Mighty Closet: Aubrey Sabala

26th May 2009

Remember the post about what I packed on my trip to New York? That was fun. So much fun that I wanted to do more. The problem is, I don’t want to show up places feeling all cute and have people be like, “Yeah. I already saw that dress on your site.” (Sad trombone.) So I thought I’d visit a few of my stylish friends and take photos of their favorite outfits. Aubrey Sabala is my first Mighty Closet guinea pig.

Aubs throws parties for Digg, where she works as the marketing manager. She’ll be in New York shortly, organizing a shindig for 3,000+ people, and she’s also planning a big birthday blowout for herself and a friend while she’s there. Speaking of which, how much do you love friends who just take charge of their own birthdays, instead of pouting that no one ever remembers their special day? You love them a lot, that’s how much.

Anyway, her entire enormous closet is filled with dresses. She never goes anywhere that requires pants, and I’m pretty sure she works out in cocktail attire. So you know, owning no pants is madness in San Francisco. It’s seriously cold here, especially in the evenings, which is Aubrey’s favorite time of day.

I asked her to show me four of her favorite outfits and her no-fail cocktail outfit, which just happens to be a genuine Little Black Dress. Here are the results:

This is what Aubrey wears when she’s taking her scooter out for soda pop with the gang. (To the best of my knowledge Aubrey doesn’t actually own a scooter, but I encouraged her get one.)

This is the forlorn bag I forgot to include in the photo. Sorry, little bag.

Sundresses and cowboy boots is one of Aubrey’s favorite looks. This is because San Francisco hills laugh at you if you try to wear heels.

Also, if you wear heels, the homeless people assume you’re a tourist and they hassle you because they take you for an easy mark. Same story if you wear shorts. No one here wears shorts, because all of us know that the weather could turn on you at any moment (except Aubrey who is clearly a mutant freak with no nerve endings). And then you’re freezing your ass off in Union Square with aggressive panhandlers yelling at you, and you have to go buy a pair of cheap San Francisco! sweatpants, which only exacerbates the problem. But I digress.

This is Aubrey’s favorite dress, and she’s right about that. Flattering, baby. She usually wears this with cowboy boots too, but she agreed to change things up to give the natives a thrill. We were outside for about two minutes taking this photo, and she was hooted and honked at no less than three times. That’s a good dress.

How cool are these earrings? Aubrey said she never wears them, so I put them in my purse before I left. Aubrey, I stole your awesome earrings as punishment for neglecting them. I’m going to take them out and show them the world, show them what it means to be loved.

She loves this green dress, but rarely wears it either because she has to pair it with 15″ heels so it doesn’t drag on the floor. Tailors, ladies! Fifteen bucks and it’s a whole new dress. Because seriously? You’re not gonna hem it. Don’t kid yourself.

Aubrey laughs 99 percent of the time. She was really trying to put on a solemn face for the sake of fashion, but this is the real Aubrey in action.

I’m such a sucker for a lariat necklace. Almost no one wears them, which makes them even better.

Aubrey has that kind of enviable straight hair that will do a spiky chignon with four bobby pins. Speaking of which, please ignore the pins I neglected to tuck.

The aforementioned uncomfortable shoes.

This is Aubrey pretending to chug a bottle of whiskey. She’s wearing her all-purpose Little Black Dress, and holy crap it’s a good one. (J Crew, you do this so right.)

I love this photo. It’s so nightcap.

Closeup of her chunky bracelet, which is actually a twisted necklace.

Adorable, harrassment-attracting patent leather shoes.

I know, that was exhausting. Thanks for being so game, Aubs. Especially considering the aftermath. Hoo-boy.

So! That’s my very first Mighty Closet. Was it good for you? Let me know if you’d like me to do anything differently next time. Do you want brand names, even though a lot of the stuff won’t be available anymore? Links to similar outfits? Stories behind the outfits? Photos of exceptional lingerie drawers? I live to serve, so let me know.

