Life at the bottom of the Fashion Caste

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Short Cuts

I have not cut my hair in approximately three years. And, after countless dye jobs from many a sad box, my ends are split and crunchy. The last boy who did my hair was so concerned, he immediately recommended me to his friend, insisting I let her chop my length. I cringed away, crying “No! I’m trying to grow it out!”

But it seems breast-length is as long as it’s going to get, so long as I insist on all the flat-ironing, hair spraying, and box-dyeing I’ve become so accustomed to. Upon this rather tragic realization (that I will never have the long, voluminous locks of the Giseles and Lordes of the world), I’ve become more and more swayed by the “long bob,” all the rage like, three years ago when I decided to grow out my hair. I recognize this irony.

My first inspiration was the vintage inspired look that Gwynnie totes in The Royal Tenenbaums.

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But I’m afraid it’s just a wee bit too flat for me. So I turned to one of my beauty icons, the irreverent Dana Scully, of course. Is she not SO gorgeous? I love her dusty rose lips and neutral brown eye  makeup. Plus, the hair. In all its bouncy glory.

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I also really love Tavi’s latest rendition of the above look.

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And then I realized, isn’t it just Alexa’s hair that I really want? Slightly disheveled, often wavy with pretty, blunt bangs.AlexaBut you can’t have the derivative without mentioning Ms. Chung’s obvious references and long bob, blunt bang foremothers. We’ve got Jean Shrimpton and Jane Birkin, natch.

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JaneFurthermore, there are a few more modern gals who’ve really done it right. Check Elizabeth Olsen’s curly rendition. Leandra Medine has been rocking the carefree version for just about ever. And someone else, who remains mysterious, but has great hair nonetheless.

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Leandrashortcut1Anyways, the debate continues. Every other day I convince myself in or out of the decision I’ve already made. I’ll probably end up with a very long bob, and only chop two or three inches in the end. You know, just to get acclimated.

Until next time,

TFS

Inspired by: Louise Dahl-Wolfe

I’ve been in need of a bit of inspiration lately. In the midst of these post-holiday doldrums, a girl can get a little stuck in the same old grind of the day to day. That’s what Red List is for. And it was when I was perusing this strange marvel of a wiki catalogue that I came across one of my favorite photographs by Louise Dahl-Wolfe. I love everything about it; the canted angle, the styling (um, someone get me that outfit, STAT.), the dreamy ideas suggested by the girl’s bike so jauntily thrown aside in the grass, the pure summer sun, and the beautifully youthful poise of model Liz Gibbon’s pose.

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I had first seen it years ago but had never really dug much further into Ms. Dahl-Wolfe’s other work. Turns out all of her other photos are rife with timeless beauty, elegance of composition, and more incredible styling. Though some of Louise’s later work is in color, I love that she could convey so much through a black and white photograph. It keeps the subject simple, yet pulls out many details one might not notice in a color picture.

 

Dahl-Wolfe shot primarily fashion photography for Harper’s Bazaar, under the reign of one Diana Vreeland.

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, 1950 - Model Mary Jane Russell in Dior

Many of the photos verge on surrealism, while others boast to the photographer’s sense of humor and irony.

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, 1935 - Josephine BakerShe even photographed the magnificent Josephine Baker in this wild metallic creation in 1935. Needless to say, my trip into Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s world has certainly bumped my out of my blues.

Until next time,

The Fashion Serf.

Beer, Wine, Champagne: the Interview

I’ve been attending scores of interviews lately. Moving to a new city will do that to a girl.  Now that the whole process seems old-hat, I’ve taken to sitting back in my assigned folding chair and really analyzing the other applicant’s interview strategies. There’s the awkward shy one, the goody-two-shoes, the bad-attitude, the it’s-my-first-job-interview one, the list goes on. I tend to be the quiet but extremely competitive type. What can I say? I’m ruthless. Especially when I know I’m the best person for the job. Not hard when the job is cashier at your local Banana Republic, but still.

