snow blossoms

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apologies for the bitchface. taking selfies is tricky, and my canon elph powershot (bought in 2010) takes worse photos than my iphone, at least on self-timer. (maybe it's more like focus-face.) i am not yet ready to resort to asking my boyf to handle to "fashion photography" end of style-blogging, because feel sympathetic for all the dudes out there working pro bono for their vain girlfriends.

chicago is freaking cold tonight, but it was even worse yesterday, when we hit the record low temp of the past 20 years. #chiberia. as cold as the surface of mars. colder than the south pole. (to think that toronto and minnesota had it worse...!)

trying to keep it around 70 degrees in here, but flogging the thermostat. i heard that ComEd issued a request that folks use Less energy, because we -- as a city -- are already hitting maximum usage for the year. i also heard that pipes burst all over the city. i haven't left the house in three days, but i've still got on a long sleeve tee, a leather button-up, and a cashmere sweater, with tights under my jeans, and boot socks over my tights. (everything thrifted or hand-me-down, of course.) stocking cap on, and feeling grateful for my weather-secure glass and hot shower. grateful i can afford to pay the bills, and that my dude will come home after his day at work, bearing groceries.

the cta (chicago transit authority, ie. the bus and train system) has been letting homeless folks ride continuously, and for free, during the extreme cold. shelters and warming stations around the city have been told to turn no one away. people will still die tonight, and died last night, and the night before, of the -50 windchill.

the privileged are throwing pots of boiling water into the air, to play at instant-artificial snow experiments. some are running into the street in shorts and a t-shirt, taking a selfie, and running back into their cozy apartments to post on facebook at their leisure. the "poetic" are blowing bubbles and watching the rainbow orbs turn into frosted globes within seconds.

in pilsen, the sidewalks are shoveled as best as can be hoped. in logan square, on saturday, the boulevards were impassable. (is it all about who owns property? who takes responsibility for the common walkways?)

some friends slept on the couch sunday night, and i entertained them with crafts and cooked for them on monday. i was glad to have more people make use of the heat in my house. my roommate is out of town, and i wish there was a way that i could invite more people into my home, safely, to give them shelter and better rationalize the use of gas.

maybe that bitchface does have a reason.

i need to thrift less and send more money to the greater chicago food depository.

stocking cap

h&m zipper cardigan

DVF silk slip

dries van noten sequin flower skirt

celine heeled loafers

ready for NYE: isa and kyra

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a couple months ago, i dressed up two of my favorite girls as if they were about to hit the town. these particular frocks don't get enough action, because my actual life is so much more sedate than the fantasy.

Isa looks badass in the low-backed blue velvet dress with python boots -- basically ready for New Year's Eve 2014. this Elizabeth & James dress was featured in a post two summers ago, co-starring with a cello.

kyra looks equally party-proper in a draped LBD from Wayne. the platform heels actually belong to Isa, but these girls have equally tiny feet!

the only sad part of these outfits is that chicago is way too cold to be wandering around bare-legged. i won't dare expose any skin 'til april.

looking really cute you guys -- can't wait to ring in the new year!

bowie ball

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next week, the MCA is sponsoring Bowie Ball, in honor of David Bowie, at Berlin. i have already started to put together outfits that i could potentially wear to this promising party. looking the best isn't the point, and i'm not going to recreate a Bowie costume, but being sparkly and glam should be enough. i might also be tasked with dressing my friends and co-workers, but i think there are enough sequins in my closet for everybody.

omigod -- sudden realization that i might have to put eye makeup on mon petit ami. yeahhhh

this get-up is actually kind of demure, but it's almost entirely sequins. the ankle strap mules are velvet, which has a luster to it, and the vintage python clutch has a dark glitter to its scales. the silver pants are by Twenty Cluny, a design group  that really shines when it comes to the sequined stuff. the oversize tunic is vintage by Royal Feelings, made in India in the 80s.

as if that wasn't enough glam, i threw on a long rope of mixed pearls, a pearl-and-acrylic cuff, and beaded hoop earrings. based on reading the above paragraph, you'd think i come off like Vanna White or one of the Ab Fab ladies, but it's actually so chill and slouchy. (the cap of hair and lack of cleavage might be key to making this look minimalist-90s as opposed to maximalist-80s or even decadent-70s.... which means i need to keep experimenting until the party.

Shua sent along a couple angled shots of the silver pants, so you could see how the paint glimmers on the page. i actually love the way the lens focuses with an angled image. i also love the lavender wash in the background, which makes the silver and black pop. it's more interesting than matte white, and helps balance the pose.

really excited for the dressing up and dancing on NYE and at Berlin. send me any suggestions you might have regarding Bowie-appropriate dressing!

when does Game of Thrones return?

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answer: in about 96 days

emotional answer: not soon enough!

while closing up shop tonight, one of my favorite coworkers asked me when our rather geeky guilty pleasure comes back on air. i answered "some time in march?" and went on to detail the horrible events of the Red Wedding (which of course, he had already seen) and the disappointment of the season finale (platinum-blonde Khaleesi supported on the shoulders of a thousand brown people that she had quasi-pseudo "liberated").

having not read the books (besides the first, which convinced me that the HBO show is in fact a better production than the books) i do not know what to expect from Season 4, and i'm very curious to see how the show will move on without Catelyn and Robb Stark, and with the other principals wandering ever farther apart. To think that Jon was so close to Bran, just outside the mill, without there being a reconciliation!

the outfit of this post is a medieval costume that got a lot of use while i was interested in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) reenactments. it's a dense cotton velvet in alternating panes of burgundy and midnight, with braided gold trim. it is lined, but does not have a label, which leads me to believe that it was a much-beloved home-sewn costume.

i could not find my old torque, so i accessorized with a vintage brass and pearl medallion. the closest thing i had to appropriate shoes were Marc Jacobs driving mocs, which suggest something of a Saracen influence -- i'm alluding to the European presence in the Arab world during the various Crusades. (a lot was improved in european culture based on what they learned about during the crusades, e.g. cotton, paper, chess, coffee, and lemons, spices, medicine, and math.)

the other accessories are my sword, which is a Spanish steel Excalibur replica, and my hooded velvet cape. my grandma Helen made the cape for me when i was 12. i was wild to have one, and i still love capes -- the longer the better. (she had been a seamstress for the Russian Army during the second world war.) the fur shoulder piece is a vintage, rabbit, and removable. braids, because that is the one thing that every female character of GoT has in common.

