Wednesday, September 24, 2008

...oy.

So, clearly I haven't posted in a while. I meant to, but having a full-time babysitting job and spending time in friends' basements is ultimately not conducive to piecing outfits together. Furthermore, I am finally leaving for Ukraine tomorrow and have made peace with the fact that style is a hobby I cherish but will have to give up for the next two years. I will be working as a volunteer with a very limited living stipend, working on projects in my community, and living off of a single suitcase of mixable-matchable clothing. I will miss it, but I am very happy. I had a wonderful summer - I had lots of time with people I love and even stowed money away for my vacation time abroad.

I have started a new blog at www.natinukraine.blogspot.com where I will chronicle my experiences in the Peace Corps.

Thank you to all who have read this blog. I loved writing it and your websites, comments and creativity have been a delight. Fashion, clothes and style are not things that fit too seamlessly into my life now, but I know I'll be back.

All the best, and all my love!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A horse of another color

My summer has been so depressing fashionwise. I have a full-time job babysitting, and even the most impassioned fashionista would have trouble rationalizing a well-conceived outfit to cart two preschoolers around to parks, swimming lessons and gymnastics all day. Still, I did manage to sneak off to the horse races with friends on Sunday in this.

horse race

Beret: shop in San Francisco
Shades: Forever21
Blazer: thrifted
Brooch on blazer: Forever21
Striped tee: Gap
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: thrifted
Platforms: Steve Madden
Vintage frame bag: Antique store

I am a bit obsessed with the shoes. I bought them on sale at Steve Madden. I was a bit on the fence about them until I realized that the black leather combined with the brown heel means that I can comfortably pair them with both black and brown.

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They initially caught my eye because they seem to channel these Chloe lovelies, which I adore.

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

A mini adventure in Asian Vogues

Sometimes it is fun to visit fashion websites or blogs in languages you cannot read, and simply click on things until you find pictures you like. Such was the case today as I wandered through the sites of Vogue Nippon (Japan,) Vogue Taiwan and Vogue India (though the Vogue India site is actually in English.)

Many features actually cross over internationally - trend reports and celebrity fashion features, for instance. But I did manage to find some street style stars on the Taiwan and Japan editions.

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...But I got most excited upon my discovery of an Indian designer I had never heard of named Rohit Bal, who apparently is rather well-known internationally and I just may be the last gushy fashion fiend to hear about him. His latest fashion show in New Dehli was so delightfully wacky. He mught actually be my hero. The metallic gowns are made of actual metal - an interweaving of eight types of metal including copper and - get this - gun metal. Gun metal. As in, there exists in life the opportunity to wear a dress that enjoyed a former life as a freaking weapon. I want to, like, walk my dog in it.

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Fierce.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Zoo'd

It was so pretty out today, so my boyfriend and I decided to take a little trip to the zoo. It was breezy, sunny and crowded. I was excited to whip up a day outfit, because I have been lounging around and reading a heck of a lot during the day and haven't worn much more than sweatpants before 9pm all week. Usually I'd pair an outfit like this with heels, but heels at the zoo seemed a bit whacky. Trust me, I looked kooky enough.

zoo trip

Grey beret: Paris flea market
Aqua necklace: Another Paris market
Fushia top: thrifted
Bright blue belt: thrifted
Ruffled skirt: Forever21
Vintage 60s frame bag: antique store
Grey knee socks: Target
Black flats: Target

The necklace was only about $3, and it is large and gaudy. These are two of my favorite style adjectives.

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"Wolf Woods" contained no wolves, except for a few behind a fence. But they were so far away that they looked like normal dogs anyhow.

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...there were animals too.

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I realized I have never given you a glimpse of Mike, my boyfriend and trusty photographer. He is a great sport, because I hardly imagine that he much enjoys taking self-indulgent photos of me and I don't think he really wanted me to take this photo of him. He is actually moving to Turkmenistan when I move to Ukraine, at which point we'll part for our respective Peace Corps jaunts.

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...and I couldn't resist acting like a damn toddler for a moment on the way to the car.

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I WILL POLLENATE THE CRAP OUT OF YOU.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Apology, accessories and archives

Please excuse my lack of posts. I was so busy during the school year and have finally gotten the chance to relax and catch up with old friends...before I knew it, over a week had passed without blogging. Beyond that, I have yet to unpack everything after moving out of my apartment and many of my clothes and accessories are still neatly shoved into rubbermaids and hefty bags. Still, I am back and will make an effort to be more present.

