August 31, 2010

Immodest Prep

So while Michael has been steering his look slightly away from preppy, I decided to go for it. After careful observation of current trends in menswear dressing: prep, trad, Ivy?... ok maybe my observations are not so careful. I have a vague understanding that people in certain circles like wearing colors like navy with things like natural colored leather brogues and belts, as well as trouser pants. I don't really identify with that scene as a wholesale mode of dress, but can appreciate what it has to offer. So, I dabbled. But I couldn't be too literal. I had to slut it up a bit.

So here is my preppy look for a late lunch and some neighborhood strolling. Sheer J. Crew blouse, bought secondhand (Everyday People in St. Paul), some new trousers and a new belt, and some old shoes (etsy).

I find it great that this shirt hits right at the hips so I don't have to tuck it in.

I'm a bit in love with these low slung cropped trousers. They are a brand I do not know much about, Ecru, but which I assume is mostly geared toward mature ladies who shop in quirky stores... because that's the context of where I bought them. They are teaching me the value of a good fabric blend, as they combine linen with tencel and polyester to quite a wonderful result. Like a softer, smoother linen without the wrinkles, but that still breathes and looks natural. Is that too much pant info? Does it make me sound "old"?

Here is where you can help me out though. I had absolutely no qualms about walking around in this top in the bright midday sun. But I do live in a more conservative part of the world and recognize the potential for upsetting onlookers with my bra-bound titties showing. Do you think I should care?

It's a beautiful blouse and I would dislike how an undershirt/tank would look. I bought it thinking I could also use it just as a light jacket-like layering piece. Then I thought, fuck it, let's just go out with the sheer, the bra, and the low slung pants. But I realize I am not always of the soundest judgment.

Well. That's a lot of words for a meager outfit post. But there is one more thing I want to share. I declared to my husband and friends, "I hate navy," some time ago, probably within the last 2 months. I believe I might have also added that I hate wearing blue in general. I now see navy, or a slightly lighter dark blue, as a staple of my fall look after coming across a few other pieces in the same color. Just an example of how wrong I can turn out to be over time, even about my own taste.

August 30, 2010

Closet Cleaning, Part 2: The New Look

This post finds us right where we left off, rummaging through heaps of previously un-scrutinized clothing.

Susie would lift an item up, and I'd decide whether or not I was going to continue wearing it.  The idea was to pare down my holdings to the most essential, most wearable pieces.  During the decision-making process, I couldn't resist trying some of the pieces on.  Seeing everything I owned laid out before me, I felt inspired to create new ways of wearing the clothes that put me in my style rut.  I wanted to break free of the conventions that I felt were holding me back (i.e. the preppy look that I had somehow adopted as my default.)

As the No Pile grew and items were eliminated from consideration, I saw a new look coalescing right in front of my eyes.  Addition by deletion.  I took risks; I played dress up.  It felt great, and even if I never wear some of these outfits, it inspired me to look at my closet in a different way.

Here are a few of the looks I came up with that day.  I apologize for the picture quality (bad lighting!)
On the surface, this look is generic Ivy Style with the baggy khakis, canvas sneakers, and cardigan.  I took it a different way by throwing in a few details.  A leather jacket that's been unworn going on a few years now is prominently featured.  It was a staple of my rebellious youth (obv) but now that I've grown a little older (wiser) I think it's ready to be worn in a new light.  This is also the first appearance of cardigan-as-shirt, sans undershirt, which will be a go-to thing for me this fall.  My chesthair cometh.

These are the mauve pants I raved about earlier in the summer.  Oddly enough, I didn't wear them much.  That will change this fall.  Here's one possibility.

 Again the cardigan-as-shirt, this time with another pair of pants that I talked about earlier but didn't end up wearing often.  I think the elements come together very well here, especially the brown at the bottom.  I enjoy the simplicity of this outfit--just three pieces,  but it works.

Things got a little crazy when I started rolling up my pants, so we'll spare you most of the golf caddy pictures.  I just wanted to point out that under my cardigan is a tank top that I haven't worn in years.  It's by J. Lindberg, and the fit is amazing.  I haven't needed a tank top in so long--until now.  Throw in some dress shoes and we're all set.

The thing about my style is that something is always just a little off.  I think I maintained that sense while heading in a new direction, and I'm proud of what we accomplished that day.

August 26, 2010

Cleaning Out My Closet: A tale of woe and redemption, in two parts

I believe that everyone should have a well-managed closet. When the closet gets out of control, like an overgrown lawn or an unkempt 'do, it's time to get in there and make some cuts.

