Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Outfit for a Thursday: Shading in Gray

Just one day following my rather grandiose boast of donning spectacular gem-like colors, even in the face of chilled winter drudgery and of a vehemently ingrained monochrome black stereotype, I regressed, reverted back to my denim, my black sweater, my portrait in an absence of light. Since moving, I, still, have yet to establish my new professional circadian rhythm, certainly a product of many late-nights and more social stimulation. Often, I forgo my morning coffee, at home, while I dress, waiting to drink instead a cup brewed pathetically from a plastic pod, a waste. Maybe this deflux of caffeine has hindered the appropriate sartorial synapses.

Though I have been rather guilty of jeans lately, I have also sought to spice up the staple; this miniature polka dot patterned pair is a prime example. These vintage earrings, a contour of sterling silver encasing a smear of black stone, matched perfectly with my lazy gray and black look. I rather like the almost unvarnished look of the earrings, a bit of tarnished grime, some imperfection.

Like the earrings, this thick silver cuff, a kind of rippling metal water, often goes forgotten and unnoticed in my pile of jewelry. I blame the propensity to don gold, to don rhinestone, to infuse immediate and gratuitous artificial glamor to even the most boring of office garb.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Outfit for a Wednesday: Stripes and Jewel Tones

Falling into the stereotypical rut of the professional New Yorker, and falling a bit lazy in the chilled winter temperatures, I have taken to wearing monochrome black almost incessantly: black sweaters, black blazers, black jeans, black booties. Certainly, head-to-toe black is classic and perpetually sleek, but against a backdrop of cold gray skies and the dirtied dredges of gray snow, some flashes of color can raise the spirits. Last week, I abandoned my urban uniform, pairing a cobalt, navy, and white striped sweater with a berry wool skirt. Working in a completely casual atmosphere, the desire to don denim is immense. Lately, much of my former business casual sartorial life has lain sallow, silent and forlorn in my cramped closet, overlooked for some easy jeans and a comfortable sweater. These silver, rhinestone, and pearl earrings, subtly loud, vehemently demure, were the bit of funky flair to my conservative and colorful look.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Outfit for a Wednesday: Inspired by Mary McCarthy

I have been intending to read the short fiction of Mary McCarthy, among other works, for quite some time; this outfit stems rather literally, all connotations, from the now oft-quoted and well-remembered title "The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt." McCarthy is quoted on the cover of my worn, loved paperback version of Pale Fire, which I finished at the end of last year, a visual reminder for some new year reading goals. Hopefully this weekend, I plan to officially become a citizen of Brooklyn and join the public library, a mere four blocks from my apartment.

Transitioning traditionally gaudy sequins from evening to day is an increasingly popular, now mundane topic among fashion publications, digital and print. The list of styling recommendations nearly always includes some iteration of pair with a plain tee shirt, an obvious and intuitive strategy that can successfully tone down nearly any bold blazer. Let the sequins shine solo; pare down the rest of the look. In keeping with my theme of casual sparkle, I wore a pair of plain black denim. Rather than opt for my steadfast and true white, or my perpetually reliable black, I donned this gray men's undershirt, a relic from my university days, borrowed, never returned.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bidding Adieu to 2013

Either a product of getting older and wiser, or a product of mounting cynicism, or both, the two not often mutually exclusive, New Year's Eve, the event, capitalized, does not hold the same titillating promise of fun, excitement, and drama, to which it once, briefly, clung. Tempering my capacity for exponential expectation, I am content spending the evening with a few close friends and a few chilled drinks, dancing and laughing and making merry. While I no longer care whether my party that evening is trendy or ground-breaking or even particularly memorable, I still like to make a sartorial splash, spilling forth sequins and sparkle whenever possible. Just before Christmas, while strolling around Park Slope and completing some last minute party planning for an impromptu seasonal soiree at my new apartment, I stumbled across my good friend Sarah. She then introduced me to a local antiques market, where we both stumbled on some pretty incredible finds.

