Saturday, April 29, 2006

Weekend in New Paltz.

The Bard will be back Monday -- with something stylish and shiny, no doubt!

See you then.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Outfit Search 3

This "Outfit Search" is an interactive one: I need your help!

It is that time of year, my friends. My baby sister is going to Prom!
I need some help getting her ready before May 12th. She needs makeup ideas, hair ideas, shoes, a purse! I can do many of these (in fact, I believe we've already snubbed The Eldest Sister and selected a hairstyle). But (dare I admit?) I need help on the shoes! Follow my winding story of her quest for a dress or just skip to the bottom, but please take a glimpse and share any of your anticipated ingenious ideas. I appreciate all and any help (as does she).

So without consulting me, (but she did consult a very fashionable friend of whom I approve), The Little Sister went out dress shopping. These dresses from Caché were the final three contenders (worn by The Little Sister in Caché's dressing room):




And may I just add that I adore and need this for myself:


At last The Little Sister chose the most original, the one Caché carried the fewest of (lest someone else have the same dress!), and the middle-cost dress. Here is the close-up:

Close-up of the fabric:

So back to the shoes.
The Little Sister can afford to spend some money on them, wants them to be as fabulous as the dress without out-shining it, and her only qualification is that she wants to be able to wear them all night without her feet dying. Not too much to ask, eh? Chip off the ol' block.

Feel free to leave a comment or just email me at with shoes ideas (and hell, if you have makeup/hair/purse/jewelry ideas send 'em along, too!).
Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Carnivale de Couture ~Reply 2~

Just a short post in reply to this week's Carnivale topic.

Over at Sense of Soot, the prompt was:

The Topic is Torturous Fashion, and not the kind you tried, hated, and discarded. Oh no, we're going deeper into the dark corners than that, my dumplings. There is something you have owned, a style you have loved with a masochism unparalleled. We'd adore a picture of the wicked object of your agonized affection, but you must at least confess what fashion item hurt you, and why you continued wearing it in your twisted triumph and shame.

And this outfit from my freshman year of high school just popped into my head. Black sleeveless hoodie. Beige Aeropostale shorts with drawstring. Black knee-high combat boots. The colors and types are slightly off, but I imagine it looked something like this:

If that isn't torture and shame, I don't know what is.

I have no idea why I ever wore this in public! Or how I ever got away with it in my public high school where, I seem to recall, a strict dress code was always enforced. Alas, what people must have thought of me! And can I blame them?

But I did outgrow this 'look' if you can call it that. I don't remember when or why, but I'm glad that my self knew enough to evolve!
[EDIT: ... I had my first boyfriend the year this outfit appeared. What the hell? Boy, the allowances in fashion in the 1990's!]

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~Blue Shoes~

I've been craving blue shoes for months... here are a few from Schuh (UK):

Each £ 49.99

I <3 the top pair. Alas, it will soon be too warm for these shoes! And so my search for some great, affordable blue wedges continues...

The Politics of Fashion

One time, many years ago, when Hot Topic was new, I was a letter-shirt gal. I went through a phase. They were new and exciting. Imagine! Wearing your heart on your sleeve-- but better yet-- wearing your snide, arch, detached teenager-dom across your chest!

"Make Him Beg"
"Tact is for People Not Witty Enough to be Sarcastic"
"Live Fast, Die Pretty"
"Don't Make Me Get My Flying Monkeys"

One day, after about a year of loyalty to this trend, I was sitting in a Denny's (yes, the infamous 24-hour home of the Grand-Slam) in Los Angeles on vacation (on Sunset, if you're interested) and the waiter asked me about my shirt. On this particular day it read: "Stop Pretending You Don't Want Me." The server- his name was Sam, by the way- was very attractive. Very, very attractive. According to him, a part-time back-up dancer for some singer we'd never heard of called Shakira. Well, after my girlfriends and I had been chatting him up for awhile and flirting our hardest, he said, "Why that shirt?" I batted my eyelashes- I was used to getting attention of all kinds from this shirt, of course- it was my first letter-shirt, in fact- and gave Sam some kind of flirty retort. He said, "Seriously. You're pretty, you're nice- you don't need shirts like this to get attention. It makes you look like you have no confidence. And it's obvious you do. You just don't need it."

This comment obviously affected me, but other than being something I'll always remember (I have a picture, actually. I wish I could share it but this was back before the prevalence of digital cameras), it caused me to stop wearing those message shirts that very day. I just totally dropped a trend that I had adopted as my personal style for about a year.

