Power to the people

does a fashion tyranny exist in your reality?
do you feel pressure/influence from one?
can you identify who comprises it?

Freaky friday, on tuesday

you wake up in the morning the opposite gender you usually are.
- what do you wear, from your closet, to leave the house?
- what is the first fashion thing you buy?


packing for a trip always exposes needs in my wardrobe. if i weren't taking the trip, would i have the need? no, not really.

do you shop during trips, or for them?

on saturday i found myself faced with an unfortunate choice during a burst of unfortunate weather when i discovered that i had accidentally (and most unfortunately) grabbed the freak umbrella before leaving the house. the freak umbrella has a shade with an awkwardly small radius, so when standing as close to center as any umbrella allows, this one fails to cover (and even then, it's barely) more than some of my head. a shoulder? forget about it. the freak umbrella also has an awkwardly small shaft, so that holding the umbrella over some of my head requires lifting my arm quite high. one is always reminded that we need to throw out the freak umbrella when it is called into emergency service, but once delivered home again the victim, just grateful to be semi-dry, inevitably returns the freak umbrella back to the umbrella collection, only to be pick it up again on another day when in a rush, in need of a light umbrella "just in case." by the way, while carrying most any other umbrella guarantees clear skies all day, the freak umbrella is a sure talisman of rain, though you don't realize it until it's too late.

anyway, i had to choose between covering my head and my (paper) shopping bags. just 2, but it was them or me. i chose them and felt distinctly silly doing it.

that was one of many moments that day when i found myself shaking my head...at myself.
the first was when i entered a store whole-heartedly intending to look for someone else, and instead found something for myself.

this seems to fall under the murphy's law of shopping - when you bring the awkward freak umbrella, it will rain; when you aren't looking for something, you find it.

so i go into a store not looking for myself, find an item not only for myself, but it's two main points of appeal were that a. it would work perfectly for a trip i'm taking next week, to a place across the country with a climate i do not live in year round, and b. the color will look great with my purse and some other things like scarves. accessories! i'm buying clothes now for my accessories (and, yes, thank you for reminding me, for places where i do not live).

so i'm walking along with the freak umbrella, holding it over something i hadn't intended to purchase for a place where i do not live (and for my accessories), protecting it (instead of myself) from the downpour, and what is it? what is sheltered under the freak umbrella?
a rain jacket.


there is the proverbial expression that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
with me, if you lead me to water, i'm likely to drink it up, totally forgetting that i had found this other great water source a few weeks/months/years ago and had always meant to return, but now, faced with the water before me, i completely forget about the alternative water.
yes, i make the occasional list (usually jotted on the back of a receipt or other errant scrap), and i fold over page corners, tear out articles/mentions, or make the frequent mental note, which apparently gets filed under "r" for "rapidly forget."
i usually remember a place i wanted to shop in just after i've completed a different transaction that usurped all my spare money.

if i didn't remember the allegedly desirable source in the first place (in time) why do i feel undermined (by myself) in my shopping habits when i shop elsewhere? what i did buy, though an inadvertent selection, is no less valuable to me than if it were an item i had intended to buy... no?

is there a way to remember this stuff? why do i forget in the first place?

ever forget? does it bother you?


anticipation/expectation can be fun or frustrating. just like a conclusion can be delightful or disappointing. fortunately i am very pleased with my recent haircut (in spite of my mom laughing at it when she saw it tonight via skype), but it could have ended as poorly as a pair of sandals last week that arrived one day and were repacked and ready to be returned the next.
now i realize that i'm lucky on the hair front since my semi-spontaneity made me happy - that is one area where it is really hard to escape unscathed when the deed is done, if it's a bad one. for most other things that don't work out, like clothing, we can cut our losses. but dashed hopes/dreams are another matter.

when you've spent time pining for something, and it doesn't live up to your expectations, are you disappointed or relieved?
what about when a store or brand disappoints?


