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.
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!
Check out my outfit post on The Fashion Serf, it’s all about winter layering!
“Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count.”
– Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer in ‘Heathers’
For those of you who haven’t been transfixed by Heathers’ darkly attractive analysis of the GenX teenager, the film depicts one Veronica Sawyer navigating the social jungle that is high school. Veronica has made it to the top of this hierarchy through admittance into the most powerful clique at Westerberg, a group of three uber-popular, conniving girls all dubbed Heather. The Heathers rule the school through a combination of fear, admiration, and sex appeal (“Everyone at this school either wants me as a friend or a fuck,” Heather Number One, aka Heather Chandler, boasts to Veronica).
Not to give away too many plot points for those Heathers virgins out there, but thee rest of the film highlights the demise of Westerberg’s most despicable characters, largely at the hands of Veronica and the rebellious newcomer, Jason Dean. Heathers is everything I ever wanted out of a John Hughes movie gone very, very wrong.
My thirteen-year-old self was instantly drawn to this movie, chiefly based on the absolutely brilliant wardrobe choices. At the time of production, shoulder pads were at their pinnacle; there is no being a Heather without power shoulders. Giant hair, blazers at school, brooches, and monocles were also apparently things that teens wore. At least what the Heathers wore at Westerberg. And don’t forget the all-powerful scrunchie.
Each Heather has her own signature colour which, not only affirms her place in the clique, but also conveys her character through non-verbal queues, if only on a skin-deep level. Heather Chandler, the most vicious and deluded Heather of the group, is red. She’s powerful, she commands attention, she’s dangerous. Heather Duke is green; she’s jealous, vengeful, and ironically, bulimic. Heather McNamara is yellow; she’s cautious, delicate, and easily persuaded. Our heroine, Veronica Sawyer, is blue; moody, discontent, and confused.
I love how this detail furthers the surreality of the whole film. Sure, there are dream sequences and a general fogginess about many of the scenes, but the Heathers’ ensembles catapult them from average teens to some kind of bizarre uniformed royalty. Primary coloured outfits never looked better.
Check out my style board inspired by Veronica. I am super into this schoolgirl/collegiate chic trend that’s in the works so I would definitely wear a Heathers-inspired look just about anywhere. College included.
For the full story, more photos, and the outfit breakdown, head on over to The Fashion Serf.
In lieu of facing the crowds this BF (okay, so I do currently work in retail and had to face some crowds today), I decided to draw up a November playlist largely inspired by the mega tumblr theniftyfifties. Not all of these songs are from the 50’s, but they do represent a wide range of my favorite dancin’ tunes from the golden oldies.
So slick on your favorite red lipstick, throw a silk scarf around your neck, push your cat eye glasses up your nose, drag out your poodle skirt, and get your sock hop on!
Listen HERE on my 8tracks station!
I’ve reached a huge Tumblr milestone: 1,000 posts!
To celebrate I’m sponsoring TTYLUSA’s first ever giveaway. The prize for first place is an incredible piece from Mawi London’s Gypsy Rani line from the brand’s AW06 collection, valued at over $500.
The second place winner will receive a treasure trove of four vintage accessories delivered in keepsake boxes of my own design, seen below.
How do I enter, you may be asking? It’s SO easy! Just follow these three simple steps:
Two winners will then be picked at random at midnight (CST) Monday, November 26th.
NOTE: This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to the winners, Lacey of My Boring Closet (1st prize) and Rachael H. (2nd prize)! If you weren’t so lucky this time, fear not! More giveaways await 🙂
In the meantime, entertain yourselves with some gems from my tumblr archives spanning the last three years of my life.
Some people dismiss tumblr as a mindless forum hosting a hodge podge of pretty pictures and miscellaneous links. For me, Tumblr has served as an ever-faithful journal of what piques my interest at any certain moment in time. It’s actually been surprisingly fun to sift through the photos, videos, links, and quotes I’ve posted over the years. And it’s been especially delightful to realize how much I’ve changed in that short amount of time.
Want more TTYLUSA history? Check out my archives!
There are so many blogs having giveaways right now, just in time for the holidays! Check out Fashion Ocean for one too, but don’t forget to enter the TTYLUSA GIVEAWAY!
Please note that this giveaway is not sponsored by any brand, company or other affiliate. The prize for first place was selected from my own personal collection; the prizes for second place were purchased at vintage shops and markets in London and across the United States. If you have any questions regarding this giveaway, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“‘Only to think, next week, at this time, I’ll be saying good-bye to you, Mary Raymond.’ Marjorie Dean’s brown eyes rested very wistfully on the sunny-haired girl beside her in the big porch swing.”
– excerpt from Josephine Chase’s Marjorie Dean, High School Junior
Lately I’ve been looking back into my family’s history, hard. My great-grandmother recently passed away and I’ve been given the task of sorting through boxes upon boxes of her old things. From figurines to photos, china sets to coupon clippings, I had my hands full.
This massive organization inspired me to sort through some other old mystery boxes in my house, sometimes full of myriad treasures and sometimes full of, well, let’s just say trash. Apparently just about everyone in my family is/was a pack rat.
But I’m thankful for that! Because it’s led me to some really priceless finds, mostly based on sentiment. One such find was a novel by the title of this post, Marjorie Dean, High School Junior by Pauline Lester.
