Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sympathy for the Detail

So I must admit that I harbor a certain prejudice against vintage clothing.  I don't know whether it grows from the gag response that the smell of mothballs induces, or because when someone mentions a vintage store the first thing that comes to mind is the episode of Seinfeld where George steals his father's old cabana clothes and sells them to make a quick buck.  Of course, they are moth infested and the owner ends up burning them in the alley.  Alas, poor George Costanza.  When I have been compelled to enter, I have often found them staffed by dudes with ironic facial hair and women who think that bathing is done with pachouli oil instead of water.  This motley crew can opine for hours about the superiority of a Phish groove to a Rolling Stones riff.  Seriously?  Almost as off-putting to me as the mothballs.  But in the last few weeks I have been forced to reassess my long-held bias.  The shirt I am wearing in this picture is one reason.  It is a vintage Jil Sander which from the structure of the collar and the cut of the shirt must date back to the late 1980s, or early 1990s.  Yet it still looks as sharp and minimalist as it did when it was purchased.  It's un-pictured brother is in a soft, black cotton that looks like it could have been wardrobe in the movie version of Less Than Zero.  Neither of these pieces of clothing would have set you back more than a meal at the McDonalds in Holborn.  So if you are fortunate enough to live in central London don't let the first generation Sony Playstation in the window scare you away from the random Romanian Charity Shop.

(Jil Sander shirt, Armani Exchange jacket, Barking Irons Tee)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

blustery sunday

So, this outfit is pretty much the furthest thing ever from my typical Sunday morning coffee-run fare.  Or any day, any time, any outing, for that matter.  I am not a regular dress-upper nor am I a frequent high heel wearer, mostly out of sheer laziness but also because in London I walk quite a lot and don't want to destroy my shoes (whereas in Texas I have no good excuse).  That hasn't stopped me loving and buying tall shoes, though, and so now I'm working on wearing them more frequently (and out of the house).  I'm starting out with this slightly-less-high-though-deceptively-not-so-low-as-they-look-pair that I scored at the Selfridge's sale last week.  I should probably mention that since it's been years since I wore heels on a regular basis I'm a bit out of practice with them, and am having to reacquaint myself with the world from on high.  The learning curve is significantly more steep than I remembered.

(Paul Smith jacket, Target shirt, old Ferragamo belt, J. Crew skirt, Miu Miu shoes, Frank Gehry for Tiffany necklace and earrings, Movado watch and Navajo bracelet)

Friday, June 18, 2010

a dark and stormy mood

 Ok maybe not so stormy, just dark and grey outside.  Neither pleasant nor inspiring, regardless ~ the kind of day where you run out for coffee, then run back home where it's warm.  I'm wearing yet another too-comfy-for-words dress, this time from the uniqlo + velvet collaboration.  I haven't worn dresses very frequently since I was a young child, but lately I've found these to be a very comfortable and versatile alternative to my regular jeans-and-t-shirts: I wear the exact same accessories and layers as I would otherwise, but just over one piece instead of two.  This may not seem novel or innovative to anyone else, but it's been quite a discovery for me, and one that I think will serve me well when we return to the vicious Texas heat (11 days!).   

(uniqlo + velvet dress, target scarf, dad's vietnam shirt, mom's old sunglasses, cole haan flats, movado watch and the usual assorted silver jewelry)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

always off time

This was sort of a last-minute-grab-and-go-I'm-late-for-lunch-and-my-hair-is-still-wet situation.  The original outfit I had in mind was shelved on account of potential puddles which sent me scrambling for ideas on my way out the door.  Isn't it convenient that the closet in our sardine-tin dorm-studio happens to be right in the entryway*?  Changed shirts, grabbed the nearest cardigan and then had to step back to pull the door open.  And run out.

So, right.  The cardigan is giant ~ something like an extra large, but for things like this I never really think that matters ~ and the t-shirt is super, super-soft with this lovely asymmetrical hem that keeps me from mooning people whenever I drop something (which is practically every other minute).  It is also, as you can see, very loose and roomy and thus very accommodating for my lunch of linguine and clams.  P left the restaurant early which enabled an undisturbed pop-in at the charity shop next door, of which he was the primary beneficiary.  But that's his story to tell.

