Life at the bottom of the Fashion Caste

Posts tagged “fashion

Re: In Defense of Slow Fashion

Workers protest on the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza Factory collapse in Bangladesh. Image via Solidarity Center.

Workers protest on the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza Factory collapse in Bangladesh. Image via Solidarity Center.

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,

TFS


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


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


You Don’t Look Chic: A Word on Sweatpants

image via: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-articles/sweatpants-paris-fashion-week-street-style-fall-2012#slide-24

“You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You’re telling the world: ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.'”

– Jerry Seinfeld

I hate them.** As much as I can get behind the ‘athletics-inspired’ trendiness of the post-Olympics season, I will never be seen in public sporting a pair of fleecy grey (or any other colour, for that matter) sweatpants.

Why is this? you may ask yourselves. Why is it that a perfectly respectable young college girl could not fathom the benefits of sweatpants on a brisk overslept morning of exams? I will tell you, young grasshoppers. There are a number of reasons I detest these ‘sweats:’

Namely, it is because I care about aesthetics. I don’t just admire them from afar, I want every aspect of my life to be visually pleasing. If I’m having one of those not-so-rare off days, my aversion to gymwear in public is even more severe. If I’m feeling crummy or inadequate, I attempt to make up for it by looking polished or at least interestingly risky. Just as anyone would feel awkward while sporting their laundry day unmentionables in the midst of a two hour lecture, throwing on a pair of oversized, ‘comfortable’ pants on a day where I’m already not feeling myself will only make me feel more uncomfortable.

Secondly, while wearing sweatpants out and about (walking to school, on the bus, god forbid, at a restaurant), there is a horrifying swishiness of fabric about my legs. The rough, overwashedness of the once-fleecy lining of a pair of sweatpants scratches at my thighs and provides a constant reminder that I could fit several legs inside the width of these pants. I’m obviously a big proponent of a fitted trouser and will gladly slip into the odd wide-leg denim, but no matter what famed fashion house comes out with a line of designer sweatpants, there shall be no excess of fleece shrouding my legs anywhere besides within the comfort of my own home.

Furthermore, in this day and age, there is absolutely no excuse to don sweatpants in public. The equally comfortable and infinitely more chic cousin of the sweatpant, the legging, is always at your black letter day service. So the next time you feel the urge to reach for those sweatpants, streamline your look with a pair of black leggings. Heck, even throw on a pair of bright red ones! They have an instantly slimming effect and balance out that oversize sweater you want to crawl into during the height of your winter cold. I’m not alone in my thoughts. Trust me, the world will thank you.

Until next time,

–> The Fashion Serf

** Yes, hate is a strong word. I will admit that I love a good sweatpant-clad Sunday while drinking a strong red wine and crying gently to yourself over the end of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Again. But my hatred of the aforementioned sad excuse for legwear largely stems from the hoards of bubble letter writting, non note-taking, collegiate coeds who think it’s appropriate to show up to a formative presentation proudly wearing their high school softball team’s warm-up bottoms or any variation of the sort. Let me tell you, it’s not appropriate. It’s foolish.


WIW: Snø

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Check out my outfit post on The Fashion Serf, it’s all about winter layering!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


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Fun fact of the day: snø is the Norwegian way to say snow. This is what I wore on the morning of my town’s first sprinkling of snow:

  • parka – stolen from sister
  • chambray shirt (underneath) – thrifted
  • wool sweater – vintage
  • mini bodycon skirt – Urban Outfitters
  • over the knee stockings – Asos UK
  • tights – Primark UK
  • knee high boots – Patagonia (last years’ Christmas present from P)
  • telephone pin – vintage
  • bauble earrings – thrifted

I. Love. Winter. So many chunky sweaters and layering possibilities! Options are endless, especially when coziness is the goal. This season is the time to toss the idea of always being flattered by your clothing choices and call in your fisherman’s sweaters and flannel-lined trousers. Although, if you’re gong seriously oversized, I suggest a balancing scheme: bulky up top, fitted on the bottom, and so on.