Which, at long last, brings me to the topic of this post. While Sam was spot-on about the advice he imparted to me, was it okay for him to offer it so brashly? It helped me, I was glad for it, but was it permissible according to Miss Manners? Probably not.

Was it okay for Sam because he was a guy (a hot guy)? Because he was a stranger and I could have just as easily laughed and dismissed his opinion? How well would it have gone if my server was a woman? Probably not well at all.

On the other hand, as a woman, I feel as though it is okay for me to tell a man that he should wear black socks with black shoes, if his belt should be a different color. Gender plays a large role in fashion etiquette, and maybe this is something that should be looked into more deeply. Am I just assuming that as a woman I'll know better than the man, that he will be grateful for my "natural woman's eye" for "that kind of thing"? Maybe my father taught me this by asking me if his tie matched his shirt before he went to work in the mornings, when my mom was already gone for the day, because I was a girl, even though I was 7.

I'm sure fashion culture stereotyping or sociology or feminism are issues too over my head to be appropriately thorough or articulate about, but they factor into my thoughts. Would it change the story if I told you that Sam was bisexual, even though that has nothing to do with why I took his fashion advice?

Disregarding, for now, the double standards of the sexes- what role does constructive criticism play in the public fashion sphere? It's okay to compliment someone's outfit, color choice, overall style. It seems like it would be okay to, say, tell someone that their panties or bra were showing through their clothes. But what about helpfully telling a woman on the street not to wear a tunic-style top with an A-line skirt? Or that a midthigh-length coat paired with boots over pants made another girl's proportions choppy and she appeared much shorter and therefore stockier than she actually was? If I were to say these things, meaning well, even paired with a compliment, I don't think it would go over well. I think I would be called a bitch.

I definitely think about these things every day, especially on public transportation. Like the profile says, my friends, I am a helplessly judgmental person. I evaluate. I consider. I form opinions. But should I get to inform? I mean, it's totally fine with me if you want to ignore me. Let you take three inches off your own height over a silly little pant-tucking habit that can be easily resolved! It's not like it's my business, or think my personal opinion should be valued above yours. But there are certain fashion rules that are solid, right? Busty-girls-shouldn't-wear-tube-tops imperatives! Stacy and Clinton get to do it on What Not To Wear. The gals over at Go Fug Yourself have many, many of us fans returning for their witty, enjoyable critiques of public icons. But of course, maybe it's like fashion libel, and if you're a public figure you just have to deal with it, but if you're a private citizen you have a right to call your fashion attorney. Speaking of which- we all joke about them, but would it be so bad to have real-life fashion police?

Maybe that's a bit overboard. (Maybe.) Reality shows tend to counter being mean with offering a lot of money to help repair the ego while correcting the problem. More like... fashion rehab than fashion prison. And I guess I can't really expect to adopt a system by which I would lean across the subway, pass a man a fiver, and tell him that unless he slid down a pole in order to leave the house this morning maybe he should reconsider those offensively red suspenders. I can see how verbalizing my inner fashion monologue could come off as insulting, I do. But if we take, say, me, with all of my glorious tactlessness, out of the picture, where is the generic fine line for individuals to helpfully make gentle comments about each other's clothes?

I got my mother the British What Not to Wear style guide this past Christmas, when I also gave my little sister Kevin Aucoin's Making Faces. The first to keep my mother's wardrobe perfectly flattering and stylish (since I can't afford to get her the lovely clothes myself), the latter to give my funky, spritely little sister some help in forming a makeup style that reflected her personality (she's just at the age where she's getting more exploratory about that kind of thing). My sister was intrigued; my mother was offended. Not fair! Well, after actually looking through the book and finding it helpful and interesting, my mother recanted her initial indignance, but still.

I'd like a world with less defensiveness and more tolerance for good intentions. Hell, I'd like a world where I get to say whatever I think without any repercussions, period. But I guess we're going to stay halted at the boundaries of "love that vest" "pssst, your slip is showing" until further notice. Hey, sometimes, if you're wily, you can get in "that's a great blouse but I think if you wore a cooler shade with the neckline closer to your face, it would really bring out your eyes" -- or, if you're me, "wow, I love those sleeves, were you also a big fan of Tales from Avonlea?"

