Posts Tagged ‘Fashion’

Found: Striped Wool

wool

At some point after college, I started casually collecting old magazines. It started with a trip to Magazine Memories in Morton Grove, IL–a warehouse and scouter’s delight–where I found a pristine vintage issue of The New Yorker from the week of July 4, 1954, when my mother was born. It made the perfect, albeit unconventional, 50th birthday present.

When my then-boyfriend/now husband moved just west of Wrigleyville in 2003 (what we then called St. Ben’s, a neighborhood moniker I’ve yet to hear again since then), he was fortunate to live down the street from Yesterday. The old, out-of-place shack overflows with ephemera and seems to sag with the weight of its own stock. But unlike Magazine Memories, it still remains. What a joy to thumb through the inky, torn pages of old newspapers and magazines. And oh, that smell of attic and old books.

It’s where we found our original vintage Lolita poster, among numerous other treasures. Over the years, I amassed a healthy stack of Vogues and Bazaars from the 50s and 60s. I’m usually struck first by the covers, many by Avedon and Penn and other legends. It’s amazing how progressive many of them seem now, in our era of screaming cover lines and bland celebrities with blank looks. (If only magazines today could rely on great cover designs rather than a celebrity’s mass appeal to sell issues.)

But the issue contents are usually equally compelling: articles about women of a “certain age” (i.e. 30. Yes, 30) and the girdles and special skin creams they need in their post-baby years (huge collective sigh on behalf of all modern women). And there are lovely editorial spreads with actual white space, prime, pristine magazine real estate not squandered with advertisements. The image above was from a decadent spread on all things wool. I started photographing some of these magazine images so I could share my favorites. With its beautiful coloring and composition, and its ability to suggest a story, this is one such favorite.

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12 2010

Les Trois: White Heat

I did something unusual last night: I watched the Emmys. You see, my heart has always belonged to Oscar; I don’t bother with those other award shows. But I was pleasantly surprised last night. The Emmys were kind of fun. Neil Patrick Harris was adorable. And I laughed a LOT.

As a bonus, there was a sea of celebrities parading the red carpet (and one very annoying Ryan Seacrest) to judge. Is it just me, or do celebrities play it too safe? If I had a perfectly toned body, tons of money and access to designers, I think I might go out on a limb a bit more. Black strapless again? Snore. Some of my favorite gowns from the evening did have a pop of color. I loved Ginnifer Goodwin’s raspberry YSL. Debra Messing looked radiant in vermilion-meets-orange. And while this dress definitely falls into the safe category, we can all agree that this peacock shade flattered Julia Louis-Dreyfus beautifully.

Given my penchant for bright color, you might be surprised that my best dressed ladies of the night all wore white.

58428071 1) January Jones: When January Jones appeared in Elle with dark raccoon eyes, wet hair and head-to-toe Versace, she looked decidedly unlike her Mad Men character, Betty Draper. As her star rises, Jones continues to prove that she has serious fashion savvy. She’s not just another blonde ingénue, and she’s certainly not a Betty.

This Atelier Versace dress is remarkable because it takes a bit of a risk–with skin-revealing cut-outs and a touch of sparkle–and maintains its mass appeal. It’s fashion-forward and elegant, and it works perfectly on her figure (love that sweetheart neckline), but its most arresting quality is its Art Deco-inspired motif. Part 1930s screen siren, part Wonder Woman, part modern style leader, Jones hits the mark in this winner.

preeves 2) Perrey Reeves: Since I don’t regularly watch Entourage, I found myself wondering out loud about the perfectly styled actress sauntering down the red carpet. Of course, now that I have consulted imdb.com, I realize I have seen her many times before–in Old School and Doogie Howser, M.D. (See how it all comes full circle there? I wonder if she and Neil Patrick Harris shared a post-ceremony cocktail.)

Reeves’ Naeem Khan gown is a lesson in fit and proportion. Like me, Reeves has narrow shoulders. (Unlike me, Reeves is narrow, well, everywhere.) This neckline, as I know well, is very flattering to her body type. The sleeves and the deep V-neck widen the shoulders. As for the rest of the gown, it is slinky and body conscious in the best way and has the right amount of sparkle to render it it red-carpet-ready. Few could pull off this dress in revealing white, but Reeves seems born to wear it.

leighton 3) Leighton Meester: I suspect that Blake Lively, in her show-stopping, plunging-neckline-boasting red number, will get more ink this morning. (My husband would concur: When I asked which look he preferred–Blake’s or Leighton’s–he answered with a resounding endorsement for the sassy red number.)

