Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tea and Toast

   Dive Bar, Independent, Breath of God, and Of a Woman.  These are the names of several things I’ve loyally purchased just because of the titles given to them.  Coincidentally, all of these items are cosmetics.  All I can state is, “Wow, those Madison Avenue agencies really have their acts together while identifying their target audience.” 
   For example what hip fashionista doesn’t want to wear the super vampy NARS lipstick, Red Lizard?  Edgy isn’t your thing, well a company like NARS says, “No problemo, we have the right shade for the everyday nerdy girl.  Here comes Barbarella!”  Not having it?  Sometimes a, “lady,” just needs to get metaphorical for the night and how better to do this than wearing the color, Fire Down Below?  You see, a company like NARS is prepared for any situation the modern day woman may find herself in.
   Not only do I purchase products due to the titles these agencies create, I also find a lot of style inspiration in them.  I mentioned the name, Dive Bar, earlier because this is the title of one of my favorite nail polishes made by essie.  Upon going to their website the description of this particular shade reads exactly like this, “Here comes trouble! This mysterious blackest, blue polish with shimmer creates an intensely sultry scene wherever you go.”  Between this description and the name itself, the marketing team of essie have already determined what type of mood the consumer will try to live up to while wearing their product.  I put on Dive Bar and I know, “Yeah, I’ll be wearing black today.  Yep, my eye liner will probably have a little cat eye action to it as well.  Also, where’s my mini Members Only faux leather jacket?  For some reason I really have the need to hit the pool halls today and I simply can’t do it without that coat.”   I guess what I’m trying to get across here is sometimes I wonder if I’m just attracted to items due to the way they're presented to me.  In other words, I'm an ad agency’s dream. 
   Further proof of this hypothesis can be found in the pictures above.  I called this particular post, “Tea and Toast,” because that’s exactly what the creator of the skirt I’m wearing titled it on Etsy.  I’ve mentioned several times before that I'm an avid shopper on this site.  I love the idea of wearing one of a kind pieces, either found or created, by these vendors.  In other words, I like apparel that's unique and is only possessed by me.  Despite the fact that the particular artist I bought my skirt from specializes in patchwork pieces, (something I’m drawn to almost as much as fringe,) I was almost more attracted to the way she presented her product to the public.  Unlike corporate names like NARS and essie, I assumed this individual did not have an entire team dedicated to marketing her product for her.  However, upon browsing her online shop, this consumer was immediately aware of what type of persona could be conveyed by simply wearing the items featured.  I mean who doesn’t want to wear a flowing skirt called, “Desert Wind,” or, “Mexican Maple?”  I give major credit to this solo artist who not only had the ability to construct a beautiful, well made garment, but also was aware of whom her target audience was.  
   In conclusion I want to say, "Pay attention NARS!  There’s a whole lot of hippie girls out there who’re throwing their money into, “festy skirts,” instead of a potential lip gloss with the name Gaia."  Likewise, us bookish types are less concerned with pursuing the, Fire Down Below, than we are a lovely night of, Tea and Toast.  Actually, to put it simply I’m just concerned when it comes to anything like a, Fire Down Below.  I guess that’s why boring people like me wear ankle length skirts to avoid it.

Sweatshirt:  Thrifted
Moccasins:  Minnetonka
Earrings:  Johnny Loves June
Necklace:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Coach


Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Dem Jeans"