This past weekend I attended an annual garage sale at a local church. It has been one of my favorite events of the summer for years. It is huge, cheap and run by kind senile ladies who have no idea what they are giving away. My best find at the sale is something I can't actually wear in the summer, but it will serve me quite well in the Ukrainian winter. A vintage genuine fur pillbox hat for only $5:

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...the kicker?

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I also recently found the perfect take-it-anywhere black handbag at an antique store. I adore frame bags right now, and this one is pleasantly roomy. I like black handbags because I am not much of a switcher...I am too disorganized and carry too many random things. The last time I switched purses for an evening out I left my keys in purse #1 and found myself in the uncomfortable situation of being locked out at 3am.

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...on a final note, I found a moldy old outfit shot I took a few weeks ago to deliver a speech for a history conference. I forgot to post it and stumbled upon it yesterday when I was deleting old photos from my camera.

forgotten outfit

Shades: Target
Vintage 60s suit: thrifted
Giraffe brooch: flea market
Grey knee socks: Target
Spectator pumps: Bakers

Sunday, June 15, 2008

If the shoe fits, clip it

I have been thinking a lot about the prospect of packing for two entire years away in Ukraine with only 70lbs of luggage. Of course fashion will not be my paramount concern while I am there, but I can't help but want to be stylish and put together...especially considering the fact that Eastern European women are always so dolled up.

I won't be able to bring more than a pair or two of heels, and I'll have to stick to one neutral (black, of course.) So I plan on buying a pair of nice black pumps I'll get a lot of mileage out of and dress them up with shoe clips. I just won these vintage 60s lovelies on eBay:

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I found inspiration from a few lovely wardrobe_remix members, sherbet tone and liebemarlene, who each adorned solid pumps with pretty vintage shoe clips.

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Absolutely Audrey makes shoe clips out of vintage buttons, earrings and other assorted baubles. My favorites are the complicated fancy ones.

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I don't think I'd buy them, though, however pretty they are. I think I'd just intellectually burgle them and MacGyver myself up some shoe clips of my own.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Header, shoulders knees and toes

My previous header was really sad. Compared to headers on other blogs, I felt like the third grader who actually made her own diorama instead of handing the whole project off to a parent who happens to be Frank Gehry.

Lovely reader Jodie doctored me up a new one a while ago and I finally put it up. The background is a series of my outfit shots. I felt a bit odd about heading my blog with a series of photos of me, because despite the fact that this is largely a personal style blog, I don't mean for it to be a forum for self-congratulation.

Thus, I thought I'd be a bit silly and pull a Rene Magritte and cover my face with green apples in a reference to his painting "The Son of Man."

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Thanks Jodie!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Party like a history major

I am officially finished with college, which is such a relief. I just returned from a cookout with several students from my history of the modern Balkans class, which was a suitably nerdy time. I was excited by the chance to wear my new dress. I won a random drawing on Lady Language for a gift certificate, and I chose the Francesca Dress in a heartbeat because I have been cyber-stalking it since I first saw it on the site.

summer!

Shades: Target
Dress: Lady Language
Belt: thrifted
White Tights: Wal-Mart
Mary jane pumps: Payless

I really adore this dress. The shape is perfect - it has a full, flowy skirt and pockets. It also comes with its own matching belt, but I wanted to work the contrast angle with a black belt to pick up the shoes. I also think it would look great in the winter with thick wooly tights and a sweater and scarf. It is retro in the best possible way! Michelle of Lady Language is so sweet and has terrific taste in dresses and skirts...every piece on the website is covet-worthy.

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I finally got around to picking up a tube of the Russian Red Mac lipstick I mused about in this post. I think I am addicted. I want to wear it every day even though it is challenging to maintain and gets all over anything that touches it.

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...I bet there aren't too many hamburger buns that get cherry red lipstick on them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

But seriously, folks

My previous post about the social impact of photo editing was obviously tongue-in-cheek. Granted, I do think that the epidemic of photo editing contributes to the propegation of unrealistic beauty standards for women. This is closely linked to the arguments against rail thin models, both of which have been accused of fueling the increase of eating disorders among young women.

Still, even if these things are true, I would argue that focusing on issues like photo editing and skinny women in fashion shows as being harmful to women is essentially seeing the forest for the trees. What consistently gets losts in these endless debates is the fact that skinny models, botox and photoshop dependency are all somehow symptoms of the fact that society values beauty in women over any other trait.

