Thursday, July 10, 2008

What shaped your idea of beauty and style?

Inspired by Fops and Dandies post about her favorite kids' book, style-wise ( My two main children's books (that I got out from the local library hundreds of times, and recently hunted down to add to my own collection) that shaped my ideas of style were the Big Golden Book of Fairy Tales, published in the 50s, translated by Marie Ponsot and illustrated by Adrienne Segur, and the Eroll Le Cain illustrated version of Twelve Dancing Princesses, published in the 70s. Both are out of print - although Golden a few years ago did a reissue of the Segur book, but on shiny paper rather than heavy, matte, rag paper (totally changed the quality of the illutrations). Take a look at these sites - and - for some deliciousness. Segur's illustration for Bluecrest is why I have so much costume jewelry today (couldn't copy it, so it's linked below)! If you get obsessed with huntign any of these books down now, don't blame me. It took me about 5 years of on-and-off searching to find a pristine but affordable copy of the Segur book - even the copy at my childhood library had beed scribbled on (someone really hated Thumbkin).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Vote, caucaus, campaign, read! Go, already! Give a shit! Gah!

So, one more quickie - it's Fashion Week for Fall 08, and I know I should, I do, care about what's being shown. Rodarte is v. pretty, Halston is better than I expected, I'm keeping both my skinny and wide-legged jeans and ankle boots and dip-dying some sheer tights... but I get impatient with every collection slide show, stop reading halfway through every article, and I just want to grab all the people on NY Mag's Video Look Book talking about the deep and the superfical ramifications of the new designs and shake them and ask "don't you know the most exciting election of the last 50 years is being fought out right now?!?"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Obama takes Colorado

Ok, a quick post for my tens of readers... posts have been thin, and will be through at least the week of Feb 15th, as I have two major deadlines at work that mean the last thing I want to do in the evenings is write more. However, I will note that I caucused for the first time evah yesterday (back east we just vote) and it was messy, but an interesting and highly entertaining lesson in civics. Oh, and I'm a delegate for Obama!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Handbag Tag

OK, so to all my readers out there (mom), I have been crazy busy at work, and all I want to do when I get home is take off my clothes and put on pajamas, not describe what I'm wearing or set up a tripod to take pictures of it! But having a moment to sip some tea and spin through my blog list, I saw that the lovely and creative dreamecho has given me my very fist tag! She wants to know six things that are in my bag - and isn't she lucky she just asked for six - although I realize I'm cheating a bit by combining some items. I tend to carry a biggish bag during the day as I have to tote some minor medical supplies and accouterments. Currently, I'm using a Hayden-Harnett Pastis frame bag in brandy leather. It looks like a cartoon of a proper old ladies bag, as it shaped like a reticule, but huge, with a giant brass kiss-lock closure. And it has lots of pockets, which are a must in any bag I carry (I can't believe that you can get a wait-listed, multi-thousand dollar bag like an Hermes Birkin, and it has not a single pocket! You need to spend an extra 20 bucks to get one of those pocket thingies you can stick in cavernous purses). So, six items:
  • Glucose meter kit - this includes test strips, lancets, insulin vial and syringes (I used to use an insulin pen - much easier, one piece - but my new insurance won't cover them, pheh), alcohol wipes, and glucose gel - I like CarbBoom as they actually taste like fruit instead of syrup - in case I have a blood sugar crash. All of this matches the Diabetic Sweater, obviously.
  • Sennheiser foldable headphones with Ipod Shuffle - for my bus commute. The headphones are very high quality and fold up into a little, flat case that is perfect for purses, which is why I liberated them from my husband (hey, he took my noise cancelling headphones, a Hanukkah gift from my dad, so it's fair). The Shuffle is also a gift from my dad, with my name engraved on it, and my husband loads it with fresh music for me every month or so - just like a high tech high school mix tape (an art form in danger of being lost -
  • Cell phone - although I often forget to charge it!
  • Lippie collection - in dry Colorado winters, I usually ditch my makeup bag because I can't be bothered with more than moisturizer and lib balm, as anything else just cakes up on my peeling lips oh-so-attractively. The three balms I have in constant use are chai rose Badger Balm (no color), Aveda SPF 15 lip tint in spice (sheer silvery-beige), and Hemp Organics lip moisturizer in Kiss (pinky-brown that my husband says makes my lips look like Angelina Jolie's, so I go though two tubes every winter. Available at Whole Foods and Wild Oats - I know, I know, they're the same now -and Vitamin Cottage, ladies. Looks good on almost all skin tones.).
  • Packet of RTD bus schedules
  • Reading material - changes every few days (I'm a fast and multi-booked reader), currently Away by Amy Bloom. Being able to fit a hard-back book is another day bag requirement.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Black and Brown & Black and Navy

