November 23, 2010

Layers for the longest season

Fall is officially over for Minnesota. It was a harsh, abrupt turn to the long winter. Recent weeks have involved a snow storm and an ice storm, which was a real doozy. But a weird thing happened to me: I'm used to this insanity now. I might go so far as to say I enjoy it. However, I will maintain my longstanding position that people, especially people still rocking melanin, are not supposed to actually live in this climate.

Today, for not very good reasons, I decided to walk for a mile or so to take care of some business. It was below freezing, yet sunny with a beautiful blue sky. Walking was a choice I consciously made so that I could spend time in the freezing cold outdoors. I hardly know who I am anymore.

Regardless, I like what I wore:

Sometimes getting dressed in all the necessary layers is fun. Such as on days when you aren't already late for work or something not very fun like that. Mike bought this vintage wool coat a couple years ago at a thrift store, but never wears it. Mine now.
Most of these items are of matronly provenance. The boots are Santana (not the Carlos one, the Canadian one for cold weather) and were purchased at the Clark's store (first winter frantic buy, enticed by claims of high tech foot warming capabilities). 
The thick legging/pants are Ellen Tracy, it's true. They have those angular contour raw-edged stitched details like the cool kids are wearing. Cardigan, very warm, J. Crew. Scarf: unknown brand but of very fine materials, bought at gh2 in Minneapolis.

*******
Aside:
   Out of curiosity I googled the coat brand. The tag reads: Student Shop, Hughes Hatcher Suffrin, Detroit. I found the photo to the right of the Harry Suffrin store in Detroit, which during the 1940s outfitted "dapper gentlemen," and offered free tailoring.

Harry Suffrin later merged with Hughes and Hatcher, and opened many shops in the city, such as the one below, on Michigan Ave Mall. But by 1980, they had gone out of business.


I wonder about the young man who bought this coat, and what sort of life he envisioned when picking this out in the Student Shop. And at what point did this coat seem so outdated or no longer needed that it made its way onto the thrift circuit? 

*******

On my walk I gathered some small pine cones to decorate the apartment. I also documented decay in the forms of last week's snowmen and last season's foliage.
Poor guy:

The outdoors version of this outfits is a little less exciting, but there were mittens, too.

During my first winter in MN, I never left the house and went crazy. Things are looking much better this time around. I am feeling inspired and have winter ideas. The holidays are also so close, and we have a pretty excellent feast among friends to look forward to on Thursday. Very exciting things, indeed.

November 22, 2010

Ebaying

Attn: Women with size 6.5 (3.5UK, 36.5) feets and a disposable income.

Please, someone, go buy these for yourself or someone you love now.






They are so beautiful, it hurts me a little.

November 19, 2010

A bouclé that won't go away

I bought this skirt on sale at Nordstrom Rack over a year ago. Today, I wore it out of the house for the first time.
 
Remember how way back in olden times like 08-09, "pencil" was the trend in skirts-that-are impractical-to-walk-in that we were all supposed to wear?

What you're looking at here is some creme colored bouclé BGBC with a heavy silk trim in the timeless (except for when it was last season's trend) shape of pencil. Because of one or more of these features, it sat rolled up into a tube-shape and stuffed into my skirt shelf for (approx.) the last 14 months.

But really, I don't regret this purchase (too much?). It's very grown up, and that's what I've been doing lately. And today, the texture of the thick fabric just felt right. We got half a foot of snow last weekend! I have to winterize my looks. Plus, it finally occurred to me how I could wear this skirt in a new, innovative, and original way: with all black!

OK I threw in some gray, too. You know, just to mix it up a little bit.


These sweater tights serve me so well on days ranging from 15-30ºF.


(Oh and please excuse the photo quality. I'm not really aiming to editorialize myself, and lighting conditions are getting pretty rough in the apartment. Sunset happens at 4:40. And the sun's light no longer comes directly in my south-facing windows at all, due to the building next door and the very low path it travels on the horizon. I'm considering the anti-depressant light bulbs they sell here.)

