Thursday, March 28, 2013

Statement Black Baubles

One of the many perks of owning a ludicrously obscene bounty of jewelry is the ease with which one, with a simultaneous delicate and wild eye, can layer and pile on the shine and the sparkles, concocting large and blatant statement pieces like some vintage alchemist. Should this skill, this specialty, ever become valuable, an Olympic leisure sport perhaps, then I can sleep easy knowing my talent is, finally, appreciated. Against a canvas of opalescent but opaque fabric, I slathered black beads, two different multi-strand, waterfall necklaces, one with interspersing crystal prisms.

With a wide boat-neck blouse, especially a simply tailored and neutral tinted one, a large necklace, or series of necklaces, can have the spotlight, truly creating an outfit. I wore very classic black slacks, slim cigarette fit. Plain plastic, both of these necklaces remind me of onyx marbles.

Years ago, meticulous and precise, there was such an admirable attention to detail; the clasps of the necklaces from this time are nearly always as bright and bold as the beads themselves.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sweatpants Swagger

(image taken from Svpply)

(image taken from Yoox)

Dangling from the monkey bars, primary color metal baking in the autumn sun, our arms thin as sticks with knob-elbows, or carousing between playground and baseball diamond and conifer tree clump, a sea of braids and overalls and scrunchies, we viciously taunted the sweat pants crew, those unfortunate few, mostly boys, that wore the flimsy cotton comforts as pants at school. Crudely, these particular students were lumped into a vastly inferior social strata, in the realm of paste-eaters and kids knocked out first in dodge ball. Elementary etiquette is fledgling and primal, delicately balancing between the horrific and the profound with regard to human nature and truth. My friends and I tended to move and speak and act as one, strength in numbers, a trend that continued through middle school and, thankfully, dispersed after further physical and mental development. Though not universally, we could tend towards the cruel, some of us more vocally and expertly than others. 

That sweatpants were selected to demean and belittle was, arguably, rather arbitrary, considering other popular styles donned by the tyrants included supremely wide-legged skater pants, laughable and pathetic since no one had ever mounted a board. An, again almost subliminal, prey or be preyed upon sort of philosophy. Socially and stylistically, I am now more refined. My sensibilities are kinder and less myopic, less sculpted by the sensibilities of my immediate peers in my environment. I am my own woman, I wear what I would prefer, behave as I wish, and am confident enough in myself and my relationships to not be terribly concerned about the consequences, especially for anything superficial, like general appearance. I would not, and do not intend to, still mock those who indulge in the gentle touch of those loose, untailored lounge pants. 

While I also, as I repeatedly state, totally understand the cyclic and repetitive nature of various fashion trends, I cannot help but find the recent surge of high-end, luxury designer sweatpants bizarre, and, as fate often is, ironic. There is status bottled water, designer adhesive bandages and knit beanie caps, so these expensive sweatpants should not be surprising. Nevertheless, as I work to subtly influence the wardrobe of my filmmaker, devolving to sweatpants like a small child is not a lesson I plan to instill. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Outfit for a Monday: Pocket Full of Squares

Dapper masculine detailing leaves me perpetually enamored, stemming from a childhood fascinated with old wool caps, with scarves, with pocket watches and their trusted accompanying chains, these accessories belonging to my father and each of my grandfathers, forgotten from other eras; such trivial flairs and bits of frivolity have since become wildly popular, as, in predictable cycles, a mapped sinoidal path, all things sartorial must. Relevant and bizarre, a childhood also spent playing rounds of Uncle Wiggly, one of the original designs, no doubt played a role. Pocket squares bask now in a bright and potent fashion editorial limelight, coveted, adorning bartenders and bankers alike. Surprising to some, perhaps, but obvious to those who have long recognized the air of dalliance, spontaneity, flirtation of color and texture in the coquettish peak of the pocket square, or to those, like my mother, who have been obsessive-compulsively collecting vintage hankies for years. How, and why, could, and did, such a simple and stylish gesture wane? Now at a peak of popularity, hopefully not so transiently, the answer matters little.

So, yesterday, I gingerly snipped open this breast pocket on one of my favorite charcoal textured blazers, and stashed within it a lackadaisically folded a burgundy and peony pink handkerchief. My crisp, occasionally stifling blazer, pristine and proper, became smooth and suave and sassy. Paired with a simple cornflower blue shift dress, my outfit, with this easy detail, easily traversed from arguably bland to admirably jaunty. 

Unlike the preponderance of bankers and bartenders and most in between, I frequently juxtapose large rhinestone and pearl earrings with my blazers. In this caterpillar view, the wine and powder pink floral design reminds me of a sea of spotted fish, swimming together as a macro-organism, slicing through water in slivers. In this visual vein, perhaps these earrings can transform into some bejeweled anemone. 