***These are this past weekend's outfits, and I did not get my photo-posting tutorial until Sunday night. Susequent outfit posts should have shots, taken each evening by my indulgent husband***
Two traditionally derided color combos that I happen to like. So long as there is texture contrast and your navy, especially, isn't too too dark (so that in harsh office light it just looks like you pulled on the wrong pants), it looks very sophisticated. I also like black with dark fir green, or black plum - the "blackened" colors provide some interest (I'm not much for all black outfits), as well as looking better if you want a noir aesthetic than having un-matching blacks - because black does not automatically go with black.
Saturday, Jan. 5
  • Long sleeved, scoop neck black cotton T, ages ago from the Gap;
  • Matte black tights, old from Gracile (I think they were sold at The Limited, a store I have not been into - does it even still exist? - for about a decade! At least they apparently sold high quality tights);
  • Black cotton high waist, knee-length pencil skirt form American Apparel, with the waist folded over to shorten the skirt;
  • Low-calf, dark brown, suede, flat boots with a molded rubber sole and side zips, from Fish Kids, a shop on Comm Ave in Brookline, MA that sells European kids clothes and shoes at ridiculous prices for small people who will outgrow them in 6 months or less, but perfect for small people who are going to stay that way;
  • Espresso-brown, crocheted, wool and angora sweater styled like a Victorian bed jacket, waist length, with cropped wide bell sleeves, and fastening with a tea-dyed silk ribbon threaded through the neckline. It was a Hanukkah gift from my sister this year;
  • Vintage screw-back gold earrings, could be any decade from 1890's to 1940's, given to me with a jumble of old jewelry by a cousin from Toronto when we travelled to Hungary together on a sort of family-reunion trip six years ago. They are dangling ovals with bead-border, inscribed in scrolling script with the initials "BS", but I don't know what ancestor they originally belonged to.
Sunday, Jan. 6
  • Matte black lame American Apparel leggings - I love these, but as Wende B and so many others pointed out, they have a staying-up problem. I realize if the waist was tighter you might not be able to get them on, but I am seriously considering wearing mine with suspenders! AA recently came out with the lame leggings in a high waist style that looks like it will stay up much better, but, alas, not until after I had worn and washed mine and so couldn't exchange them;
  • Sweatshirt-grey, bateau neck, raw-edged, cotton jumper by 12th St. Cynthia Vincent, with a slight empire waist but a straight skirt so avoids pregnancy look. I bought this last spring on the 80% sale rack at new-ish Boulder store Besos. It is one of those shops that is unable to inspire me to pay full (and high) price for it's very nice but not earth-shatteringly imaginative clothes, but which always has great sales offerings;
  • Pale peachy-pink T, Luella for Target;
  • Navy blue zip hoodie by amazing Berlin line Hazelnut, whose line is sold in the US through great indie design site, The front pockets are formed by panels that run up the front, form epaulets over the shoulders and continue into a large hood. It has a mandarin collar, and an oversized dark pewter zip;
  • Black stretch leather ankle boots from Nine West about five years ago. They have a rounded almond toe and a sculpted mini-platform wedge. Because the stretch leather (which actually hits low calf) is so fitted to the leg, they look contiguous with the black lame leggings;
  • Brooch of low grade silver with dusky blue enamel, of an Indian dancer with scroll work frame, part of a set (including a necklace and earrings) belonging to the original GlamaRuth, and made for the tourist trade, worn at the center neckline of the jumper.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Custom wall unit - with photo!

Ok, so (and this is for Tammy), my first picture post. Not the most artistic or well-composed shot, but I snapped it this evening as a test. It is the wall between our living room and bedroom in our little 1952 ranch house. My husband designed and built the wall unit (before it was completed, out TV sat on the floor in the corner - it is still rather prominent, but is no longer the focal point of the room - sinking it into the wall helped). It is maple wood, and the base is a re-purposed kitchen cabinet with a baseboard added.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Diabetic Sweater