November 18, 2010

A few words

For the past week, I have dealt with increasing pain in my foot. I'm not sure what's wrong and I can't fully describe it without accompanying hand-motions to clarify. At first, I ignored the pain, thinking it would go away, but it has only intensified and spread to my back and shoulders.

Today I bought a bandage, and I wrapped my foot. It decreased the pain, and I can take semi-normal steps again. The pain is not gone entirely, but it hurts less and I think I'll be able to go on about my life.

There's a strange parallel here to my blog, and I'm still trying to work that out.


I want to take this opportunity to change my official position on the questionnaire Susie posted last week. I scoffed at the LiveJournal-y nature of it because it felt too much like a chain letter. I have since realized that the questions have the power to open up conversation across friends real and digital while helping to define what this space means, and I've decided to recant my earlier position and answer one question specifically.

Why do you blog?

I consider my portion of this blog to be a forum for thoughts, interests, and ideas I have that would otherwise go unexpressed. I use this place as a sounding board for things that I can't or don't talk about face to face with anyone, but still feel are valuable enough to merit discussion. The open comments section is testament to this, as is the nature of the posts, generally written so as to invite the thoughts and opinions of others.

I've been asked about what defines success for this blog. I think success is publication. Failure is unshared drafts and ideas that never get typed out. Writing itself is the goal here. I've become accustomed to the lack of social interaction that is my current life situation. I realize that I need interaction not only to flourish, but also to get through the day-to-day. This post may not generate double digit comments, but the ones that do provide me with something that I otherwise lack yet undoubtedly need.

Furthermore, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here. There are enough blogs out there that people can go to if they want to fetishize products or masturbate. I'm trying to talk about real shit that matters to me and I recognize that there is a small but interested group of people out there that are reading. I owe it to myself to keep publishing and continue the conversation.

I also write to find my singular vision. I find that the blogs I enjoy following all have a singularity of vision or voice, and they provide something to the world that no one else does or can. When I read a post and can see something in it that is undoubtedly its author's own, that excites me. I feel like I've made a connection with someone through their writing. That is something I'm inspired to achieve in my own writing.

One more issue I'd like to address is that this is not a fashion blog. What it is may be up for debate, but I'd like to think that the people reading this are not just here to find fashion inspiration, but are more interested in the discussions that go beyond the editorials, and the questions that are raised about each other and the world around us. Of course we have an interest in fashion, but we are interested from a perspective that asks questions and challenges our surroundings, in the hopes of finding new ideas and connections. Anyone can post an editorial. We strive to go beyond that.

The nagging thought that something needs to change is not an inconvenient coincidence--it is the symptom of my unexpressed thoughts and ideas. The blog is my bandage. It provides the forum for me to take those steps, painful or scary as they may be. To ignore my ideas, or to get stuck in self-doubt is to succumb to failure. This blog is my solution to that problem.

So much for avoiding LiveJournal-dom. Hopefully next time I can be more funny. Thanks for reading.

November 13, 2010

Interpellation

Blogging might be an extension of my mirror stage, which I seem to have never outgrown. In any case, I was recently interpellated  deeper into a blogging subjectivity (ideology?).

---

What is this about? Well, I'm really flattered that Miss Woo listed Loveship as one of ten blogs she loves! The "I love your blog" prize consists of answering a survey then passing it on. Mike is sitting this one out due to discomfort with the compulsory, Livejournal-esque vibes. But I made the decision to go forth and answer.

Mainly, I want to take this chance to use my powers of persuasion to get you to watch some really excellent movies. I also thought I might reemphasize the ideas behind this blog (though they are currently under some careful consideration).

Here goes...

1. Why did you create the blog?

This web space originated as a travel diary of moving here, called "Goin' Minnesoty Way." It was put on pause for some time, as we seriously questioned why the fuck we came here. There was a definite moment when some changes had to be made. We decided to work hard to make the best of everything. We got engaged. We started blogging again. It's like we needed a make-over, only that time, we decided to makeover our souls. .

