February 23, 2010

Spring Fever

Once again, for the second year in a row, I've gotten my hopes up way too early about spring. I bought these d.co copenhagen shoes in January, dreaming up my new look for warm days.Yet because there are still mountains of snow everywhere, slippery ice at night and deep, filthy puddles in the daytime... oh, and below freezing temps... well, I have about 3 more months to wait before I can start scuffing them up by ACTUALLY WEARING THEM. BOO HOO. MY LIFE IS THE WORST.

February 22, 2010

The Female Gaze

Today on the bus I was not feeling it. It was a bleary-eyed hazy-brained Monday morning and all I did to appear put together was fill in my eyebrows nice and dark. My eyebrows have become the only place on my face that I care about anymore, and lately the only makeup I'm wearing is brow shadow and a tan/mustard colored eye shadow. Nothing else. I'm finding mascara too tedious and false. I have half-Asian lashes. They are long, but the ones on top near the outer corners want to point downward at the floor. Those Asiatic lashes touch my skin under my eyes and leave black smudges when I wear mascara. I do not own an eyelash curler and do not intend to. I find them to be too much like some mini torture device created to waste the time of the woman. Just like so so many other things. I have to make cuts. There is only so much appropriate femininity I can apply to my body on any given day. And today was a real I-don't-give-a-shit-er.

Of course, on these days, we get on the public transport to find some gorgeous creatures that seem to never be there when we are looking fresh. But they come out of the woodwork on our lazy, frumptastic days to remind us that we look rather shit. Buried as I was in my mound of L.L. Bean mom coat and Dr. Martens fur boots, I was primed to observe an unspoken female exchange that I know all too well. For I am usually a prime participant in such activity.

Female 1 was wearing an adorable faux fur leopard print coat. I sat down behind her, because I liked her coat and fur ear muffs. I said nothing. It was too early to go talking to strangers. The vibe was not right for breaking the necessary morning commute silence. Next stop, enter female 2. She is also wearing a lovely coat; it's black, dress-length, with perfectly fitted sleeves. Her makeup is flawless, as are her golden locks. Not only is she sporting a nice thick brow (filled in like I like to see), but her lashed are super long, thick, coated in mascara, and all of them are neatly curling up toward the heavens. She has brown equestrian boots and an assortment of brown leather baggage. She sits directly across the aisle from female 1. (On purpose as well?)

Withing a few short moments of settling in, I observe blackandbrown sneaking glances repeatedly at leopardcoat, giving her a thorough up-and-down look over. I see her eyes fixate on leopard coat's shoes (which I cannot see but later - much to my great surprise - discover to be Uggs) and then look up directly at her. Leopardcoat must feel the gaze that is taking in her entire outfit from this girl only a foot to her left, but she stares straight ahead as though nothing were happening. I know she knows it's going on. We all know it and feel it when a stranger notices our shoes or outfit, whether it's a split second dart of the eyes or a more prolonged meditation on our bodies when we "aren't looking," and we love to guess at the thoughts of our observers.

If there is anything to be said for a totally frumpy bland boring outfit day, it's the possibility to hide in the background and watch these unspoken dialogues take place. I'm pretty sure this is an important way that style matters and affects our lives at the level of our psyche.

February 21, 2010

More Musings Fall 2010: Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe straight destroyed the last three seasons. Your honor, if it please the court, a sampling:

The defense rests. There's way more (and better) at GQ for my readers that aren't familiar. Do yourself a favor.

For the AW 2010 show in Paris, he dialed back some of his eccentricity to present a fully wearable collection. I would wear every single piece in this collection. Yes, including the ascots.

I love:
  • the perfect coat lengths
  • the contrast soles
  • the simple play on classics, never overdoing it
  • Red Beard the M.F. Pirate

But that's not all--Junya's a busy man. He recently released a line of 100 Carhartt jackets that he purchased at their store and altered personally. I love how he's clearly having a little fun with the workwear crowd, but I'm sure they won't mind when the results look this great.

