Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Farewell, Favorite Season

Considering that the thermostat hit 90 degrees today... I think the time has finally come for me to admit that winter is over. My wool scarves and I just can't fake it anymore.

So, l'hiver, my frosty lover - I big you adieu with two of my favorite models, looking all fiiiiine in their cold-weather clothes:

If I were Anja, I'd call this look: nun-with-hot-legs-in-a-man's-overcoat-chic. Hey summer - do you think that Anja or myself can pull off this kind of sexiness when it's ninety damn degrees outside? Not a chance. Think of the nuns, summer! Think of me and Anja and the nuns!

Doesn't Maryna look snugly? But also like she's going to kick your ass? This reminds me of a tough little alley cat. You want to pick her up and schnoogle her face off... except you don't, because she'd go all scratchtastic on your eyeballs. Also, props on the layering.

Oh, layering!
As the heat rolls in, I'll miss you most of all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Denim Demon

The list of gray-haired gentlemen I take my fashion cues from is pretty short:
-Stephano Dolce (because he is a genius, and yes... I do believe he has gray hair now)
-Tim Gunn (because how do you say no to that face?)
-Karl Lagerfeld (if he is in fact still a man and has not yet completed his transformation to robot)
-Anderson Cooper (because, really, what wouldn't I do if he told me to do it?)

But this guy?

In case you don't recognize him without his signature bow tie, this is conservative op-ed columnist George F. Will. Last week, he published an article called "Denim Demon" about how American's favorite bottom-half attire is a symptom of our developmentally subnormal national psyche. The full article can be found here.

I love a good wardrobe analysis, and so I'd like to thank George for handing me this opportunity to defend one of my personal favorite clothing items by dissecting and making fun of his article on a variety of points. Let's begin here, where it becomes apparent that George doesn't know very much about the current luxury denim market:

"Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy's catechism of leveling -- thou shalt not dress better than society's most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism -- of believing that appearance matters. That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste."

It's almost as though this sentence has just climbed out of a sixties time capsule, when it might have been appropriate. But in the 21st century? Alas, no. Anyone who thinks that the current denim market involves an allegiance to "leveling" should be directed to this $699 Nudie Jeans nonsense (aptly condemned here). Things are not as they were when Levi Strauss & Co. churned out the first pair of blues in 1873! You better believe that every single woman walking around in True Religion with ugly-as-sin white stitching up and down the legs wants you to know that she paid $319 for these jeans, damn it, and don't you forget how special she is!

(But in the interest of full disclosure, here is a $253 pair by Proportion of Blu that I have recently been tempted by - hey, this is a style blog):

"Denim is the carefully calculated costume of people eager to communicate indifference to appearances. But the appearances that people choose to present in public are cues from which we make inferences about their maturity and respect for those to whom they are presenting themselves."

The first sentence: I hate this idea of "calculated casual". Sometimes, if a person is not going to an office or a formal gathering, that person wants to wear comfortable clothing which is nevertheless more presentable than 1) pajamas or 2) sweatpants. That person puts on some jeans. It is not a costume, nor is it carefully calculated. Pants, minus formal, minus sleepwear = jeans. Does George Will need a calculator to determine that 2 + 2 =4? Hopefully not. My point is that sometimes, you just know the answer, and no calculation necessary.

The second sentence: Of course people judge one another by appearance, and interact in a way that is partially based on those judgments. Our clothing choices act as a window into our self image, confidence, aesthetic judgments, influences, and the manner in which we want others to perceive us. But wearing a certain outfit, particularly in a casual context, does not represent our personal levels of "maturity or respect".

Do you know what really does represent "maturity and respect"?

Speaking and acting with...
wait for it...
maturity and respect!

