Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On the Run in Heels

Someone is trying very hard to get me to buy something: Last week Boden sent me TWO coupons for $20 each, which could be used in conjunction with one of their other discounts, and today the lovely people at Saks sent me a 15% off email, which is really quite tempting because I’ve been eyeing this pair of Loeffler Randall shoes (and readers will know that I’m mad for my gray pair, which also zips up the back), but what confuses me a little is that these shoes also come in snakeskin and although I have an aversion to that texture, the shoes are really attractive, so I might rethink my phobia . . . or not; but seriously, I can always use a strong pair of heels to wear with cropped (just to the ankle) skinny trousers, so we’ll see what I do—or don’t do. Gotta run (on)!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Question Period

I've been tagged by the lovely K.Line to answer just a few questions.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention; add a question of your own.

2. Tag eight other un-tagged people.

What is your current obsession? Deadlines

Good coffee place? Solon Islandis

Do you nap a lot? Do I *nap* a lot? What?!

Who was the last person you hugged? Mr. C

What’s for dinner? A chicken/black beans/corn/tomato/cilantro concoction, served in soft tortillas

What was the last thing you bought? The latest copy of Selvedge magazine

What are you listening to right now? The Sugar Cubes

What is your favourite weather? Sunny and crisp enough that I can run in a light jacket

What’s on your bedside table? Elizabeth Gaskell, Zadie Smith, Alice Munro.

Say something to the person/s who tagged you. Hi K. Line . . . Have you found Dr. Cheese and the Cake Lady yet?

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be? Somewhere in the UK, with a hedgerow and fresh cheddar nearby.

Favourite vacation spot? By the ocean

Name the things you can’t live without. Anticipation; my topknot; lip balm; wit, color; friendship

What would you like to have in your hands right now? Marilla Moormaiden as a puppy (my beloved bulldog)

What is your favourite tea flavour? I like any flavour except vanilla and chamomile, which I loathe.

What would you like to get rid of? My perffectionism

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island, circa 1973, or Liberty of London

What did you want to become as a child? A triple threat

What's your favourite brand of jeans? I don’t like jeans

What designer piece of clothing would you most like to own (new or vintage)? A light gray wool winter jacket with a peplum, an asymmetrical zip closure, a lamb collar, and a belted (with buckle) waist.

Twitter or Facebook? Tweets all the way!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Miss Cellaneous at Midnight

As the clock prepares to strike midnight, I’m finishing some pre-sleep browsing online.

I’ve been distracted from stylish thoughts during the past few weeks, but feel the spring fever coming on.

I therefore assembled some quirky items, all of which would be welcome in my spring closet.

The Philip Lim ruffle jacket above would look great with a pair of jeans and heels. I usually avoid ruffles, but these seem more cool than girly, so I’d give them a try.

These Robert Clergerie sandals have just the right combination of louche and ladylike for me. They’re really quite ugly-pretty, but the velvety suede appeals. I could wear these with shorts and feel contentedly decadent.

Finally, I’ve been missing a low-slung belt from my wardrobe. When I worked for a designer in Canada, I had two great Viking-inspired belts (really!). They were pieced metal and one was super heavy—great for sweaters—and the other was a lighter, relatively more delicate version. I gave them away years ago thinking I’d never wear them again, but . . .

Anyway, I rather like this one from Etro. It’s clean and the wavy paisley is a feminine shape. But I do wish that the leather were brown, so it would better complement my clothing.

The Look for Less, or Less of a Look?

Exhibit A is this LV shoe, with photo from Jak & Jil:

Exhibit B is this shoe from Bebe:

A costs around $2000.

B costs around $150.

Is B the look for less, or less of a look?

(I saw both of them *in person* in Chicago, where Bebe on Oak is just around the corner from LV on Michigan.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ringing in the Sheaves

In Chicago I made a few trips to Barneys. I’m not an impulse buyer; I like to think and ponder and consider some more before spending my money and often take greater satisfaction in *not* making a purchase.

I’m also not a jewelry person; I wear my engagement ring and my wedding ring (never on the same hand!) and occasionally dip into my earring collection. (This austerity has been cultivated over the last 20 years; I loved statement earrings all through my twenties.)

All this preface is to demonstrate how surprised I was to keep returning to Barneys’ jewelry counter. All the usual suspects were there—Me & Ro, Ten Thousand Things, Antonio Palladino—casually perched on burlap as if to suggest that their prices were also casual. Sometimes I imagine that I’ll lift up a piece and be pleasantly surprised at the sales tag, as when I found a (mispriced) enormous chunk of fresh parmesan at Whole Foods.

No happy surprises during my latest visits, but I *was* drawn to a Cathy Waterman diamond “leaf” ring. I’ve been thinking about updating my wedding band of almost 18 years, and would possibly like something with diamonds, but I don’t like the bulk that usually accompanies a diamond band.