February 19, 2010

This Is It

I'm pretty pleased with this getup. It's how I want to look on the regular. (Only, I don't.) New shirt new shoes new pants...I call this next photo "Attitude." I guess I call it that because of the position of my left leg. I LOLd at it when I saw it when I saw it, thought to myself, "attitude" and next thing you know I'm hearing the Misfits in my head. 5 minutes later I'm listening to the Misfits... am I a retarded person?
Ok but you wanted to know about these clothing items. Well, I lied when I said they are all "new" because they are all vintage. They are all new additions to my wardrobe. Firstly, we have this flesh tone silk blouse that is impeccably tailored. It appears to be handmade. I bought it at Lula Vintage in St. Paul, one of many awesome vintage shops in the area. (Mike got rad bow ties. Maybe one day he'll stop being shy and show you things he buys, too.) It's one of those 1940's blouses that buttons up the back. If I were less flexible in the shoulders I would not be able to put it on or take it off alone.The oxfords are from Rarae Aves etsy shop.

But these pants are obviously the centerpiece here. They are vintage Claude Montana. A treasure of a find from Blacklist Vintage. Check it:The cummerbund is attached on the right then you pull it through a hole on that protruding left hip flap. These are wool, yet feel like dad's old sweatpants, which is to say: fucking comfortable.

Word on the street is, it was NY fashion week. From my cursory blog scrolling I've gathered that this is supposed to blow my mind.I mean it's cool or whatever. I'd wear 50% of the Marc Jacobs looks, I guess, maybe? I still haven't gotten around to diving in at style.com.

February 18, 2010

To remember what I sometimes forget

there is always Barbara Kruger keeping things simple, like they should be. My self-making process isn't just all appearances, you know.

February 12, 2010

Like boom boom boom

I had just been looking at the Maison Martin Margiela Artisanal sale over at yoox.com earlier this week. I think it's nice to be able to look through that as an archive, but there is something strange about seeing those items sold for like $10,000 on a website that's also clearing out Miss Sixty jeans for $35. I'm going through a weird detachment phase with MMM because I fear that with the exit of Mr. Marg, the shitty recent collection, the fragrance and the sorta obvious seeding of said fragrance on many blogs... Well, it just feels to me (in my detached weirdo midwestern world) like the brand is being pushed and sold on its past credibility to new young little things who heard Margiela = cool artsy alterna-teen from a baby blogger.

So that was just something I wanted to put out there, and I welcome your thoughts (if this is the sort of thing anyone even thinks about?)

I ACTUALLY remembered to tell you those thoughts because of this new Rhianna video. SO NASTY. I'm so in love with it. It's my new summer jam, 5 months too soon. You see, she is wearing Margiela Artisanal in the video...

For all-black days

Excerpt from a conversation between Hans Ulrich Obrist and Yohji Yamamoto. Reproduced from: A BLOG curated by

YY: Yes, I’m very interested in making shapes, or forms, motions, actions, fluidity, silhouettes. So it naturally became monotone, I don't need any colour to speak.

HUO: And what about black, since black plays a very big role for you?

YY: Black is arrogant. But sometimes black can protect you. Sometimes black doesn’t bother people. Sometimes it is strong. Black means a lot.

February 11, 2010

Sad, Sad

Needless to say, we were both shocked and saddened by the news of Lee Alexander McQueen's death this morning. His work revealed a depth of thought that transcended fashion, and his talents undeniably influenced so many. For what it's worth, I just wanted to share some of my favorite McQueen creations with you.

February 10, 2010

More Musings Fall 2010: Thom Browne

I've come to love Thom Browne over the last couple of years not just for the amazing things that he does for men's fashion, but for the shows that he puts on while doing it. This year was no exception.

The beauty of the Moncler Gamme Bleu collaborations is that they exist as a creative outlet. Much like the fall Burberry show, they're an outerwear showcase first and foremost, but Browne gets to have fun with the details. So even if he goes a little crazy, there's still some great jackets in the mix. His decision to slim down the proportions of heavy winter gear is at least partly responsible for the recent resurgence of puffers, like, everywhere. Regardless of your opinion about the collection, the man has a vision and he is executing.

