Sunday, August 29, 2010

Julia's Sleeve

In my own wardrobe, few things irritate me to the point of being unable to concen-
trate as sleeve length.

I never have my sleeves on a proper shirt pulled all the way down, with cuffs buttoned; they are always rolled or pushed up, as is a sweater.  In fact, I seek out bracelet-length sleeves.

As for short sleeves, the length that would make my insides dizzy from spinning like a corkscrew is the one pictured in the image above, which accompanies a story in today's NYT.  For me, this length is so mumsy, so unflattering, that I could not bear to wear it, even for a minute.

Indeed, if this image from Eat Pray Love is cited as an example of p**n (the NYT characterizes the film as such), I have to ask who its audience may be.  I couldn't even read the whole story because the sleeve distressed me so!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to the 1990s

When I caught my first glimpse of this Hans Feurer spread in T magazine, I was instantly transported to a magical world of the past, one in which Yasmin Le Bon and Elaine Irwin wore dark, defined eyebrows and leapt about a clean city with their hair pulled back neatly in topknots and buns.

For this story returned me to the 1990s, in the best of all possible ways.  It references gently, but doesn't mimic.  And it didn't surprise me that this photographer shot for British Vogue in the 1970s.  To be sure, there's a 70s/90s hybrid feel to these images.

The appeal and the pull of the setting is so strong, that I barely noticed the clothes.  Instead, I wanted to join this merry duo.  Shall we?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

LAUren or lauREN?

Last month I was shopping   for my children's school shoes and realized that I should buy myself some new socks for my running shoes.  So off I went to the sock department at Nordstrom, where I found a large bin of Ralph Lauren sport socks on sale.

RL makes both my favorite sport socks as well as my most disliked ones.  The favorite ones are of substantial cotton and hold their shape and fit.  The ones I dislike are also of substantial cotton but manage to slide off my foot while I work out.  This is not an appealing sensation.

I was suspicious about why all these RL sports socks were discounted so I approached the SA at the adjacent bin and asked her why these socks were on sale: would they stay put in one's running shoe or was there a fit issue?

Taken aback and obviously at a temporary loss for words, the SA responded, "They're Ralph lauREN.  They're good."

"Yes, Ralph LAUren," I responded,  and muttered to myself, "and if you are still pronouncing his name like that, you surely won't or can't tell me the truth about these socks."

One of my pet peeves is the misprounciation of this designer's taken name.  It's a Frenchification, with that accent aigu, a move to an even upper class, one further step away from Ralph Lifshitz' less melodious origin. 

But RL has been around for a gazillion years, and I truly thought that the pronunciation of his name would have evened out by now.   I may have to begin a campaign accordingly.

The Triplets of Bazaarville

Jennifer Aniston?  Barbra Streisand? Seriously?

When I first saw this picture, I thought it was an Olsen twin.

(And curiously, the Olsens are also featured in this issue.)

But since we do not have Olsen triplets, here are those other, singing, triplets of Belleville:

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Well-Red Heiress: My Dinner with Daphne

In New York Magazine's fashion issue, Daphne Guinness says,                      “Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking Chinese when I go out to dinner, and everyone’s from hedge funds, and I want to talk about a certain color.”  I get this, I do: talking about money over a meal can be a fast track to indigestion. 

But Ms. Guinness does not acknowledge that at these dinners, she is both inherited wealth (the banking side of the Guinness brand) as well as divorced wealth (hello Spyros Niarchos). The combination of both allows her to purchase, say, Isabella Blow's entire and considerable closet. 

However, if Ms. Guinness would like to treat me to dinner, I'd be delighted to hold forth with her on color.  Here is a short book list for her to read in preparation:

Victoria Findlay's Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Simon Garfield's Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World

Michel Pastoureau's Blue: The History of a Color


another by Pastoureau, not only on color: The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes

I am confident that we would have plenty to talk about, from the appetizer through the amuse bouche, through a third pint of Guinness (my favorite beer, actually) and onward to dessert, with nary a twinge in our digestive systems.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Selv-Indulgence

The Selvedge American issue has just hit the Barnes and Noble racks (and racks of private book and magazine  sellers, too, I hope). 

