Friday, July 30, 2010

Random Music Post, Or, A Celebration of the American West

I've been listening to a lot of Neko Case lately. Normally I'm not a huge fan of country music, but Neko really captures a particular slice of the American West that I find particularly haunting. It's that image of eerie desolation; a blowing tumbleweed, a lonely train whistle in the distance, an old mining town and dark, rolling clouds on the horizon. There's something very special about the American West that I've really come to appreciate in recent years; it was something I always took for granted growing up in the heart of the Gold Rush country in California.

As an avid traveler and a devotee of so many other cultures, it's easy to sometimes overlook the unique culture that exists right here. It's also easy to dismiss American culture in general, given our unpopularity in the rest of the world. During the Bush years I would never introduce myself as an American when I traveled; I always said, "I'm from San Francisco." But being American isn't a shameful thing, and despite our relative newness on the world stage, we still have a fascinating and storied history that is worth exploring.

Country music in many ways celebrates the uniqueness of the American experience, right down to its unglamorous and even seedy side. And Neko Case is one of those artists who brings to life the rough and uncivilized Western past that still has traces in our culture today. 











Neko's music reminds me that I'm proud of our rugged, pioneering ancestors, who left behind civilized cities like Boston or New York and headed West to make their fortune, or sometimes to die trying. Some were entrepreneurs, some were fleeing a dubious past and came in search of a fresh start and anonymity, and some just loved adventure and risk-taking. Some succeeded spectacularly and others failed miserably, but the legacy they left behind is one of spirited determination and fierce individuality. And from an "I can accomplish anything" kind of confidence to a "This is me, like it or not" attitude, I see many elements of that legacy in my own beloved city today.

If you get a chance to see Neko Case live, don't miss it. Her live performance is wonderful, and she's quite a character to boot; she looks like a sweet, fragile little thing behind her big acoustic guitar, but the girl swears like a trucker and is funny as hell. She's my kind of country music, and my kind of American.

Today's outfit (sorry, I really should've worn cowboy boots to accompany this post, shouldn't I?):
Capelet: F21
Shirt: J. Crew, thrifted
Skirt: Anthropologie
Boots: Bronx








Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stolen

I'll just come right out and admit straight away that I completely stole this Tealive™ combination from Kasmira. The layering of these two skirts was also stolen, from a couple of my own past outfits; only this time I did the layering in reverse. This really illustrates just how versatile these soft jersey skirts can be.

First let me explain the skirts: the teal one is mid-calf length and has a wide, jersey waistband. The gray skirt is knee length and has an extra-wide jersey waistband that folds over on itself. In past configurations, I've unfolded the waistband of the gray skirt and hiked it all the way up to wear it as an above-the-knee dress, sometimes layering the teal skirt underneath to add contrast, shape, and length. Here I did just the opposite: I hiked the teal skirt all the way up and wore the gray one as it was designed. I included a few photos at the bottom of the post showing both skirts separately and together so you can compare the different configurations.

Now if I just wore the two skirts together without something on top, two things would happen; the teal skirt would look like a giant tent on me, and it would also not stay in place on its own. Hence, the jacket and belt serve two important functions, to hold everything in place and to give the outfit shape. But also, the olive jacket and teal skirt combination was the kernel of my original idea, because together they make Tealive™.

Jacket, belt: thrifted
Necklace, pearl ring: Manu Lizarralde
Teal Skirt: LA. Made
Gray skirt: S
Boots: All Black

Here are some past outfits that make use of these two skirts in different ways. Do you have any items that you wear differently then the way they were designed?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gangs of New York Meets Casey Jones

So clearly I'm enamored of these shorts, as it's the second time I've worn them in as many weeks. I have several ideas for these, and I aim to try them all before too long. First I want to try pairing them with my polka dot tie, and then with a pair of suspenders I've had sitting around for a long time unworn and a cute pair of oxfords which I haven't worn yet because they need a bit of stretching first. So many options! Oh right, except for the option of actually wearing them as shorts, with bare legs, because it's too fucking cold here even though it's late July. Not that I'm bitter or anything. You go on and enjoy your summer like normal people do, with exposed skin, barbeques, sprinklers, and the like. I'll be okay, just let me grab a sweater. And maybe a scarf.

