lilac haze

Cardigan and Skirt sm Purple Dress fold rough sm Purple Dress fold sm

Purple Dress trio sm

 

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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!

mr. little jeans

GaborVest sm copy

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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.

 

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.

http://articles.redeyechicago.com/2012-11-28/news/35416510_1_scott-schuman-fashion-capitals-thesartorialist-com

 

NoDN Sart

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

autumn sweater

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“…we could slip away
wouldn’t that be better?
me with nothing to say
and you in your autumn sweater…”

cable sweaters and suede, two hallmarks of the oncoming autumnal wardrobe. but wait — a skin-bearing open knit, teensy little shorts, and open-toed heels? not like i’m gonna go hiking in this outfit; it’s better suited to watching the leaves change with a window between us… or at an indian summer picnic. with a little champagne, to celebrate the change.

(pixie market sweater, H&M shorts, Elizabeth and James heels, silver and turquoise earrings from mexico)

a.p.c. army

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outfit haiku:

knockoff d’orsay flats

boyfriend’s A.P.C. sweater

gold, inverted crown

i love this outfit a lot, and the way that Shua drew it is beautiful. even though i think — omigod, my thighs are so … so… thigh-like —   the line density shows the weight shifted onto my right leg. very casual, with just the right amount of tan tonality. there is a good reason to not throw out forever 21 leggings!

also, yeah, i still want the jenni kayne d’orsay flats but i will never be able to afford them. did they even come in a camouflage colorway? i don’t think so, but i’m sure glad that Akira carried these bootlegs!

the A.P.C. (ah! pay! say!) sweater is the only piece by them that i own, and it is quite the argument for actually paying real money for designer garment. it looks almost identical to the uniform sweaters my mom would wear when she was a CFD firefighter, but it’s much more cashmere-blendy-soft, and the blue is more royal, less navy. i’m so glad my very stylish (and thrifty) boyfriend handed it down to me. it’s great right now, this oddly-chill August, but it will be even better in September with a white, collared shirt and a black wool kilt. (very french schoolgirl.)

transparent jungle

sheer jungle illus

sheer jungle foto

 

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.)

bookstore worker uniform

knit zip

knit zip foto

 

just the most absolutely basic-seeming outfit where everything feels secretly special – a chunky zippered sweater from H&M that is a rip-off of Alexander Wang, distressed skinny denim from Current/Elliott, and mouse slingback flats from Marc by Marc Jacobs.

everyday favorites

topshop:prada 4 topshop:prada 2 topshop:prada 3 topshop:prada 1 topshop:prada 5 topshop:prada photo

 

as you can see from the five illustrations, this was a hard look to nail. none of the images entirely achieve that quite-rightness. each page equals a lot of holding still, a lot of time, a lot of ink and mixing of colors, a lot of mixtapes cycling in the background. still, each drawing captures a facet of the idea; the softness of the sweater, the angularity of the leather, the blue of the little purse, the fold of the legs.

is anything sold? the thrust of fashion illustration is that it should sell a fantasy that exists beyond photography. if it isn’t more glamorous in being impressionistic, what does it accomplish? to this end, Shua and i are always practicing. how do we convey the most information and feeling with a sense of craft and economy? sometimes it doesn’t work, but unlike poetry, you still have a lot of neat drafts to show.

most of the garments here are pieces i wear every day, and were purchased in the last year. the petrol-finish doc martens have taken a beating, as has the little blue alexander wang purse (it’s just big enough to fit my sketchbooks, ten micron pens, earbuds — and it’s a cross-body). the topshop sweater, which is kind of ripping off balenciaga, gets worn once or twice a week. the prada skirt gets less rotation because the slits occur in 360 and go all the way to the waistband, which is risque even with opaque tights.

it might be a hard outfit to draw, but i would vouch for it in terms of how comfortable and true-to-self i feel in it. the boots are grounding but full of black rainbows, the skirt is avant but beautifully tailored, the sweater is futuristic in pattern but fisherman-comfortable. the bag is the right size and hands-free. everything is black and white, which — in chicago — makes me feel calm.

as always, if i don’t say it on the regular, Shua and i welcome your comments and criticism. if you feel like any of those illustrations pinned down the aesthetic, let us know. if you have an idea what we missed out on, pipe up. thanks for looking.

H

hermes sweater lim skirt foto hermes sweaterhermes monogram

 

working in retail will do weird things to your concept of cost. working in resale will skew things in the other direction. in the former, things like scented candles costing a hundo each start to sound not-unreasonable — a realization supported by well-heeled customers actually purchasing several at a time. in the latter, cashmere sweaters that are without flaw except for age (and perhaps that they are sans original price tags) are plentiful and going for pennies on the dollar.

i’ve worked in both environments, even simultaneously, like when i had two jobs; one in a design boutique, one in a buy-sell-trade store. obviously, i still shop in both environments, which i find to be useful in terms of critical thinking. it’s quite a bit harder to pay $40 for a graphic tee at Topshop when a See by Chloe dress might be marked the same amount at Crossroads. (your eventual decision rests on emotional and sensory appeals.)

suffice to say, once upon a time i was swimming in vintage cashmere sweaters and i thought nothing of scissoring the turtleneck from a red cashmere Hermes knit and slicing it up the middle. i wanted a red cardigan, what can i say? i’m not personally into monograms or brand emblems as style signifiers, because they are so overt and superficial, but i appreciate the craftsmanship and materials that is regularly accompanied by a higher-end label. therefore, the embroidered Hermes  “H” does not bother me, and besides, it it subtly stitched onto a low corner. by contrast, your average vintage Dior sweater is polyester, with “Dior” embroidered over the left breast.

the other parts of this outfit are a 3.1 Phillip Lim skirt, white H&M wedges, and a vintage purse. the trompe l’oeil skirt is a piece that i have so far found challenging, as it is too grunge to partner with button-up shirts, and also too (two?) sweater-tastic to really hit it off with a third sleeves knit. i’m looking forward to trying it with a tie-dyed tank in the summer, or a silk tee. i wish i could pair it with some of the sheer grunge-inspired plaids from Dries Van Noten’s spring 2013 runway.

the pin fastening the sweater is one i made, from a magazine print of Mondrian. the black bandage bra is H&M and it’s perfectly simple and sexy.

in the background, you can see an oil painting Josh did, based on a photograph taken by our friend Kyra on a michigan canoe trip.