As a 1990's teenager, I wish I would have taken a style cue from 1960’s/70’s British model turned French movie star/singer Jane Birkin. My high school was full of hippies--long flowing skirts, bell bottoms, beads, and Birkenstocks. I would envy the beautiful fresh faces walking the locker lined hallways who were able to pull this look off. I would raid the local Salvation Army and Value Village for sixties and seventies pieces that would fail to flatter 95% of the time. I thought I needed to look like these girls at school, and didn’t understand that squeezing my bum into bell bottoms two sizes too small wasn’t going to achieve this goal. These girls, unlike me, had clothes that complimented their figure allowing them to throw any piece of hippie clothing on and look good. They did not, however, have a piece that made them stand out from the crowd. These hippie teenage beauties all looked the same and dressed the same. Being unique in high school was out of the question.
Jane Birkin should have been my fashion icon. Simple laid-back glamour. She was effortlessly cool like the girls I remember in high school, but she also put her distinct stylistic stamp on her wardrobe. Whether she donned a cocktail dress or sported worn jeans and a white tee, her main accessory was always a wicker basket she used as a purse. Sometimes one signature piece can reveal confidence. When everyone else in the sixties was carrying a swanky handbag for each outfit, Miss Birkin made a statement by staying true to her basket. Perhaps if I had had the courage to wear pieces that might seem eccentric or odd to others, I would have discovered my inner confidence earlier than I did...but then again who is actually confident in high school?
THE ORIGINAL BIRKIN BAG: JANE CARRIED HER WICKER BASKET PURSE NO MATTER THE OUTFIT AND NO MATTER THE SEASON
My own vintage version of Jane Birkin's wicker purse.
Do I have my own signature piece now? I do. I wear a heart necklace that caught my eye in a tangled mess of jewelry at the flea market. It reminds me that love is out there waiting to be found.