Thursday, February 25, 2010

This is why I will never be able to give up buying new clothing. Damn you Target!!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

one for the foot fetishists

Socks are fun! It's such a shame that they are so often overshadowed by the rest of an outfit. Over the years I've amassed quite a collection and it seemed time to take a moment to celebrate the humble sock.

stripes from my ex's mother

trompe l'oeil spats from Anthropologie

fancy Tabio socks

gold chains from Topshop

Monday, February 22, 2010

fashion icons for all occasions

[I wrote this article about five or six years ago for a zine my dear friend Mrs. N was editing. She had asked a number of people to write about a subject dear to them and I naturally chose fashion. In the end, the zine never came out, and this article remained hidden on the desktop of my mom's computer. So here it is, my short and very subjective list of fashion icons. I would love to hear from some other people who their list of fashion icons would include.]

Perhaps with the world on the brink of crisis as it is today, it seems frivolous to write about fashion. Well, it is. But with so many horrible things going on from our foolish and arrogant foreign policy, to our frightening lack of reproductive freedom (and everything that lies in between), I thought I'd choose a feel good subject. And fashion should make you feel good. Unless, of course, you take it too seriously, because as we all know, being well dressed will never make you a better person. It will, however, lift your spirits and on most occasions make you feel more confidant.
There is a famous quote, which ironically, I can't remember, but the gist of it is that geniuses steal. To this end I present my list of fashion icons for all moods and occasions. Please steal from them at will.

For ruling the world: Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland controlled the fashion world for nearly five decades. She is the one who first coined all those obnoxious fashion phrases like "leopard is the new black" (or whatever happens to be the new whatever at the moment). [light is the new dark, Mr. K.?] Diana Vreeland has too many awesome fashion moments to recount here, but there are numerous books ranging from affordable to downright insanely expensive, which explore her in depth. I will however leave you with some typical Vreeland advice: "Why don't you have your cigarettes stamped with a personal insignia as a well known explorer did with a penguin". And really, when you think about it, if you are planning on ruling the world, why wouldn't you?

For being crazy: Little Edie Beale

Little Edie's wardrobe in the movie Grey Gardens is just fantastic. Watch that movie and it will forever change the way you view clothes. Why shouldn't you wear a hand towel as a head covering? And who says you need to fastenings the way they were intended? On those days when you find raccoons eating the walls of your house and semi-feral cats relieving themselves in your bedroom, just go with it and wear you nylons over your shorts.
If you happen to be independently wealthy, you could also go the route of the Marchessa Casati. Drop some belladonna in your eyes and buy yourself a cheetah and make like the Italian marchessa.

For clubbing: Diane von Furstenberg

Think 70's Andy Warhol & Studio 54. Diane von Furstenberg is my favorite version of the Cinderella story: after marrying the prince, she realizes that being a princess is boring and opts to become a fashion designer instead. Scoring a DVF dress will probably set you back considerably, but don't worry, just get yourself some fabulous slinky fabric with a bold print and knock off one of her wrap dresses. She even published a "health & beauty" book in the 70's for those of us plebs who aspire to fabulousness.

For making the scene: miscellaneous debutantes of the 20's & 30's

Any copy of Vogue from the 20's or 30's is full of fabulous and forgotten women. On their own they are hardly remarkable, but as a whole they are ripe for style plundering.
Here are a few to get you started:

Lady Lavery - posed for the banknotes of the Irish Free State

Marquise de Casa Maury - renown for her exotic looks and listless manner. She dressed like a nun on her wedding day and vaselined her eyes.

Baba d'Erlanger - wore jewels on her bathing suit and painted the tips of her fingers maroon

Countess Haugwitz-Reventlow nee Barbara Hutton - changed nail polish and husbands to match her dresses

For being a vindictive little bitch - Mrs Reginald Fellowes

Daisy Fellowes made a hobby out of seducing other women's husbands. She gave dinner parties composed entirely of people who couldn't stand one another. While staying aboard he yacht, she fed her guests tinned food while she ate caviar. Her style philosophy was this: wear whatever will make other women feel foolish. A favorite trick of Mrs. Fellowes - tell people the dress code is formal when it is, in fact, casual (This is not a very nice trick girls, and is only recommended for those of you who don't mind making enemies quickly).

For being adorable, but slightly unhinged - Amy Sedaris

I'm afraid I am more familiar with Amy Sedaris through her numerous interviews than any of her actual performances [this is no longer true - I relished every little morsel of the Strangers with Candy series a few years ago]. But whatever. She makes my list because she always has on the most wonderful little 50's dresses. I also love that her house is fill with taxidermy and surreal Todd Oldham pieces. I would consider dressing in this sugar-sweet manner if you are going to be engaging in bizarre behavior. It makes it that much more confusing for you victims and that much more fun for you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What do you think of my new background colour? The black was suddenly feeling too heavy and since it might as well be Spring out here, it seemed time to shed the dark Winter colours.

