Witch

 

Image

 

I’ve decided to go full witch for Spring. I went to my H&M and I bought all the drapey black t-shirts they had, a full length black dress and restocked my Uniqlo black jeans.

Image

Now the problem with this first go around of my witch look is that two people mentioned my resemblance to an orthodox Jewish woman. Damn the contextual nature of fashion! In Boulder or San Francisco I would have looked like a young Eileen Fisher devotee, but in Brooklyn my modesty was a wee bit too OJ.

But as Nina Garcia would say, it is all in the styling. So I need to take a few more cues from the Olsens in my witch look.

2c3a_Mary-Kate-Ashley-Olsen-Wearing-Birkenstocks

And they are copying basically the entirely of Hel Looks.

I think the key is to ask yourself, do I look enough like this lady? And then modify accordingly.

20120523_02

But basically the genius of the witch look, pioneered by a certain lady academic friend of mine with flaxen hair, is that you accumulate a whole bunch of black stuff and then it all “goes together.” I realize that this is a principle as old as the lady professional, but I have never really done it because I have been recovering from my mother’s commitment to the principle in the mid 90s. I think I am ready now.

I’m off to put on my black bat-wing t-shirt (two sizes too big), my black skinny jeans and my black boots. I am even kind of into a witchy plum eye with this look.

smudgy-plum-eye-makeup-rachel-comey-aw14

 

-D

Shopping for Other People is Fun

Since D was so kind and deconstructed my taste in fashion for me, I’d like to return the favor and find her the perfect sandals.

Would Danskos be too ceramics-teacher-core? I thought these looked sort of Swedish Hasbeens-ish, but have good support instead of just being straps on a piece of wood. Ooh, and these are pretty bitchin’:

Image

Also, there are these, which I saw in a catalog today, because, being eighty-five years old, I still receive catalogs in the mail:

Image
Pretty pricey, though. And maybe too high a wedge for walking around. Are the straps on these too thin?

Image

Also–and I cannot believe that this is the kind of memory my mind chooses to retain–Sassy Magazine* used to feature Dr. Scholl’s a lot, in an “ugly-trendy” way. ‘Cos if you want orthopedic, look no further.

Love,

C

*Yes, I’ve looked at the Sassy Scans Tumblr for hours, and yes, I remember EVERY SINGLE G.D. PICTURE from 1992 on. I must have looked at my copies literally hundreds of times each. However, I was surprised and pleased as punch to see this feature, which came out in 1990, before I started subscribing.

Orthopedic Sandals

I was an early adopter of orthopedic sandals, even before the Worishofer craze swept Brooklyn.

sandals-main-slide

Kristin Dunst even ventured into the “slingback” model.

kirsten

But after three years of Worishofer summers I need to report that there is a price to be paid for these adorable and affordable sandals that no celebrity will tell you: they are disposable and you will need to buy a new pair every year because if water even TOUCHES them, they start to disintegrate.

So, my quest for the sandal that can withstand one spring shower and still support my swollen arch-less feet for miles and miles of walking continues.

Here are my guidelines for sandals:

1. They cannot be flat.

2. They must be leather and have wide and well distributed straps that do not rub my feet.

3. They must be simple and cute and not emphasize my sturdy ankle girth.

There are plenty of sandals that meet 2 and 3, but not 1. For some reason everyone else seems to be able to walk around the earth with a piece of thin leather attached to their foot.

So far, this pair available on the Anthropologie website looks promising:

928584a71cd0ea60ee116137b5a9be68

However the prospect of losing the foam cushioning of the Worishofer underneath my overworked feet is terrifying.

Lastly, no matter how many adorable girls adopt Birkenstocks, it is important to recognize that they are capable of Normcore beauty in ways that a real 30 year old woman is not.

birkenstocks-01

-D

Non-original Uniform

In honor of C.’s interest in giving up on individuality, I want to do a little leg work for those of us who just want to look like every hip housewife with a gluten intolerance.

First of all, if you have a lot of money you can just copy women by shopping where they shop. Here is a seasonally confused outfit from the most important purveyor of that “easy” look that you can only afford if you also can afford a townhouse in Park Slope: Bird.

Caitlin-blue-1

Secondly, you can start to break down the logic of this look. It is really based on a few key brands.