One of the reasons I haven't posted lately is that I've been living in a style rut for the majority of the summer. I've been wearing tired outfits day in and day out these last few months. I can't count how many mornings I spent wondering who that person was staring back at me in the mirror. It wasn't me. It was disappointing.

I needed to make a change by re-examining and re-imagining my wardrobe. The pieces that you collect should work for you and add up to a cohesive whole. I wanted to make my clothes work for me in new and exciting ways. But before I could do that, I needed to get a handle on the burgeoning shitpile that was my closet.

Instead of adding new things, I needed to make some deletes.

So I took every single thing I owned and pulled it out of the closet. One by one I broke down whether that piece was working for me, or not, and how I could wear it differently to spruce up my look. If it worked, great! If not, I threw it in the No Pile and off it went to Buffalo Exchange.

Now, I know this sounds like a daunting task. It made a sty out of our tiny apartment and I felt a little overwhelmed at the beginning. But once we (I strongly advise enlisting a helper) started going through it, I came out realizing I had a whole closet-full of new outfits that I didn't even realize were possible.

Cardigans became shirts (thank you FANTASTIC MAN,) sweater vests became wearable (just you wait,) and a jacket that I hadn't seen in ages was suddenly THE piece for fall. Not only that, I jettisoned a ton of stuff that was only bogging me down while picking up an unmentionably large amount of money from my local Buffalo Exchange. (LOCALS TIP: Management there has just changed hands along with a complete staff turnover. What was once an unpleasant experience is now a highly recommended resale destination.)


Waist not want not

Today I was channeling Yohji Yamamoto spring 2010. That's what I choose to think, at least. It feels like the perfect transition into fall.
(kinda wishing I had cropped my head out of this one^)

I quite enjoy the bright white on black, and the way the lines appear more crisp because of the contrast.

A simple outfit, I know, but I have been interested in the anti-waist or the low-waist lately. Don't get me wrong, I will still wear high-waisted things. I have specific plans to do so, and soon. But I am trying to let my garments determine how best to wear them. I feel that in the new century we've reached a point where the confines of the past are now the various methods of play for the future. I can dress in an A-line skirt one day and a shapeless jersey knit the next. Short shorts, long pants, bell bottoms, tight jeans, whatever. I don't think it will be possible any longer to be "outmoded" based on the fit of one's clothing, so long as one is fully owning their look and exuding confidence in their appearance. This is what I hope, at least.

August 17, 2010

The dog days are over

Hi guys, I'm just chilling on my windowsill in my new Acne trousers, no big thing.
Being able to comfortably wear pants and perch here to enjoy the breeze is something I am savoring in a way I did not know possible. Minneapolis sure knows how to make a girl appreciate a perfect day in the 70s. It's by making us suffer for it. 

But since you came here to see the goods, not talk about the weather, let's get on with it.

I am so fucking stoked on these pants and their perfection, I cannot even tell you in type. Silk, light as air, pleated, ballooning out but not becoming tight at the ankle - just tapered, twisted side seams, and the DYE. I... will stop.

I also enjoyed wearing them tucked into the backs of my shoes, like so:

These pants, from Acne's end of season sale, along with some excellent second hand shopping over the weekend, have completely rejuvenated me for fall. Honestly, sometimes this blogger gig gets a little stale. I'm sure others out there who write and photograph themselves must feel the same way at times. But after a little rut of being so over it, I'm so back into it. Something changed this weekend with the most perfect weather, Mike being home for 3 days in a row, stacks of thick mags, finding a number of key fall items, and conceptualizing new looks. Very exciting things. I love the feeling of arriving back into your own life (and style) after those brief little departures into aloofness.

Whenever I'm overwhelmed by the need to ride a wave of positivity into productivity, I turn to Nina. She sure knows how to remind me of how good feeling good really can feel.

August 13, 2010

So, I bought some Celine...

I've taken my fandom to new levels, having bought an ugly vintage Celine purse and convincing myself that it's cool.

Well, to the credit of myself and every other vintage purse carrying etsy browsing thrift store rummaging 20 something girl, it's not like we weren't all way ahead of the small boxy shoulder bag trend. I had been wanting to put some distance between myself and my vintage Coach bags, and figured in a sea of vintage Coach/Dooney & Bourke, some monogrammed vintage Celine might be just tacky enough. 

