Thursday, July 30, 2009

Time Travel

Yesterday, while looking for something else, I came across an old pair of flats. That's the thing about living at home again. I'm always finding things. Like that copy of A Confederacy of Dunces that I never got around to reading and now takes it rightful place in my purse.

The flats have a rounded point that resembles the tip of an elf's shoes. The fabric reminds one of an old tapestry that one would find hiding in a castle. Or in the manor house from The Secret Garden.

I remember exactly when I bought them. I spent the spring semester of my junior year of college studying abroad in London. On the night of my first full day, I wandered around the Kensington area where our hotel was located (we were soon to leave for a quick family stay before moving into our dormitories). I made my way to Whiteleys but did not purchase anything there. On the way back, a small shop caught my eye, and I left with the flats. They were the first of many purchases I made especially after I discovered the wonder that is Topshop.

They were also the item that I wore the most out of things both purchased and packed. They visited museums and parks. They were stuffed in a suitcase for a quick trip with one of my flatmates to visit Prague. I ran into another girl wearing the same shoes while out at a club, and we spent 12 minutes drunkenly complimenting each other on our impeccable fashion sense.

All of these outings and encounters and memories of once precious items flooded back when I put them on yesterday. The early morning I spent eating a bacon sandwich after an epic evening out. The red purse from H&M that I carried everywhere and still holds my Oyster card over five years later. The blunt bangs I got before our trip to a rather windy Stonehenge.

I racked my brain for why I hadn't worn the flats in so long. The heels were a little uneven, but that could be easily fixed. A trip to the cobbler would be had. And then they could claim their rightful place in my shoe rotation, if only for the memories that come bubbling to the surface when they are worn.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

But I Love To Watch You Leave

I’ve recently become obsessed with the back of things.

Last week, while drinking a Miller (I know) in a local bar, I sat at an elevated table on an elevated stool. Adjacent to me sat a boy/girl couple quietly playing Scrabble and enjoying a simple Wednesday night date. The girl half had her back to me. She wore a black sleeveless dress. The back dipped low as if she had put on a wrap dress the wrong way. A large, asymmetrical swath of her back was left bare.

The backs of all of my garments are unassuming. Simple. No flash. Everything of interest is kept to the front half. I stopped wearing halters and strapless dresses years ago, tired of fighting with strapless bras that never really worked. My back stayed covered up. But I've come to realize recently that it's not necessarily about flesh versus no flesh. Things are, as always, more complex and nuanced than that.

For a look that says sex without screaming it, all you need is a window of skin and the exposed zipper of this dress by Preen.

The simplicity of the front of this piece by Alexander Wang is complimented by the soft knotting and over-sized keyhole of its back.

This top from Urban Outfitters hides a surprise only revealed when longer hair is swept away.

The geometric shape seen in the back of this dress by Jen Kao draws your eye to the shoulders.

This dress by Sari Gueron is perfection in my eyes.

All legs.

And a little gift as you leave the room.

Photos via, via, via, via

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gray Skies

It's been cold and rainy again for the past few days. And instead of going stir crazy, my mind has turned to fall.

At times, I surprise myself with my flightiness. It feels like only last week I was thinking of balmy vacations.

A real post with words is forthcoming.

Photo via

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I'm going to pretend that this skirt isn't only available in an extra small:

Photo via

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Between

When I began exploring my interest in clothing, I was confused by many things. The most significant of these being the existence of only two seasons: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. There were many months of the year when one could enter a store and see skirts and dresses and suits that had never made their way down a runway. I spent a fair amount of time in those days wondering where all of these magical clothes had come from.

There have always been transitional seasons. Pre-Fall. Pre-Spring. Holiday. But during the middle portion of this decade, more and more designers began having presentations and shows for these smaller but just as significant collections. And it was while browsing through those pictures on that I was finally able to answer my question and fill that gap in my education.

Resort is probably the hardest of these smaller seasons to grasp when one considers its name and the time period in which it is supposed to be worn. There was a time when those with extreme wealth spent large swaths of the traditionally winter months traveling to far steamier climes. And, of course, a new set of clothes would be needed for these jaunts. For some these times still exist. But for most the winter is spent traversing frozen streets and watching ice melter ruin the leather of her pretty equestrian boots. (I might have personal experience with this.)

