Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rainbow Beams

The sun has clearly changed its angle lately; here it was so bright that it created little rainbow beams right across my photos. Lovely for sitting in the window seat and enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning, lousy for taking pictures. I hope this doesn't mean I'm going to have to find a new photo spot for the winter months, but it may come to that if it stays sunny.

This outfit was all about comfort; no tights or thin elastic waistbands squeezing my middle, no tugging or readjustment to be done during the day, and no pinching or rubbing on my feet. Since the solid black top and solid teal skirt isn't the most exciting combination, I brought in some additional pattern and color with the scarf and socks.

The socks also helped to tie the shoes in with the rest of the outfit, since they contain both beige and black. The shoes are mostly brown, so I was afraid that they might not make sense with the black top and belt if I didn't have something to help with the transition. The other thing I've thought of doing with these shoes is changing the laces out for black ones so that I can wear them with pretty much anything.

Scarf: Promod
Shirt: H&M
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe
Bracelet: Amrita Singh, via Gilt
Skirt: LA Made
Socks: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Fly London

Monday, November 29, 2010


Our long weekend was wonderful, and the city was just as quiet and uncrowded as I expected it would be (of course, we stayed well away from Union Square). On Thanksgiving Mark and I met some friends for dinner at one of our favorite comfort food restaurants, Home. On Saturday we saw the fantastic Yard Dogs Road Show, which is sort of a vaudevillian revue with music, dancers, magic, and burlesque. If you're in Los Angeles, the Yard Dogs will be playing on New Year's Eve at the Edison, which I'm sure will be an incredible show.

It certainly isn't warm enough for shorts and bare arms this week, but thankfully I made the most of it when it was. Funny that I had to wait until late November to wear some of my summertime outfits, but such is the bizarro weather in San Francisco. 

With this outfit I used one of my loose, open knit vests as a shirt, securing it with a fitted waistcoat as a top layer. To my surprise, the vest stayed put all day with no readjustment necessary; I think having the tank top underneath made the difference, because the vest was then sandwiched between two non-slippery layers of fabric.

Tank: American Eagle
Knit vest: F21
Waistcoat: Promod
Shorts: White House Black Market
Shoes: MIA

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Favorite Time of the Year

Well, it's officially my favorite time of the year in San Francisco: Thanksgiving. The time of the year when I just want to drive all over the city, parking my car in all the impossible-to-park-in neighborhoods and relishing the fact that most people are out of town. After tonight's insane traffic dies down, the rest of the long weekend should be blissfully quiet and uncrowded. Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends here in the US. I'm taking the rest of the week off to relax, and for all the poor souls who have to travel by air this weekend, I leave you with this:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Good Foundation

This was my take on the classic 'sexy secretary' look, but with a modern twist. I started with the basic shape of a pencil skirt and blouse, selecting my leopard print top for the full retro effect. But then I changed up several elements: instead of nylons and pumps, I swapped in colorful tights and boots; instead of a cardigan I wore the fitted tank top as a vest; instead of a solid skirt I opted to throw in a pattern mix with the plaid.

I think in the final analysis though, it's really the mix of neutrals that is the most modern element of this outfit. Classic style rules say that you can't mix brown and black, but clearly that's an idea that has been overthrown in more recent years. To me the pairing looks very chic, and moreover it's a lot more flattering to many skin tones than wearing head-to-toe black. It also allows you a wider range of possibilities for using your leather goods, such as belts and shoes.

Speaking of outdated style rules, I'll share a little secret about this outfit: the smoothness and fit of the skirt is largely owing to a foundation garment. The stretchy fabric of the skirt, combined with the snug fit and geometric pattern, tends to make my thighs look a little bulgy. Adding some tummy and thigh control made the skirt hang straighter and gave me a lot more confidence in pairing it with a shorter top. This allowed the skirt to do what it does best, which is to show my butt to its best advantage. With a form-fitting garment like this one, a good foundation garment can help minimize distractions so that your best features get the focus they deserve.

How do you feel about foundation/control garments -- lifesaving innovations, or outdated and oppressive? Personally I wouldn't want to wear them all the time, but for specific garments they can really polish up the look.

