Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Daydreams

I first wrote about the Stella McCartney Resort 2010 collection when it debuted. I fell in love with it on sight. The shots of yellow and red and green set against navy and black and white. The sparkle and shine that ran through much of it. The stripes. Five years later, I still think of it often, dream of it really. There are other collections that linger in my mind. McQueen and his chessboard. Jacobs and his Louis Vuitton carousel. Wang and his locker room. But this collection, presented to us in a stark, white space haphazardly filled with balloons and shoes, lives adrift in time in a way that the others do not.







For those who make this world their life, recognizing the age of a collection becomes something of a sport. There are always markers, sometimes deep and sometimes superficial, left behind by the season's dominant trends. Rare is the designer who can avoid them altogether. McCartney herself is susceptible to those shifts as such movement is the inevitable outcome of doing business. The fashion industry is about change, about keeping up and playing that game, and many who cannot keep up are left behind to fail. 

In the five years since the collection’s debut, a lot has happened in my life. I moved home (for the second time) and moved away (for the second time). I toiled for four and a half years in apparel retail. I emotionally grew out of many of the stores that dominated my adolescence. And I came to appreciate clothes not only for their beauty but also for their versatility.







In many ways, we are at peak “personal style”. We Tumbl and Instagram our ensembles. The personal quickly becomes the public and the once unknown become icons. In that world, where things now move more quickly than they ever have, change on top of more change is applauded. And I relish it. I love nothing more than to settle in every season and see what the designers have brought us, what thoughts have left their heads and become reality. To see who has created something magical. And to observe how those invited to take part in the spectacle choose to clothe themselves.

My own style story is written all over this blog. The thawing of my icy hatred of floral prints. My loathing for, and subsequent love of, suits. And here, in one collection of 56 looks, all of that distills down into something manageable. If asked what my personal style is, I can simply point you in this direction. It is deceptive in its simplicity and some might see it at as boring, but I see classics. Pieces that can be worn for years and styled for multiple ages. Items that will become well-loved. 







Even the jumpsuits play a part. They remind me of my mother. Of the photographs that live in our Boston home and contain portraits of her much younger self. Of the feel and the weight and the smell of her clothes, especially the ones that featured so heavily in my early childhood. She has always been much cooler than I. Although they would never be found in my closet, their presence here is a nod to her and to her influence over me. 




Even if that influence did nothing more than produce something of a polar opposite.


Photos via

Monday, February 24, 2014

One Step Back

Occasionally a step back can also be a step forward. At least I think that's true of this place and what I do here. The idea of changing the pace of things has been lounging in the back of my mind for at least the past two years. The Favorites and The Roundups forced me to stay abreast of all that was changing and all that remained the same within the fashion world and when I moved home almost five years ago, I thought that I would need that push. That if I wasn’t careful I would lose the pieces of myself that I had gained while trying to build a life in New York. But I should have known better, should have known that I don’t have to handle my love of or my passion for certain topics.

So much of what I’ve done here in the past few years has felt burdensome and tiresome. I don’t know who I’m serving, but it's definitely not myself. When I wrote the post announcing that I will be moving to California in the spring, I realized what was missing. I had become so wrapped up in the ups and downs, the peplums and color stories, that my tone had become increasingly impersonal. And although I am capable of removing myself from the equation rather deftly, that is never what this was meant to be. So there will be a return of the more personal essays that dominated the earlier days of this blog, back when there was still a swear in the main title and I was still a bit unsure about what I was doing. I doubt that I'll be able to stop myself from doing a roundup here or there. Especially about the coats. How much I love the coats! But they won't dominate the conversation.

There might also be some longer, nerdier fashion pieces. Sometimes I find myself spouting off on Twitter about topics like my love of Prada and its quirkiness.

I've come to realize that 140 character bursts aren't sufficient. That I want to delve a bit further. Or a lot further. That I want to improve my criticism and analysis. That this place can be a playground upon which I practice those skills. It has always provided a space for that to some extent but often in short bursts that leave me unsatisfied.

