Thursday, May 7, 2015
At some point during the winter of my senior year of college, I went shopping with my mother for professional and, frankly, dowdy interview-appropriate clothes. After quite some hours at the local mall, sprinkled with some drips of sweat and some passive-aggressive barbs thrown in slightly raised voices, we completed our mission, purchasing a basic black suit jacket with both a matching skirt and pant. The jacket featured a fitted, feminine waist, while maintaining a mature, professional tone with a looser fit knee-length skirt and wider-leg pant. So, my mother was satisfied and I was compliant and pleased to be finished with the ordeal. Over the course of those next few months, during my interview process and then up to accepting an offer at my first company, I amassed two other similar suit-skirt sets: one in charcoal and one in lighter gray. Standing out like sores amidst my closet of bizarrely whimsical vintage finds and flimsy party frocks, these three suits catapulted me harshly from my university haven of intimate literature discussion seminars and advanced sociobiology reading courses to the new frontier of working world tedium. I was entering a conservative industry and I had the costumes assembled to play this new role. Donning them did feel like assuming the life and personality of some other character, distinctly and decidedly not me, yet one that I could, for the most part, adopt convincingly.
After some months in my new life, at the office, I learned the nuances of following the traditional doctrine of business casual, or in cases of client meetings business professional, dress code, without feeling as though I was merely posturing what I imagined to be a businesswoman. I discovered that, contrary to popular perceptions onto which previous generations desperately cling, there is an advantage to being yourself, being natural, exuding a sense of personal style and from that, confidence. And this advantage is vast, is important. Over the years working at my former position, I continued to add to my collection of classic suits, but I found methods of personalization. Infusions of flair. Of fun. A silk scarf in a bold print tied adroitly across my shoulders. A signature cocktail ring, with sharp angles, in a simple ivory tone. A bevy of unique and still bizarre, still whimsical earrings and necklaces.
My current office dress code vacillates wildly in interpretation by various individuals, hovering mostly between crisp, clean casual and pajama party. While I have certainly embraced the lenient denim policy with open arms, I have not allowed the arsenal of more business formal items in my wardrobe lay sallow. Those suit jackets, stiff and often old-fashioned when paired with their matching bottoms, are reinvigorated when partnered with a pair of sleek, skinny-cut jeans and some modern accessories. I hate letting pieces that are nice and classic go to waste, and welcome any and each opportunity to explore how to adapt these professional items to my personal style.
Earlier this spring, when the air was still chilled and it seemed winter would just never end, I played with the pattern of this tailored, double-breasted houndstooth suit jacket, layering texture with texture. Houndstooth and stripes. The result is busily modern and sophisticated, and is saved from complete visual complication by the matching, simple color palette. White and black. To complement the houndstooth and striped tee shirt, I kept the rest easy and solid: black, tight denim and black leather boots.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
While wasting away visiting my childhood home in Baltimore over the Christmas season, I, naturally, did some shopping for myself, blaming my birthday as proper justification. My mother and I nearly always spend at least one morning during my visits scouring the wares of peddlers of bygone memorabilia at an antiques market, weaving between now familiar patrons, quirky characters also interested in ornate oyster dishes or classic crystal champagne sets or decrepit dolls from an earlier era. The predominance of my time is spent scanning the many trays and shelves devoted to costume jewelry, hoping to find that gem that is unique from the hordes of pieces already cramming my bedroom. After more than a decade of amassing huge quantities of costume jewelry, at this point, it is no easy feat to find a truly unique gem.
This visit, thankfully, the search was rather seamless. Amidst a tray of silver and rhinestones, I found these very sleek, very modern Art Deco-like earrings. Featuring mixed metals, sharp angles, and dark onyx stones, these earrings, unlike most in my collection, appear as though they could have been a contemporary creation. Since purchasing these beauties back at the end of December, I have worn them at least once a week. They are an ideal complement to the thick chunky knit cream sweaters I have donned all winter in an attempt to stay warm, and are an equally appropriate and sophisticated companion to the ever-timeless little black dress ensemble.
Friday, February 6, 2015
Beads, vintage bright bits of gold, rhinestone, opalescent pearl, overrun my bedroom, most surfaces conquered, each tiny jewelry box crammed with a touch of sparkle. It is the plight of a costume jewelry collector. Naturally, this makes selecting accessories each morning a bit of a challenge, one that, when accepted without caffeinated reinforcements, can be exceedingly time consuming. There are perennial favorites, bangles or earrings that are worn at least once a week. And there are those, in some cases literal, forgotten gems, stowed away somewhere, out of sight within a specific drawer, cached behind another bauble, and certainly out of mind. These treasures, when unearthed, months, sometimes years since last being displayed, receive a gasp of delight. If they do not fit into whatever clothes cover my nakedness, a new look is constructed. The abandoned piece donned.
