My Look: Tiffany Benedict Browne

What a fabulous ensemble! What did you reach for first?
A one-of-a-kind shibori ribbon necklace made by my friend, Valentina. I own several. They always steal the show, whatever I’m wearing.

Where do you get your unique sense of style?
It all started with my great-grandmother’s scarves and jewelry. Then my grandma’s love of thrift stores, my mom’s 1950s Barbies, and my being a theatre major in college. Put that all together, and voilà!

What’s your advice to others who want to get creative with the same-old look they’ve had for years?
Letting your fashion sense shine is an inside job, so to speak. You first have to feel good in what you put on and set aside any concerns about what others may think or say. If you need to build up your confidence, start by buying a fun accessory that’s just outside the edge of your comfort zone but in a color, style, or shape that brings you joy. Counter that internal voice that always asks, “But where would I wear this?” with “to the grocery store!” Then once you’re used to the compliments and attention, scale up from there.

What’s your favorite place to shop locally?
The Vintage Gypsy, which is upstairs at the Southport Antique Mall. My friend, Tammy, runs it. She is an amazing fashion resource.

Vintage shopping can seem intimidating for some of us. Any special tip you can share on how to score the good stuff?
Vintage is not for everyone. Some people are repulsed by the idea, to which I say, Great, that just leaves more for the rest of us! That said, finding the best vintage pieces has gotten a lot harder since it’s now so popular.  I feel like I have better luck at antique malls where a booth has a one-off item of clothing, rather than at businesses that are curated around fashion. My biggest hack is once I find a vintage brand and size that I love, I will save an eBay search of that brand and size. Regardless of where you find it, though, always check the piece thoroughly for staining or rips. It sounds obvious, but also make sure it’s a fabric that can be washed.

What are your thoughts on today’s popular, high-end designer brands?
I have been a lifelong vintage shopper and have rarely been one for trends. My choices are driven by colors and how I feel in something. I have pieces in my closet in all price ranges. I’m willing to spend more on a garment that meets all my criteria: It’s in a color or print that I love; the quality and feel of the fabric is top-notch; the cut is flattering and the piece fits well; and it has pockets. I’ve invested in a number of pieces which check all those boxes from my friend, Yemi of Stylenspire. 

You seem like the kind of person who would be talented and inspired enough to make your own clothes.
My next move is signing up for a sewing class at Stitchworks in St. Joseph’s so that I can, hopefully, reinvent or repurpose some of my pieces.