Thursday, January 31, 2008

Grey to match the sky

My closet has two sliding doors, and there is a space in the middle that is harder to see. This dress, which I have had for a while now, was dead center. It was so hard to get to that I forgot I had it, and so this is the first time I've worn it. It was like getting something new, and I just love it!

matching the sky

Silver headband: H&M
Dress: vintage 70s, thrifted
Cat brooch: thrifted
Dark grey tights: H&M
Knee socks: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Target

Charmed by the sweet, silly posing skills of the ladies of The Clothes Horse and Strawberry Milkshakes, among others, I elected to try a few of my own.


The next one started with a tough growling face, but I broke down and giggled at my goofiness just as the flash went off.



Wednesday, January 30, 2008

If at first you don't succeed, tie tie again

I am a huge advocate of scarves, and I have a lot of them. The coolest gift I ever received was a bag of old accessories from my Grandma, many of which were my great Aunt's who had an exhorbitant amount of money and what seems to have been a clinical shopping addiction, which bode very well for me. The bag contained gloves, belts and scarves and I love them all to tiny little pieces. As far as scarves go, though, I am rather prone to wearing them either like this:

lunch, exams

...or like this:

Tuesday is better than Onesday

Option one is achieved by rolling a square scarf so that it is about 2 inches wide, then tying it around the neck. Option two requires two triangle folds. Option two can be tricky, because sometimes it ends up looking like a bib. The last time I wore a scarf like that my boyfriend actually pulled my scarf over my mouth and told me that I was now I Zapatista rebel, but I think that may say more about him than the scarf.

Anyhow. I'd love to change it up, so I am inspired by these wardrobe_remix ladies who are reinventing the wheel with pizazz.



I adore how softspoken and the snail and the cyclops have tied their scarves as bows. It adds a playful, girly element and looks downright elegant in a suitably cheeky way.

I also dig where biboniaa is taking things:


It is tied almost the way I usually tie mine, but the loose ends are in the middle rather than on the side. It is also flowier and more laid back. Dare I call it girl-scout-cowgirl chic?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oh cord, how I missed ye

I was parted from my camera cord for a few days, so I am doubling the trouble today.

Please excuse the odd leaning and hunching in this photo, I know not what I do.

I've got a hunch

Headband: Wal-Mart
Necklace: a gift from Mom
Denim vest: thrifted
Black cardigan: Old Navy
Dress: H&M
Deco black and gold bangle: Urban Outfitters
Black tights: Target
Boots: Target

When I left my apartment this morning, it was 48 degrees. Now it is -12 degrees with the windchill. Self-pity is comforting, but it isn't too warm.

warm colors = warm weather?

Here I am yesterday, when I was happier and less snow-stung.

Beret: flea market in Paris
Scarf: gift from Grandma
Sweater: thrifted
Skirt: thrifted
Tights: Target
Pewter pumps: Target

This outfit was slightly unusual for me, because my general instinct is to belt absolutely everything. Indeed, I am a huge advocate of the belt. I decided not to wear one because of photos like these, from Moderniteter:

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See? No belts! Of course, I am aware I'm no lithe, stunning Swede. But I am one hell of a dreamer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Never say never: printed hoodie

The concept of the hooded sweatshirt is certainly not lost on me. They are cozy, warm, and probably the most comfortable single item one can don with the possible exception of the hoodie's close relative, the sweatpant. They also contain much genetic variation - differences in color, fit and print mean that some girls own trillions of hoodies and keep buying more. And extraneous clothing purchases are something to which I am more than slightly privy.

Still, there is something about the hoodie. I shy away from it, partially because they seem a bit punkish to me and I usually fall on the sweeter, frillier side of dressing. I am more likely to wear a ruffled party dress to class than a tee shirt. The punkiest of all is the printed hoodie, an item which I have never actually worn.

I don't know if it is facehunter, Nylon, or something else, but I have been more and more attracted to the punky London look lately. Something about decontextualizing punk and making it happy-go-lucky and even a bit elegant seems to be chock full of possibilities. So, if I were to wear a printed hoodie, I would wear it like this:

Except my shoes wouldn't be Chloe. And though I love the square handbags with the circle hand holes, I think it would be awkward to carry.

