Thursday, September 18, 2014
At the beginning of the summer, I journeyed up to Montreal for the annual jazz festival; it was my first time in the bucolic yet metropolitan city and I was seduced by the warmth of the people, the energy, the delicious food. Wandering around on foot, I also discovered a few great shopping spots, my favorite of which was a rockabilly-roaring and taxidermy-touting vintage corner where I scored these pearl beading earrings. An explosion of strands, dangling and flailing like wild opalescent tentacles, they are that ideal synthesis of classic glamor and bizarre funk. They shout from my lobes, a contained shout. The adorable shop girl, mirroring the vibe of the joint in her 50s-inspired pin-up look, was delighted that I purchased these, a favorite of hers in the store. Since returning home from my long weekend of music and meandering in Montreal, I have worn these earrings regularly; most recently, I paired them with a striped cream and metallic skirt.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I have never bought a mix-and-matched outfit, head to toe, straight off the display mannequin of a store, and I can say with very, very near certainty that I never will; a firm background in both science and early James Bond films have taught that it is risky to firmly commit to "never." Although I am an independent shopper and enjoy constructing my own head to toe looks, without the aid of a sales associate, a brand look book, or style editorials of the latest seasonal trends hot from the catwalk, I still often use some type of theme, even a very loose one, to unify my look. This could be purely mood-based, aesthetic-based, memory association-based, anything. Yesterday morning, I extracted this cream and polka dot patterned vintage Oscar de la Renta skirt from the cavern that is my closet; it has not been worn in many, many months and was the ideal alternative to my recent denim rut.
The nuance of the classic polka dot pattern of this piece, stripes varying in width, oscillating between black and yellow, the sultry just below the knee length perfect for a tall woman, and the movement of the pleats have always attracted me. Playing with the polka dots and further accenting the subtle black in the pattern, I paired the skirt with a black top embellished with three strands of muddled gold medallion dots along the neck. Pushing the trope even more, I selected this lucite bangle encasing raised dots of gold, like bits of metallic dew. The circular pattern repeats, but the texture and tone vary, offering, to me, greater interest than a precisely complementing set of pieces. Finally, to polish off this polka dot parade, I wore a pair of black and gold earrings, a mostly recent acquisition and wonderfully practical for my wardrobe resplendent with gold and black pieces. Rather than the smooth, clean geometric lines of the perfect circles, these earrings offer a rugged, organic kind of mimicry to the dot, as though they were chiseled straight from some stone, or perhaps grown in a field, like a crop of cabbage.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
To say that my hairstyle is a bit exhausted and could seriously benefit from a refresh is quite the understatement, like saying Oprah has done alright in the entertainment industry, or Dean Martin enjoyed his drink. Over the past few years, too many to definitively anchor with a hard number without feeling some deluge of lame shame, all of my styles have been variations on a theme: long layers with a usually mostly blunt bang, somewhere along the spectrum of recently meticulously trimmed and lazily grown. Autumn is upon us, a bit more aggressively than in recent years; a change would be welcome. I am considering a shaggy long bob, about shoulder length, maintaining a thicker bang for some extra shape and texture, as well as an effective defense against total snooze look those days when I am too tired to primp. Admittedly, those days are frequent and not far between. While the transition from my current long locks to a longer, choppy bob is not incredibly drastic, it will be a marked change, a beautiful and needed new perspective.
(image taken from Cute Long Haircuts)
Monday, August 25, 2014
A few years ago, I went on a date to a baseball game at Yankees Stadium. Normally, my sartorial selections are driven by my personal mood and style, with occasion and concern for the perception of others taking secondary influence. Desire to match a team mascot or team or university colors nearly never factors into the equation. For this particular date, my first time at Yankees Stadium and my first live baseball game in a number of years, coupled with the fact that my male prospect was a vehement Yankees fan and general true-blood New Yorker, born and raised, I decided to play into the team spirit and fan fervor with a navy and white striped dress and a navy-speckled fox hunt-patterned silk scarf. When I arrived at the stadium, immediately I was happy and relieved I had discarded my typical and simple black dress outfit. Everyone, and I mean every single person, was in a navy and white outfit, most involving Derek Jeter or Ichiro Suzuki jerseys and the classic navy ball cap. Flagrantly standing out amongst a large crowd is usually preferable, but with fans as loyal and passionate as those Yankees fans, standing out in a fashionable alternative to team merchandise seemed best. My budding romance with my date soon wilted, but, a respect for the team and their fervent followers took strong root.
