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.

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!

all about ankles

 

 

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maaaaan, have i been hearing a lot of folks trash-talking the denim skirt lately. is this the one item of 90s fashion that is universally hated? really? the simple pencil skirt, in denim. perhaps it is too early-aughts to have its re-introduction to the style files. it will have its moment though.

minimal, flattering, an easy mixer, inexpensive. the denim pencil skirt is basically a classic, and every brand has done an iteration. this one is by Guess? from the goodwill. it is stretchy and slightly acid-washed. shacked up with a marni knit top and my dude’s patent Bally dress shoes. (the chain is his too.) H&M patent envelope clutch.

EVERY thing about this outfit is kinda outre, kinda trashy — but i think it’s super modern, too. THE element that ties it all together…without which it would all be just icky…are the sheer knee high stockings. seriously, when i wore these to work, my 70yo coworker sucked in her breath and semi-chided me for being racy. when is the last time you thought of knee stockings as titillating? huh? do ankles* GET YOU GOING??

somehow, the stockings make the outfit both more modest and more sharp. there is the visual hyphen from black top to black footwear, and the reinforcer of the concept that denim can be elegant.

eleganza… sprezzatura… did i manage it?

*ankles totally get me going. especially a well-turned male ankle. just being honest.