Aside from interview techniques, appropriate interview attire has also been a great topic of interest for me in the last few weeks. Since the idea of next month’s rent still leaves a terrifying pit in my stomach, I couldn’t rush out and buy the latest anything for my successive job-hunting endeavors. So I turned to my closet in lieu of a credit card. It was tough at first, but I was able to tailor what I already owned into relatively appropriate outfits for my desired positions (read: everything nice I own now has at least one hole or delightful grease stain). Not having the best outfit made me nervous and left me doubting my ability to perform in said interviews. It’s stupid, I know, but an interview is the one place where first impressions count, BIG time.
So, in my day-dreaming frenzy, I came up with some more ideal variations on that theme:
The Dreaded Interview
What you’re working with: a structured black leather tote or messenger bag (anything that will fit extra copies of your resume without folding/bending/otherwise ruining that pristine record of your previous employment), a folder for aforementioned record, natural makeup, and a subtly edgy, black jacket or blazer. DON’T FORGET A PEN!!!
The beer:
Appropriate for your standard, entry-level position just about anywhere (excluding department stores, secretarial positions, etc.), this outfit lets you be comfortable so you can focus on incredible answers and crushing the competition. Wear to college campus tours, most food service interviews, and casting calls.
The wine:
The bouquet of this ensemble has lovely notes of metallics and a spicy pop of red. It’s so important to let your personal style be seen in interview settings. You probably have less than an hour to make an impression on this person so you’ve got to be sensibly impactful. Wear for internship interviews, mid-scale retail stores, and anything where wearing the pants could give you a leg up. Pun intended.
The champagne:
The creme-de-la-creme of interview wear. This pulled-together look suggests you’ve got the brains for your desired position and the responsible attitude. At first I wasn’t too thrilled with the grey-on-grey situation, but the subdued plaid of that lovely Equipment blouse paired with the houndstooth of the J.Crew pencil skirt is a more serious way to play with your patterns, even in a professional environment. Wear for all grown-up girl interviews including corporate offices of any kind.
Hop over to the polyvore to get the deets on all the pieces and good luck out there!
Until next time,
- The Fashion Serf

Blasé-Faire

Is it just me or is New York really slacking in the creativity department? No, not the designers (well, not all of them; Thom Browne case-in-point (!!!!!!!!!!!)), but the fashion folks on the street. One of my favorite aspects of Fashion Month is pouring through endless Tommy Ton et. al. slideshows of those lithe (and sometimes beautifully un-lithe), unfathomable beings as they flit from show to show.

So, naturally, I took the bait when I saw the Refinery29 link to “70 Next-Level NYFW Street-Style Snaps.” I was able to get to photo 29 before drifting down to the comments section where someone brashly proclaimed “So basically, you can wear anything to fashion week, and R29 will call it chic.”

Seriously. I thought. Seriously!

Okay, I take that back. I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with R29′s vision of what is “chic” or “next-level,” whatever that happens to mean. But I DO think that, as a rule, anyone who dons a pair of overalls, looks like a lady, pretends to be ironic, or is wearing anything from net-a-porter will be photographed for some sort of photo blog FW situation. Believe:

Okay, so no one ever said I was the poster-child for wild dress. But, bro, if you’ve got the budget, the status, the influence, SURPRISE me! Push the boundaries. Dare yourself. Dare me.

Thank goodness that to make a rule there must be exceptions, am I right? After much sifting, I picked these as my fave looks from NYC.

I can’t say how excited I am for the London collections. I may be slightly biased but London is second to none in both designer and street style excellency. I can always count on the Brits to not only excite and inspire me, but remind me why I fell in love with the whole crazy world of fashion in the first place.

Until then!

The Fashion Serf

All photos via Style.com, The Sartorialist, Vogue.com, Vogue.co.uk, and Refinery29.com

Models in Orbit

A collection of images by Alessandro Garofalo from the Marc Jacobs AW13 show yesterday in New York.

Besides being visually stunning, I love that a ready-to-wear designer has enough gumption to truly rephrase the traditional blasé-faire of a standard runway show. Sure, the clothing is (usually) vastly different from show to show, but the formula (Xmodels + 1 runway + 1 billion bright white lights = fashion show) is typically the same. Besides the raving couture shows and whatever Karl may have up his sleeve this season, that’s usually how a show is run.

But Jacobs sent his models out twice, once lit solely by the all-seeing giant orange orb (pictured), and for the second time with the house lights flooding the stage. This fact not only emphasized the bizarrely beautiful runway design, but also proved that there was more than met the eye during the first (literal) go-around.

