Monday, September 25, 2006

Vacation Reading

Let's just face it. It's not really fair to consider vacation reading as reading; it's a time for cheap indulgence of the imagination, for letting your mind be as lazy as your body craves. Despite the fact that I have several unread novels that I bought this summer, when I was going away for a mini-vacation to the beach, I did not grab the heavy hardcover and get some serious thinking done. It wasn't going to happen for me. But what better time for me to finally bite into this (last?) month's Vogue (which I actually bought for my last trip on Labor Day, shuttup I'm so behind everyone, but at the time I ended up reading Vanity Fair on the plane instead)?

But imagine my chagrin when that sole piece of reading I dragged along with me, (weighing down my beach bag, already almost a thousand pounds because I somehow manage to overpack just for a trip from the hotel room to the beach downstairs) wasn't enough. Despite all the heft, even the September Vogue couldn't get me through two days on the beach. Suddenly, I was left with nothing to do but crisp under the harsh Floridian sun with visions of tights and booties dancing in my head.

This was when I stumbled upon an issue of Vive at the hotel. Vive is a local women's magazine covering local events and- wouldn't you just know it- fashion. And this was their seasonal issue as well, so I got to settle in with something to get me through the end of the day. Now, Vive isn't a mass-marketed, widely-known publication. Even down here I had never heard of it before. But what I found that I liked about it was that rather than reading about such-and-such sample sale in Cali., or who's who in Manhattan boutiquing, or, ahem, fashion week, I merely got to enjoy news that was actually relevant to me and my area. I learned about Miami shops I'd never been to, new shoe lines displaying in stores I could reach by car, and, importantly, that a Sephora is opening at City Place- alas, in February 2007. Isn't that hideously far away from now? It also had great advice on things like... how the hell does a Floridian fashionista pull off seasonal trends, such as layering, in this weather that does not bend to any designer's whims?

Now, it's not like I'm rushing out to subscribe. The editorials look like something I can do using only MS Paint and a camera-phone, and the writing/editing is mostly what I could produce in A.P. English (12th grade, not 11th, granted). In fact, most of the style information and fashion news were things I can pull out of my hat on my own. But I'm now definitely willing to open my magazine experience up to new, smaller publications if they have special appeals- like covering my own county, demi-celebs I may actually run into and my favorite local malls. It was perfect 'lite' reading for the sand and sun.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Shopper's Gratification

At the height of control over my instant gratification urges, I can now inform you that, at long last, I own this.

Of course, it's still summer here in SoFla. So I haven't touched the thing yet. But let me tell you, the moment it dips below 90 degrees here, I am SO in it.

Let's just hope this brand of impulse control does(n't)(??) extend to the coat, boots, and purse I am eyeing!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Are You Out There?

A few of you have contacted to ask where the Style Bard has gone! Well I thank you for your concern.

I am, seemingly, alive and well. Just in a time of transition (we all go through these), working more hours per week than ever before, plus trying to follow everyone else's fashion week blogging without getting too jealous of their ability to be there in the tents in person. This is the most closely I've ever paid attention to Fashion Week, and I have to confess, it's a little overwhelming- not only to seek and see the collections posted, but to also try and take in what the bloggers I revere have to say about them all.

Today I am here to regale you with tales of my latest fashion crisis: over-dressing.

I have to confess, I absolutely envy every woman I see who manages to look sexy and pulled together, yet like she's not even trying. I just cannot do it. I envy the cotton top and denim bottom that make a woman look amazing- and yet like she can take you in a race, on the spot. Because she's comfortable, too. That bitch.

When I actually get a chance to shed my work uniform, I tend to choose to go somewhere upscale. Or at least somewhere you might be expected to dress as such. Lately I haven't been wasting my precious free time sloughing around thrift stores, flea markets, Starbucks, or even the movies. None of my old local haunts. (Besides, I feel old at many of these places, compared to the teenage majority. Apparently I am a grown up now. Or something.) Even when simply dining out, I don't want to go to any chain that resembles my own places of employment. It has to be somewhere nice.

And everytime I leave the house I feel the need to dress 'up.' As though to show the world that I can, too, look good outside of my work apron and ponytail. My attempts to dress become a memo: Dear World: My hair is long by the way, and curly! I actually do not smell like fried food. And also, I have a waist and hips. Thank you for paying attention. Love, Bard.