When I put on jeans and walk out the door, I am no more or less of a jerk than I in a dress or a skirt. There is no causal relationship between fabric and behavior, and while mindset does influence how one gets dressed in the morning, SOME PEOPLE JUST LIKE JEANS. Here are some reasons why I am one of those people - reasons that have nothing to do with being the image-cultivating communist that George Will imagines:
  • They are comfortable
  • They go with everything
  • They can be worn more than once without washing, and are machine washable when the time comes
  • I enjoy being able to run, bend over, squat, and separate my knees without the possibility of an "I see London, I see France" scenario. Sorry skirts and dresses.
Also, if George Will is suffering from the delusion that those unfortunate pleated "baby-making-hips" trousers I always see him in are doing him any favors, he is sadly misshapen and mistaken. And if he thinks that wearing them will elevate him to a higher echelon of praise-worthy, credible, respectable human beings...

Well, I believe it was wise old Epicurus who once said:
"A turd in a suit and bow tie is still a turd."

"Today it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags of clubs into golf carts to go around in public dressed for driving steers up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Abilene."

Just because the most laborious activity George Will engages in is golfing (other than his frequent exercises in ignorance - ba-bam!) does not mean that the same standards pertain to much of - or, indeed, most of - America. As noted in the list above, part of the reason I enjoy wearing jeans is because they allow me to be spontaneously grungy if the desire or need arises - and it often does!

"This is not complicated. For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule: If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don't wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly."

I have a variety of responses to this outstandingly stupid and repressive mandate, but the most appropriate one comes in picture form:

Three thoughts immediately come to mind:

1.) Now this is "calculated casual".
2.) Why no one has yet invented Man Spanx?
3.) I sincerely doubt that Mr. Astaire would approve.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Intermix This

What have I been doing on this lazy Sunday afternoon? Why, casually filling my Intermix Online shopping cart with thousands of dollars of merchandise, and then editing it all down to the three or four things I would actually buy... you know, if I could hypothetically afford to do so without going hypothetically broke and being forced to wear my fabulous new duds in my less-than-fabulous new home, i.e. a dumpster or under a bridge somewhere.

The finalists include:

I have grand plans for this dress (which is appropriate, since I'd need a grand to buy it... har har). Oh dress, you are speaking to me! You are begging me to layer you over some sheer shirts and underneath a long jacket, making you cold-weather-appropriate. However, due to your cut and color, I think you'd be equally comfortable in the warmth of the summer sun. What a winner.

Also, this shirt was designed for me:

Yes. Oh yes. Oversized men's shirts are some of very favorite items of clothing, but tend to run either a bit short for the width or a bit wide for the length. But lo, behold - this sucker is divinely proportioned. I'm currently picturing it with opaque black tights and ass-kicking ankle boots... either my own from Urban Outfitters, or perhaps a nice expensive pair donated generously to me by net-a-porter, or shopbop, or Carine Roitfeld. Are you reading this, Carine? One woman can only wear so many ankle boots in her lifetime, and you have exceeded your quota... the time has come for you to send your cast-offs my way.

As for this sequin t-shirt:

Yeah, practicality isn't really in play here. I'll admit that. But I want the damn thing, okay? I want to look like a big walking emerald!

Besides... I can't be practical 24 hours a day.
All work and no play makes Jack go crazy and chop his family up with an axe, remember?

All images © Intermix Online

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ah, Love

Apparently, the upcoming issue of US Vogue will feature a six page spread of models and their boyfriends/lovers/men of honor. All the photos can be found here.

Apart from the Cheese Factor™, is it wrong for me to say that these men are nothing to write home about? I mean, it's not as though any one of them is a grotesque swamp monster, but let's be serious... these girls are the business. THE BUSINESS. You cannot tell me this is the best they can do.

I know that I'm being nasty.
And relationships aren't all about looks.
And you can't judge a book by it's cover.

But please look at Chanel Iman, and then look at here boyfriend. THEN, imagine that YOU look like Chanel Iman, and honestly tell me that you wouldn't be trolling for bigger fish (literally and figuratively - dude is short).

There is one exception:

Anna Jagodzinska and Duncan Winecoff. Well done, Anna. I'd hit that.

