hothouse flower






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.

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.


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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.


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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.

muses and friends : gábor

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gábor’s look is inspired by kanye. i’m not even going to joke about it. he is wearing my leather mini-kilt. also a sheer pleated blouse, to maximize the layer count. there is a lot of leather going on, actually: the levi’s jacket, the balmain skinnies, the patent doc martens, and the aforementioned kilt. (i swear it’s not a fetish!) he’s also got on a antique silver vial necklace.

anyway, you get two illustrations — lucky you! note the different approaches Shua and i take to rendering leather. watercolor vs. pentel marker. sorry i didn’t allot proper space to fit the boots.

pitchfork day 3, eating ice cream street style


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clearly, by pitchfork day 3, i was not caring so much. even though this is the only outfit element that i bought at Buffalo Exchange and thought, “festival season here i come” it is actually pretty chill. it’s vintage, sure, but it’s essentially a beaded tee shirt. summer shorts (Joe’s) and some clear, plastic sandals (Vogue, through Urban Outfitters) and boom. the sunglasses are Marc by Marc Jacobs and the bag is a repeat [Alexander Wang].

a bunch of roving photographers snapped pictures of the shoes or the purse, but i haven’t bothered to track down every blog. i thought that being shot for Chicago Magazine was pretty nice. i was also shot by Teen Vogue — and i did search that — but maybe i looked too old or un-trendy. not concerned. every day there were a bunch of folks that took my picture without permission; other asked my permission but had no credentials — it’s all good. we are at the fest to look and listen, otherwise we could stay home and make the most of our headphones. certainly though, everything sounds better while savoring an ice cream cone.

the last picture is courtesy of GlitterGuts, a local photobooth-and-party outfit run by my roommate and hometown hero, Eric Lab Rat. he had organized an afterparty at Beauty Bar that night, the umpteenth iteration of R. Kelly Bump n’ Grindcore. though we were footsore, G (yes, he’s wearing my tee shirt and black studded rings) and i made it by for a little extra dancing. the GlitterGuts R. Kelly party is always good vibes. the picture that Eric shot is my favorite of the whole weekend — it’s the one in which i look happiest and feel most beautiful.

how to turn heads at Pitchfork Fest 2013, day 1

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hiiiiii! this is a post i’ve been meaning to do for a long time. pitchfork fest was about three months ago! clearly, i’m not cut out for journalism. certainly, i’m not even going to talk about whatever bands i heard play that day….except Bjork, who surpasses the hype and is incredible and wonderful and it was such a treat to see her. that storm clouds called for an evacuation of the grounds still breaks my heart. Bjork is probably the most special performer i’ve ever seen at pitchfork, and hopefully she’ll return to chicago in the near future. i would link to video of her performance if i knew how to do that on wordpress.

anyway, more about me. based on the past couple years of festivals and media, i am absolutely aware that style bloggers and music journalists and personal tumblr-types are wandering the fairgrounds. each day of the fest, i was shot many times…. which does not necessarily mean that my outfit will get published on the internets. the cutting room floor is probably quite familiar with my face. still and all, there i am [in the top photo] with my phenomenal, delightful boyfriend, eating frozen kefir. (the icy treat was free, therefore i ate it every day.)

the dress itself is a vintage piece that aims for a jane birkin vibe. way, way back, i did an ode to her consistent love of white minidresses. i also did a post on this white lace dress, in its original, floor-length form. the morning of the fest, i very carefully — with a seam-ripper — detatched the section that fell below my thigh area. (to be blunt, the resulting garment was short enough that my brains could nearly have fallen out.) because i am not Sky Ferreira, (never have been, never will be, never wanted to be) a set a white undergarment, in grandma proportions, were involved.

so, beater boots to balance that out.

in retrospect, i realize that the dress would have been much more harmonious (and perhaps more bloggable) if paired with mist-colored lace up boots from Hasbeens and a highly-collectible, vintage, barely-pink Dooney & Bourkey bag. the pale accessories trend would be complete with nacreous frames.

