Style Counsel: Alyssa Brown


Occupation: Fourth-grade science teacher, Southern Elementary; costume designer and seamstress

Style: Pin-up model meets 1950s housewife

Photograph by Annette Navarro

How did you develop your retro style? I’ve always been drawn to it. My grandmother Mary Lou was a pin-up model her whole life. Everyone has told me that I look just like her, so I explored that when I was in high school. After she passed away, I tried on all her old clothes, and they fit me perfectly, like they were made for me. I was like, Wow, this is a sign. I just felt a new level of confidence after that.

Where else can you find 1950s-style clothes like yours? Tatyana Boutique, Collectif Clothing, the Hip Zipper in Nashville, and resale stores. Otherwise, I buy sheets at thrift stores and make my own dresses!

In addition to custom work, you also make clothes for your two daughters. Which piece are you most proud of? The purple pterodactyl costume. It was about as hard to sew as it is to spell. Or the costumes I’ve made for cosplayers. My goal with that is to be the Edna Mode of Cincinnati, where I can make all of the cosplay superheroes their costumes.

What would you tell someone who’s afraid to dress a little differently? Oh honey, be yourself. I used to feel that pressure, but as soon as I let it go, I felt so much happiness and confidence that you just can’t leave home without. It’s life-changing. I’m sure there are some people who would never even think about this style, but there are beautiful things to every style. Let’s all just embrace each other, because if it makes you feel good, that’s the best style I’ve ever seen.


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