Shua's illustration is great because if you imagine the background is forest green, stone gray, or frigid white, it could easily be a character sketch for the show.

lilac haze

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Shua did a fantastic job with these illustrations, and we did quite a few poses this session. as someone who has never done yoga, let me confide in you that a full lean onto my knees isn't exactly comfortable, as floppy as it might look. (i was aiming for languid.)

the lead illustration is the best, as it seems that the body --my body, after a fashion-- is comprised of mist, hardly corporeal. the bun is a calligraphed suggestion. only by my forearm have we committed to flesh.

in the fourth illustration, a triptych, you get a sense of the scale. usually Shua's illustrations are about three feet in height, or so. (by contrast, my illustrations are four or five inches.) lots of extended brush strokes that vary in saturation along their length.

j. crew cardigan (borrowed from the boy)

topshop satin maxi dress (it has short sleeves, but my goodness it's too cold for that)

miu miu suede peep-toes (you can't see them)

skinny leather belt, perforated with stars

sorry for the sourpuss expression!

vintage pink

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as seen in my Pitchfork Day 1 post from earlier this year, here again is my vintage Dooney & Bourke purse. i've never been into their logo-tastic phase, but this vintage edition is so charming, especially in soft baby pink leather. the adjustable belt handles and the goldtone fob are a great touch. (my friend Rita also has a vintage Dooney&Bourke bag that is just to die for. it has the hugest tooled medallion i have ever seen.)

Shua and i agreed that this very special handbag deserved a post of its own, so here we are. one of the great things about it was finding it randomly at the Village Discount on Roscoe, before brunch at Victory's Banner. i don't usually find anything so covetable there, at least not lately, what with all the Buffalo Exchanges and Crossroads and Etsy and various online resale sites.

honestly, though, i need to find a better home for it, because i never carry this extra-adorable purse. it's just too girly for me, but it is so well made it's impossible to give away. (that's just me being selfish.)

hothouse flower

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hiiii lovies! i've got Isa back on the blog. she's wearing something that doesn't really jibe with the current weather (which conspires to keep us all home and in bed) but it would be perfectly fresh and festive for a new years eve party. (although, Isa, if you're reading this, please weigh in! what ARE you planning to wear for NYE parties this year?)

even though these aren't colors i typically wear, i find this outfit absolutely enchanting and charming, and very in line with Isa's  buoyant personality. i think the blouse is Prabal Gurung X Target, and i love the sheer black panels. the simple cut lets the florals shine, but the garment isn't overdesigned. the knife-pleated magenta skirt is a vibrant contrast with the limes and emeralds in the blouse. her sandals black and white, have a really cool angular design, with a turned heel and am ankle strap. the black and white acts as a tonic against the tropical palette.

there's also some great accessories going on, in terms of lilac glasses and a shocking pink rubber watch. Isa's high-piled hair reveals her purple cluster earrings. overall, the look is balanced -- no need for a belt or cocktail rings.

in terms of the illustrations, Shua's aims for a calm, quiet elegance. we included a photo with slightly more detail so you could see the quality of his lines. my illustration is somewhat out of focus, but you can still see that i was wowed by the energy of the colors. there's a daisy de villenueve thing going on, with lots of attitude and angles.

working class

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right now chicago is 22°F and snow is drifting from gutter to gutter, so this isn't the kind of outfit you can actually wear outside. as i type to you, i am wearing thick jeans, a bootleg balenciaga sweatshirt, and sorel boots. please allow me to indulge in the fantasy of a sheer blouse, a white pencil skirt, bare legs and ballet flats. thank goodness for shelter and heat -- things that we think of as necessities, but would be considered luxuries by many who are living in much less comfortable conditions. some folks heat is shut off, some houses are way draftier than my own, and some homeless folks are living outside.
 
even if everything in this picture is from a thrift store, it is still a luxury item, because i had the time to hunt through the racks, select it, and buy it. none of it was given to me because i am unemployed or disadvantaged, and all of it is still of finer-quality materials and craftmanship. even if i can't afford things new, i can still afford the internet, my laptop, and an annual subscription to Vogue, so i stay abreast of trends and labels. plus, i have the leisure and liberty to pick out what i wear, even if it's impractical.
 
i suppose the further irony of this look is that it's mostly based around workwear concepts. the blouse has a sort of conductor-stripe, and pseudo-functional pockets. the white skirt is denim. the flats have a perforated wingtip pattern, which has its origins in classic menswear, but is most often worn by aspirational types. the necklace is a ball chain strung with humble fowl anklets -- the kind that chickens and domestic ducks wear -- from my aunt's farm.

mr. little jeans

GaborVest sm copy IMG_2803   IMG_1452   i can't help it that this dude wears skinnier pants than anyone else. he can dress more creatively, but this was just a drawing exercise. also, sometimes style is about function over glamour. his sweater is H&M, the denim is THVM, and the boots are Timberlands. the vest might be vintage and the hat is.....five paneled? the silver amulet is antique, and mine. watercolor by Shua, blind countour-face by me.