working class

BlueTopStandingsm copy

BlueTopSeatedsm copy


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.

versace versus american apparel

GreenSkirtMagentaPumps sm copy IMG_1448

how to do J.Crew better than J.Crew. i figured it out!

start with an amazingly sexy pencil skirt in a cray-cray pattern. this one is Versus Versace with a high thigh-slit and a knotted waist. the fluorescent and seaweed tones turn into flames licking at your hips. (i’m wearing this in a post from the springtime, too. it’s a great skirt.)

then add a casual t-shirt. this one is basic black and white stripes, stolen from my dude’s closet. it’s a micro-knit with the perfect drape, and of course it looks better with the sleeves shoved up on the shoulder.

finish with vintage cut-away pumps (fuschia will do, but anything bright should work) and a non-matchy clutch. for example, amazing vintage python. (this one is beyond.)

why this works for me, i don’t know. there’s no fashion math going on…besides perhaps the scale of the patterns. skinny stripes, small white flames. the vintage accessories add interest, but don’t distract from the main dish, which is the skirt. also, that selma blair hair is fine, basic, easy.

finish with a power stance and you’re set!

soda jerk

FashionIllCrowAZ006 sm copy



when i put this look together, my intention was not at all to look like a mashup of barbershop quartet and soda jerk. is it the bowtie? is it the cuffed sleeves on the shirt dress? i guess this is an accident that i thought looked cute. it happens.

these shoes, btw, are totally schizophrenic. gold and silver lace-up sandals on a striped espadrille wedge. thank you h&m.

recently i came across a survey which stated that most women are of the opinion that bare toenails are not to be tolerated. really?? i always thought that going without paint was modest, natural, and elegant…

lumiere d’hiver

free people AA sorels free people AA sorels pic free people AA EJ free people EJ pic1


i’m not pregnant. the look here was inspired by a mix of the Precisionism movement and American Constructivism. i say this even though the tones are very plain and the shapes are soft. you still get a lot of impact with homespun fabrics that hang away from the body, which is akin to how craftspeople and the workingclass dressed at that time. while i wouldn’t claim that waffle-knit cotton and chambray betoken a socially conscious ethic, there is an element of the ascetic and modest.

it is still cold enough to chicago to wear sorels. it hasn’t been a very snowy winter, relatively speaking, but it’s been damp. i haven’t been wearing heels except at home, since i walk, or take public transit everywhere. the elizabeth and james heels give a completely different interpretation of the skirt and shirt, and work with the color blocking and neutral tones.

free people draped waffle knit shirt – a dropped shoulder is always romantic

american apparel chambray full skirt

sorel boots

elizabeth and james gathered suede taupe heels

crystal bullet-casing necklace from anthropologie