(Mom's old sunglasses, Target scarf, Vince cardigan, Romeo + Juliet Couture tee, Seven straight leg stretch jeans, Coach purse, Movado watch, James Avery bangle, Navajo bracelet)

*five square feet of closet doors, main door and bathroom door = almost a hallway

Monday, June 14, 2010

short stack

 We took advantage of this morning's lovely sunshine with a long walk (right over to Selfridge's for the first day of the sale).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

know when to fold 'em

I don't usually go with P to do the laundry.  Partly because the whole point is that he does it so I don't have to and can focus on my studies, and partly because I'm kind of insane about the clothes-washing-process and can't really handle seeing it done with anything less than my bizarre standards of precision, which our current laundry room simply cannot accommodate.  Basically it pains me to be there, so I stay away and keep my mouth shut except to lavish him with praise for taking care of things.  Believe me ~ I know how lucky I am ~ he also does all the cooking and cleaning (I strive to eschew traditional gender roles whenever possible).

I haven't very much to say about this outfit, other than I really loved it and it didn't photograph as well as I would have liked (notice how I passed the buck to the outfit, and not the photographer ~ aka myself).  The dress is more comfortable than every nightgown I've ever known, and I would probably still be wearing it right now (three days later) if P weren't here to stop me.  The socks were a particularly nice addition since I could pull them up above my knees for added warmth.   

(Uniqlo x Costello Tagliapietra dress, J.Crew socks, Cole Haan flats, Frank Gehry/Tiffany necklace and earrings, Pianegonda ring, James Avery bangle, Movado watch, Navajo bracelet) 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

London Laundry Day

(Calvin Klein Collection blazer, Calvin Klein t-shirt, Seven A-Pocket jeans, Camper Pelota shoes)

Having to live with a wardrobe that fits into a duffel bag necessitates regular trips to the laundry room. I try to do laundry on the same day every week to avoid a deficit of clean clothes. Of course, sometimes events completely out of control occur and my planned trips to the laundry room with my blue Ikea bags overflowing with clothes don't quite happen on the day I had planned. So I have the problem I had this morning: none of the t-shirts in my regular rotation were clean. No worries, I thought, I'll just dig out a plain white undershirt and wear it instead. Let it be said at this point, and as you can see in the pictures adjacent to this post, the shirts that I choose for this purpose are clean, white, and free of any random stains from my adventures in our mini-kitchen. However, this ad hoc clothing choice never fails to annoy my co-blogger who feels that this clothing option is unsatisfactory. Personally, I feel that the white t-shirt and jeans combo is classic. I'm not the Fonz, and jumping a shark tank in the parking lot of Arnold's isn't in my skill set, but I can see why he was always thought to be so cool in this attire. Thumb through any fashion magazine today, or even over the last fifty years or so, and I'll bet that you will discover at least one picture of the jeans and white t-shirt combo. It is timeless American style. I have paired my jeans and tee combo with a cashmere Calvin Klein Collection blazer. This is the first piece of non-LL Bean clothing that I ever ordered off of the Internet. The picture doesn't really do justice to the rich shade of the jacket, or its soft texture. What got me to take a gamble on this blazer was its clean design. Notice that unlike most blazers, it has no outside breast pocket, buttons on the cuffs, or back venting. It is a bit longer than a standard blazer, but that adds to its style. My favorite feature, though, is the pocket on the interior seam of the jacket. If it weren't for the zipper pull, you would not notice the pocket inside. So even on days that I can't find a better shirting option, the blazer spiffs-up the Calvin Klein v-neck tee beneath it, even though it came in a pack with eight of its brothers from Costco.

Click to check out the zipper in the seam
Defending my tee

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

c for coffee

 I'm settling in for what will hopefully be a major writing binge today and have already gone on what may turn out to be my only outing all day.  Obviously this outfit is all about the details since it basically boils down to jeans and a t-shirt.    
 The stamped Navajo barrette kills two birds with one stone as both jewelry and hair-wrangler.
The green scarf is a really great lightweight cotton-linen that looks best rumpled, and I can't get over the color.
P has had a pair of these shoes for a few years and pretty much wears them non-stop through the summer, so I when I found these on sale I decided to see what all his fuss was about.  Aside from being lightweight and comfortable, this pair has a black denim body which is unlike any of my other sneakers.

So there you have it.  Thus concludes my excuse not to work.
(Blogging is SO important!)

