A passion for fashion: Mrs. Reeves rocks vintage looks

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From thrifting and rewatching fashion shows to recreating the looks herself, English teacher Mrs. Jessica Reeves has always had a passion for fashion.

“I always liked dressing for myself and I always liked to stand out from any of my friends. I remember back in elementary school wanting to go to thrift stores because I wanted unique items,” Mrs. Reeves said.

Her knack for sewing clothes sprouted from buying a 1960s shirt and bathing suit sewing patterns at a garage sale in middle school. She returned to this hobby as a college student, creating her own Etsy stores for jewelry and clothing. After completing her graduate degree, she continued to design clothes for herself. 

Of course, before anyone can make an outfit, one must have the design sketched out first. This is where Mrs. Reeves’s artistic skills come into play.

“I have a book of croquis that I make. It’s a French word for fashion sketches. If I have free time and I’m watching a show, I’ll just be coloring in my croquis,” Mrs. Reeves said.

 Her style tends to gravitate more towards looks from the 1940s and 1960s, but silhouette dresses from the 50s in particular inspired many of the looks she wears to work. To her, constructing silhouette dresses is an enjoyable task.

“Anyone can make a skirt and just cinch the waist, but to make something that is fitted to every inch takes much more time. It’s the fun challenge of it,” Mrs. Reeves said.     

Her inspirations include the American model Marilyn Monroe and singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, specifically from 2012-2018 when Rey modeled for Gucci. The two have many similarities in their styles, which perfectly match up with Mrs. Reeves’ preferences.

“[Rey’s] style in the National Anthem music video where she plays both Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy shows the beautiful looks from the early 1960s,” Mrs. Reeves said.

The English teacher’s favorite designers include Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier when he designed for Dior. She enjoys the stark contrast created by juxtapositions of the vulgar and elegant styles. In the case of Gaultier, he inverted fashion. Instead of wearing the bustier  (the corset of the mid 1900s) as undergarments, he layered it on top of clothing. This was a look Madonna wore in the 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour.

Mrs. Reeves’ interests have also affected her choice of hair, makeup and nails. “I always loved the look of big, blonde hair like Dolly Parton. I loved Marilyn’s and Grace Kelly’s hair as well,” Mrs. Reeves said. While she takes inspiration from these historic fashion icons, her nails reflect her love for Rey’s looks.

With the integration of fashion into her curriculum, Mrs. Reeves is able to be a more authentic person around her students. In their current unit, students analyze Vogue covers for the use of rhetoric.

“The way she would help us get to the conclusion she was at in order for us to understand the material and concepts made the class enjoyable, along with her sharing her interests and hobbies,” sophomore Felippe Thormann, a past student from her class, said. 

All in all, Mrs. Reeves’s looks stem from many different actresses, models and time periods, which tell a story of who she is. With this medium, she is able to express herself artistically and inspire the same passion in her students. 

Mrs. Reeves wears her version of the 1940s style Lucille Trousers. These experienced a change in the 1950s when they became more tailored to the silhouette. American actresses Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance both wore them on I Love Lucy, a sitcom created in 1951. (Photo/Jessica Reeves)

Alina, a rising sophomore at American Heritage, is looking forward to her first year on the Patriot Post. Apart from reporting, she’s very involved in the arts and can often be found creating a new painting in her free time. Alina enjoys ballroom dancing, music, fashion, literature, and mathematics as she is a part of the math competition team, the National English Honor Society, and the National Art Honor Society. Nevertheless, her recent discovery of her passion for journalism has inspired her to capture the rhythm of life at American Heritage this coming year.