By Bethanie Hestermann
Getting dressed can be a form of creative expression, especially if you’re Courtney Pentimalli, freelance stylist + vintage curator at The Fair Court. By hunting down and repurposing vintage clothing and accessories, Courtney gives these eclectic pieces a second life—a chance to (literally) brighten someone’s day.
Who needs fast fashion when you can WEAR ART and feel great in it/about it? Let Courtney inspire you with vintage vibes in today’s Q&A.
Tell us about The Fair Court!
The Fair Court was built around my favorite form of creative expression—getting dressed! I’ve always felt that putting together an outfit is similar to finalizing a puzzle or creating a collage. It’s the epicenter of my journey in experimentation with art, but in a physical form.
What’s the best part about what you do?
First off, I do what I enjoy every day and share it with a community of people who not only appreciate it, but also feel inspired by it. I feel really grateful for that part of my work. As a whole, each day is different—every client and project allows me to view the world through a fresh lens and with a new perspective. I also love connecting with the past. I am MAJORLY nostalgic, so sourcing these little pieces of history truly warms my heart.
What made you decide to start your business?
Initially, The Fair Court was a personal platform, but, over time, I had many inquiries into my styling tips and vintage secrets. I wanted to share this with everyone around me, while also helping people feel the MOST comfortable in the things they wear and encouraging sustainability at the same time. My creative community really pushed me and gave me the confidence to take it one step further.
How do you stay inspired + avoid creative ruts?
I am highly influenced by color and music. I love spending time in nature, art museums, and local cafes and shops. I feel like getting out of the digital world is sometimes my best source of inspiration. I also use my network, bouncing off the creative ingenuity and momentum of my peers is the best recipe for a new idea or project.
Favorite song(s) for boosting creativity?
Today it was Ladyfingers by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, but generally anything Frank Ocean, Leon Bridges, Sam Cooke, Youth Lagoon, or classical. I also love film soundtracks.
How does vintage bring goodness to your life?
SO MUCH goodness!
1. I know I am repurposing something with a story, a BIGGER story than my own, and that feels really special. I love giving things a second life, and to be honest, the quality is generally better.
2. The hunt is such an unexpected adventure! I really enjoy finding a treasure that is one-of-a-kind and seeing old trends resurface. It is an interesting testament to the “everything comes back around” evolution, and I love to pioneer it.
Why is sustainable fashion so important to you?
Watching the fast-fashion movement get out of control really made me take a step back. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE shopping and definitely have an addiction to it, but at a certain point, I had WAY too much in my closet—a lot of which was terrible quality. The last couple of years, I have worked to make my closet more sustainable and intentional. At this point, I am mindful of what I purchase, and I hope that the motivation behind these transactions is either to support a local business/designer or to give a second life to a VERY special piece.
How can we all take baby steps towards bolder, more whimsical fashion (mixing patterns etc.)?
I think the first step toward going after a bolder, more whimsical look is to JUST DO IT. Maybe you are uncomfortable with color (and this is often the case), but in my opinion, color actually exudes confidence. Initially, start small, incorporate a fun earring, or scarf, and then build from there. Also … EXPERIMENT. My personal style continues to evolve daily, and if I didn’t try a million things, I would never know what I like. Sometimes, things just don’t work, but don’t let that discourage you. Remember my puzzle analogy from earlier … eventually, you will find what fits for you, and that is a glorious feeling!
What are your top tips for finding vintage gold?
eBay and Etsy are your friends! Since the pandemic, I have not been on many thrifting trips, but I am regularly using these platforms, and the filters are lifesavers! It is often hard if you don’t have a starting point, but figure out what you want in your closet, and then start using these marketplaces. Also, know your measurements. Vintage sizing is often really difficult to match up, but most sellers will list measurements. The more confident you are with your sizing, the less likely you are to be disappointed with the way something fits.
What has been your most thrilling find?
My most thrilling find is a psychedelic colorful caftan from the 60s/70s. I love wearable art. Someday I would love to have a gallery of all my favorite artistic pieces.
Who are some of your favorite accounts to follow on the gram?
Get inspired on the daily by following @thefaircourt on Instagram!