I remember playing with the old fashioned version of Polyvore back in the dark ages before the internets. Back when it was called 'paper dolls.'

Friday, January 25, 2008

I refuse to go to bed and shall only eat cookies

So. I look like a little tyke in this photo.

a very silly photo

I am at home today, and my mom took the photo from the porch whilst I was on the ground.

Headband: belt from a vintage dress
Scarf: thrifted
Dress: thrifted and hemmed shorter
Tights: Salvation Army, thrifted new in package
Match-anything-miracle-brogues: Wal-Mart

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cute as a button!

The Chanel couture show contained several tweaks on their basic formula. I liked the ice princess quality and humming of the skirts. I was struck most, however, by the buttons. Granted, many of them are probably brooches placed where one would expect a button. But they are such pretty details that I think they stole the show.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

The blurring of the lines between button and brooch makes me wonder what other physical realities one could challenge. Spooky!

Actually, methinks I smell a DIY. It would be easy as pie. I am always seeing things at thrift stores that I don't like except for some terrific buttons, and it would be pretty painless to do a transplant of sorts. Alterna-buttons could be found anywhere. Single earrings? Beads? Champagne glasses? Garden statues?

Gee, Thanks!


Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.

Ranna from Only Shallow gave me this award. I am so flattered because she is one of the best bloggers out there. Her style is so girly and sweet, and she may have the world's best thrifting luck. Thanks, Ranna!

So many people make my day. I am so happy I started blogging, because everyone is so supportive, fun and interesting. I'd like to spread the love, so I am going to tag people I don't think have been tagged yet. These bloggers make my day:

Stephanie of Strawberry Milkshakes
The Iron Chic
Isabel of Hipster Musings
Heather of Tango Pirates and Absinthe
Hailey of Style Symmetry
Eve and Amber of Painfully Hip
Lala of Art Geek and Fashion Freak
Stararah: Inspiration
Nadine of Strawberry Kitten
Kaitlin of All This Happiness

Thanks for making so many days. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Optical madness

I was hesitant to post my outfit today, because the photo quality is not up to par. I like to take photos on my balcony because of better light and truer color. I usually either get my boyfriend to take them or I balance my camera on the edge of my balcony and do the self-timer. Today, however, there was snow and ice on my balcony and I didn't want my camera to slide off of the 17th story and plummet to its concrete grave. So, I took it inside.

The dress is handmade, and the pattern is black, blue and pink stripes. The stripes are vertical on top and diagnol on the skirt.

stripes for class

In this photo, they look like a bit of a magic eye.

Headband: Charlotte Russe
Clock pendant: thrifted
Vintage dress: thrifted
Tights: Target
Brogues: Wal-Mart

Udderly fabulous

I have the skin of a mummy. It is dry all year long, but in the winter things get really out of hand. I have tried several different lotions, all of which have done little to combat the problem as my legs seem to suck up whatever I smear on them like a Venus Flytrap.

The solution?


This stuff, Dionne Udder Balm. It is made for farmers to rub on cows' udders so that they don't get frostbite. That, however, doesn't stop me from rubbing it onto myself. It is so moisturizing and leaves my skin feeling better than any other product ever has. I know it is oddball, but I really swear by it. During my freshman year of college my friend Robert found my tub of it behind some books and was totally embarrassed, thinking he'd stumbled upon ointment for a nipple problem.

If you'd like to freak out your friends and combat dry skin, you can find this miracle goo at It is in the 'Stock' section under 'Ointments.' Cowabunga!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Screen Inspiration: Christian from "Project Runway"

Like most fashion bloggers, I have been keeping up with Season Four of Bravo's Project Runway. I thought it high time to put in my two cents and express my enthusiasm for Christian, for whom I am gunning. I love that he is a sassy little brat and that his haircut is a shape that does not occur in nature. Moreover, I am smitten by the chic high drama of his designs. I would wear everything he has produced, and his pieces make such clear and strong statements. He is by far the youngest in the competition at only 21, which I think speaks volumes for his talent. I think he has far outshone the other contestants who have years more experience in the field.