(Target Scarf, Paul Smith trench, Current/Elliott The Skinny jeans, Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 shoes, Coach purse & Navajo barrette)

Friday, June 4, 2010

There were some good things about the 90s.  Grunge finally killed off hair bands, the internet transformed the world, and Martin Scorsese made Goodfellas.  The same decade also had its failings.  Vanilla Ice tried to sample Queen, the internet transformed the world, and Kevin Costner made any number of crap movies that should forever reside in the "Steal Me!" bins at Blockbuster.  A far more tragic phenomenon, in my eyes at least, was the complete takeover of the workplace and casual trouser market by Dockers.  I know they had a Levi's pedigree, and that led many people to believe that they were cool -- a way to flout the stuffy dress code without wearing 501s to work.  And since their introduction in 1986, can anyone name an item of clothing whose brand name has become synonymous with the item itself?  I must tip my hat to the folks who managed that ad campaign.  "They're not just pants.  They're Dockers."  Having said that, if you happened to be a male who wasn't a little pudgy, the fit of the Dockers themselves left something to be desired.  Those damn pleats.   How could anyone think that those looked good?  When I had to conform to the workplace casual attire of my old office, I instead opted for tropic-weight, flat-front wool trousers and a button-down oxford shirt.  You can't imagine what a tempest in a teacup this started.  I was actually accused of being a snobby dresser.  "How could anyone not like Dockers?"  I was asked.  But I made money, and was right more often than my co-workers about fluctuations in oil prices, so I was left to my own sartorial eccentricity -- although people often wondered how I could possibly be comfortable wearing "those clothes."  The chino therefore has always been a gap in my wardrobe that I never thought I would fill.  Then I found these.  Seven For All Mankind has cotton twill trousers that fit similar to their jeans and provide a happy medium between jeans and dressier trousers in my closet.  They still have a style similar to jeans that might make them inappropriate for your place of work, but what genius in HR decided that Dockers somehow ARE appropriate?

Target shirt, Paul Smith tie, Seven jeans, Adidas shoes, Gap belt, RayBan Wayfarers

Thursday, June 3, 2010

proof of life

Ok, seriously, that last post was kind of really whiny, right? Oh poor me, I have nothing to wear! Wah wah wah, I don't have any new clothes. Even I don't want to read about it and I'm actually pretty annoyed with myself that I wrote it. Definitely deserved the stern talking-to I gave myself in the shower, from whence this outfit came. Here's what happened:
Yesterday, during my grump-tastic afternoon, I conned P into letting me pick up a few hair products from the Boots 3-for-2 shelf.
Because of this, I needed to make a good faith effort to do my hair.
At the point where I'm going to bother with my hair, I may as well go the whole hog so as not to waste a good hair day.
In accordance with Newton's 1st Law, I hacked the legs off my most beat up jeans so that I would have something new and different to wear.
And voilĂ ! Closet QED.

(It helped that I'm obsessed with the detailed tailoring of this shirt and was happy to have an excuse to wear it in a dressed-down capacity.)

(Paul Smith shirt, Joe's Jeans cut-offs, Cole Haan flats, James Avery earrings and charm bracelet, Movado watch, Mom's old sunglasses)

on the ph scale

Yesterday we dropped by the British Museum to meet a friend for coffee and took some quick pictures whilst waiting for her.  I was in quite a mood before we left, feeling sort of dumpy and blah and ill-equipped for the radical change in the gorgeous sunny weather.  The limitations of my London wardrobe are becoming more and more apparent now that I'm trying to compose regular outfits.  I took most of my clothes back to the States when we visited in April to avoid having extra baggage on the next go-round and it appears that pretty much all I left myself here are a couple pairs of jeans and many different colors of my favorite Target t-shirt (seen above).  While on the one hand this forces me to get creative about wearing the same things over and over, there comes a point when all my outfits start to look alike, and not in a good way.  I'm also not allowed shopping at present, so no new pieces to break up the monotony.  
So we'll see.  Hopefully my creative juices will start to flow and the next 26 days will fly by fashion-wise.  Hopefully.  Otherwise expect to see a whole lot more this skirt and t-shirt.

(Vince cardigan, Target tee, J.Crew skirt, Coach purse, Frank Gehry for Tiffany Torque earrings, Movado watch, Navajo cuff & James Avery hammered bangle)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

rainy days and mondays

We picked up a celebratory pizza on Monday in honor of the bank holiday and P booking our tickets home (29th June!).  Things are going to be crazy between now and then, so we need all the joking and good humor we can get, but I'm so excited I can barely contain myself (clearly).  I can't wait to be reunited with our pets (especially my big dog!) and I won't mind having access to my full wardrobe again either.  I love London so much and I know the second I'm gone I'll miss it, but I've been really homesick this year (no clue why) so I'll be happy to be done with that.  I guess I'm just ready to move on?

Eugenia Kim for Target Striped Equestrian Hat, Target scarf & long-sleeved tissue tee, Dad's army shirt from Vietnam, Seven straight leg stretch jeans, Cole Haan flats, Ciao Bella pizza