Lawrence Laundry: Local fashion focus of new column

Ali Edwards

I’m like you. I don’t have a lot of discretionary funds to spend on clothes. I can’t — nor do I want to — buy the latest Gucci collection, and I don’t have time to compose a flawless outfit every morning.

By day, I work at Heartland Community Health Center, a nonprofit, holistic health clinic nestled into the basement of the Riverfront Plaza. At night, I scour fashion blogs and read social-trend articles by Malcolm Gladwell.

I’m swooned by style because of its artistic power to reflect a person’s beliefs and core values without having to stand on a soapbox to do it. It’s the equivalent of bringing your own mug into a coffee shop, a decision to take the stairs, to silently pray before eating a meal.

A person’s style can whisper, “I shop local,” in the loudest way possible. A champagne-colored, lace dress will reveal a classy lady before she has a chance to utter a “please” or “thank you.”

Style isn’t about the clothes. It’s about how and why a person wears them.

Here in Lawrence, personal beliefs and core values are in abundance. The land of impromptu Mass. Street protests does not rest when it comes to two things: community involvement and looking good.

In this column, we’ll be keeping it local: local people, local clothes, local style. I’ll be diving headlong into what people in Lawrence wear and why they wear it by featuring local humanitarians who “look good” while they “do good,” combing through local thrift stores to find hidden treasures and chasing down Lawrence fashionistas on the street to find out where they got their clothes (and where you can find similar looks in town).

Lawrence locals are public-spirited and well-dressed with personal beliefs that are tightly kept and loudly spoken. Our little liberal-minded blip in a beautifully barren state teems and boils with a zest unlike that of our conservative counterparts. The style of locals has a certain honesty and charm to it that seems forged on the coasts.

In this column, I’ll be tracking that which is relevant in Lawrence, that which makes our town stylistically different than anywhere else, and, of course, why this homegrown creativity says something that matters.