Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wear & Tear

Today I settled into my spot at the café as I always do. Purse down on the windowsill next to the table. Coat on the back of the chair. The Laptop Bag on the opposite seat. Then I run off to grab my tea or coffee or sandwich before removing my computer from its sheath and getting to the work of finding work. But when I pulled off The Laptop Bag today, I noticed a red smudge.

I keep the strap of the bag long so that I can wear it across my body. This configuration leads the loop of fabric where the strap hooks onto the right side of the bag to bounce against my upper thigh. There it often meets the vivid red of my peacoat, and the fibers have begun to transfer from one to the other.

There are, of course, clothes and shoes and bags that I hope to keep in immaculate condition. That are perfectly cared for and for which the appearance of a small hole or stain or streak would lead to severe devastation on my part. But for most pieces, such wounds are to be worn as badges.

The peacoat in question is missing the button of its right epaulet. Forced off by repeated tugging on the purse that I carry on that shoulder, I've never felt the need to replace it or complain about its absence. The button's loss was my own fault. When there is no purse to hold it in place, the epaulet flaps mildly in the breeze. It shows how much I care for the coat. Shows that it rarely left me last winter.

Long jeans that are not rolled or cuffed begin to fray at the bottom. The leather of boots goes from smooth to rough, changed by rain and snow and occasional mud. Headbands stretch and appear misshapen in my hands but sit perfectly once placed on my head.

In the end, clothes are meant to be lived in, and each of their imperfections tells a story.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wrapped Up

Pre-Fall, much like Resort, is a season that trickles in. You believe that you've seen all there is to see, and then a show comes in and sweeps away that notion. Although I know that we are nowhere near the end, a few things have jumped out at me as they always do.

The major seasons always arrive at a time when I'm, in certain ways at least, not ready for them. Spring/Summer falls in September as I am fantasizing about sweaters and corduroys and gloves. Fall/Winter appears in the dead of February when after months of brutal winds that cut to the bone I can only daydream of sun dresses and espadrilles.

Pre-Fall, with its flurry of longer lengths and heavier fabrics, comes at the height of my lust for all things cold weather related. As I click through trying to spot themes and trends, I am stopped by pieces that I want to include in my current dreams. This season there were three coats.

At Chanel, it was a hunter green tweed that pulled my focus away from the task at hand.

The embellishments adorning the sleeves and high collar add an unexpected element. The swing cut imbues the whole look a sense of lightness and movement that can often be lost in the more rigid fabrics and deeper colors of fall.

At Doo.Ri, it was a classic silhouette in winter white.

There isn't anything in particular about the coat that makes it stand out from a host of others. Yet there is something just off enough to make the whole thing intriguing. Something about the way the girl is wearing it with its wide belt tied in a somewhat slouchy, yet ladylike, half bow.

And at Burberry Prorsum, it was an olive trench.

The sleekness of the fabric and the wide, cinching belt speak to a certain type of sophistication. The rigid, upturned collar, festooned as it is, would catch all the best aspects of that early fall sun for which it is meant.

Photos via

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Blues

Over the past few days, the wind has been of the cutting to the bone variety. Yet I have worn both a skirt and a dress on separate occasions this week. Yesterday it was a blue, plaid woolen mini with faux sailor buttons. On my way out as the winter sun shone, the tights covering my legs performed their job admirably. On my way home hours after the sun had set, the wind felt like a million pins bombarding my legs until they succumbed to numbness.

Though uncomfortable, I made a point not to complain. Yes it's cold, but I live in Boston, and it's going to be cold until April. I better make do.

When not wearing various types of skinny pants with knee high boots or layering argyle knee socks under my jeans in order to extend the life of my ballet flats, I've been running around in tights of various hues. And not just grays and blacks and other colors in that family. My legs have begun to resemble a set of crayons stripped of their wrapping. Yesterday's pair were a brilliant blue. They popped against the vibrant red of my peacoat. The mauve and the mustard have been waiting for this moment. For navy dresses and striped tops worn with corduroy skirts. The silver sparkle tights sit anticipating their turn.

It seems as if my color notions are all mixed up. As the cold causes others to lumber into the dark, I can't help but do the opposite. I spent an hour this morning looking for a specific cobalt blue top. Only it could provide the perfect flush of color that would complement my thickly knit, winter white cardigan. Its inability to be found set the day off to the wrong start.

Others are surprised by the brightness. I am surprised by my reliance on it.

I'm pulled in one direction and then another.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Maybe it's the chill that's finally settled in or some shift in my mood as the days have gotten shorter, but as New Year's Eve (my favorite holiday, what with the bubbly drinks and the sparkles and the kisses at midnight) approaches, I've become less inclined to wear a party dress.

I will still wear one, of course, as my closet is overloaded with them. It will be my favorite of the moment. The one that's been seen more than once by my Boston friends but will be new to those in New York whom I haven't seen in almost six months. It's a strapless black minidress. Tulip skirt. Simple. It will be paired with sparkly black tights, layered over a silk sequined tank, and finished with heeled mary janes. The entire look says sexy and sweet and festive. It's rather good at drawing those compliments that make me both smile and cringe. But for some reason, all of that sweetness and all of that prettiness have been making me uneasy recently. I tug and pull at my A-line minis not because of their length but because of some discomfort that I can't describe.