As I’m typing this, my cozy little house is getting doused with a fresh blanket of snow and my kettle is whistling away. Time to break out the snow boots!

Happy layering,

->The Fashion Serf


OMG GET ON MY BOD: Oversize Leather Jackets

I need an oversize leather biker jacket. These are my dream jackets.

OMG GET ON MY BOD: Oversize Biker Jackets

Here is the criteria they have to pass to become dream material:

  1. Should be exorbitantly expensive
  2. Should be a classic colour
  3. Should be exorbitantly expensive.

Check, check, and check. Dear Santa…

>FS


Inspired by Heathers

brain tumorHeathersheathers4Monocleurge to purgeHeather DukeStyle inspiration: Heathers (1988) starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Full post here!


Wet and Rusting

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yepknucklzmawioxfordsleapoffaitharcherybalancedWhat I wore today, on this lazy Monday. It’s been unseasonably warm these last few days making for a rather wet and foggy climate which I can totally dig but which also leaves me wanting to stay hidden away indoors with Anna Karenina and a piping hot cup of earl grey.

This weekend the social butterfly in me was in full swing, however, while attending my city’s first-ever Improv Festival. It was such an incredible accumulation of talent. My sincere congratulations to my closest confidant, Lois Louis for more than one spectacular performance.

One last thing to note: my sweater is Donna Karan. Yes, a real life “designer” is clothing my pauperish body, it’s true! No, I did not pay the requisite 350 smackaroos for said sweater. I got it at Opitz. I got it at Opitz for five dollarsWhat is this Opitz’s you ask? Solve the mystery by clicking this link.

In other news, here’s the breakdown:

Hat: Asos UK (last seen here), Jacket: Macy’s, Sweater: Donna Karan at Opitz, Leggin’s: thrifted, Crossbody: thrifted, Brogues: Asos UK (kinda like these but not), Necklace: Mawi London, Rings: all vintage/thrifted.

Until next time,

->The Fashion Serf.


Mother Knows Best

This is what I wore on a recent day trip to Marquette, Michigan. I’d never been to Michigan before and we didn’t get to spend much time there but Marquette seemed like a sweet port town with tons of cute shops and old historic buildings and houses. We were lucky enough to find a great spot right on Lake Superior to take these photos, just LOOK at that huge barge loading dock (or, the “corridor of doom” as P so aptly described it). Very industrial-chic or something.

Anyways, here’s what I wore: Wool sweater (thrifted, vintage), Floral trousers (stolen from my mother, particularly her 90’s business-lady wardrobe), Wedge booties (thrifted, Nine West), Black leather belt (thrifted), Basketball champs medal/pin (vintage, from great grandmama), Bracelets (thrifted, thrifted, and American Eagle (?))

Until next time,

->theFashionSerf


Celebs in Real Life: Krysten Ritter

Fashion Royalty Krysten Ritter looked stunning during her recent red carpet run at the GQ 2012 Men of the Year Awards. No one on the interwebs seems to know where her shoes come from but as far as I can ascertain, the woman is in head-to-toe Dolce. For this, I admire Ms. Ritter’s moxie.

We mere peasants, however, could eat for three months on the funds it took to dress dear Krysten for this event. Literally. This is when I ask myself, how would celebrities dress in real life? “Real life” being the world of those who earn less than a million dollars a year. Who could say?

But if you’re wishing to emulate Krysten’s ensemble without the haute price tag, look no further. In fact, you could probably purchase all three of these outfits for less than what it costs for the real thing. Just saying.

And now, the Steal, Deal, and Splurge:

Celebs in Real Life: Krysten Ritter

It was pretty tricky to find a similar top with such beautiful embellishments for these outfits but I figured you could just throw on a statement necklace to mimic embroidery. Also, if you’d like to parade about with nothing but a sheer bit of fabric between your knickers and the world, feel free to cut the liner out of your skirt of choice. But, for the sake of us all, at lease be sure to wear some cute panties.

