Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It was fun to put this outfit together if for no other reason than to see how many different shades of purple I could get in there. The jacket, the sweater, the tank top, the tulle skirt, and the shoes are all slightly different shades, which I think made this outfit really interesting despite the fact that the palette is limited to just two main colors.
This olive skirt transitioned easily into wintertime with the addition of the tulle skirt underneath. Though the overall length of the olive skirt is long, it opens quite far in the front and would be way too cold to wear without a layer underneath. The tulle was the perfect length and added a textural element, and then what could possibly be better than ruffles plus tulle??
The featured outerwear today is the beautiful leather jacket I brought home from Paris last year (I told you I buy a lot of coats when I travel!). It's lined with a dense padded lining topped with a layer of silk, making it far warmer than a typical leather jacket.
Jacket: Zadig & Voltaire
Sweater: Free People
Scarf: Duke et Duchesse
Belt: Oscar de la Renta
Olive skirt: Heathen
Tulle skirt: Noa Noa
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I've been wearing so much brown and black lately that I decided to throw in these orange argyle tights just to get some color in there. I thought the shoes were a good way to bring a little splash of lighter color into the bottom half of the outfit.
Skirt: from my sister
Tights: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Art Shoes
Monday, December 28, 2009
I just loved all the drape, texture, and 3-dimensionality of this outfit: the sheer batwing top, the chains and studded boots, the hint of tulle peeking out at the hemline, and of course the fantastic ruffles and shaping on this dress. This is definitely an outfit I'll use again, either for an evening outfit or in a slightly different configuration at work. The featured outerwear here is a boiled wool shawl-collar coat that I picked up in Riga a couple years ago. It's soft and drapey and basically feels like a giant sweater. It's really idea for the San Francisco climate because it's warm without being too bulky, which means I can wear it over other layers while still looking tailored.
It occurs to me that I've bought a lot of coats in my travels -- perhaps that just means that I don't pack enough warm clothes. Some might call that poor planning; I prefer to think of it as optimism.
I tend to wear this batwing top belted, because otherwise it just makes me look large and shapeless, especially over a full skirt like this one. The elastic belt keeps the excess fabric in place and still allows the top to have the unstructured, flowing look that made me like it in the first place. I like the way the keyhole back reveals part of the pattern on the dress.
Dress: All Saints
Skirt: Glam Garb by Gunlis
Boots: All Black
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I've worn this shirt many times, in fact, and in a number of different ways. It struck me while looking at these photos that it has yet to appear without something layered over it; this is really due to the shirt itself. Because of the long length and vertical stripes, it elongates my already long torso. And as I've mentioned many times before, I don't really like tucking shirts in. Thus, a contrasting layer on top lessens the impact of that long line of stripes and brings my body back into proportion without having to jam all that excess shirt length into my skirt or pants.
Today's featured outerwear is this brown drop waist wool coat that I bought in Venice several years ago. This coat is one of the few drop waist items I own, another being the tunic shown above. I find that it generally isn't a very flattering shape for my figure, managing to magically hide all my best features while simultaneously highlighting the worst ones. But I think with both these items it's the shaping, the asymmetry, and the dense, structured fabrics that make this hard-to-wear shape work.
Coat: some shop in Venice
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Several readers have inquired about my weekend/after work outfits, so I thought I'd show you a few of them in one post. As I hope to convince you, dressing down needn't mean dressing slovenly. Though many of my casual outfits are built around jeans and comfy shoes, they also tend to include the same sorts of accessories, color combinations, and other details that make my work wear interesting and uniquely me. They also generally look neat and fitted, with plenty of the layering strategies you're used to seeing from me. Shown above is a typical outfit that I'd throw on after work when I'm heading over to Mark's place or going to meet friends for a casual evening out. Starting with a pair of jeans and a comfy, long tunic, I added a hat and scarf for some visual interest, layered on armwarmers and a cropped hoodie for warmth, and chose a funky but functional pair of shoes to complete the look.