The Waterman, however, was delicate, yet sturdy, and very feminine. I thought it could be really pretty to wear most days.

So I thought about it all the way home and thought about it a little today and sometime this evening realized that I had missed the NYT’s Thursday Styles section while I was away and called it up online and scrolled through a few stories, and


My leaf (actually a sheaf of wheat) ring was at the top of a stack of rings on a heavily be-ringed hand in a photo for the NYT. It's to the far left in the image above.

And you know how I don’t like to follow the crowd . . . so the super-delicate, pretty Cathy Waterman ring is now banished from my thoughts. I’m perfectly happy with my original wedding ring. And my original husband, for that matter.

Analyze This

I’ve seen the “Linked Within” widget on esteemed blogs like this one and this one, and, intrigued, thought I’d try it out.

I’ve never taken the time to categorize my posts, to group them under headings, so I thought that this widget might do the job in a more entertaining manner.

I’m curious to see what it will suggest as “related stories.”

Of course, my silly side recalls the Seinfeld episode where George’s Ti-Vo taped only gay-themed programs for him, much to his confusion.

So let’s see how the widget “reads” Miss Cavendish.

Fashion U-Taupe-ia

If New York is a city of black coats, then Chicago is a city of taupe.

I can’t begin to count how many trench coats—running the gamut from white through stone to taupe—that I saw on the street and in cafes, and I found them all to be absolutely chic.

My own trench is navy, but I’m seriously thinking about investing in a taupe version. It will remind me so much of Catherine Deneuve in Umbrellas, that I just might break out in song.

And if I’m truly in the taupe zone, why, I simply should accessorize said trench with one of Hermes’ beautiful new taupe bags (truly a lovely shade, and which seems to be available only in-store).

Then, to taupe off the look, I’d select this pair of shoes:

I didn’t care for them when I saw them online, but in person the effect is so very different! I also like the juxtaposition of the prim trench with the beading, textured leather, and feathers . . .

And --ohh!--Tommy Ton has just taken some fab shots of variations on this shoe over at his place.
By the way, what color is your trench?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On Beauty

I’m reading Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and am in thrall. Of course I adored Forster’s Howards End, to which this book is an homage, so there was a fair chance that I’d approve, but I’m absolutely delighted.

I love the texture of the home (of course a home would be a central character!), for although it is set in the United States, to me it recalls Charleston, with its woodsy, crafty, hand-painted beauty.

So then: off to read and dream a little today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Camilla Skovgaard to Visit Saks

Here’s the promotional shoe for the Camilla Skovgaard appearance at Saks on Mar. 26.

It looks beautiful; I’m definitely anticipating the arrival of this collection . . .

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mission Im-Pazzi-ble Accomplished!


After two good years of “Perhaps, maybe, oh no, well . . . let’s take another look,” I finally ordered a Pazzi dress.

It was, after all, on a deep sale, and was offered in this wild, almost garish golden-bronzy color, which will, I’m telling myself, complement my future summery golden-bronzy skin, in the months to come.

It was important that the dress not be in a “pretty” color—a pink or an aqua, because I want it to be more jolie laide than a girlish look. But paired with some flats and a topknot, I suspect it will work. We’ll see.

Update: The dress arrived yesterday and I'm quite pleased. The color is much more citrus-y that in the image--more yellow, but that's fine and cheerful for summer. And the dress is above my knee, though not as short as in the photo!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Ruminations on McQueen: Part III

McQueen's post-apocalyptic version of Dumpster-diving chic for the fabulous recessionista.

I love how the above dress approximates both shredded garbage bags and seaweed.

Saturday Ruminations on McQueen: Part II

I know that everyone is referencing Leigh Bowery for these over-the-top lips from McQueen. (And I love the McQueen neckpiece, btw.)

But my immediate thought was Carol Burnett as Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. Maybe the size isn’t there but the attitude is.

Saturday ruminations on McQueen 2009: Part I

My three-year-old son has found his mother the perfect dress: this Spiderman confection by McQueen.

Can’t you see an interpretation of Spidey’s mask in the pattern if you squint just right?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Aggressive Shoes: When Footwear Attacks

I was really quite bemused this afternoon to learn that Saks has a new category for its spring footwear:

Aggressive Shoes.

This snarling assemblage of shoes eats up the city sidewalks while sneering at the state of the economy, resplendent in its own mistress-of-the-universe confidence.

(I think that the last pair of aggressive shoes I saw were the tap-dancicus dentata, which devoured poor Fred Astaire during the opening of The Triplets of Belleville.)

But if those shoes from Saks are aggressive, then these sandals, above, the Aries thong by Dolce Vita, also from Saks, are passive. Just look at their extra wide shaft, perfect for filling up with dust, random pebbles, and raindrops.

