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!

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

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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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in my spare time, i get to contribute to the fantastic street style blog Chicago Looks. this is Nick, who works at the Museum of Contemporary Art. every time i see him, he looks smashing. it’s just comes naturally to him. the following photo was first published on Isa Giallorenzo’s site — go there to read Nick’s great little interview and see details of his outfit.

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thanks Shua and Isa! i love collaborating with you guys!


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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 Sartorialist in Chicago

back LAST november, Scott Schuman, better known as the Sartorialist, visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. i was on hand to cover the event and take a few pictures for the Red Eye, which is the quick-read version of the Chicago Tribune. never before have i been published in a newspaper, but Red Eye columnist and editor Ernest Wilkins was very encouraging. this story isn’t current, but i hope you will indulge me in that i put a link to my minute accomplishment here.


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the photogallery, by yours truly. very #NoDN (november of dressing nicely)

Elise Øverland :: Bianca Jagger

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Elise Øverland, who hasn’t done a runway since February 11, 2001, is fanous for working mostly in black and white — or cream and a little bit of fleshtones. that last runway was an ice-skating rink, and the clothes were a color riot. why this designer, who used to dress rock n’ rollers, has pulled out of the game, i don’t know.

what i do know, is that this little silk romper — all formal cream with tiny studs and an attached cummerbund scarf — is very comfortable and allows plenty freedom of movement. also, just like a dress, it makes outfitting yourself very easy. all i needed was a go-to pair of dressy heels (gucci champagne) and simple earrings (green vintage crystals, for a color injection). it’s very much a white tuxedo for slightly-punk ladies. if i had bigger hair, it would be very Bianca Jagger.

Elise, we miss you. Don’t stay away too long!

ooh, we also have a special guest illustration from Gabor. he was hanging out while Shua and i were working, and tried his hand at painting from life. pretty cool.

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.