Chelle Summer

Finding Inspiration in Style

pamela zombeck

For many years I wouldn’t say that I had any style.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have any sense of style because in junior high and high school I had been really into Benetton, Esprit, and, of course, Forenza, and Outback Red, the Limited brands we thought were so cool.

But after not wearing jeans for several years (I wore skirts and even shorts in the winter- something kids do all the time now but I don’t think many of us did then unless my memory bank is fading from my suburban high school Chicago days), I ventured back to them in college and while I wore nice clothes, they were quite boring.

I lived in jeans for many years even though I had some nice dresses. I wore denim or khaki shorts in the summer. Most of my foray into prints came from a vast collection of bikinis that started in 2004 when my then-husband and I added a pool to our Albuquerque backyard.

But in 2011 I began to find my way back to style, starting with skirts and then color.

However, it was finding Trina Turk’s brand in early 2013 that changed me.

I don’t know how I stumbled on her prints but I fell in love with the swim cover up in the photo. I bought it and used it as my reward for when my house in Illinois sold (which didn’t happen for two more years so I gave up on it as a reward– I knew if I didn’t buy the cover up it wouldn’t be available later although I really expected the house to sell long before it did).

After spending a year and a half back in Illinois, I realized I didn’t belong for many reasons but one was my sense of color was very different what many people wear and decorate with there. I have since heard the people who bought my house painted over the orange walls of my office and the turquoise of the guestroom. Back to brown I’m sure.

For me though, it’s about the prints that remind me of my Barbies and the clothes they wore in the late seventies. Maybe it’s because those are happy memories, with my younger sister who isn’t here anymore. But I’d like to believe it’s about me becoming who I am today.

What I didn’t realize all this time is that in those years I was creating that person. I didn’t know that this style would come full circle by discovering what someone else had created.

That then opened the door for me to explore everything that has inspired me in the past and make it part of my present and future.