Designer for Hire

Me, My Clothes and I

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Adiba Nelson. Photo by Michelle Rooney Photography.

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

Photo by Adiba Nelson

Tangie Duffy, a.k.a Ginger Sinclaire.

If I told you there was a woman running around Tucson with turquoise hair, you wouldn’t be surprised. I mean, c’mon – it’s TUCSON. But if I told you that same woman was also wearing a killer tiara, a mint green gingham dress, and red cowboy boots, your jaw might drop. If I told you she’s also one of Tucson’s most amazing (READ: insanely, undeniably fantastic) burlesque stars, well honey you might just pass out. I almost did.

I love style, and I love color, but even I have been known to shy away from marrying the two in such a bold way. Not this firecracker though. She is not a slave to fashion – fashion is a slave to her. It begs her to twist it and flip it and turn it into something amazing it didn’t even know it could be. Tucson, hold on to your saddles. There’s a new starlet  in town, and her name is Tangie Duffy. Or as you may know her, the fabulous Ginger Sinclaire of Black Cherry Burlesque.

Photo by Adiba Nelson

Tiara, turquoise and cowboy boots – because why not?

Describe your look. Boho retro. I am eclectic, to say the least. I like lots of color with a vintage cut. It has to be flirty and feminine, and instantly produce a smile on my face.

Where do you shop? My favorite place was Anthropologie. I would stalk clothes until they went on double markdown. It was pretty bad. Recently, however, I have gotten back to my thrifting roots. I have a favorite honey hole of a place, but I’ll never let that secret go. NEVER.

Fave piece of clothing – ever? Just one? Dang! Ok, my Nana’s green lace cocktail dress. It fits me perfectly and I have pictures of her in it. It’s just beautiful. I never really saw her as fashionable until she passed and I was given some of her clothes. That gift unlocked a piece of her that I was unaware of. There’s magic in that. It makes me feel like I can channel some of that sass.

If you could dress anyone, who would it be? Only me. Ok, maybe Marilyn Monroe, and that’s only because I’d love to hang out with her. She knew how to dress to receive the reaction she wanted. She was very methodical in that way. She knew how to put on the “Marilyn”, and I relate to that with “Ginger”  – my burlesque alter ego. I’d love to watch her go through that transformation.

What is your staple/go-to item of clothing? Ummmm, overalls. Seriously, don’t laugh. I wear them almost everyday. Ask the husband, he’ll confirm it.

Who is your style icon? Madonna is my icon for everything. She is fearless and she is a warrior. Those are the kind of women I look up to: bold, fierce, strong, revolutionary and determined to heal the world.

Can I have your crown? You can borrow it. But I think every queen should have her own. There’s one out there right now with your name on it. I’m certain of it.

Photo by Adiba Nelson

Tangie’s grandmother’s necklace is a talisman for her.

If the house is on fire, and you HAVE to get out – what do you save? Ok, assuming the kids and the animals are out of the house, my other Grandmother’s necklace. It was given to my Grandmother by my Great Great Grandmother on her 18th birthday, who in turn gave it to me on mine. It’s a glass acorn (symbol of luck in the victorian age) and has a mustard seed in the middle of it. I only recently learned what that meant, and it’s really lovely. Basically, if you have faith you can move mountains. It’s my talisman.

Read more from Adiba Nelson at her blog, The Full Nelson and on The Huffington Post.

Love Tangie’s dress? Try these gingham looks this summer



1. Fit-and-flare vintage style dress by Mata Traders, $99.99 from ModCloth

2. Pocket shirt by Atwell, $49 from

3.  Embellished cotton dress with contrasting belt, $99.95 from eShakti

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