Buy this stuff here:

Steal: Blouse – Modcloth, Skirt – Dorothy Perkins, Clutch – Etsy

Deal: Blouse – Modcloth, Skirt – Topshop, Clutch – Asos

Splurge: Blouse – John Lewis, Skirt – Ted Baker, Clutch – Tory Burch

Until next time,

>FS


$100 or Less: Brunch with the Gals

Something I’ve been rather awkwardly stumbling across ever since coming home from school is that flustered run-in with that semi-good acquaintance from high school. I always end up being in a state of disarray during these instances.

But when that semi-good acquaintance asks you to coffee or brunch and you exchange your new numbers in all that “I haven’t seen you in a while” niceness, keep in mind these tips for your next meeting. This way, you’ll be sure to keep up that “I was moderately well dressed when you knew me last, a time when I was relying on my mother’s pocketbook for all my fashion needs but can still maintain that look even though I am less than penniless at the moment,” appearance.

That’s right, an impressive edition of $100 or Less perfectly suited for Brunch with the Gals.

$100 or Less: Brunch with the Gals

And now for the breakdown:

Black Diamante Rose Stud Earrings via River Island – $5.00

Amity Bow Kitten Heels in Rust via Shop Ruche – $34.99

Porch Swing Dance Skirt via Modcloth – $35.00

BDG Printed Sheer V-Neck via Urban Outfitters – $9.99

Grand Total: $94.98

At this rate, you’ll even have enough cash left over for a bottomless mimosa to help you through the dreaded catch-up chat. Throw your locks up into a sloppy sweet topknot, spritz on your favorite perfume, and, if you’re feeling daring, a red lip. A navy/cream/maroon cardigan might also be in order.

Do note, this outfit works best assuming you have a base canvas of a solid leather bag, warm winter coat, and black tights.  You know, that stuff you bought before you were broke.

All my best for your brunch date, good luck, and be sure to brag about your new European boyfriend you met taking Honours Chemistry 410.

Until next time,

The Fashion Serf


Currently Crushing: Smith/Grey

Currently, I’m just about drooling on my keyboard over Smith/Grey fine jewellery.

It’s true, I’ve fallen head over heels for yet another London-based high end jewellery brand. But this one is truly impossible to resist.

The Danish/Austrian duo behind Smith/Grey creates impeccably edited collections driven by highly narrative concepts. Every piece is created through a process of painstaking craftsmanship, and the folks behind the brand, Birgit Marie Schmidt and Sofus Graae, possess an enviable array of expertise that fills their designs with wit, edge, and sophistication.

The real jaw dropper for me was their “I can’t seem to get rid of the horses” collection. Horses bend and meld into one another in surreal beauty. An otherworldly element is bestowed on the Smith/Grey collections through their psychologically-based inspirations. Brigit’s concepts are often based largely in the human imagination, dreams, and storytelling.

As hauntingly beautiful as the collection, here’s what the Smith/Grey online lookbook has to offer in terms of shedding some light on Brigit’s inspiration for “Horses”:

“And when she turned around she saw that the horses kept walking back towards her. Tall horses and small horses, fair ones and dark ones. They still returned every morning and every night, quietly whispering poems in her ear in a language she didn’t understand. But my dear, these words were ravishing. And she kept thinking, “Do they hold on to me or do I hold on to them?”

Uncomplicated by flashy gems or precious stones, Smith/Grey rely on sculptural elements to keep the eye entertained, catching the light at unexpected junctures and providing balance through satisfying symmetry. Did I mention that Brigit has a master’s degree in goldsmithing from the Royal College of Art in London? Yeah, she knows her stuff.

The duo doesn’t only design jewelry for ladies, either. They have a breakout line of baubles just for gents entitled Ivy Noir. The concept for the line is a darker take on classic Ivy League essentials. From signet rings to collar stiffeners, Ivy Noir accessories are staples for a style savvy boy’s club regular who “doesn’t always dress by the book.”

Prices run high for a piece of Smith/Grey bespoke, and rightfully so, considering the intense creative process involved in bringing each collection to fruition. So, in lieu of actually owning one of these beauts, I’ve created a style board showing how I would style my hypothetical Smith/Grey “Horses” hoops and “Peculiar Things” ring on a crisp fall day.

