Photographer (and thrifting genius) Brooke Williams lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with her husband and nine-year-old daughter. “I’m five feet eleven and three-quarters,” she says, “My advice to fellow tall people is to wear whatever’s going to make you stand up straight.” Here, Brooke reveals her vintage shopping advice and the dress that makes people smile…
“I saw this shirt on Instagram and was like, ‘That’s my shirt! That’s the statement shirt I want to be wearing.’ I’ve always stuck with the very simple definition of a feminist — that women and men should be treated equally, done. I want my daughter to grow up feeling strong. Also, my HeatTech tights were $8. They keep you so warm, you have no idea. I also have HeatTech turtlenecks and long underwear, and my whole family has the light down jackets you can roll up in your purse. They’re my foul-weather, anti-cold trick.”
“This outfit makes me feel like a flirty intellectual — and I got the green purse for my fiftieth birthday. Also, I’m 5′ 11 3/4″. You have to own your height. The air is clear up here! In a weird way, when you’re tall, slouching makes you look even taller. When I was younger, I slouched, and it drove my mom crazy. She said, we’re going to have a code word and then you’ll know to straighten up. It seemed like a good idea. But the code word she came up with was… posture. I was like, ‘That’s not sneaky, Mom.’ Still, funnily enough, not wanting her to say the code word was enough to make me stand up straight. My husband is 5’6″. Our differing heights haven’t ever been a thing for us, though — I still wear my heels.”
Dress: vintage Lilly Pulitzer, similar.
“This is my 71-year-old-lady-on-Park-Avenue look. I found this dress years ago at a thrift store. After my daughter was born, I went through a phase where I wasn’t putting much effort into getting dressed. I never quite went to sweatpants, but when I was tired, I’d go for whatever was at the top of the pile. But then I realized that a) I have all these clothes that I like, and b) it makes you feel so much better, especially when you’re wearing bright colors. It makes people smile walking down the street. It’s worth spending a few more minutes in the morning.”
“These are Rachel Comey boots. Her clothes are so awesome. Why is she not my best friend? It’s so upsetting. I found the skirt at a sample sale. When traveling, I always try to hit vintage stores along the way. I’ve had the best luck in the Midwest and Florida. The huge warehouse stores there have stuff for $1.50 that would be $60 in Brooklyn. But in New York, Beacon’s Closet is great; and there’s an amazing store called Absolute Glamour run by these Japanese kids. It’s still under the radar in that good way.”
“I’m always reaching for sweaters in the morning. Sweaters are the first thing I look for when thrifting… until I realize I cannot buy any more sweaters. You know you’ve found a perfect sweater when it’s soft, comfortable and not slouchy. The really great ones feel like a beauty treatment, like taking a bath with really nice bath products.”
Thank you, Brooke!
(Photos by Ana Gambuto for Cup of Jo.)