bowie ball

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black sequin tunic foto

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!

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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.

mr. little jeans

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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.



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one of my best girlfriends found me this great organza blouse at the salvation army. it’s emanuel emanuel ungaro, which is crazy to think. poor ungaro– to think that they once maintained a diffusion label! (actually, i remember about 20 years ago they had a capsule for the la redoute catalog.) i really love the sensuality of ungaro, and i hope they can eventually recapture that.

underneath the blouse, which slightly gossamer, is the barest of little black brassieres. the leggings are tone-on-tone flocked velvet from topshop. the d’orsay ankle-strap heels are charles jourdan. the earrings are carved cellulose, from france. they are big and aggressive, like gauges, but luckily for me, they are clip-on. if i was a girlboss à la sophia amoruso i could probably get away with wearing this outfit to work.

the polka dot chop

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Dress Alteration foto w lupe

sometimes you find a dress with great potential, but something fudd-duddy about it is holding you back. maybe it’s been hanging forlornly in your closet for a couple years, or maybe it’s on the rejects rack at the thriftstore. either way, it’s great material, a good fit, a neat pattern, or has some detail that’s kept you from tossing it out.

in my case, this Albert Nippon vintage silk dress fit perfectly in the waist and bust. it had cute tiers at the hips and ruffles at the hem…. but it also had dorky puffed sleeves. even though i don’t go in for polka dots, i couldn’t let it languish. there was something classic about the cut, and i knew a little sexiness would make it modern.

it was a very easy step. i just cut of the sleeves and made the neckline a little lower. i made the armholes a little longer too, so it would fit more like a breezy tank. i did not even bother to finish the edges, but that wouldn’t be hard to do.

Shua has given us three illustrations. in the first panel, you see the dress styled for winter, with opaque tights and a white belt. after the more casual, summery chop, i just went with bare legs and madewell booties. the third illustration is a side-view… of me reading twitter on my phone.

the last pic is a bonus, wearing the dress last february. good for you if you recognize my friend there, who came with me to the circle opening of Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, at the MCA.

(who knew the exhibit would inspire my own creative effort, Destroy the Garment: Altering the Dress.)

versace versus american apparel

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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!

thakoon X target

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thakoon shibori

thakoon X target shibori dress. great dress with pintucks and a hidden placket down the front. i loved the soft black and gray patterns, but i just sold it to buffalo exchange. a very smart international flip on a classic 1950s-american silhouette. i love how Shua’s errant lines mimic the blasted-out graffiti on the brick wall.

failure florals and sorry stripes

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half-baked at best. i was going for more of a a j.crew thing. sometimes it doesn’t work out. still, in the illustration, pretty cute, the ultimate saving grace. combining stripes and florals is tricky!

vintage silk floral blouse, circa 1956

knit striped shorts from cooperative

baby blue platform wedge monk-strap  creepers (so many adjectives!!!)

Chicago Looks

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i am so excited to bring you my first post about someone who IS NOT ME! it feel great to present my very beloved friend Isa Giallorenzo, who runs the wonderful streetstyle blog Chicago Looks.

one of my favorite things about Isa is her sweetness and sense of humor. she’s very inclusive, encouraging, and energetic. almost always you can spot her wearing opalescent, violet, or pearly accessories. (in this particular photo, her bracelet is lucite and acrylic from B. Luxo in Sao Paolo, and her acrylic rose ring is from R. Sobral at the Museum of Contemporary Art Store.)

these photos are from the Atelier Azza party back in August, but Shua and i weren’t able to schedule an illustration session with Isa until a while later. we requested her to reprise the outfit, which is a star-strewn dress by Kate Young for Target with an Aldo clutch. you can’t see her shoes, but i remember them to be platforms. it just so happened that the beaded velvet curtains at Ms. Khan’s show create a visual rhyme with Isa’s dress. (another thing i just remembered — on this night i wore black and white too, which we didn’t plan out — so as you can see, we are very simpatico.)

drawing Isa was a delight, because she is so pleasant and conversationally engaging. even though she had to stand still, she was very interested in what Shua and i were doing across the room. i also appreciated the chance to use my markers. having more than one artist on a project also proves out the perspective element of life drawing. Shua’s watercolor has a stateliness and dignity that is sort of lost in my high school style doodle, but both deserve a space in fashion illustration.

i very much encourage you to check out Isa’s blog, which is about Real People style, and not about labels or class signifiers, which makes it very unique in the world of street style. it feels very CHICAGO neighborhood, and very warm.

check back here for more illustrations of Isa — and soon, other friends and muses!

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 ( 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.