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.

etoile

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my boss was going through some dusty boxes and found a couple back issues of Punk Planet. this one features Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame. it is fantastic, and makes me miss Punk Planet so much. he used to lend support to Young Chicago Authors –where i worked– but at the time i didn’t understand how awesome he was. thank goodness Dan Sinker is still doing so much in chicago. (teaching at columbia, his tweets-book satire of rahm emmanuel, maintaining the time portal of infinite chicagos…)

anyway, the outfit is a quasi-plaid blouse from etoile isabel marant. (i say quasi because it’s yellow and black, which is barely plaid, and closer to check, right? it is also my ONLY plaid shirt.) over that, a sheer blue H&M sweater. the vintage jellyfish necklace is a piece my friend Vince found in a junk shop. the trousers are 3.1 Phillip Lim and the kitten heel sandals are Sigerson Morrison. it’s sort of artsy, the three blues with the near-cmpliment of dried mustard and the tonic of white.

someone looking at this photo will notice, first thing, that my toes are sans lacquer, and they will think it looks godawful. if i did toenail polish, lavender might have been nice.

phillip lim’s phoenix v.3

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last in this series for a minute, but i’m sure i’ll come up with a bunch more ways to incorporate this sweatshirt as the temperatures drop. in this look, i’m making the most of a bodycon topshop dress. stayed mostly tone-on-tone, but the pattern on the dress is pyramid studs, pearls and square-cut diamonds. the shoes stick with the theme by having a metal-edged ankle strap and ball-stud closures. obviously, d’orsay is mt favorite shape.

phillip lim’s phoenix v.2

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the sweatshirt’s second outing was a little more clash-y, but still adhered to a perverse sort of “fashion math.” the long, voluminous sweatshirt balanced out the high, risque slits in the Prada leather skirt. the pieces were both modern, but together created a drop-waist silhouette. i added d’orsay flats in a camo cloth because both were very urban trends this year, and i felt the small dose of camouflage played well against the large blocks of gray and white. the d’orsay cut also worked better than a ballet flat or heel because it’s more naked, more modern, and less expected.

phillip lim phoenix v.1

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this is the first time that i saw an item on a runway and determined to buy it. there were a lot of great pieces in the show, but i knew this top would blend seamlessly into my functional wardrobe, be quietly noticeable, and perhaps even affordable, in a manner relative to garments shown on a new york runway. i stalked the phillip lim website for months, until the lookbook was posted, and then used the corresponding code number to pre-order the sweatshirt through nordstrom.

that process was somewhat breathless to a girl much more accustomed to choosing whatever looks promising from a cluster of hangers in a thrift store. the sales associate on the phone told me that the michigan avenue nordstrom would only receive three of the sweaters, one in each size, and that she would put the small aside for me when it came in.

of the 3.1 phillip lim pre-fall collection, this piece leapt out at me as something i’d want to frequently wear. because the design is quilted, tone-on-tone, i wouldn’t tire of garish embellishments or feel allergic to colors. there aren’t even metallic threads! also, the gray sweatshirt is so ubiquitous and classic in american style that i have no fear of it losing versatility or relevance. (not that i really worry about those concepts.)

when i picked up the sweatshirt, just a few weeks before my birthday, i did not even try it on in the store. it looked plenty roomy and fairly close to how it had appeared on the runway… although something seemed a little different. i plopped down my credit card, skipped lunch, and returned to work. upon further inspection, the sweatshirt was extra-extra-large on me, which was fine, and the cotton was appreciably thick and heavy. the only sad part was examining the interior handiwork, and realizing how easy (and industrially-replicable) the quilting process was. the phoenix design looks great, but with an embroidery program, producing the effect doesn’t require much more technology than screen-printing. (which helps explain the variety of knock-offs.)

the first idea i had about styling the sweatshirt was just to go as obvious as possible. little leather shorts with my petrol docs. tomboy, no-nonsense, understated. the illustration, in colored pencil, really brings a lot to the look that isn’t achieved with photography. by layering colors, Shua enhanced the colors around the legs, the competing iridescence of the boots, and the purple highlights in my hair, letting the outfit have an impactful neutrality. you have to forgive me for the mismatched laces though. that was a moment of crisis, and the broken shoestring has since been replaced by a proper pair.

