D day

garfield once said "diet is just die, with a t."
smart cat.
i am (as of now) on a major fashion diet - rest assured, i can still eat whatever i want, but as far as flexing my mighty shopping muscle, that has all changed. it's under happy circumstances, and it is part of a larger lifestyle choice (where we live, etc.), so i am not weeping in a heap on the floor, but the thought of this particular aspect of the necessary changes is not putting a big fat grin on my face either. it's been a good run, and my current wardrobe will make it more bearable. it seems to me that my only option is to not look.
can. not. look.
(this is my key strategy, and so far, my only strategy.)
looking always yields desire. always.
it is interesting to me that when it came time to figure out what could be chopped in the expenditures dept., my little hobby was at the top of my own list. as i said, my satisfaction with things as they currently are helps quite a bit, i cannot lie. i got in a few last minute purchases this month that will also help quite a bit. for how long, who can say.
now this will not be an issue of starvation, and this is not an issue of fasting (i.e., see how long you can hold your breath, and so on) but with the limited, highly restricted budget, what i have decided i would prefer to do is simply save and wait, and buy 1 or 2 clothing items per year.
i am (at the moment) feeling content with this decision (which is only mere hours old).

if you needed to make budgetary cuts, where on your list would fashion fall, and what strategy would you use to make it tolerable, if you did have to make those cuts?

Insecurity is not pretty

endearing picture, yes, but no one wants their style likened to a wet dog. insecurity is not pretty.
i am confident about my taste. i know what i like and what i don't like, but recently i found myself questioning why i like what i like. specifically: i recently got a blazer - it's tailored, sharp, cool, unique, essentially anti-frump. basically all good things that i like and that appeal to me. i think i thought that wearing this blazer would ward off things i don't like (frumpiness). but what if inside, i really am more of a cozy cardigan? is the piece right for me, or am i being led by fear instead of style?

are you aware of your insecurities and how they inform your purchases?
sorry sorry, new post tomorrow. needed extra sleep.


tilda swinton.
interesting - for one who looks so otherworldly, she seems so very real.

The same, but different

i've entered stores to pursue an item in a window display, only to to discover that pins holding back fabric give a dress or top the perfect shape. i've seen tape and clips work magic for photo shoots. i've seen software erase lines and minimize thighs.

do you mind?


a variety of fashion magazines and sites routinely set my mind abuzz with thoughts of ribbon and lace and tulle and bangles and sweaters and dresses (that's just the list from this week). but other sources bring my mind back down to earth.

this week the l.a. times had an article clarifying that a "made in italy" label does not mean "made by italians" - i feel like that's splitting hairs, except that the implication of such a label is exploited (like the workers), as well as the customer's value of such a label and willingness to pay more for it. more good news from the nytimes today - "the january report on consumer prices in the united states, released this week, showed that the prices of apparel are now higher than they were two years ago... the apparel increases, which have been strongest in women's clothing, contributed to a rising overall inflation rate that set of talk of stagflation this week." then the financial times offered up, in an article on a new international survey of men's wear shopping trends, the statistics that in the west, "women spend more than twice as much as men on clothing (a breakdown of 70/30)." so i'm spending more, paying more, and getting less.

does business news ever effect your attitude towards clothing/shopping?


in addition to people who serve as consistent inspiration, i go through crushes - temporary interest in a particular celebrity or model. people who inspire me do so through their originality or strength. i am never interested in borrowing from them, but i get a certain charge from their style, like electricity that jumps to me and enlivens my own imagination. with crushes, on the other hand, i find that i tend to get lured to the things near them, and that their use/ownership/endorsement of those items puts some of the individual's appeal on to the items themselves, and i confuse the beautiful person's interest in those items for my own. maybe i pay a little more attention than i would if someone else (who i didn't have a crush on) were posing with, carrying, holding, wearing the same thing.

is there anyone (celeb, model, etc.) who has that power over you, to turn you into a ... sucker?