I wouldn't say that I've become bored with all of those pretty girl dresses. Just that I've become tired of the acting that those clothes sometimes involve. The acting that I can't seem to help myself from undertaking while in them.

But I think that the impulse to put on the mask would fade away in slim-fitting pants like these from Stella McCartney

Offset with a pair of sparkly pumps from Miu Miu

And a Vanessa Bruno Athé sweater.

A black cuff from Aurelie Bidermann would sit on my right arm

While a Lanvin cocktail ring would adorn the finger that is supposed to remain bare.

Photos via, via

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Leftovers: Paris Fashion Week SS11

There have been seasons in the past when, upon looking at the clothes, I was left confused about what temperatures the designers thought we would be experiencing in the months to come. Leather skirts for summer. Barely there dresses for winter. However, this season, which was filled with color, lightness and occasional whimsy, never caused that confusion to arise.

That was until Paris where the story being told was a somber one.

At Neil Barrett

At Ann Demeulemeester

At Chanel

At Rick Owens

At Yohji Yamamoto

At The Row

At Stella McCartney

At Balenciaga

At A.F. Vandervorst

At Alexander McQueen

At Martin Grant

At Louis Vuitton

At Haider Ackermann

At Lanvin

At Roland Mouret

At Hermès

The clothes resembled a storm’s approach. Warning you not to play outside. And in this instance, that foreboding seemed more appropriate somehow. A closer representation of the times if not of the season.

That darker thread could even be seen in the trends that held over from the previous cities.

The White

At Gareth Pugh

At Pedro Lourenço

At Paul & Joe

At Chloé

At Rick Owens

At Sharon Wauchob

The Transparency

At Lanvin

At Giambattista Valli

At Valentino

The Prints

At Carven

At Cacharel

At Chanel

At Akris

At Alexander McQueen

At Manish Arora

The Color

At Haider Ackermann

At Lanvin

At Nina Ricci

At Damir Doma

At Paul & Joe

At Haider Ackermann

At Roland Mouret

In the end, I found myself most drawn to London and Milan. There are times when color and prints and whimsy and air are more necessary than anything else.

There are times when they are essential.

Photos via

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Costume Changes

A few weeks ago I sat outside in the unseasonably warm air talking to a friend on the phone. As it so often does with us, the conversation meandered from topic to topic until it landed on the topic of a recently purchased pair of pants

Me: I bought a pair of grown up pants.

Friend: You are a grown up, but I get what you're saying.

The pants in question are slim, cropped and woolen. They've been worn on one interview since their purchase. Most days I consider them before remembering that I'll be spending most of the day in the library writing things of the cover letter and non-cover letter variety that most people will never read. At that moment, I grab one of the many, many pairs of jeans I own or, if I'm feeling feisty, a miniskirt to be complimented by tights and boots. When I'm feeling particularly lazy and listless, I pair my chambray shorts with black tights and call it a fucking day.

I've spent the past few years avoiding real pants. Where would I wear them? Jeans would get more use. Skirts and dresses would never remain hidden. Real pants would sit in my closet taking up space with dresses from various high school and college formals and that cardigan with the floral embroidery that I need to get rid of because even looking at it causes nauseating flashbacks to how much of a grandmother I must have looked like in it.

But I told myself I would stop saying maybe later to things because of some perception I have of what my life is now. That better things will come and then I will deserve them.

So I bought them.

But still, sometimes, they remind of all those things I don't have that I wish I did.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Leftovers: Milan Fashion Week SS11

Whenever I go back through the photos that I’ve bookmarked, I always notice things I didn’t see the first time. A new skirt length. An interesting shoe. Entire collections.

I went more days without a favorite in Milan than I did in any other city this season. I realize now that that fact had very little to do with Milan and a lot to do with general fashion fatigue augmented by life fatigue. Going through the photos again made me realize that Milan might have been my favorite city of the four. A reexamination of Paris, often the winner in my opinion, will have to come before I can be sure of that statement.

Like New York and London before it, Milan had a story. Its story was one of color. There were few pastels and other colors of the sun-faded variety. Instead there were brights. A veritable rainbow walked down many runways and injected a life into the season that had been missing up until that point.

The threads from the other cities continued to be seen.

White and transparency from New York.

At No.21

At Bottega Veneta

At Dolce & Gabbana

At Alberta Ferretti

At Luisa Beccaria

At Emporio Armani

Prints and patterns from London.

At Sportmax

At Albino

At Emilio Pucci

At Aquilano.Rimondi

At Dolce & Gabbana

But color was, for lack of a better word, king.

At Luisa Beccaria

At Gucci

At Etro

At Moschino

At MaxMara

At Salvatore Ferragamo

At Emilio Pucci

At Prada

At Aquilano.Rimondi

At MaxMara

But in the end, no one did it better than Raf Simons at Jil Sander.

Photos via