108 thoughts on “Mighty Closet: Aubrey Sabala

  1. Susan

    I love this new feature. I also love that Aubrey braves freezing San Francisco in dresses. I do that too, mostly because I forget that it can get so freakin’ cold. I suspect she handles it with much more grace than I. Exceptional lingerie drawers: definitely!!

  2. Alyce

    MightyCloset is my new favorite thing. I’d love to see a before photo of the closet from whence the clothes came. The aftermath was also fun.

    Aubrey is lovely and has excellent taste. I recently embraced the dress as alternative to yoga pants for comfort and boy howdy! was that a good decision.

  3. Megan

    Yes, links to similar items! Specifically, for dresses with the flattering cut for girls with boobs – lower cut neckline and with thicker straps so that they can be worn with a bra. Curses to off-the-shoulder and spaghetti strap dresses with your built in “shelf bra.” Ha.

  4. Megan

    Seriously… what Jcrew dress is that black one? It’s the perfect shape and makes her calves look awesome!!

  5. Lisa

    I love, love, love the green dress. I’ve been on the hunt for a great green dress and offerings are woeful, so links to similar items please!

    Also, that LBD is awesome.

  6. shoppingsmycardio

    love this new series! and yes, the fuschia and green dresses are amazing. i’d love to have you include some designer credits in the future…even if that exact awesomeness isn’t available, maybe they make something similar! ditto for all of the lovely jewelry in this one! :)

  7. nelking

    Cool idea! It’s good to know where things came from. Even if they’re not available, cool new shopping experiences could come from it.

    Love the necklace twisted as a bracelet. Accessories are my biggest problem, well one of my biggest problems.

  8. Dana

    Most days, I can be found in yoga pants or jeans, a T-shirt or fleece.

    But I appreciate interesting fashion and creative looks and people who have the time – and inclination – to dress fabulously.

    So kudos to you and your friends AND the mighty closet series.

    I LOVE IT!

    And yes, please, include a snapshot peek into your model’s closet.

  9. Rebecca

    Love this – it’s great to get inspiration. I don’t mind no links, but I did like knowing where some of the pieces were from originally.

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  11. lisa b.

    I love this, almost as much as I loved yours. Keep doing it. It’s good just as it is, because the main thing is inspiration. But I don’t mind knowing the brands/stores/locations, if they happen to come up. yay!

  12. Shnerfle

    I SO loved this! Thanks, but will you fly down to LA and make ME look that good? Or can I come up there? Your photos are amazing!

  13. Aryn

    love it! Gives me ideas for my own closet!

    I tried to walk – in a dress – from my hotel at union square to a restaurant decidedly no where near union square on valentines day. By the time we got to the restaurant it was threatening to rain and – in an attempt to be romantic – the restaurant was only serving shellfish! My poor, freezing, jewish little self had to go all the way back to my hotel room and order room service. :o( Regardless, I can’t wait to visit SF again. Next time more boots will be involved!

  14. Elise

    Virtual dress-up is so much fun, I love Mighty Closet. I would indeed like links to similar outfits and stories behind outfits. I would also love features similar to your New York trip piece where you tell us how to put together an entire wardrobe with key pieces. Perhaps you could take submissions, we send you photos/links to 2-3 pieces we own and then you tell us how to put them into outfits?

  15. sunny

    its wonderful how lovely and natural your model Aubrey is. I really enjoy looking into the closets of normal – but very chic – women. NO toothpicks please! The nite cap photo certainly is fantastic!

  16. Sarah

    Yes, please give links for similar outfits! And while you are at it, some money to buy them with!

    She looks absolutely amazing, I want to be green with envy in that green dress.

