An Open Letter To Sienna Miller’s Wardrobe Circa 2004

Dear Sienna Miller’s Wardrobe Circa 2004,

You don’t know me, but I know you better than I know many of my family members. Would you like me to draw a detailed inventory of every one of your shrunken denim vests, floral sundresses, and slouchy thigh-high boots? Because I totally could. I will even defend you for that six-month period when you decided pants in public were totally optional. You see, Sienna’s Wardrobe, I was completely and totally obsessed with you from around 2004 to 2005. I worshipped you to a point of unhealthy obsession. You were my one and only style inspiration for nearly two years of my life.

But the truth is, I haven’t thought about you in quite awhile. At some point I must have moved on, but I didn’t realize it until I saw this new photo (shown above) of Sienna Miller, circa last week. Like seeing an old boyfriend pop up in Facebook’s “People You May” section, it instantly brought back a flood of memories, but something was different: I didn’t experience the mad rush of envy and desire that I’ve felt so many times before…

If this had been a photo of you, Sienna Miller’s Wardrobe Circa 2004, I would have instantly decided that I couldn’t live without a maroon beanie, red sunglasses, cropped yellow cardigan, wrinkled linen coat, satin ballet flats, and daytime pajama pants. I would have needed them RIGHT NOW. I would have driven to Urban Outfitters in a teeth-gnashing panic to procure these items before all the other girls who also wanted to be Sienna Miller Circa 2004. I wouldn’t have thought twice about whether I actually liked these items or if they looked good on me before I bought them.

I remember very clearly when I hit rock bottom. I was reading an article about you in a fashion magazine, and Sienna’s sister told a story about how there was this one weekend when Sienna was staying at her house, and she had a fancy event to attend but hadn’t brought any fancy clothes, so she just pulled a pleated skirt out of the children’s dress-up bin and pulled it up around her boobs and wore it as a strapless dress, and the next day everyone was begging to know what designer had dressed her.

I thought this was the most charming story I’d ever heard. Obviously I went to Goodwill and bought a pleated maxi skirt to wear as a dress, discounting the fact that as someone with huge boobs, this kind of spontaneous clothing remix doesn’t exactly work on me. I squished my bosoms underneath the waistband and threw on a vintage chain belt I was wearing as a necklace–so clever, right?

I imagined that people would ask me where I got my fabulous new dress, and I would say, “Oh, this? It’s actually a skirt I got for two bucks at the thrift store, and I just randomly decided to wear it as a dress!” Maybe people would give me a round of applause for my ingenuity and ask me to come up with cool new ways to wear their old clothes. Instead, I wore it one time, and within minutes of making my sartorial debut, my friend said, “Why are you wearing your skirt like that? And where’s your shirt?”

That day was my wake-up call, a reminder that no matter how much I admired Sienna’s fashion sense, I needed to carve out a style of my own that actually worked for my body, that made me feel good and confident and unique, instead of trying to become a tragic clone of a bohemian British actress.

And now, looking at this new photo of Sienna Miller, and her new wardrobe, I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed. I mean, it would be a lie to say I wasn’t intrigued by those daytime pajama pants, but I assure you I’m not going to run out and get myself a pair. Sienna can do her thing, and I’ll do mine, and that’s how it should be.

But as much as my style–and my sense of self–has evolved in the past nine years, I will always keep a special place in my heart for you, Sienna’s Wardrobe Circa 2004. The shrunken denim vest hanging in the back of my closet will continue to represent our eternal bond. I’m not going to wear it, because it looks hideous on me, but hopefully you get the idea.


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