I adore antique books. Like, verging on unhealthy adoration. I would rather buy a used book than a new one any day of the week. My favorite part of cracking open a beautiful used book is the possibility of stumbling across an inscription that gives me a clue to the book’s former life before it came to rest in my hands. Marjorie gave me just that.
Inside the front cover of my copy of Marjorie Dean is scribbled “To Mildred, From Lucille, Christmas 1918.”
Since coming across the book, I’ve picked it up from time to time to read a few pages here and there. Last week I finally came to the end of Marjorie’s junior year saga. I immediately set to work learning everything I could about Marjorie and the author.
“Marjorie entered her mother’s room and dropped dispiritedly at her feet,”
There’s not much to go on but a few half-written Wikipedia pages, but as it turns out, Pauline Lester was a pen name used by author Josephine Chase. Stories about harrowing, golden-hearted young women were such a smash at the time, Chase also wrote another series about title character Grace Harlowe under the pseudonym Jessie Graham Flower. The fake names didn’t stop there, however, and before Chase’s death in 1930, she also wrote a boys series called the Khaki Boys Series under the title Captain Gordon Bates.
The entirety of Marjorie Dean’s high school career was put to paper in 1917. Her success in life is attained based on a strict sense of duty to friends, family, school work, and those less fortunate than she, in her middle class existence. Marjorie is a beacon of truthfulness, fair play, beauty, and moral conscientiousness.
I was ecstatic to learn that not only did Marjorie graduate high school with flying colours, but that she also lived on, in a literary sense, to complete college, have a (short) career, get married to her high school sweetheart, and have a family, all before 1930! Learn more about Marjorie’s rival of her college years in this article.
I also learned a little about novels written for young women during the early 1900’s and their effect on women’s roles in sports, thanks to Dr. Nancy G. Rosoff. Both Marjorie and Grace were avid basketball players and much of the conflict faced in High School Junior was derived from the game.
All of this is even more interesting when you add in the fact that the publishers of Josephine Chase’s works were anticipating these novels to influence the young people in America. They hoped that the girls and boys featured in Chase’s novels would inspire the average reader to follow suit by understanding their places in society and the world. As such, the Grace Harlowe series was widely marketed as “stories of real girls for real girls.”
Read the entire story of Marjorie Dean’s junior year of high school online, right here.
Do you have any favorite antique or used books? Ever come across some beautiful inscriptions? I’d love to hear about em!
The other day P and I finally made it out to a local orchard to pick our own peck of apples. It was an incredibly beautiful autumn day and we treated ourselves to a HUGE caramel apple, made right on the orchard.
P shot all of these photos on lovely black and white film. The colours were great that day but I love the vintagey feel of monochrome.
Above is my “I’ve got caramel all over my face and the wind is blowing my hair right into it” face. Yeah.
Anyways, here’s what I wore!
Dress/UrbanOutfitters, Belt/Vintage, Woven Flats/Vintage, Earrings/Vintage, Bag/Lucky Brand, Scarf (on bag)/Stolen from Mom!
One of my top ten favorite movies of all time is the 1975 eerie cult classic Picnic at Hanging Rock.
If you’ve never seen it, the movie follows students at Appleyard College for Girls in Australia on Valentine’s Day, 1900, along a day trip to a local geological marvel known as Hanging Rock. Intense, intertwined relationships are revealed between students and faculty. I’ll leave the real mysteries up to the film to portray, but eventually several girls and a beloved teacher go missing without a trace.
Picnic at Hanging Rock, directed by the masterful Peter Weir (he also directed The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society, Master and Commander), ran away with the 1976 BAFTA for ‘Best Cinematography,’ and deservedly so. There is an exceptional amount of tension building throughout the film, verging on hysterics at some points, and all emotions are heightened with excellent set design and cinematography.
I love how open to interpretation this movie is. There are all sorts of theories that Weir wanted to lead the audience to its own final conclusion about the school girl’s end.
The strange noises and dream-like delirium point directly toward alien abduction, or was it those two roguish young Brits looking for some sadistic mischief? Or did the young ladies simply fall to their demise down a rocky trench? All of that is up to you to decide.
Of course I have to mention the brilliant wardrobe of Picnic at Hanging Rock. It’s nothing too complicated, period appropriate school-girl dress: all-white frocks buttoned to the chin, complete with matching gloves. The most striking thing about the costume choice is that it evokes so much context within such a simple garment. The girls are young, pure, white, yet not untainted. They have struggles and serious emotions just like any of us, but these aspects of their lives are stifled by strict censorship, protocol, and social conditioning.
Even as the troupe of hikers climb further up the rock, their inhibitions lighten and they begin to remove parts of their ensembles. First their boots and stockings, hats and gloves. Eventually, Ms. McGraw, the last to disappear, is said to have been seen climbing the rock in only her undergarments.
The girl’s clothing also nods to the overwhelmingly feminine feel of the film. A dreamlike haze rests over the majority of the scenes; school girls languidly brushing their hair, pining over personal shrines, and generally traipsing about in a childish daze. Whether you think it’s creepy or cool, I drew up a style board inspired by the fashions of the young ladies at Appleyard College for Girls.