The best part? Whatever he may have been conveying by this setup (and the pared-down clothing it so effectively displayed) is up for interpretation. One Miss Nicole Phelps insists that Marc needed a break from the over-zealous design of the past few years. Personally, I think the idea was more concept-driven than ever. But, in all truthfulness, it’s up to you, the beholder. And seriously, what an incredible sight to behold. Ready? Discuss.

-The Fashion Serf

School Daze

 

It has been horrifyingly cold lately, meaning a severe lack of opportunities to be even slightly stylish. En route to a holiday party with friends last month it dawned on me; Wisconsin isn’t known for its fashionistas not because there’s no one in the whole state with a keen sense of personal style, but largely because 6-8 months of the year completely prohibit any opportunity to wear an appealing ensemble. Trust me, any height of heel in three inches of snow just doesn’t work.

Good thing I’ve been keeping busy indoors while ruthlessly pursuing my transfer applications. Breaking news, I will not be attending Central Saint Martins in the fall. Instead, I have my sights set on a slightly warmer locale, but I’ll stay mum until my plans are set (!). Either way, these apps have been draining any semblance of sanity I have retained over the last year so I haven’t had a ton of time to blog. Does this mean I’ve already broken one of my resolutions? Gosh, I hope not.

To keep my spirits up in the midst of this wintry slog, I’m proud to say that I’m working on streamlining my wardrobe. I never thought I would be the kind of gal to desire limits in this area of my life but things are getting out of hand. After an influx of crap clothes from my old dorm in London, I’ve not only run out of hangers but also drawer space. And let me emphasize, I have plenty of hangers and drawers. More than average.

So I’m taking Anuschka of Into Mind‘s advice and planning my Spring 2013 capsule wardrobe. The planning portion has been surprisingly enjoyable. Lot’s of self-reflection, dog ear-ing magazine pages, collaging, and–gasp–pinning. That’s right. I’ve learned to use Pinterest for something other than entering unattainable contests. It’s still in the works, but feel free to check out my board of looks/textures/patterns that are inspiring my SS13 looks.

If you couldn’t decipher the huge range of themes in the board, I hope to aim for two different styles of looks. I love Sarah Rutson’s ladylike-chic style (vibrant tailored trousers, nautical stripes, a-line skirts, sheath dresses, no-nonsense colour combos) but i also have a huge weakness for a bohemian, gypsy woman, carefree, Dylana Suarez kind of style, too (flowy maxi skirts, an excess of paisley, windswept hair, and layers layers layers). Also, add a dash of schoolgirlisms including jumpers, letterman sweaters, and charm bracelets. I know it’s kind of passe at this point but I just can’t get over it.

To be honest, I’m no minimalist. I love trinkets, packed book shelves, and cozy clutter. So I do plan on keeping some stand-out pieces from my current wardrobe for sentimental reasons, even if they don’t fit into either of the broad categories I’m aiming for with my capsule planning.

Also, P took me on a much-needed tour of some of the best vintage shops in the cities recently (more on this to come!). The topmost photos are a preview of our outing! Some of those shops were last seen here.

Anyways, now you’ve been updated! Hopefully I can get out of this school daze long enough to blog again soon!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

Beautiful Blogger

Beautiful Blogger

Gosh, I’m so excited to say that I’ve been nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award by an incredible gal who writes under the moniker My Cup (or Not) of Tea. It’s so nice to be recognized by another writer in the amateur blogging community because we are all each other’s support system. So thanks to everyone who takes the time to ‘like’ or comment on a post, it really keeps me going.

Part of this award is to pass on the little nod of encouragement to seven other bloggers out there. And so, without further ado, the nominees are:

Lois Louis

Fit Kitten

Organized Scenery

My Boring Closet.

Mirror Me

The London Oxford Express

Pauper to Princess

And finally, I’m asked to state seven facts about myself that many people might not know.

1. I’m a Libra and I’m always asking new friends when their birthday is so I can guess their sign.

2. I have a real passion for painting, metalworking and jewelry design.

3. This year I hope to expand those passions into leather work and hat construction.

4. Every summer I reread the entire Harry Potter series. Test me, my knowledge is slightly terrifying.

5. When I was little my greatest ambition in life was to become Indiana Jones.

6. Once I played a bit role in an independent short film which you can view here.

7. One day I hope to start a business specializing in peace silk shirts and sheath dresses with sustainably sourced, fair trade glass bead embellishments.