   Yes, it’s true.  I decided to title this post after a Chingy song.  For those of you who may not be familiar with this fine piece of song writing, “Dem Jeans,” is a little hip hop ditty that’s chorus goes a little bit like this, “Daum Girl  How’d you get all that in Dem Jeans, Dem Jeans?  How’d you get all that in Dem? Daum Girl.”  One should really just physically hear me sing it.  Not trying to brag or anything, but for a 36 year old Midwestern white woman I feel like I got some swagger…pff, I can’t even pull off that lie in print.  The truth is, “Dem Jeans,” is a, "Daum," fun tune about women looking foxy in their jeans.  Deep, I know.
   Except, maybe this song is deeper than it first seems.  I mean, we’re living in a time where even seeing a woman wearing jeans is a rarity.  Everywhere I look I see women in leggings and yoga pants.  The horrific truth seems to be spandex is in and denim is out.  Considering the great Chingy released, “Dem Jeans,” in 2006 one has to wonder if he had some sort of prophetic message he was trying to convey in these lyrics.  I’m thinking something like, “Daum Girl Anyone can get all that in cheap knits, cheap knits.  Why’d you get all of that in cheap knits?!”  Really, I think I should have been writing Chingy’s lyrics.  Had we just altered his song slightly the world may have avoided the tragic epidemic of knit pants.
   However, I digress.  The real reason I named this post after, “Dem Jeans,” was due to the way the jeans I’m wearing in the above pictures make me feel.  You see, this particular pair of pants makes me feel foxy, even though they have absolutely no right to.  Let me tell you why.  I found these jeans on the men’s rack at my local Savers store.  They have a high waist, are Rustler brand, and at least a size too big for me making them fairly ill fitting.  Combine this with the fact that I don’t possess the most perfect posterior, and what it comes down to is a lot of bystanders scratching their heads and thinking, “Daum Girl Why’d you try to wear that?”  Okay, I promise to stop now. 
   I will admit I have many other pairs of jeans that compliment my appearance better.  However, they don’t make me feel like this pair does because these are my favorites.  I say they’re my favorites because I have the guts to wear them even though I don’t look, “perfect,” in them.  To put it simply, these jeans make me feel kinda bad ass.  It’s like I’m doing something wrong just by wearing them and I don’t care.  Just look how confident I can be in these jeans!  It makes a girl feel cool, which in my mind makes her appear hot.  You know, stating this now makes me wonder if maybe that’s how all the ladies wearing leggings feel.  “I don’t look perfect and I don’t care.  Just look how bad ass and foxy I can be in these ugly pants!”  Huh, well ain’t that a bitch.

Sweater Vest:  Thrifted
Jeans:  Thrifted (Rustler)
Socks:  Ozone
Shoes:  Libby Edelman
Purse:  Thrifted
Necklace:  Alfani

Sunday, November 15, 2015

...and costume change!

      Sometimes our appearance doesn’t always go as planned.  Actually, I can confidently state that most of the time my ensembles do not end up the same as they started at the beginning of the day.  I like to think of fashion as a work continually in progress. There seems to always be room for revisions.
   Many mornings I start with a loose concept of my, “look,” and find myself adding things as the day goes on.  I admit I have a very bad habit of thrifting during days off.  This being stated, there is nothing more fun than unexpectedly finding treasures to add to one’s outfit.  The easiest excuse in the world for buying a new bracelet is, “Well, this yellow matches my pants perfectly.  No, don’t bother wrapping it up.  I’ll just wear it out of the store.”  When my path crosses the perfect accessory to what I’m wearing it’s like speaking the password to open Tolkien’s, “Doors of Durin.”   Suddenly, I’m entering, the mystical, “Mines of Moria." Yes, my new yellow bangle bracelet, circa 1982, completes the days’ quest for the perfect outfit.  With this bracelet I’m a stronger force among the fashion elite.  Yep, with this fantastic new accessory there’s not a style snob out there that would say, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS,” to me.  I'm wearing treasures.  I am invincible.  It’s scary, the kind of crap that goes on in one’s head when they’re trying to justify another impulse purchase.
   The other reason my appearance is often altered by the end of the day is the weather.  This was the issue I was dealing with the morning I took the pictures above .  I think it’s fairly obvious that on this day the wind was, to use an often overused fashion phrase, fierce.  It was as if it was blowing straight out of the depths of the dwarves’ chasm warning me of the ancient evil that would surely come from another shopping trip for bracelets.  Man, I’m sorry it’s getting close to serious winter and every year around this time I have to watch the, “Lord of the Rings,” trilogy.  Obviously, the hankering has hit me a bit early this time.
   Returning to the topic at hand, the day I photographed myself the wind was a major pain.  I simply could not get a good picture and my hair was a train wreck for most of the afternoon.  Yeah, that’s the ticket…the wind was responsible for my hair…yeah.  Half way through the day I decided it was a lost cause and decided to throw my hair up in some sort of bun like thing.  I write, “throw it up,” because honestly that’s what my hair was making me feel like doing that day.  It was just that bad. 
   In closing, sometimes an afternoon can hold wonderful, fantasy like, discoveries for an ensemble.  Other times, it can completely dismantle one’s design.  No wonder so many of the dudes in, “Lord of the Rings,” had long hair.  With all those windy journeys going on they needed to constantly wear ponytails.