  17. maya

    Love Might Closet, love Aubrey’s style. And I’ve got a request, possibly as an offshoot of the exceptional lingerie drawers…Mighty Foundation Garments. As an only child raised by a mother that seriously didn’t know how to dress (sorry Mom, I love you but it was the Seventies) I feel like I’m at a big disadvantage with The Underthings. For example, how the hell does Aubrey wear her rockin’ sweater dress with matte tights and not have the dress bind like hell and result in the dreaded inadvertent frontal wedgie? Where does one find the tiny perfect slip that would fix that problem but never show? Are there special tights that are slippery enough that you don’t need to wear a slip? And how do you keep the boots from rubbing and destroying your tights? How do I keep my skirts from rotating around my hips when I walk? And don’t even get me started on all the bra questions… I need help over here, people. Please advise.

  18. sarah

    i have to put my vote in for links to similar and stories of where stuff was found or what happened in those clothes.

    aubs would clearly look great in a potato sack!

  19. Leah

    I love it! I don’t mind the lack of links, as I see this more of “what to look for when I’m out thrifting.”

    Also (and please don’t take this the wrong way, Aubrey), thank god for a *real* woman with *real* legs. I was out shopping yesterday and got all depressed about my legs in shorts, because, you know, I have legs and not toothpicks. And now I feel better again.

  20. megnut

    I’d love to see links/labels/designers for all the items featured, even if no longer available or something’s vintage. Then you at least know where to begin looking so you can copy. Also credits for other stuff, I love that little blue sofa! Can you share the details on that? (FWIW, this is why I adored “Domino” – they showed you great stuff and then basically told you how to do it. Mighty Closet would be awesome if it could do something similar.)

  21. smallstatic

    YES YES YES!!! LOVE the Mighty Closet and want to see more asap. Don’t think I need to know where to buy things but I’d love a “stories behind the outfits” element. This is great.

  22. houpley

    love love love. great pics. great model. great clothes. my only request would be that there were a few casual poses- so we could see what an outfit looks like just during everyday wear. for example, i was interested in how the sundress looked when she was just walking or doing everyday things. that’s is the true test for an outfit, too. also i am very interested in where the items came from – maybe a general cost?

  23. sarawr

    That was the most fun I’ve had online in at least three months. Awesome!

    Aside from the obvious (kick-ass clothes, pretty photography), I really like how fun this whole thing seems. You did a good job catching the mood, I think. Also, I would KILL SOMEONE DEAD for that green dress, no joke. Siiiiiigh.

  24. freddy

    I enjoyed this – thanks! I usually dress a little bit nice for work, but it’s good to be reminded to dress for ME from time to time as well.

  25. Karen Dietrich

    I have to echo the chorus of YES YES LOVE THIS! I just got interested in fashion again after losing thirty pounds, so I’d love to know brands/links to similar items if you can swing it. Great work, Maggie!
    PS. This is the THIRD time I’ve read this post today (and I’m sure it won’t be the last…it’s raining here and all the pretty colors are cheering me up!)

  26. Binkytowne

    OMG. I have that coat! I have it in GRAY! Excuse me while I go out and strut around like a peacock because I must have a little sense of style if this lovely creature and I selected the same coat.

  27. Erin

    How cruel! To show such beautiful clothing and yet no information on said clothes. I need brand and style names… Especially the reddish dress. Gorg.

  28. Lizzie

    I’d like to see some stories behind the clothes, more than brands or links, although I may be a minority. I really enjoyed the mini-biography at the beginning. thanks maggie, looks like it was fun to shoot!

  29. Toni

    Just the other day in route from Anthropology to the muni a lovely female panhandler told my short-wearing sister that she has a flat ass. I love SF. and I love this feature.

  30. aubs

    Aww, y’all are truly the sweetest. And I can only thank Maggie for making me look so lovely – she’s truly the most talented photographer.