Also known as the Green Man Sweater, and requiring some explanation: When I was 23, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This is a longer story that I will be happy to expand on if anyone is interested. Suffice it to say, I was duly hospitalized when the diagnoses was confirmed, at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, MA (it happened to be across the street from my apartment at the time). My mom, an amazing nurse (she still gets holiday cards from patients she treated decades ago), came down from New Hampshire, and my dad, an amazing photographer, came up from Philly to be with me during my hospital stay and transition back to an altered "normal" life. Now, my dad is constitutionally incapable of not bringing lottery cards to any celebratory or comforting family gathering of more than two people, and even in my weakened state I could hold a penny to scratch them off. At the time, my favorite Boston area shop was Leila, on Comm Ave. in Brookline (now sadly gone), and they had a sweater I had fallen in love with that, at $180, was far out of range for my out-of-college job self. Well, I won exactly $180 from the lottery cards, so once I was out of the hospital, I bought myself that sweater. I still have it and love it, and every time I wear it I'm reminded how lucky I am to have the family I've got to support me through whatever crap life throws my way. Friday, Jan. 4
  • Diabetic/Green Man sweater coat - it is a wool and acrylic nubby knit, mostly moss and fir green with shades of teal and greeny-gold. It falls to mid-thigh on me, has two big patch pockets in front, and five large, pearly, dark green buttons. The shawl collar and cuffs are dense with long, fringe-y loops of the nubby yarn. Green is traditionally the color of magic, and this sweater certainly is. And if I button it up over brown pants, I look like a small tree!
  • Dark blue trouser-cut Trina Turk jeans;
  • Brown cotton tweed socks from Target kids;
  • Burgundy/brown Indigo by Clarks shoes with an odd squashed-Louis heel, whip-stitched seams and ankle straps. For years I only bought boots or sandals, as I have very small feet with very narrow heels, so shoes that are both grown-up looking and stay on my feet are hard to find. If the back isn't open, or my foot secured by a boot shaft, I pretty much need an ankle or mary-jane strap to keep heels on my feet!
  • Self-made ammonite necklace on silver-clasped, copper leather cord and 40's brass jewelry chain - this got almost constant wear this summer and I feel another round of wear coming on;
  • Silver ring set with large oval cabochon of blue labradorite, bought at a silver shop in Rome during my second semester abroad in Italy (thank you, Temple University!)

Back to work-a-day outfits

Wednesday, Jan. 2
  • Black and cream herringbone wide-legged wool trousers from Anthropologie a few years ago - the only thing I have ever paid full price for at Anthro, but they have been my mainstay worky-but-quirky pants for three winters now. The left leg has sky blue piping down the side seam, and the waistband is made of cotton printed with circles and swirls in turquiose, green, yellow, pink, orange and cream on black. The front half-moon pockets (so the lining is visible) are lined in cotton with the same colorway but different pattern. Even the most conservatively dressed women I've worked with want to know where I got them;
  • Sky blue, fine gauge, merino sweater with drapey, baby-cable knit turtleneck from Talbots. This was a gift about four years ago from my Grandmother-in-law, who is very Talbots while I am not, but I liked the color, it is warm but dressy, so I decided to work with it. It is neither body-skimming nor slouchy, but an indeterminate boxy shape that frumpifies me no matter how svelte I'm feeling otherwise, so I tend to wear it under a jacket for warmth and a pop of color;
  • Vintage late 50's/early 60's wool jacket, boxy but with intent, collarless, straight 3/4 sleeves, in a divine sulphur yellow (you need a turtleneck or scarf to keep it from direct contact with your face, as the color can drain even my olive complexion to a pallor), with three saucer-like beige plastic buttons. This jacket was purchased in a set on EBay, that includes a full skirt and a slim, self-buckled belt in the sulphur wool, and a cream silk twill sheath printed with pink, teal and blue butterflies (the same silk lines the jacket) - you see, this was a spring wool! - which always remind me of my grandmother, the origianl GlamaRuth, whose signature motif was butterflies;
  • Flat black Reiker ankle boots, recently re-discovered from storage, chic again and supremely comfortable;
  • No jewelry. That jacket stands alone.

Thursday, Jan. 3

  • This was a clean-up day at work, which meant we could go casual (an odd notion in an office that has no dress code but common sense, and clothing runs the gamut from suits to jeans depending on the person and what sort of meetings they have that day).
  • Grey Mossimo for Target skinny jeans;
  • Ochre American Apparel camisole (grey and yellow, in all of their various shades, is one of my favorite color combos)
  • Robin's egg blue, slouchy, v-neck cashmere sweater, one of two (the other is slimmer and charcoal) I have from my aunt that she purchased in London in the 70's, and one of the best aruments for spending more on quality rather than succumbing to fast-fix fashion.
  • Cream crocheted lace socks from (I think they're called Zurich trouser socks),
  • Rubber-soled pumpkin orange ballet flats (bound in orange and cream twill) from Royal Elastics;
  • Wide silver ring belonging to my husband's great aunt, with a silver heart dangling from a rivet in the center;
  • Self-made ammonite necklace hung from copper leather cord with 40's brass jewelry chain.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year's Undress

