
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Crafty:
Claudia would never wear an outfit that wasn’t personalized at least a little. Creating something allows you to take pride in your outfit and it’s mad fun. Plus, you can create that look you dream of when it isn’t available in stores. Whether this means going full-on Claudia with puffy-painted T-shirts and hand-maid fruit-shaped earrings or simply sewing bigger buttons on to an old shirt is up to you.

2. Try a “Theme” Outfit: While Claudia’s style was a bit out there, it was also almost ironically matchy-matchy. She’d wear, for instance, a poodle skirt with poodle earrings and a shirt with a poodle on it. She called outfits like this and her under-the-sea outfit “pulling a Miss Frizzle” (of Magic School Bus fame). Go ahead and dress where your mood leads you. Try your own under the sea outfit or an old school aviator outfit or a super-hero-explorer-princess-in-the-1920’s-who-loves-cats outfit. When you’re feeling uninspired by your wardrobe, pick a theme and rock it.

3. Be Confident in Your Style: Claudia lived in a small New England town, where jeans and T-shirts were the norm and her friends dressed nothing like her. Yet, at her school, she was regarded as a fashion icon. Why? Confidence. She knew that she was well-dressed and refused to wear anything that she didn’t love. No one dressed like her and she loved it. Take pride in being an individual, and don’t second-guess yourself when it comes to what you wear.

4. Try Menswear-Inspired Looks: Claudia was known for stealing her father’s button-downs. She’d wear them unbuttoned over a tighter ensemble, as a dress over leggings, knotted a la Britney (but with a tank underneath) and about a zillion other ways. She also rocked ties way before Avril, and would wear baggy carpenter pants with fedoras. Go ahead and raid the men’s section of your favourite store. Guy’s sunglasses are rad (and often cheaper), a long shirt unbuttoned over a dress of the same length looks good, and a huge blazer over leggings is 80’s cool. At least one magazine per month does a “Ohmigod, menswear inspired styles rock!” feature, so you’re bound to find something.

5. Layer Like Mad:
Claudia would wear things like a baggy shirt over a vest over a tee shirt with two skirts, leggings, and socks. Layers are awesome. They keep you warm in winter, allow you to get the most of out of your wardrobe, and look pretty damn cool. Try doing a sundress over a coordinating thermal, a Erin Wasson-esque tank over a bandeau, or over the knee socks over tights.

Claudia Essentials:

1. Men’s Shirt:All-Son pinstripe roll-up shirt, $44,

2. Unitard: Cotton spandex jersey unitard in eggplant, $40,

3. High Tops: Converse high-tops in red

4. Printed Dress: Marc by Marc Jacobs Daydream Print Dress, $378,

5. Unique Earrings: Dinosaur earrings, Etsy Seller: veryvintage, $4,

6. Snake Bracelet: Cleo gold snake bracelet, $49.99,

7. “Painted” Tee: H18 All You Need is Love tee, $14.90,

8. Puffy


nikki said...

The best Claudia-themed outfit....the Flintstones outfit! How could you forget THAT one?

PS-my captcha is Bruno. Freaky.

La Fée said...

This is such a good inspiration post :)

Suzanne said...

This post just made my day, haha.
I was more of a nancy drew girl myself.
Bess had some pretty good style :)

Jillian B said...

nikki: oh man, how did i forget that one? i remember that it involved a pebbles-y bone-shaped hairclip.

la fee: thank you! i promise that the next one won't be a fictional character from the 90's, though!

suzanne: i was a nancy drew kid too! bess rocked my world.

Laura said...

AMAZING! I was a huge fan of Claudia and trendy Stacy. Great idea!

Jillian B said...

Thank you!