Made You Look | What Are You Wearing? | Chicago Reader

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Kerry Vitali, 41, is a graphic designer at Houghton Mifflin. She's partial to vintage clothes and especially hats; she guesses this one is from the 1940s.

Heather Kenny: Your jacket's vintage, but you sewed that patch on it. What does the y stand for?

Kerry Vitali: It's kind of for people to ask what it's for. That whole monogram thing, I always thought it was a little dopey. It's kind of my joke.

HK: What is it about hats that you like so much?

KV: They do get people's attention. I see a lot of theater and sometimes it's fun to be in costume. You get a lot of male and female attention. Old people just love it, because this is from their day. At the Stop Smiling party, Lois Weisberg came up to me and asked me about my hat and really made a fuss over it.

I also make hats, but they're all fabric.

HK: How did you learn to do that?

KV: I taught myself to sew--I never took a class. It was like, here's something I want to do, so I have to learn how to do it. I started making quilts--my first quilt was the story of The Scarlet Letter. When my daughter was born, I got into making baby clothes. That's a really good thing to start with, because they're so small and you can make mistakes and you haven't wasted a lot of time or money.

HK: What've you been making lately?

KV: I'm thinking about designing aprons, because I think it's time for them to come back. I think it maybe went away because after the sexual revolution, it felt like, "This is some sort of symbol of servitude." Whereas it's just to keep your damn clothes clean. I wear them all the time.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.

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