From innovation and creativity spring forth great fashion ideas.

Each week I will be out and about town seeking fashion inspiration. You’ll be introduced to a local resident who will share fun fashion tips as well as their picks for the best places to shop in town.


This week, our fashion inspiration is Olivia Joffrey, Oak Park resident and mom to one-year-old Camilla. I met Olivia while she was shopping at M. Santana, 7247 W. Madison St., searching for the perfect dress for a wedding she would be attending. Her relaxed, easy-breezy style caught my eye. Shirking the skinny jeans trend and the mass movement toward leggings, she wore a pair of wide leg denim pants paired with a nautical striped shirtdress, red canvas sneakers, and a knit trapper hat.


Olivia hails from sunny California and has lived in New York and London, two fashion capitals of the world. She describes her current style as classic, having evolved from the “surf rat” style of her native California, “where everyone wore primary colors.” As an architect and urban planner, Olivia has an eye for design and understands “the power of color and texture.” Malls do not appeal to her artistic sensibility; instead she is drawn to the downtown Forest Park and downtown Oak Park boutiques where she loves discovering new shops.


“My style is full of contradictions. I dress expressively,” she explains, listing French actress Catherine Deneuve and counterculture punk rocker Joey Ramone as her fashion icons. She admits proudly to being thrifty, and purchases seventy-five percent of her daughter’s clothes at Ga Ga Girls Boutique, 7017 W. North Ave, a children’s consignment shop that offers gently used and new clothes for girls. To save money, she reinvents pieces from her own wardrobe and incorporates 1970’s items handed down from her mother as well as 1920’s vintage finds. When she’s in the mood to splurge, she will head over to Oak Park Records, 179 S. Oak Park Ave., for endless choices of fantastic music, albums to be played on her antique record player.


So just what did Olivia decide to wear for the festive occasion? The final wedding ensemble that Olivia pieced together was a smashing hit: she pulled a little black dress (a wool number) from her closet and gave it an updated look and a fun twist by pairing it with fire red tights (try Nora’s or Ananas for a fantastic selection of hosiery). She wore black satin peep toe heels and added a black satin sash. For the final touch she donned a vintage turquoise necklace (the Economy Shop and Krenek’s Antiques have great picks), and a chic new look was born!


If you or someone you know has great fashion sense, email me at to have him/her featured here.

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