Jenny Lewis has been a major icon for me ever since I swiped my big sister’s Rilo Kiley CD’s in middle school. Her vintage-inspired style and perfectly undone red hair (i.e. my dream hair which I WILL attain one day) have had me smitten since I first saw her live with the Watson Twins back in the day.
I love the fluidity of her style; one moment she’s all 60’s glam femme mini dress-wearing goddess, the next it’s all hot pants, fedoras, and allllll the tomboy vibes. To be fair, the girl’s got amazing legs—I can’t believe she is almost 40!
Here’s a collection of looks that I’m leaning on hard rn for outfit inspiration (yes, even that mean-mugged Troop Beverly Hills look, obviously).
Expounding upon one Leandra Medine’s recent post, “In Defense of Slow Fashion”: fast fashion kills.
This is not a nice conversation to have, it is not a fashionable subject to speak about, it is not a feel-good realization to come to. But it must be considered every time you reach for that $20, fresh-out-of-its-plastic-wrap, fresh off the freight liner, oh-so-trendy piece of clothing: who made this thing I am about to purchase? How much were they paid to make this thing? In what kind of conditions did they make this thing? Were the coerced or forced to make this thing? Did they have breakfast the day they made this thing? How old were they? And most importantly, do I support the the implications of the answers to these questions?
If they answer to that last question is no, put it down.
If this image of the garment worker who made your clothes is too abstract, too far away to be considered relevant in your purchasing decision, think instead of the retail workers that surround you in whatever fast fashion retailer you happen to find yourself in. These people work tirelessly at thankless jobs, often under management pressured to keep full-time staff to a minimum, scheduling part-timers for 39.5 hours a week to avoid the certain doom of a health insurance violation. These workers toil at all hours of the day, unpacking boxes, snapping censors onto garments, folding and re-folding, hocking credit cards to cushion the company’s bottom line all while being paid a pittance and being told to be grateful for an $0.11 raise, the first in two years. Do I support the corporations that turn a blind eye to the very people that make their successes possible?
Clearly, I acknowledge that not everyone can afford to pay $50 for a t-shirt, much less $350 for a pair of fine shoes. Generally speaking, neither can I. I admit that those adorable Asos shoes haunted me until of course I bought them. At $30 with free shipping, who wouldn’t? The point here is that all those five, ten, and twenty dollar purchases add up over time to piles of clothes that will last for only a few wears, ultimately ending up in landfills the world over. If the focus was instead on purchasing a well-crafted item made to last, the overall amount of money spent on clothing and the total amount of clothing purchased would both be reduced.
It is difficult to battle the indoctrinated consumer attitude required by our capitalist society. And I don’t think we will ever be fully free from its implications. What we can do is become more conscious consumers, people who use our minds to think critically about the origins of our potential purchase. The key is a change in our overall mindset. When I am pining for something new when I can’t afford something I know is well made from a reputable and responsible brand, I shop for vintage or handmade items on Etsy or scour my local thrift store for a good find. In that way I know I am not contributing to the supply demands of poor-quality garments made in poor working conditions by individuals—human beings with lives and families and joys and stresses like yours and mine—who may never live to see the day when their hard work earns them enough money to actually buy the clothing they create. It’s no novel concept, just quality over quantity at its finest.
That is my defense of slow fashion. It is not just the intricacy of the design, the weight of the silk between your fingers, nor the beautiful French seaming that warrants the desire for so-called slow fashion. It is the fact that you can proudly don a garment knowing that its path to you was not fraught with forced and underpaid labor, over-consumption of resources, and mindlessly low production standards.
Until next time,
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.
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.
I also really love Tavi’s latest rendition of the above look.
And then I realized, isn’t it just Alexa’s hair that I really want? Slightly disheveled, often wavy with pretty, blunt bangs.But 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.
Furthermore, 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.
Anyways, 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,
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.
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.
Many of the photos verge on surrealism, while others boast to the photographer’s sense of humor and irony.
Until next time,
The Fashion Serf.
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.
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.
– The Fashion Serf
All photos via Style.com, The Sartorialist, Vogue.com, Vogue.co.uk, and Refinery29.com
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
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!
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:
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!
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.