there’s always next year.

the late shift

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for some reason, this outfit is a little bit “Desperately Seeking Susan,” even though i have never actually seen that movie. maybe it’s the messy bun and purple lipstick, with the metal and leather accessories.

i’ve always thought that this dress was kind of depressing. a sack, in miniscule gray houndstooth with saggy pockets. kind of eastern bloc factory worker uniform…which is why i bought it. very industrial, unadorned, and timeless — in a semi-depressing way.

actually, one time i got a talking-to from my manager, for wearing this dress to work. she said it was see-through. (like, my silhouette, not the pattern on my underwear.) it was new orleans, though, and i routinely saw people in waaaaaaay less. keeping cool in those climates was nearly impossible; flowers like that require a lot of humidity!

dress by cheap monday

vintage belt

sandals by we who see (i think)

matte lilac lipstick from Lime Crime

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i’m trying to transition away from this kind of dressing and become more soigne in my approach. too much of my closet right now is about problem solving. sheer knits, complicated prints, tricky silhouettes. there was a time when i thought the best way to put an outfit together was to start with a closet full of uniquely delightful pieces and trust that some kind of magic would happen when two or more items were combined. however, i’m wanting to be less whimsical and more composed.

this also reflects my personality, which is somewhat unfortunate, perhaps. whereas i used to be all-embracing and interested in simply Everything, my focus is narrowing. this might be part of growing up, transitioning a 40-hour work-week, greater management of my leisure time, and a wardrobe that supports a desire to be taken seriously. (the first step is taking myself seriously, which is REALLY HARD.)

this change isn’t going to happen overnight, but with a greater commitment to remaining in chicago comes a turn towards …less attention-demanding style. i hope to still be idiosyncratic, but i’ll be buying fewer weird garments and more pieces that can hold up.

entering a space that is full of fabric and color and texture, but resists the wearer’s attempt to create harmonious, aesthetic and functional assembly, is no joy. besides, over time, it is true that the clothes that make me happiest are the ones that i wear the most.

however, in the meantime, here is an outfit comprised of a sheer cornflower-blue sweater from H&M, a palm tree print sleeveless blouse from the H&M Conscious Collection, electric blue trousers from Zara, and clear strappy sandals from Vogue. (i think it’s a really cute look that says “vacation,” except i would never wear it on vacation.)

chambray three way

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levi’s chambray shirt jacked from my dude’s closet. it’s bleached in spots and frayed at the sleeve and hem, but that makes it way better. the denim is super soft and breezy. sometimes i object to the americana aesthetic, but in this case, it’s so natural and easy and individualistic.

i feel like the words “individualistic” and “unique” get thrown around a lot, in relation to US jingoism and the marketing of denim, but somehow the estimation feels authentic. i’ve borrowed (read: stolen) a lot of jeans from boyfriends over the years, and the way they fit is always idiosyncratic to them. threadbare in certain spots, sagging in others, stained from use or paled from washing, the habits are embedded in a garment of such frequent use. carrying a cel phone or a pack of cigarettes in the back pocket will leave a certain imprint. the height of their knee demarcates the place where the bend to sit or kneel. wearing your partner’s clothes is always intimate, but wearing their jeans is a study in their physical poetry.

accordingly, in the third look, i am wearing Levi’s that were handed-down by an ex-bf. woven platform sandals by Lucky Brand and a vintage crocodile belt. very Texan tux.

the second look involves an H&M leather skirt with a sheer under-layer, a spiked Topshop headband, and Alexander Wang’s “Angela” bag. vintage beater boots, natch.

the first look also utilizes H&M — suede cheekies (barely visible beneath the untucked shirt) — and the Angela bag. the d’Orsay flats are by Chinese Laundry, and a TOTAL RIP of the Jenni Kayne style, but i love them.

i feel like extra credit should be given, for doing a different braid in each look.

common to the three styles is my new perfect necklace from By Phillipe. a little inverted crown, in light-weight gold, even though i’ve never appreciated yellow jewelry before. very optimistic and very summer.