Woman Crush Wednesday: The Eclectic, Colorful, Brilliance of Audrey Rhodes

thrifted style, iris apfel, portraits

With everything going on in the world today- I think we need color and creativity more than ever and Audrey Rhodes of AffectionatelyAudrey.com is constantly filling the environment around her with the vibrance of her wardrobe creativity.  To me, she is so much more than just another fashion blogger-  I truly consider her to be a clothing artist.  Her canvas is her own gloriously tall body, her paints- the incredible collection of clothing and accessories she has accumulated over her life.  I’ve been obsessed with Audrey’s killer style long before I ever met her in person and I was so happy to finally be able to spend some quality time with her at the first “Style with A Purpose” event at Goodwill last April.

Audrey and I recently ventured to Dollywood together on an epic Thriftcation and I learned that she has a killer taste in music, she is an excellent road tripper, loves to sing along to Phantom of the Opera and has life experiences (she used to be a police officer) that you would never expect from looking at her.  This girl is the real deal- she’s a living breathing, searching, seeking, authentic, down to earth human.  So I thought she would be a wonderful person to introduce for my first installment of Woman Crush Wednesday on 365DOT.

I showed up at her house in East Nashville with my camera, a backdrop, and some loose ideas- ready to capture some of her stylistic brilliance.  I think we can all agree after looking at these photos- that the girl brought ALLLLLL the extra.  As a side note- her house is as magical as you think it would be (including a cute magic cat and mini poodle) and her bedroom is like a shrine to thrifted style.  I feel really lucky to be a able to be a part of her world and I’m very happy to share   this interview with you all so that perhaps you can do the same…pink, thrifted

Why is style important?

Whether we want to admit it or not, a lot of things in our lives hinge on style. A job interview, a first impression from a new friend, networking/making connections, how customers/clients perceive us and the list goes on and on. Style is important because it is a way to express who we are and what we want to be without ever uttering a word. So if clothing and style is such a huge part of all our lives so why not make it fun? It shouldn’t be some horrible task you have to conquer every morning. No matter your style or clothing you choose to wear as long as you stay true to yourself and who you want to be, that is all that matters.

vintage style, thrifted fashion, retro

Okay- so all of your fashion goodies are suddenly swept away in an East Nashville clothing raid- what now?

I would cry uncontrollably for several days because I’m not gonna lie, I love my wardrobe and all the pieces I have collected! But I would get over it eventually and run to every Goodwill in town and begin the process of restocking my closet!

Maybe this is selfish because I personally know you have awesome musical taste… top 10 must listen to songs RN (and using a Spotify playlist as an answer is TOTALLY okay 😉 )

Oh man, that is tough! My musical taste is so eclectic that I feel I am listening to something new everyday. I will try to narrow it down though!
– Get It Together – Drake
– Vibin’ Out with (((O))) – FKJ
– Plastic 100 C – Sampha (Also, Reverse Faults by Sampha)
– Hold On – SBTRKT
– Mad – Solange
– Space Song – Beach House
– The Once and Future Queen – John Paul White
– Cybele’s Reverie – Stereolab
– Any Album/song by Blockhead
– 22 (OVER Soon) – Bon Iver

(Listen to the Spotify Playlist HERE)

colorful, fashion, thrifted fashion

What is the History of your style vibe- was it always this colorful and eclectic?

Definitely not! I used to look like a boy and honestly quite often got mistaken for one. I started getting more into style and fashion in my late teens, but I didn’t really discover my love for funky and outlandish style until my mid twenties. I wore more basic pieces in the beginning of my style journey, but kept stepping more and more out of my comfort zone because I wasn’t content with always wearing what everyone else was wearing. With that being said, the confidence to style myself was definitely a gradual thing and I had to come to a place where I no longer cared what others thought of me. That is when my best styling happens! Now I always try to be the weirdest and brightest person in the room!

pink, retro, vintage, thrifted

So I know you are an avid reader- what are your top five must reads for anyone reading this

Also a hard question, but I will narrow it down!
– The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkein
– The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafron
– Animal Farm – George Orwell
– The Giver – Lois Lowry (The whole series is marvelous)
– The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis

portrait, sunflower

Best thrift find and why?