Well, maybe I'm only good as an argument for why the future Fashion Police should have officials elect. However, because the rules of public behavior concerning fashion have yet to be written (as far as I know), please feel free to start a dialogue and share your thoughts with me about how we should think about this social construct.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~girlshop~

I was playing around on Girlshop today. Though I strayed to the links of my favorite designers, I was a good girl and primarily navigated the "Sale" portion of the site, as I am wont to do.

Here are the three top things I love, want, and need (on sale!):

This sexy, sophisticated Alhambra top (in blue-grey):

Sale Price: $198

I <3 this hoodie! I can see how this comfortable, stylish item could work it's way into my daily wardrobe. (You know, that thing you always throw on to look and feel good that never quite gets hanger time because it's always out of the closet? Yeah.) I like the one in black.

Sale Price: $107

This cardigan is a classic piece that will always belong in my ever-changing wardrobe. I could get a lot of miles out of it, and always look put-together, effortlessly. I've seen others like it, but I like the bell sleeves and the tie cord at the waist gives it some extra shape.

But what I love most is the price! $60 on sale from $298!

If I can't have them right now, at least someone out there can. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Outfit Search 2

A few weeks ago I shared my angst-riddled journey to find an outfit to wear to a special occasion. The bugger was to build the outfit around a tricky pair of shoes. As I mentioned, I needed to wear the same beautiful, complicated shoes to another formal occasion with (possibly) some of the same people, and therefore needed a re-invention of the old theme.

I should have enlisted Shoewawa. The creators regularly run "Play the Shoe Stylist" activities, where readers put together outfits to go with a feisty pair of shoes. I could have used their help!

Well, now the dinner cruise has come and gone, but I managed to put together something new and incorporate a little color this time.

As promised, my outfit:

Close-up on the necklace:

Cruise shoes:

If you have any new ideas for my shoes, feel free to share!
Comment or email me at -- pictures welcome!

Carnivale de Couture ~Reply 1~

Today I did my laundry.

This is important because Danielle at Final Fashion hosted the Carnivale of Couture this week, and her prompt was about what favorite outfit people love to wear fresh out of the laundry.

I loved this question because it's so simple and honest. Does everyone not hit a moment of euphoria while doing their laundry, when they stumble onto a shirt or something they'd worn, and were reminded that they'd loved just wearing it, and then look forward to wearing it again? I do.

So this is the first time I will play along and participate in the Carnivale.

So while I was at the around-the-corner (public) laundromat, folding my hot, delicious clothes straight out of the dryer, I noticed what items drew my attention.

And I learned a little something about myself.

For the things I enjoyed and looked forward to wearing again were none other than a simple embroidered tshirt and (not together, but separately) my faux velour grey sweatpants that I sleep in. I have more expensive, exciting pieces, but these, at approximately $7.00 each, were what I enjoyed and looked forward to wearing.

Over the last few years I've faced an exodus from slouchy, comfortable, practical clothing to chic, sleek, sophisticated outfits. It was strange to realize that in my heart I look forward to wearing the boring, cheap, unfashionable items the most. Not that I don't adore wearing my cashmere sweater or don't always feel sexy in my distressed 7 For All Mankind jeans, but the things I choose to put on in the discretion of my own house are the things that truly reflect my preferences.

On the other hand, tonight I wore a dress out to dinner with some friends (more on this tomorrow) and afterward, I ended up grabbing drinks at the neighborhood bar in the same ensemble- a little overdressed. But I got more compliments than ever in this bar, being dressed too posh. Some from straight men, some from gay men, some from women. One of these comments was, "You are the most stylish person here." Others varied around "You've got such great style" or "I bet you're always this stylish." The word 'style' slammed through my humbled mind every single time. Ever since starting to blog, I've given my own style personality a much more objective consideration- and I liked to think I'd been being objective already! It made me think about how the choices I make are perceived by other people, and how that can beneficially affect my voice as a connoisseur of fashion.

I also mentioned to my friend C., while we were at the dive: "...I'm worried that girls in bars always think I'm checking them out. They think I'm scanning their bodies and I'm really thinking: shirt, bottoms, shoes... looking at everything they're wearing." She just said, "I know, I know." If only guys could claim they were noticing the brand of my sweater...

Overall, I guess that what it comes down to is that I like to dress up, and I like to feel comfortable. These two factors rarely ever mesh, but they can. Tonight was such a night. But while I sit here and type in my David & Goliath capri pajama bottoms and ribbed Roxy tank top and feel 100% cozy, I have to acknowledge that being overdressed and perfectly accessorized in the neighborhood bar made me feel wonderful, too. Overkill and underkill, the polarized ends, seem to be my comfort zones. It's an interesting thing to learn all in one day.