For often arbitrary reasons, loosely grounded in some aesthetic rationale, some pieces I have deemed for winter wear only, some for summer. This particular long, double strand of vintage costume pearls and crystal beads, a delightful find from last winter, have been relegated to icy, chilly, frigid times only. Often, I pair them with a sleek, monochromatic black look: a black cowl sweater, a simple black shift, a favorite cashmere sweater in black. Lately, I have been wearing this necklace with creams, heather grays, and winter white.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
At the beginning of December, before the seasonal mayhem of cheer, I bought these gold and pastel stone earrings as an early birthday present to myself. My lovely friend Sarah and I were having a catch-up booze brunch, with two-for-one cocktail specials at a favorite local haunt, and after some sufficient lubrication, wandered out within the neighborhood to peruse the vintage shops and the Brooklyn Flea winter market fort. As the holidays have flew by, and the air has transformed to a deathly chill, that late afternoon seems eons away, another dimension, another person. The sun shone warmly, my naked hands not numbed to stone by frigid winds. Sarah has since moved west, California, a huge move. She is the latest of many friends to abandon the seductive cruelty that is this city. I am proud of her, excited for her, but miss her desperately, and selfish wish for a quick return, or at least a frequent visiting schedule. With her family firmly planted here on the east coast, in our childhood city of Baltimore, I am sure I will get that last wish.
Before that delicious, fun brunch, I had been lusting after these earrings for awhile. A score from Prospect Heights boutique 1 of a Find, a regular stop on my vintage shopping crawl, I had always devised some reason to leave them be on earlier visits. While a tad pricey, the soft asymmetric design paired with the soft colors was unique and, that day, I decided to treat myself. While the earrings certainly match, or dare I say reflect (purposeful pun; see the unintentional self-portrait above) a sort of bombastic and decadent style that most of my accessories imbue, they were profoundly different from anything else I owned. Always eager to display a shiny new glint of gold, these became my holiday staple for the various parties for the season. Worn with simple black silhouettes, my holiday look was simultaneously classic and bold.
Friday, January 9, 2015
(image taken from Irregular Choice)
I unearthed an intense love for the shoe brand Irregular Choice while traveling in London awhile back visiting a dear friend; while meandering through Camden, she led the way to one of their boutiques. Since that afternoon, I have learned that, despite no store in New York, I can peruse their wares at a slew of various online fashion purveyors, including ModCloth. With bombastic embellishments, featuring sculptural elements, dyed lucite, emblazoned embroidery, these shoes are certainly not for the meek, the mild, the mute.
During an antiquing excursion, on the Friday following Thanksgiving, a sort of tryptophan and pinot noir-cleansing ritual, I stumbled on these adorably funky vintage wedge sandals at the back of a dusty stall in an antiques mall in rural Pennsylvania. The conceptual resemblance is uncanny. Slender fingers clutch a small sharp knife, carving each detail, the veins of the bright green palms, chisel minute openings for the windows, the door. I imagine these shoes are handmade, hand painted. Decades ago, amidst sloping dunes, rounded mountains of millions of miniscule diamonds of sand, a tiny house, made immortal, dwelling soul dwelling in the soul of a shoe.
Friday, November 14, 2014
I, and my feet, are beyond grateful that the sartorial sphere is pseudo-psychotically Francophilic-obsessed, and therefore, is ready and willing to embrace and propagate any trend adopted by Emanuelle Alt. My sincere thanks, Madame Alt, for reminding the masses, or in some cases convincing the masses, of the virtues of kitten heel. This pair, a delightful and robust burgundy suede, are a recent favorite of mine, and have already elevated a few uninspired and lazy denim-sweater outfit combinations in the office. A bit run down as of late, exhausted from client demands and internal chaos, it is a relief to have a reliably elegant and comfortable pair of shoes to kick it in.
The week has been long; my brain, near collapse. Tonight, some actual wine, though unlikely a Burgundy, to assuage the soft wear of the days.
Friday, October 10, 2014
I often wish I had both the body type and the lifestyle to warrant skipping about the town in silk pajama pants, each and every day. A loose and soft flow. This particular pair reminds me of a craggy geode, smashed, revealing that slick slice of beautiful stone within, plates of brilliant color stacked. Miniature tectonics.
(image taken from Little Nudges)