He is also the most entertaining to watch, and he is always straightforward in deeming something "fierce" or a "hot mess."

Behold his artistic, luscious work:






How can he get auf'd when these ladies are dressed to the neins?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Attention: Chicago and Indiana readers

I just wanted to let my areas in the Chicago and Northwest Indiana areas know that one of my favorite thrift chains, the Village Discount Outlet, is having a 50% off sale tomorrow for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Their prices are already about as low as can be (think: Salvation Army,) and so half off equates to mere pocket change. I've had great luck with this chain, even in the middle of the city where it can be tricky to thrift. The merchandise turnover is high and the stores are jam packed.

For locations, visit

I'll see you there.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A leggy girl's guide to tights

Pleats and thank you RIP, BYO interview: inner view dreary dreary

You may have observed that I dig a pair of tights. Indeed, the combonation of winter and my odd distaste for pants means that I don a pair nearly every day for half the year. My tights drawer is actually a regular dresser drawer intended for clothing, but my legwear takes up more room than my tops.

However, any tights lover knows how tricky the fits can be, especially for taller girls. I am 5'10" and for every pair of tights I wear and love there is probably another pair that I purchased and couldn't wear because they weren't designed for a body like mine. Thus, I thought I'd compile a list of places where the tights for tall kids are trustworthy, and where they are to be avoided.

Target: The Merona brand works better for taller people than Xhilaration, in general. For some reason, orange Xhilaration tights fit me better than the blue ones. The black sweater-y tights are very nice but they ride awfully low. In general I am willing to sacrifice comfort for style, but if you wear something too short with the Xhilaration tights you can see the bottom seaming because it lands on my upper thigh.

Kohl's: The Apt. 9 brand actually works well in a size medium. My biggest tights problem is that my weight falls on the lower end and my height on the higher, so usually I err on the side of height. Not so here, the larger size isn't stretchy enough and wrinkles on the leg.

Payless: I was so excited when I found the tights here because they were cheap and seemed well made. But tall girls beware: even though I wear them, the crotch falls very very low. The material looks good enough on the leg, but I wouldn't wear these tights with anything too short. These are probably perfect for mid-height to shorter girls because they are pretty nice and inexpensive. But it is pretty tough to get them on (a lot of yanking and shimmying,) and I am about fed up and ready to snip them at the toe. This is especially maddening because the package said they fit up to 5'11" and 165 pounds, which gives me a heck of a lot of wiggle room. They should have fit better.

Forever 21: No. The tallest height that they even provide for on the packaging is 5'8". Apply the Payless principle to these and you are looking at a very short tight. They are also not very opaque.

Urban Outfitters: The tights here are nice and do fit despite the one size fits all. However, they stretch out and wrinkle easily. The thinner tights are worse than the woven ones, but I would say to wait until a sale.

Thrifted tights, new in package: I have thrifted several pairs of tights that were new in the package. These are very hit or miss, as many of them are so old that the elastic is disintegrating.

H&M: These are surprisingly good tights. The thinner ones aren't too great, in my opinion (they run easily and are not very opaque.) The thicker woven tights, though, are very easy to wear in a size medium. I have a grey wooly pair that I just adore.

Wal-Mart: One of my favorite pairs of tights is actually from the no boundaries collection from here. I have never seen them since, but I am surprised by how much I love them (they are the red tights in the photo above.) Usually, however, Wal-Mart just sells footless tights, and I am really more interested in the full lengthers.

What about you? Any tricks of the trade on tights buying?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Screen Inspiration: Mary Tyler Moore

One of my favorite TV shows has got to be The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the 1970s working girl classic. The main character is Mary Richards, a forward thinking style maven holding her own amongst the boys. As far as I know, such a feminist concept was pretty unprecedented on TV at the time. Mary has a certain je ne sais quoi which I have tried to emulate in my outfits, I love her confidence and giant smile and would gladly skin a kitten to get my mitts on some of her duds.


