Outfit Inspiration: Iris Apfel

"In the '40s, I was probably the first woman to wear jeans. It was such a crazy story. I had transferred from NYU into the University of Wisconsin and all of a sudden I had a vision. I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had a big gingham—This sounds crazy...it was—a big gingham turban and big hoop earring that I could wear with a nice, crisp shirt and blue jeans. And the vision was just compelling, so I said ‘I have to get a pair of jeans.’ Well, in Wisconsin in 1940, the only people who wore jeans were Paul Bunyan and a few lumberjacks. They were all oversized. And the only place you could buy such an article was in the local Army/Navy store. So I set off for this emporium and when I got there and stated my vision, I thought they were going to kill me. They said to me ‘Don’t you know young ladies do not wear jeans? What’s wrong with you?’ And I said ‘But I want a pair, I need a pair.’ ‘We’re very sorry but we can’t help you.’ I said ‘Oh surely you must have a pair that fit me.’ Well of course they couldn’t. So I said ‘I would be happy to pay for it. Could you possibly cut one down.’ Oh they were just so mean. They threw me out. But when I want something, I’m like a dog with a bone so I went back a couple of times. And finally, I guess in an effort to just get me off his back the owner called me on the telephone—oh it was maybe five or six weeks of really hard work on my part—he said he had mail ordered me a pair of boy’s jeans and they fit. So I put the outfit together and it was really smashing!"

Iris Apfel, via Racked