AZ goes to Azeeza Khan

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now that i am nearly caught up to August, here is what i wore to one of the most glam events of my humble season. Azeeza Khan had a very posh and well-attended fashion show in a Randolph studio, and my wonderful, darling friend Isa of Chicago Looks (www.chicagolooks.blogspot.com) brought me as her guest.

there were very cute (as in miniature) hors d’oeuvres passed around, as well as an open bar. stylish people were in abundance, naturally, including Cori McFadden and Mario Tricoci. peppy Refinery 29 journalists were in abundance, because they were kind of running the show. until i got there, i did not realize how much my Phillip Lim dress would resonate with the highly-sequined frocks designed by Ms. Khan.

the illustrations that head this article are actually from a years-earlier post, back near the inception of this blog, but it’s not a dress that often has an occasion for wear. in that watercolor, i am wearing Miu Miu pumps, but for Azeeza’s show, i swapped them out for antique velvet mules that my little brother bought for me when we were 11 and 12 years old. they have a scalloped toe box and a rhinestone ankle strap. the heel is covered in satin. to think that we found them in a basement sale on Irving Park and Austin. (we used to walk to the Patio Theater from our house on Riis Park.)

somewhere i have a drawing that i did of Isa in her one-shouldered dress, from the evening of the runway show. that would make for a great follow-up post.

p4k 2013 day 2, inducing whiplash

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vintage pink brocade kimono from Jet Rag in LA, white silk ecoté tee, 3.1 Phillip Lim cuffed shorts, vintage rosette earrings, white H&M wedges

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http://sidewalkhustle.com/pitchfork-music-festival-2013-style-shots/

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Pitchfork 2013

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on the second day of pitchfork, i really went for it. nothing was trendy, exactly, but there was some flashbulb-bait involved. if you were going to play festival streetstyle bingo, the card would need squares for Crazy Sunglasses, Kimono, Fun Purse, and Seapunk Hair. (probably also Cowboy Boots, Booty Shorts, and Parasol, etc.)

because i haven’t figured out how to do links — which is really  poor manners on my part — i put the html underneath the respective photographs… except for the Chicago Tribune page. having our picture taken by Justin Barbin was a treat. he is adorable and super-friendly.

for the outfit, there are a few differences between the illustrated version and the festival photographs, based on practical decisions: karen walker fluoro sunnies, no earrings, (hello, navigating drunken crowds, clips will fall off) By Phillippe triple triangle necklace, chinese laundry d’orsay flats, and my alexander wang crossbody.

also, because i am a terrible person, i dressed my boyfriend. head to toe, everything he is wearing is mine, but because i dress like a garçonne, and because he is so beautiful, he looked quite natural. he was even shot for the FreePeople blog on his own. To quote the FP journalist, “This was my favorite look of all. So casual, so fashionable. White and navy and done!”

Gábor is wearing an H&M blouse, 3.1 Phillip Lim drawstring trousers, and Chelsea Crew wingtips. The jewelry is vintage

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Source: Pitchfork Festival Fashion: The Boys! | Free People Blog http://blog.freepeople.com/2013/07/pitchfork-festival-fashion-boys/#ixzz2hutp75HE

3.1 leopard

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the thing about my blog that i most want to fix is the size of the photos. i have not figured out how to size them down, basically because i am too lazy and i don’t have any software for that. (can you use iphoto? i don’t even have Microsoft Paint on my laptop.)

anyway, totally sucks. i don’t like looking at myself either. the main reason for including photographs at all is so you, dear reader, can see the source material for Shua’s illustrations. not everything is perfectly captured by the brush and pen… although in this instance, i think he really nailed it with just colored pencil.

i love Phillip Lim and i am more excited than most for his upcoming Target collaboration. i haven’t been actually saving any money, because my job doesn’t pay enough for me to actually save anything, after rent food and bills,* but i will figure out a way to afford a couple items the day they are released. after that i will pray that not everyone falls for 3.1 X target, and it ends up going to clearance. (i know isabel marant is coming up too, at H&M, but i can’t afford their designer capsules, and her aesthetic doesn’t work as well on me.)

of course, i am wishing Mr. Lim the greatest success, while hoping that the offered items adhere to his generally high level of quality and durability. this charcoal silk tank dress with it’s white leopard-print back is refined yet mad cool and simple. almost any kind of shoes would work, even vintage beater boots, but i teamed it up with metallic blue Alexander Wang cape heels.

*i do not spend as much on clothing as you would think. if you haven’t noticed from a previous entry, almost every single item in my possession is from Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill, or hand-me-down. even/especially the design-y stuff.