The Chest of Drawers

Valerie Wood -

  • The Introduction.
    The Introduction.

    Valerie mentions later in this little collection of photos that “good fashion breeds great relationships.” And damnit, if that isn’t as true as the fact that the day is long. [Editor's Note: I'm feeling a bit philosophical this morning.]

    Throughout the post, you’ll read all about Valerie’s friends and family and the fabulous, fashionable ways they’ve made her life so much happier and more glamorous. But what you won’t read is the love story that is me and Valerie.

    Most of you know, or maybe you don’t- I don’t know your life!- is that I used to work at Standard Style on the Country Club Plaza. And as such, I got to meet tons and tons of fashion and style enthusiasts alike. Some people were fun to work with because they had the wildest, craziest wardrobe, some people were fun because they were super cool and minimal and had just gotten back from Paris or wherever, and some people were fun because they were my fashion soulmates. Thus was the case with Valerie.

    And as most fashion-minded individuals (paired with a psuedo-photographic memory like myself) can, I remember exactly what my fashion soulmate was wearing when she first walked through the glass doors into the store. I remember it like it was yesterday: little black booties with gold studs, a wool plaid maxi-skirt (that looked freakishly similar to the very one I wore a few days prior), and a black, knit top with similar gold studs. Swoooooooooooooooooon.

    I immediately telepathically told everyone else who was working to back off. This girl was mine. I’m not sure if they ever got the message or even cared, because the rest, as they say, is history.

    We laughed, we cried (not really, but come on… you know), and we shopped to our heart’s content, with Valerie always buying the things I secretly wanted to buy myself. Fear not! There was no resentment; these clothes were going to the best home possible. And back then, I don’t even know how good this home was.

    Anyway, soon shopping together turned into Facebook friends, Facebook friends turned into texting buddies, and texting buddies turned into a Chest of Drawers feature! And guys, I have to be honest, this is one of my favorite features ever. It’s always a treat to be welcomed into someone’s personal space to photograph it and then splay it all over the internets, but it’s even better when you can do it while sipping hard cider, eating strawberries and mint, and enthusiastically being told the rich (oftentimes hilarious) story of each and every piece.

    This feature, I fear, may call for a part two.


  • The One Crammed Full.
    The One Crammed Full.

    Pare-down or stock up your wardrobe?

    I wish I was one of those cool, chic people that has a minimalist wardrobe with like 10 key items, but I’m just not. Editing/subtly is not my forte, and I find joy in finding new additions to my collection. Admittedly I have things that I just like looking at in my closet or jewelry display that I may wear once or never and still cannot part with. That being said, I do try and take a load of things to a consignment store or do a clothing swap with my more fashionable friends once or twice a year, usually so I can go hunt down new treasures!

  • The One with a Pink Closet.
    The One with a Pink Closet.

    Describe your personal style.

    This is always a hard one because I don’t think my personal style fits into one distinct category. I think what’s most important about fashion and personal style is that it should always be creative and fun. I love pairing beloved vintage pieces with something new and chic, and I always throw in a belt or pin or some little fun trinket. I enjoy having people stop me and comment on my outfits. I know the story behind everything I own, and like to share that with others. I like to put together outfits no one would EVER imagine putting together and yet they always (okay, well usually) work really well. I often get the “Val, you’re the ONLY person who could pull that off!” and that makes me smile.

  • The One with a Double Feature.
    The One with a Double Feature.

    How do you decide what to wear everyday?

    When I’m not wearing scrubs, I always like to put thought into everything I put on. My day is always a little brighter when I’m wearing an outfit that makes me smile. It never takes me long to get dressed, and I usually pick a key item–a floral printed shirt, high waisted skirt, fur collar, whatever, and build my outfit around that one item. And then add little accents like a hand-me-down bee pin or bicycle belt that add a little whimsy.

    [Editor's Note: This headband of Valerie's is officially my new favorite thing ever. If anyone sees a look-a-like floating around, or if I'm being completely honest, Valerie walking around, swipe it, and I'll reward you with treasure.]

  • The One with a Bit of Basil.
    The One with a Bit of Basil.

    “Everyone should grow a little basil. It’s super easy.”

  • The One with the Hands and the City.
    The One with the Hands and the City.

    Where are your favorite places to shop?

    Rowe Boutique in Columbus, OH (where I went to medical school). I met my best friend, Maren Roth, the owner of the shop there. Good fashion breeds great relationships! In Kansas City, my new home, definitely Standard Style for something new (love my Baldwin denim!) and Donna’s Dress Shop for amazing vintage finds. I also enjoy taking a little jaunt over to Independence to visit Kathy at Vintage Vogue. Bob Jones Shoes is amazing. Period. If I have a free afternoon I can spend hours digging through thrift stores for one of a kind pieces. Oh! And my grandmother’s closet–duh!

  • The One with a Stethoscope.
    The One with a Stethoscope.

    “My best friend, Maren, and I have a lot of fun gifting each other things, and she has access to fucking amazing stuff because she goes to New York all the time. And she found this piece there. My birthday is in November, and it was August, and she kept saying,”Can I give you your birthday present?” I refused, but she was so excited about it. A lot of times when I wear it out, only 3 or 4 people will notice what it is. It’s a stethoscope, by the way.”

  • The One with Swedish Clogs.
    The One with Swedish Clogs.

    How does your work affect your wardrobe?

    As a head and neck surgery (officially called otolaryngology) resident at KU, spending most of my time working the operating room in scrubs really limits what I can wear. I do try and add some flare, though, and wear hand painted Swedish clogs as my OR shoes. I also have a lovely little toucan pin that I wear on my white coat–just a little something to make people smile! When I am working in the clinic, I really enjoy coming up with professionally appropriate ensembles that still show a little of my personal style. Lots of high-waisted skirts and vintage dresses. Many of the patients I work with are older and come from a generation where doctors dress up, so I enjoy dressing the part.

