Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Haute Hall of Fame (Ellen Brody)

   Recently it occurred to me that most of my, "Haute Hall of Fame," posts have honored the fashion sense of fictional characters.  While I stand by all of my selections I do wonder why I focus so much on the style of individuals who don't really exist?  Is it because the costume designers of pop culture have an endless supply of outlets to choose garments from?  Or could it be that the older I get the more I prefer to interact with movies, television, and books rather than face real society. Lastly, and most concerning, am I finally loosing total grasp on reality?  Have I come to the conclusion that these characters I admire are actually legitimate figures in society?  For example, a person watches every episode of, "Northern Exposure," and finds themselves thinking things like, "Shelly would call this pair of boots bitchin'," and "Those earrings are so Shelly," or lastly, "Would Shelly wear that sweater?"  It poses the question, what is the difference between  hoards of people worshiping the style sense of Hollywood celebrities they will never meet, compared to the fictional character of Shelly Tambo shaping the way I select things for my wardrobe?  Even though Shelly is not a real person her potential impact on the way women dress is just as great as someone like fashonista Kylie Jenner, (and a lot more original if I might add).  So I guess my point here is that my closet is proof enough that fictional characters are just as legitimate as reality television stars when it comes to labeling fashion icons.  Whew!, who knew fashion and philosophy were so closely linked?  
   So with this idea in mind I introduce yet another fictional icon to the ranks of The Haute Hall of Fame.  I would like to dedicate this post the character of Ellen Brody from the timeless classic film, "Jaws."  Now, I will admit the movie, "Jaws," is rather special to me and my family. Ever since I can remember the whole, "fam," has sat down each midsummer to bond over the horrific screams of Chrissie Watkins being thrashed about in one of the most memorable opening scenes on film. I suppose some individuals are still shocked by this bit of, what I must define as marvelous acting.  However, for me all the exaggerated shrieking, gargling, gagging, and finally deafening silence this scene provides signifies something different.  Yep, all I can think of when I hear the opening notes to this undeniably legendary theme song is, family.
   Now, let's be clear on the extent of my family's love of this movie.  My mom has a Jaws eating Quint off the boat action figure model that she proudly displays on her fireplace mantel. Consequently, due to my family's absolute adoration of this film, it's hard for me to think of, "Jaws," without considering a lot of these characters family.  I mean, come on!  After one watches a film once a year for about thirty years it starts to resemble home.  
   I guess what I'm getting at here is there are many times I find myself in conversations with my parents or brother about funny things that were said or done by the characters of this movie.  We often analyze these characters, reference scenes from the movie, or mostly, quote our favorite lines. It would not be an uncommon occurrence for an individual to walk into a room and find my family boisterously singing, "Show me the way to go home..."  
   I like to think of this behavior as further proof to my earlier theory that fictional characters can have an extreme impact on the actions and decisions of real life individuals.  I found this to be true on a recent trip I took to Duluth, MN.  While the character of Sheriff Brody's wife, Ellen Brody, is far from the most dynamic in the cast she certainly was the best dressed.  Sitting by the great lake Superior, I began to reminisce about this wonderful movie.  I felt inspired by my surroundings and decided to take advantage of the different photography setting and construct my, "Jaws," style outfit.  Immediately, I headed to the nearest Savers thrift store and in the matter of about forty five  minutes I was able to track down some of the necessary missing items I needed to complete my Ellen Brody look.  Interestingly enough, while creating this post I stumbled across the last Ellen Brody picture above, featuring some key elements to creating her style.  I was thrilled to realize I was not the only individual on the internet paying homage to her character.
   In closing, keep in mind there are no right or wrong style icons.  Whether they be fictional or not these individuals can have influence on one's aesthetic persona.  It became very clear to me on my trip that all this lady needed was the right setting and a good thrift store to help manifest an idea that had been created by thirty years of watching the same character.  Now, back to the topic of philosophy, if a tree falls on a heaping pile of cashmere sweaters does it sound more expensive?

