dressed up like a lady: May 2008

May 29, 2008

Look out! I'm romping!

I love a good romper -- also known as a onesie, a jumpsuit, a playsuit, a shortsuit, a onepiece, and probably a hundred other names. It's a hassle to pee while you're wearing one, but they're cute and different and have a great sense of fun about them.

What I really love about this romper is that it's made of silk. This is a total 180 on the original purpose of the jumpsuit, which was supposed to be something to work and play in -- a garment built to take abuse with roughness and activity. Eventually, everything becomes pure fashion.

Romper: Kimchi and Blue via UO
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell via UO

Tiered Necklace: Thrifted
Key Necklace: Vintage via the Getup

It seems too shiny and pretty for it, but I still wonder if this necklace of keys might have been the actual set carried by the groundskeeper at some estate or something. They're all "bit" keys, but the teeth on each of them are a little different, and some are different lengths. It would seem like a bunch of keys made just for decoration would have more simple uniformity, but who knows. Maybe there's a hardware expert at one of my antique stores who could tell me.

May 27, 2008

Summer is here -- get ready to suffer!

The first day of hot summer weather caught me off guard, so I ended up sweltering in my tights. It's just as well, they're all tattered from being in heavy rotation since last October!

Top: Nick Joblin via UO
Skirt: Lux via UO
Boots: Vintage via Ebay
Sunglasses: Thrifted
Pendant: Vintage via the Getup 
Bracelets: Middle Earth and the Getup

Doing my best to convey the brain dead heat! I don't actually think these sunglasses are real -- I think they were toys that came in a 1985 box of Cap'n Crunch or something. I love them anyway though, even though they kind of give me double vision.

May 25, 2008

Fulfilling a Style Goal

I picked this dress up one afternoon when I was desperate for something to wear to dinner with my boyfriend's parents that night. It was before we lived together and I wasn't going to have time to go back to my house before we'd be meeting them, so I ran out on my lunch break to find something. Store after store turned up nothing I'd want to spend money on, but lo and behold, crammed in amongst the post-season prom dresses on the clearance rack at Macy's was this cute little thing.

Dress: Ruby Rox
Boots: Vintage via the Getup
Necklace: Miss Misa

It tickled my fancy because the ruching on the bust and the little cap sleeves made it similar enough to the dress in this photograph of Edie Sedgwick posing with the Velvet Underground, which I'd been searching for for ages. You'd think that as soon as babydoll dresses became popular again, it would have been easy to find something just like this, but it took quite a while!



This pendant says "Qui hier, que demain," a French phrase that, I must admit, perplexes me. I don't speak a word of French, but according to Google Translator, in English it literally translates to "Which yesterday, that tomorrow." It would seem that this could be more conventionally understood "As it was yesterday, so it will be tomorrow," an expression of steadfastness. Except there are also a plus and a minus sign embedded into the phrase! Does this add meaning? Is it "More that was yesterday, less which is tomorrow?" Or do the mathematical symbols have a separate meaning that's not inserted into the phrase, maybe implying balance? Or are they just there to look nice? The mystery haunts me.

May 22, 2008

Street Cred

Coolness is a delicate issue. No adult in their right mind would admit to wanting to be cool. But then, there's nothing less cool than trying to be cool, right? It's a clear criticism to say somebody's "trying too hard," and it can even be a veiled insult to call someone a "hipster," since the word connotes the choice to govern your life based on what's hip and popular -- implying effort.

It becomes this tenuous idea, requiring rhetorical gymnastics to get around it. The ultimate cool is effortless, so no one would anyone ever confess to striving for it -- even though prestige is, by definition desirable. At its worst, this brain-smooshinging Catch 22 will result in that stupid phenomenon where people construe coolness as total apathy -- kids who achieve their status by constantly acting bored, fearful of ever showing real enthusiasm. At its not-so-worst, this semantic barn dance makes me puzzle for a minute over this 80's Minnie Mouse sweatshirt.

Minnie top: Vintage via Star Vintage
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell via UO
Sunglasses: Thrifted
Rings: Various

May 21, 2008

The masculine, the feminine, the neuter.

The the goal with this outfit is to look like a beautiful boy. This achievement of this goal, like all fashion goals, would seem to depend on the eye of the beholder -- questions of both beauty and breasts notwithstanding. Either way, it makes me happy. There has to be a boy somewhere who wears gold jazz shoes.

Sweater: H&M
Shirt: H&M
Shoes: Made by Elves via UO

This terribly tarnished vintage locket was promotional merchandise for the 1950's TV series This Is Your Life. It seems so sweet and whimsical now, but I wonder if wearing it at the time would have seemed hokey and cultureless, like wearing a necklace that says Deal or No Deal.

