hothouse flower

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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.

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!

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.

guess? again

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okay, so i decided to push the envelope. the argument herein, dear reader, is that a washed-out, 90s, stretchy, denim pencil skirt from Guess? can be very elegant indeed if you lend it stiletto heels, (the stiletto part MUST be gold) a drapey silk blouse, and a smart, fitted jacket.

kept the kneehighs.

amirite or amirite?

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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.

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.

studs X sweats

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two major trends –longterm ones besides — combine to make an awesome and awesomely heavy sweatshirt. each sewn on, thimble-shaped stud weighs a bunch, but i feel like this garment isn’t TOO in your face. i like the looseness of the cut and the density of the cotton. the things you’ll find at H&M sometimes!

paired it up with a Pierre Balmain miniskirt and Miss 60 boots*. black on black on black!

*a few years ago, i saw an annoying Anne Hathaway movie and one of the least bougie details about the film is that we had on the same footwear.

lacroix motel rocks

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no real title this time. it’s been months since i posted. my computer died and i’ve been busy? no real excuse.

above, the rare garment that i did not buy for myself: a Motel Rocks spectrum t-shirt. so many colors! so bright! however, i think it looks super fun and charmingly different from everything else in my monochrome closet. i set it up on a blind date with a hip-enhancing skirt by Christian Lacroix. the pumps are by Shoedazzle, but actually from buffalo exchange. (i can appreciate a gift from a friend, but i can’t trust a mail-order shopping service to make the best use of a subscription fee.)

Shua’s been busy too but we’ll try to get back on track!