Monday, July 31, 2006

At Work With Style ~2~

It's been awhile since I regaled you all with my tales of restaurant fashionability. To wit, because working in a restaurant is one of the most unglamorous professions, and sends me scuttling for the shower the minute I get home, every day, even when I showered just before work. But this is not to be an entry about my grossness, I promise. I actually wanted to just add another tidbit for how to stylize a work uniform. And, exciting news, I have wireless! As some know, I have been wheedling, begging, and bribing dialup to get posts to you guys since about the beginning of May. That's a long time! But now, at long last, I have speed again. Hopefully this will allow me to go back to a much more regular posting schedule, so here goes:

Lately, I have been taking cues from medical tv shows about how to dress up my work clothes. Medical shows, you say? But what could waitressing and bartending possibly have to do with cutting people open, save for those mini-defibrillators that restaurants lately added for the safety of their customers?

Well you see, as mentioned at I Am Fashion, shows like Grey's Anatomy always looks suspiciously stylish! How do people who work 24-hour shifts and have their forearms plunged into peoples' open wounds always look so bright-eyed, well-made-up, and gorgeous? One trick I noticed (beginning on ER, then Scrubs, then Grey's) was the layering of shirts, to customize and differentiate characters' bland uniform outfits (scrubs). They use varying lengths- long or 3/4 sleeves- and bright colors. It keeps them looking fresh. Such as:

Although I never know how Izzie's scrub tops always look fitted, to give her a defined bust and waist. Girl's got curves, but I've seen and worn scrub shirts, and they're mighty square.

In fact, having worn scrubs at my summer-long Animal Hospital stunt, I can honestly say that it was actually the most disgusting job I've ever had, filth-wise. Which only adds to the falseness and perplexity of how clean, sharp, and pretty everyone looks on TV. I have to say though, the staff of Dr. House's small and efficient team on House is the best-dressed at all times. Too bad I can't wear pumps and skirts to work and throw a lab coat over it and call it a day. I wish. I swear, my next job will be one where I can wear heels and my hair down.

Not only does layering keep your look fresh, but it keeps your clothes fresh, too. I don't know about you guys and jobs you've had that require uniform, but I find it hard to work several shifts a week on the two outfits provided to me, and no, I'm not running up my water and electric bills doing laundry 4 times a week. So yes, putting a shirt under my uniform shirt keeps it cleaner, longer.

So all in all, tip #2, colorful layering adds brightness and creativity to drab uniform.

I have been gathering up some information and thoughts for a third and much more in-depth "In Work With Style" about the restaurant industry, so look for it!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One for the Money, Two for the Show

Oh, Nordstrom's, how you tease a poor girl so with your sales and semi-sales and preview sales...

This Bard was tempted, she was persuaded, she was seduced, and she spent a little money today (thought not too much and not without some elbow grease). You see, this was the third trip made to Nordstrom's since the sale began. Naturally, the Bard wouldn't dare let weeks go by and grubby little mitts steal her rightful sale shoes. (Naturally, the Bard addresses herself in the third person to avoid taking blame for all of her expenditures.)

But today, the real magic happened, and all of the sizes and prices fell into place- three Nordstrom locations and goodness knows how much gas money later.

One for the Money

I fell in love with this 'Westport' wallet the minute I laid eyes on it. I actually salivated over the burgundy, but my purse is a soft black leather, so I had to get it to match.

Two for the Show

I actually adored this shoe in the walnut color, but in the end I realized that I never wear browns. There was a time when I was prancing around in the ivory version of the shoe, but it's not white, it's cream, and I have so few cream-colored wardrobe items to match it. I knew I needed to be practical- and thus, purchased the black (as I usually do). I love this 'Seanna' shoe because it's got all of the great aspects of the ballet shoes, without being flat, which I notoriously abhor. They look ready to go en pointe with the grommets and that cutesy bow!

