Home Holiday Past Perfect: Dree Harper on Vintage

Past Perfect: Dree Harper on Vintage

If you’re ever in need of a little vintage inspiration, head on over to Dree Harper’s blog, Create that Style, and her Pinterest page, which is chockfull of bygone glamour girls and the latter-day muses who love the look. Our favorite board: The one simply titled “Vintage Archives.” (We can never get enough of Berenson and Bardot.) And it’s not a new obsession for this Seattle native; her vintage crush goes back to her childhood. “As early as I can remember,” Harper explains, “each Sunday held the combined event of church followed by thrifting. It was a wonderful way to pass the time together while treasure hunting. To this day, thrifting and vintage shopping is a source of relaxation for me and my mother is, still hands down, my favorite person to shop with!”

Here, we asked the stylist and personal shopper — who also works for Refinery29.com and is one of our very own Guest Pinners for our Pin it to Win It contest going on now — to give us her style tips on retro retail therapy, plus how to recreate the look at Saks.

SaksPOV: You know you’re a vintage addict when…
Dree Harper: You find your car parked in front of Goodwill, Salvation Army or the flea markets time and time again.

SaksPOV: What are your favorite sites for Pinterest inspiration?
D.H.: I love to add pins to my “Everyday Stylish” boards so street-style shots are key. Refinery29, Caroline’s Mode, CitizenCouture and Vanessa Jackman as well as Elle and Harper’s Bazaar are great sources. I count on Refinery29 for so much, honestly. New sites, product images, beauty trends, etc.  

SaksPOV: What’s your strategy to shopping vintage?
D.H.: I’m not sure I have one particular strategy, but I do know that it’s important to know what you like! Rich textures, fabulous prints and high-quality materials are a given for me and the rest is simply based on what affirms my personal style. 

SaksPOV: And never forget that…
D.H.: Fit is key! Often times, my finds need a bit of tweaking and having a great tailor is essential. Looking at vintage discoveries this way increases your potential take-homes and, for me, it brings a subtle designing aspect into my life.

SaksPOV: Your advice on mixing vintage and new?
D.H.: Keep it simple! An over-accessorized look with several trends, whether the items are new or vintage, looks so forced. Disciplined restraint pays off! I also find that having a wardrobe that is well stocked with basics helps highlight the amazing vintage I find. A fabulous pair of Seventies palazzo pants works well with that simple Gap tee and sandals or a Sixties mod shift with a slouchy blazer and boots becomes instantly relevant.

SaksPOV: What are five vintage-style essentials everyone needs?
D.H.: (1) An Italian leather bag — think croc-embossed or Birkin-esque shapes. (2) A shrunken blazer in navy, black or camel. I like to pair mine with flared jeans and boots for a bit of that Seventies collegiate gypsy vibe. (3) Fantastic pendants or statement necklaces. They do wonders for a simple tee and jeans or classic shift dresses. To me, vintage jewelry captures the “personal” of personal style. (4) An evening bag or clutch. One that adds some glitz! Think sequins, beads, chain mesh, feathers, pearls, etc. (5) An heirloom-worthy dress! Whether it’s a Forties feminine frock, a Seventies maxi or Eighties avant-garde cocktail dress, find one that jives with your personal style and build your collection slowly.

SaksPOV: What’s the one vintage pièce de résistance in your closet?
D.H.: Several years ago, my mother gifted me a Seventies YSL Rive Gauche black blazer that fits me to perfection. It’s a classic cut and looks equally chic paired with skinny cigarette pants and d’Orsay heels as well as thrown over a long maxi dress. That and my father’s vintage gold Seiko watch that I wear every day are a tie!

SaksPOV: Who are your favorite vintage muses?
D.H.: (1) Ali MacGraw: For her school-girl-prep-meets-hippie style. (2) Audrey Hepburn: Talk about restraint! I find myself using her code of simplicity as a balance for my otherwise wilder style. (3) Jimi Hendrix: I grew up in Seattle and his thrifted mix of ethnic prints, jewelry and luxe fabrics can’t be compared. My love for vintage really emerged during those “Hendrix” years. (4) Cher in the Seventies: Squash blossom necklaces, leather fringe, high waisted denim and tall boots. (5) Frida Kahlo: She breathed vibrant colors and dressed both purposefully and artfully. How can you not be inspired by her sense of style?

SaksPOV: And how can you recreate their looks at Saks?
D.H.: (1) Ali: Tory Burch does a bang-up job of creating closet staples that have just the right amount of visual interest and, for me, her Spring 2013 collection hit the notes I love. The feminine palette combined with strong influences from her travels — e.g. pom poms, ethnic jewelry, comfortable shoes — really captured that American prep meets magpie mood. (2) Audrey: Phoebe Philo seems to get minimalism right with her signature dose of cool in each collection and, of course, we can always count on Francisco Costa to carry on Calvin Klein’s chic approach to simple dressing. (3) Jimi: I thought Rag & Bone’s Fall 2012 collection was a superior mix of ultra-luxe fabrics, ethnic prints and just the right amount of rock n roll. Throw in some Balmain Resort 2013 and you’re done. (4) Cher: A dash of Altuzarra Fall 2012 and Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2013 with some Isabel Marant Fall 2012 for good measure. (5) Frida: I thought both Issa and Dolce & Gabanna’s Spring 2013 collections were vibrant and energetic as well as gloriously feminine.


Gypsy or Jet-set?
How about a jet-set gypsy?

Fringe or Feathers? Fringe.

Peacock or Crane? Crane, my favorite bird!

Marrakech or Tangiers? Marrakech

Frame Bag or Slouchy Satchel? Slouchy Satchel

Ali MacGraw in Love Story or Ali MacGraw in The GetawayLove Story. I’m a hopeless romantic.

Boho or Bobo? Boho.

Batik or Beading? Batik. But it could be beaded!

Sixties or Seventies…or Eighties? I read somewhere that we tend to gravitate towards the decade our mothers were at their most stylish. That’s the Seventies for me and, indeed, it’s my favorite era. Always has been.




Where do you get ideas and shop for vintage? Tell us in the comments or tweet @Saks!


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