And now you know!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

Designer Drool: Proenza Schouler

I’ve learned a thing or two from everyone’s favorite online beauty maven, Eva Chen. I trust Ms. Chen’s word. She may breathe beauty but the woman also lives fashion (what, former beauty editor for Teen Vogue isn’t fashion enough?). Eva never fails to provide some seasoned advice for us youngsters out there: always use a primer, never touch a blemish, get your beauty sleep, and, perhaps most importantly, always always always pick Proenza.

The brand’s prefall collection sees no departure from their infamously bold prints (who could forget the tumblr inspired patterns from their SS13 runway show?) with monocrhome trousers and shimmery abstracts. During the transitional season, however, we’re seeing more wearable fashions than ever; with sweet belted a-line dresses, colour blocked separates, and statement pointed-toe pumps, Proenza delivered everyday wear with a patterned punch. Here’s a collection of my favorite looks, all images via Style.com

And don’t forget, they’ve recently launched a (very small) jewelry line.

–>FS

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The New Year’s Way

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New Year’s is my favorite holiday of all the holidays! It’s not just a time for reflecting on your previous year but also an incredible opportunity to plan out an entire year of what’s to come.

I’ve been thinking about what I want from this year, and it is packed. I’m starting with a handful of resolutions which I’m sharing here now. Hopefully if they’re written in a place where I’m not the only person who can see them (aka not my journal), I’ll be more likely to actually stick to them. So, here goes.

1. No more ‘fast fashion.’

This includes, but is not limited to, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21, Zara, etc. I’ve only realized this fact in the last few months (yes, slow on the uptake, I know) but stores like the aforementioned megashops manufacture their clothing to be on trend (okay, great) but to last for 10 washes max. That is despicable. Think of how many $30 sweaters (or 40, or 50!) I’ve bought from UO or elsewhere. One year of fast sweaters could’ve bought me at least two beautiful, made-to-last, staple sweaters that I could cherish for years to come.

This resolution will be all about control and perspective. I’ll have to remember that just because the price is good, doesn’t mean the product is. And I’ll have to remember that the $20 I take out of my paycheck every two weeks is going toward something that I will really value one day, not just a venti latte. This will also give me an excuse to focus on thrift and vintage stores.

2. Keep blogging.

It’s as simple as that. I know there has been a bit of a holiday-induced hiatus in my writing lately but between work and friends and family I just couldn’t squeeze it in! I’m really excited to stick to this resolution because it’s become so important for me to document my thoughts in a permanent-ish way. One day I’ll be able to look back at these posts and realize how much I’ve changed since way back in 2012. That alone is worth it to me.

Aside from all that, I’ve got big plans for this little blog in the new year, including a fresh theme and DIY video series! Keep an eye out for my first edition.

3. Keep that New Year’s feeling.

I always feel so optimistic at the start of a new year. Eventually that high wears off, and I land back in the doldrums of my everyday outlook. But this year I will try to keep the excitement and foresight of a new year, or at least try to keep that attitude in mind as often as I can. Sounds cheesy, but my life has taken such a dramatic reversal in the last year, I need to remind myself sometimes to anticipate the future, no matter the unexpected things that may come up.

Also, I made a playlist that I was intending to post yesterday. But I didn’t. So here it is! It’s designed for a night of all-night New-Year’s dancing. But you can dance around your room to it. Find it on 8tracks AND on Spotify!

And with that, here’s to 2013. I hope it’s the best year yet. Yes, the best year of all the years. Ever.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

p.s. Do you have any resolutions? Let me know, I’m always inspired by other people’s goals!

Blue Christmas

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What I wore as the blizzard began ripping through my town. Okay, so it wasn’t the sixteen inches we were promised, but the winds were absolutely wicked. The weather has been preventing any decent posts lately so today  I decided to bear it for the sake of my precious readers. Just kidding. But really.

I had to post almost all the photos P took because they were all so fun! Sorry for the overload.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Wool coat: Macy’s
  • Kitten Sweater: vintage (taken from my childhood wardrobe, circa 1997)
  • Skirt: Asos UK
  • Tights: Calvin Klein
  • Lasercut Wedge Booties: Modcloth (old)
  • Neckalce (worn as bracelet): thrifted
  • Earrings: Vintage, last seen here
  • Pear Pin: Vintage
  • Hair bow: Primark UK

I hope everyone has a great holiday and safe travels.

Until next time,

–>The Fashion Serf

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