Personally, I needed an outlet to talk about fashion, style, and related ideas. I consider my entire relationship with fashion an intense "hobby," the way some people are really into golf or Magic the Gathering. Sometimes the people you see everyday think you're an asshole or weirdo for your hobby. I find so many amazing things in MN, but at the time had no friends to share with. My IRL friends who share this hobby live thousands of miles away, so this was a way to show them things and talk a bit about what's going on in my life. And then there was the internet bit. I've found that I really love knowing that people in other cities and countries will appreciate such things, even if I get sideways glances when I go out.

Case in point for why I love this blog: If I go out among my best friends in a killer outfit, they will compliment me. If I wear some "crazy" pants, they will get so excited about them with me. But 95% of the people I see, even friendly acquaintances, just try to pretend the pants are not happening on my body. They glance, make a constipated look, and say nothing. I couldn't live like that. I appreciate this forum. 


2. What kind of blogs do you follow?

See the list to the right. There are some more, too. I tend toward ones with insights. I tend to stay away from ones that make me feel like I'm signing up to get advertised at.


3. Favorite makeup brand? (Boy bloggers are a bit left out here. Maybe product?)

I don't have an answer to this. I only started wearing makeup in the past few years and put nothing on my face-skin. I occasionally address my eyes, eyebrows, and sometimes lips. I'm figuring it all out very, very slowly. I just get things with Macy's gift/return cards after my mom inevitably buys me some 500 pack of eyeshadow and rancid perfume that I have to return... 


4. Favorite clothing brand?

I've always answered "The Japanese" on this question. I was really feeling Dries up to Spring 2011. My love of Phoebe Philo is well-documented in the archives here. I generally wouldn't say I'm a huge brand loyalist. Also, I can't afford any of the things I just listed. I appreciate things on their own merits, and will wear Moschino, Guess, Chicos, Talbots, or worse if it's done to my taste. 


5. Your indispensable makeup product?

See above. Again, not really something I care about. I will say: lotion. Or, moisturizer. 


6. Your favorite color?

This question was really popular and important to identity formation in grades K-8, so I'll list my past favorite colors by era.
Age 5-10: Purple!!!
Age 11: Lavender (I learned a new color. It's still purple!)
Age 12-14: BURGUNDY. because it's like blood and wine and I was "that girl." 

7. Your perfume?

I wear it about 5 times a year, but it is very special. It's called 'Nirmala' and is made by Molinard in Grasse, France. A best friend and I were in the process of getting to know each other and cementing our bond while studying abroad. We visited the perfumery and I was in love with this scent, but low on euros. She got a bottle, which I would borrow whenever I saw her. A few years post-France, she tracked down a bottle for me in a style that is no longer available. It was one of the most special birthday presents I've ever received. 


8. Your favorite film. 

This is the question I'm most excited to answer. I'm going to do a top 3, because favorites are hard.

First, promise me that if you haven't already you'll watch Freeway, ASAP. Starring Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland with cameos by Brittany Murphy and Tara Subkoff:
"A twisted take on 'Little Red Riding Hood' with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker traveling to her grandmother's house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer/pedophile."
This shit is truly amazing. Reese's breakout role, and the one you never hear her speak of in interviews. I have loved her and followed her career ever since, solely because of this performance.


While you're on your Netflix queue, also get Killer of Sheep. Even if the above kitsch is not appealing to you, trust me on this one. It's beautiful and perfect. When Mike and I started our courtship phase I hit on him by asking him to see this with me in a little one screen theater for a matinee. I started racking up cool smart girl points like, instantly. Later, I faked a pregnancy and the rest is history. 













Finally, we recently saw Shirin Neshat's Women Without Men. It was really good.


9. What country would like like to visit and why?

Japan. For clothes and food and ventures into the countryside. I've been literally having dreams about going to Japan, probably 10 or so different scenarios that I can remember. When I wake up it hurts a little. 


10. Make the last question to yourself. Why did you take this survey so seriously, or at all?

I do not know.

--

I now give the prize to:

Feel free to answer these questions, or don't.