Shirt:  Old Navy
Jeans:  Thrifted on trip (Vintage Orange Tab Levi's)
Moccasins:  Minnetonka
Belt:  Vintage
Purse:  Frye
Head Scarf:  Thrifted on trip
Necklace:  Thrifted on trip
Sunglasses:  Coach

*All photographs taken by Clark.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"

   Recently, I had the opportunity to dress up in order to work at a local charity fundraiser for the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.  Now, it would be ideal to state that the only reason I would volunteer for such an event would be out of genuine concern for the well being of animals.  While I do harbor a genuine affection for all things cute and fuzzy, I must also admit to a definite yen for fancy appetizers, occasionally rubbing elbows with those on the who's who list, and finally, dusting off one of the many grossly underused dresses I hoard in my closet.  All I can say is for a so-called, "style blogger," there seems to be a whole lot of casual denim going on around here.
   However, what's the average lady living in South Dakota supposed to do?  Especially when one works at the fairly blue collar environment of a greenhouse.  The opportunity to, "strut one's stuff," wardrobe wise is a rather rare occurrence.  As a result, when I was confronted with the possibility of a night on the town wearing something other than my mandatory workday uniform of a periwinkle, (don't you just hate that color based on the name alone), polo shirt and, "respectable," blue jeans, I jumped at the chance.  Basically, I wanted a night to feel like a girl.  I desired a night to, respectfully, show I have legs.  For God's sake, I needed a night to wear shoes that weren't unisex!  
   The above photographs demonstrate what I styled for an evening among the elite philanthropists of my community.  Overall, I was pleased with my selection of items.  However, upon taking these photographs before the event I became very aware of how borderline goth I was starting to look. Maybe it was the extremely sunny backgrounds, or my unfortunate, yet absolute, inability to smile for the camera on demand.  Whatever the real reason, I had no problem outright laughing at what a little black rain cloud I had transformed myself into while hanging out in all that lovely green foliage. All I could think was, "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"
   Despite my growing insecurities that this outfit may be a titch to dark for a summer charity fundraiser, I acknowledged the fact that overall it was inherently me.  I love to wear black.  A stranger could define this about me upon walking into my compulsively color coded closet where there is a huge section of black followed by a whole lot of red, fringe, sequins, and oh...I guess some of those other colors too.  In fact, a day before the actual event a like minded friend tried to strike a deal with me that neither one of us would wear black that evening.  I agreed that this was an interesting idea and, "I would be wearing a purple dress instead."  Of course, twenty four hours later I showed up, "little black rain cloud," style .  All I can say is never trust a woman in all black.  
   In conclusion, despite the rather grim color scheme of my outfit, I had a very pleasant evening at a rather uplifting event.  It is at this time that I would like to reiterate that overall the night was ultimately about helping the cute and fuzzy animals.  Whether their names be something like Buster or Beetlejuice.

Dress:  Miss Me
Heels:  Thrifted
Purse:  Vintage


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why?...WHY NOT!!!

   Often, while shopping for clothing, I find myself repeating the same phrase.  "That is either the ugliest thing I've ever seen, or the coolest addition to my collection!"  Honestly, I believe it's quite common for most individuals who prefer second hand treasures to at one time or another utter these exact words.  I believe it all stems from the old saying, "One person's trash is another person's treasure."
   While some garments I've encountered while thrifting are simply unwearable do to actual physical tearing or blemishes, I find more often than not the majority of items are quite functional.  Wait, scratch that, lets take it a step farther and state they are next to new.  Considering this, one begins to wonder why these items are even at the thrift store at all?  I've constructed what I believe to be a pretty accurate list of reasons why stores like Goodwill, (a.k.a. the island of misfit duds), continues to thrive.
   To begin, sadly I suspect many of the garments at the local thrift store are there because the previous owner has passed away.  This may give some individuals, "the wiggins."  However, not this lady!  I find a certain romanticism to the idea that I may be honoring the memory of someone by wearing their old blouse.  In my imagination this person would always be someone who was extremely kind and of high moral character.  Basically, I cannot fathom wearing a mean person's clothes so I like to imagine my second hand wardrobe being the hand-me-downs of deceased individuals such as Shari Lewis or Bob Ross.  Seriously, I would be honored to wear either one of those individuals' clothing. Wait, is this getting weird?  I feel like it might be...
   So let's continue by defining the rest of the reasons I believe apparel ends up at the thrift store.  In my mind it goes like this: the item does not fit anymore, the item is outdated, the item is borderline ugly, or lastly...and this is my favorite...the item is, "What the hell was I thinking?! Was this the night I polished off that half box of Franzia before cruising my favorite internet shops?"  However, here's the kicker.  For those of us who tend to thrift frequently it's often the hideously ugly items that come home with us.  Like I've discussed with like minded friends, there is just something about the challenge of successfully styling a piece of clothing that simply seems too damn ugly for the public eye.
   Hence, the shirt featured in the photographs above.  I came across this piece while wasting yet another afternoon at the Goodwill.  Upon first inspection, I think I literally scoffed at it's garishness. Yet, the more I walked around the store the greater the urge to try it on became.  Before I knew it I was mentally pairing it with other items in my closet.  It had to be mine!  Upon looking at these pictures now, the only thing I can think is this shirt looks like some crazy, "Hellraiser," bondage scene got mixed up with, "The Love Boat."  Which is, of course, the exact look I was going for.