For someone to whom style and appearance is so important, work can really crush my spirit. And also to incite it to enormous overcompensation. Because when I go out, everything has to be perfect. Makeup, outfit, accessories, shoes! and even scent. A long, full shower of scrubbing, and shaving- no unsightly body hair anywhere please, (gross).

Yesterday I was invited to join a friend at a local dive for some drinks, and getting ready took over an hour once I got home from work. For many people, 'jumping in the shower' to meet someone is a hasty process ending in jeans and a tank of some kind. Not for me. It involves changing earrings. It involves eyeliner. It involves laundry. And all of this so that I can look 'casual' or the ever-elusive 'effortlessly chic.' Effortless, my foot. By the time I met my friends they weren't sure I was even coming anymore. And of course when I arrived, the other women were in a) jeans and a black top, or b) jean skirt and a green halter top. I was also in a denim skirt and a white GAP tshirt. That took me for-ev-er to put together. I just have issues.

Yes, I like to look good. My clothes express the aesthetic of my personality; I put myself out there before I even say hello. I believe firmly in the importance of a first impression. Hell, I like to be complimented. And I enjoy my reputation as someone with a sense of style.

But there is a line and I fear I tend to cross it. When I went to a wine-tasting last week everyone was in very casual daywear and I was in my nicest black trousers and a silky top. I didn't mind standing out when Sexy Corporate Hunk was nearby, but when I wanted to just dip in and grab a taste of the accompanying bruschetta, it was the women in sensible shoes, khakis and clean, casual tops that beat me to the bread line.

It's a top and some bottoms, Bard. Why does everything have to be a high-heeled humdinger of an ensemble for you? I must be trying to overcompensate. For when I'm lazing around in my pajamas or a robe at home. Or when I'm sweaty and running around at work in ugly sneakers. But in the fashion industry, it's always the designers who dress down in blacks, the makeup artists who wear barely any at all, the hair stylists who have their hair in a bun. Everyone simple, simple, simple because they have nothing to prove; they flaunt their talent elsewhere. Why must this Bard feel unsettled in her appearance at this point in her life? Why does she feel the need to impress perfect strangers with her color coordination abilities and balance in 4" boots?

I do not know, my friends, but I'm working on paring down. Quite frankly, I have better things to do with those hours lost in my closet. Like getting back into gear with my beloved blog.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

eBay Shoe Update

Opposed to the shoes of the previous post, check out this little update:

Recognize the shoes? That's right, they're from my 'sole risk' eBay post. What do you think?

I wore them with this, a little foray into some of this year's recent trends:

Babydoll dress, Forever 21. Gap tshirt. Simply sheer tights. I wore my hair up in a semi-neat bun with a little headband. I'm not sure the entire look is 'me', but it's very playful and I had fun in it tonight.

As you can see, the shoes are a tad big, as I'd feared:

But I think some tights with more substance will take care of that. Otherwise, I have not been persuaded away from shopping on eBay! I just... won't wear them if I have to walk a whole bunch. I'm going to call these, 'under the desk' shoes.

Style Disaster ~Clunky Shoes~

Please tell me when and why I bought these chunky, clunky black shoes- and who permitted it:

I was cleaning out my closet at my mom's house for Goodwill and came upon these waaaay in the back. I have absolutely no memory of buying or wearing these. Which probably explains this:

$39.95?! Are you kidding me? Thankfully the tags were still on. That means maybe I realized the error of my ways the moment I got them home, and never wore them. That means there are no photos out there. Except this one.

How unflattering do they make my legs? And I actually tend to think I have nice legs. How could a shoe do this? Who made this shoe?! Goodwill might actually give them back.

Despite the fact that I did go through a thick-heeled black shoe phase in late middle school/early high school, let's just pretend one of my sisters bought this shoe a long time ago and somehow it found its way into my bedroom over the years. After all, the Elder Sister is at least 3" shorter than me, so that makes waaay more sense. As far as 'sense' and these shoes can be associated.

Crime against fashion, that's all I have to say. Now let's all pretend this never happened.