    So, to answer a few questions about the clothes, here’s some detail (off the top of my head – can get you some of the ones I’ve forgotten when I get home)
    – Sweater dress: Purchased from some small boutique in Park City, Utah during Sundance. Had many issues trying to figure out the right color of tights (b/c it’s short) but went with black b/c the boots (purchased at the now-defunct Delirious Shoes in Potrero Hill.) The hat is from a small boutique on Hayes Street – will try & remember the name, but got it a year 1/2 ago. Coat is from Tulle (www.tulle4us.com) but note they run small – I have to buy a large…which I did as I have it in 3 colors. Bag – Gap outlet; Gloves: Target.
    – White Dress w/Detailing: Old Navy, bought last summer. Cowboy boots from Cavender’s somewhere between Austin & San Antonio in 2002 (I wear them to death.) Earrings & bracelet: Old Navy (a while ago)
    – Salmon Dress: Brooklyn Industries (should have bought this in 3 colors; got it last June in Brooklyn, NY – http://www.brooklynindustries.com); pashmina wrap from J. Crew circa 2003; Sandals: Target. And not very comfy. Earrings (now absconded by Maggie) were trade from when I used to be a fashion writer in Atlanta, circa 2001.
    – Green Dress: J. Crew, purchased March 2009 (doesn’t look like they carry it anymore but saw something similar at Saks yesterday for about 3x as much); Lariot Necklace – again, trade from former fashion writing days…; shoes: Nine West outlet, ooolllldddd. And not so comfy.
    – Black Dress: J. Crew, purchased 2001. (Their stuff just fits me really well, esp. if you’re hourglassy like I am.) Black shoes: my only splurge EVER – Manolo Blahniks.

    Blue Couch – from Therapy on Valencia street – just purchased this a few months back – they have a TON of styles & it’s beyond comfy. HIGHLY recommend.

    Hope that helps, and absolutely loved being featured. Super honored.
    – aubrey

  31. Heather @ Mama Sass

    So beautiful.
    I’m in love with the green dress. And the cowboy boots. Love.
    Great new feature!
    Maybe you’d want to feature me next, sporting the latest in the mommy-form. Yoga pants, flip-flops, wifebeater (maybe I should call it a husband-beater)?
    Yeah, I need a makeover.
    I’ll use Aubrey for inspiration!

  32. Stacey Ball

    Love it! Feeling sad that I just saw those earrings for $1 at a thrift store and I didn’t get them because I was too lazy to wait for the woman to get them out of the case. Man, maybe I should go back!

  33. P.

    Yes, PLEASE continue Mighty Closets! I *loved* your NYC clothes pics and I loved Aubrey’s clothes. Dressing for SF is such a challenge and I need all the help I can get.

  34. Jenny Ward

    miss aubrey MUSt wear that green dress more (it is SO nice on her) or send it down to me in panama – i would wear it everyday (well, every other day)
    loved mighty closets….well done

  35. Lindsay

    …and I CONTINUE to believe that you are apparently only friends with gorgeous people. :)
    I also love mighty closets!
    And yes, brand names or a tad more info on whatever you could manage would be great in the future, but I am SO not here to complain! :)

  36. sica

    OOHH! That was great! Yes, it would wonderful if you included where to find something similar next time!

  37. Michelle

    Love it! Would be interesting if you could get folks from different cities to participate as well–this former SF’er is still trying to fit into the LA scene without looking too, well, LA.

  38. Melissa

    I am in love with this new mighty closets idea! And short comment made me die with laughter. SF newbie myself and first trek outside in short a local stopped me on the street to tell me how my choice was all types of wrong. Lol.

  39. anh-minh

    Awesome new feature! While all of the outfits are divine, she totally rocks that green dress — and the black one, too. Full-on envy is setting in …

  40. Darci

    This is a great feature. I love dresses but as a teacher wearing them to school is a struggle. I try to work them into my off-hours circulation but a girl can fall into a rut. Thanks for the inspiration.

  41. Rachelskirts

    Love, love, love. This is a great post with great pictures of great outfits (and what appears to be a great gal, to boot!), and I’d love to see more of these!