Hat: San Diego Hat Co. -- Scarf: Banana Republic -- Tunic: H&M -- Hoodie: Kersh -- Arm Warmers: Sock Dreams -- Jeans: Acne -- Shoes: 21 Sport
This outfit is really basic, being built around jeans and a sweater. But with this one I've brought in a little color with the purple sweater and boots, as well as adding some sparkle with the sequined scarf. An outfit like this is a great way to throw on something in a hurry that's easy, comfy, and still looks put together. Because the sweater is a loose, lacy knit, it adds a bit of sheer texture to the outfit.
I very frequently add scarves to my casual outfits to boost the style. To me they add an element of sophistication without looking too fussy.
Sweater: Free People
Scarf: Urban Outfitters
Here's an even more relaxed look, with faded jeans and sneakers this time. But rather than wearing a plain t-shirt I chose this soft drapey cowl neck shirt instead, which adds a bit of visual interest at the neckline. The other thing I did here was to use several different shades of purple, creating richness and depth. Since I usually don't bother with a lot of jewelery on the weekends, I use layers of color to make my outfits more interesting. Between the soft cowl, the chunky sweater, the jeans and the sneakers, I definitely look comfortable here, but the outfit still gives the impression of being carefully put together.
Sweater: BB Dakota
Jeans: Lucky Brand
Finally, here are some outfits you've seen before that I've either transitioned directly from work to an evening out, or worn out on an evening or weekend and then decided to turn into a work outfit later. Notice that all of these outfits are comprised of comfortable pieces, good walking shoes, and not too many layers that require frequent adjusting. That's because when I go out, I usually walk to wherever I'm going and don't often stay in one place the whole time; thus, comfort and ease are key. Boots are my most frequently worn after-hours shoe because they don't slip around or otherwise bother my feet even on steep hills, and I try to avoid tight-fitting belts when I go out because bar stools and restaurant chairs rarely keep my posture as straight as my office chair does, which means that anything squeezing my middle is going to be digging in by the end of the night.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Last weekend was my company holiday party, so I figured I'd better come up with something that would really top my usual flamboyant daily wear. It turned out to be a great excuse to wear my gorgeous Dark Garden corset, which I've owned for about 2 years but sadly have not worn until now. It worked so beautifully over this tulle skirted dress that the two look like they're one piece. The dress is one I bought at a small boutique in Copenhagen a few years ago; I've actually worn it to the company holiday party before, so this was the perfect way to wear it again but make it look different (not that anyone other than me would remember what dress I wore 2 years ago!).
For this event I curled my hair using foam curlers that I put in when my hair was damp, thus avoiding a repeat of the forehead-burning I sustained when I curled my hair for the Seattle blog meet-up. I found that the curls lasted a lot longer this way and came out softer and smoother.
I only bought one new item to compete this outfit, and that was this pair of long black leather gloves. I've seen a lot of these long gloves this season, and had been wanting a pair. I found these for 50% off at Macys.com and decided they'd be the perfect way to keep my hands and arms warm while still looking dressed up. I ended up wearing them for much of the night, and they worked really well for keeping my fingers warm while holding onto an ice cold drink.
No special occasion post would be complete without a picture of Mark and I. This shot was sort of rushed, since we were trying to get out the door by that time. Mark wore a beautiful thrifted tuxedo jacket with his dark wash Heathen jeans. I thought this was a great modern take on a classic look. His vest is a thrifted one that he embellished himself to steampunk it up a little, and the bowler hat is one I made.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Today's post has nothing at all to do with fashion, unless you count the subject's ability to stain your clothing. It does have to do with booze and lighting things on fire though, which may perhaps interest you. This post is about a little-known (in the US, anyway) German beverage called Feuerzangenbowle. And today I'm going to tell you how to make it, because it's a drink that's just perfect for this time of year. I'll start by describing the whole process and then I'll give the list of ingredients and quantities at the end.