Leopard top: Forever 21
Tank top: thrifted
Belt: Lazaro
Bangles: Amrita Singh, via Gilt
Tights: Foot Traffic, via Sock Dreams
Boots: purchased at Scoop in Copenhagen

Monday, November 22, 2010


This was a fun outfit because it brought so many unique items together; I also enjoyed wearing it because it's been awhile since any of these pieces (except for the boots) has seen the light of day.

I love how the strong shape of the leather vest is highlighted against the dark brown background of the silk shirt. Coincidentally, the shirt has some ruching on one side that creates an asymmetrical hem; the ruching happened to be opposite the longer side of the vest, which made the lengths match up perfectly. The shorter ruched side also allowed the cute column of buttons on the skirt to show; I actually had to turn the skirt around and wear it backwards to make this happen, but since it looks the same in the front and back it didn't really matter.

I figured since I had so many one-of-a-kind items in the outfit, it was only fitting to wear my hand-knitted linen socks from Latvia, along with the boots I brought back from Prague. The vest was handmade in Finland, the skirt is from the UK, and the shirt was made by a local SF desinger, making this quite the international look.

Another thing to note about this outfit is that it is essentially monochrome. The matching hues of the shirt and boots give some continuity to the outfit, while the buttery-beige vest, herringbone patterned skirt, and light beige socks bring in both a variety of shades as well as some textural elements.

Shirt: Lemon Twist
Vest: Attila Design
Skirt: All Saints
Socks: handmade in Latvia
Boots: Bata
Ring: Wendy Mink, via Gilt

Friday, November 19, 2010


If you haven't done so already, hop on over to Sal's blog and check out the guest spot I wrote about being a smart Etsy shopper. Whether you're a seasoned Etsy pro or still curious about how the whole thing works, I hope to provide you some insight that will make the process smoother and more rewarding, especially as we near the final countdown for holiday shopping.

What's that I've got on today? Could it be harem pants?? As a matter of fact, it is. Long was I skeptical of the trend, and long did I expect it to fade into oblivion, but it has persisted and finally I was forced to admit that I might want to give it a try, especially after I saw how great it looked on Angie.

When I saw this pair of harem pants on Gilt, I knew they were just perfect, but they were all sold out in my size by the time I saw them. For several months I would see other pairs, but I had the image of these in my head and nothing else seemed quite right. However, one of the important things to know about Gilt is that items sometimes come back a few times, so I was patient and kept checking the daily sales. Patience finally paid off; the pants showed up again and I snapped them up this time around.

The pants are 100% silk and feel just like pj's; in fact, they were a little hard to get used to between the light, slippery fabric and the puffy legs. The cuffs hit  just below my calf, but pushing them up onto the widest part of my calf gives the legs a fuller shape. To me they actually look less like a harem pant and more like jodhpurs, or knickers, as Wendy B likes to call them. And as Wendy pointed out, knickers are the next new thing, so either way I figure I'm covered in the way of baggy-legged pant trends.

Button-down shirt: Promod
Sheer shirt: Noa Noa
Belt: Urban Outfitters
Bangles: Amrita Singh
Pants: Vera Wang, via Gilt
Boots: Bronx

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Grounding Influence

I had the combination of this cardigan and floral dress in my head for awhile; in fact, after the last time I wore the cardigan I jotted down the idea on a post-it note and stuck it in my closet to remind myself. When I finally put it together though, I found that the dress was a bit too long for the proportions I wanted, so I pulled the same trick that I used the other day with my pink strapless top; I took up the excess length by folding the dress at the waist, and secured it underneath the stretchy belt.

I had previously thought this cardigan could not be worn with a belt, but out of necessity I gave it a try; it was either that or start all over with a new outfit. I think it actually worked really well with this; the neutral belt has something of a grounding influence on all the bright color and pattern of the cardigan and dress, and ties in the socks and shoes quite nicely.

The socks reach up to just above the knee; this kept the outfit from being too warm, the skirt being a dense wool. I finally managed to get some photos of this skirt that show the color; every other time it has always looked black when in fact it's a deep olive green.