Yesterday, I joined one of my best friends for an afternoon game against the White Sox, and again, opted for a navy and white striped dress. With the cooler weather, I was able to don one with a thicker, rugby-cotton fabric comfortably. Once again, I was not a pariah in the stands. Although lately my brush with baseball has involved New York teams, I was born and raised in Baltimore and, mostly due to jokes and taunts from my mother, cannot forget my heritage in the Orioles nesting grounds. Of note, the Orioles are long and true rivals of the esteemed evil empire. Growing up, I played lacrosse, and while I loved journeying to Camden Yards, sitting in that iconic ball park, shelling peanuts and sipping soda, I was mostly disinterested by the play. Now, while I still prefer more aggressive and fast-paced athletics, I at least have an appreciation for the work being done on the diamond. As a subconscious tribute to my birth place, I wore bright orange earrings to accent the navy and white palette of my dress. A find from my vacation in Paris, these orange earrings, like sleek creamsicle dinner plates, are ideal for a flourish in the summer, but are worn selectively. With so much black in my wardrobe, I am always a bit weary of appearing to be celebrating Halloween a bit early; however, navy and orange is a favorite color combination, balanced and faceted, so perhaps love for both the Yankees and Orioles can exist.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Behind a towering behemoth Cornflakes box, the bargain size, almost awesome, buttressed by large plastic gallons of milk, I bowed over a bowl, proverbial prostration, then another, usually another, eating vigorously and ceremoniously. Each movement, from the pouring of those golden flakes of corn and the flow of sweet cold milk into the bowl, to the lifting of my spoon, bowl to lips, was devout, performed with the utmost respect and admiration to, in my dogma, one of the greater of the breakfast deities. Growing up, nearly everyday my parents laughed and teased me about my cereal box fort. The temple, or cathedral, trope was conceived later, as I wrote my college admissions essay. The breakfast-as-ritual extended metaphor was successful with the committee, further solidifying my love for the quintessential food. As I centered my exercise on the practices of consumption, the issue of packaging and branded was ignored, aside from the always remarkable sheer size of the family-size cereal boxes. Generally intrigued by anything retro, particularly design and aesthetics, lately I have noticed and adored the throw-back release packaging from various cereal brands, featuring the original iterations of some of American children's favorite breakfast idols.
Flipping through the July issue of Harper's Bazaar in the doctor's waiting room this morning, I idly stumbled on the incredible fall-winter handbag line from designer Anya Hindmarch, elegantly illuminating those very beloved retro cereal characters. Sophisticated and kitschy, this is honestly a perfect match. Unfortunately, I do not have the excessive disposable income to make owning a novelty luxury handbag, even one as fabulous and well-tailored to my childhood as this one. Still, delighted to see this whimsical exuberance in some high-end design.
(image taken from Anya Hindmarch)
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Patent leather is quintessential summer. Since shifting jobs, to an environment with a more casual and lax, my various pumps have been seeing less sunlight, so these taupe and black bow slingbacks have been quiet in their box. Generally, simple flats and booties have been heavy in rotation, but I am working to combat a sartorial rut at the office. With low kitten heels, a sharp pointed toe, and a simple bow decoration, these are a timeless design and add a sophisticated edge to basic pieces. Bows, as patterns on blouses, adorning shoes or headbands, always make me reminisce about my brief stint at private school for my freshman year of high school. We each wore cobalt blue skirts and white polo shirts with the school logo on the chest; we were allowed to wear white sneakers or saddle shoes. Most of the girls wore large pearl necklaces and bright neon bows in their hair, anything to add about of flair to the uniform. To fit in, among the sea of uniform decorations, I also wore the pink and green bows in my high ponytail. Despite my precocious love for the Smiths, Depeche Mode, anything New Wave, British punk, I was in many ways a stereotypical adolescent girl, wanting to stand out without standing out, too much. For awhile, I revolted against the typical preppy look for a few years. Now, I relish experimenting with my style, harkening back to my awkward and not always pleasant year at private school, not fearing looking different, or looking similar.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Entering the local corner pharmacy is always tricky; nearly always, I have a specific set of items, necessities, toiletries, but also nearly always I am tempted by the sweet, seductive siren calls ringing loud and pure from the cosmetics aisles. The inexpensive tubes of lipsticks, rows upon rows, like a choir, singing; bottles of captured color, nail varnish, each cheekily and brilliantly named, an array, singing. I succumbed, weak to the potent allure of these two watermelon shades, quintessential summer alchemized into a bit of chemical decoration. For future endeavors, I need to angle my body, equip myself with either proverbial or literal blinders, dash for my bit of toilet paper or box of toothpaste and run out, blind, ears shut.