  42. Sassafras Mama

    Loved this feature. As a fellow dress & skirt-wearer (always…..those little workout tennis skirts rock), I was impressed.

    And Aubrey: That green dress is amazing. Maggie’s right: tailor. And then you can wear it everywhere and the world will be your vassal.

  43. Alice

    YOW. ZA.

    I love this new feature of yours, Mason. I love it. And helloooo, Aubrey.

    Also I want that hat. The end.

  44. Aisha

    Where is the whale print from the background of the nightcap shot from? I’m working on decorating my room and would love to have something cooler than the typical van Gogh.

  45. Amanda

    Agreeing with everyone else on LOVING this new feature. I especially love the blue coat and I have to know more about that whale (sub?) picture. Where can I get a copy because WOW.

  46. ElJay

    Great feature, and great style!

    I would love to know the brand name of the first boots, from Delirious Shoes, if you get a chance. They are fabulous, and I’d like to check out what the line has available currently.

    Thanks for being such a good sport and answering our questions!

  47. Kat

    Beautiful! I am wearing a similar dress to the green one, except I got it at Forever 21 for about $16. It is also too long, but I wear it anyway. :)

  48. mamie

    I WANT THAT RED DRESS! sorry, had to put that out there toddler style. no,seriously, can I have it? or at least the name brand?

  49. aubs

    Red Dress – Brooklyn Industries. (www.brooklynindustries.com) – not sure they have it anymore as I got it last year, but it is the comfiest, most flattering thing in my closet.

    Boots: Brand name is ‘indigo’ – should have also bought them in black. SUPER comfortable, and the inside is paisley corduroy (!!)

    Blue Hat: San Diego Hat Co.

    Green dress – From J.Crew, but sadly, doesn’t look like it’s around anymore, but maybe try eBay? Also, Target has a similar one for $19.99 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicetiara/3293474999/) – I now own it in green, pink & a very bold yellow. (And Old Navy has something similar in blue: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aubs/3383733608/in/set-72157615862651322/)

  50. Katie

    That green dress is to die for! Hem that puppy up and wear it out! And that is a perfect little black dress. Those are always so hard to find!

    Can’t wait to see more of these posts! I love looking at real people’s clothes!

  51. robyn

    and i was just saying i wanted to be someone who wore dresses all the time – looks like i might just have to copy this fashionista and go for it!

    great idea for a regular feature, by the way – i love peeking inside other people’s closets!

  52. Hannah

    I adore this!! Please do more. I would love to hear stories behind pieces, esp. if they are sentimental, or about how they make people feel (clothing is powerful as you know) and I’ve also loved your posts about thrift finds and combining them with other pieces. Rock on, love it, love your site.

  53. Shelley

    Hey Maggie, With all this talk of shopping,and your friend Aubrey’s great style as inspiration I wanted to ask… I’ll be in San Fran over the summer, so I would love a list of some of your fav places in San Fran to pick up great clothes. I love your style and am keen to pick up some unique pieces.

  54. spoiledonlychild

    The clothes are gorgeous of course. But you tell us this is someone showing off some of her favorite outfits. Then it becomes obvious that much of this is stuff she rarely wears, and that a significant amount of styling has gone into this. So this was a fashion shoot that the two of you did together, not what she looks like every day walking around town. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just think you should call it what it is. Because the reality is that most people don’t have the perfect stylish outfits and perfect stylish homes that every blog seems to portray. I have J. Crew and Pottery Barn catalogues to stoke my unhealthy fantasies of the perfect life I’m missing out on. I look to blogs to see how people really live.

  55. Claire

    This is a great feature! I think the name “mighty closets” is perfect. #85 – my favorite outfits are outfits I rarely get to wear, wtf is wrong with that?
    Aubrey is a knock-out! And I am feeling more confident about trying to wear a sweater dress. Looking forward to the next one!

  56. Meghan

    I love this new feature. It would be great if you provided the names/links of the Mighty Closet participant’s favorite places to shop.