Horse Girl

October Playlist

This month has been barreling through, throwing an unfathomable mix of weather, obstacles, and emotions my way, all the while showing no signs of slowing down.

I’ve had the heavy burden of a long list of life-altering decisions to make, many of which have been made for me by the powers that be. This has made for a rather unorthodox month. As far as my musical mood, I think these fluctuations can be heard in this month’s playlist.

In a last-ditch attempt to get my musical musings for the month of October to you, my ever-devoted reader (kidding here), I’ve squeezed it in at the tail end.  There are some appropriately themed spooky ones thrown in but I think it’s a good mashup of all sorts.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

P.S. Now you can stream my playlists right from your own computer! Still trying to figure out how to embed them in my actual posts, but here’s the link to the 8tracks:

October from ttylusa on 8tracks Radio.

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I saw Craft Spells around this time last year in London at this tiny above-a-pub venue. My friend April and I got drunk off rum and cokes and danced our little indie hearts out. It was great. See a barely-visible shot of the show below.

The night immediately after I saw the aforementioned Craft Spells, I saw this band at the Roundhouse in London. It was an awesome show and definitely the most badass one I’ve ever been to. Also, another milestone was my first-ever beer shower, thanks to the rowdy crowd of drunken Brits.

  • So Far Around the Bend – The National

“Take a bath and get high through an apple,

 you wanted to cry but you can’t ‘cause you’re laughing.”

Find the album version here, but if you’d like to learn a little more about the most excellent Dark was the Night project, hear this version.

This makes the list because a) ghosts—October, obviously. And b) I heard a sound byte once of Jack White asking a crowd if they ever feel like they belonged in a different time period. A man anachronism.

  • My One Desire – Freakwater

Apparently this is a cover of a Rick Nelson song? Never knew. Either way, I couldn’t find the version I wanted so give Ricky a try.

This is one of my top ten favorite songs of all time. I mean it though. The music video doesn’t do it justice! Lyrics are priceless, to boot. Plus, I do love that Bill Murray man.

“I wanna get home, I wanna get stoned,

Make myself food, make myself good.”

Gosh this song has the power to overthrow me with the blues with the first little guitar riff. Can’t get enough.

Fallish and also mildly creepy. Listen to it in a car going fast on the highway.

Longing for the Big Sur, where the ocean and mountains and redwoods and cliffs and fog make for just the right setting.

This gal has the pipes to be a megasuperstar.

No, Ryan Gosling (who wrote and performed this music with the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir), my body’s a zombie for you. Trust me.

I wrote a script to a short film inspired by this song. Not in a cheesy way.

The mounting energy of this song gives me shivers.

But you’ll fight it and you’ll make it through,

You’ll fake it if you have to

And you’ll show up for work with a smile.

And you’ll be better and you’ll be smarter

And more grown up and a better daughter—

Or son and a real good friend.”

Okay, this song is verging on brutally angst-filled, I realize. And okay, I adored this band during my hilariously moody middle school years.

But, in my defense, I’ve loved this song since the day I heard it and it is oddly (and embarrassingly) fitting at this juncture in my life. I’m not clinically depressed like the assumed subject of this song, just faking it, since I have to.

Also, Jenny Lewis and her parade of vintage/thrifted stage looks were a huge inspiration to me as a youngster. Just look at that ensemble. Holy cats.

My love for this song is never-ending. Learn all the lyrics and blast it at full volume in your car and sing it at the top of your lungs…even at the red lights!

Well, that’s all for now (folks)!

What were some of your go-to songs for the month of October? Comment!


WIW: Witching Hour

witching hour noun ˈwi-chiŋˈau̇(-ə)r : the time of day when supernatural creatures such as witches, demons, and ghosts are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful and black magic to be most effective.

Scroll through for the whole scoop!

P and I had a great time shooting these pictures while paying a visit to a local cemetery. I am dying over the extreme fall vibes. Perfectly spooky!