These comfortable and classic pumps mirror the color in my pocket square and the slow swirl of my earrings, so, a natural choice to complete the look.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Black and White with Bright Baubles

Ever classic and sophisticated, the simple black and white color combination has been touted as tremendously on-trend for the spring season; I would argue, vehemently, it was never off. For this tried and true geometrically floral patterned dress, which has been a staple in my wardrobe for years now, I paired some simple turquoise earrings, round domes almost mimicking daisies.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Outfit for a Wednesday: Lipstick Red and Trudy Campbell

Over the Christmas holiday, my childhood best friend, the first friend I ever pseudo-met while I was still gestating and she was being pushed in a stroller, had worn a pair of beautiful vintage-inspired lace-up pumps to our families' annual party. After some oogling and admiring, she told me she got them for a steal from ModCloth, and offered to forward a discount coupon that she had earned from her purchase to share with friends. I scoured the site, fell in love with some pieces but dejectedly discovered not as many options in my size. Finally, I found a perfect pair of low, mid-calf boots, on sale, and this dress. Perhaps blinded by my love for the bold cherry red color and the, initially, attractive 1960s tailoring, I took the plunge. In my defense, I completely imagined this dress as a wool-blend, so much so that I thought it impossible to be any other fabric, especially anything synthetic. 

When the package came, the boots were lovely, and the dress left me disappointed; I realized that, indeed, the fabric was some type of plastic in its previous life and, more overt now that the dress was tangible, I would look like a Zooey Deschannel impostor. Unlike the rest of the United States, which is seemingly enamored with the quirkiest girl-next-door in Hollywood, I find her perpetual doll-like aesthetic a bit nauseating. And, frankly, her characters, permutations of one another, rather boring. Lazy, and aware that time and financial costs for return shipping would be greater than the actual value paid for the dress, I kept it. To assuage my disappointment, I have convinced myself that, rather than everyone's favorite familiar and hackneyed New Girl, I can harness Trudy Campbell instead.

The other day, to temper the intensely twee feel of the dress, I donned a funky antiqued yellowish cream and black stripe blazer, embellished with large and shiny midnight black buttons. Grazing the contour of my waist, the jacket paired well with the cut and proportions of this dress, hitting just at the sharply pulled portion of the skirt of the dress. Bold, with subtle shoulder pads and a clean front, no lapels, this jacket is a favorite piece of mine, pairing well equally with dresses and with denim.

Almost eerily, these earrings match this jacket. Normally, I do not select my jewelry based on a completely complementing color palette, but here, the resemblance was so great, I had to go there. Paralleling the simple geometry of the jacket, the earrings are also wonderfully versatile with their black and cream colors and clean vertical lines.

Ferragamo loafers are my ideal dream: always classic, and supremely narrow, so they fit my feet perfectly. Again, with their darling bow detailing, these kitten heel loafers ooze an aura of polished, meticulous, but subterraneanly fuming and whirling, housewife of the 1960s. One who swills a martini mid-afternoon, lipstick pristine, smashes the glass, then instantly sweeps away the remnants of the mess.

Friday morning coffee soundtrack: The Next Day David Bowie 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Outfit for a Tuesday: Pinstripes and Sparkle

In yesterday's maelstrom of ice-rain-slush, I, pragmatically, donned my thick rubber Ralph Lauren rain boots to trudge from my apartment to car to office and reverse. Whenever I wear these behemoth boots, shields from all puddles and dribbles, I like to wear either skirts, dresses, or shorts; long slacks invariably become wrinkled being stuffed into the boot shaft or still somehow get wet during the arduous journey. Despite the frigid temperatures, I wore these tailored navy pinstripe shorts and infused some business formality with a  heather gray-cream cotton blazer. Ambiguous, not quite in the realm of traditional business casual but easily camouflaged with the right styling, the shorts were a steal from a Gap online sale; the thin pinstripe pattern and the subtle pleated puckering, along with the heavier material, help tip the balance of the sartorial scale in favor of almost office appropriate. Worn with heavy opaque navy nights, they elongate my already long legs immensely and have a wonderful and welcome slimming effect.

The blazer, though cotton, also polishes the look with the shorts; it was an impulse buy from Zara, a store I generally abhor, due to the general trendiness that ubiquitously permeates the internet, an insurmountable and unavoidable fashion meme, and to their reliance on plastic-derived textiles guising as desirable fabrics. One would perhaps assume that, as I vehemently rant and harangue about their occasionally trite permutations of nauseating trends or their polyester passion, I would avoid shopping there. I am human; I am weak. Most convictions I adhere to, defend, and live by; condoning the Zara phenomenon is not one. Nevertheless, I pushed my hatred aside while doing some shopping in Barcelona and took the plunge. Overall, it was a sage quick decision; the blazer functions as a basic cardigan, or even comfortable but abysmal sweatshirt, would, but with a smarter, more crisp look. Blazer and winter shorts were married by a simple navy and white boat neck tee shirt. 

