Designer for Hire

Me, My Clothes & I

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Style. It’s all around us – and especially on the streets. Adiba Nelson – fashionista, blogger, and self-confessed Nosey Nelly – goes in search for it.


Adiba Nelson. Photo by Michelle Rooney Photography.

So, a girl walks into a bar wearing metallic gold ballet flats that masquerade as heels. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Yes Tucson, yes. Just when I thought I had seen all the beautiful shoes this town had to show me, in walk these bad boys – just taunting the hell out of me. And into Reilly Craft Pizza’s basement jubilee The Tough Luck Club, no less. It was just that – my tough luck – because these shoes were not in my closet. Neither was the adorable vintage velvet, cropped teal blazer this little style maven had on! Who was this girl? Where did she shop? And could I have her shoes? In the words of my 8th grade Spanish class text book – AY DE MI! Tucson, I had to know! So what did I do? What I do best of course. Accosted her and her equally adorable friends and boyfriend as they left the bar, and asked my favorite 7 questions. What? You didn’t think I’d really let metallic gold pumps get away, did you?

Tucson, meet Robin Richards, med student by day, adorable fashionista by night.

Photo by Adiba Nelson

Robin Richards. Photo by Adiba Nelson

Describe your look. Hmmm I’ll go with simple, with a dash of spunk. Unless its a particularly fancy or festive occasion, I often opt for outfits with a solid color base (black, grey, white, etc), and then throw on accessories to spice it up – jackets, scarves, leggings, fun shoes, jewelry, etc. I’ve been a student forever, and so this is an inexpensive but fun way for me to express myself! I stock up on the staples – pants, shirts, skirts, LBD’s (little black dresses) etc. Over the years I’ve been collecting the accessories. Many are gifts from wonderful (and stylish) friends, or things I found at cool little boutiques from different places I visit.

Where do you shop? EVERYWHERE! Nordstrom Rack, little boutiques wherever I go, Buffalo Exchange, CrossRoads, thrift shops, NW 23rd   in Portland, OR, Nordstrom and Banana Republic sales, H&M, T.J. Maxx, outlet malls, etc. I’m a bargain shopper for life!

Photo by

Photos courtesy of Robin Richards.

Fave piece of clothing – ever? Right now, I have to go with my Doc Marten boots. They make me feel funky, alternative and strong. I grew up in Portland in the 90s and all my friends rocked them, so they also give me some happy nostalgia and I always half-joke that they “connect me back to my roots.”

If you could dress anyone, who would it be? My cats! I wish I could get them in little outfits but they hate it when I try. For example I have dragon wings for them– but alas, they refuse such gimmicks!

What is your staple/go-to item of clothing? Right now I have to say my black skinny jeans. They fit perfectly and are perfectly slimming. I got them from H&M and wear them all the time! I can make all sorts of outfits with them.

Photo by

Photos courtesy of Robin Richards.

Who is your style icon? My Portland bestie Maki! She is the most fashionable person I know, with an amazing knack for colors, layers, and great accessories. She incorporates fresh styles with old classics and knows how to find great deals. She inspires me and keeps me hip.

Can I have those adorable gold pumps? No way! These babies and I go way back. They were gifted to me by friends in Vegas when I was 21- I have worn them for many of my life’s greatest (READ: FANCY) moments. I have so many memories wearing them– I’m keeping them forever!

If the house is on fire, and you HAVE to get out – what do you save? OK, clothing-wise I think it would be my Tylie Malibu purse. I love that thing. The jeweled strap dresses up any simple outfit; and I get so many compliments on it. And, I’d put my cats in it, obviously.

* Read more from Adiba Nelson at her blog, The Full Nelson. You can also read her new blog on The Huffington Post.

Love Robin’s shoes? Try these ballerina pumps with a difference

1. Women’s perforated scrunch ballet flats, $22.94 from Old Navy

2. Yosi Samra camo flats with removable strap, $96 from

3. Lotus wedge heeled ballet shoes, $29.99 from T.K. Maxx


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  1. Enjoy your column as always! Those gold heeled pumps would have stopped me too!!!