yesterday i realized i was wearing 3 items (that number includes shoes but excludes socks and underwear) from two sources (both happened to be online retailers). i could have easily worn 3 items from 1 source, or 3 items from 3 sources. now i'm not talking brands or labels, i'm talking about how many different locations/shops/retailers i patronized to acquire the pieces that i wore.

right now, how many sources (shops/sites) contributed to what you are wearing?


left, left, left, right, left.
(let's not waste valuable time mocking the hair here - it's runway, it's dramatized fashion, move on.)
this fantastic presentation illuminates how i see fashion, the very basic 2 categories, what i see as my two choices - plain (purely to describe the expectations met by the tailoring and not implying a judgment of that approach with this term) versus warped.
are you consistently drawn to one or the other here?
and in general?




pics are of jun takahashi's 04 under cover collection

#1 fan

- what is your current top style inspiration (this month, this week or this minute)?
- do you remember what your previous one was? and why you finished with it?
- do you absorb past inspirations, retaining aspects, or fully and exclusively embrace the new?


when was the last time you were exposed (through a magazine or some other form) to the aesthetics of a dissimilar group (either a foreign language, different culture, different age group, etc.)?

Don't beat yourself up

earlier this year i was really annoyed with myself for not buying an item.
last night i wasted quite a bit of time aimlessly looking at stuff to buy, that i wouldn't or didn't or couldn't buy.
utterly pointless.
so for the opposite reason, i was really annoyed with myself, again.

when was the last time you were upset with yourself over fashion?

Time and time again

just touching on something i might look at more in-depth later...

do you have any interest in being timeless versus time capsule?*

*clarification, "timeless" here does not mean classic - "classic" is merely one category of style that resists the time capsule effect. there are others. this is not a question of choosing whether your style is "classic" or not. "timeless" is the question. i am interested in exploring whether your style choices are filtered through any concern to not look dated.

Inside out

in response to tuesday's post, there was a comment on the heartbreakingly pretty haircut pictured, "it only works on a few." that poster's point was that this haircut+linda evangelista = a synergistic effect. "it is the charm of finding the perfect 'thing'." an excellent point. the powerful effect of the combo is precisely because of the combination here - so the implication is that i should not be coveting the hair, but instead the impact of the right hair on the right face.
so wise.
ooops, too late.
but i wasn't thinking about whether or not it would work on me as i stood, scissors poised in one hand, hunk of hair grasped firmly in the other. (i didn't think much at all, clearly.) i just wanted that dutch boy bob, and i didn't want to not do it just because it might not work on me. essentially, the inside me trumped the outside me. when i think of it this way, instead of thinking that i butchered my hair on a whim, i feel gratified that i did it for myself, my truest self, and not out of consideration for how i would appear/appeal to others.

which one takes priority in dictating your style, your inside you or your outside you?

Brace yourself

before you buy it, before you try it on, just as you are approaching it, before you can even look at the price tag, do you do any internal assessment to produce a guestimate of the cost?

in what order are these factors considered (from most to least relevant) in terms of how you anticipate the ballpark for the price?

store, label, cut, fabric


last night a friend described this hair style on this fantastic woman as "so pretty it was heartbreaking" and i agreed quite emphatically and wished i had said it first, but i didn't want her to think i was too crazy. after she said it, i was grateful she was as crazy (almost) as i.

what fashion/style image or item has moved you to extremes?

An end in sight

if there was an industry-wide boycott and absolutely no new collections could be produced, shown, or sold/promoted for one year, you would feel _______


ribbons!!! my ideal accessory (as jewelry, a belt, on a camisole strap, around a hat...).
i received a birthday gift tied with such a beautiful ribbon. a thin satin ribbon, long enough to wear in my hair, or as a necklace, or wrapped around my wrist 5 or 6 time. the color is perfect. i wore it all day and now i keep it in a special box. i will buy a few more colors now for myself. i am going to wear ribbon every day i think.

