Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Strange Obsessions

The buttons on this jacket perfectly illustrate my occasional propensity to become obsessed with strange details. To tell you this story I have to go back to my trip to Argentina, where Jess and I kept seeing an odd symbol in various locations: schools, tombs, official buildings, you name it. The symbol depicted a pair of joined hands holding a stick with a pointed, elf-like hat balanced on it, and a sun peeking out from behind. First we were merely curious to find out exactly what it was, and after many unsuccessful tries we eventually learned that it's a symbol of the Argentine Republic.

Then it went that extra step further, when I spotted the symbol emblazoned on two large brass buttons on the collar of a beautiful floor-length vintage wool cape. I'm not really exaggerating when I say that I very nearly bought that cape solely for the buttons. Not that the cape wasn't also gorgeous, but you have to understand that its bulk would've consumed every last square inch of space in my luggage. I didn't buy the cape, but it suddenly turned my vague notion of finding some sort of clothing or jewelery with that symbol on it into a mad quest that would allow me no rest until it was resolved.

Thankfully that day was the open air flea market in the San Telmo neighborhood. After scouring dozens upon dozens of vendors' booths, I finally spotted what I needed: ten matching vintage brass buttons that I could take home and sew onto the clothing item of my choice. But of course the quest wasn't entirely fulfilled, because now I was left with the need for the perfect jacket to sew these treasures onto.

Enter the lovely Erin and her wonderful blog. After weeks of searching high and low, I spotted just the jacket I needed when she raved about it in this post. I counted the buttons: there were exactly ten. The jacket had the crisp, military styling and flattering fit I was after. Better still, it was from Forever 21 and was bound to be affordable! Mere seconds later, I was on the F21 site ordering up my very own jacket, which turned out to be every bit as perfect as I'd hoped. A little bit of clipping and sewing later, and I had my very own faux Republica Argentina uniform.

Other oddball, fashiony obsessions of mine:
  • A pair of nerdy, tacky vintage golf shoes (I got outbid for the perfect, plaid-tastic pair on eBay and it nearly broke my heart, after which I gave up the search)
  • Getting a pair of white leather ice skates and removing the blades to wear them as boots (I didn't actually do that, but found a reasonable substitute)
  • A charro suit (still looking for one; I'm also hooked on the idea of joining a mariachi band someday, just as soon as I learn to play an instrument and speak Spanish...)

Jacket: F21
Top: Pete & Greta
Necklace: H&M
Tank: American Eagle
Cropped pants: Noa Noa
Socks: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Art Shoes


WickedThrifty said...

i love replacing buttons to make something special! great score. you could perhaps have shipped the cape home, though? :)

Susan B said...

Fabulous jacket, and I love the story behind the buttons. I'm a big fan of Creative Re-Buttoning.

Anonymous said...

Hi Audi! I just wanted to say I love your outfits, and it's great to know a fellow nerd is trying to look fashionable! :)

Keep up the wonderful blog!

Anonymous said...

i love the jacket, it looks fabulous (even more with the button-backstory ;)

Anonymous said...

You're hilarious - I LOVE the idea of you in a mariachi band. And the jacket looks utterly fantastic!

gina said...

Awesome jacket!

Charro suits were all over the place at the markets in Guadalajara. Some fairly plain, and others with tons of ornamentation. My boyfriend and his father each bought a charro jacket.

Sheila said...

I love the jacket with the new buttons. Did you ever find out the significance of the crest? It's a rather odd one.

Ha, when you mentioned charro, I immediately thought of Charo (she of the "Love Boat" guest spots - hoochie hoochie!).

C said...

I have a similar dream of having no-blades-ice-skate-shoes. There's something magical about those babies. Love your jacket!

ambika said...

So Victorian, I love it!

Unknown said...

That's a liberty cap held aloft by the hands. Not sure what the stick may be--perhaps a spear? History geek here . . .

Unknown said...

Here's an amusing explanation of the Argentine national symbol:

Audi said...

EnglundLit: Thanks for the link! That makes sense; while we were there someone tried to explain what the hat meant, but all we got out of the conversation was that it had something to do with the French, which made us more confused than ever.

Audi said...

Clare: This is what I found as a substitute for the bladeless skates:

Lorena said...

HA! that was FUN--- to see how you can have a piece that nobody else has... that serves as a souvenier and tells a story.. can't get any better than that!

edgertor said...

i've had the same obsession with ice skates since i was a kid...i'll have to look for a larger pair to try it out!

also, your jacket is awesome. I did something similar with some russian sickle and hammer buttons and an old early 80s calvin klein peacoat once...i wish i still had it.

in terms of the golf shoes--puma makes some crazy ones that are actually made for the youth (boys or girls?) market--they're pale yellow/white or light blue/white and come large enough for adult women to wear. I've been coveting a pair. they show up on ebay a lot lately.

Julia K Walton - Fire Horse Textiles said...

Thanks for this interesting article. I just bought two buttons with the same symbols on them and was trying to work out what was on the end of the stick! Now I know!

Great jacket, by the way - love that military look :)