1. Rachel Comey–the designer who has made shapeless sacks and low heeled booties so appealing.

rachel_comey_source_top_outfit

2. Helmut Lang–This is kind of a throwback to the 90s and early 2000’s, but drapey t-shirts never really went out of style.

hl2

Or you can focus on key pieces:

Ankle boots–Rachel Comey, Rag and Bone, or Acne. Or of course there is the vast range of knock offs for normalo’s: Dolce Vita, Jeffrey Campbell, Madewell.

images-6

It is important, however, to understand that this lady looks like this not because of her ankle booties but because she is wispy size 2.

black-rachel-comey-boots_400

Then you get yourself a high quality top from Steven Alan, that says “I was so busy getting the kids to Waldorf playgroup that I just threw on this stripey t-shirt” (or for us poor people: Everlane).

S14_NA_S14-TS0198-14P035E_ECRU_PD

Then you also buy that staple of Greenpoint fashion for the days that your Rachel Comey ankle boots are boring you: the No.6 clogs (in winter and summer versions)

img_0206ccre_1 img_0552ccre

And pair it all with some high-waisted skinny jeans and a cocoon bright coat (wear this coat in the summer to achieve maximal seasonal confusion/street style points):

image1xl

No foundation, maybe mascara, pair with matte red lip (can only be achieved with Nars Dragon girl or MAC Russian Red). Unfortunately this look requires PERFECT skin, so make your plans accordingly.

MAC+Russian+Red+Face+Swatch

See, it is just a formula. We can do it!

An Approach

I need a new wardrobe. The one I have currently works for the present because I am always covered in the bodily fluids of my two young children and never leave the house. By the summer, however, I hope to enter the workforce and be a bit more social. Would it be at all acceptable to just straight up copy most of this woman’s outfits? My inner high schooler is appalled by this copy cat way of reconstructing my style, but she looks so great in a totally achievable way that I’m seriously tempted to fill my closet with the clothes she features on her site.

11674464326_3c57866f69 10386762076_6968b9367f_b

All photographs by Lauren of crumbbums.com

11653830134_d656a2e533_b

Even if I don’t end up aping her look, I will definitely use her general approach to style as a guide. I’ve already pared down my closet considerably, and will probably do so again in a few months when I’m a different size.*

So far, I can see two problems with the mimic approach to style. Aside from the creepiness of completely copying someone else’s look, there is also the problem of knowing whether I look good in certain clothes. I have no idea, honestly no idea, whether or not I am able to pull off any of the clothes I choose. There are outfits that I think I look perfectly fine in, that I feel like I can count on as a regular go-to that I realize absolutely do not work when I see a picture of myself in them. How do I figure out what cuts and shapes and colors work for me? Should I invest in a day of advice from a personal shopper-type person?

C

*Huff, this might not happen. I can’t seem to shake the last twenty pounds of my baby weight. However, I am trying to be cool with this because taking care of two younguns really f*cking hard and I need to cut myself some slack.

Polar Vortex Survival

The SAD is upon me. My skin burns from the cold, my brain strains under the stress of grey days, and more importantly I am tired of staring at the dog fur on my floor. Release me from this winter prison!

Here are the only things making my polar vortex lifestyle bearable:

wigwam socks

images-5

My husband got me a pair of these from the army navy store, and wow, these are coats for your feet.

HAIM

Because these sisters live in a warm climate and sing retro 80’s pop songs together. Maybe if you listen long enough they will manifest before you.

garnet hill down coat

kamik-puff-long-down-coat-595-fill-power-for-women-in-dark-brown~p~4622m_03~220.4

I’m not proud of this, but to be fair every young woman with a brain in New York City is also walking around in a wearable sleeping bag. The rich ones are wearing the fur lined Canadian Goose version.

l.l. bean boots

tumblr_mat4ucnkJe1rx9ilso1_1280

This is not actually what I look like in mine, but it is what I imagine I look like in mine. I personally think that thinsulate bean boots are one of the most fashionable real winter boots. Just make sure to order a full size and a half down. Maybe I’ll get really bold this spring and wear them like the cute 20 year-olds who work in coffee shops: with bare legs and a sundress. It makes no sense, that’s why its so cool.