You can see Resort's origins littered throughout the collections for 2010. Some designers rely more on that past than others. But for many it has become a way to continue thoughts first seen in the Fall/Winter shows. Or to test out ideas that will become fully realized in the Spring/Summer shows in September. Some designers have managed to do all of these things at once, deftly navigating the many possibilities of an ever changing season. Mixing the more traditional and the less traditional.

And using those endpoints is the easiest way to organize my favorites.

The Less

Christopher Kane

Alexander Wang

Burberry Prorsum

Elise Øverland

Helmut Lang


Rachel Roy

Rag & Bone

Jenni Kayne

Richard Chai

Giorgio Armani

Stella McCartney

Viktor & Rolf

Zero + Maria Cornejo

Basso & Brooke

The More

Basso & Brooke again

Giorgio Armani again

Chris Benz

Matthew Williamson

3.1 Phillip Lim



Cynthia Rowley

Oscar de la Renta

Roberto Cavalli

Yigal Azrouël

Some pieces I love for me. Others simply for their creativity.

Photos via

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Wallet

This is not a Favorite Pieces post.

I don't get bored with things easily. In fact, if I really love something, I wear it as often as I can and end up mourning its eventual demise.

But as with all things in life, the usual is not the always.

On Sunday, when I went to grab my wallet out of my bag to pay for a new pair of skinny jeans at Second Time Around, I took a real look at it for the first time in months.

I bought my current wallet during my first trip to Century 21 in the fall of 2005. My wallet at the time was falling to pieces, and I needed something to replace it. I was still in the early stages of my fashion education and chose the simplest one available. Its one exciting feature was its blood red color, and for me, at that time, that was enough. I quickly became bored with it but never enough to replace it. It still performed its function and was only taken out of my bag when there was money to be exchanged. So what if it was fraying at the seams now? Or that the leather had lost all of its previously held structure? The few minutes that people glimpsed it weren't all that important.

But Sunday afternoon, I placed it on the glass case that the register stood on as I waited for my debit card to be approved and looked at the set of shelves behind the girl handling my sale. All of the most expensive items lived there, held for safekeeping. The designer shoes and designer bags. And a few designer wallets. And though I didn't want those, I realized that I did want something new. Needed something new. The Wallet didn't fit into my life anymore. It was time for it to be replaced.

It is the last discernible remnant of a Samantha that no longer exists. One for whom good enough was acceptable when making a purchase. Now, no matter whether it's a $4 bracelet from H&M or a pair of Joe's Jeans, good enough is never good enough.

And so the search begins for a replacement.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Blowing Bubbles

Have been burying myself in Resort 2010 pictures in preparation for a mega post and have decided that I must own the entire Stella McCartney presentation. Even the balloons.

I could honestly live in Stella McCartney and nothing else for the rest of my life.

I'll have something more coherent later. I promise.

Photos via

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Site Seeing

Near the end of my internship, one of my co-workers asked if I wanted to join her to take a look at a brand called Jolibe. I was always a fan of these field trips and was quick to reply in the affirmative. Carefully navigating the slush littering the sidewalks, we traveled south and east before arriving at our destination.

The elevator of the building opened directly into a small studio. I loved the way that so much creativity could be contained in such a small space. It's one of those things that I loved about New York. A few racks of clothing stood at the end nearest the windows. Further into the room sat a computer and sewing machines. After introductions were made, my co-worker began discussing the clothes with the designer and his business partner.

I loved these trips for many reasons. Getting to view up close the creations of designers I had barely heard of. Catching a peek of a small photo shoot for the pages of Vogue. Recognizing pieces previously worn by stars. Imagining which pieces I would buy for myself if that ever became possible. But the best part was hearing the designers talk about what inspired them. Their vision. What led them to make that dress. Or this necklace.

I often find myself in awe of those who naturally possess the ability to create. Beyond sitting at my Casio keyboard at the age of 11 and composing little ditties when I should have been practicing my violin or doing my French homework, my creativity rarely stretched beyond the problem solving skills needed for math tests and lab experiments. My writing has always been at its best when observational. Weaving tales is not my forte.

So I would listen and try to understand. The understanding never fully came. I couldn't twist my mind in that way.

But the appreciation was always amplified.