Indeed, the wide-mouth shoe has been making inroads with, ahem, aggressively edgy stylistas. Take this pair by Martin Margiela, for instance. It may be the dernier cri in cool, but is it flattering?

Frankly, I don’t want to walk around looking like I have buckets on my feet. Even buckets made in Italy and France from gorgeous leather.

And I’ll just bet that these aggressive shoes could take those passive ones in a cage match.

YSL cage shoe

Thursday, March 12, 2009

American Girls

Some of my very, very favorite portraits are of nineteenth-century children, so I was happy to learn that Little Miss Fairfield (1850) by William Matthew Prior is being displayed at the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

There’s something in this—and other antique children’s portraits—about the juxtaposition of cherubic cheeks with those formal clothes in a grown-up setting.

Not too, too long after my daughters were born, I decided to make them their own nineteenth-century portraits, using embroidery floss on linen. You’ll recognize my home in the back. And there's a bit of texture: the curls, flowers, and feathers are made from French knots.

The girls' first names and birthdates are cropped out, for their privacy, but I've left their middle names (of two beloved Prince Edward Island beaches) in place. You can see a hint of cross-stitched quilt squares in each corner.

And yes, I’d make my lad one, if I could figure how to dress him up. Did nineteenth-century boys wear Batman costumes for such portraits?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blue Hermes Cabag

Hermes is not the first label that comes to mind when I think “beach bag,” but this beautiful canvas/leather bag (the cabag) in Watteau blue has me reconsidering that relationship.

It’s a perfect complement to blue skies and blue water, not to mention blue eyes!

Amuse Bouche

When I opened my NYT this morning, the Arts section was upside down. With that skewed perspective, I mistook this man:

for this one:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Miss Priss: Flowery Jewelled Sandals

UPDATED below!

Even though I’ve been stalking the halls in four to five-inch covered platforms, a feeling I like to call “Miss Priss” has slowly been washing over me. You know—the desire to wear something unabashedly feminine that’s not in navy, charcoal, or black.

It must be the advent of spring.

So here’s a pair of sandals that has quite captured my imagination. They’re on the verge of being too grown up, like something my très elegant grandmere would have worn on Worth Avenue with a crisp, white shirtdress. (No Lilly for her; Grandmere was an iconoclast.)

I’d never choose these seriously, but worn with a dash of irony, they’d suit my current Miss Priss mood. Perhaps with a shirtdress from Isaac for Liz in an unexpected color of Kelly green? Perhaps with shorts and an embroidered tunic that isn’t trying too hard.

And by the way? These are by Kate Spade.

I’ve made exactly two purchases from KS—a large navy baby bag (aka diaper bag) and a gorgeous navy leather daybook—both bought before she went all Nordstroms on us.

But there’s a new designer in the house, and she’s trying to make KS cool again. We’ll see.

I tried these on today. No amount of irony is going to work; they're just NOT me. C'est la vie; that's what try-ons are for!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Welcome Dosa Color

One of my favorite features in Vogue is the Index, wherein one can find gorgeous monthly collages of gem-like images.

Perhaps it’s the dollhouse syndrome, but I find that I especially love clothes and soaps and jewels in tiny colorful clusters.

This month, however, my find was not from the Index, but from the feature on Retail Pros. Under A’Maree’s (of Newport Beach) I saw a jacket by Dosa, made entirely out of cotton handkerchiefs.

Its antique-yet-modern feel immediately spoke to me and I went off I search of other Dosa clothes.

Here are a couple of images from Dosa’s website. I love Christina Kim’s use of colorful fabric and her casual vibe—it’s perfect for summer beachy days.

These clothes are, on this super-snowy day (and to repeat my post title), a welcome Dosa color.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

House Dressing; Sabrina at Home

One of my touchstones is the Hepburn/Bogart film Sabrina. I reimagined and updated it in my fashion illustration class, I sometimes dream of awnings, and today I dropped off my six-year-old daughter at a birthday party at her new classmate’s Sabrina-esque house.

Decidedly old world and gracious, this home was built in a time past—it wasn’t as historic as my own 1874 digs, but it did boast some serious Jazz Age chops.

In such surroundings, though, I felt we were, in various washes of denim and wool (and one Prada nylon jacket), utterly anachronistic. If I lived in such a home I wonder whether I wouldn’t dress for it. (Full disclosure: although my house is well over 100 years old, I do not rake the front lawn in Victorian-era hook-and-eye boots.)

But something about this house just begged for martinis and cigarette holders, even though I despise olives and don’t smoke.

So here, courtesy of Jil Sander, are a few looks that would make a postmodern lass feel at home in the glamourous Sabrina house: