By no means am I a slave to fashion, though fashion has always been a guilty pleasure for me. Most days, I wear what is clean or convenient and I like what I like. But I cherished hours playing dress up in my grandmother’s closet and hold fond memories of helping her hang and display merchandise in the mall boutique she managed. It impresses me how something as seemingly simple as clothing can provide a person with comfort or confidence or cheer or even tears and evoke all sorts of ideas and emotions. We mark momentous occasions by the apparel we wear and our clothing can project volumes about us with a word ever being exchanged. From politics to theater and celebrity life to magazines, fashion is a trend that is not going out of style- merely cycling and evolving all around us, all the time.

Back ‘in the day’ I poured countless hours of my life into designing and sewing clothing I would wear to school, work, a wedding or wherever I happened to be going. I wish I had taken greater care to preserve and keep all those early garments as I know I would genuinely treasure them today, but I did not. I did not know the attachment would be lasting in my spirit as it has been. I would love to find more time in my life again for hobbies like designing and sewing. The inherent sensory qualities of individual fabrics and textiles such as their touch, weight, weave, colors and pliability; all combined conspire to inspire and captivate my imagination leaving me contemplating how they might be manipulated into something different or more purposeful than a fascinating raw material.

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Historic, vintage, costume, streetwear, couture, you name it, I enjoy it. I feel it so important to remember that as with most things, fashion has it’s beautiful and its dark nature. Fashion collections in museums reveal to us the very real, powerful and personal stories of genocide, slavery, war and division. Humanity can be very ugly at times. Along the fashion history timeline, we can gain tremendous knowledge, insight and humility of how generations who came before us lived and died. Truly, whether it’s an antique military costume, recent thrift find, or fresh new haute couture item, it all serves as fashion inspiration for my closet. The rules of style and fashion, in my opinion, are mostly arbitrary.

It was while sharing this part about myself at a coffee meetup last year that led some local blogger friends to encourage me to launch my own blogger boutique, which has since evolved into the Shop Spirit & Soul brand {Free-spirited apparel for fashion enthusiasts of all ages} The goal of the boutique is simply sharing and having fun with fashion. The collection will be ever evolving and styles will be available for purchase through my shopping cart here very soon. Stay tuned and consider joining in the experience as a Spirit & Soul Associate to enjoy discounts and commissions on your purchases when our expansion begins next year. There will be more shared about this opportunity in future posts so check back for more information.

I have so much fun spending time with my group of friends who love fashion. All one-of-a-kind; these friends come in all shapes, ages and sizes. We each have our unique needs, perspectives and preferences about what we keep in our closets and what we bring to the street. But it is so interesting and inspiring to share mutual experiences. Every year here since I moved to Phoenix, I have enjoyed attending a local fashion event started by just a small little tribe of fashion enthusiasts. That little vision they started a decade ago has now grown into the largest fashion event in the southwest. Three nights in October, under a gorgeous starry sky, fashion lovers from all over gather and celebrate this little world of fashion. Community night features local talent and charitable lines. Then there are emerging and established Designer runways and the show always closes with haute couture celebrity designers. Competitions take place throughout between, designers, models and this year I especially loved the ‘little black dress’ challenge where participants upcycled and refashioned a little black dress from used clothing. In summary, I always come away feeling uplifted, invigorated and refreshed. But most of all, simply reminded of all the simple little pleasures that fashion can bring to our lives. I hope more fashion loving friends will join us at Phoenix Fashion Week next year.

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