It's offered at a special "American" price this month, to celebrate its content.  I have a piece or two inside and am delighted to be included . . . as an honorary American.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fine Feathers

This photo from New York Magazine brought me back to the 1980s.

For then, in ordinarily staid Ottawa, I bought a pink feathery top with bracelet-length sleeves, a short, fitted waist, a boat-neck, and a deep, open V back. 

I wore it with a high-waisted, very long black fitted skirt while waiting tables at a bistro.

This desire for eccentric separates is why I could quite possibly end up with the dreaded "nothing-yet-everything to wear" in my closet.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Paper. Wait.

Tis the season to buy paper.  Today I was busy outfitting my three with every conceivable school supply, then labelling, sharpening, and pre-packing schoolbags.

I do like to indulge myself a bit, though, during this yearly ritual .  Although I rely on standards (Crayola, Ticonderoga) for my children with perhaps a bit of a twist (Pratt student-designed pencil cases), I take carte blanche with my own school supplies.

The other week at Kate's Paperie on W 57th I bought the above and far-below file folders (so very professorial no?), as well as an oversized letter (about 2 feet tall; 1 inch deep) to decorate for my office (and bought my children each one too).

Perhaps with a sheet of wrapping paper from Kate's?:

I also bought an academic calendar (uncharacteristically but unabashedly pink), and a mouse pad made up of weekly calendars.  I stuck a magnet on the back and affixed the pad to my fridge (can I call this project an iPad?).  Whatever we call it, the week at a glance keeps me sane.

So now we have all this glorious paper and are patiently waiting for the school year to begin. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Of Hilfiger, Woodys, and the Dictionary

I’d never accuse Tommy Hilfiger of being the first to present a look.

Rather: he’s been riding on the coat-tails of others for years: Calvin Klein for jeans, Ralph Lauren for preppy duds.

And this month he’s tailing—or tailgating—the J McKennedy-Crew look, with what he imagines to be the car du jour: the Woody.

But really the Woody is so five years ago (at least).

Graydon Carter has collected wood-paneled station wagons forever, or at least long enough for Toby Young to mock this habit in his:

And if Kate Spade didn’t reference one directly in her iconic ad campaign “Visiting Tennessee,” she certainly implied it. Don’t even mention J Crew.

But there is a lingering cool in the Woody.  On Nantucket, for instance, I was charmed to see one perfectly restored model on the cobblestone Main Street; curious to see a second, even more perfectly restored Ford something-or-other; suspicious then resigned to see a third, fourth, fifth, etc. in what seemed to be a gorgeous retro SUV parade.  (I like singularity.)

(Read Ezra Dyer on the Nantucket Woody.  You'll have to scroll to the second article.  And note that this is probably the only time I'll ever reference Automobile magazine!)

But back to Hilfiger.  Even though he invokes the dictionary in this ad, with his Latin phonetics (tail gate-ius; ulti ma/tus),  I think that this book isn't for him. 

He's still too dependent on the thesarus.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Well, Now . . .

I've just opened this soap, which I bought at the gift shop at Yale U's British art museum. 

It's cheerful and one Wellington at a time sits nicely on my sink.

And below is the pig-in-boots of which La Belette writes. It would not fit on--or in--my sink, though it might enjoy a good soak in a bubbly tub.

Oops!  This is La Belette's piglet, below:  It is impossible, I think, to have too many photos of pigs in boots . . .   Do you remember the Muppets' show "Pigs in Space"?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Eye(glass) for an I

When I worked in the publishing world, I spent a LOT of time at my computer. 

Nearing the end of those nine months in New York, I visited an optometrist and was outfitted with reading glasses that would help with the computer glare, etc.