I'll still never understand girls in their BCBG or Juicy velour jumpsuits or sweat outfits though. Style and comfort don't have to be mutually exclusive, but slapping a brand name onto what is essentially down-time clothing certainly isn't the way to embrace both aspects. If you truly are conflicted- with your favoritism leaning toward leisure wear but your public comfort zone being dressed-to-kill, and your style as it should be is independent of how others think of you- try wearing your favorite pants, your favorite top, your best jewelry, and a kicky pair of shoes to the degree of comfort of your choice. This way you'll feel good, look sparkly, and know that the guy chatting you up isn't just interested in what's underneath your outfit (because you're not trying too hard to impress or 'appear sexy' which might attract even the guys you don't want). Your personality will shine through in your true favorite clothes. Plus you'll have the comfort to keep going all night! Everyone says confidence is a girl's sexiest asset- and this way you won't look like you've just come from the world's most high-maintenance gym.

For more information on the Carnivale of Couture, go here, to the Manolo's fabulous shoeblog where it all began, for information on the very first round and how to get involved.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My Secret ~Disguise~

When I am debilitatingly tired (ie, haven't-slept-a-wink-last-night) - more often than I'd like - I know the usual tricks to hide it: concealer under the eyes, big sunglasses, special hair tricks. But I also have many discreet "tells" which, if you pay attention and see me on a regular basis, signify the state of my mind. (Or more accurately, mindlessness.)

For me, these clues are not about warning people away- I prefer for people to think I am a fully functioning individual at all times. Granted, a lot of the time this is a bluff, but on sleepless days, it is imperative- boy, can you be taken advantage of if someone knows you're not as sharp as usual! (I'm looking at you, Dunkin' Donuts kiosk- I ordered and paid for a large coffee! Not a medium!) What it's really about for me is making up for the frazzled, fragile state of being by feeling a little extra confident.

Well, mostly confidence. One tell for me that's purely giveaway is my glasses. I have a pair for when my eyes "feel tired" - this problem began during finals week as an overworked English major. Someone should tell those professors that all their work was, literally, bad for my health! When I haven't slept, my eyes are susceptible to feeling as tired as the rest of me. (No one ever notices that I'm suddenly wearing glasses. It's odd.) I got these sleek Guess frames, in black.
If I'm wearing them, it's a "tell."

One quick trick for confidence is nice nails. I take good care of my nails generally, especially with the help my Smith's Rosebud Salve. (After using it on my lips, I use what's left on my finger all around my cuticles, and I've noticed a huge difference.) But for a real shine and healthy look that takes only a moment to swipe on, I use OPI Nail Envy. This strengthens my nails, makes them look great, and comes in Original, Matte, Thin and Brittle and Sensitive and Peeling. It's a quick, subtle pick-me-up that's brainless in the morning.

Another "tell" is comfortable shoes. In the winter, it's flat boots instead of heeled boots. But in the spring/summer you'll see me in some form of flip-flops all the time anyway. I'm an Old Navy flip-flop fan, I admit. Sure, you can get $15.00, $30.00 sporty or sequined flip-flops, and I'm sure they're sturdy and lovely. But I just bought 2 pairs of black and brown flip-flops for $5 at Old Navy! And they have every color under the sun.

And I think this is a new addition, but they also have metallics! (I will be going to get the bronze and the silver.) And if the price isn't good enough, they're dependable, long-lasting shoes. The last pair I bought lasted two years. Two years! In fact, I only bought more in anticipation of them breaking- because as of now, they're still fully functional, if not wore a little thin.

The metallics are a buck more a pair at $3.50 and come in a wedge for $9.50.

On an old Tyra Banks show, she confessed that when she's caught off guard and needs an easy sprucing up, she has two major tricks: lipstick and flashy earrings. I agree to those! Yes, yes, they are both in my bag of tricks, too! They distract from the bags under the eyes, the loopy gaze, bloodshot eyes. I would add one more from a personal standpoint- bright eyeshadow. This is because of the glasses I wear which I feel will suddenly draw more attention to my eyes (and since I am wearing those I usually forego the big sunglass tactic).

I also dress up. If I'm dressed chic or dressed "up" for no particular reason, if I'm wearing glimmer instead of plain makeup, if there are more rings than usual, a new purse, or a broach on my shirt- I'm not meeting someone hottie for cocktails at the end of the day, no, I'm probably napping.