  57. Andrea

    LOVE IT! Please make this a regular feature. Very inspiring for us “fashion shy” types.

  58. Meg

    You know what this needs? Not links to similar peices. That’s a TON of work even for you (and might not be possible). It needs a links of stores the person likes/shops at. Some national, but F* it, give us local ones too.

    Soooo…. Aubrey. Where in San Francisco do you shop? Because if I’m not already shopping there, it looks like I should be.

  59. Amanda

    I love this Mighty Closet! Very handy. I’m thinking it would be most beneficial to have links to similar things so we can get the looks ourselves. :-) But that IS a lot of work as the last comment mentioned, so even just a list of some stores for inspiration or ideas could work just as well!

    And who DOESN’T love a great lingerie drawer?

  60. Amy

    Yes to Mighty Closet, yes to brand names, yes to exceptional lingerie drawers. Thanks, Maggie!

  61. Rachel

    1) I think JCrew has great dresses. I got my little black dress from there, and I love it so much that i bought a duplicate in ivory and wore it as my wedding dress.

    2) Cold in San Francisco? Please. I live in Chicago. :-)

  62. Fatema

    She looks gorgeous and the green dress is to die for. And by the way, I agree with 93. San Francisco…cold? COME JOIN MY MISERY IN MICHIGAN!

  63. leandra

    This has inspired me to get out some of my fun jewelry and wear it more often. Also, I love that green dress. Crazy flattering.

    I almost never wear dresses, but I got a flirty Nine West b&w dress two months ago that I have managed to wear four times (once to French Laundry)! Please keep this feature. :)

  64. Sloane

    This is a great feature! I love seeing peoples’ favorite things and this was a cool way to showcase them. The photography was beautiful and the text short and sweet around each item. Love to see more closets featured!

  65. jill

    as a soon-to-be san franciscan, i love the local tidbits of info you included. it’d be great to know where aubrey shops, both locally and nationally… it’d be less work than finding a slew of similar items, but would give readers a starting point from which to find similar looks. i’ll also echo the desire to see a photo of the person’s actual closet.

    as a sidenote, i’d love to see you write more about san francisco. you have a unique yet relatable voice, and that’s a perspective i haven’t really found in my research thus far. would prefer to ditch the tourist-oriented sites and read something about actually living in the city. if you have any “for locals, by locals” recommendations, do share!

  66. ElJay

    Amazingly enough, the boots are still available at least two places on line. Amazon and Zappos, where they are on sale for $137.12, black and chocolate. The full brand is Indigo by Clarks, and the style is Bewilder. I am ordering my pair now. :D The reviews said most people recommend a half size up, so I’m doing that and crossing my fingers.

    Thanks so much!

  67. Sara

    I love the outfits, but I also was noticing the Submarines poster! Looks like a mostly blue version is available online, but I really like the orange. Any ideas on where to look?

  68. Rebekah

    I loved this idea Maggie! I think “Mighty Closets” should be your next “Mighty” site. I would love for more of the same (women profiled for great taste, showing off their favorite outfits) but it would be great if you added both the locations where she purchased her items, and then links to places where similar items can be purchased now. Thanks for being so creative and inspiring! I wish I had your style!

  69. karen

    Like all the other commenters, absolutely LOVE this feature!

    Aubrey is such an inspiration – and this may be a tiny bit tacky, but I am curious about what size she wears? I have a LOT of baby weight to lose and am struggling to find pieces that look good on me. She looks AMAZING in her clothes & yet is not a size 0, which is totally awesome. I wish I looked half as good! What a beautiful, confident woman she is. :)

  70. amy

    I LOVE MIGHTY CLOSET! Brands/designers would be awesome but love everything else! And ditto on Maya: need help with underthings! Ha ha! :)

  71. Nadine

    Awesome!! Please keep posting Mighty Closet. I love getting ideas from folks with such great style!

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