Jacket:   Gap
Shirt:  White House Black Market
Pants:  Ann Taylor LOFT
Shoes:  Vintage  (Salvatore Ferragamo)
Purse:  Papaya
Necklace:  Dead Things
Bracelet:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Kate Spade

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wiseguy In A Sweatshirt

   Once upon a time a long, long while ago there was a little sitcom called, "Roseanne." While I can't define this show as one of my favorites, I can give it credit for often accurately portraying the average American family. One outstanding example of this can be found in the infamous chicken shirt that was worn by almost every character on the show. I have always thought the idea of a, "community," shirt was brilliant because in reality family members share clothing. Interestingly enough, it's often the most ugly, ridiculous, "comfy," pieces that get passed around. There was more than a few times, while watching, "Roseanne," I found myself wondering, "Where can I get one of those chicken shirts?"
   Now I state family members share clothing, and my particular family is no different. Actually, maybe we are because now thinking about it I can only recall me stealing everyone else's stuff. Thank you Dad for those amazing Champion sweatpants, (Death to all yoga pants! I want to look like a member of the Harlem Globetrotters!) Thank you for the vintage biker belts, and that long 70's corduroy coat. Thank you brother for that splatter print trucker hat and brown striped sweatband for my wrist, (Is anyone else still sensing a Globetrotters theme here?) Unfortunately for me there's not a whole lot of clothing I've been able to steal from my mom due to the fact that she's a petite 5' 2" beauty that comes from a long line of little Croatian ladies. I, on the other hand, seem to have favored my father's genes and am an amazon woman reaching 5' 10" while wearing her stolen Champion sweatpants, (The Globetrotters dream is seeming more realistic all the time.) All I can say is while I haven't been able to steal many clothes from mom, due to my hulking size, I'm seriously thankful to have inherited her Eastern European cheekbones. I guess I'll take those over a vintage pink mini dress any day. Well, maybe...
   One of the few items I have been able to acquire from mom is a black sweatshirt with the logo, "Wiseguy," written in purple across the front. For those readers not old enough to remember, "Wiseguy," was the name of an American drama TV show during the late 80's that revolved around an Italian undercover agent in pursuit of members of organized crime. Overall, the show was fairly short lived and rather obscure but leave it to my mom to have the sweatshirt for it! Gotta love that woman. Much like the chicken shirt in, "Roseanne," my mom's, "Wiseguy," sweatshirt was bizarre, kinda ugly, and overall funny. Of course, I had to have it! 
   Over the years the, "Wiseguy," sweatshirt became a staple in my lounge wear. Mom referred to it as the shirt I wore when I was down. I guess it was kind of an emotional crutch for me. Not only was it comfortable, but it reminded me of mom. I chose to write about the, "Wiseguy," shirt today because I still stand by the idea that there's nothing more comforting than a good sweatshirt. Today, "Wiseguy," is rather old and faded. While I haven't gotten rid of it, I have updated with the top I'm wearing in the above pictures. I pulled it out of a bin at a local thrift store and as soon as I laid eyes on it I knew, this is my new emotional crutch shirt. When I wear it, I am safe.
   I guess everybody has their favorite pieces of clothing. Often times these items are some of the strangest, unremarkable pieces we own. I feel lucky to have, "inherited," so many of these things from the people I love most. Sometimes I wonder why they've not tried to steal my clothes in return. I guess not everyone feels invincible in shoulder pads and sequins.