Not as exciting as it sounds. Merely indicates that my outfit for New Year's Day was more along the lines of pajamas than clothes. We had breakfast at our friends' house in Denver (breakfast pizzas using the dough leftover from grilled flatbreads the night before - you crack an egg on top a couple of minutes before they finish baking, and then you have a sunny-side up egg on your pizza, which we had made with Muenster cheese and crumbled bacon). I wore:
  • Heather grey scoop neck ribbed cotton T with lace cap sleeves, from Gap Body ages ago;
  • Chunky knit, asymmetric zip, pale blue sweater from Wrap London, a gift from my Grandmother-in-law two years ago;
  • My recently reclaimed favorite sweatpants from Anthropologie, several years old. They are caramel colored with a thin black stripe down the outside of each leg, slim through the hips and very wide-legged. They'd been spotted by a red shirt in the wash last year, but I couldn't bear to part with them and figured they'd be knock-around pants. I pulled them out of storage last week (finally got around to switching my summer and winter pants) and washed them in our new washing machine - they came out pristine, all traces of the red stains gone. I really can't say enough about front loading washers - besides being more energy and water usage efficient, they actually clean clothes better and more gently. And they gave me back my pants!

I put on real clothes for my Mother-in-law's New Year's Day dinner:

  • Pale grey cashmere and angora sweater dress with a fold over bateau neck, long sleeves, loose-ish straight fit, and tea-length hem, from Filene's Basement designer room in Boston, a few years ago;
  • Smoke grey tights, CK from Filene's Basement in Boston, also several years old;
  • Black boots with cream topstitching from a Clark's outlet in New Hampshire - I think the style was called Kyoto, they have a high, square heel, almond toe, and asymmetric shaft that is almost knee high on the outside of the leg, and mid calf inside. My Mom got them for me because it was impossible to pass up size 5 boots for $10!
  • Black ribbon necklace strung with matte black leaf-shaped beads and torn black tulle.

New Year's Dress

To work on Monday, December 31st (yes, we government workers toil for you even on the eve of major holidays), I wore:
  • Dark ochre Prada wide-legged twill trousers from Buffalo Exchange;
  • Fir-green melange, scoop neck, long sleeve, cotton T from Banana Republic, bought at the outlet center between Boulder and Vail (can't remember the name) last spring;
  • Short sleeved wool shrug by Preloved, bought at Cali & Mo in Denver. It is in tones of fir green, rust, and grey, and constructed from recycled pieces of old sweaters - so the sleeves are a chunkier knit in a Fair-Isle pattern, while the bodice has a zigzag pattern and the cleverly folded collar is ribbed. Cali & Mo, more on which later, is an oasis of well-edited vintage and small designer goods in the middle of the most chain-store centric shopping in Denver, the 16th St. Mall. Preloved is a Canadian company that uses recycled fabrics in most of their lines - the line carried by Cali & Mo is Handcut by Preloved, their higher-end line. I also used to find pieces from their regular line at Urban Outfitters on Newbury St. in Boston, but only sporadically.
  • Gold heart pendant on gold ball-chain necklace (one of the few heart-motif pieces I own, and one of the few fine jewelry pieces as well - I - and my pocketbook- prefer vintage costume and modern art jewelry), given to me by family friends for my 18th birthday/high school graduation;
  • Large faux-tortoise ring with dark green plastic cabochon from Forever 21. Whatever their other shortcomings, I think they have some great, unusual, cheaply priced cocktail rings if you are willing to dig through the dreck;
  • Uggs to work, rubber-soled, pumpkin-orange flats from Royal Elastics (Australian sneaker company that makes size 5, online) at work.
Then I took the bus to our friends' house, where my husband was already ensconced in the kitchen preparing our New Year's Eve feast, and I changed into:
  • Sweater dress by Preloved, from Cali & Mo (well, when I discovered that they carried the line, they happened to be having a sale!). It is sleeveless, with a deep v-neck (actually, too deep - as with most dresses, I have to take it up a the shoulder for it to fit properly), and a pencil skirt, classic 50's wiggle-dress silouette, but comfy! The bodice is ochre, pale blue, pale gold, grey and tan stripes, while the skirt is all dark chocolate brown, but pieced from parts of different sweaters with various ribbed textures, so that it highlights and contours curves very subtly. I wore the above-mentioned Preloved shrug over top, both to keep my shoulders warm and to cover up the part that needs to be altered, so all you could see of the dress was the dark brown;
  • Dark brown tights, I think from my Mom;
  • Tan Fluevog Rubini boots;
  • Olive and moss green Bakelite clamper bracelet, the original GlamaRuth's;
  • Vintage earrings - tear drop shaped hanging hoops of Japanned metal (blackened), setting off orange, tomato red, and olive green rhinestones, from EBay.