November 10, 2010

talking shit about a pretty sunset

Yesterday afternoon we ventured to St. Paul. The first and more important stop was at Brasa. We feasted on so many delicious foodstuffs in this quite relaxing spot. After that, we went down to the Mississippi River to visit what turned out to be a pleasantly desolate park.

Not to be too teen goth, but I really like all the dying and decaying plant life. Fall is my favorite, even after the pretty orange leaves disappear. I like the bare trees and the gray/taupe palette. Living here, I have learned to embrace fall's actuality as a slow death march into hibernation.

We found this gravel circle. This photo is from right before we called the corners.
 
JK. But check out my first ever sweater vest!
It's from a thrift store. I suspect it's handmade. The skirt is Comme des Garcons, tights J. Crew, boots Robert Clergerie.


Mike: I wore corduroy bell-bottoms.
 


I like them.


I threw it with this old jacket I came across at a thrift store a while back.  I haven't managed to work it in to an outfit yet, but it has a bulky shape that I think pairs well with the pants.


Susie: There were so many changes of light in such a short time. The water here is actually a lake within the riverbed. 


We got to see the sunset. That doesn't happen very often. It was pretty nice. 

November 4, 2010

Uh Oh, U.O.

Some time ago I "discovered" Carin Wester. I was immediately taken by the elegance and simplicity of her palette combined with oversized proportions and weirdly cozy looking platform wedges.


You can buy all these things on her website. Upon further browsing, I was pleased to discover a section called "Vintage" filled with leftovers from past seasons at reduced prices. Stoked on all these finds, I bookmarked the site in my "designers" folder for future shopping potential. I also showed Mike some of the rad menswear.



And then the [choose one: "inevitable," "unfortunate," "worst thing," "best thing," "moment of my dismay," "moment of my elation," "moment of ensuing profound indifference"] happened: urbanoutfittersdotcom began carrying her line. 

What reactions I felt may be very different than others, and my politics aren't really what I want to bring up at all. It's the fact that this situation incites a reaction that I want to question. Carin Wester existed before, was sold in stores, lauded by the press, and was accessible online. Then a decision was made to sell the line at UO. I have absolutely zero factual knowledge about how this decision was reached, but I am absolutely certain that a decision, a choice between or among options, was made.

We can certainly speculate about the factors influencing this decision. This is where our agency as consumers enters the equation. Is vending independent designers at massive cool-peddling outlets the best way to support worthy, admirable designers? Or have designers become convinced, through amassed evidence, that such actions are the only way to get us to spend money and ultimately to keep their brand afloat, allowing them to live a life of creativity? Surely empty phrases like "democratization of fashion" help ease discomforts while fashion's least credible and most hype-inducing branch, we blogs, fervently, with frothing mouths, spread word. It's harder to popularize and recognize an independent designer. It's much easier to wait for the PR announcement email and copy and paste it's contents and links.

Would I buy these beautiful Marbella ankle boots from urban if I had $403 lying around?

Again, this is not about me detailing the questionable politics of Urban Outfitters, which has been done quite nicely elsewhere for the uninitiated. But if we all know that UO, Anthro, Forever 21 and the like can only exist in such massive spaces by selling loads of cheaply made, glued together junk, likely produced under unfair labor and wage conditions, do independent designers really benefit? Even with the handful of designer pieces available online, UO is profitting largely from masses of wasteful junk. We also tend to recognize that carrying Wester is one of many attempts to seem fashion-credible and move past the slogan tees. Do we just buy in after searching for a coupon code for free shipping?

I may be way off base, but for me Urban cheapens a brand I wanted to like. I believe in a smaller-scale relationship of profit and livelihood, dreaming of a way designers, small boutique owners, and customers can increase personal wealth (not just the $$ kind) while also scaling back on the rampant consumerism. "Retail therapy," isn't helping to spend us out of the recession - we are digging ourselves deeper into global economic inequality.

I don't know if any of this is important. I will dilute content in the coming weeks with lots of pretty outfit posts, promise. For today, though, I leave you with this expert opinion, from the the Korea Times' article "Fast Fashion's Unpretty Life Cycle,":
 "So how can you become more fashionably responsible? Try not to buy as much, experts say."