I love the tucked in turtleneck and pleats. And any beverage would be sweeter when sipped from such a sweet little cup.


She is rocking the burnt orange, and I am smitten with the collar and buttons here.


I love the orange on navy with the unexpected crimson based print on the skirt.


I love a lot of things about this, but I especially love the scarf at her neck.

I am just about ready to throw my hat into the air.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Never say never: rugby polo shirt

Sometimes, the best fashion inspiration comes from the use of reverse psychology. I think that there are very few garments that are in themselves so offensive that they cannot be worn at all (kitten sweatshirts and crocs would be a part of this surely short list.) Instead, I think that almost any item can be chic with the right supporting cast. Any thrifter knows how creative and open one has to be whilst rack-scouring.

Still, there are plenty of items I don't like or wouldn't feel are very 'me.' One such item is an Abercrombie and Fitch rugby polo shirt. Thus, through the magic of Polyvore, I took an item I wouldn't ordinarily wear and put it into an outfit that I would:

When paired with a skirt and layered under a tank dress, it is less preppy and generic (my main grievance with them,) and more stylish.

Sidenote: the handbag in my ensemble is a convertible clutch from one of those accessory rental businesses (the netflix principle with handbags...use it and then send it back.) I don't think I could ever get on board with something like that, I am not one to avoid being seen twice with the same bag. Thoughts?

busy in the snow

I am off to class and then off to a coffee shop to do more homework. It is snowing against my will. Chicago winters can really toughen you up.

un jour gris

Beret: shop in San Francisco
Scarf: thrifted
Vintage sweater: rummage sale
Blue skirt: thrifted
Black tights: Kohl's
Red flats: Target

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blue and red for a busy day


I was so excited when I found this swing dress at H&M, only to find that it was on sale for 60% off a week later. So it goes.

Headband: H&M
Black cardigan: Old Navy
Blue swing dress: H&M
Red Tights: Wal-Mart
Flats: Target

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A studious girl

I am battling a bit of a cold and have itchy eyes, so the contacts had to hibernate today.

studious and runny

Headband: H&M
Scarf: Grandma's old
Eggplant turtleneck: It is under the cardigan and dress, I just wanted a bit of contrast poking out at the sleeves.
Mustard cardigan: Target
Pineapple brooch: thrifted
70s jumper: thrifted
Grey tights: Payless
Boots: Target

Monday, January 14, 2008

Screen Inspiration: Ellie Andrews

Last night I watched the 1934 classic "It Happened One Night," which was one of my favorite movies as a kid. I must say that I was enamoured with the smart, chic travelling suit donned by Ellie Andrews, played by Claudette Colbert:


It is fitted perfectly, with a sweet collar and print to boot. I'll be on the lookout for a vintage jacket with button and collar details. I also love the look of Ms. Colbert's quintessential '30s bob and exaggerated make-up.

I also advocate accessorizing any outfit with Clark Gable.

Fiesta in the Freezing Cold

I was so excited when I found this skirt at the Salvation Army, because it reminds me of a stereotypical fiesta (at which I imagine I'd spend near the guacamole.)


Headband: Wal-Mart
Scarf: Grandma's old
Tee: Old Navy, years ago
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: thrifted
Blue knee socks: Urban Outfitters
Bangles: one thrifted, the rest from the Indian neighborhood
Shoes: thrifted

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Out with the old

There are all sorts of reasons to love thrifting. Until I started reading blogs, though, I never realized how many people cite ethical reasons for doing so. Of course, this makes perfect sense. Second-hand items do not call for extraneous production and encourage sustainability. The planned obsolescence of the fashion industry leads people to buy things to be disposable.

Despite hating the theory behind this concept as being harmful and status-conscious, I have to say that I am guilty of the occasional purchase of a trendy, shotty item that I know will make me grimace before it goes through a spin cycle. I suspect that most lovers of fashion do the same.

