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In My Closet: Murph Damron

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About the series: In My Closet is a regular Sky Blue Window feature, taking readers inside the wardrobes of some of the city's most fashionable women and men.

Her name: Murph Damron

Her work: Damron, a former model, is a fashion consultant, stylist and fashion show producer. She serves as the fashion director of the Dress for Success Stepping Out in Style fashion show each year.

Her play: She loves going to the cinema, and having an intimate dinner out with one or two friends at a time for conversation. "I really value close friendships and that one-on-one with people."

Closet Cliffs Notes: A mix of high-end designer pieces, cowboy boots, leopard print and lace.

Favorite pieces: Black Tony Lama cowboy boots; a faux leopard skirt and crop top; a khaki jumpsuit; a deep red Nikki Blaine lace dress; and a black alencon lace blouse with black lace skirt.

Something she'll never have in her closet: "Louboutins, because they're way too tall. And I'll never have any nasty polyester fluffy sweaters in my closet."

Her style philosophy: "I'm very tailored and down to earth. I love to wear my turtlenecks and my trousers. I love crisp, white blouses under a V-neck. I like jewelry, and if I wear pearls, I'm going to wear a lot of pearls. I love leggings. I say, 'If you have great legs, then wear them.' "

"When I dress up, I love to dress up," says Damron. "This to me is another classic piece. It's a fantastic Worth piece." - JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Jenn Kriscunas
  • "When I dress up, I love to dress up," says Damron. "This to me is another classic piece. It's a fantastic Worth piece."

Murph Damron has donned the designer fashions of Chanel, Mary Quant, Yves Saint Laurent and a young Betsey Johnson. She's appeared in print ads -- from newspapers to magazines -- around the world, and has walked the runway in Chicago, New York, London and Paris.

But these days you're more likely to see the former model and now fashion consultant and stylist wearing her favorite cowboy boots, instead of stilettos by Christian Louboutin.

"There's just something empowering about them," says the stylish 68-year-old Damron. "There's something that happens when I put my cowboy boots on and my cowboy hats. I just feel good."

In true fashionista form, Damron doesn't wear just any cowboy boots.

There's her favorite pair of black Tony Lamas.

A rubber pair with skulls she purchased during a trip to Sante Fe, New Mexico. "I just have a thing for guns and roses and skulls," says Damron. "When I wear these, people want to take them off of my feet."

She also has a pair made of ostrich leather, and another in blue suede.

Damron's love of cowboy boots stems from her childhood growing up in North Manchester, Indiana.

Murph Damron shows off her collection of cowboy boots in a kaleidoscope of colors. - JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Jenn Kriscunas
  • Murph Damron shows off her collection of cowboy boots in a kaleidoscope of colors.

As a young girl, she recalls playing "stagecoach" with her brother J.R. and friends; watching "Gunsmoke" with her dad ("Oh, Miss Kitty, her wardrobe was to die for. God, she was amazing!"); and  wearing circular skirts with little white blouses made by her mom, and her Acme cowboy boots.

Her love of fashion started when she was a preteen studying the fashion magazines of the time, and this is evident the moment you walk into her house.

The first thing that catches the eye is the leopard carpet throughout. Then there's her collection of cowboy boots lined along the living room walls, and the scarves strategically placed over couches and draping from a coat rack in the corner.

"Anything I love, I don't like putting in boxes," says Damron, classically dressed in a black cashmere turtleneck sweater, a pair of wide-leg black trousers and black loafers.

Her philosophy of showing off her favorite things is displayed in a bedroom that Damron has turned into a closet. Inside, is a "shabby chic" wall that includes hand-drawn fashion sketches by Hoosier designer Don Day, pictures of Murph as a child, and a pair of black Jimmy Choo shoes hanging from their heels.

"Why put 'em in a box? Just put 'em out," she says.

Damron says her style is very classic and down-to-earth (a la Katharine Hepburn, Chanel and Ralph Lauren).

Here's a look at just a few of her favorite pieces:

Damron puts the finishing touches on a favorite jumpsuit. - JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Jenn Kriscunas
  • Damron puts the finishing touches on a favorite jumpsuit.