  • The One with Zoo Friends.
    The One with Zoo Friends.

    Things you can’t stop wearing?

    Clogs. Brightly colored prints. Animal themed clothing and jewelry (I call them my zoo friends)…

  • The One with  Homage Tees.
    The One with Homage Tees.

    Things you can’t stop wearing? (continued)

    “Vintage or vintage inspired tees by Homage, a Columbus-based company owned by my pal Ryan Vesler. Everything made by Homage is inspired by culture and sports-stories of the past. Plus, the tees are incredibly soft and perfectly cut. How can I resist?

    [Editor's Note: For real, check out Homage. They make the most badass, softest t-shirts ever. I think if enough of us Kansas Citians visit the site, he'll reproduce this awesome KC t-shirt Valerie has that of course was cut out of this shot. With our powers combined....]

  • The One that Gets All Primary.
    The One that Gets All Primary.

    “Now that its biking season, I try to ride everywhere I can so that affects (somewhat) what I wear, but I’ll certainly bike in a dress and heels if I’m in the mood!”

    “By the way, I have two sisters. There’s three of us all together. My father makes each of us do a ‘manly activity’. One of my sisters is really good at throwing a Frisbee. For my father, that’s manly. My other sister is really good at ping pong, which my father also associates with being manly. So, I bike with him. He’s obsessed with biking, so I started riding with him.”

  • The One with Valerie's Chest of Drawers.
    The One with Valerie’s Chest of Drawers.

    “This was a gift from my family for graduating from medical school. It belonged to my grandmother, Mimi, who is no longer with us. It’s an old pharmacist’s chest of drawers. There’s iodine and thyroid and cocaine. And if you smell it, it smells like vitamins. It kinda smells disgusting. But the teal, the color that it’s painted, was my grandmother’s signature color and everything she had was based around that color.”

    [Editor's Note: This is without a doubt, one of the coolest things I have ever seen... ever. Alas, because it is a family heirloom, I won't ask for you to steal it for me.]

  • The One with Bristly Brushes.
    The One with Bristly Brushes.

    Make-up/Hair/Beauty product recommendation?

    I love a bright lip and can convince myself that it is appropriate for almost any occasion. Covergirl Lip Perfection lipstick in the color flame. Don’t fear the flame! Also cream or gel blush (I love Tarte’s Cheek Stain) applied with a blush brush- gives a really nice natural flush without that powdery look, which I’m not into. I’ve never dyed my hair–I figure I usually have so much going on with my outfits that I better stick to plain old brown!

  • The One a Bit Posed.
    The One a Bit Posed.

    “I dislike the idea of having ‘special occasion’ items. If you own something and love it, then wear it! Sequins on a Monday afternoon? Why not? Fashion should be fun!!”

  • The One with Gams... I Mean, Legs.
    The One with Gams… I Mean, Legs.

    Items you splurge on. Why?

    Classic well-cut shirts in luxe fabrics like silk, such as the Equipment shirts. They are cut so well and go with anything. Plus, I will still be wearing them 20 years from now. I also love spending a little extra on vintage designer pieces (like my new-old Valentino flower print dress from Donna’s Dress Shop). You know that if it was made in the 60′s and still looks amazing now, you will have it for a lifetime!

  • The One with One Cool Dude.
    The One with One Cool Dude.

    Items you skimp on. Why?

    “Trend” items that you know will only last a season. Fun to have and wear, but get them from H&M or Forever 21 so you aren’t sad next year when you are ready to toss them and move onto the next new trend. Thrift stores are always a great place to hit up if you’ve got the shopping bug but don’t have a lot of cash–be ready to dig!

  • The One with Gold Teeth.
    The One with Gold Teeth.

    “When I was growing up, my dad had his wisdom teeth as cuff links that his mother made him. They were the FULL tooth with the root, and I always thought they were so morbid and awesome. And he only wore them to very special occasions.. like doctor events. So, last year, when I was finishing up medical school, he and I went on a bike ride together (which I call a ‘forced march of fun’ when it’s involving my father), and he said he had something special for me. And he brought this little box out, and it was these teeth. And while it’s now gold-leafed, initially, it was just teeth sitting in this beautiful silver work. He thought it was so funny that he didn’t bleach them or anything so they were all these different shades of dingy-ness. They were hideous I think it would be awesome to put some sapphires and diamonds in it.”


  • The One with Givenchy.
    The One with Givenchy.

    Fashion inspiration:

    My grandmother, Nana. I’ve gotten many of my favorite items from her! Nature. My best friend, Maren, who has some of the best personal style of anyone I know. History. Vogue for beautifully made clothing on gorgeous women. A girl can dream…

  • The One with a Pretty Lady.
    The One with a Pretty Lady.

    Advice you would give to fellow wardrobe-enthusiasts?

    Know how to dress your body. For example, I’m not well endowed in the chest department but I can take advantage of low cut dresses or backless shirts without looking like a loose woman. I’ve got long legs and a short waist so the high waisted thing works well on me, but I can’t wear every cut and focus on shapes I know will flatter me. Know your body!

    [Editor's Note: Those little babies on the right? Those are Prada, bitch.]

  • The End.
    The End.

    Three things you would die without:

    In life: Family and friends, running, good food, a job I love, horses, and of course fashion.

    In fashion: Vintage, animal-themed jewels gifted by my grandmother and friends, my Barbour Bedale jacket, and a good Foley and Corina crossbody fold-over satchel. It holds everything, works perfectly when I’m on my bike!