But it will be a little while before these changes come into effect. Until then there will be closet inventories to perform and goodbyes to make.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hello, Goodbye

When the cold finally swept in late last year, I gleefully pulled on my shearling-lined wedge booties and snapped a picture to post on Instagram.


I bought them last winter, but as the season was beginning to wind down at that point, I only wore them out once or twice. But here was my chance. I’ve lost count of the times that they’ve been worn since that picture was taken. With skinny denim. With skinny wool trousers. With skirts and dresses. On Saturday night, they joined me as I walked from Boston to Cambridge over the Massachusetts Avenue bridge. They know something of this city now.

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that fall and winter are my favorite seasons for dressing. From my obsession with wool outerwear to my love of tights, they are the seasons in which I shine. I am a New Englander through and through, and that fact becomes apparent almost immediately upon meeting me. Probably because you’ll often find me in some variation of this.


Or this.


Or this.


Or this.


When I first started to care about my clothes again, about how I felt in them and about what the world saw when I was in them, summer dressing was a struggle. Sometimes it still is. So now I’m faced with a challenge. In two months I’ll be moving to Los Angeles. Unexpected yet exciting. A change that is a long time in coming. Boston and I are on bad terms, and time apart is needed.

The state of my closet makes things easier logistically. Half of my clothes are completely inappropriate. Too heavy and too warm. Not inclined to let in breezes. They can live here in my mother’s house or be donated. But they have been my safety net. They can be thrown on most days without thinking. Cords. Shirt. Sweater. Blazer. Boots. Even in the summertime my instinct is to throw on a sweater. Or to throw a blazer over a whisper thin tee. And oftentimes I succumb.



Because I can’t help myself. Because it’s second nature. Maybe just as Boston and I need a break, my cold weather clothing and I need one as well. It’s time to learn not to lean on those staples anymore. I’ve made it so easy for myself that sometimes I’m not even trying, not really anyway. But every day until then, I’m going to be wearing my tweed blazer.


And my favorite coat.


Might as well make the most of it while I can.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wrapped Up: Spring/Summer 2014

As I was making my way through the shows from Spring/Summer 2014, a pattern began to emerge. The coats that were usually packed away before reemerging in the Pre-Fall collections never made it into their virtual moth balls. One could say it was a consequence of the industry’s newfound obsession with “seasonless” dressing. With that move away from pieces that spoke loudly of heat waves and lazy days came the prominence of items meant to keep out the chill.

These unexpected pieces added a breadth to the season that was missing from most of the proceedings. Sometimes they reflected the mood of the season. Sometimes they reflected the warmth of the season. And they often referred back to the classics.

Although the tried and true trench tends to dominate the warm weather months, it was joined this season by some of the cold weather classics ranging from the peacoat to the varsity jacket.

At Guy Laroche


At Norma Kamali


At Kate Spade New York


At No. 21


At Marni


At Stella McCartney


These coats of substance were contrasted by those of a diaphanous nature, light and barely there, only meant to add texture to the ensemble as a whole.

At Tribune Standard


At Akris


At Francesco Scognamiglio


At Dries Van Noten


At Fendi


The overarching trends of the season also made their mark. White, one of the dominant colors of Spring/Summer 2014, was seen in coats of all shapes and sizes.

At Jenni Kayne


At Rochas


At Paule Ka


At Nina Ricci


At Mulberry


At Suno


And that cool minimalism floated in here and there.

At Burberry Prorsum


At Osman


At Joseph


At Guy Laroche


At Hermès


But most of the coats were about something more. The vibrancy that was lacking in so many of the collections were all over the toppers that were presented in a variety of colors.

At Marios Schwab


At Katie Ermilio


At Dolce & Gabbana


At J JS Lee


At Jil Sander Navy


At Miu Miu


At Burberry Prorsum


A variety of florals.

At Miu Miu


At Nicole Miller


At Eudon Choi


At Ann Demeulemeester


At Prabal Gurung


At Dries Van Noten


And a variety of other prints.

At Pedro Lourenço


At Clover Canyon


At Céline


At Antonio Marras


At Mary Katrantzou


At Prada


The yearly excitement caused by spring's arrival was all around.


Photos via, via