just finished viewing a free copy of LagerfeldConfidential, the documentary about chanel's designer. in contrast to the non-opinion i had formed of him based on minimal exposure through phtoographs, he's a mildly entertaining subject when animated. on the other hand, the marchesa luisa casati is quite captivating in a still image. on the marchesa casati web site there is a gallery of pictures, including a photograph by adolf de meyer and a painting by kees van dongen, that clearly celebrate casati's complicated beauty. both are different but beautiful images of her. no question about it, i am a big fan of the direct and unconcealed presentation of her face in the de meyer photograph. she's 31 in the picture, and looks utterly powerful with her shadowy face. i covet dark circles when they are framing such a direct stare.

pic by simon wass ("the marchesa luisa casati") from wikipedia.org, so keepers of the casati archives should go sue them if this is one of their heavily protected images

Tasty #5

i was in a shop last week and a guy was trying on a pair of shoes that were squeaking like crazy. it induced an absolute mini-giggle fit in me, and i hope he didn't buy them. clothing should not be heard.
however, the other senses are important - each day you choose what you want to look like. texture is typically a factor, so that's feel right there. if you shower and/or use a fragrance, there's your smell.

if you had to describe your style (not your personal scent) as a taste, or flavor (or food), what would it be?

This is uncomfortable

i'll just come right out and ask it...

does (did, or will) your period effect your style?

Daily theatrics

besides the clothing that appeals to me, when i look over the runway presentations, i am always attracted to the extremes that are shown. later, and disappointing to me, the magazines dilute the extremes, refer to them as influences, and instruct how to "tone it down" etc. and so cleopatra eyes become green eye-liner used sparingly, or something to that effect.
i would much rather be given the how-to's on recreating an odile gilbert coiffed hair style.
if you had to pick one thing from the runway, one fantasy-level aspect in all its exaggerated glory, to wear/enjoy in real life, what would it be:

(am i forgetting anything?)

Comfort zone

on catwalks and in editorials, fashion is often shown without real life factors like bras. if the magazine is french or italian or german or spanish, sometimes it is shown without the clothing altogether. it always bores me, frankly, when i am flipping through a fashion spread and i see a chest instead of a top. i appreciate the whole fantasy of fashion thing, but i feel a little cheated when the fashion is missing.

thoughts? how do you feel about nudity in fashion?


bad news for "them" - i can't remember the last print ad that i really enjoyed. i will flip through a magazine later today and see if i can find one that would qualify and post it here.

what is your current favorite print ad - one that made you stop and admire, or want?

A tier that fits

shopping/browsing the other day, i sought out a particular label and found it on a floor i don't normally visit. the clothing was priced about $100-$200 (for starters) higher than some brands on a ... *ahem* lower level, but there were other designers located on this floor with much much higher price tags. i'm not sure what the criteria is for stores to put certain designers on certain floors. i am also realizing that i can't just let stores decide for me where i should shop - if they group a majority of appealing labels (or price tags) together, and remove others that i would be interested in, i will seek them out.

are you aware of having a "level"? how do you identify it?

The simple bare necessities

talking with my mother yesterday about clothes, she contrasted her approach to mine by explaining that she desires a functional wardrobe. i protested that i too want a functional wardrobe. that while i want the items i have to thrill me beyond words, i want them to be functional pieces and my love for beautiful clothing never supersedes my value that they be functional ("functional" here meaning that i can safely and comfortably wear them and would want to, and do). she very much seemed to think that functional was an objective term. i'm not sure it is. obviously career/lifestyle might influence the type of clothing and amount strictly required to function effectively, but what about the extras?

in your opinion, how many shoes would a functional wardrobe consist of? and purses?
how do you define "functional" in terms of clothing?