Recently, whilst organizing the old storage unit, it dawned on me the obscene amount of fabric I've been amassing for the past ten years or so, and I decided 2010 would be the year to turn some of that raw material into useful items. So, to go with today's Spring theme, I've pulled out a few of my floral fabrics. I would love to hear some suggestions on what I might do with them.

I thought maybe a 30's puffed sleeve blouse with this.

I'm really not sure what I had in mind with this one.

I only have a small amount of this and I had always figured on making patch pockets with it, but now I'm thinking perhaps a blouse yoke.

Ooh, this fabric is so delicious!!! I got it at Mandors and so far I've been too afraid to cut into it. Some day I hope it will become a dress.

I look at this fabric now and think "Why?". It really looks like horrible kitchen curtains, but at the time, I think I thought it looked like a Marimekko print and at one point I was going to make a skirt. I'm not so sure about that now.

I have so much of this fabric (A. and I bought a huge roll of it). Some day I'm going to design a whole collection around it just so I can get rid of all of it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Okay, so I didn't finish my fifth garment by Sunday. I'm a little disappointed, but naturally I have obligations such as going to work that took precedence over my little project. Nevertheless, I am quite pleased with how much I got done - I don't usually get this amount of sewing done unless there is a grade being given out at the end. Incidentally, here is the pattern and fabric for my fifth garment (the blouse) which I hope to finish sometime this week.

Here's garment number four, a Cynthia Rowley design for Simplicity patterns. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, though I accidentally melted a bit of the skirt with my iron (maybe if you view the enlarged photo you can see it - it's up in the gathering near the waistband). Even though I diligently measured the pattern before cutting, it still ended up being a bit more snug then I had anticipated. It's very comfortable while standing, but as soon as one sits down and consumes a bag of roasted nuts, it becomes necessary for one to unzip the zipper.

Friday, February 12, 2010

God Save McQueen!

Like everyone else even remotely interested in the world of fashion, I am deeply saddened by Alexander McQueen's tragic death. Though I was not, nor probably ever will be, able to afford any of his more magical designs, the more down to earth diffusions pieces that I have been able to purchase are among the favorite and most beautifully crafted pieces in my wardrobe (the above dress and leggings being two examples). In a sort of tribute to him, I have decided to tackle the kimono jacket pattern of his from SHOWstudio, something that I have long contemplated, but never felt experienced enough to take on. Now seems to be the perfect time to rise to this challenge.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

garment 3

Oh man, this thing was a beast to sew!!! The garment itself is extremely simple and would have been quite breezy to do had I chosen a nice woven fabric like the pattern envelope suggested. Instead I used this tricot I've been hanging onto for years (I think it's probably from a yard sale) which made topstitching the arms and neck edges waaay more annoying than it needed to be. Sadly I didn't have enough fabric to do a nice job matching the border detail and had to piece the back. Oh well, the important thing is that the fabric is no longer sitting in a box and can now go about life as a productive member of my wardrobe. This tunic is based on Simplicity pattern 2472 with a few design overrides by me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

garment 2

So this came out a bit different from the picture. Well . . . okay, not THAT different, but mine has more of a yoke thing going on, while the original has almost an empire waist that is clearly not happening on me. I'm not complaining though, I actually prefer how mine has a higher cut neckline.

here's the original from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2002

Saturday, February 6, 2010

garment 1

Garment number 1 is this cozy green sweater. The pattern is by Twinkle and it basically took me a week to knit up including having to rip it up and start over not once, but three times!! Thank god for chunky wools! As you can see here the buttons are popping out, because even though I used the size called for in the pattern, they are too small for the button holes - something I am going to remedy as soon as I can find some new buttons. These current buttons, by the way, are vintage ones I bought a few years ago at the PCC swapmeet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Welcome back readers! I've missed you. I took the last month off from posting, partly because of a lingering illness that made me just want to wear sweatshirts, jeans and slippers for the past month and partly because by the end of 2009's wardrobe project my closet was not more organized (indeed quite the opposite) and the whole business had become a bit tiresome. Posting endless pictures of my daily outfits without some sort of formal structure behind it is not something I can feel good about doing. Please don't get me wrong, I love seeing all the blogs and flickr pictures of other girls in their finery, right now I just don't feel like doing it myself.

At the moment I have several fashion related projects up my sleeve, the first of which being that I have set myself the goal of completing five garments by Valentine's Day (with extra points being given for finishing items that have been languishing in the sewing room for who knows how long).

Why five and why Valentine's Day? Well, lets just say that it involves my personal guilt over buying new clothing and a sale going on at a certain store.

Let the countdown begin!