I spy

we all belong to one fashion tribe or another. despite unique approaches and individual appearances, we can most likely, for the most part, be categorized in some way. is there any other style group you would be curious exploring - not to simply try different/new clothes, but to understand why they make the sartorial choices that they do?

if you could go undercover, which style would you explore?


vintage dolls. specifically for hair and makeup.
they are creepy but also very ... imperfect and fragile and sometimes fearless, cunning, disinterested.
the big blush, the styled but frazzled hair. much more accessible beauty to me than airbrushed models. weird.

Either or

you only have 2 choices, so pick one (and nope, no wiggle room):

over the course of a day, would you rather

a. start the day feeling fantastic about your appearance, and have that confidence gradually decline, going lower and lower


b. start off feeling low about your appearance, and have your confidence gradually build throughout the day?

A need for it

some purchases i make in the blink of an eye, without any prior consideration, and some things i deliberate. since i'm currently facing the option of plenty of time, i am taking advantage and thinking. when i do buy something, it could well end up being something i had not thought about, but at least when i make my choice, it can be weighed against something i had thought about. i could easily go out tomorrow and choose my 1 or 2 items and be done with it, but this is perfectly fun for now, and i'm in no rush.
in the past, i have felt absolutely urgency, on occasion. even the things that i hesitated on, the initial attraction was immediate. if i buy something in june, or october, it may well be something that i decided on this week. we'll see.

what is the longest amount of time you've ever spent thinking about something you were going to buy?
did you buy that item?
what is the shortest?

Just thinking

she opened her first store (selling mugler and rykiel along with her own designs) at 23, and founded her eponymous fashion house, jil sander, at 24.
she remained focussed on her minimalist aesthetic through the late 70s and early 80s when fashion was over the top. she marketed her first perfume with a campaign that featured her own face. it was a huge success. her business grew and eventually her company went public and her designs informed fashion in the mid to late 90s. in 1999, however, prada group bought a 75% share in the company. sander remained a creative designer and became chairwoman in the joint venture. six months later, she left the company after clashing with prada ceo patrizio bertelli. she briefly returned to the company to design for 2003-2004 (for the 2004-2005 seasons), before leaving again, after more problems with bertelli.
jil sander is a fashion original - her design philosophy is unwaivering, yet her designs were always inspiring. a fashion designer to whom the quote "think more, buy less" is often attributed.
her line has been designed by talented people following her abandonment of the label (twice), but to each replacement
i cannot help but think, even as i concede that some of the work is good, you sir, are no jil sander.

are there designers who you would deem irreplaceable?

(a few looks from a true jil sander collection in '05)


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

Virtually even

haven't been shopping.
haven't been missing it, but i have been thinking about it. well, i haven't been missing it because i consider what i'm doing to still be shopping, just shopping differently. shopping sssssssllllllooooowwwwwwwlllllllllyyyyyyy.
there is no question about it, my preference is online shopping. love it. er, make that loved it.
while i haven't been engaging in any retail activity, e- or otherwise, i have been considering what my 1-2 items might be. so far, it's kind of fun and weirdly satisfying, even without the satisfaction...like opening up a box of chocolates and mmmmmm when that strong chocolate-y smell first hits you (and once you start eating them and the little chocolaties rapidly diminish, no subsequent opening will smell as rich). so right now i'm enjoying the choices and the sheer anticipation of melt-in-my-mouth goodness... but i digress.
i bet when i do finally buy something, it will be by internet. i could be wrong, it's just a guess.
most people have a definite preference for one or the other, e- or store purchasing. they each have their pros and cons, but what if certain features were swapped?

1. which do you currently prefer?

2. if internet shopping produced an immediate product at your doorstep, while store shopping required that you wait for 4 days before receiving your item, which would you prefer?

3. if stores were entirely private and empty of all sales assistance AND other customers, while the internet provided social exchanges AND professional consultation, which would you prefer?

4. if the internet allowed returns as easy as the purchases (never having to leave your house, at your convenience), while stores would not allow you to try an item on, which would you prefer?

Flip side

construction, details, seams, simple appearance, maybe materials, when there is a second layer...

have you ever looked inside your clothes?


maría eva duarte de perón
- One cannot accomplish anything without fanatacism.
- To convince oneself that one has the right to live decently takes time.
- When the rich think about the poor, they have poor ideas.
- I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have.


while i'm staying away from stores, i am noticing that i am not missing them much. until recently, i had a stash of dozens of magazine pages, torn out and saved in the event that i wanted to seek out a featured shop in my own or some other city. i never pursued a single one of them, and finally tossed the collection. the shops i used to visit, i generally collected by happenstance, independent exploration, aimless wandering. when people tell me i have to check out this or that store, it rarely actually piques my interest.

how did you discover your favorite store(s)?