Finally

20140129-125658.jpg

20140129-125707.jpg

I think that this sweater is a smart solution to the shapeless quality of a giant sweater, but some empirical evidence suggests that it confuses and repels men. But that’s like a whole thing these days. I bought it on the strangely thrilling vaunte.com (where rich ladies unload their old stuff).

 

–D

Hauls

One of the many fascinations of contemporary blogging/vlogging culture is the extreme amount of money that it takes to share your personal style with the world whilst not being paid. The “haul” is a fantastically strange beast, in which young women share on youtube their shopping haul–unloading their overflowing bags from topshop, nordstroms, and sephora. In some ways the haul seems to be a product of the arrival of “fast fashion,” or extremely cheap stores like H&M that allow people to buy many products for very little money. But the really popular people on youtube are showing off very expensive purchases. One of my favorite youtube people seems to be a nanny, so how she spends hundreds of dollars every month on makeup and clothes is a bit of a mystery. I guess people also have credit cards, so maybe in haul videos we are just watching Americans spending more than they have in real time. And the really successful ones are just given stuff.

There is another answer that makes me a little uncomfortable. Some of these women just make a reasonable amount of money and choose to spend between $100 and $500 a month on frivolous things. This is hard for me to imagine, because I think even if I made $60,000 a year I would be slightly embarrassed to show the world my $700 Chloe shoes on youtube. And that’s without any of the caveats of debt, dependents, or lack of job security.

But at the same time, I think that we as a culture are very weird about women spending their own money. As women become more and more dominant in the workforce, it is obvious that luxury purchases will also be increasingly consumed by women. But I think there is still a way in which we assume that men can more rationally assess the difference between a want and a need and make their consumer choices accordingly. As the “chrissstinne” in the above video says, “I work 70 hour weeks” as she is justifies her very expensive shoe purchase. However, I think she tells us that because it seems a little wrong that a 25 year old should buy herself $700 shoes.

I guess my real question is whether there is actually something liberating about young women with large incomes (a category that I would love to be in), saying “I have a $500 a month budget for beauty.” Or is this merely the feminization of white collar work catching up with the feminization of consumption?

Athletic Lady Wear

20140124-122515.jpg

Recently I attended an US Weekly sponsored Tracy Anderson workout: I basically died from the adrenaline of meeting my fitness guru. Miraculously I was revived when she cupped my ass with her hands and told me that I was a “star student.” She then furrowed her taut brow and warned me to focus more on my glutes (not my quads). The earth shattered and then embraced me in its deconstructed fragments as I looked into her big blue eyes surrounded by orange poreless skin. She was so small that I could tuck her into my hip like a child as we posed for photos. I felt so much guilt for all the times I have ever strayed from her narrow and difficult path and felt confident that if I return to her PROGRAM, everything will be okay, everything will be manageable. As the less dutiful attendees asked her silly questions about what to do if her workouts are too hard on your knees, she ignored them and refocused on me and Joanne from Connecticut when we proudly announced that we had been following her for three years. I joked that it was such a treat to be felt up by her in public. Tracy slyly replied that it was a treat to feel me up in public. Oh Tracy, such a sense of humor.

Okay, now that you know about my cult experience, on to the real issue.

Would I have had even more fun at this event if my sneakers were as colorful as my amazing Onzie tights? Yes. And the nice thing is you HAVE to replace your running shoes, so next time around I am totally going to get those Asics Gel-Kayanos in purple and pink. Because . . . it’s what Tracy would do.

images-3

But there is a darker side to athletic wear. One that I have become very attuned to since my time in Indiana and NYC. This is the dangerous world of replacing normal clothes with stylish and fun athletic wear. A concept that I am constantly toying with:

20140124-181640.jpg

Now some people do this in a way that truly elevates sneakers to actual clothing.

s11

The much much darker side of this is the full on athletic wear look:

AdrianneHo_SweatIt_Pink_4

As I stand behind women in full on black leggings and neon sneakers (NYC) or sorority girls in running shorts and tank tops with very large armholes (Indiana) in a Starbucks line, I am filled with awe at their superwomen inspired outfits. But the real reason that I cannot emulate these women is not their impressively skinny limbs, it’s that these women are not messy like I am. They have well-clipped cuticles, water-proof mascara, and most importantly, tanned and well moisturized skin that seems to blend into the stretchy and tight athletic wear. They wear their skin like lycra and their lycra like skin.