Khaki "Katharine Hepburn-esque" jumpsuit

"One thing that I absolutely do love are jumpsuits, and this is one of my favorite classics," says Damron about a khaki Ms. Chaus, long-sleeved jumpsuit she's owned since 1983.

"This is one of my classic Hepburn looks. I mean, this just looks like the one where she was sitting on the airplane wing."

Damron usually adds a pocket square ("one of my dad's old pocket squares") in the chest pocket and a belt, and she always wears her collar up.

"I love this thing! ... God, you couldn't find a jumpsuit like this today. And look at the shoulders, there's just that little bit of shoulder pad. It's just so well-made."

Damron shows off her black velvet gown and her leopard print crop top and skirt.  - JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Jenn Kriscunas
  • Damron shows off her black velvet gown and her leopard print crop top and skirt.

Faux leopard peg-legged pants (now a skirt) with matching crop top

"Here it is," exclaims Damron, as she pulls the faux leopard two-piece ensemble out of her closet. "Mother made this in 1960 or '61, when the first faux fur came out."

Her mom, who sewed most of her children's clothes, made the outfit for Damron for a school mixer during her sophomore year,for a dance that Damron says she attended sans a date.

"I was always the last one to be asked to dances," she says. "But I don't need people to go places with me, I just went by myself."

About 25 years after her mom originally made the outfit, Damron asked her to alter it.

"I wanted to wear it for my 40th birthday, but as a skirt not trousers," she says.

One of the reasons Damron loves the outfit is because of the leopard print.

"I've always loved leopard, and I tell my clients that they have to have a fabulous black dress, black suede shoes and leopard -- something leopard -- because these are the classics, absolute classics, plus pearls," she says.

Damron accessorizes her Chanel-inspired suit by Worth, mixing classic understated elegance with a bold and chunky statement necklace. - JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Jenn Kriscunas
  • Damron accessorizes her Chanel-inspired suit by Worth, mixing classic understated elegance with a bold and chunky statement necklace.

Black lace blouse and skirt

Damron calls this black lace blouse and skirt her Western outfit, but views it as elegant enough to wear to black-tie galas, which she has done.

"Is this the most gorgeous thing," she asks while pulling the blouse off the rack. "This is actually black alencon lace and it has a little silk, black shell underneath. But the beading... it's like its own necklace. It's very Victorian. And then the skirt ..."

Damron says to switch up the look, she sometimes wears the top with black velvet trousers.

"I just feel so good in this thing when I wear it," says Damron about the skirt and blouse, which was given to her by a longtime friend. "I only wear this outfit with black cowboy boots, and then I have jet black earrings. I wear very little else with it."

Local fashion designer, Nikki Blaine custom-created this CPD (crimson party dress) for Damron, using exquisite red lace that Blaine dyed herself. - JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Jenn Kriscunas
  • Local fashion designer, Nikki Blaine custom-created this CPD (crimson party dress) for Damron, using exquisite red lace that Blaine dyed herself.

A red, Nikki Blaine custom lace dress

Created by Indianapolis-based designer Nikki Blaine, the long form-fitting dress has become one of Damron's new favorite pieces. It was made especially for Damron to wear in an all-red collection Blaine was showing during last year's Meet the Artists fashion show.

"Nikki dyed all of the fabric," says Damron. "Now me, I would have had tie-dye. I don't know how the hell she did it."

The two brainstormed the style of the dress together. The poly-lace piece has a high neckline and long sleeves that end at a point mid-hand. But it's the back of the dress, primarily the bottom, that Damron focuses her attention on.

During the fitting, Damron kept telling Blaine to pull the back of the dress in.

"(At one point), Nikki said, 'Murph, the side seams are now meeting in the back,' " says Damron. "And I said, 'That's okay, just pull it in.' And then I said, 'Look, Nikki, see what's happening?' "

What they created was a little fishtail at the back of the dress, which Blaine later gifted to Damron.

"I just felt so fabulous on that stage last year," says Damron. "I felt so blessed and honored because she asked me (to be in the show)."

Murph Damron showcases her scrapbook filled with images of her modeling work. - JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Jenn Kriscunas
  • Murph Damron showcases her scrapbook filled with images of her modeling work.

The cover photo was also by Jenn Kriscunas. See more shots from her visit to Damron's home in the Sky Blue Window Facebook page.

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