Psych 101

i bought a beautiful new dress recently. i had a justification - i'm invited to a wedding this summer. i do have things in the closet that would have sufficed, to be sure, but using the occasion as an excuse to look around, i then further diluted any residual reservations that might muck up an otherwise clear conscience with the simple truth that something new would feel good - not just on the appointed day, but now, thinking about it, admiring it, just acquiring it would pep me up a bit. this time i was perfectly honest with myself. when things are serious, i do not have an interest to shop, but when it's a nagging anxiousness, when i can't concentrate on other things, shopping is the simplest method to feel calm and in control, though, like with other habits, i'm not always aware that i'm doing it (until it's too late).

i did it, i shopped for comfort - but with my eyes wide open. i shop for different reasons, comfort, inspiration, boredom. it's nice when, like this time, need can play a small part as well. entering a relatively stressful week now, i am on heightened alert, however, not to shop or buy, wary that the influencing factor in the "to buy, or not to buy" dilemma won't be something that can sustain a satisfying relationship with the item. essentially, i can't trust myself to think clearly, so i'm going to have to do without my most typical ... nervous habit, if you will, that i normally rely on in these circumstances.

is your judgment sometimes clouded? by what

Word search

how to play: it's a word search. there are 15 fashionable terms hidden here, each one is a detail, feature or part of clothing (except for "chemise"... oops).
how to win: find 'em.
what to do after that: first person to find all 15 should
1. post the comment "done!" in the comment box so that anyone else still struggling knows that the game is up (don't post the list in case someone else is still doing it... just for fun). don't type "done" in the comment box unless a. you really are done, and b. you are comfortable giving me your address (see point 2 below).
2. email me (retailrecovery.editor@gmail.com) the list of the 15 words you found (it's not that i don't trust you, really) and an address where i can send you a small (be realistic, this is all just for fun) prize. i'll post something official like "yup" in the comment box if the submitted list is complete.
3. after the first "done" comment, and my "yup" confirmation, the game is over. :)


1. name 2 things that you would like for each category:
A. a fake something. (ex. a fake diamond, a fake fur)
B. a real nothing. (this one is harder, ex. a real leather non-designer bag)

2. which would you prefer for one day, fantastic, perfect hair that no one sees, or okay hair that garners compliments?

3. would you rather wear something grand while doing drudgery, or wear something dull for an occasion that is grand? (i've had a number of people tell me recently that i'm "dressed too nice" for this or that occasion. i find sharing that type of opinion highly unnecessary.)


dries van noten.
his label is self-financed, and it shows. his independence and genius direct every piece.

i cannot think of another living designer who i would like to thank for his or her work. i would like to thank him.

his designs are art, and my attraction to them is stronger than it is for any other label.

the pictures are in no particular order, from the past 8 years (16 collections). some of my favorites.


cute new black maryjane flats with a comfortable square toe really really really don't go with pajamas. or blue socks. but i'm wearing them right now with the notion that they will be a little softer, a little more ready to carry me through the day, come spring. i've been known to spray a shoe down with some weather-proofing ... spray. i've slept in jeans (as instructed by the sales woman: buy 2 sizes down, sleep in them, eventually get the zipper to close, never wash them, get fed up and move on - i added that last part myself).

ever do any prep work for an item, pre-debut?


name one thing you would add or subtract here (you can't do both).

In place

anytime i have a pocket and a tissue, the tissue goes into the pocket on my left. it is always the left pocket that gets the tissue.
is it just me?

do you have any style or clothing neuroses?


i'm so sorry, it seems that blogger lost the picture, and i no longer have it on my desktop.


the day after a haircut, i wake up tired and groggy and wanting very much to stay in bed (just like every other morning), but then i remember that there is something special about the day, something is different, something is new. and then i am eager to get up. a new item of clothing sometimes has a similar effect, if i plan to wear it that day. the "oh goody" effect with a good cut lasts about a week. maybe a little more. with clothing, it's about the same. then the item becomes "just" regular. i still enjoy it, but it doesn't give me the "oh goodies."

do you ever get a newness high, and how long does it last?