Only when I have mastered the putty colored manicure and bare yet glowing skin, all topped off with a smart blazer and some ankle grazing slacks should I be allowed to wear these as my footwear:

06690_OR5884

-D

Beauty and Fashion Blogs

I loved when the magazine Lucky was launched because it cut to the chase and just said “here is a product that we are being paid to show you, maybe you would like to buy it.” Similarly the era of blogs and youtube have cut through all the extras of beauty magazines (or “words” as they are called) and mostly delivers images. I applaud this step forward for humanity. This world is also populated by women who are “doing it themselves,” which means they spend their own time and money to show you all the different shades of a NARS lip crayon. Why? Well, what is the post-industrial age if not an impressive trick in which corporations get non-employees to do their labor for free?

Here is what I want from a 15 min. descent into the beauty/fashion internet: 1) voyeurism (I can’t believe you are putting this tutorial about how to cover a zit on Youtube!) 2) more money than I have (how in the world do you buy a whole new outfit every week!) 3) SKILLZ

Here are my favorites:

1. chelsea wears’ youtube channel

A true amateur. She actually seems to buy all this stuff herself.

2. Riches for Rags

tumblr_mxkccncx4K1rvbbl2o1_1280

No words! Only images from fashion magazines, street style blogs and red carpets. How genius. It is like Pinterest if no one ever posted any images of affirmations.

3. Le Catch and Girls of a Certain Age

Okay this is a bit of a cheat. These blogs are run by women who are former fashion magazine editors. But that is also why they are so good.

4. Lisa Eldridge

Seriously, this is the best. She is also a professional real makeup artist. But if the patter of her British accent doesn’t sooth your anxieties, your problems are too big to be solved on the internet.

Dressing Like a Grown Woman: Bag Edition

For (too) many years, I used a tote bag to carry all of my womanly essentials.* On the days when I dressed casually (most days), the tote bag looked pretty cool. I think. But as I rapidly made my way through my early thirties, I began to wonder if maybe I should transition to a bag that was designed to carry something other than picture books from the library. On occasions that required dressier clothes, the tote bag looked dumb and I had to resort to a purse** which made me feel a bit more put-together, but also a little frumpy. However, any time I attempted to shop for a large, nice-ish bag, I was always quickly bored and also turned off by the quality-to-price ratio.*** So I continued to carry around the tote and missed who knows how many calls because no matter how organized I tried to keep it, turned into a bottomless carpetbag every time the phone rang.

My husband totally rescued me from my bag problems this summer by giving me this for my birthday:

2013-11-10 10.48.58

Isn’t it lovely? Perfectly simple and streamlined, and it works with both my professional clothes and my every day outfits. How he decided upon this wonderful item in the first place, I have no idea. I’ve never dropped any hints, nor is my internet history full of bag searches. He just somehow F*CKING NAILED IT, right?!

This bag (I’m sorry I can’t provide a more specific link–it was on clearance on Amazon and doesn’t seem to be available any more****) is not only a means of helping me look less like a college student and more like the grown-ass woman that I am. It is also–wait for it–super practical:

2013-11-10 10.51.00

I know this is like, grown-up bag 101, but I never cease to be delighted by the little pockets that are perfectly sized for wallet, keys and phone. And it has just the right amount of interior pocket-age and just the right amount of open tote-iness. No more rooting around for my wallet at the checkout line. No more missed calls. Instant access to the pea gravel.

Another reason to consider investing***** in a somewhat expensive bag like this is that I think it’s pretty timeless in terms of fashion (or at the very least, seems like it will carry me through a good five or so trend cycles). And unlike a tote bag or leather-like thing from Target, I’m pretty sure it won’t fall to pieces in a few months.

And best of all, EES SO PRETTY.

*Ten used Kleenex, half a hot dog and some pea gravel.

**Purses are kind of gross, right? Someone convince me I’m wrong.

***$40 for a leather-like thing that will begin to flake immediately and smells like a burning tire? TRY AGAIN TARGET.

****The prices currently listed for similar bags are super high. Definitely wait for  them to go on clearance–I think he paid roughly half to a third of the average listed price for mine.

*****BARF

-C

Blog at WordPress.com.