But what I really love about Thom Browne's output this season was the beautiful Black Fleece line he showed for Brooks Brothers. Don't be fooled by the modest (by Thom's standards) presentation: this line is the goods.
That cardigan looks buttery-soft.
I love everything about that duffle coat.
Keep in mind this stuff is being sold at Brooks Brothers.
Nice work, Major Thom.

February 6, 2010

Burnt Orange and Black

By the layerYou and I won't have to suffer this shitty camera much longer, darlings. J. Crew coat and cardigan. Cole Haan vintage boots via etsy.

The context of my dayTonight = Chinese takeout and Hausu. Watch. This. Trailer.

February 4, 2010

Let me count the ways

Phoebe Philo is my hero. The vision she is creating at Celine is exactly the inspiration I've been needing in my life. So let me tell you exactly why after the images. Because I think it's important for young women to hear this.

Philo has turned out three amazing collections for Celine in 2010. Let's review.

spring:resort: In which she manages to make bermuda shorts look sinister.

and most recently, pre-fall:This pre-fall has me very excited to see actual-fall.

I love
1. The matching. Case in point the dark gray and red sweater with dark gray tights and red shoes. Quite often I have thoughts of dressing in a matchy outfit like this but suppress it. I'm going to go for it. And I'm excited by this. I don't generally feel right in a hodgepodge of patterns, prints and colors from head to toe. My entrance into caring about clothing design emerged in the late 90s and early 00s when my version of escapism involved Jil Sander and Calvin Klein. This brings me to...

2. The revitalized minimalism. The post-industrial grayscale variety became less relevant in recent times. Philo's use of clean lines with comforting fabrics and warm colors is the future.

3. The confident femininity. The sex appeal here is challenging and intelligent. I want my style to develop in this direction. I'm about to be 25, and LA party slut isn't looking so cute. I just got an Urban catalog in the mail and the sweet little milky white nymphs all look cute and sweet, but I'm not trying to entice pedophiles. I also don't think I want to be described as cute and sweet.

4. This is not a trend. This is well-designed clothing, and it demands to be taken seriously. Perfectly cut trench coats and trousers are grown-up wardrobe staples and will not be found at Forever 21 in 3 weeks, gone in 3 more (or falling apart).

Maybe this sounds a little serious, but I'm just serious about my evolution as a woman! haha.

Thanks, Phoebe! I heart u.(I adore this photo, and her clothes, and how she wears them.)

All images at style.com

February 2, 2010

Musings on Fall 2010 Shows: Part 1

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Let's get to it then.

Mired by blogs as I am, I tend to forget how quickly events come and go, and how discussions are abandoned in favor of sound bytes and synopses. I want to do something a little crazy here. Let's go back...way back to three weeks ago. I want to talk about the shows.

Alexander McQueen:

The main criticism against Mr. McQ seems to be that he's a busy guy spread too thin among projects. As a result, some of his presentations can seem unfocused and uninspired.

That said, I loved his Fall 2009 show. It was a vision fully realized. He went with a Jack the Ripper/Sherlock Holmes-y vibe that maybe was a little too influenced by steampunk which I'm willing to forgive because it was totally awesome. Bulky tough guys still looked rakish, elegant, and dangerous in throwbacks to an era that seem plucked from our collective unconscious--a fantasy lineup of suspects who could've been but likely never were. There's something about dressing up off-kilter masculinity that I'll always be interested in, codpieces and all.

Watch the video if you get the chance. I like the music.

So coming off that show, I was excited to see what he had in store for this fall. My first thought was: who the hell invited Scorpion and Sub-Zero?

Any moment I expected Liu Kang to come out doing a flying bicycle kick screaming "AIIIIIWADAHALAYYYY!" That never happened.

What did happen was the pattern of the wallpaper kept finding its way on to the garments coming down the runway. Something about the art on the walls coming to life reminded me of Ghostbusters 2 and Vigo the Carpathian .

So why is Alexander McQueen mining random pop culture villainy from my youth? Maybe it inspires him. Occasionally, it inspires me. Villains always do make the best characters. Unfortunately, there were no standout heroes in this collection to leave me wondering what McQ'll do next.