Sweatshirt:  Thrifted
Shorts:  Thrifted,  (Upcycled with homemade patches by me)
Sneakers:  New Balance
Necklace:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Kate Spade Saturday


Sunday, November 1, 2015

"What a long strange trip it's been"

   I've mentioned my brother in past posts.  In fact, when I go back and read this blog I notice just how much Zeb's name comes up in my writing.  I talk about him more than my cat, my friends, or even my significant other of ten years.  I guess when it comes down to it my brother is the closest person I know to me.  Not only were we spawned from the same biology, but raised in the same environment.   Basically, we get each others weird, and believe me where I come from there's a lot of it to go around.
   Now don't get me wrong, in no way am I criticizing my upbringing.  I'm just stating that it played a major part in the creative, quirky, and slightly neurotic person I've become today.  I'm thankful for my differences.  Everyone should be.  Heck, it's these personality quirks that make me the left handed girl wearing the "Good art won't match your sofa," t shirt, drinking out of a coffee mug that I hand threw, while entertaining friends by playing CSNY's, "Deja Vu," on vinyl.  Thinking back, I literally was doing this once and an acquaintance of mine exclaimed to me she, "Couldn't believe how artsy I was.  I was a walking cliche!"  At the time, this comment totally took me by surprise.  "Walking cliche?"  I was just hanging out doing the stuff I always do.
   Since then I find myself paying attention to the subtle differences between a, "person like me," and the general public of South Dakota.  I'll admit I always knew I was kind of different.  I remember my Chemistry teacher in high school looking at my outfit of bell bottoms and a crochet sweater and stating with a fairly disgusted look on his face, "Where do you even get this stuff?"  Of course, for a person as headstrong, (and that's putting it nicely, one could just say cocky,) as me this kind of comment just fueled the fire.  So, at this time I want to thank you Mr. S. for playing an integral role in molding this natural hipster.
   Yes, I said it.  I admit to being a hipster, (even though I still stand by the fact that I'm too old to be one.)   You can only be labeled a hipster so many times by different individuals until you start to wonder.  Luckily for me, I have a wonderful hipster brother to open my eyes.  Recently, Zeb was in town visiting for a few days.  While he was here he snapped the majority of the above pictures for my blog.  We had a wonderful time taking glamour shots of each other, wandering town aimlessly, and perusing different record stores.  It was around this time that I got very excited to find a Serge Gainsbourg album on vinyl.  As I gasped and pulled it aggressively off the shelf before any other customer could claim it, I could hear my brother snickering behind me.  "Hipster," he said and then continued to mock not only my choice of music, but the leopard print fanny pack I had worn for the outing, (which I will continue to defend, because when shopping for vinyl it's extremely helpful to have both hands free.)    
   I too started to laugh at the ridiculousness of my stereotypical self until I realized that the person mocking me had a totally greased out Morrissey style pompadour and a vintage, "Nixon is my man," button on his coat.  I then started laughing harder at the idea of the two of us accusing each other of being hipsters.  Both of us trying to be so, "different," but essentially always ending up the same person.  I guess I take comfort in the fact that I know at least one other weirdo who's just like me.
   In closing, nobody I know likes being called a hipster.  However, it seems to be the socially acceptable way of  labeling someone who's a little odd.  So apparently, hipsters like to shop for vinyl.  They like to drink mineral water and roam around town aimlessly for hours taking artsy pictures of each other wearing thrift store clothing.  Also I hear they like to go to comic book shops too.  Wait, really?  I thought that was geeks.  Uh oh, maybe Zeb and I are just geeks with good outfits.  Either way, every time I visit with my brother I know I'm with my people.  

...oh yeah, and then this happened. What a long strange trip it has been!

Outfit #1
Jacket:  American Rag
T shirt:  Thrifted
Jeans:  Gap
Boots:  Naughty Monkey
Purse:  Free People

Outifit #2
Shirt:  H&M  (Gift from a friend)
Jeans:  Henry & Belle
Shoes:  Libby Edelman
Purse:  Kate Spade
Belt:  Vintage (Inherited from Dad)
Bracelet:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Coach

Outfit #3
Shirt:  Mossimo Supply Co.
Jeans:  Silver Jeans
Necklace:  Thrifted 
Sunglasses:  Vintage

* Several pictures taken by Zeb