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In Her Closet: Elyssa Goodman, Style Editor

When I first saw we were doing this series, I was so excited. I love personal style, and I love seeing different ways people express themselves. I’m glad to be able to share my self-expression, too! So here are few bits and pieces from my closet (and, incidentally, my makeup drawer) that make me who I am. These are the pieces that everyone who knows me has seen me in at least once, but probably multiple times, and often together. As soon as they’re out of the laundry, they’re back on me again!

These are not just boots–these are the boots. These caramel MIA lovelies I got for $50 at Nordstrom Rack in South Florida, and they have been through the war–Pittsburgh and New York winters, Fashion Weeks, broken hearts and even broken bones. I wore them with literally everything, even when maybe I shouldn’t have (I still don’t know if they went with a black cotton cocktail dress that was trimmed in colorful embroidery, but whatever–it had a folksy vibe). They have been resoled at least four times, repolished maybe twice that much. But they suffered a small death this past spring, when the sole perhaps irreparably broke. I simply can’t bring myself to part with them, though, and I doubt I ever will.

Dear God, I wear these too much. These are a pair of cutoff jean shorts that I actually made–I had lost too much weight for my regular pair to fit anymore (hooray!) and I was looking around desperately when it got warm in New York for a pair of cutoffs to replace them. I’m picky about what I look for in clothes (as we should all be), but I just couldn’t get it right. Until I decided, well, duh, why don’t I just make my own. And I did, from a pair of Gap jeans that had bitten the dust. No matter what anyone tells you, fashion is recycling 101.

This is without a doubt my favorite t-shirt of all time. It’s stolen from my dad, and is a t-shirt from his Junior High School reunion in 1980. My dad is from the Bronx in New York, and Mosholu Parkway is the street his school was on. Whenever I wear this shirt in the city, people stop me and tell me they love a street close to it. I explain it’s my dad’s shirt, but we always have a nice conversation about “the neighborhood.” I’ve been wearing this t-shirt for years, and I even took my high school senior portraits wearing it. It always makes my dad laugh, but I think he loves seeing its new life.

I really love old t-shirts in general, especially when they’ve belonged to my family, because I love the sense of history I get when I wear them. This one I stole from my mom, from when she used to help out with my aunt’s hanger business. My aunt I think devised this system of hanging clothes that was more efficient, and my mom helped her install them, often while wearing this t-shirt. I don’t install closets, but sometimes people think I do!

One of my biggest style tenets is the ‘pop of color’–you can use it to brighten up wardrobe basics in a hot second, and in the fall and winter I often use this scarf to do that. I saw this scarf out of the corner of my eye when I was in a consignment store in Pittsburgh and I knew instantly I had to have it, especially at only $12. It’s bright pink, red, purple, and orange, and it’s just delightful to wear and to look at!

This is yet another item stolen from mom, known as her “college sweater.” She wore this black lamb’s wool sweater when she was a college student, and so did I! I probably can’t tell you how old it is because my mother will yell at me. Sometimes I put cute little pins on it, like this one that I got when I was in England, of a 1920s-style movie couple about to kiss.

Hands down, my all-time prized possession. These terracotta leather Gucci slingbacks are from the tattoo collection they did a few years back (Rihanna was their spokesmodel for the campaign, incidentally). I was working as an intern when I found them on sale at Neiman Marcus, having worshipped photos of them from afar (catalogs) earlier that year. I never, ever thought I would see them in person, let alone be able to afford them. But there they were, just the one pair, and in my size no less! I wasn’t going to just leave them there…

The sunglasses of choice, inspired by dad who, incidentally, wears the same kind. I started to wear a pair of his old ones around, but they were too big, so I decided to just invest and get my own–the ones from Forever 21 only last so long, you know? But I’m glad I did get them because the aves never go out of style, and they go uptown and downtown. Classic.

Again, these are not just shoes, but the shoes. My superfoxy red patent heels that make me feel like a pinup girl and a rockstar at the same time. I’ve written essays about these shoes, and did a photography project about them (that’s where this picture is from, actually). They have a peep toe and a wooden heel and I got them my freshman year of college at, of all places, Target!! They’ve lasted me forever somehow (knock on wood), and they always put a swing in my step.

Trust me, honey, I’m no millionaire, but every girl needs her some Chanel (Rouge Coco in Gabrielle). I don’t wear red lipstick every day, but man when I do I am on top of the world–so maybe I should wear it everyday? It’s power in a tube. And it goes with everything from my LBD to my cutoffs to my cowboy boots. Sometimes a day just isn’t complete without it!

Last but not least, another steal from mom’s closet is the Spanish lamb jacket. Okay, this one was actually given to me, though, to wear in good health in New York. This is another piece that’s *coughcoughcough* years old, but that’s another reason why I love it. There’s a photo of my mom wearing it in the dead of winter in Pennsylvania walking a golden retriever and wearing a bolero hat. It’s totally fierce, and when I wear it, I try to channel mom’s fierceness. Usually I succeed *brushes dust off shoulders* :)

Elyssa Goodman likes words and pictures a lot. She is a Style Consultant at Her Campus, was previously the publication's first Style Editor, and has been with the magazine since its inception in 2009. Elyssa graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied Professional Writing, Creative Writing, and Photography. As an undergraduate, she founded and was the editor-in-chief of The Cut, Carnegie Mellon's Music Magazine. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Elyssa now lives and works in New York City as Miss Manhattan, a freelance writer, photographer, stylist and social media consultant. Her work has appeared in Vice, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Glamour, The New Yorker, Artforum, Bust, Bullett, Time Out New York, Nerve.com, and many other publications across the globe. Elyssa is also the photographer of the book "Awkwafina's NYC," written by Nora "Awkwafina" Lum. She loves New York punk circa 1973, old-school photobooths, macaroni and cheese, and Marilyn Monroe. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @MissManhattanNY.
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