So many pieces I could choose from! I think my favorite piece, if I had to choose, is a pair of navy blue pinstripe vintage Saint Laurent pants that fit me like they were made for me. I love thrifting so much, but I also have such a huge appreciation for high end design. It was really amazing to have the two collide and stumble upon such a cool piece that happened to fit me perfectly!

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So it’s 2023 and you’ve been invited to be a resident on a new Space Station- the catch is that you can only bring 1 item of clothing with you… what do you bring and why?

This is the hardest question of all! Probably a black and white striped Norma Kamali maxi dress I bought at UAL for $10. It is incredibly versatile (You can wear it off the shoulder, strapless, one shoulder and the sleeves are versatile as well.) and is a breezy, easy to wear fabric. So if I could only wear one piece for a while I would want it to be versatile and comfortable and this dress fits the bill!

pink, fashion, goodwill

Why do you thrift? Why should everyone else thrift?

Two main reasons for me.
Number 1: I thrift because it benefits the environment and the world we live in. It is a form of recycling and one of the only reason things end up in a landfill for thousands of years is because we always insist on buying something new versus taking someone else’s trash and making it our treasure.
Number 2: I love unique pieces. I mean something so unique that no one else around me will ever have it. One of my main ways of finding these unique pieces is through thrifting! Some of the most unique pieces I have came from a thrift store and I spent almost nothing for them. It makes me laugh when someone asks me if a vintage, thrifted piece is a particular high end designer. It always shocks them when I relay what it is and where I bought it. If they can’t tell the difference, then no one else can either! It is all about how you style the pieces that you have and the confidence that you possess when you wear it!

ecofashion, thrifting

What is the biggest misconception about you based on your style?

A lot of people assume that I am cold-hearded or unapproachable when they initially look at me and my style. I have been told many times that I can be very intimidating before someone has the chance to actually talk to me. I think this is because I am relatively tall for a female and am a naturally confident person. Add a bunch of bright colors and some weird textures and it makes me the perfect candidate to be misunderstood! 😉

thrifted style

Was is your biggest totally non fashion related passion?

Definitely reading. I am a big time reader and love reading all kinds of books! I think reading is so important for so many reasons. It is so refreshing to get off of my phone for a while in a quiet environment and allow my imagination to run wild with some cleverly assembled words.

thrifted style, stripes

So you are a breakfast connoisseur- where in Nashville does everyone need to go and what do they need to eat there?

I love breakfast foods! Some of my favorite places for breakfast are Marche and Sky Blue Cafe both in East Nashville. Vegan Vee, Dozen Bakery, Sweet 16th for baked goods and Three Brothers Cafe and Fido for coffee/food! Of course you have to throw in the occasional All Star Special from Waffle House before your breakfast experience is complete. 😉

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Who is your style icon?

Audrey Hepburn and Iris Apfel are both huge influences for me. Mostly because they are who they are and don’t apologize for it! They both made a path for themselves without compromising who they are or what they wanted. Audrey held firm to the belief that anyone can be stylish, which I preach constantly. Iris is an influence because I admire and draw inspiration from her maximalist type of style and how she combines patterns and accessories. Both give me hope that I can make my own path and not be sorry for the waves I make along the way.

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What brings you joy?

My friends and family, my puppy/kitty, my boyfriend, my fashion/thrifting, the freedom to confidently be myself, my room/space, reading, nature, dancing, I could go on and on. I am not always a happy person, but I try very hard to be a joyful person despite my circumstances. I truly desire to be a real person and communicate through my blog and social media when I’m struggling, but I always try to keep a smile on my face because you never know when that smile will bless someone else.

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What lesson have you learned in life that you most want to pass along to others?

Do not care what other people think about you! I know this is difficult at times, but you can’t spend your entire life not doing what you want or stepping out of your comfort zone because someone else might think it’s weird. People will always make fun of what they do not understand. Most of these people are narrow minded and if you desire to grow and be different than the average person then you have to learn to disregard what they think and say. This takes time, but it is the most freeing feeling in the world to do what you love and not care a bit what anyone else thinks about it.

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All photos by Yours Truly

Styling by Audrey Rhodes

Clothing From: Goodwill, Buffalo Exchange, UAL and others…

 

Love and Thrift,

Elisabeth


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