This shoe is so great because it's a heel but it comes off as casual. The shade of red will pass off as a neutral-chameleon, for the rare occasions when I wear brown or other colors in my autumn palette. When I went up to buy it, I was told it was part of the sale for $39.90, but it's actually not on sale at all and $59.90. Which isn't bad, but I decided to hold off and concentrate on the sale for now, and buy shoes I can buy anytime later. But my mind keeps coming back to it... I kind of fell in love. I promised the shoes that I would even wear stockings with them. That's true love, I tell you what. So maybe I'll go back...

Three to Get Ready

A close runner-up to the previous two was this more-expensive 'Princess' by Stuart Weitzman. I couldn't find the patent red in my size, so I kind of gave up. I can't drop that much money via the internet, once I've had time to think about it. I can only impulse-spend it, and therefore, the red patent shoes were out. I loved them, though. And their sisters, in patent black. And their cousins, with the peeptoe and the 50's pinup style heel. But I'm not quite ready to blow $139 on them right now.

Now go, cat, go! ... to Nordstrom's. Because the sale ends on the 30th. Perhaps this Bard will see you there... as she makes absolute sure she didn't leave anything behind! And now she's wanting a belt...

But if I don't get back in time, at least the Macy's sale starts on the 27th. See you all there around the boots 'n' belts!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Happy Medium

I've been teased because I have a shopping pattern which weaves between fashion stores such as Neiman and Nordstrom, and thrift stores. In one week I begged my sister to accompany me to the slightly-farther Boca Mall, and then down 441 to hit up all the Think Thrift!'s and their ilk. I slum it; I love to. Discoveries are much more exciting that way, albeit less frequent.

Last night my friend M. (often mentioned here as a shopping cohort) was also accusing me of this behavior. But then she relented to point out, "Actually, it's the only way to do it. If you want original style." Basically, you either spend a lot of money to be unique, or none. If you want things that very few people have access too, digging through bins might be one way to do it. Or saving up for a long, long time.

Below I are two outfits that I've worn recently which demonstrate how I use both high- and low-cost shopping to find my style. Nothing exciting, but things I happened to have photos of on my camera.

First, this is a simple pairing of Seven For All Mankind jeans, retail value, and an Express silk camisole found in a thrift store at a steal for $6.00. Not pictured: $5 Payless black and white peeptoe slingbacks. Sorry the photos are pretty terrible.

Second, these Citizen jeans, retail value, are paired with an Arden B shirt-dress acquired at a steal for $9.00, and the butterfly belt was 2.99 at a generic thrift store. Not pictured: Tommy Hilfiger platform sandals, retail value.

The moral here is: Bard, clean your room! Obviously.

But honestly, many of my favorite pieces and outfits come from unlikely sources, so it's always great to keep an open mind and duck into those out-of-the-way road-less-traveled places to see if you, too, can fall in love with a garment from the wrong side of the tracks. At the very least, they'll make your glamorous purchases look even more fantastic in comparison!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~Charm Bracelets~

I actually need a new, simple gold everyday bracelet (because my new watch is two-tone and I only wear a diamond-accented silver tennis bracelet everyday, so my wrists look metallically unbalanced). And I want a pearl ring to go with my pearl set from Mother's Day.

So why am I looking at, and loving, these dressy-kitsch charm bracelets?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fashion - TV and Film

Okay, let's just knock this out, shall we?

Project Runway

I'm watching, loving, and probably going to have to write about this, like everyone else.

- I <3 Malan. (Yes, I heart him, so back off haters!)
- I loved Keith's dress, and believe he rightly won.
- Heidi's hair looked fantastic up there on the rooftop.
- As always, I lovelovelove The Gunn.
- But... "another Santino" boy? Nooo! You don't need crazy ratings-boosting drama. Let's cut him next week, mk?

And in case you've been trapped in an attic, cave, or box, whathaveyou, and therefore haven't gone here yet, stop making out with your brother or cousin (I'm looking at you, every VC Andrews character ever) and go to Blogging Project Runway.

The Devil Wears Prada

Yes, I watched this again tonight. The Bard clan got together and did a little fashion overloading as a family (aw). The second viewing allowed me to tune out the dubious plot and just enjoy the couture!