Then, there's Doutzen. Her boyfriend has undeniably great hair and a very charming smile... sadly, I hardly noticed because I was too busy yakking over her mini interview:

More than a year after a first date at Nobu, they're still a pair. He recently surprised her with a long, flowing Diane von Furstenberg dress. But she's just as comfortable in his sweaters. "Especially Ralph Lauren. The other day, I bought him one - for me!"

I personally love when people buy me presents that are actually for themselves. Seriously, who does that?


All photos (hot and otherwise) © Vogue Magazine

Thinking of Darwin

nothing but darkness to advance on,
night on the routes that enter strangeness
more dangerously, in the evening,
than we can bring ourselves to say,
darkness and an interior for which,
of course, there is no name


From "Thinking of Darwin"
by Herbert Morris

Photo © Jak & Jill

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's My Blog, And I'll Faux If I Want To

This issue is going to come up eventually, so I'm bringing the hammer down now to keep things simple:

This will be a cruelty-free blog. There is no fur and no leather in my closet. It's an individual decision - I'm not trying to thrust my opinion on any readers. But this is my blog, right? So I suppose it's like saying, "Don't smoke in my bedroom," or "Don't bring clowns to any of my parties, because I am a coulrophobiac."

And you know what? I really am a coulrophobiac. So this will be a clown-free blog, as well.

But why, you might ask? (about the fur, not the clowns)

I do not think it is inherently morally worn to kill or eat animals - I think it is wrong to do so when doing so is unnecessary. For me, it is unnecessary. It seems simple, n'cest pas? It is not difficult to eat wonderful food and wear beautiful clothes without causing pain, doing damage, taking away life - it is a small choice that can be made every day, by anyone.

If I'm posting an item of clothing or accessory that is currently for sale, it will be cruelty free. As for editorials, runway shots, and street style - those images are for purposes of inspiration, and can be reinterpreted using faux fur and faux leather products. By posting them, I am not financially supporting fur or leather production.

So that’s that!

Please take advantage of my email if you have questions or responses of any kind - I'd love to read them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Ringmaster

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Admit it: you are attracted to this crazy, sexy beast of a man.

Okay, or maybe it's just me.

Except for the hated plastic wayfarers, I love everything about these clothes and this picture. I covet his motorcycle gloves. I adore his top hat. I'm tickled by the fact that he has eschewed an ipod in favor of a boombox.

But most appealing of all - and what really sells it for me - is his "that's right, suckers, I am fabulous enough to wear a velvet cape on the street" body language.

Damn right.

Monday, April 6, 2009

La Garconne

Starting your own blog after reading a thousand other blogs for (what feels like) a thousand years... it's kind of tricky. I've gotten used to internalizing my reactions to street styles, outfit posts, fashion editorials, people's opinion pieces, etc. It's a hard habit to break!

I've been noodling around the La Garconne website recently, a thin strand of drool escaping from my lips as I stare at outfits that would make up my wardrobe of basics... if only I could afford them.

Is it weird that I get so excited about jeans and tee shirts? It's the James Dean lover in me. I can't help it. Here's a slambang (albeit still basic) jacket to break up the monotony:

I'm sure I will write again about my love of the La Garconne la staple, because something deep in my bones cries out lovingly whenever I see pictures like those above. The appeal of a well-fitting t-shirt and pair of jeans is that you never appear to be too far up your own ass when your wearing it. I'm not saying I don't love drama, flash and glamour and the rest of it - it has its place, and fashion wouldn't be fashion without it. But when I see a girl draped in logos and dollar signs, swinging a monster handbag over her shoulder and strutting along, I think:

You would be more beautiful, more interesting, more evocative - in something that acts as a frame for your beauty, rather than simply showing off itself.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crème de Crocodilian

I've been resisting the gravitational pull of planet blog for a long time now.
There are many reasons for me not to blog:

- I suck at perpetual projects, and will depress myself when I inevitably abandon blogspot.
- It takes up valuable time. . . time I could spend fantasizing about handsome gentlemen.
- Innocent people do not need to witness my suppressed (but formidable) bad attitude.

And more. But for some reason, the urge has become overpowering and I can no longer contain myself!

Image - Paris Vogue
October 2008