For this outfit I used my idea of pairing the shorts with heavy combat boots, a thermal shirt, and a classic, chain-embellished waistcoat for sort of a Gangs of New York meets Casey Jones kind of vibe. Perhaps I should've added an oversized top hat. Not that I need a hat to keep the sun off, mind you!

Shirt: All Saints
Waistcoat: Heathen
Shorts: White House Black Market
Boots: Dr. Marten's

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

F@#! It



This was sort of a, "Fuck it, it's Friday" kind of outfit, which I threw haphazardly together in the morning. But it turned out pretty well, and moreover it was comfortable enough to walk around in all day and then wear for meeting Fawn for cocktails later that evening.

I picked up the top at Savers while out in Minneapolis; both Mark and I scored some great finds at that store. Because of the strong pattern of the top, you can see the sheerness of the cardigan, which hasn't translated very well in the photos of it in other outfits. As a final touch I wore my Wendy Brandes swear rings, because what better way to say 'fuck it' than by flashing it in bright, shiny silver right across your fingers?


Top: INC (thrifted)
Cardigan: All Saints
Jeans: Joe's
Rings: Wendy Brandes
Necklaces: multi-chain necklace from H&M, pendant from a flea market in Buenos Aires
Shoes: Fly London

Monday, July 26, 2010

Creepy Legs

My legs look sort of creepy here, but I assure you that if you look more closely you'll see that I have on nude fishnets. They simply do not translate well into a small digital photo. I didn't think it was possible for my legs to look paler than they actually are, but apparently I was mistaken. 

Don't get me wrong though; I wear my cadaverous complexion with pride, because avoiding the sun is probably the number one reason that my skin still looks pretty darn good at 40 (that and not smoking). I take great care to wear sunscreen on my face every day, and on sunny days I can frequently be seen hiding beneath a parasol. 

As for my ashen legs, there's really no way they're going to get any color anyway because it's so rare that they see the light of day. But I've found when I do want to go completely bare-legged that some mineral foundation mixed with regular body lotion does a great job at giving me a healthier glow, as well as minimizing spider veins and scars and such. Or, I just slap on some nude fishnets and forget about it.

Top: F21
Dress: Lady Language
Harness: Audra Jean
Skirt: S
Shoes: Sofft

Friday, July 23, 2010

Unbalanced

The colors are a bit off in these photos. This top is actually a very soft peachy pink, but here it looks very bright and salmon-y. If you take a look way back in the archives at this post, you'll see a better representation of the top's actual shade.

That old post might in fact be the last time I wore this top. I've actually tried it a few times but just never found quite the right combination. As I stated in that previous post, I'm in general not a fan of strapless garments on anyone when they're worn alone; I think all the bare skin up top does weird things to a body's proportions, mine in particular. I'm small through the shoulders and bust anyway, and strapless things always make me look disproportionately smaller. I frankly don't get why the look is so popular, especially for long dresses, where all that bare skin up top is outweighed by the huge expanse of fabric below. To my eye it just looks unbalanced.

I've managed not to wash these black jeans yet, so they're still nice and dark. I'm actually extra careful not to get them dirty, knowing if I have to wash them and they fade, that I won't love them as much. Thanks for all the suggestions on caring for them, by the way -- if and when I do need to wash them, I'll definitely refer back to all your great advice.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Mark and I are in the final stages of getting our new vacation rental furnished and ready for guests. I'm hoping to post some photos of the place next week if we can get everything done. We have a lot of work ahead of us for the weekend, but it's exciting too.

Top: Weston Wear
Jacket, belt: thrifted
Jeans: Diesel
Shoes: John Fluevog

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Turned Up To 11



Sure, this outfit really screams "autumn" with the saturated jewel tones, but dudes, it is COLD here these days. While Sal reports scorching weather in the 90's in Minneapolis, we've got the foggy 50's out here. What's really hilarious is that I heard on NPR this morning that as a result of the abnormally cool summer, Bay Area electric bills are down. They obviously mean in places like San Jose or Walnut Creek, where it normally gets hot this time of year. In San Francisco nobody has air conditioning anyway, so most likely the energy bills in this town are going UP as people turn their heat on!

