Mighty Life List
Jun 8 2009

Mighty Closet: Libby Nicholoau

This is my dear friend Libby Nicholoau. If she looks familiar, you probably recognize her from our trips to Argentina and Mexico. Libby is the Gallery Director for the Shooting Gallery in downtown San Francisco, which features a lot of Low-Brow, Urban art, so her closet reflects the gallery’s independent spirit.

Libby is the girlfriend I consult when I need to know whether my beloved jeans have become mom jeans, or whether you can guess which year I graduated from high school just by looking at my dated shoes. I have to press her for an opinion, because her Southern manners prevent her from volunteering the information, but she’s never steered me wrong.

Right now, Libby’s working hard to establish herself, so she prefers to spend her money on travel and bar tabs. She buys most of her clothes second hand, and trades key items with roomies and friends to help keep her outfits looking novel.

These are four outfits she loves, plus her favorite cocktail look:

Believe it or not, this is office wear for Libby. Most of her clothes are day-to-evening, so she can leave the gallery and head straight to art openings or drinks with friends. Skirt by Paris L.A., purchased at Buffalo Exchange.

Shirt is Xhileration by Target, purchased at Goodwill.

Libby got this chain at a thrift store, the pendant was a gift from mom, and the vintage key was a party favor from our Mighty Haus shindig last year.

Libby bought her Steve Madden shoes at a Shoe Pavilion liquidation sale, “There was a line out the door, and when I figured out what was going on, I was like YES!” She loves these American Apparel tights, which she often borrows from a friend. “Jillian and I trade. We have openings every month, and art fairs three times a year. It’s fun to put together a new outfit for everything; everyone’s so creative about what they wear. I feel like I work on stage sometimes. You’ve gotta have costume changes!”

Here’s Libby just before she heads off to meet friends at a cafe in Paris. We should have posed her on a bike with a baguette sticking out of the basket.

The scarf has more pattern to it than you can see in the photos — she’s good about combining patterns in non-fugly ways. Her skirt is by Paper Doll L.A. and was purchased at Buffalo Exchange, where she got this whole outfit, except for the shoes (Goodwill), and the vintage scarf, which I gave her.

Incidentally, the scarf is by Colette.

Soft ruffle tank top is Aviva. Nice to have a basic piece with that little unexpected touch of femininity.

Perfect sling-back peep toes by Nicole. Vintage straw bag.

This is Libby’s favorite outfit. She says, “I love a tunic with leggings. I feel so confident and comfy. Plus, I can wear it anywhere without worrying too much about the scene.” Headband by H&M.

Vest is H&M, as is the necklace. Top is Forever 21, purchased at Buffalo Exchange.

The stud-inspired bracelet was on loan from Libby’s roomie, Jessica.

These ankle buttons on the leggings are killer, and I like them pulled down over the backs of her shoes. Libby got the leggings second hand at Crossroads, but they’re made by Effie’s Heart.

Suede wedges by Chinese Laundry, purchased at Goodwill.

I actually bought this H&M tent dress when I was pregnant, and almost never wore it. Libby had borrowed it once, and I felt silly in it, so I asked if she wanted it. Needless to say, she rocks it completely differently than I did. She wore this outfit recently to a California Academy of Sciences Nightlife event, and apparently it was a hit with the boys. Smart guys love Libby.

The belt was a gift from her mom.

The feather earrings are from Buffalo Exchange.

The hair was my doing. I think I got the idea for a bobby-pin headband from a scene in Amelie.

Shoes are B.C., purchased at Goodwill.

I so wish I’d gotten a better picture of these much-loved tights. So great.

Space cowgirl! This is another work-to-evening outfit for Libby. The tunic is H&M via Goodwill, leggings are American Apparel.

The belt is from a thrift store in Virginia, Libby’s home state.

I think I want some feather earrings. This shoulder duster is also on loan from Libby’s roomie, who got it somewhere in the Mission. Good on the dance floor, bad in a cat fight.

She has no idea where she got the ring.

Boots are Corsina, purchased at Buffalo Exchange.

Here’s Libby’s little black dress. It’s from H&M, as is the chunky bracelet.

It has little pleats on the upper back. Aww.

She got her galleon necklace at a tradeshow at 111 Minna, but sadly couldn’t recall the artist’s name. If you know, fill us in.

