August 23, 2013
A (Stiletto-Clad) Walk Back in Time: Christina Getachew
We’re taking a little stroll through the past to talk about our favorite fashion moments. Here, we walk with guest blogger Christina Getachew, founder and CEO of Short North boutique Substance.
First time I remember being aware of style:
I don't remember a time that I was not aware of style. I would put on a dress, even if I was just going to catch fish in the creek next to our house or to build a fort in the woods.
First pair of shoes I remember loving:
I wore a size 10 when I was just 14 years old. Having big feet made finding shoes to love difficult. After college, I moved to New York and discovered the shoe department at Barney's. It was there that I found the first pair of shoes I remember loving. They were a mid-calf, black dress boot that I wore so much I had to re-sole them twice.
The thing I wouldn’t take off as a kid:
I had a pair of rust-colored cords when I was 9. They had a cool, 70's, Soul Train vibe. I loved those pants so much, I would sneak them out of the hamper to wear again.
Must-have clothing item or style when I was in junior high:
Jelly Jackets... transparent, plastic, zip-front hoodies. They came in bright colors and mine was blue.
What I wore in my senior pictures:
A pink shaker knit, short sleeve sweater with gigantic shoulder pads. I was in a prolonged pink phase and every top I owned had shoulder pads.
Most memorable first-day-of-school outfit:
This one is a fashion memory I wish I could forget. As a freshman the first day on campus at Georgetown, I wore pink leggings with a matching giant Forenza sweatshirt.
First piece of clothing or shoes I remember splurging on:
Joan and David oxfords I bought as a broke college freshman
Most memorable wedding look:
As a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding, I wore a Nicole Miller full-length Bordeaux color crepe gown. I never had a reason to wear the dress again. But the bride gave each of us in her party a matching silk georgette wrap that we each wore that night at the reception. It was elegant. We all wore those fabulous wraps again and again.
Item in my closet I’ve had the longest:
In the 90s, I made a close friend at work, named Bill. We would have lunch together every day, and since we both lived in Harlem, we would take the A train home together, or if the weather was nice, we would walk part of the way home. We shared loves of Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni and fashion. He was a fabulous designer and used to make custom gowns for Patti Labelle. Bill got sick and started to spend a lot of time in the hospital. For Christmas he gave me a fancy, black, church lady hat that he had custom made for me with silk and velvet roses. He passed away in '96, and I miss him. So I've kept the hat.
Items I’ve literally worn out:
White tee shirts. I live in them. I have a drawer full and some that are still hanger worthy.
Items I’ve bought multiples of:
Sue London fold up ballet flats
Biggest fashion miss (aka: the style moment I wish I could take back):
There were a few, but the worse has to be a day during my sophomore year of high school. I loved getting dressed up for school in dresses and skirts, lots of make-up and big ‘80s hair. I never wanted to wear the same thing twice, which meant I often raided my mother's and sister's closets for my outfits. I neglected to check the weather forecast the day I picked my Mom's 3" platform, wedge espadrilles. It rained that day on my way to school, a lot, and my shoes became water logged and heavy. At 15 years old, I hadn't yet learned how to laugh at myself. So instead of admitting to my bad shoe choice and taking them off, I made it worse by pretending to be exhausted. That entire school day I had to walk at a snail's pace from class to class so that my ridiculous 20 lb. shoes would stay on my feet.
Biggest fashion hit (aka: the style moment that made me feel most amazing):
My mom taught me how to sew when I was 14. The style moment that made me feel the most amazing was when I made my first dress. The dress was wearable. I knew it wasn't perfect, but I knew what to do to make the next one better, and it was empowering. From that point on, my wardrobe was not limited to what was available in the junior department at Dillards or Bloomingdales. I felt like I could make anything.
All-time most memorable style moment:
The morning of the end-of-the-year 8th grade dance, my mom surprised me with a hair salon appointment and a stop at the Clinique counter for some make up. Then she took me shopping for a dress, shoes and jewelry. Certainly other moments that came later in my life were memorable, but that was a stand out.