So those are a few elements of my disguise.

If you prefer to be dead-obvious, here are a few cute ways to go about it (although I highly recommend not leaving the house!):

What are yours?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What I'm...

Okay, seriously, I'm going to have to change this blog title to "Finds From a Frugal Fashionista" because did I really just spend a while hopelessly searching for a purse to show you that I found at Payless? Yes, at Payless. Apparently, mine are not to be the words of glamour and cull, but sales and savings. I was totally in a Payless today-

Okayokayokay, back up. First of all Mr. Judgy McJudge-a-lot (I'm looking at you, A.), I did in fact know it was a bad idea to meet a friend for lunch in the shopping district. Second of all, I knew it was a bad idea to get there early. And third, yeah, I went into a Payless. Well, Payless has served me well over the years, especially in a shoe or purse (or pursestrings) emergency. And as I was not allowed to spend money, and as my budget had otherwise confined me to window shopping (a talent and hobby that can be a blessing and a curse), forgive me for entering a Payless.

-- so there I am in Payless, and I swear to god, there was a cute purse there. It came in pale green, light blue, beige and white. I asked. Except for the part where I thought, "Hey, white would be cute..." and they were actually sold out of the white. So I-- waaait for it-- told the Payless salesperson that I would be back to check if it was in. Hahahaha.

I know this is sounding like a "big fish" story. I wanted to show it here to see if I was dying to buy something or if it was actually a cute bag (though no Balenciaga). It wasn't on their rather limited web page. But seriously, if it was sold out I might not be crazy, right? (Avoiding the uncomfortable silence where you ponder that question and we avoid eye contact and you spare me the snippy remark because it's too easy...)

So! Instead of posting about cheap purse finds, I'm going to share some sites of interest.

From BitchPhD's blog, this picture essay about modeling poses and expression in terms of gender and audience. It provides some good examples and ideas about the messages that poses in magazines and ads can send subliminally. BitchPhD got it from a commenter, but I thought it could use some more circulation (and go check out her site, too!).

Next, I know this has been around but in case you haven't seen it, My Virtual Model. You can make a model to almost your exact proportions and then dress 'er up in clothes from a few retailers! Okay, it scared me more than anything, but I did have fun poking around. (And maybe it's healthy to face up to what you look like in virtual proportion?) There are very limited selections to toy with, but if you hit on something cute you might actually be tempted to go out and try a new style you've never considered before.

Here's my best from H&M (yes, those are my most accurate virtual dimensions, we're all friends here):

Sans my brief Payless fix, virtual browsing will have to suffice for this shopless girl!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Little White Dress

I have to admit, if I could wear a dress every single day, I would. For some girls, it's jeans. For me, giving up the task of putting together pieces for the beauty and simplicity of a single garment you can slip over your head would be lovely. Of course, then you have to shave your legs everyday and live in the south, but... it might be worth it, right?

Years ago I read a story in which the female protagonist wore nothing but white dresses. Now this was about ten years ago, but I have persistently longed for that perfect little white dress. Every year, spring/summer comes around, and white floods the racks. Every year, I seek my one true dress. I suppose some of you are fortunate enough to be able to buy dresses "for now" without waiting to find that one dress you can't live without, but I can't afford to buy a dress that lives up to my standards unless it is the dress. Having two or three or five of the runners-up I've seen sitting in my closet at this point would seem silly in the scope of my entire wardrobe and budget. Sometimes, the dresses can go so much on sale that I consider buying them regardless, but by then it's the end of the season (duh, this is why they're on sale!) and I realize how I shouldn't waste the money. And round and round we go.

But this year, the white dress is absolutely everywhere, more than usual, enough that people are calling the "it" color of the season white (hmmm, haven't we seen it persistently poke its face through the windows of our favorite boutiques this time every year?) and I cannot resist the pull. I am swearing an oath, here and now, before my readers, to actually give in and buy a damn white dress already. It will give me pleasure. Because all these years... I've never owned a white dress.

I went to a few of my favorite sites to anticipate what's out there when I begin shopping around- after my upcoming move, new job, and income!

