Over the Hill Vintage: Kelsey Keena

1. What do you do on a day-to-day basis when you aren’t being a vintage extraordinaire?

I would like to think that I live a glamorous life. But to be honest, I’m very much a homebody, so when I’m not thrifting and looking for gems, I’m at home with my puppy. I’m just finishing up my last semester in school, so between school and starting a business, I don’t get time to really socialize. I’m truly a grandma.

2. Who/what inspired your style?

My grandmother! She is such a style icon! Growing up my Grandma was notorious for her monochromatic outfits, she would wear head to toe in one color, and she made an effort to make sure it was the exact same color. She was known for having every single color in Crocs, and would have matching bug eye readers to go along with it. It’s funny looking back to when my cousins and I used to make giggle about her colorful style, and now it’s something that I embody in my own personal style.

3. When did you start thifting? In other words, when did you develop you love for vintage clothing?

I’ve always been a thrifter, but it wasn’t nearly as refined as my style is now. In middle school, I would joke and say I want to dress in a costume every single day. I just noticed that from a young age that my style would never be something that could be found within a magazine. Through the years, I just started to appreciate the quality, and construction of vintage clothing, plus it looks killer on a curvy body.

4. How would you describe your personal style?

Oh goodness, this is always a question that’s difficult for me to answer. I want to say colorfully fun. I have an obsession when it comes to crazy colors, and bold prints. If I had to narrow it down, it would be a combination of early 50’s housewife, meets late 60’s business lady. I’ve just struggled when I was growing up and getting involved in fashion, trying to “fit in”, and now if I like something I just throw it on. Now, people ask me constantly if I’m wearing a costume, and it feels amazing being able to say, “ No, I’m just me.”

5. If you could meet any designer, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

I would love to meet Oleg Cassini, he was Jackie Kennedy’s official designer. I just would love to know, his thought process behind the first lady’s icon looks, and whether he knew that these looks were going to be so iconic. He was also an activist for the care of animals, and was an incredible Humanitarian.

6. Who, in terms of up-and-coming fashion bloggers, do you think inspires you the most?

I’m not going to lie, the “bloggers” who inspire me, are those lady bosses who have their own businesses. I love Chelsea Ward, she has her own vintage shop called The Mermaid’s Purse, and she uses her platform to promote self- positivity and creates wonderful lookbooks. My dear friend, Natasha Lillipore, she’s an illustrator, who used to sell vintage as well. Natasha is just a business mogul; she works so hard and is so successful in anything that she does. Lastly, Sam Kuntz, she’s the founder of the shop Whurl app, and she uses her platform to not only write about fellow sellers, but she speaks on the behalf of feminism and equality.

7. How did you become an activist for feminism?

Being an activist, and being politically involved was a crucial part of my upbringing. My mother, raised my sister and I on her own, and taught me the importance of being an independent woman. My grandmother especially, would tell me the importance of equality for everyone, and it’s something that I try to pursue everyday. I can’t stress enough, that even though you may think you have a small following, or if you think your voice doesn’t matter—
you are so wrong! With social media today, I feel like it’s important to use the opportunity to speak out and stand up!

8. How did you learn to incorporate your feminist voice with vintage clothing (I dig the mixture!)?

My Grandmother’s political buttons are literally her life. They are something that she cherished her whole adult life, and would tell me stories about them when I was a teenager. So, when I started my business, I wanted my message to be not only can you look good, but you can stand up for equality as well! I wanted to use the buttons as a tool for people to be able to spread the word of equality on a daily basis. That sounds silly, but I feel like where you buy clothing says a lot about what you value, and I wanted women, and men to know that I’m here and I will stand up for you.

9. What are some tips you would suggest to someone who is just starting to thrift or is wary of starting?

Give yourself time! I feel like thrift store overwhelms people, and they get frustrated when they don’t find something immediately. I would say just take your time, have a few things in mind of what you would like to find, but be open to the possibilities. Also, just because it’s fairly cheap, actually ask yourself if it’s something that you’re going to wear. I’ve bought tons of statement pieces, which still sit in my closet today, but I’m a hoarder so they all mean something to me, haha.

10. In general, what is your personal style advice for readers?

Do not wait! I’ve wanted to dress in vintage for the longest time, but was too afraid. If you feel good wearing head to toe sequins, then do it! Or if you want to wear Crocs, then work it! People give fashion too many rules and weird regulations. Clothing should make you feel good, so wear things that make you feel like you can take on anything. Who cares?

11. What do you hope to accomplish/where do you hope to be in the next five years, whether that be in the world of activism, fashion, or personally?

I would love for Over the Hill Vintage to be a community to not only buy clothing, but also a place for people to connect. I would love to be able to share my personal stories, and experiences to make people feel like they aren’t alone. The future is so weird to think about, but I just want to be at a place were I can support others, and be a voice for those who are too afraid to speak out.

12. In your opinion, what is the future of fashion?

I truly think thrifting! Going to flea markets, and supporting local business will hopefully be the future. Not only does shopping local, give people, like me, the chance to have their own business. But now with technology, even for people who don’t live near thrift stores, now have apps like Depop and Shop Whurl, and now can thrift anytime! Overall, I think people want that personal connection to what they’re buying, and know more about whom they’re buying from.

13. Where are your favorite places to thrift?

I love going to yard sales, and flea markets when I can! But I’m that annoying friend that has to go into every thrift store I happen to stumble upon! You just never know what you’ll find! Also, I love going on the Whurl app, especially if I’m looking for something in particular! That app is truly a vintage lover’s dream!

14. Do you have anything else to add that we forgot??

I’m a firm believe in breakfast food, and I don’t understand why there isn’t a waffle emoji still?

Quick Facts:

Most-loved piece: My bandana, polyester maxi dress

Most-worn piece: Daisy, “Forget me not” Sweater

Worst purchase: A Neon, Yellow Jumpsuit ( It sounds cute, but I look like Breaking Bad)

Favorite/Hated Trend: Fuzzy Pool Sliders lol Sorry Rihanna

Current read: How to Build a Girl By Caitlin Moran

Favorite Fashion decade: Late 60’s, early 70’s

Favorite leisurely activity (not fashion related): Reading/ Watching Anime

Favorite word: Bullshit

Least favorite word: Moist

Favorite place to travel: Palm Springs/ Joshua Tree

Photographed by: Danielle Hamlett / Modeled/Styled by: Kelsey Keena of Over the Hill Vintage.

Interviewed by Rachel Kiser (4.13.17)

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