Fantasy v. fantastical

despite the category's name, not all design translates as "ready-to-wear" to all people. besides the personal preferences for style, fit, color of t-shirts and jeans, there is an amazing amount of fashion out there that is literally amazing. a fan of fashion maybe has one of four responses to some of the more ... impractical or unrealistic creations presented on runways and on pages:

a) huh? i don't get it/this does not appeal to me. (fantasy)
b) wow, pretty/interesing. (fantasy)
c) if i had the money, i would buy/wear/love that. (fantastical)
d) how can i incorporate this some way into my life? (fantastical)

i put the parenthetical distinctions by each option to id how i personally apply these responses. when something is entirely see-through, too low or too high, for example, it might garner an "a" response; it's fantasy clothing, and not for my fantasy.

when a look or show seems costume-y, i might go with "b" but here there is a fine line between a "b" and "c" response, and i realize that some things that i wouldn't wear, others mights, and vice versa - one woman's fantasy is another's fantastical.

fantasy clothing does not tend to appeal to me, but the fantastical, the things that are well beyond the scope of daily wardrobe necessities, items with magic, those are precisely what keep me so in love with design.

this coat/blanket/sleeping bag from yohji yamamoto's fall 2000 collection was definitely a "c" for me. the fabric is gorgeous and the cocoon it forms at once obscures and reveals her body (in the most subtle yet sensual way, i might add). if i could have it, i definitely would wear it. fantastical.

this was in a small fashion spread in a mini-insert in the april issue of vogue nippon and by itself made the $20+ totally worth it. the whole shoot "plastic dolls," featuring these two in those fantastic wigs, is a total keeper, going to be filed under "great ideas for hair"!!! an absolute "d."

how do you differentiate between fantasy and fantastical?
or is it all too inaccessible for you?


how many items are currently on your 'wish list' (a rough figure will do)?

now sit down and make a mental list of the contents of your wardrobe (i jotted them down in shorthand to keep track). then, go into your closet and cross-reference the list and see if you missed any, and tally how many.

how many items in your closet had you forgotten to put on your (second) list?


italian architect, industrial designer, artist and publisher giò ponti (1891-1979).


in an article in the nytimes this morning, i saw this:

In a survey conducted this month by the NPD Group, a research firm, consumers suggested that they would sooner cut spending on clothing, furniture and eating out than on video games.

Sticker shock

my mom, recalling her delicious trip to spain some years ago, wanted to buy half a pound of imported ham recently. that would have cost $90, she was informed in advance. she stuck to her memories.

i saw a cute t-shirt recently. all cotton with some small silk accents. it smacked of reworked vintage. $790. i remembered that i don't wear t-shirts very often.

when was the last time you had sticker shock?

More is more

interior design is tricky business. home decor magazines show pristine rooms, and if you are trying to sell your apartment, stagers advise you to take just about all of your possessions out, to make the space "feel like a hotel" so that prospective buyers can "imagine themselves living there" - i like a vacation as much as the next person, but i have yet been to a hotel that i could imagine living in. maybe if someone hauled all of my favorite belongings over, i could sort of picture it, but impersonal art and identity-less furniture does not, for me, smack of home. (i have a "think" desktop sign that i bought at a thrift store years ago, totally oblivious, at the time, of the ibm heritage. how could a place be home without such brilliant prompting on display?)

i never revere the monk-like homes featured in magazines, with all evidence of human habitants (with hobbies, senses of humor, friends) eliminated. sterile cleanliness holds no appeal for me where rooms are concerned, yet i always admire those who dress the most simply, with an ultra minimalist aesthetic. but i rarely opt for this myself.

i only have about 6 or 7 superfluous objects that i really like to have out, as far as decor goes, so i'm hardly a clutter bug. (don't get me wrong, i'm definitely a slob and laundry more often than not goes from floor to washer, and skips the hamper altogether. but i'm not big on tsochkes at all.) my approach to clothing is not dissimilar. i might start out with a spare enough look, but i won't feel quite right without some extra personal touch. sometimes i am frustrated with myself for undermining my intention to streamline my look. today, for example, in all navy (top and pants), i did not feel myself until i added red patent leather shoes (or, in my 2-broken-toes-case, shoe).

i have a book that i picked up at a japanese bookshop a year or 2 ago, petits appartements à paris (little apartments in paris). as the title directly puts it, the book features small apartments (studios and one bedrooms) and how the dwellers live in them surrounded by their stuff. it demonstrates how more can be more (less is more in terms of the restraint required, but more is more difficult, i think, if the aim is to have more stuff, but to live with it and arrange it with charm).

the bottom picture, the page with the clothing hanging above the bed - that's my favorite. if it were up to me, i think i would try that.

what kind of interiors do you like?
does that correspond with your personal style?


many items can go either way.
combat boots on a soldier, military; on a teen, rebellious.
a tie on a man, staid; on a woman, subversive.
a tuxedo jacket at a formal affair, appropriate; on bianca, seductive.

do you own anything that has the potential to be something entirely different from however you wear it?