Beyond trendy junk, though, I must say that I regard my wardrobe not as disposable, but as mobile. Behold my latest pile of cast-offs:

This one is actually a bit smallish for me, but every few months I purge a sizable pile of items. Many of them I've never actually worn because I thrifted them at a store without dressing rooms and have a chronic inability to size myself. On one hand, I feel a bit guilty for not being sustainable. On the other, I always donate my clothes and would never simply throw them away. There are plenty of homeless and domestic abuse shelters that have a constant need for clothing donations.

Is there an ethical distinction to be made between donation and throwing away, and between thrifting and buying new? I hope so, because I have already made mental peace with it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

dressing up the baby

Because the title of this blog is 'the whimsical nerd,' I will be posting intermittently about the history of fashion. A historiographical essay entitled "Histories of Childhood" in The American Historical Review, about the changing cultural conceptions of children throughout history, included the following tidbit:

"Until the late eighteenth century, girls' clothes and hairstyles were scaled-down versions of those of adult women. From about 1770, girls began to wear muslin frocks that were quite distinct from the elaborate clothing of adult women, and they wore their hair quite short in a manner scarcely distinguishable from that of boys. Boys' dress, however, from the age of about three, when they were breeched, remained distinctively masculine. A change came in the 1830s and 1840s, when both girls and boys from the ages of three to seven began to wear ankle-length pantaloons and half-length petticoats; this, combined with short hair, drew attention to what boys and girls had in common - their childishness - rather than what divided them. In the later nineteenth century, gender was again emphasized, a process that culminated in the adoption of color coding for children's clothes (blue for boys and pink for girls) shortly before World War II." (Cunningham, Hugh. "Histories of Childhood." The American Historical Review 103 (1998): 1195-1208, 1202.)


I find this information fascinating, particularly because girls' baby clothes became more feminine as women's clothes became less so (at least in the traditional sense.) This also speaks to the fact that fashion and clothing have a massive influence on our social consciousness. This color coding was a completely arbitrary method to express the gender of children who are still years off from understanding gender in the first place. Still, I know dozens of men who would never wear pink.


Friday, January 11, 2008

day off!

I have no class today so I am celebrating by dressing like a grade-schooler. I am lunching and shopping with a friend. Neglecting duty feels so nice.

day off playtime

Beret: flea market in Paris
Clock pendant: thrifted yesterday
Brown sweater: H&M
Plaid tent dress: H&M
Brown tights: thrifted Urban Outfitters, new in package
Brown brogues: Baker's (75% off!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thrifty pit stop

After class today I decided to stop by the Salvation Army closest to campus. Incidentally, the closest one is a bit over a mile, but I figured that Chicago winters provide very few days that a mile walk is feasible.


I got this skirt, which looks to me to be vintage but still has its tags. Judging by its wrinkles, I assume that someone bought it 15 years ago, rolled it up into a ball, placed it in a sandwich bag, and left it there until they donated it a few weeks ago. I was a bit unsure about it but I think it will be pretty versatile. It also has an elastic waist, which are good for the days I feel a bit meaty.


I also got these two pieces of jewelry. I've been on the prowl for some brooches, so the pineapple one will do nicely. I also decided to buy the little clock necklace because it reminds me of a pocket watch that the obscenely inspirational Ranna of Only Shallow made into a pendant.


...she can do no wrong.

Hire me.

I had an interview this morning for a part-time nannying job.

A capable girl

Headband: H&M
Scarf: Grandma's old, it is vintage Oscar de la Renta and has an elephant on it.
Turtleneck: H&M
Belt: Grandma's old again, vintage Judith Lieber
Skirt: vintage, thrifted
Tights: H&M
Shoes: Baker's

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hip Israeli Pairs

I get a kick out of looking at street style sites from cities that are less represented, or less commonly associated with fashion. These rockin' couples hail from Tel Aviv.


She makes the heavy black lace ups look as demure as cherry-scented pink ruffles with the sweet little socks. And his hat is curled up at the edges, just like my mouth. Because I am smiling.


This lady makes a long gold lame scarf look as natural as a tee shirt. And him? Someone needs to apologize to Mark David Chapman about the last 27 years of his life, because John Lennon never actually died.