Eether, eyether, neether, nyther

yesterday i collected 2 medium-size bags full of clothing that i had determined were not keepers. i took the clothes to a shop that buys (and sells) clothing. i like this place because whatever they don't buy, you can take back home or leave there and they will donate them for you. i always leave the pieces they won't pay for.
when they do select items to resell, they offer you a certain percentage of what they value the items at in store credit, or a smaller percentage in cash. i have always taken the cash.
this time i was in a rush, so instead of leaving the store to do other errands, i hung around and browsed with zero intention to buy, just waiting for them to give me a total. while i circled the racks with complete disinterest, one little top caught my eye. i absentmindedly lifted up the hanger (instinct i guess), and glanced at it. adorable. my size.
i looked over at the "buying" counter and the girls were ready for me. i still had the hanger in my hand when they handed me the receipt to take up to the register. the front register is where you tell them if you will take cash or credit for your clothes. i had less than 40 feet to cross before i had to make up my mind. i am currently not shopping, but here was an opportunity to get something with money i didn't really have, so it was like the top was free... was that shopping? a grey area.
in the end, i took the top and the difference the store owed me. that is, i got a top AND money, in exchange for the clothing i brought in. i made space in my closet, got money, got a top, and spent no money (is this technically accurate?). i should rephrase, no money left my wallet, and new money went into my wallet. if the selling transaction had happened in a store that was separate from where i did the "buying" - well, clearly this would be considered shopping....i'm afraid i broke the rules... it felt harmless at the time, but i think it was a knee-jerk reaction to seeing and wanting something. bad knee. bad bad knee.
what if i had used a gift certificate?
what if i had never been offered cash as an alternative and instead done a straight barter?

what constitutes shopping?

i bought some paper and paint supplies for my other blog, and my friend raised the proverbial eyebrow "i thought you weren't shopping." what? huh? does that count? it felt more akin to buying groceries, at the time.
what about "window shopping" - is that a form of shopping?

(now back to not looking)

Oh sh--

with the limited selection of "safe" reading for me these days, i pounced on an issue of fashion mini the other day when i saw it, calling to me, like a lifesaver from among the abundant selection of lurid fashiommercial magazines - fie! fie!
so naturally, and hastily, and somewhat crazily, i bought it. only to promptly (or, embarrassingly not so promptly, try a day later) discover that i already had this issue. oops.
for the most part, when it comes to fashion, buying multiples involves a conscious effort to stockpile. i do however, feel a growing awareness for my similar inclination towards repetition in terms of being drawn to certain things consistently that would amount to a mistake (like a moth to a flame) - either because in reality i would not enjoy wearing the item, or i don't in fact have any need whatsoever for it... or or or.

ever purchase something only to discover that a. it's not right for you, and b. you've made this mistake before?


it's been just over 2 weeks since D-day.
feeling fine.
my survival kit includes:
- taking bets that i can do it (still looking for takers).
- staying out of stores initially.
- deleting all subscriptions to e-catalogs and shopping sites.
- sticking to a few magazines that i can safely and happily enjoy.
- enthusiastically accepting practically-new cashmere hand-me-downs (thank you mom!)
- applying my new-found time to work (still working on that).
- discovering a new hobby and beginning a new project.

while i have found that i am adjusting quite well to my new approach to clothing/shopping (1-2 items per year), there are a few naysayers who have scoffed at the idea of me not shopping casually. i've (pointlessly) protested that they misunderstand me, that though i do like to have clothes, i've never particularly enjoyed shopping for them.

do you have a reputation based on your shopping habits?
is it accurate?

ps still totally not caught up with the comments posted this week, but working on it.


rick owens.
from a profile "the new yorker" ran of him in last week's issue: "Owens, a forty-six-year-old bisexual, has become the foremost purveyor of what he calls 'glunge' (grunge plus glamour)....Owens has steadfastly pursued an anti-fashion ethic. His basic look—'drippy' forms in subdued colors—changes little from season to season."
i think the word "glunge" is goofy, but i am entirely on board with the idea and his version of it.
as a fellow native-californian, i love that the west coast value of ease and comfort runs deep through him, but he reinterprets it (mercifully, to my eyes) as something elegant and dark and rebellious and complicated. as a designer, a design architect, i think he's brilliant. as an individual, i thoroughly admire his personal style.