I consider this lil bag my way of showing appreciation for something I can never have. Because let's face it, I will never be one of these people: (see link).
Be with me on this. Tell me the monogram is so bad it's good.

August 11, 2010


I basically consider this now year long process of "growing out my hair" an experiment. I'm testing the two hypotheses: 1. Can I grow my hair to my waist? 2. Will it actually look good like that? One year into the experiment and all I can say is, it still needs to get longer. Results are indeterminate at this time.

But this post isn't about my hair; it's about my nails. I noticed they had all uniformly managed to grow quite long (for me). Hm, I thought to myself. What if, instead of trimming them down with clippers as I usually do to maintain a boxy, just-past-fingertip length, I go purchase a nail file and make myself some pointy rounded tips à la my great grandma or your run of the mill Asian nail salon poster art?

Off I went to procure the supplies: 89 cent pack of emery boards and some Sally Hansen.

I figured bright red is the only way to go.

What we're working with. This is post-filing. You can see that I did the best job on the left index finger. But I didn't realize that until I applied polish.

See? Index finger is totally the best, others are not pointy enough.

Ok so this was like a week ago, and much to my surprise I never broke one. Also, I found the length and pointy tips strangely pleasing, like how true nail art devotees must feel. However, normal tasks became increasingly difficult, and it is gross how much gets underneath long nails. Moisturizer, garlic, pieces of blueberry skin. And when they are painted you don't notice right away. Also, I started having visions of this:

So after a few more days and this nail blog photoshoot which is kinda stupid anyhow, the experiment is over. I caved when I could no longer accurately type a text message. I'm back to this more reasonable and boring nail configuration.

I hope that you are having a happy Wednesday, and that this post did not make you nauseous.

August 7, 2010

Big black dress

You may recall this Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair dress I brought home from Seattle.

I knew it was good when I bought it, and it has only continued to bring me pleasant feelings long after the initial burst of excitement. It has the fit of a mumu/caftan and is super soft. Best of all, I keep finding new ways to wear it. I wanted to share a few with you. I truly hope you are into this sort of thing...

With belt.

As drapey tee with spacey shorts and Birks.

With black jellies and jacket.

On top of the lace dress that brought me moderate to minor amounts of internet recognition.
Just thought you should know. This one is straw. My others are all wool. It was really brutal in Chicago and I set out for a straw hat. I was open to other colors, really.

There are so many more possibilities for this dress, and I anticipate it moving into fall with me nicely. Speaking of seasonal transitions, I do hope to involve myself more deeply with some color and pattern in the future. I'm just very selective about these things; I can't make any promises.

August 3, 2010


I would like to indulge in some garment talk. My subjects today are shape, silhouette, and the womanly form as well as item appreciation.

I have not owned this skirt for a long time, probably less than a year, but I appreciate it very much. It's not just some common thing that is used in layering to create an interesting styling (though it performs well in that capacity), but is instead an item that does a good deal of the talking itself. Its pleats remind me of, obvs, Pleats Please and the hem is like what Jeremy Scott would have come up with while watching the Flintstones if he had somehow also decided to take an interest in subtlety. In short, I treasure this item as a part of my budding collection of garments because it is not a trend item and remains an interesting design item. To me.

Skirt by Han Feng purchased at Minneapolis shop gh2.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was able to buy this skirt for a very deep discount as it had sat unwanted for god knows how long and made its way into my life via an eventful clearance sale filled with things most certainly not from any recent season. It does not flatter the figure, as the zigzag pleats make it puff out away from the body and most of the bulk is in the stomach and thigh areas. But figure flattery is for whom anyhow?

The silhouette I've created here could be called "larval" or "cocoon-like," which I was aiming for by not choosing a tight fitting top to balance out the puffy lower proportions. I opted for this American Apparel crop top that hangs far from the body at the waist, which I'm demonstrating above in that awkward pose on the right. Combined with the puff of the skirt and here I am in my larval shape. Almost ready to go out of the house.

(Please disregard the messy hair. It was not fully dry and the humidity, let me tell you what...)

PS What's up with my ombré floor?

August 2, 2010

I don't usually do this...

by "this" I mean make posts about blatant object lust, BUT

I have wanted a Doc Marten "Darcie" boot ($115) since last winter, and opening ceremony goes and makes it in animal print pony hair or pebble black leather. My heart trembles with desire.


For a mere $150:


I might be in a "must have" situation. The worst part is that it has to be the pony hair, right? I can already see so many winter outfits with them. Unless, wait. Do they look like camouflage instead of leopard? That would be gross.