I decided to pair this bright blue dress with the purple cardigan because of the flower pattern on the dress, which is outlined in a color that looks faintly purple to me. I thought it would be fun to try the two saturated colors together. Since the color volume was already turned up to 11, I chose black accessories to tone it down a bit.

Dress: eShakti
Cardigan: S
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Minneapolis and Chicago

At long last I've gotten my photos uploaded from the trip Mark and I took to Minneapolis and Chicago the week before last. As you undoubtedly already figured out, we stopped in Minneapolis for several days to catch up with Sal and Mike, and then went on to Chicago for a long-overdue visit with my friend Ryan. Sal has posted a couple of outfit photos of the two of us here and here, and below are a few more of my favorite photos from the trip. You can tell from Sal's photos that my hair does not love the hot, humid weather. It spent a large portion of the week plastered nice and flat to my head.

I snuck this 'behind-the-scenes' shot while Sal and Mike were taking blog photos. Mike nearly always has his camera in tow and can take outfit shots whenever the right moment arises. I'm a seriously envious blogger.


Our excellent tour guides, Sal and Mike. I love how Sal's dress matches the Gold Medal Flour sign behind her.


Another behind-the-scenes moment: Sal at her blog spot.


Nope, it's not stuffed; this eagle was totally showing off for us at the Raptor Center.


The obligatory trip to The Bean in Chicago.


I really loved this fountain at Millennium Park. I have to admit that living in San Francisco makes me miss classic summer scenes like this one. In SF it's just too damn cold most of the summer for anyone to want to play in a fountain, or even wear shorts for that matter.


I love the contrast and movement in this close-up of the fountain at First National Plaza. I think the soaring temperatures and heavy humidity made me extra inclined to take pictures of water.


We went up to the 16th floor of the Trump Tower for cocktails after taking the Chicago river architectural tour.


This flower sculpture totally reminded me of something you might see at Burning Man, only without the obligatory fire shooting out of it.


We had a great time taking in the sights, eating wonderful food, and soaking up the hot weather. The culinary highlight of the trip was definitely the 9-course dinner at Schwa in Chicago, where Ryan miraculously got us a table after several months of trying. In Minneapolis, Mark and I really enjoyed the play we saw with Sal and Mike, called The Mystery of Irma Vepp. The acting was fabulous and we were completely amazed by the rapid costume changes by the 2 actors, who played all the roles.

The best part was just leaving ourselves in the capable hands of Sal in Minneapolis and Ryan in Chicago; both are excellent planners and were armed with a full list of things to do when we arrived. Mark and I had been so wrapped up with our home buying before we left that we'd had very little time to think about an itinerary, and anyway I'm truly a lousy planner. I'm more of a grand scheme sort of person, preferring to leave the details to someone else. Thankfully we had such good friends to come through for us in the clutch.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Striped Shorts

I'm really excited about these striped shorts. I had found a pair of pants in the exact same fabric while we were out shopping with Sal and Mike in Minneapolis, but sadly the only 2 pairs in stock were a size too big and a size too small for me. A couple of days later I found these in a second-hand shop in Chicago for $15; I think they're actually better than long pants because they're more versatile. In order to really see the fabric you have to open the photos and then click to zoom; the digital camera does wacky things to stripes and other sharp edges.

Jacket: F21
Top: Michael Stars
Pants: White House Black Market
Shoes: Tsubo

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick

This is going to be a quick post today, since I am absolutely dying to get away from my computer monitor. This is the last outfit from before Mark and I left for our trip to Minneapolis and Chicago. I'll post some photos from the trip next week. And with that, I'm outta here! Happy Friday, everyone! Have a wonderful weekend.

Dress: Orla Kiely
Shirt: thrifted
Leggings: Black Market Baby on Etsy
Boots: Bronx

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From the Archives

Hmm, I feel like I've pretty much done this outfit before... Oh yes, there it is -- right in my header. Same dress, same skirt layered underneath. But hey, I changed up the cardigan and the shoes, and eliminated the big wide belt. All in all it was a pretty simple rework of an older outfit. This is one of the reasons I love tracking what I wear through the blog; when I'm strapped for ideas I can just pull out an oldie but a goodie from the archives.