Please understand that I am not attacking the desire to be beautiful. I do not think there is anything wrong with wanting to be attractive. We would all like to be! Still, there would be nothing inherently wrong with 'unrealistic standards of beauty' were it not for the fact that we live in a culture that demands it. You know what? Cindy Crawford, Heidi Klum, Chanel Iman and their ilk do promote unrealistic expectations of beauty. Most of the planet will never be as visually appealing as any of them.

Furthermore, women like Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Silverman, and Tina Fey promote unrealistic standards of humor! I'll never be as funny as any of them.

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...and other women engineer unrealistic standards of intelligence! No matter how much I may try and agonize over my schoolwork, I will never be as smart as Linda Buck, Winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Drew Gilpin Faust, current President of Harvard University, or acclaimed Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison.

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Still other women propegate impossible standards of power! It is highly unlikely that I will ever yield the international influence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US Senator and former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, or Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

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...so why the obsession with 'beauty standards?' Of course, I have yet to read about a single women who had to spend her prom in a psychological treatment facility because she felt inadequate over her inability to snare a Nobel Prize. It comes down to sexism - it is considered absolutely imperative that we be beautiful, and a mere bonus (or, at times, even a detriment) if we are smart, funny or accomplished.

As of 2005, only eight of the Fortune 500 Companies had been spearheaded by a female CEO. Only 34 of 777 Nobel Prize Laureates have been women. Of the 192 participating states in the UN, only 19 are currently headed by a woman. In the entertainment industry, women consistently lament the lack of meaty female roles or opportunities for female comics.

So do plummeting BMIs on the catwalks or erasing lines on a womans face really matter? Or is it the factors that instigate them?

I'm no psychologist or scholar on eating disorders or female self esteem issues. But I am certain that giving more social credence and opportunities to women would advance women's identity issues more than anything else ever could. Piling five, even ten pounds onto the whittled frames of every model in the galaxy would do less to eradicate eating disorders than would a movement to insert more women into positions of power, influence and prestige.

Electing female Presidents and Prime Ministers, canonizing women's literature and hiring women for top positions in business would help girls a lot more than making Kate Moss fat. If women had their share of the pie, their value would not be dependent on beauty standards. Inevitable human insecurities aside, people would just stop giving a damn.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Doctored realities

This article from The Independent discusses the issue of airbrushing and other photo-editing techniques in the media. For any photo in the realm of fashion photography, rampant use of photoshop is the norm. Images are manipulated to make women look younger, taller, or thinner. Their skin is revolutionized to produce a more beautiful tone, complexion and evenness. Blemishes, freckles and lines are banished to yield a new and fantasized reality.

What effect does photoshopping have on women? I, for one, think any photo editing is wrong. It perpetuates impossible beauty standards and makes women feel inadequate. We are all beautiful and should embrace our flaws as much as our assets. We should try to share and celebrate realities with photos, not deny them.

...By the way, here I am modeling my new bikini:

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Victory: I actually got dressed today

I am in the middle of a particularly demanding finals week, and I considered it a major accomplishment that I actually wore something worth posting today.

If I could only finish my papers...

papers, papers

Headband: H&M
Vintage silk scarf: from my grandma
Black tee: H&M
Skirt: F21
Polka dot tights: Target
Pink knee socks: F21
Mary jane pumps: Payless

The skirt was a super cheap Forever21 score. It was only $10.50...a total impulse buy when I was on the way out. It was so cheap and just a skirt, so I bought it without trying it on. I love the shape of it. I have been searching for a few more solid color items, because sometimes I feel as if my closet is so chock-full of prints that I can't actually wear any two things together. I may start by nabbing this skirt in another color or two. Mustard, perhaps?

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One last piece of advice: If you live in Chicago and are walking around in a skirt made of something that isn't, oh, chain mail, make sure it has reliable lining. You'll be relieved it does when the wind catapults the whole darn thing straight above your waist line.

This one is adequately lined. But others have not been...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

street stylin'

In light of my impending move to Ukraine, I have rediscovered one of my all-time favorite street style sites, FAK! Kyiv Everyday Fashion. The photographer is obviously blessed with an uncanny eye - the photos border on being artwork, and the outfits are always so fresh, crisp and eye-catching. Here are a few of my favorites! I'll have to find these ladies and force them to be my shopping buddies.

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...I have been a bit negligent with the blog lately. I graduate in less than two weeks and am knee deep in final papers! I have also been boring myself to death with my outfits. I'll reassume my groove post-haste.