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There’s a bit of serendipity to shopping vintage. I discovered these vintage 1970 Ferragamo’s in mint condition at an antique mall in Louisville, KY. When you find a vintage shoe in a 9 narrow, you know that they are destined for your closet! (Check out this story about the grandson of Salvetore Farragamo.)


I wasn’t quite prepared for yesterday’s visit to the Frazier History Museum in Louisville, KY. We were seeing Diana, A Celebration, an exhibit made possible by the generosity of the British princess’s family, guardians of her possessions and legacy. Like the rest of the universe, I admired her life and grieved at her death. But I hadn’t expected the exhibit to be an emotional experience.

Picture this: at the entry was a huge portrait of the princess wearing a dazzling crown, rivaled only by her smile. At that moment, I felt weepy—and with good reason. It was a bittersweet reminder of all that we lost in Diana.

I was eager to see and photograph parts of her wardrobe, but cameras weren’t allowed. It didn’t take long to feel like a total clod for even wanting a photograph—which, oddly enough, was the very thing that caused her premature death. I didn’t buy anything at the exhibit store either. After walking through the exhibit, I came to this conclusion: you just can’t buy a piece of Diana.

Within the exhibit were lovely glimmers of Diana’s youth:

  • Stuffed animals that accompanied her to Buckingham palace after she was a married lady. (She was, after all, only 20 when she married.)
  • Home videos of her as a child, dancing arabesques and pirouettes that quickly lapsed into a funny, extemporaneous scarf dance.
  • Playing with her siblings and later, her own children.
  • Packing for school.
  • Sliding down the banister of her family home.
  • The typewriter she used in finishing school.
  • The dress—you know the one—and the matching shoes encrusted with pearls.

Above all, the exhibit was a wonderful tribute to a woman who preferred to be thought of as a workhorse—not a clotheshorse. She seemed to fulfill that in spades, using everything she had—compassion, frailties and fame—to help the most vulnerable people in the world. This, she thought, was her calling.

As someone whose insecurity ran deep and wide, Princess Di remains a wonderful reminder of how much we can accomplish despite our own vulnerabilities. These were the very traits that greatly endeared her to so many—something to think about as we all pursue self-esteem and confidence as if they were life’s Holy Grail.

Charitable work and compassion were the hallmarks of Princess Diana’s life. How have you used your own vulnerabilities and life story to help others? What is your favorite memory of Princess Diana?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.