- Emily finally grew on me this time and I loved her.
- Still haaaated Miranda's rants! They are both unjustified and unlikely. This time, knowing what she was going to say already, it stood out even more that they warp her character.
- Christian Thompson is simply not cute enough in the movie. In the book, I feel as though Andrea is more understandably torn between the men in her life. I want to be empathetic to her dueling desires as she grows, matures and discovers new wants and needs. But it just isn't happening when all I can think is, "Noooo! Look at his hair - can you not see his hair?! And he looks FORTY!"
- And what about Miranda's friends and family? Is it just me, or are they horribly underdeveloped to the point of seeming like an after-thought? Maybe there was more direction with them in some versions of the moviescript... but maybe not.
- We all agreed that while Andrea dresses fabulously, sometimes the repetitive black and high-end ensembles really age her in an unflattering way. I wished she would wear some colors and be flirty and youthful!
- My favorite part was when Nigel summarizes my love of fashion in a way that I hadn't even grasped until seeing the movie, as "art that you (well not you, obviously) can live in." I love to think that this kind of beauty, romance, couture might be createable and obtainable. That worlds we can imagine, dream of, and crave can be manifested.

Family conversation, post-movie:

Bardling 1: "So... [the Style Bard] wants to be Miranda?"

Bardling 2: "No. She just wants the free couture."

Bardling 1: "Sooo... she wants to be Andrea?"

Bardling 2: "Nah, she just wants the free clothes."

Bardling 1: "So she wants to be Emily?"

Bardling 2: "No! shejustwantstheclothes!"

Frankly, I want all of it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Martha's Vineyard

Apropos of nothing, except that I finally caved and bought myself a Black Dog tshirt, joining the echelons of New Englanders who sport them like a Members Only badge of status, some pictures of my recent trip. This year, I brought a digital, so I actually have photos. Last year I had to buy a horrible disposable Kodak.

Perhaps some comments in the upcoming days on the fashion trends of Martha's Vineyard during their busy holiday weekend. Let me preface by saying: Polo, polo, polo! And, of course, white.

Another photo. They're worth a thousand words, don't-cha-know?

One more...

...and another. Three thousand! (Ha-ah-ah...)

As you can see by the photos, it was a little too grey outside to get to sport that teal bikini I was recently bragging about. But I did get to wear it in the hot tub, at night. But the D&G sunglasses came to much use and got many compliments! Which, one night at a bar, prompted my comment to a guy in a D&G belt that they'd make adorable accessory babies.

I managed not to spend a lot of money. Other than the tshirt, I bought myself a little statuette of a boy holding a heart, some cheapie trinkets from Sheila Allen's (now an "everything under TEN DOLLARS!" store, while last year I definitely bought a nice bracelet from there, alas - as I remarked to my mother, it's now probably the only chain on MV where you can buy many things for less than $10 unless you're just stopping for lunch). I also bought little items for my family - and a copy of the Sweeney Todd libretto/book for only 25 cents at a second-hand store!

PS, the Black Dog shirt I bought was accidentally a kid's "medium" instead of an adult medium... whoops. It fits, but is tight. Take a look at this helpful sizing chart if you want a good laugh at my expense.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Carnivale Results

Naturally, my Carnivale week falls just before the 4th. And naturally, I decide to head out of town spontaneously to MV. So of course I'm late posting results my first time hosting. Oh, well. But here they are at long last anyway!

I asked: In what clothing and accessories would you like to be buried?

Most people, like Shoelover and Maria at The Runway Scoop, unsurprisingly followed suit with simplicity and grace, with white sheaths or plain gowns; uncomplicated.

However, Designer Ella of Kiss Me, Stace said (and I loved this): "I want what I can’t wear alive. I want painful, painful, painful and fabulous shoes!" She features a pair of Blahniks (loverly) that must be seen.