May 18, 2008

Old vs. Pretend Old

I can be sort of a snob about the antiques in my home. My place is full of vintage housewares and furniture (which I hope to post some pictures of), and while it doesn't really matter to me if a lamp or a salt shaker is a pristine collector's item or just a cute piece of kitsch, it does matter that it's actually old -- not a cheap knock off produced yesterday to look like it was made 40 years ago, and marked up double what I'd pay for the real thing.

I'm kind of a hypocrite about this, however. For all my obsession with vintage, I don't always hold clothes to the same standard. Don't get me wrong, I do think that real vintage fashion is superior. A vintage piece has a magic about it that comes from wondering about its long life, who owned it and where it came from. Not to mention that older clothing tends to have been better made.

But truly enviable vintage clothing can also be made from less comfortable fabric, sewn for different proportions, and cost a lot more. When it comes to really beautiful vintage pieces, there's a direct, positive correlation between the price of the item and the ease of finding it. At one end of the scale, I could hunt for a gorgeous mod dress at rummage sales and after many, many hours spent searching on many, many early Saturday mornings (time I'd otherwise spend sleeping),
I could find one for next to nothing. At the other, I could just scour Ebay for the perfect dress and maybe find it in just a day -- but pay absolutely through the nose for it. Cruising local vintage stores comes out somewhere in the middle.

I employ all three of these methods, but there's also a fourth, equally viable option: new stuff that's made to look old. There are some great internet boutiques that make meticulous reproductions from authentic vintage prints, like Queen of Heartz and Stop Staring, but the soulless, big chain stores come up with some surprisingly fantastic "vintage inspired" looks too. And when those pieces go on clearance, that relationship between convenience and price can come out in your favor. Case in point, today's outfit, scored from an End of the End of the Season Sale.

Dress: Free People
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Steve Madden

May 15, 2008

The fashionable advantages of bad weather.

I only have a couple of super styling umbrellas, but having them makes it sort of a treat when it looks like rain. It's an excuse to carry another cute accessory. Unfortunately, with everything else going on with this outfit, I forgot to get a nice close-up of it -- it has pretty hardware. I guess I'll have to get to that on the next rainy day, which should come soon enough what with it being spring time.

Dress/Romper Thing (It's shorts!): Vintage
Cardigan: Vintage
Both from the Getup
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Blink via Footprints
Umbrella: Vintage via Star Vintag

May 14, 2008

A simple piece.

I couldn't tell you why, but for some reason, after months of consideration, I was finally motivated to start this blog the same week I started moving -- hence the new locale for today's picture.

I love this chunky wool open necked sweater. It's pretty unassuming, but I've never seen another one quite like it. It plays on that fundamental idea in fashion of creating something provocative out of simple juxtaposition -- oversized, rough wool set against naked shoulders.

May 13, 2008

Spring is the season for skating.

The sun takes its sweet time coming out after the murky late-winter months in Michigan, so what better way to celebrate the long awaited appearance of spring than to wear this vintage, probably-1950's ice skating skirt I got at the Getup. When I first tried this darling thing on, I could swear it didn't quite fit, but I subsequently spent the next week dreaming anxiously about it and when I went back, it seemed to fit just fine. Maybe all that feverish pining made me drop a pound.

Skirt: Vintage
Belt: Vintage
All from the Getup
T-Shirt: American Apparel
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell via Urban Outfitters

Friend, fashion confidante, and proprietor of the Getup Kelly tells me that the skirt had been worn by the daughter of the woman she acquired it from, and the mom was very keen on telling of her daughter's accomplishments. I may not be carrying on its legacy with winter-time athletic prowess, but at least I'm paying tribute with lots of fashion love.

May 12, 2008

One is a high pressure number.

Picking the first outfit to post on a style blog is sort of intimidating, as if this first impression is supposed to supply all the explosively obvious evidence that my badass style is worth anyone looking at.

But I guess that's pretty silly. Not least because anybody who notices my little blog will probably do so at some point in the future, when this initial post is sitting below seemingly limitless miles of scrolling at the bottom of the archive. Anyway, I hope I can offer a perspective on fashion that somebody out there might find worthwhile. There aren't a huge number of style blogs that represent the cross section of highly-style minded, budgetary-restricted, and not-particularly-cosmopolitan Midwestern American, but maybe I haven't been looking hard enough. Either way, for post number one, I'd like to think I went for safe but chic.

Taking a cue from Renna at Only Shallow and arbitrarily looking away from the camera. It really does make it easier.

Suzuki T-Shirt: Vintage via the Getup
Skirt: American Apparel
Tights: DKNY
Shoes: Urban Outfitters
Purse: Thrifted

Locket: Vintage
Nail Polish: Sephora

I love jewelry with pictures on it.