Feuerzangenbowle is sort of like a mulled red wine, and starts out pretty much the same way, with red wine being steeped with spices and citrus fruit. But because of the way it's prepared, this drink is well-suited for a large party with friends, firstly because of the large quantity that the recipe makes, and secondly because the fire is pretty damn impressive. What's shown in the photo above is the final preparation step, which involves soaking a dense cone of sugar, called a Zuckerhut, in Bacardi 151 and lighting it on fire over the heated wine mixture. The idea is to carmelize and melt the suger, which drips into the wine through a long slot in the bottom of that metal tray.
German Specialty Imports in Prior Lake, MN, and last weekend I gave it its first trial run. You really don't need a lot of fancy equipment to make this drink, but you've gotta love that gorgeous German engineering, which I assure you is a vision in all its gleaming stainless steel glory. If you can't get your hands on a proper feuerzangen, you can try using a large, slotted metal spoon or something similar. It's fairly important to rig up a system that you won't have to hold onto though, because the sugar takes a good 15 minutes to burn, and then of course there's the little matter of it being on fire.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Yes, the glorious Wendy Brandes for Francis swear rings are mine at last! I coveted them for months, stalked them and obsessed over them, was haunted by them first on Kingdom of Style and then by Wendy herself, and finally broke down and bought them last week rather than waiting until after the holidays as I'd originally planned. And I have to say, I'm really fucking glad I did! Pretty much as soon as I put them on my hand and headed into my first meeting, someone promptly noticed all the flashing silver and started oohing and ahhing. Soon the whole team was admiring them. Yes, MY coworkers, noticing, and admiring, some seriously boundary-pushing jewelery. Go fucking figure!
I suppose I ought to tell you about the rest of my outfit too. Continuing in my ongoing outerwear feature, I'll start with the jacket. This one was selected because with the thick vest to keep me warm, all I really needed were the long sleeves. The cropped leather jacket was the perfect solution, plus, the detailing is cool enough to stand up to those fabulous rings.
Since I don't really like the feel of tucked in shirts, I used the fitted vest to give me waist definition and to balance out my proportions, which were a little off because of the length of the shirt. I also wore long socks over tights with this outfit, but the socks were only for warmth and were pulled all the way up rather than showing beneath the skirt -- and anyway, something about knee high socks with a pleated wool skirt just strikes me as waaay too schoolgirlish for a 40-year-old woman to be wearing. I just love all the socks-over-tights looks I've seen recently on Chelsea and Erin though, and I'm determined to put together one of my own.
Today's featured outerwear is a coat you haven't seen before. It was custom made for me by designer Shawna Hoffman, who also made my fabulous convertible flight suit. This jacket also features Shawna's imaginative and highly functional approach to clothing design: the sleeves come off, and the two bottom tiers of the jacket can be removed for many different lengths and configurations. I originally saw this jacket at Ceiba Records on Haight Street, but it was in a size way too small for me. Assuming that several had been made, I asked about it over at Five and Diamond, but they told me that the one I saw was just a sample and the only one in existence, but that I could have one made to order. Months later, it was finally mine, and the fit is just perfect. There's also a leather version of this coat, but somehow I thought the dark denim was more unique. The back of the coat has corset-style laces, allowing the fit to be adjusted all over.
With this outfit I tried the long-socks-over-jeans-tucked-into-short-boots look again, this time blending the jeans, socks, and boots in a long unbroken line of indigo blue. On the top I layered a sheer floral over my All Saints mottled argyle tunic, and glammed up the whole thing with a sequined scarf. Overall the colors were dark, but the blend of patterns and texture kept the outfit rich and interesting.
Tunic: All Saints
Sheer top: Noa Noa
Belt, scarf: Urban Outfitters
Socks: Sock Dreams
Coat: Shawna Hoffman