Cardigan: Anthropologie
Dress: 90's romper altered into a dress
Belt: Audra Jean
Skirt: Noa Noa
Socks: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Joy Chen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mustard Yellow

I bought this dress a couple weeks ago from eShakti after I decided that I needed more mustard yellow in my closet. One of the things I really like about eShakti is the rational hem lengths; most everywhere else it seems that the only option besides scandalously short is a maxi dress. The current assortment of offerings includes several styles like this one; full skirted, modest length (which is also customizable), with vintage styling. I admit I was a little skeptical of ordering a dress of this style in jersey, because typically a full pleated skirt requires a stiffer fabric to help maintain its shape. Not only that, but jersey can be extremely unforgiving, revealing every seam of your underwear and showing lumps and bulges on your body that you didn't even know existed.

This jersey, however, is a nice, dense weave, and thick enough not to need a lining. The dress has a nice heft to it and the skirt holds its full shape very well. In order to accentuate the 50's silhouette I added the tulle underskirt, which made the outfit feel marvelously swishy and elegant. I neutralized some of the bright color by pairing the dress with black and off-white. The elastic bow belt came with the dress and was just the thing to hold the cardigan in place.

In case you missed the post, I've got a coupon code for you to use this month at eShakti; see the 'Special Offers' box over to the right in the sidebar.

Dress: eShakti
Tank: F21
Cardigan: a gift from mom
Tights: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Tsubo

Bonus adorable dog photo: Georgie soaking up some morning rays.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oblong Inflated Spheroid

Disclaimer: the rest of the text in this post has nothing at all to do with the outfit. I tried and tried to write something interesting about it, but finally had to call uncle. It was just a casual Friday outfit, after all. Here are the details in case you're pressed for time or are otherwise disinclined to read my random rant of the day:

Tunic: thrifted
Harness: Audra Jean
Bangles: Amrita Singh (via Gilt)
Jeans: Diesel (via Gilt)
Boots: All Black

Over the weekend I realized why I cannot watch American football. I always figured it had mainly to do with the fact that the players spend most of their time just standing around on the sidelines. That, and the way the players' butts look catastrophically bad in those gross shiny pants with the weird seams on either side of the crack. The uniforms look like a skintight, disco version of a union suit.

 Dude, you've got way worse problems than the concussion you're about to get;
pimps in 1975 looked hotter in their spandex pants than you.

But in fact I don't think it's either of those things at all; my general loathing of football comes down to two annoying little occurrences that just plain bug the crap out of me.

One is how the calls are communicated. Now in hockey, when a call is made the referee gives you three important pieces of information: who is being penalized, for how many minutes, and what the penalty is for (usually in one to three words). That's it; no more, no less. "Number 64, 2 minutes for high sticking." Fine, now let's get on with the game. But in football the explanation might take several minutes, and frankly I don't have the patience to hear the entire rationale behind a convoluted call pulled from some obscure rule, whose source can only be found by poring over a tome that's undoubtedly equivalent in mass to the entire Encyclopedia Britannica series.

 Easier to interpret than the rules of football.

What's worse is that the majority of the referee's monologue typically isn't even the call at all, but a recap of what just happened. Look buddy, I just sat here for 10 minutes of deliberation, watching the players wander around spitting and readjusting their crotches; cut to the chase, would you?

The other thing that really gets under my skin is the commentators, who insist on using the word, "football" in their descriptions of the action, as in, "He ran the football into the end zone." Now I may not even begin to understand the intricacies of the game, but even a blockhead like me knows what kind of a ball they're playing with. Obviously if I'm WATCHING FOOTBALL, then the object they're throwing around (when they can be bothered to get out on the field)  is simply the ball. Is that extra syllable really going to fill up a significant amount of airtime when you've got nothing clever to say? I didn't think so.

Clearly they were never told that silence is golden.

I understand the desire to spice up the language and make the commentary more interesting, but this is not the way. In hockey they might call the puck a biscuit, or simply the puck, but you'll never hear them say, "Marleau shot the hockey puck from the blue line." Why? Because it sounds stupid, that's why. Get some new words, football announcers; even calling it an 'oblong inflated spheroid' would be better than football.