Perfectly protected

grumblings about design theft is always a tricky matter. designers take inspiration, and sometimes even explicit designs, from fashion's very expansive past. can anyone own the past? some designers are more like stylists, building collections on reworked material. marc jacobs does this very well. even miuccia prada builds more of a collage rather than starting from scratch. sometimes it looks like carpet scraps, and sometimes it's art painted on gossamer pajamas, but while it might be something we haven't seen, as a compilation, on the runway before, it is not altogether foreign either. an original recreation of sorts.

then there are designers who force people to search for words to capture the effect, or even to describe the very clothing. sometimes words fail, because the clothing comes from somewhere so new, there are no words yet. these are builders of fashion.
one side effect of such conceptual (an inadequate but popular way to describe it) work is that it seems fairly un-recreate-able.
it's not about going to a thrift store and pulling from the same vintage archives that the designer sorted through a year ago. it's not about hopping over to a mass chain and buying the near-identical pattern in a related cut. these are original coming and going, it seems to me. they don't borrow from others, and others don't..."borrow" from them.

which designers/collections, in your opinion, are highly UN-copyable?


designers have inspiration, have muses, have themes. they have their intentions, but then they send their ideas out on to the runway, and it's your turn to interpret their work, and decide what you see.

who is she, and where is she going?

Maison means house

are you aware of any non-fashion knowledge you've learned from following fashion?

Stop thief

i was wearing a plaid shirt today under a plaid vest, and i decided not to post a sketch of this outfit for fear of being deemed "on-trend" (*shudder*!). i've just been seeing a fair amount of coverage given to plaid, and once these images start making the mainstream rounds, the dreaded "trend" label starts getting viciously thrown about.
according to wikipedia:
"Tartan patterns have been used in British and Irish weaving for centuries. Northumbrian tartan is held by some to be the earliest tartan. A possible predecessor of Northumbrian Tartan dating from the 3rd century, found near the Antonine Wall and known as the "Falkirk sett", has a checked pattern in two colours identified as the undyed brown and white of the native Soay sheep. The fabric had been used as a stopper in an earthenware pot containing a hoard of silver coins."
so i'm saying, the stuff was already on rags in the 3rd century, for pete's sake. neither gaultier nor grunge can claim it. how can my 9+ year old shirt be trendy? but if a few magazines feature it, or worse yet, blatantly use that five letter word in association with it, a trend it shall be. and that word steals something from the very thing it is defining.
things fall in and out of public favor. things pick up steam with retailers and get voted popular, or not, by consumer dollars, but

why do people feel the need to identify ... anything as a trend?

it's a power trip, i think. the labeling of a "trend" is a conspiracy, in my opinion - a way to limit the appeal of something. in high school, it gives some miscreant the delusional right to claim something is "over," and by association, someone, in that unique and insular universe. in the real world, i suspect it is a conspiracy between magazines and retailers - the 2 most dependent on merchandise moving and on appetites remaining unsatiated. if you give it an expiration date, people have to move on, to something else. as antoine de saint-exupéry wrote, to name is to tame - and in fashion, tame can translate as control. if you i.d. something as a trend, name it thusly, you control it, and can end it. first, trend is considered good. the item is "it" it's in, it's trendy. do it, do it, do it. then it's so trendy as to be over. done, fin. don't, don't, don't. it's ridiculous when something i enjoy, have always enjoyed, will continue to enjoy, is labeled. i don't care if the stuff gets plastered on a billboard or a stamp, but i do have some scorn for people who declare anything as "over" once it has run its commercial course. mind you, i don't lose sleep over it, but i do just really hate that word. trend.

(just one post this weekend, due to work. back to regular on monday.)

Matchmaker matchmaker

of course i am free to combine favorite designers to form my personal wardrobe and shape my own style, but there are some designers who, either through contrasting or complimentary styles, would be interesting to pair together, to see what type of collection they would create when combining their aesthetics and techniques.

if you could put 2 or more favorite designers together, what would be a dream design team?

Making the grade

the criteria is your satisfaction when you left home, your comfort during the day, and your satisfaction by the end of the day.

1. it's midweek, how'd you do so far?
2. right now, from head-to-toe, what would you give yourself? A? B?
"E" for effort at least?

