What Are You Wearing?

Sahar Mitchell's Eclectic Risqué Classiness

When Sahar Mitchell steps on stage to perform as one-half of local daredevil sideshow act The Strange Family Circus, audience members probably aren't focusing on her ensemble. 

That's only because their attention is probably focused on the string of razor blades being pulled out of her mouth or the straightjacket she's attempting to escape from. It's also not uncommon to see her wielding one of her two pet pythons or even sticking her tongue in a vintage electric fan. 

It's a shame that her fashion isn't the focus, considering Mitchell dresses to the nines whenever performing with hubbie Stephen Strange, demonstrating her self-described style of "eclectic risqué classiness." 

During their shows, she'll be sporting a vintage bridesmaid dress and go-go boots or perhaps a flashy floor-length Betsey Johnson dress and a mink stole.

"I've thought of my fashion style as what a Vegas showgirl from the '60s might wear on her day off," Mitchell says. 

What are you wearing? 
Khaki cargo pants, a pink and white fisherman's hat, a black tank top for local band Sound of Birds, and silver ring that was given to me 10 years ago by Stephen's mother.

What's your favorite outfit to wear?
Lately, it's this floor-length Betsey Johnson evening gown that I wear at our shows, usually when it's not so hot because it's black. It's covered with sparkly material that reminds me of some disco gear that my mom wore when I was three. My husband Steve says it makes my butt look good.

What's the last item of clothing you bought?
This gorgeous pink dress with spaghetti strap that looked like it was from the '70s. I got it off the rack at Easely's. I like wearing things that are evocative of the past.

Where do you usually shop?
I like thrift store's a lot. Half-price days at Goodwill are great, especially this one in Tempe near Guadalupe and Rural. Easley's is good too.

What do you like to accessorize with?
I have a necklace of giant Marge Simpson pearls that I wear too much, either on stage or when I'm just going out in public. I'll also wear jewelry from by belly dance days from the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan made from coins that are jangly. I also have stuff made from washers. I actually went through a period of time, especially when I was pregnant with my first daughter and was on bed rest, and had a big box of washers, nuts, and bolts and made jewelry out 'em.

What item of clothing do you most covet at the moment?
I'm not necessarily that big into shoes, but I used to have a pair of these tall, black, patent leather Doc Martens that were really comfortable and really flashy. I'd buy some if I could ever find another pair.

Where would you love to have a shopping spree?
Hollywood Regency. Some of their vintage clothing is a little pricey for me, but there's some nice stuff in there.

Give us a childhood memory of you and clothes:
I did a lot of ballet when I was a kid. It seemed like I slept in pink tights because I danced so much when I was younger. I remember that I had a specific dress that I liked wearing when we picked people up from airports. It was a white dress with puffy sleeves, pink ribbon sewn into the bodice, and a frilly skirt. I'm not sure if it was because I thought you needed to dress up when picking someone up from the airport (because that's what people in movies did) or it was something that didn't wrinkle and could be thrown on easily. So I remember this pink dress being specifically connected to airports, either the anticipation of going on a trip or the elation of having one of my parents come home from somewhere

Name five items every woman should have in her closet:
1. A good, fashionable hat. I'm a big fan of hats.
2. Comfortable shoes. Every woman should have at least one pair so you don't hurt your back.
3. Black fishnets. You can really accessorize anything
4. A corset. It always gives you a really nice hourglass figure.
5. A long pair of cocktail gloves. They're completely impractical, but make you look instantly classy.

Who are you fashion icons?
I would have to Annie Hall, since I've always liked wearing men's fashion and I enjoy that tailored, vintage look of men's clothes.

What is your one piece of fashion advice for Phoenix?
It's hot. Why are you wearing so much black?

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.