One of the stipulations of this dress which has made it so difficult to find is that in the story, she wears them every day. It's obviously not a formal gown. To capture the spirit of the dress, it would have to look effortless and refined, but casual. So that no one asks 'where exactly I'm going in that dress' when I wear it (looking at you, mom). You can run errands! Stop by the mall! Walk the dog! (Okay, so, my dog and also my cat are black, so I don't think I'd actually play with the pets much in my white dress, but you get the picture.) Plus I must be able to throw it on and see the same kids at Starbucks or the salon without it being a thing- for a simple white everyday dress must be as much the chameleon and embody the same versatility as our little black dresses.

The first place I looked was Neiman Marcus.

This is the back of a Moschino dress. Unfortunately, the back is what I like about it, and not the front. Not that I mind eyelets, but really, they're friggin' everywhere, and they do have to be delicately incoroporated into the style of the dress or else you're going to look like your grandmother in it. Seriously, don't let those skinny, sunny, airbrushed models fool you- they may look gorgeous and young in the same dress that will make you look like a tablecloth. The front of this dress looks like it is seriously threatening to cross that delicate balance. $1,450

The second dress is Elie Tahari and slightly more affordable (ha!).

This one is a close favorite. It looks a little like a shirt and skirt, but in return for this compromise, the dress has more style and shape to it than a lot of the usual dresses I'm seeing with practically no waist to speak of. Plus, I can wear a bra with it! (It's actually calling itself a shirt-dress, but I'm not going to encourage any of that nonsense. We have to unify and draw a line here, people!) $428

This was my favorite Neiman find:

Yeah, too dressy. Plus $495. At a disqualified $890, another runner-up is here: Grecian.

Last but never least, DKNY.

This is a simple, clean, cami dress- but still gives definition to the waist. However, for something so plain, I think it's a little steep at $295.

Usually Anthropologie is always, always on my list to look for special dresses. Lo and behold, the site boasted an entire section devoted to white for spring! Unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed as usual. This was my best find, and it's a compromise, at best:

Look, the friggin' model doesn't even look happy to be in it! Where is your smile? Your posture? If you don't care, why should I? This girl needs Tyra to shake some modeling sense into her, stat. Soooo not worth it at $128. is a necessary stop, but I could find nothing imaginably affordable that also qualified. At last, when you run into a wall like that, when you're ready to call it quits for the day, the best place to go is Know why? It's cheap. In this case, you can totally buy the dress-for-now and who cares if you trash it or pass it on once you find the dress of your dreams?

Not perfect, but $36.50! For that price I can (waaaait for it...) buy myself some time to find a fabulous, flattering, simple white dress.

Whoa, did my mind seriously just become a traitor and accuse me that what's in fact on my mind is... weddings?! Me, the most firm advocate that weddings are mere ceremony and contracts with the state, that they are silly and custom, but not necessary, that if anything they should be matters of legal convenience, me? I blame Disney movies! For elaboration on that, check the comments thread on Love.Want.Need. ~Cape~.

Monday, April 17, 2006

If You've Got It... then what?

I wonder what to do with my passion for shopping and fashion.

My problem is names. I have a very hard time immersing myself in the fashion industry because I can never keep up with the designers, their firms, the editors or their magazines, or the models and which face is whose. This is terrible of me, I know, but I have always had a hard time with the people in my classes who I see every day. I'm the kind of person that has a moment of apprehension when she walks into a gathering because there's undoubtedly going to be one situation of speaking to someone for 45 minutes and being unable to place their name or how she met them. Except, for me, it's twelve people, not one.(People with three names are the worst. Having to remember all three of those names is, yknow, the reason I can't do math.)

This is why all you bloggers I read (some found at right) amaze me so much. How do you do it? Mine will never be that type of blog. I could write about clothes all day long, but never people. I get really, really excited when I see a designer's face and their name automatically pops into my head. Or in public when I see a skirt I just saw on a site or in a store and remember the source. I got excited the first time I watched Zoolander and understood some of the more subtle industry humor that other people watching it with me didn't get, for heaven's sake.

I feel as though one solution to this might be magazine subscriptions. Which is why I plan to spend my tax return this year on subscriptions. Feel free to suggest your favorites! I like solid articles and fantastic photo editorials better than celebrity gossip and quizzes, mind you. I enjoy shopping magazines, but mostly only for traveling, when I can't actually go online or to a store immediately and try to spend my limited, hard-earned money. Besides, Lucky, for example, is waaaay too expensive for me and it can be a wee bit depressing. Shopping magazines for those of average allowances would be a blessing. (I think that's called H&M's new 'zine-brochures, heh.)

