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.