It's sort of like that annoying sound, faint though it may be, that once perceived is impossible to ignore. A distant barking dog or crying baby, perhaps. And now that I've taken note of the lengthy soliloquies of the refs and the irritating overuse of the word "football," my utter disdain for the entire sport has crystallized. I do, however, occasionally enjoy hearing about how a player's head was "on a swivel." Perhaps there's hope for me yet.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Airing

You can tell how warm it still was when I wore this; we had some unseasonably hot weather which reached its peak the day the Giants came home for their celebratory parade. This outfit was worn right before it turned chilly again, when I had checked the forecast and thought I could eke out one more day of bare legs and arms. I took the opportunity to try out one of the cute pairs of ankle socks that I bought just as the last heat wave was ending.

I wore and posted this outfit almost verbatim last month; all I did to change it up was to replace the gray tank with an off-white one, swap the cowboy boots for socks and sandals, and add different jewelry. But I couldn't resist giving it another airing, because we don't get too many days around here that are suitable for wearing something like this, and I wanted to fully enjoy what was potentially the last really hot day we'll see until spring.

Vest: F21
Dress, skirt: Anthropologie
Socks: Sock Dreams
Sandals: John Fluevog
Jewelry: Betsy Johnson

Friday, November 12, 2010

Suede Shorts

After many months of looking longingly at different pairs of leather shorts online, I finally followed Sal's lead and a pair myself. These started out as suede pants, which I picked up at Goodwill; a couple of snips with the scissors, a little folding, pressing, and sewing, et voila! Suede shorts, for $16. The best part is that Mark saved the rest of the pretty burgundy suede, which hopefully he'll turn into something amazing.

My first thought in creating an outfit with these shorts was to pair them with something unstructured on top, so that the outfit wouldn't be too risque for work. This sheer, leather-trimmed tank was actually something I selected in my head before I even started playing around with the actual clothes.When I got to my closet and started poking around, I thought at first glance that the tank would be too long, but after several fruitless attempts with other pairings, I gave it a shot and found it was just right.

The loose tank and asymmetrical cardigan keep the top half of the outfit interesting while still letting my legs be the star. I felt like anything fitted on top might push this outfit into the realm of office-inappropriate (although who knows, I might wear it that way anyway). Adding the socks kept my legs warm and somehow gave me the feeling of being less exposed.

Cardigan: All Saints
Tank: Black Market Baby
Bracelet: Leslie Danzis
Shorts: Wilson's Leather
Socks: Sock Dreams
Shoes: MIA

Thursday, November 11, 2010


It was Imogen who suggested I wear this dress over skinny jeans, and I kept that suggestion lingering in my head for the next time I decided to wear the dress. Funny how I can't remember what someone told me 10 minutes ago if it relates to work or household stuff, but anything in the way of clothing or style gets filed in some instant-access portion of my brain for easy future reference.

Although the boots covered most of the jeans, I thought they were too perfect a match not to wear. Boho isn't a style I don very often, so I guess when I do I ought to go all out. When I walked you could see the jeans as the dress moved around, which I thought looked great. This outfit was also a perfect opportunity to wear this pretty brass and crystal bracelet I got from Gilt recently.

If you look closely you can see how I tightened the boots at the top by cinching the wraparound strap and securing the excess length by doubling it back through the front top loops; when you see these boots again it will be with that excess length taken up in small brass buckles.

Dress: vintage
Harness: Audra Jean
Bracelet: Leslie Danzis
Jeans: Joe's
Boots: Apepazza

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Creative Alteration

I love this skirt more every time I wear it; the construction is superb and it's so thick and sturdy that it needs no lining or slip to make it opaque. Admittedly though, it can be a bit challenging to work with. I had actually hit upon pairing it with this pink top before, but found that the hip-length top was too long and threw the proportions off. However, adding the elastic belt allowed me to take up some of the length, by folding it neatly underneath the belt and tucking it out of sight. I've got a million tricks up my sleeve, let me tell ya!

This reminds me of the episodes of What Not to Wear that I was watching over the weekend, in which Clinton and Stacy kept telling people to make the clothes work for them. This is so true; you do not have to settle for flaws that make a garment less than perfect for you, nor do you have to pass something by completely, simply because one minor element is off.