My mother went to Syracuse for her MFA in Fashion Design after doing visual arts at NYC's High School of Performing and Arts. But I think that she, like me, appreciated the art of fashion more than the industry of fashion, and now she runs a graphic design company instead. It's a good mesh of interests, but I would still like to incorporate more fashion into my life than just aesthetically. This is also the reason my love of fashion was so latent. I rejected my love of clothes for a long time because my mother liked fashion, the same way that I still refuse to consider law school, even though I believe I'd be good at it, because my father is a lawyer.

Yet, at this point, now that I've embraced my interest, I am the one everyone in my family comes to for shopping buddies, outfit opinions, or beauty advice. I know what earrings go with your facial shape, okay? But what was your name, again?

I'd love to do what some of the ladies on television are doing, for example. But I think there are certain qualifications I simply don't possess. I already accost people on the streets and the subway to comment (sometimes just in my head) on what they should or shouldn't be wearing, like Stacy London, but I don't think anyone's jumping in line to pay me for doing it. I could easily sit on a judging panel like Janice Dickinson and be bitchy and maybe blitzed and probably unstable, but, again... we can hardly ever be paid for doing what comes naturally. And then there's Katinka from Zoolander. Okay, she's fictional, hinderance number one. And I don't really know what she did in that movie except attend Muragatu and go to runway shows and hobnob with the fashion hoity-toits, but if I can run around in pleather and be evil and still be immersed in fashion culture, I'll take it.

In the real world, there are realms of fashion consulting, personal shopping, and fashion writing/editing I can do with my English degree that would fulfill my interests without running up against the wall of my handicapped memory capacity. It's something that I'm going to have to consider now, as I go into the adult world of Real Jobs and try to get paychecks that make it so that I don't have to wait for my tax return to afford magazines.

But when you have a love for something, or a talent for it, I believe you follow the white rabbit and see where it will go for you.

If you have/want a career involving fashion, fashion writing, beauty, or shopping, feel free to let me know about when you knew you wanted it, how you went about it, or what your plans are for the future.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~Cape~

Okay, I know this might sound silly, especially in light of the immediate spring and impending summer, but... I want a cape.
No, no, I feel that I must have a cape, it is my destiny to have a cape.

I first decided this last Fall/Winter when capes were in vogue along with the entire Victorian/gothic look, and in an old Love. Want. Need. I sent my mother the following vintage cape as an example:

I was reminded of this deep desire tonight when I (now, don't tell anyone) watched The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast for the first time since childhood. And everyone had capes! And they all looked gorgeous.

First there was Prince Erik and Vanessa (human Ursula) wearing their sea-side slight-draft type capelets:
(Sidenote: my friend and I decided that if we met Vanessa in real life, we would totally befriend her even if she is a total bitch and Enemy #1 in The Little Mermaid since we have to root for Ariel. (We cannot, however, understand why having Erik under her spell, being hot, and bewitching him into taking her as Queen wasn't good enough for Vanessa- why was her plan, if she could have done those three things all along, to go back to the ocean and try to steal Tritan's throne? Girlfriend doesn't know when enough is enough.))

We're going to ignore a lot of Beast capes, first of all because he is a man, and second of... both... because I cannot use the fashion of a Beast (nee Prince) when choosing my 19th century-inspired fashion pieces. But here is Belle in her riding cape, in an oft-overlooked scene of the movie, (in which she gets attacked by wolves and Beast saves her), where I personally believe she looks more beautiful than she does in some of the signature scenes- maybe being flushed from running away in terror from a talking man-beast just gives you that natural glow. (Speaking of signature scenes, Belle does make it onto the short list of people who can justifiably pull off a yellow dress. That list being Belle and Kate Hudson in How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Everyone else looks like a banana. Don't do it.) I had a hard time finding images of her in this cape.

And then there is the more popular bird scene cape, which is gorgeous, and also a more plausible must-have for me as I do not ride horses, it is not in fact the 1800's, and when I'm strolling along the beach it's usually Florida and warm (although I am open to chilly night beaches, I'm looking at you, California). The red cape:

(A warning: do not try the white-fringed red cape (however burgundy it may be) around Christmas. You are not Mrs. Claus.)

The capes are bold, melodramatic, but still stylish and a staple item for a winter wardrobe in a classy situation. And I feel it would personally flatter my style, which is always the most important element to consider when choosing a signature, expensive piece!

Now, all I need is a Prince...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~Jersey Dress~

This outfit from Forever21:



You'd think I could buy a $40 outfit that I like just because I like it, but you'd be wrong. Oh, how I cannot wait to be reasonably employed again!

