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September 04, 2022 5 min read 23 Comments

Arguably, one of the best things about our Wolf Pack is that it’s made up of all kinds of kinds. Our clothing and the wonderful community y’all have built around it have brought people into our orbit whose paths we likely would’ve never crossed otherwise, from all corners of the country. 

One such character is the inimitable Thelma Jones, a longtime devotee of Double D who cannot be summed up in a single word, but if we had to try, we’d choose ‘delight’. She’s a delight to talk to, a delight to be around, and a delight to photograph – not just because she’s a natural beauty, but because she approaches life with a sense of delight that shows up in the lens.

At 86 years young, this New York native and mother of four is still sprightly and stylish, dazzling the streets of the Big Apple in her Double D Ranch. While her look is all her own, her vibe is surprisingly Western for someone who spent most her life among East Coast fashion power players. 

“I worked in Alexanders, I worked in [Abraham & Straus], I worked in Stern’s,” she said. “I worked in several department stores and worked my way up from sales associate until I retired at Macy’s as a manager. I was always in and around fashion, and I loved it. I didn’t retire until I was 82, and I’d still be working if it wasn’t for COVID.”

Even if fashion was always her forte, her daughter Tanya (also part of our Pack and a member of our Cultural Council) thinks she might’ve just always been destined for DDR.

“My mother has a picture of herself at five years old and my grandmother had dressed her up in a cowgirl outfit for Halloween,” Tanya laughed. “And I don’t know if that started something or what.”

While that might’ve planted the seed way back when, Thelma is adamant and passionate that all the credit for causing it to blossom goes to the one and only Wild Rose and Miss Trudy Cervantes.

“Well, that’s the best story of all!” Thelma said enthusiastically. “Let’s just say that in the ‘70s we were introduced to American Indian jewelry here in New York. They had a big show at one of the big department stores and my sister and I went downtown to buy some American Indian jewelry. At that time, it was the most popular thing to do. And at that time, we were dressing in suede fringe coats and leather pants and everything, that was just the style at the time, and I was into American Indian jewelry. Then my girlfriend and I took a ride out to Albuquerque and Santa Fe for Indian Market; we were in Albuquerque because my sister lives there and my niece was graduating. So, we were walking down in Old Town, a little downtown type area in Albuquerque where they have all the little stores and everything, and we saw this little boutique called Wild Rose. And we went in, and of course we met Trudy, who was the owner at the time. This was like 20-something years ago. And she was so nice, and she introduced me to Double D, and honey, there was no going back!”

As is often the case, Thelma says her addiction was immediate, all-consuming, and everlasting.

“I must’ve walked out that store with just about everything,” she laughed. “Whatever I didn’t buy, we put on hold or deposit or whatever. But let me tell you, it was Trudy that started the whole thing. She was so nice, and she would even call me when I went back home and told me about the sales and everything else. She was the one who introduced me to it, and I haven’t stopped since. Every year we go back, and we buy more pieces and we put more on hold. This has been going on for over 20 years, honey!”

Her style and swagger would turn heads anywhere, but in NYC, the juxtaposition against that ultra-urban backdrop makes Thelma really stand out.

“Of course nobody in New York had ever seen anything like it,” she said. “So whenever I would wear it, people were always like, ‘Ooo, where’d you get that?!’ and I’d tell them, ‘It’s Double D!’”

“That’s why they call her the New York City Cowgirl!” interjected Tanya. “I think it’s fitting because it’s very rare here. My mother will stand out in a crowd, because she will have a cowgirl outfit, all Western wear from DDR and her Native American jewelry.”

And it’s not for show, that’s just Thelma’s style, it doesn’t matter her surroundings.

“I’ll wear Double D to the grocery store!” she laughed.

That’s why we simply had to capture her in her natural habitat: right smack dab in the middle of New York City.

“When we first met the sisters at the Meet Up in Albuquerque, Cheryl was like, ‘I would love to do a photoshoot of your mom’,” explained Tanya. “And then, a couple of years later, Cheryl and Audrey reached out. They never forgot.”

We had made a plan to be in the City for Walker’s proposal to his sweet fiance, McKenzie, and since we were taking our trusty photographer (Mitchell) with us to capture the moment, the stars and timing all aligned for us to arrange a photoshoot with Thelma while we were there. We had a blast, and we think she did, too.

“First of all, the clothes she sent me – she sent me four boxes of clothing!” exclaimed Thelma. “I took them all out of the boxes and I hung them up all over my living room, and I said ‘this is crazy!’ I picked out all the ones I liked, and that white jacket with all the fringe on it just called my name. And I had a pair of white Prada sunglasses that I had been up on my counter for God knows how long ‘cause I never had [anything] to wear with them. And I put that jacket on, and I put those damn white sunglasses on, and with my white hair, that just took it over – just like it was made for me!”

She’s not kidding – she styled that Pettytown Jacket up with those sunnies and transformed into a celebrity-status head-turner!

“We went out to Central Park, and people kept looking and going ‘Who is she? Who is she?’ They thought I was some kind of movie star.”

“She even got a marriage proposal!” interjected Tanya.

“They didn’t even know how old I am,” Thelma laughed. “And they didn’t even care, because they kept thinking I was some kind of movie star.”

We definitely had a big time in the Big Apple, and Thelma was up for whatever we asked of her, even changing outfits right there in the middle of Central Park and pretending to hail a cab for that quintessential NYC image.

“We were taking pictures in the middle of the street, like we were The Beatles,” Tanya laughed.