My favorite part of this outfit is my jewelry. I’m wearing three vintage bracelets, one with all ten commandments as charms, one with ‘best’ and ‘friends’ charms; I love them both! One of my rings is from UO and the creepy clutching hand one is a design of my own, wrought out of sterling silver with a blue agate stone.

After all the hocus pocus, we retreated inside to relax over hot chai lattes and a cozy movie night.

Here’s What I Wore:

wool fedoraasos wool sweater – gap (similar herecotton maxi skirt – h&m leather baglucky brand scarf (on bag) – vintage leather stud boots – urban outfitters (ancient) sparkly socks – new look london jewels – see above!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


It’s That Time Again…

Mid-season sale time, that is! For guys and gals on a seriously college-level budget (like me), this is your chance to stock up on essentials and snag that trendy swag you’ve been lusting after all season.

Below is me this summer, on location in San Francisco for a Mawi London piece about our amazing American stockists. I’m wearing a Topshop dress that I scored during their spring mid-season sale. I love it to death, and it’s easily become my most-worn piece of clothing.

I’ve rounded up my top ten picks from Topshop’s sale. Hopefuly I’ll actually be able to invest in some of them but for now it’s just wishful shopping. Have a look below!

TOPSHOP: Top ten picks from the mid-season sale

1. Mix and Match Sweatshirt: For those grumpy/hurried/oops-I-slept-in days where you throw on some black leggings, yank your hair into a topknot and stomp around in your most bad-girl booties.

2. Rib V Jumper by Boutique: For always.

3. Wash Zip Tunic by Boutique: Been obsessed with this dress since I saw Elle Fanning wearing a similar one, also by Boutique.

4. Floral Print Mesh-Backed Maxi Dress: Throw on pick numbers two and ten and you’ve got a perfectly disheveled fall ensemble.

5. Lace Soft Bra: No explanation necessary. Considering going wireless forever.

6. Spike Bobbies:  Spikes are almost too on-trend at the moment but, for the days when your hair could use some edge.

7. Oxblood Calf-Length Wrap Skirt: Not usually one for the lo-high hemline but this one hits the mark. Plus, oxblooooooooood.

8. Metallic Lace Flippy Dress: Pastels, check. Lace, check. Metallic? Yes please!

9. Oversized Boyfriend Coat: Been drooling over this since Christmas, literally.

10. Aerobic Hi-Top Trainer Wedges: Because I can’t resist the wedge sneaker anymore! I’ve been trying but, let’s be honest, they are awesome.

What are you sizing up and hunting down during this month’s sale season? Anything specific? Let me know in the comments below!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Getting Cozy

Well last night was the first official frost here in Eau Claire. And, I’ve officially diagnosed myself with a cold.

So, in my self-inflicted couch ridden-ness, I created a polyvore for fool-proof fall coziness, complete with cute fuzzy slippers and immune supplements!

Get Cozy

But seriously, when you’re feeling under the weather and the weather is less than encouraging, take full advantage of these facts and pull out all the stops in the layering sector. No one gets to judge you round this time of year, especially if your sick.

And, if they do say something snarky about your too-hip patterned leggings, you can always threaten to give a hefty cough in their direction.

Tune in next time for the full dish on my brilliant birthday weekend!

Until then, stay warm dear reader.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Movie Mania: Singin’ in the Rain

My love affair with the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain began when I was approximately six years old; The obsession has grown exponentially ever since. Believe it or not, but I give this movie a lot of credit for helping to develop my sense of humour and of fashion. Keep reading to learn more.

The effectiveness with which directors Gene Kelly (Don Lockwood) and Stanley Donen capture the glamour and excitement of Hollywood in the mid 1920’s is astounding. Their budget of $2.5 million, a part of MGM’s golden age of movie production, probably helped.

If you’ve never seen it, run to your nearest video rental/redbox/bestbuy right NOW. It’s a classic for a reason people. Also, for you film nerds, the wiki page includes an incredible amount of “did you know” quality tidbits that I was really surprised to learn of!

Donald O’Connor’s ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ bit is my case in point. Turns out he had to be hospitalized following that shoot, who knew? In the act’s closing tricks, when he hilariously jumps through that wall? That part was an accident.