Fade away

lipstick is gone after a cookie, or a few sips of water. eyeliner, where the heck does that go? gone after a few hours. i don't have experience with other makeup, but with all the touching up i see, it doesn't last. there is the option of some of the new long-lasting preparations, but that takes some of the romanticism out of it all, a bit too shellacked for my taste.

what if clothing were similarly ephemeral?

- i'm not talking about finding yourself suddenly stark naked in the middle of the office or classroom, but what if you had to carry extra socks, or a belt, or a top, for when the one you had on started to fade?

Page turner

i went into a favorite mag shop today (strong international inventory). dizzy from the selection, i left feeling acutely aware that there was not enough time in a day (or a week) to enjoy all that lusciousness.

what's your favorite way to enjoy fashion coverage:
- sitting around with friends, swapping magazines
- filling time during a commute or stint in a waiting room
- perusing a magazine casually in a cafe, over a croissant or some such
- flipping through the pages in a bookshop
- online
- entirely alone with an issue, in silence (my choice)


edith head (1897-1981)
costumer extraordinaire.
she worked on over 1,100 films. was nominated for 35 oscars (she won 8). she designed costumes for such films as funny face, sabrina, roman holiday, a place in the sun, the man who would be king, barefoot in the park, sunset boulevard, the great gatsby, double indemnity, among many many other.
her signature glasses, with darkened lenses that were originally blue-tone and later dark grey, had allegedly 2 purposes - to let her see how the clothes would look on black and white fim, and also to afford her privacy, a barrier for a shy person.

Mode du Jour

for cinematic wardrobes in the post* a few days ago, very few - there is always an exception ;) - went too far back, preferring the 20th and 21st centuries over period dramas, etc. i wonder why...

so few romanticizing a bustle?

blame it on a lack of imagination, or the galilean invariance of sorts, sartorially-speaking, but i can't imagine a more preferable time to get dressed than right now.

if you could time travel, what decade, or century, would you seek out, just for the fashion?

*loved the answers to that post!

Complex figures

in her book learning to drive, katha pollitt writes that "femininity is relative; it's about men, in a way that masculinity is not about women," meaning that to be feminine requires a masculine contrast to play off of - to be the jane to someone else's tarzan. her example is the amazons, who, living in isolation from men, were deemed "warlike, stoic and high-spirited," or masculine* rather than intensely feminine.

i generally feel "feminine" just by virtue of being female, but i am aware that whenever i have extremely short hair, i am more likely to wear makeup and wear a dress.

how do you define the terms "masculine" and "feminine" in terms of style?

*applying stereotypical assumptions about what is masculine and feminine here, and not my own personal values or beliefs.

Big screen

never mind the daily drama of celebrities publicly flailing about, personally lost without a script. their over-exposed foibles (and other parts) are not properly lit, edited, or costumed. am i keen on examining a celebrity's movements in my mortal world?
keep moving folks, nothing to see here.
now on the other hand if i could enter the magical world that is cinema...

which film, based primarily on the wardrobe, would you pick to wander around in?

What ails you

do you suffer from a chronic shopping problem? pick your insanity* (or id a new one - i am adding them as they occur to me throughout the day):

multiple personality disorder - you veer from one extreme to another and your many parts do not come together to form a coherent whole.

- something looks good in the store mirror, but inexplicably wrong at home; or seemed like a good idea when you clicked "buy" but seems utterly unappealing when it arrives.

obsessive-compulsive disorder
- particular to the point where it interferes with your happiness/satisfaction with anything; or you refuse to try something new, always going to the same stores, looking at the same styles.

attention deficit disorder - you have an idea of what you need or want one minute, and then completely lose focus and get sidetracked by something else entirely.

kleptomaniac - (self-explanatory.)

paranoia - also known as insecurititis - you "can't pull a certain look off" or generally lack the confidence to buy what you are actually drawn to.

xenophobia - fear of trying something new.

claustrophobia - fear of dressing rooms, or small boutiques.

hypochondria - hung up on imagined personal physical flaws

depression - nothing in your closet ever satisfies you or seems quite right.

* a light-hearted post; i do not mean to mock mental illness.