That said, I prefer Meester’s drapey, Grecian Bottega Veneta gown. I’m a sucker for chiffon. And I’m also a sucker for Meester: I think she’s one of the few starlets whose off-camera style rivals that of her Gossip Girl character. (If anything, while Blair is always perfectly put together, Meester’s less polished but more realistic style is more appealing.)

This dress is dreamy, romantic and accessorized with two of my favorites: red lipstick and bold earrings. So what if this might be an example of a dress only a woman could love? I still think Chuck would approve.

So who was your best dressed at the Emmys? Chime in below!

21

09 2009

Les Trois: Chunky Necklaces

My abiding penchant for necklaces is evident to anyone who knows me. My collection is eclectic, if not entirely handed-down or constructed from other fragments—a mesh-like rhinestone bow without a chain, a century-old cameo, beads from the bottom of a drawer.

There are the cheapies, the vintage, and the pieces from childhood: a gold cross, a sailboat pendant from Dubai, a misshapen Elsa Peretti C. They’re all layered without abandon, because I believe accessorizing shouldn’t be planned or premeditated. (What is the fascination with matching?)

Most of all, I love a good chunky necklace. Here are three of my favorites.

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WHAT: Alexis Bittar “Victoria” necklace. (Buy it here.)

WHY: When I tried it on, it felt delightfully substantial yet not overpowering. (Plus, it would look incredible with a white tank and jeans.)

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WHAT: Marni Large Flower necklace (Buy it here.)

WHY: You can’t go wrong with Marni’s signature, statement-making resin and ribbon baubles: compelling and edgy but always wearable.

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WHAT: Dori Csengeri Santa Fe necklace. (Buy it here.)

WHY: It’s ornate–more tribal work of art than accessory–and stands out from its trendier counterparts. (Pair it with a slinky black dress, and you’re set.)

03

08 2009

A Memoir of Shoes

Relative to fellow fashion devotees, I don’t hold shoes in high esteem. Don’t get me wrong, I covet many an elusive pair, but were I to have a shoe diary, it would be brief.

There were a handful of black patent-leather Mary Janes, some pink Roos, Docksiders (a staple in late-80s Boston), a strappy black pair that I wore to every Bar Mitzvah because they went with every crushed velvet/shiny satin early 90’s frock.

There were the suitable school uniform-compatible loafers (what a waste), the Docs I coveted instead (on a brief sojourn in London) and the slip-on Vans that gave me a spring in my step freshman year of high school. The moment I realized I liked fashion was marked, ironically, with the purchase of my first pair of Steve Maddens: They were chunky and clunky and buckled and brown. I made what I thought was a strong statement by pairing them with short shorts, and I loved them.

I upgraded in college, but my footwear was still painfully uninspired. There was a free pair of sneakers I won from Jane magazine, RIP (and felt compelled to wear, even though I hadn’t purchased them) and, on the flip side, the too-tall, wobbly stilettos, my first true stilettos, which elevated me to at least 6’2 (with Bambi-like gracefulness).

I always wanted—and am still searching for—the perfect pair of ballet flats.

Later years brought better shoes, and while my appreciation deepened, I still haven’t come close to my ideal collection (and by ideal, I mean accessibly ideal—no Brian Atwood beauties in my immediate future). I remember passing by the Repetto store in Paris, pain au chocolat in hand, dreaming wistfully of owning the luscious flats in every color.

Perhaps I have already proven my opening statement wrong.

And yet, even sans Atwood, Louboutin or humble Repetto, I had my trusty Chuck Taylors, which helped me blend in while traversing Europe; the brown boots I bought with Ashley (warm and kind of dowdy—but cheap, warm and delicious like greasy Thai take-out); some seriously shiny silver dancing shoes from the 60s; and my great-grandmother’s Ferragamo flats, in black and white, which are worn but surprisingly intact…not to mention the promise of so many more memorable shoes in my future.

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Photo by Jeremy Lawson

…such as these satin, celadon sling-backs I wore on my wedding day ($19!)

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06 2009