Besides the production infamy, he is such a natural physical comedian that the kitschiness of the whole thing has never bothered me. That year O’Connor was awarded Best Actor at the Golden Globes for his role as Cosmo Brown, and deservedly so. Below, O’Connor and Kelly making a mockery of their elocution lessons.

After cozying up with a hot cup of tea and re-watching the film recently,  I realized its incredible scale. A large portion of it is shot inside studios on closed sets which seem, at times, the size of airplane hangars. Check out the photo below, a shot of an exquisite modern dance sequence. Obviously that’s a pretty intense paint job but still, that space is gigantic!My favorite sequence of Singin’ in the Rain is “Beautiful Girls.” In this instance the audience really gets a feel for the magnitude of the film’s costume budget. A dozen models, in addition to another dozen dancers parade about in fabulous frocks. Check out the  full scene below. The action starts at :53.

“And if you must wear fox to the opera, Dame Fashion says, diet!” God, I can’t get enough!

Aside from that act, I think dancer Cyd Charisse steals the show for the whole of the Dueling Cavalier sequence. For the longest time I was convinced her part was played by two women! Her form is exquisite and her costumes equally so. The wig helps, but Charisse transforms from sultry femme fatale (below) to dreamy stunner (also above, in white) simply through dress and movement.

The feathers! The glitz! The beading! The chiffon! The drop-waists! Need I go on? I think I’ve mentioned this a few times already but the costumes of Singin’ in the Rain are absolutely fabulous. Even though she’s obviously the antagonist, the brilliant Jean Hagan (Lina Lamont)wears some of my favorite dresses of the whole film. Look at the intricate beading of her ensemble below. I’ve GOT to find a way to replicate that head band!

Apparently Debbie Reynolds ended up with a whole lot of the most iconic costumes from the film in her own private collection until an auction in 2011. They’re a bit faded but check out the pieces from the “Good Morning” scenes, below. I love the art deco flair of that sweater.

So if I haven’t exhausted the subject quite enough yet, I was so inspired that a drew up a style board derived from the modern-day wearability of Singin’ in the Rain’s costumes.

Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments! Got a movie you’re a maniac about? Love this film like me? Let me know your favorite song! I could talk for hours about it, obviously 🙂

Beautiful Girls
Until next time!
ttyl,
Maria Nichole

The Great American Roadtrip Day One: Chicago

The Great American Roadtrip has begun! We’ve just made it to our first stop, Chicago, IL.

Enter rush hour:

Currently over staying my welcome an open-air kitchen called Brett’s across from the Vale Gallery.

One thing that I love about this city is its true Midwestern roots. Here I feel comfortable tacking on my yes pleases and thank you very muches. Even the over-worked late-for-a-meeting power mom juggling the blackberry/iphone/ipad trifecta will always add a “please” after commanding soy in her latte (as just witnessed at Brett’s).

Even though it’s often overlooked, street style is alive and well in Chicago and the people know it. It may be more laid back than Milan or London, lots more business ladies in nice flats, professional guys loving the Naturalizer trend, but folks still look sharp in their way.

I’m always slightly baffled on the subject of the maxi dress. On a short frame, they drown me! Thus, I’ve sequestered these beautes to seaside vacays and cruiseliners. Thanks to the working women of Chicago, however, my mind has changed.

I saw hundreds of combinations of chic AND work-appropriate maxi dresses that beat the summer heat while remaining professional. I was so inspired, I had to make a Polyvore styleboard. Check it out below!

Next stop: Omaha, NE
ttyl,
Maria Nichole
MaxiRad

 


Snap dress / Alice + Olivia scoop neck dress, $195 / ASOS pointy toe flat / American Apparel kitten heel pumps / Hermes tote / Club Monaco clutch handbag / Rebecca Minkoff handbag / Mawi gem jewelry, $215 / Casio yellow gold jewelry, $61 / Tom Binns necklace, $1,475 / Mawi white pearl jewelry / Illesteva tortoise sunglasses, $255 / American Apparel round frame sunglasses / Club Monaco reversible belt