Many people, Clothesaholic included, took the opportunity to delve into different aspects of the post-death preparation, which was fascinating to read and great of them to share (everyone has such different views on the process and its formalities). She writes, interestingly, "If the funeral happened in winter (which would be better lest thousands of acres of bone-dry Nevada brush go up in flames with me) I could be wrapped in my beloved vintage fur coat for an extra Nordic touch." No one else (not even the Bard, tsk) considered the season (the Bard being exempt, of course, because she's in Florida and we lack for seasons here).

Scarpediem at Shoesense tickled me with this: "Ah! Frozen in a glass casket? Now we're talking! In that case...I must, MUST wear a dress, since I so rarely wear one in real life. [...] So, it's formal, you say, but am I not in the most formal of situations? Really, people. I believe we must preserve decorum even when we've gone to meet our maker. Maybe especially then."

It's important to put your two cents in with your loved ones. And to ask them, as well, I'm sure. As Linmayu, Fashion Outlaw, states (and gave me a jolt and made me laugh), "I should probably make the dress myself ahead of time and keep it stored for the day when I'm going to need it. It would kinda suck if I were to die right now and had to be buried in *anything* that I currently have in my closet."

I had a ton of fun with this topic, and I can't wait for the next round.
Thanks to everyone for participating and for your kind encouragement!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Shoppers Beware (and Happy 4th!)

Beware: if a model looks this bad in the clothes, you know they aren't worth it- especially not the original $68.00.

And of these shoes.

This message brought to you by blogger, Bard, and the letter F (for fugly, natch).

On to brighter topics! I will be leaving you all until the end of the week, flying (and bussing... and ferrying) to Martha's Vineyard for the holidays (but keep an eye on the site for the publication of my Carnivale replies). I hope everyone who celebrates will have a lovely Independence Day. I know that no matter what kind of day I have, it will be spectacular largely in thanks to finally purchasing my very first little white dress. On sale at Macy's from $158.00 to $39.00. May it be the first of many, and may it be an omen of more perfect (affordable) dresses to come.

I also changed my stripes (again!) (look ma, how flexible I am!), and bought a teal bikini. Teal! And a lovely patterned Ralph Lauren sarong to go over it. Usually I stay with solid neutrals in my bathing suits, and usually I buy 'em cheap. So this was a biiig change, and I love it to death.

Be on your best buying behavior while I'm away, don't do anything I wouldn't do (or else you simply must email and tell me all about it), and see ya soon!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

"Pssst. Are my horns showing?"

Hated the book. Forced myself to read the book because I can't not finish things that I start. Stopped reading the book at intervals to both preserve sanity and to text C. to make fun of it.

Anticipated the movie a great deal.

Loved the movie. It was kind of like... what Weisberger wishes her book was. Like, the general concept except with talented writers and a lot of money behind it. I mean, sure it was a chick flick and yes, the plot is still somewhat silly and formulaic, and as with everything I lay eyes on, I already have precise calculations on what I would have done differently to improve it, but I also really enjoyed it.

Actually, I will say that I like Weisberger's Miranda better mostly because Streep just talked... kind of... a lot. For someone who's supposed to be a Class 'A' Bitch. I mean, us devils don't just expostulate that much. Brevity is the soul of wit, and also cutting. But then, in balance, Andrea was all blahblahblah whinewhinewhine talkTALKTALK ack! The book? Yeah. It drove me frickin' crazy. If I wanted to be an insider on some twit's mindnumbingly boring seesaw of personal crises, I would just hang around outside the movieplex and watch the prepubescents loiter and wait for their mommies, not go inside of it (or pay a heft of money to do so).

I kind of worry that if Weisberger wrote the book after her own experiences with Wintour, blahblah, etc, then she might really really relate to Andrea and she also feels she depicted herself truthfully and fairly as the heroine of the book and somehow, deep down, the success of this Hollywood film justifies her experiences and her diligence as, yknow, a real writer. I worry. I do. But be that as it may, mostly I hope she just feels very, very lucky. The Devil is Hollywood, dear. And your soul is toast.

(Don't worry, Weisberger. I would sell out, too. And then write the next great American novel. Ha, hahahahaa...)