Soft white stripes of the world, unite, and take over.

As is only appropriate when the weather is depressingly dreary, and a long day of editorial tedium awaits in a stuffy conference room, I accessorized with sparkling rhinestone earrings, inverted tear drops, and my favorite silver rhinestone and lucite bracelets.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Outfit for a Monday: Fair Isle and Details

During this cruel and prolonged transition from winter into spring, in which one week features almost balmy temperatures with the nascent beginnings of floral buds and the next features an entire day of ice-rain sludge plummeting from a blackened sky, this multi-chromatic, thick wool Fair Isle-style cardigan is an ideal piece. I bought this cardigan on an immense online discount from Talbots, and I am very impressed with the quality of the fabric and the chic details. With a pattern that is both tightly woven and intricate, with deep olives and creams, burgundy, burnt oranges, magenta, and violets, it is reminiscent of a violent sunset and pairs well with nearly anything. Yesterday, I wore a simple cotton navy blue shift dress underneath, with plain deep navy tights, so that the sweater was my sole focal point. Foolishly, I wore only a simple wool blazer over this sweater to and from the office, believing that the weather had turned; I shivered leaving my office late last evening as I dashed to my car in the treacherous wet snow. Aside from this lack of preparedness, my cardigan kept me cozy in my cubicle.

From this perspective, this wide red bakelite bangle appears to be a freshly plucked tomato, a welcome but delusional hallucination for those anxious for the premiere of the spring and summer farmer's markets and their wealth of delicious, juicy local produce. Thick gazpacho and spaghetti sauce, prepared from scratch on a lazy Sunday evening after a stroll to my local market; I cannot wait.

A bit coincidentally, these champagne-tinted crystal chandelier earrings match the button detailing on my sweater. They are delicately cut, prisms that capture and refract light, playing and toying with the wavelengths; I wore my hair wrapped up high in a bun to showcase their sparkle.


For all of us with mildly, or wildly, olive tinted skin, who are nonetheless festive and wish to celebrate appropriately, even those more subordinate and Catholic feast day holidays, Saint Patrick's Day can be a bit of a conundrum; obviously, green, and even the less popular orange, are a requisite but can lend an atrocious air of jaundice. Other than very particular shades of emeralds, those that fall in the almost teal genre, and the occasional deep hunter varietal, greens have never been my most attractive color. So, unsurprisingly, my chromatic sartorial spectrum is quite narrow here and there is a dearth of green in my wardrobe, at least as far as clothing items are concerned. To compensate, I have managed to amass an impressive arsenal of green flavored accessories, giving me a wide range of choices for the faux-Irish lass in me.

This year, luckily, I was able to get away with wearing green paired with a much more flattering shade, the ubiquitous and always trusted black: this ombre maxi skirt was, frankly, a bizarre choice for me when I purchased it and I was very hesitant and skeptical. Wanting to invent some new permutations, I went for it, figuring it was perhaps a bit trendy but ultimately an interesting piece. Aside from being apropos for any Irish holiday, the skirt fits well, snugly following the contour of my hips without desperately clinging, and the ombre bottom has a soft flow without infusing fullness. For my friends' Guinness and Irish stew laden brunch this last Saturday, I felt both fitting and flattering in this black and leprechaun-green skirt.

Featuring small green parakeets encased in a globe of golden hoops, these earrings have been trapped in one of my jewelry boxes for entirely too long; they are funky, fun, and filled with flair. Conveniently, for me, they also fit the theme of the day. In a stretch, the minute birds allude to one of my favorite poems, "Sailing to Byzantium" by William Butler Yeats, who, in a synchronistic twist, is Irish.

I wear my classic green bakelite with nearly anything in my closet; though matching all my numerous shades of green cheer is not at all typical, I certainly never tire of my favorite bangles.