Shirt:  Thrifted
Jeans:  Henry & Belle
Loafers:  Frye
Purse:  Coach
Belt:  Vintage
Bracelet:  Thrifted

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Haute Hall of Fame (Shelly Tambo)

   Well, I think the first photograph of this post makes it fairly obvious why I had to induct the fictional character of Ms. Shelly Tambo from TV's, "Northern Exposure," into the Haute Hall of Fame.  Anyone who can pull off wearing fringe on their coat, boots, and purse at the same time deserves some serious recognition.   
   Now, it's no secret that I myself have enough fringe in my closet to rival what I imagine Cher's dressing room may look like.  However, I have never considered wearing more than one fringed item at a time.  I mean that would just be gaudy, and who would want to drag the otherwise totally classy style of fringe down to that level?!, here's a thought...unless, cheap is the look one is aiming for.  In that case please do put on fringed cowboy boots over a printed pant, paired with a crochet sweater over just a bra.  Top this look off with half a can of Aqua Net and a healthy spritz of Exclamation perfume and you're ready to hit the FireHouse show, baby!
   Of course, this is precisely why I adore the character of Shelly Tambo from, "Northern Exposure."  She was that girl.  An over the top, undeniably tacky, ditz who defined herself as half hair band groupie, half rink rat.  Basically, her character emulated a large portion of the girls I grew up with during the early 90's.  Yep, the 1990's, the last acceptable time to wear fringe on your back, feet, and handbag all at the same time.  Unless you happen to be in South Dakota, that is.
   Let me be clear that this last statement was not intended as a insult towards the state I have called home for the majority of my life.  It's simply my observation that the people of the Midwest seem to have a serious, "soft spot," for the music and clothing of the 1980's and early 1990's. Which is really ironic if you think about it since the fashion of these decades has made a serious comeback within modern day hipster culture.  An outsider may at any moment find themselves surrounded by individuals wearing stonewashed denim, banana clips, or plastic charm earrings and think, "Wow, these South Dakotan's are seriously hip!"  However, I would challenge these individuals to check out what's playing on the local folks' radios.  Nine times out of ten I guarantee it's going to be Def Leppard instead of Mumford & Sons.  Which again I'm not criticizing, because Mumford just doesn't have enough chutzpah to get me to want to suck it in for those ultra tight, high waist jeans.  One might as well have hair band fun if they're going to suffer.
   In closing, the outfit I wore in the pictures above was my rather conservative version of what the character Shelly Tambo would wear at the age of 36.  Believe it or not I already had the fringed boots in my closet and wear them rather regularly, thank you very much!  In fact, maybe I'll wear them to the next hair metal show I attend, which could be at any given time considering I've already seen Poison three times, Motley Crue twice, Alice Cooper twice, and Guns N' Roses once. Embarrassingly enough, these are just the ones I remember.  Sadly, I never did get to see FireHouse. Yet, to this day, when I hear, "Love of a Lifetime," the 90's high school me returns and instantly wants to slow dance in my fringed boots with some 5' 4", "juvie," dude with a mullet. 

Shirt:  Banana Republic
Jeans:  Mossimo Supply Co. (Transformed into capri  pants by me)
Boots:  Thrifted
Bracelet:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Dolce & Gabbana
FireHouse's, "Love of a Lifetime"