So I recently set out in search of my own personal style icon. Mostly, I just find myself inspired by my friends, but I knew there much be some more public figures out there for me to look up to, even at my ripe old age.
And then I found her. Or rather, I re-found her. I’ve been an admirer for years without ever knowing much beyond the photos in the Style section of the New York Times. My search is over.
In terms of personal style, Evelyn Cunningham is the woman that I most want to be when I grow up. She covered hard news about civil rights in the 60′s for the Pittsburgh Currier, a nationally distributed African American paper, she was a special adviser to Governor and then VP Nelson Rockefeller, she fought for women’s rights her entire life, and she looked incredible the entire time.
What I most love about her is that while she was out there in the world, fighting the good fight and clearly making a difference by helping to make the world a better place for so many people, she still had the energy and the sense of fun to dress with true flair. In a sea of black tuxedos, she rocked a hot pink floor length gown like nobody’s business.
The ability to see and understand all of the complexities and difficulties in the political and social universe, while also being able to acknowledge some of the beauty and fun that can be found through dressing up is the mark of a truly well rounded individual. We can all be forces for good whilst wearing bold prints and big earrings, damn it.
Shortly after Evelyn Cunningham died, in 2010, the iconic photographer Bill Cunningham made a little video tribute which is lovely to watch. A little inspiration for a spring weekend.