Elizabeth is featured as part of the Fashion’s Night Out: Midwest series.
Recent high school graduate Elizabeth Kirkpatrick stands out in a small town with a population of just 3400 with her colorful pieces of vintage clothing masterfully styled å la a fashion magazine editor. This skill has only been nurtured in the past few years, as she confesses her clothing of choice was overalls- and only overalls- while growing up. Now, Elizabeth forgoes corporate mall-going for the art of vintage shopping and shopping at small locally-owned boutiques in Des Moines and the surrounding area. The following is a little look inside her styled life, with a slideshow of some of her favorite pieces:
How old are you?
I am 18 going on 19.
What are you doing right now now that you’ve graduated?
First of all I’m celebrating that I never have to go back to high school again, haha! But other than that I’ve been working at the local pool as a lifeguard this summer. I’ve been wearing my swimsuit non stop and I smell of sunscreen and chlorine constantly. This summer I decided to stay home and spend the last few months of my Iowan life with my friends and family. I will be moving shortly from Iowa to Big Sky Montana! Where, I will live with my sister in a loft apartment above main street in the most picturesque Montana town possible and attend a community college. But while I am in Montana I really want to learn how to mountain bike, rock climb, snow board, find thrifty shopping places, and hike in my free time.
What are your plans for the next 5 years?
I would have to say I’m not exactly a person who plans, which can be a scary but also an exciting thing. What I have planned so far is to move to Montana, go to college for two years and finish my general education classes. Hopefully by then I will have decided what I want to major in so I can start my real studying. I know at least that whatever I major in I will use it to express my art through lifestyle.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
For the longest time I wanted to be a fashion designer or own a little boutique of my own. Then I wanted to become a nutritionist and teach people to eat healthy and to exercise. Then for a short time I wanted to be a food artist, and my most recent craze is graphic designing. There are so many areas in this field that interest me. I would love to design a sign for a store, a web page, a logo on a cereal box, or even a print for a tee shirt.
You have a great sense of style. How did that start? (i.e. did you study it, have you always had it…)
Ever since I was little I hated letting other people pick out my clothing. My staple when I was young was overalls. No matter what color, shorts or pants, you could always find me in overalls. I wasn’t stylish when I was little, but I definitely had my own taste. I think my sense of style really started when I was in sixth grade. All my sisters had moved out of the house for college and they left some of their clothes at home. I started going into their rooms when I couldn’t find anything to wear in my own closet. From there I started shopping at the stores that my sisters would get there clothes at in the mall. When I entered high school I became obsessed with second hand stores. I love the thrill of looking through piles of clothes to find a rare item. Now I think my latest obsession is online stores and downtown boutiques.
What are your passions in life?
I believe a life without passion is like a tree without leaves: empty, bare and colorless. One of my passions is treating everyone with dignity and respect regardless of their status in life or their appearance. I believe that God created every person on this earth equally. Even though I haven’t seen much of the world, what I have seen at my high school has forced me to believe that everyone deserves a chance. Another passion of mine is living a healthy lifestyle. We are only given one body, and I gather that we should treat it well. I enjoy finding new and fun exercises to challenge me, or researching new recipes and foods that taste great and are good for your body. I am also obviously very passionate about my style. I feel that clothing is a form of art and not everyone uses the same media, which makes it all the more interesting!
How do you get inspired when you live in such a small town in the midwest?
I think my biggest inspiration would be the desire to be different. I have always been the kind of person who doesn’t follow the crowd. At a young age I decided that I didn’t want to be ordinary. One of the ways I decided to be different was in what I wore. Many of my peers had the same style: jeans and a tee, sweatpants and a jacket, etc. I got bored by the same old thing and so I decided to find my own style. I enjoy looking at J.Crew or Teen Vogue magazines and drawing inspiration from people like my sisters, Audrey Hepburn, or Zooey Deschanel.
Do you have any favorite designers?
I have to say that I have never really been big on labels or designers. I find it so fascinating when people spout out names of famous designers and how an item of clothing looks like that person. I pick out an item of clothing not because of who made it but because I want to wear it.
What are the best spots around you to find unique fashion finds?
I have many fun little shops that are my go-to spots. In Story City I adore a second hand store called Affordables. They have great sweatshirts, belts and jewelry. In Randall there is a little shop called the Junk Gypsie. The store is full of vintage dresses, skirts, shirts, and jewelry. I have found some of my most favorite and memorable items at this spot. Another place I really enjoy is the Atomic Garage in Valley Junction [in Des Moines.] It is a little bit more of a drive but it is worth it. The place is loaded with one-of-a-kind items ranging from vintage prom dresses to boy scout button ups.
You have great hair. Who does it?
I am very fortunate in two ways. First my sister is a hair stylist. She is really good at figuring out what kind of cut matches your face shape and your personality. Second, my hair is really easy to style. I either shower, brush it wet, scrunch it with aloe (yes the goo you put on sunburns…it’s natural and it hold wells without the crunchy tips), or I wake up and straighten the ends for a more messy indie-pop look.
Are there any creative blogs or websites that you like to look at?
I enjoy browsing ModCloth every now and then, and I have also checked out LookBook.nu a few times…but other than that I really don’t follow much online fashion.