Opulent silk sequin blouses offer an ideal shimmer for a party; I have a few with gold and bronze gilded glitz, so was pleased to find this silver and black variation. There is so much texture, so many detailed facets, it is quite effusive, from the cascade of pearl tears to the almost ragged pirate, almost icicle-like hem and sleeves. With such a frenetic top, I, obviously, kept the bottom simple, pairing this unique find with a long, flowing black maxi skirt. Coincidentally, it seemed there was an unspoken Stevie Nicks-theme to the New Year's Eve party hosted by my dear friend Lauren; long black skirts were running and shimmying amok. I was glad to have a belligerent amount of shine to stand out on the living room dance floor.

While I kept my look simple and prudent with my plain maxi skirt, I could not help but debut these disco-era vintage rhinestone earrings and mirror the shimmering spectacle of my silk blouse. I found these gems at a darling and exceedingly well curated vintage boutique in my neighborhood, Rosebud Vintage; while I paid a more handsome price for this pair of earrings than I would in the rural stores in Pennsylvania and Delaware, the quality and intrigue was worth it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hello, Late 20s

Last week, I celebrated my champagne birthday and officially entered the waning years of my roaring twenties. The day itself was rather unremarkable; I coaxed my parents and younger brother into joining me for a jaunt around the Baltimore Museum of Art, and we then enjoyed a late lunch of crab cakes at the adjacent Gertrude's Restaurant. That evening, my parents departed for an annual, reunion-style post-Christmas party, hosted by a dear close friend of my father from childhood, so my brother, Adam, and I passed the evening quietly, competing in a fierce game of rummy. He heated up plates of Cincinnati chili spaghetti for us, a delicious bit of nostalgia, the spicy-sweet, almost Indian-like seasoning harkening back to the birth city of our mother. I sipped a lemon drop, my wine-colored lipstick staining the rim, leftover from our afternoon out.

Three years ago, I created this little corner of digital self-indulgence, in a frenzy of fear and a type of anxious, unbridled excitement, quite the departure from my other, private project of cataloging my prose poems, a sort of literary sketch pad. Three years ago, just before the Christmas season, the partners of my former company laid off the entire staff, at the time around thirty or so of us, citing some fabricated financial fiasco. As we all entered the new year, contracted to work part time, as hourly employees, supplemented by state unemployment benefits, it was later revealed that the true root of the situation was a schism between the founding three leaders, two buying out one, amassing fees and jumping through legal loops to achieve this feat. A time of utter uncertainty, that beginning, later revealed itself to be one of growth and opportunity and learning; I would not be the woman I am today, without this trial and the adventures that unfolded after. Sticking around in the suburbs of New Jersey, even in the wake of being falsely fired and totally duped, did lead to cultivating some powerful relationships, partnering on some important professional projects, and traveling to an array of new cities that I would not otherwise have had the chance to see, at least not in such quick succession.

Still, with the wise and comprehensive view of retrospection, I cannot help but revel in how different, in certain major ways, my life is, from then to now. A still relatively new job, at a new company, in New York, working with a dedicated team and with senior leaders who adhere to professional and personal integrity. A loving, committed relationship, started in that time of tumult and unhappiness, the first relationship where I am respected and supported, unconditionally. A new home in a vibrant neighborhood, close to my beautiful family and my dearest of friends, where not a single day passes when I do not see, hear, smell, try, experience something new and unknown. Now, these changes do not mean that my now is always certain, always steady far from it. Mistakes, tears, anxieties, heartaches abound. But I have spent these three years growing.

While originally, this space began in the aftermath of shock, a bit of despair, it evolved to a space of irregular routine, the purpose rather simple: a space to write. To write unabashedly and, hopefully, to encourage and inspire those other avenues of language that, usually, intimidate. That I procrastinate or avoid. For this to be a space free from that intimidation, the subjects are for the most part superficial but not without relevance, style, fashion, aesthetics, bits of culture I find fascinating or amusing, occasional ramblings. Overall, with these objectives in mind, to write and to encourage further writing endeavors, I have met both success and failure. I am not one to create exhaustive laundry lists of resolutions, but nonetheless, with a pervasive sense of fresh start surrounding a new year, I cannot help but shake up my fortitude and seek to work harder in the coming months. Most likely to the relief of my dear filmmaker, this project has decidedly less tedious outfit posts accompanied by my desperately awkward modeling, but I still enjoy the haven it provides, a canvas for vehement verbosity on whatever I feel like.

Cheers. To another year.   

Snowy Friday afternoon soundtrack: Jon Hopkins Immunity

(image taken from Rare Vintage)