I enjoyed picking out glasses, since I saw them as an accessory.  I searched the shops in the Village and in Soho, finding a pair of Oliver Peoples at the late Joel Name shop on Houston (I know that there's a Joel Name deeper in Soho now).  They were not inexpensive.

Why do I mention something as unmentionable as price?  Because the lenses in those Oliver Peoples glasses have had their day and I was utterly shocked to learn that I could buy a pair of reading glasses without prescription.  I know: I am sheltered in some areas.

During my summer travels we stopped at Oberlin College and I saw some somewhat retro yet space-age glasses with a strong shape at a funky boutique in the town.  They are made by this company and cost, to my enduring surprise (and pleasure), about 1/20th of my OP frames and lenses. 

I don't mind going a little Jetsons-by-way-of-French-new-wave with these reading specs; indeed, I'd rather up my technology in the glasses department than read from a Kindle, etc.  Do any gentle readers have strong opinions on paper vs. tech?

**Image: Shirley Manson for Oliver Peoples.  Or is it Ann Margret?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Inviting Gravity

Perhaps Canadian peeps already know about this shoe shop, but it is new to me. 

Gravity Pope is a little upscale graduate student in its vibe (OK: very upscale grad student) and I learned of it through In Professorial Fashion.  Here are my picks, for the classroom and beyond (think meta):




These boots are not my *favorite,* but I am easily seduced by their label. How could a lit prof not love something that invokes Lady Audley's Secret?
And here is the inevitable link to the wonderful Idina Menzel singing "Defying Gravity."  Requisite name dropping: I didn't see Wicked, but I saw Idina from the fifth row, fourth week of Rent, back in 1996.

Not to reject the Pope half of Gravity Pope, here is a link to a rather genius-ly named hair salon: Alexander Pope

You'll recall his Rape of the Lock, which I invoked here.  Oh: and here, too.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Totes and Litotes

I was not at all displeased by the comments regarding my bag dilemma.

Indeed, it will be a not unpleasant task to find the perfect tote.

Tote by Anya Hindmarch

Not Mrs. Sinatra

A little Mia,

a little Jean . . .

I like Emma's new haircut:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cultural Baggage

When I return to the classroom this fall, I will have a dilemma: I like to wear floaty dresses and heels as long as I can, and they decidedly do NOT look good with my book satchel in tow.

What bookbag on earth complements floaty dresses and heels?  A proper briefcase is just ghastly; a schoolgirl satchel (which I have) is too dark (mine is a cognac colour) and perhaps too formal as well.

My only possibility is an oversize, white, woven Dean & Deluca shopper, which would look silly, rather than "right."

Picture this in white, with two large front pockets, logo at the top.

So I'm calling upon all you savvy gentle readers: what bag would be good for schlepping my books around campus while I wear un-schleppy, feminine clothing?  And if said bag would accommodate my wallet, keys, and lipstick, all the better!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yes, I Scream. A Consumer Report

The New York Times couldn't be more timely with its Thursday Styles article on pricey ice cream, which I devoured while sitting in the car during our 14-hour journey homeward.

Indeed, single scoops of ice cream are offered at, well, Starbucks venti latte prices at ice cream boutiques, on the east coast anyway.  Buffy's in Cape Cod (Chatham) costs around $4-5.00 for a scoop, and Millie's on Nantucket costs around $3.75.

Here's take on the controversy, which the NYT didn't address.  Neither of these ice cream shops offers a child-size scoop, which would have been appropriately sized for my three (under 10) children.  I'm happy to pay full price for a scoop for myself, but know that I'll end up wasting the (often homemade) ice cream if each child orders his or her own. 

So, gentle ice cream boutiques, why not save yourself from wasting some of your pricey ice cream and sell child-size scoops?  Or else I'll have to show up with extra cones or bowls of my own and divide up the ice cream right there among my brood.

**I do think that the Juice Bar, which makes utterly wonderful ice cream on the ACK harbour, offers a child-size cone. But I bought it on the way to catch the Cape-bound ferry and everything is therefore a blur.