Mike and I were invited to a costume ball for Mardi Gras last month, and when I found out the theme of the party was “Hollywood” I asked my young friend Nicole Dotto to
help with my costume. Nicole and I met as volunteers for Sit Stay Read here in Chicago. She runs a vintage clothing shop on Etsy and generously agreed to write this guest post about picking out a costume for me.
Wait til Beth feels what I got her!
by Nicole Dotto
Put together an outfit for someone who will not be able to see it?
Oh not daunting at all.
One of Beth’s memoir students cleaned out her closets recently and gave her two really beautiful designer suits: one bright red and one stunning green. Beth asked if I could think of any movie characters who wore either of these—that way she could wear one of the suits and dress up as one of them for the party. I found a photo of Ava Gardner in a red suit. Rear Window’s Miss Lonelyhearts wore a green dress that could have passed. Beth would have looked amazing as Tippi Hedren in The Birds, though Tippi’s suit was pale green. When we realized that my Hollywood characters would require some serious explaining at the party (“No, remember? the lady he was watching across the street? Lonelyhearts”), Beth shrugged and said she’d be happy to go as Annie Hall.
The more I started to share Beth’s real deal crush on Annie Hall’s look, the more we decided that this was the only way to go. and bonus: it was a little less daunting to complete that outfit. I perused the men’s section at two different thrift stores and found khaki pants, a white shirt, green tie with polka dots, black suede vest, and felt hat in less than two hours. the thrift store is my battleground.
I’d never been a personal shopper before Beth asked, although technically I’ve been personal shopping multiple times a week for the past three years. But that’s just for people that I make up in my head. I run an online vintage shop called DOTTO, and even though I have a whole lot of handsome and classic items for sale there, I carry a number of interesting train wreck pieces we can all thank the 1980s for, too.
I grew up with a slight aversion to shopping but then discovered it’s pretty fun when I am searching for everyone else in the world but myself. I try to vary what I offer in terms of size and style and BRIGHTNESS. I cannot physically stop myself from heading straight toward anything neon or overloaded with sparkle. My true test for items has always been this: if I can’t imagine someone wearing it, it’s just right for DOTTO. Those are the sort of items I am secretly really happy to offer the world.
But back to Beth as Annie Hall. Let’s be honest here. Beth would have loved the outfit even if I’d gotten all of the colors wrong or hadn’t been able to find the right vest or hat, but watching her feel each item and put everything together while I explained just how dapper the high waist and cuffed pant looked and how the tie had to be worn as long as possible, well, that was icing on the cake. The whole time I was there we kept talking about just how cool Diane Keaton is, but I was kind of thinking, huh, don’t you think the same is true for Beth in general?
Nicole asked me to let you blog readers know she’ll give a 10% discount20% discount discount at DOTTO to anyone who tells her they read this Annie Hall post. Look for the discount code here in the comment section, and shop away!