Beyond the obvious fixes like taking up length, you can alter the shape of a garment by adding darts or pintucks, make straps narrower or even wider (this was a suggestion of Clinton and Stacy's; take a couple inches off the hem of a dress and use it to make wider straps), turn a dress into a skirt or a romper into a dress, and just about anything else your imagination can dream up. These options are particularly important to keep in mind while you're thrift shopping, because when the original item is so affordable it's not as big of a deal to take a chance on a creative alteration.

What's the most creative or dramatic alteration you've ever made to a garment? Did you do it yourself or take it to a tailor?

Top: Weston Wear
Cardigan: Express, a gift from my aunt
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe
Necklace: Manu Lizarralde
Skirt: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Boots: All Black

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tightly Wrapped

Some astute reader spotted this top online and directed me to it, and now I can't seem to find the message to figure out who it was. At any rate, thank you -- it is, in fact, precisely my style.

The one little issue with this top is that where the two sides come together along the bottom hem, they do not stay closed, which means that with a low-waisted bottom there will be a patch of exposed skin. Not classy! So I paired it with a high-waisted skirt and made extra sure I wouldn't be flashing my ashen abdomen by securing everything with a tightly wrapped obi belt.

I didn't want to detract from the olive green and navy blue combination by adding too much black, so I chose patterned tights instead of solids. I thought this minimized the impact of the black and kept the outfit from looking too dark.

Note that the obi and the skirt don't match exactly; the obi is a brighter blue than the skirt, giving the outfit some depth and keeping it from being too predictable. That brighter blue is picked up again in the shoes -- which, by the way, have recently been made light-years more comfortable with a little stretching (see my posts on shoe stretching here and here).

Top: Forever 21
Obi: Sunhee Moon
Shoes: Paolo

Monday, November 8, 2010


This is yet another belt I pilfered out of Mark's completed pile. He originally made it as a double belt; the other section is black with silver dome rivets, and hangs down around the hips. The two belts are held together with a leather loop, so that they can be worn together or separately. You've seen me wear the black section on its own as well, with the machine gun bikini in this post, and also as part of a work outfit in this post. One of these days I'll join them back up and wear the set.

What I really wanted to point out about the belt is the beautiful red leather, which Mark has just used to make a Jane Doe style harness (it's too thick for some of the other harness styles). It's a deep, brick red and although we've had it sitting around for awhile, Mark has just recently gotten around to using it. I'm hoping to see him make more items in this color; this could be really pretty for a winter look.

Capelet: Forever 21
Shirt: All Saints
Belt: Audra Jean
Skirt: a gift from Sal
Tights: MP, via Sock Dreams
Shoes: Born

Friday, November 5, 2010

New eShakti Coupon Code

Great news -- I've got a new promo code for you to use over at eShakti. Just enter "Au043U" at checkout for 15% off your order! This code is valid through the month of November. eShakti has added several new and adorable styles lately; in fact, I've got a new dress making its way to me as I type. They offer custom styling and sizing for just $7.50, and your first customization is free! 

One Fell Swoop

This is the other new pair of boots I alluded to yesterday. They're a little lighter than they appear in the photos, more of a camel color and not medium brown. Normally I avoid suede, but these were just so darn pretty I couldn't resist. They reach all the way up to my lower thighs and yet have no hint of a Julia Roberts/Pretty Woman hooker vibe.

One complaint about these is that on me they're a lot slouchier than they appear in the listing on Endless. In fact I had to tighten those straps at the top of the boots to keep them from slumping all the way down to my calves. But tightening the strap did work, and Mark had just the perfect buckles to put on them so that I don't have to take up the excess length by doubling it back through the front loops. It's a handy thing to have a leather craftsman in the house.

These boots take care of several fall trends in one fell swoop: OTK boots, camel, and suede; adding the military jacket and bubble-hem skirt brought the trend count to 5 in this single outfit. As for the big piece of string stuck to my right arm, that was purely accidental; good thing I noticed it before I left for work.

Jacket: thrifted
Belt: Audra Jean
Skirt: Attila Design
Boots: Apepazza