“It was a lot of fun,” Thelma added. “It makes me want to buy all those jackets, that’s for damn sure!”

It was impossible for her to narrow down her favorite DDR piece of all time (after 25 years of collecting, how could she?!), but she did declare a favorite from the shoot.

“After seeing that white jacket with the fringe on it, if I were to buy that jacket, I think that would be one of my favorites. Because I think it exuded exactly what I am right now. I can wear that, right now, at my age, and still look bad, you know what I’m sayin’?”

Yes, we sure do. (And you absolutely need that jacket.)

23 Responses

Bernice
Bernice

September 12, 2022

After reading your story I see why your daughter is such a lovely lady inside and out. Your style and your look is all you, you make the clothes look good😘

Pat Fletcher
Pat Fletcher

September 07, 2022

Thelma is so beautiful, then you add DDR it’s no wonder she was mistaken for a movie star. Thank you for doing this article and photo shoot. She certainly is a star.

Sherry Reid
Sherry Reid

September 07, 2022

Thelma, an absolute Classy Lady! Totally rocks everything she wears and that white fringe jacket is icing on her fashion cake!!

Stephanie Walden
Stephanie Walden

September 05, 2022

DDR clothes are timeless. They transcend age and geographic locations. I’ve loved DDR for years, but I am at a place in my life where I can start collecting and enjoying top notch cowgirl couture. Thanks for sharing this article on Thelma Jones. When I grow up, I want to be Thelma!😁

Carina Spies
Carina Spies

September 05, 2022

What a gal! What a srory!! I love it to bits!! My goodness! There is no stopping her, thats for sure! Hope she got the jacket♥️

Erin C
Erin C

September 05, 2022

Wow, WOw, WOW! Fabulous!

Alicia M.
Alicia M.

September 05, 2022

~ What a fashionista, I just love her style. The Saddle Tramp studded leather jacket, 4-tiered velvet skirt and Pettytown jacket says it all. ~

Marsha Goodson
Marsha Goodson

September 05, 2022

Love her and this article. This is what I love about the Wolfies and Double D. We’re all different and yet the same.

Jennifer welan
Jennifer welan

September 05, 2022

I love everything about this story.

Julie Smith
Julie Smith

September 05, 2022

Thelma’s my big sister. She always looks mah-velous!…with a spirit to match! 🧡🧡

Alicia M.
Alicia M.

September 05, 2022

~ Thank you so much for this article on Thelma Jones, shot on location in my old stompin’ grounds of New York City (where I worked for 30 years). I even know the exact location where this photo was taken. The Pettytown jacket (with all that luscious fringe) looks so good on her, as does the Her First Fur jacket. It’s amazing to see DDR represented in NYC of all places. The people there aren’t used to that kind of vibe which should shake up the NYC rag trade. Just this morning, my husband treated me to breakfast, where the weather was cool enough to wear my Midnight Cowboy boots. A guy in the restaurant complimented me on my boots as did a lady at the Optometrist’s office. DDR TRANSCENDS AGE, and is my favourite go-to brand. While I put my own spin on your clothes, I am humbled and honoured to represent DDR here in Harpers Ferry, West VA. The compliments I get are worth it. ~

Lori Windisch
Lori Windisch

September 05, 2022

Thelma is a rock star. A true inspiration for all of us!

Chris Proctor-Cleveland
Chris Proctor-Cleveland

September 05, 2022

Iris Apfel has nothing on you, Miss Thelma! My she-ro ❤️

Kiki Shumway
Kiki Shumway

September 05, 2022

Absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her style and beauty!

Diane Rierson
Diane Rierson

September 05, 2022

Who doesn’t love Thelma Jones and her beautiful daughter Tanya! Timeless and Classic Ladys, Both!

Carol Stoneburner
Carol Stoneburner

September 05, 2022

What a fabulous story…proving once again one can wear DDR anywhere and any time and be rocking it….and of course, age has nothing to do with it!!! Everything she put on just made a statement. The photo shoot is incredible with NYC background and a beautiful lady showing us her style and DDR’S designs. All wonderful. I, soo appreciate beauty at every age and place.

Joy M Gilbert
Joy M Gilbert

September 05, 2022

What a fantastic and beautiful woman! Always admired her style and natural pizzaz. Love that you featured this beautiful woman.

Trudy Cervantes
Trudy Cervantes

September 05, 2022

Thelma is one in a million and what a blessing she is to everyone that crosses her path ! I’m just thankful that I was in her path ! A 20some year road-trip with Thelma without a bump (or we never felt them ) with no destination in sight ! We are still rockin it ! Love her and Double D !!!

Cyndi
Cyndi

September 05, 2022

Loved this story, and the photos! Thank you for sharing. I want to be Thelma when I grow up❤️

Linda Lambert
Linda Lambert

September 05, 2022

My favorite Double Talk and photoshoot ever!

Brooke Levin
Brooke Levin

September 05, 2022

I love this, and she is so right about Trudy! I live in Oakland, CA and my jackets and outfits always bring positive comments, people love them. I also love that Thelma is not a 20ish model but who we are …..she represents many of us addicts. Thank you for this story, and thank you Thelma for being you.

Carmen Magee
Carmen Magee

September 04, 2022

Could she be any more fabulous!! This Lady, her story and style is amazing. Thank you for having the great eye to capture it all!!

Sudi DeShazo Freeland
Sudi DeShazo Freeland

September 04, 2022

My HERO!!

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