Now I'm going to have to find some cheap blue wedge shoes to go with it and oversized sunglasses... so that I can dream en ensemble.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Outfit Search

Recently, I had an important dinner with a semi-famous movie star and five of my friends. Naturally I wanted to look fabulous, but as is the running theme here, I am usually broke or one dinner with a movie star away from it. So I went through a crisis of throwing my clothes off their hangers and all over my chair and bed, trying to snag some inspiration about what to recycle and wear. Nada. Besides my budget and anxiety about looking good for this night, I was further hindered by the fact that I had recently bought some amazing shoes on a trip to London, and wanted to give them their maiden voyage on this night. And let me tell you from experience, building an outfit from the shoes up is terrible.
I've seen many a good woman and a good outfit go down in flames because of this. (Especially if those shoes are a particular shade of red and you are of an era where shoes and belts and purses must match, and that color should preferably be present somewhere in either your jewelry or outfit somewhere and thus, when you start with the red shoes, finding -exact- shades of red for all the other items is nearly impossible, despite an unlimited budget, I'm looking at you, Grandma M!) Though I knew better, of course, I was adamant about wearing the incredible shoes with the incredible dinner company. (I imagined he would love my shoes and we'd become bff and he'd call me every night and tell me about his day and how his movie is going and gossip about his famous friends until 3 in the morning, but it all pivoted on the damn shoes!)

But here I will share my search with the hope that it will prevent other frugal, obstinate girls from winding up in the same position, which is to say, spending hours trying on clothes and running in and out of the same affordable stores that lie between work/school and home.

So here are the culprit shoes (as seen in the user pic above, kind of):

First I tried an adorable (and on sale!) I.N.C. skirt dressed down with a (spiderman)layered tshirt so that I would look playful, and like I wasn't trying too hard, but it was vetoed vehemently by my wise friends:

And then I tried (among many un-photographable-or-mentionable ensembles) the following, going for simplicity rather than casualness:

But of course this seemed way too casual and not at all sexy- in fact, the words 'cheating' and 'safe' came to mind, so I threw in some sexy and some color with great, timid hope:

As we can all concede, this was not our best arrangement either. So at last I went to the store onemoretime and ran around and succombed to the shoe-accentuating safe black and white idea (though I had tried to challenge myself, I swear!) and I managed to wind up with this:

I felt that it went over very well. The man I went out with may not be calling me every night, but the first thing he said about/to me was: "Wow. Your shoes." And hell if that doesn't count for something! I would definitely wear it all again.

But here's the real bugger of the thing... I have a dinner cruise in two Saturdays, it is semi-dress attire, and... I feel I must wear those shoes again for the occasion! But a handful of my friends overlap attending the events, so of course I can't wear the same exact outfit! Oy, here we go all over again... but I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~Nest Earrings~

Old Love (Nov. 2005) [sent to mother, as seen on another beauty/fashion blog in the past. If you know which please let me know, I don't mean to steal... same goes for all 'Old Love' posts]:

I want these more than oxygen, more than a diamond ring.

Beth Orduna Nest Earrings, $348. (Not -so- unaffordable, are they? Well, only for this poor Bard).
Found here.

My Secret ~Velocity~

Velocity Lightweight Moisturizer from Mary Kay

So this is one of my personal beauty secrets. It began as a gift and I've constantly renewed it since then, glad of my acquaintance with a Mary Kay representative (for those of you who aren't so lucky, the product can be found here).

This is exactly what it claims to be: an incredibly lightweight moisturizer. It goes on thin and dries quickly without leaving residue. I prefer to use it on my face after cleanser and toner, or before bed. Not only do I like the cool, very light feel of the product, but I genuinely feel that it contributes to the cleanliness and smoothness of my face everyday. As an added bonus it boasts the same light notes of citrus that originally inspired my quest for similarly-scented citrus products (got2b kinky Curling Mousse, Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Wash). It won't surprise you to know that I also own the Velocity perfume and facial cleanser, though this is my favorite of the trio of Velocity products I own. If you can't quite afford these items (hi pot, I'm kettle - I prefer to ask for these as gifts of people who would otherwise aim in hapless, generic misdirection at the Bath and Bodyworks Holiday Sales shelf - I'm looking at you, men) then check Ebay for constant, cheap markdowns.

Feel free to make it your secret too! My rating: 9