This outfit is slightly more summery than the other version -- those are actually OTK socks and not tights.

Cardigan: Solemio
Dress: Red Dress Shoppe
Skirt: ?
Shoes: Tsubo  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Complicated

This outfit looks complicated, but it's really not. The zigzag-striped tunic has a sheer tulle panel attached to the bottom, and the skirt has 2 layers of off-white fabric, so it looks like there are several layers stacked together even though all I'm wearing is one top and one skirt with a cardigan over the whole thing.

The skirt is a linen-blend, semi-sheer creation that I bought in Mexico over Christmas; it's a great weight and fabric for summer.

Cardigan: Max Studio
Tunic: Porcelyne
Belt: Audra Jean
Skirt: boutique in Tulum
Shoes: Fly London

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ellen DeGeneres

This outfit is from a couple weeks ago, and as I sit here wearing these striped leggings yet again I realize how addicted I've gotten to them. But they really are the perfect thing for summer because they're lightweight and semi-sheer, and yet enough of a barrier to the chilly, moist air that I don't get too cold. Not that I won't wear them all winter as well, but look how great they pair with these soft, light layers and bare toes.

This morning Mark and I were discussing which actor would voice Georgie's character if she were ever cast in an animated movie. We decided on Ellen DeGeneres. How's that for random?

Cardigan, skirt: Anthropologie
Top, leggings: Black Market Baby
Shoes: Bobbi Blu

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dressed Up



Here are Mark and I all dressed up to go out for Mark's birthday, which was last weekend. We met up with our friends Tom and Jen, and headed over to the Mission district for dinner. As it turned out it was also the weekend of the Pride Parade, and we chose a restaurant that was right on the path of one of the events, so we got to watch all the festivities going on outside. Afterwards we walked over to the SoMa district for a cocktail before wandering over to the Hotel Utah to see a fantastic and very entertaining local band called the Super Adventure Club.

On the way home we had the most surreal cab drive ever. We had unwittingly stepped into the Kabaret Kab, with its singing driver Buzz Brooks and Vegas-style lights strung around the interior. Click here to watch Buzz in action!

My outfit:
Dress, cardigan: All Saints
Skirt: Urban Outfitters
Tights: Noa Noa
Boots: Cydwoq

Mark's outfit:
Hat: Goorin Bros.
Shirt: All Saints
Vest: Steam Trunk
Jeans: Heathen
Boots: All Saints

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Presentation



I had to give an hour-long presentation at work the day I wore this, so I did my best to put together a "professional" looking outfit that was still very me. I'd actually be hard-pressed to put together anything more conservative than this, since I don't really own any of the right pieces for such an ensemble. Even when I've given presentations at scientific conferences I've never toned down my usual look all that much, I guess because I would feel so uncomfortable in a conservative outfit that I'd fear the presentation wouldn't come off very well. In case you're wondering, my presentation pretty much kicked ass. I credit the outfit for at least part of that.

I'm keeping my posts brief this week because I'm actually traveling at the moment. In fact I'm currently posting from another well-known blogger's computer. Have you figured out where I am?

Tunic: All Saints
Sheer top: Noa Noa
Scarf: Banana Republic
Pants: Anthropologie
Shoes: John Fluevog

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Overzealous

I wasn't super thrilled with how this outfit came out; I felt like the cardigan didn't really take the belting very well, and the whole thing looked a bit lumpier than I envisioned when I put it together. I should've placed the belt higher up on my ribcage, or else just left it out entirely. Sometimes I get a little overzealous with the belts, I admit.

I do like the mixture of neutral shades here though, so at some point I may try this idea again in a different configuration. The cardigan is another recent All Saints item, and it's another lightweight, soft layering piece that's perfect for the SF climate. I've actually worn it several times as part of a weekend outfit, and it helps give a casual look an extra bit of zing.

Cardigan: All Saints
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe
Tunic: from a local boutique
Skirt: thrifted
Shoes: John Fluevog