Fishing for clues

the basics of ice fishing are you cut a hole in the ice, and then fish for fish.
i'm sure it takes some experience to know where to make your hole, but you start with the hole and go from there.

in the past, when i've wanted something new, i've concluded that i needed it, that it's absence from my wardrobe generated that need, and buying it would fill a hole. very productive-sounding, no? but it also seems backward. wouldn't it make more sense to discover the hole before discovering a way to fill it?

now that i'm committed to shopping differently, i am making a point to be aware of and enjoy what i have - an early thanksgiving, if you will.
everyday dresses (fall, winter, spring, summer) - check
basic cardigans (fall, winter) - check
pants (fall, winter, spring, summer) - check
shorts (both polished and semi-casual) - check
skirts (both semi-polished and semi-casual) - check
tops (soft, warm, cool, formal, casual) - check
formal attire - check
accessories, bags, hats - check
blazers, coats and jackets (fall/winter, spring) - check
shoes (to go with all of the above) - check

judging from this list, other than things needing to be replaced as they shred/disintegrate, i really shouldn't feel as though i need anything... ever again.

how do you discover the holes in your wardrobe?


i've always really liked knots. i like bows sometimes, but knots, always.
i think it's the combination of decorative yet masculine/neutral.
it's also one of those form and function balances that i love.

Pretty shiny things

a manicure is a great thing because it is time spent with, for and on yourself. i'm talking about the home kind. it's especially great when you've made a decision to shop very differently for a while (namely 1-2 items per year) because it's an instant pick-me up (well, after the polish successfully dries without you screwing it up in any way) that doesn't cost anything AND, while you wait for the polish to dry a-good-long-time, you are prevented from poking around aimlessly on your favorite shopping sites. and once the manicure is a total success, you are absorbed in your pretty nails and are further distracted from the online temptations that lurk a click away.

while i would have preferred fornogoodreasonwhatsoever to apply a chanel polish (it was on my eternal "i'll buy it later list" which i neglected to address prior to the new fiscal priorities i am now committed to), i am very pleased with the effect provided by my old and seldom used bottle of essie polish. so happy was i, after i finished my manicure, that i looked on the underside of the bottle to see the name of my particular color. i thought it would heighten my satisfaction, discovering some clever name for this incredibly subtle, pretty, mundane shade of pale sheer pink that got the job done on my short nails in one coat. unfortunately, as soon as i saw the name, i was disappointed with it for a second time. i suddenly remembered that the name almost prevented me from buying it in the first place. i had gone to the local beauty supply store with magazine clipping in hand to find a specific shade favored by a random celebstylistmodel, and when the originally sought bottle looking different and unappealing in person, i set about independently (quelle horreur!) choosing a color and happily chose the color in question (from 2 dozen nearly identical shades from the same brand). and at that point i turned it over to see the name.
i don't know if it was the totally pointless semi-pun, or the intentional cutesy misspelling that annoyed me more, but i put it back on the shelf and resumed my search. i kept picking the same shade, however, even when it was misplaced in a different row, so i gave in and adore-a-ball came home with me. i suspect if i give myself another manicure next year, i will repeat the same 3-second eye-rolling response to the rediscovery of the polish's name.
(i do need to get a replacement shade though, and soon, because names really stick - cherries in the snow by revlon was my mom's shade a looooooooong time ago, and i'll never forget it.)

web site's often identify clothing by style name, while stores do not provide that information until you pay and the bar code tells the register, which then puts it up on the screen - but i'm usually paying more attention to the numbers i will be paying.
anyways, 2 questions:

once your bring an item home, if you knew it to begin with, do you think about the name assigned to it ever again?


if pressed, what name would you give to your favorite fashion possession?

Purely surface

clothing is an outward expression. it can conceal or reveal or confuse what lies beneath, but if you're lucky, you're attached and attracted to how you choose to contain your body on a daily basis.
i'm not in the market for a new fragrance, but i do often pause at the ads to evaluate the container designed expressly for the featured scent. sometimes they seem really cheap or underwhelming, and sometimes they are true objects of beauty.
i love the old glass milk bottles.
i am prone to admire any cosmetic packaging with the interlocking double Cs, but chanel's nail polish bottles are especially appealing.

what is your favorite container? (a real container, used to contain things - this is not a euphemism for clothing)

ps. despite resembling a plastic water bottle, the one pictured here is actually glass.

Dirty work

let's say they are doing a study on shopping habits, and they ask if they can monitor you to test motivation, impulse, acquisition and satisfaction.

do you think that being aware of the experiment would alter your shopping habits? and/or your pleasure from shopping?