Libby says, “I got these shoes at 9 West for a Shepard Fairey opening, and I wear them everywhere. I can go dancing in them, which says a lot.”

And there you have it! I forgot to take a photo of Libby’s closet, which is too bad, because she has an entire clothing bar dedicated just to scarves. Next time. Thanks for playing model for me Libby, you’re a peach.

49 Responses to “Mighty Closet: Libby Nicholoau”

  • Margaret Says:

    I *love* this new feature. It’s like an extremely well-curated trip through Wardrobe Remix.

  • becky Says:

    Definitely a great feature!

    I love Libby’s outfits. Am drooling over those black leggings with ankle buttons!

  • jen coffin Says:

    Love this feature! Its inspiring to see down to earth women who, like myself, shop second hand and still have a superb sense of style. Gives me some great ideas to mix it up with my own clothes as well.

  • karen Says:

    oh, she is so fabulous! Love those leggings with buttons & her silver ring.

  • nelking Says:

    What everyone else said….

    This is so much fun to see how others really shop and put things together. Much better than any issue of Vogue or such. Those peep toe pumps are amazing.

  • robyn Says:

    an entire bar dedicated to scarves? i love it! plus, there’s no H&M here in Omaha, but heading to Chicago in a month to visit family – am already stashing aside money so I can head to that store in specific.

  • Lindsay M Says:

    I LUFF this feature. And oh-man-oh-man do I wish I lived in SF again just for the awesome Goodwill shopping.

  • wendy Says:

    I’d like to hear about her tattoos. They’re more permanent elements of her style and I’m interested in how she chose the designs and locations. Does she think about how her ink and her cloth blend together?

  • mighty fan Says:

    THANK YOU for showcasing an average sized girl. I hate The Sartorialist for that. cool looks but will it look right on me, you know? Thanks again!

  • Lauren From Texas Says:

    I want to play model for you!!! haha. She’s awesome. I love her flair – so sassy and creative.

  • Kate Says:

    I love this feature, Maggie. Running to the thrift store tomorrow!

  • One Barefoot Bride Says:

    daaaaayyyymmmmm! that girl’s got some STYLE! you think she’d come over and dress me in the morning? awesome and inspiration feature – I have GOT to get to Buffalo Exchange – please show more!

  • leandra Says:

    So proud of myself for recognizing that her tattoo was Virginia. :)

    Also, I love the H&M tent dress with the belt, I so wish I could pull off that look.

  • jill Says:

    another winner, maggie! i’m desperate for that H&M little black dress… do you know if it’s from this season?

  • GirlsGoneChild Says:

    Oh Em Gee, I love her. I love her style. I love her hair. I love her face. I love her toes busting through her tights. All of it. Adore.

  • elsie Says:

    ooohhhhhhh those black high heeled NINe West shoes are killer…

  • Heather B. Says:

    And again I’m shouting “MORE! MORE!” Cannot wait for the next installment. This is so much fun.

  • Mandy Says:

    I love, love, love when you do this feature. Please keep it up!

  • Amber Smith Says:

    I love this feature, it is inspiring me to try and thrift more.

  • Marigoldie Says:

    This is so fab I can’t even stand it. Her style is terrific and so are your photos. Love the picture of the ripped tights and all the imperfections. It’s all just wildly inspiring. Bravo.

  • Kelly Says:

    Maggie, this feature is fantastic.. I love getting a peak at what REAL people are wearing and that they’re getting stuff at Good will… so creative and inspiring…I want to actually cultivate a style now. When I do, you can come and do the Canadian Closet (there will be sweaters fo’ sho’)

  • Terri Says:

    What gorgeous shots you took of Libby!!! She looks stunning in all of them!!! Amazing how she can take thrift store items and make them look so hip and wonderful.

  • Erica Says:

    I totally need a stylist, all I wear is jeans and black t shirts. The coolest thing about me is my kid and my tattoo. I am so envious of people like Libby who have such amazing style. Feathers! I could never pull them off!

  • Carrie Says:

    I love these installments. If you’re still open to comments about them (I didn’t participate the first time around :) ), I would like more commentary on how the Closeteers pick their items (both when they’re buying them and when they’re figuring out what to pair them with at home).

    You sure are swell.