Paisley, with its upholstered parameciums, has always lured me in; this vintage clutch from the late 1960s is adoring and abhorrent, revolting and riveting, with its sickly and succulent array of grass greens, yellows, and turquoise. Discovered under a dusty pile of silk scarves and yellow withered white gloves in a small antique shop on the eastern shore of Maryland, this incredible specimen of a handbag was a steal for a low 7$. Sauntering in and out of some pricey vintage boutiques in my sister's neighborhood, a few different shop proprietors asked me about the make and name of my clutch. I chuckled as I admitted my deal, perusing their beautiful but expensive wares. While I wish I could carry it everyday, the clutch is far from practical; still, able bodied to house my wallet, cell phone, and a bevy of bright red lip stick tubes, I love carrying this, loud and proud. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

From Barcelona to Business

Almost a year ago, last summer, I bought this simple, nearly shapeless tunic dress in Barcelona. Quite a few steps away from my typical style, I was immediately magnetized to it for a few reasons, partly because I had been wandering lonely, foreign streets, unable to speak Catalan, and saw the flash-boutique run by young French designers as an opportunity for some needed human contact and conversation. Unlike many other European cities, English seemed noticeably less prevalent in Barcelona; despite the flashy contemporary architecture, the dearth of sounds and sights in my native tongue lent a bygone era appeal, and isolation, to this old and rugged and beautiful city. Namely, though, I loved the bizarre pattern in muted neutral gray and black, like some crude abstraction of a dinosaur, drawn by a young child with a thick waxen crayon. 

 For the office earlier this week, I gave this dress the illusion of a sharp waist and some professional flair, adding a simple black blazer with a clean, neat velvet collar and a shining sequined gray vintage belt. My blazer toned down the surreal pattern, without completely obscuring it, and also added a necessary layer of warmth from the wet rainy day.

This belt was a gift from my dear friend Rebecca, swapped from her own wardrobe; sequins, unfortunately, are not always ideal, or appropriate, for daily attire, but I would be quite amiss if I could not regularly find occasion for something sparkling and bold.

As a finishing touch, my hair tied up high in a messy chignon, I wore these black chandelier earrings.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Steady Spring Rain

My first three days in London, the sun shone, bright, bizarre, some soothing and welcome and foreign benevolent omen of spring. We wore dark sunglasses to protect our eyes from the glare and, despite the cold air, could sense the tingling warmth of the long waves on our skin. Anticipating nothing but gray skies, a stretched taut quilt of gray, anticipating splashes of rain and puddles, and, in a bout of surprising and unexpected preparedness while packing, I stowed away my bright red umbrella, wore my long camel trench, the ideal jacket for early spring travel through Europe. While the jacket mostly shielded the cold, the impermeable fabric lay to waste those first few days, the umbrella idle. London laughed in the sun, mouth agape to catch the golden rays.

Home now, the sky turns from one shade of gray to darker to black, as the sphere revolves and rotates, day to night. The temperature a bit tempestuous, March seeking to rival April in her cruelty and her wicked tricks, layering has been critical: soft sweaters over long cotton tunics, with crisp chino pants. Inspired by this bit of prep classicalism, today, in spite of the wet, a perpetual potential for disaster and destruction with nice clothes, I wore some red bow flats, simple and somehow a bit too darling for the office. 

I have been sitting and working in our large conference room for the past ten hours, reading and editing, neurons numb with the tedium of the content, and already so much of the memory of London, just a few days passed, has melted, like some of gossamer of cotton candy abandoned carelessly in the rain; as a child, these lessons come hard. Transience and mortality, even of the material, seems impossible. That these things should apply to memories, or to whole stages of life, to entire swaths of time, is even less immediately plausible and understood.

(image taken from EHB)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Leaving London, or, Back to the Grind

I have returned home from London, invigorated from my time spent wandering a new city and catching up with some dear friends, and only mildly worse for wear after a bout with some strange and unpleasant twenty-four hour stomach virus. Unfortunately, I fear the warm British-brewed ales also did not agree with me; I sampled a few in rather remarkable and admirable moderation, only to find my intestines longed for the chilled and frothy varieties of home. Unlike some of the other cities I have traveled to, it can be easy to immediately think of London as a familiar place, even if only for the simple fact of a shared common language. In reality, naturally, the old city was no less foreign or new or exciting as any other. As usual, I have a copious amount of haphazardly snapped photographs of monuments, architecture, food, and various items that caught my fancy, amateurish but interesting nonetheless, to be posted and reflected over, hopefully in a somewhat timely fashion (this, indeed, a rather frivolous illusion, given that it has been nearly a year since I vacationed in Paris and there are still numerous images and stories that I have been meaning to share; procrastination is an idle vice). These will wait, as I frantically play the delightful post-holiday game of catch up in the office; gulp.

(image taken from Self-Important Worthless Opinion)

Friday, March 1, 2013

To London

Frantically packing, just a few precious hours before my car comes to deliver me to my gate, I am off to London for the next week or so with my dear friend Becca. We are visiting another mutual friend from university, Stef, who has been living on that side of the pond for a few years. Despite leaving behind here in the states quite a maelstrom of stress and action items to check off of my to-do list, I am beyond excited to escape the humdrum mundane, at least for a bit, and spend some quality time catching up with beautiful ladies.

(image taken from World's Crew)