Organizing thoughts

(frustrated with computer hiccups so here is sunday's post, early, in case i can't do it in the morning.)

in terms of what you would pay more for, list in order what you value, from greatest to least - that is, what is worth more to you (not, necessarily, what is a priority, but rather what warrants a higher dollar value):

things that are -

- beautiful
- cute
- sexy
- practical
- useful


going without my typical cadre of magazines has not had any effect on my pleasure in getting dressed/picking clothes whatsoever. definitely my appetite to buy has been diminished. it's interesting - not having cookies around would never squelch my desire to eat a cookie, yet removing fashion temptation has most certainly had an effect on that interest. i suppose it's a matter of not knowing what is out there without seeing it. i've had a cookie, i know what those are.

when you read a magazine, are you looking for entertainment, inspiration, or things to buy?

The line

sometimes i leave the house in something perfectly innocuous (to me), but which garners comments (positive, negative, and unclear) from others. normal is highly subjective, but ties on women, petticoats as skirts, men in makeup, these things are pretty mundane to me.

are you aware of your definition of "normal"?
have you ever breached someone else's comfort zone?
do you make an effort not to?

Just the same

a song and a thought.


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

Out of touch

some clothes start my heart fluttering and some send my imagination into motion, because that's the only place i'll ever have access to them (usually due to expense, sometimes due to location). i can't stop liking what i can't have, but i am fairly content to daydream about it.
finish the sentence:

when i like something that i can't have, i feel _______


i'm a big fan of big solid eye glass frames. some day.

Loud and clear

i'm a fairly enthusiastic skimmer of whichever magazine i'm holding at the time. it's only for about 30-45 minutes (i occasionally go back later to read an article, but only if i've left a page corner folded over to mark it), and even then i have selective hearing to their point of view, and am more receptive to some issues than to others.
assuming you were offered a more captive audience who would espouse your fashion theories and style dictates,

would you be comfortable broadcasting your aesthetic?

In terms of style

i love grey. i adore grey. i actively pursue grey. grey is a priority. gray, on the other hand, does not hold the same appeal.
i love my pants, yet i would never ever ever go near slacks. occasionally trousers pique my curiosity.
ruffles? eh.
layers? ah.
words are interesting. if you've ever called a store looking for an item and had to describe it to the sales person and found your skills...wanting, as you fail to successfully identify the item in question for your audience, you might feel inclined to question the years you spent as an english major...or perhaps blame lies with the associate's obvious lack of familiarity with their stock, which no doubt you are accurately defining through inspiring and passionate language and in impressive detail.
the experience might make you realize how often you relate to fashion visually, and rarely verbally.
when my mom wants to figuratively run a new purchase by me, over the phone, we often struggle to find descriptive terms that we mutually understand - thank goodness for skype video calls!
and then there is the whole matter of using foreign words, like rouge, noir, culottes.

are you aware of having a preferred fashion vocabulary? (now i'm talking about your own words, not advertising/catalog language that we do or don't like - i know that jcrew has people working around the clock to come up with 9,999 new ways to say 'yellow.') does it serve you well?

One more day

i'm still not here, but i am over here.
apparently i have the energy to draw, but not to think. blame the meds.
planning to be back to normal tomorrow!!

A bumpy night

it strikes me as ridiculous now, 22 hours after the fact, but very very early yesterday morning, while panting in agony, i actually made sure to put 2 magazines in my bag before heading to the er. i was in no shape to look at them during the wait, the hospital registration or the x-rays, and never bothered to after i got the shot of demerol, which made me woozy, but in my list of necessities as i headed into a very unpleasant stretch of hours, fashion/beauty/art (interchangeable terms) was still high on my list (or, an alternative explanation is that the blinding pain was clouding my judgment).
2 broken toes, a set of crutches and some codeine-laced tylenol later, i was only able to muster up the focus for a little giles deacon (#14). i will do a regular post here again for friday.

24 to choose from

there are different approaches we might take to fashion depending on the occasion, and the time of day. evening attire has an altogether different feel from daytime, and certain styles just do not lend themselves to certain hours - for no legitimate reason, actually.
so what about looking at time the other way, as something to suit you, rather than something you have to respect.

what time of day best suits your personal style?


the low-rise look, now more deemed a standard cut than actually "lower" than normal, IS causing everyone's hiney to hang out the minute they sit down or bend over (unless they have an abnormally short tush, but beyond that, no one is exempt.). this is a fact. i am tired of looking at friends' butts. seriously, actually tired of it. (((yawn)))
and how/why is it okay to have that hanging out of your pants in public? i see this happening to women for whom it is most definitely not their intention. i assume they don't realize it's happening.
2 choices - wear longer tops, or stay entirely vertical. either is fine.

tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled postings.