  • Stacey C. Says:

    The “vintage” clutch in the Parisian scene is actually another fab Target find. I have the same one and I adore it! Thanks for another great peek in the closet.

  • deftgurl Says:

    great inspiration. Love how she OWNS it. thanks for the post.

  • Michele at A House Called Nut Says:

    I was wondering if that was a Virginia tattoo (my home state too!).

    Libby does such a fantastic job with all that secondhand. Thanks for featuring her–great fashion inspiration!

  • Kimberly* Says:

    Incredibly chic and approachable! I am suddenly desperate to visit my goodwill! Feather earrings?! Love. And now I’m convinced I need leggings.

  • Sara Says:

    That’s funny about the bobby pin headband. I saw Amelie over the weekend and did the exact same thing to my hair!

  • Sara Says:

    Although I will never be convinced that leggings = pants.

  • Kelly Jeanne Says:

    I *NEED* those Effie’s Heart leggings. Totally coveting those. I love this feature!

  • koral Says:

    hi there, the un-identified ring looks alot like rings my aunt has for her arthritis! no joke! she wears them on every finger some days, it’s sort of like a brace? don’t quote me on this, but I am almost willing to bet my left ear on it…!

  • Tanya Says:

    Thank you so much for this series, I love it. Libby’s clothes are inspiring. I think I need to start shopping at Buffalo Exchange again.

  • Pattie Says:

    Love her style!! I especially love her ring but am curious if she can bend that finger!! So interesing!
    I would also like to see some close ups of her tattoos. Wondering about the one on her shin.
    Great job!!

  • Amanda Mae Says:

    Shepard Fairey.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepard_Fairey

    That’s a quick google fix.

  • trixie Says:

    LOVE this. As a struggling writer, I can identify with wanting to feel fabulous while not spending money on clothes. I probably spend more money on scarves than anything. This post inspired me to get some skirts! And jewels….

  • Abby Says:

    Awesome feature.

    Your friends definitely have style! So cool.

  • ambika Says:

    I absolutely love this feature. & totally remember that Amelie bobby pin hair-do.

  • Maggeh Says:

    Bless you, Amanda Mae.

  • raych Says:

    I am loving this closet business. It’s all the charm of reading chick-lit without having to read the chick-lit, AND with visuals.

  • Christian Says:

    Is she from Reston, Virginia? That shin tattoo looks suspiciously like my hometown.

  • Missay Says:

    This is so inspirational! I am in a fashion rut, and you and your friends are unbelievably fabulous…I’m a huge fan of what you are doing.

  • Snithia Says:

    This continuing clothes/style/fashion feature is making me wish I could move back to San Francisco, watch Amelie again soon, have a scarf bar, own a galleon necklace, (and wear it with the pictured little black dress and shoes) and convert to lesbianism. Love those models and their curves! And the clothes. And all the rest. Thanks!

  • michelle Says:

    Oh, good heaven. I LOVE this feature. Can we do this everyday? :)

  • misstraceynolan Says:

    I’m beginning to this Mighty Closet is going to get it’s own website. Wonderful photos, inspiring details, as always…!

  • carissa Says:

    maggie, did you see this? someone is looking for the girl in the feather earrings… funny if it was libby! great feature. love it! http://meanmeanmachine.tumblr.com/post/121291966/via-sfist

  • amy Says:

    AWESOME! She is so hip! I love that 90% of her outfits are from secondhand/consignment. I love me some thrifting & strive to put together great looks like these but I just never can. I end up looking like I never left the 80s:( I love the silver tunic but her LBD outfit is the BEST. I almost bought those fab heels in black/purple but I was having a practical day – go figure! They look great (and if memory serves me right, are comfy)!

  • Susanne Says:

    I LOVE her Virginia tattoo! I’m guessing something in the Richmond area as her home?

  • Alice Says:

    Ok, I am completely disgusted by the hole-filled, dirty tights, they are disgusting and completely tacky. Throw those away! Yes — loved, but when your toes are all the way through and they can no longer be darned, toss them. I can’t image what the crotch looks like if the toes are this disgusting, plus probably full of dead skin…I can’t believe you thought this was ok, its sort of like giving away someone’s dirty secret because normally the holes are hidden in shoes. Its like wearing underwear with giant holes in it. Dressing on a dime is awesome, dressing like a hobo completely wipes out any coolness that was here.