Key component

the ring went back and a dress arrived. happy happy feeling. this dress is having a peculiar effect on my accessories, essentially reviving them. it's one of those items, this dress, that makes you want to experiment with different ways to wear it, and try it with all of your shoes.

which would you rather have, a spectacular new head-to-toe outfit (that, for the sake of argument, can't interact with anything else you own, and must be worn exclusively as an outfit), or a new item that would revive your existing wardrobe?

Through the looking glass

magazines are tricky. they can stimulate thoughts on colors, combinations, proportions, sending you off in 8 different directions with new ideas (hopefully your own ideas) or they can lecture to you ad nauseam about what they think you should have, and, if you're in a susceptible mood, after absorbing the not-so-subliminal shopping list of what you don't have, it might even carry over and infect how you feel about what you do have. a little exposure to newer, fresher clothes can cast a dark cloud over the tried-and-true. who's to blame for that, editor or reader?

what if a magazine featured clothes that you already have? what if you saw a beautiful layout based on clothing you've had for well over a year? would that feel tired and uninspired, or would it reinvigorate your appreciation for what you have?

how would that make you feel about your clothes?
how would that make you feel about the magazine?


so one reason my recent attempt to buy jewelry failed, it occurred to me, was that the piece lacked any personal significance to me. it wasn't from someone special (no, in this case, i don't count) and it wasn't to mark something special (an accomplishment of some sort). for me, if it's serious jewelry (costing more than $80 or $100), it has to be a token of some sort, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing of course.

this evening i had time to waste and went to the drugstore. i found the cutest lip balm there. the design on the product itself is too perfect (a no-nonsense tube construction, writing in grey, writing in pink, words in french, made in france, and a great little graphic detail of a pink spiral seemingly produced free-hand. it is apothecary-meets-cute-cute). and it was half-off. an easy split-second decision that i will not regret.

i labor over clothing purchases occasionally, if the price tag merits it, but i am able to fall for an item of clothing as quickly as i did that lip balm. what i do not ever need is any emotional justification. the love/appreciation/need for the clothes is always enough.

when shopping, do you ever need or have an emotional justification/attachment? is it a help or a hindrance?

I'm nuts

yes yes, content, satisfied, a complete wardrobe, blah blah blah. so i figured, okay, great, i have everything i need (clarification - i love it all. "need" here speaks to my style needs, not my fundamental needs), so i can ... what? move on? check "clothes" off my list and find something else to do with my spare time? i honestly found myself proverbially scratching my head, unsure what to do next. i started another blog (#3) to help me focus on what i had, and i headed off towards other pursuits. i got distracted by a ring. i thought, ah, here is something...semi-sane, as it would last, always fit, gain value, etc. etc. well i went and did what i oughtn't to have done, and it was a mistake. jewelry is not, as i've stated before, my thing. and so naturally it didn't sit quite right with me. i thought this was what i was supposed to do, head out into greener pastures. but no, clothing, it seems, is the only grass i graze.
you can't blame me. a. it's my birthday month, always a heady time of year, and b. blame my sign; flip-flopping is a matter of course, and it's june, for pete's sake. that must be the equivalent of a full moon for geminis.
anyway, i'm back on track now, sort of. i am resigned to clothing. i'll never be "done" with it. but then that brings me back to blog #3. if the whole point of that blog is that enough is enough, and now i'm balking at that assertion, where does that leave me/it/us? i'm going to have to think about this some more. the fate of that blog is tbd.*

if it were possible for you to be 100% satisfied with the clothes that you had, what then?

*retail recovery and up and down town are not being reevaluated.

edit: i have since canceled blog #3

Complete package

it just sort of snuck up on me. without being aware that it was happening, my wardrobe seems to have come together and...i am very content.

what percentage of your wardrobe are you satisfied with?


edward montgomery clift (1920-1966) (also pictured with john ireland) and john wayne (born marion morrison) (1907-1979)
now that's how you wear a scarf.


sorry sorry. she's back now.

For the greater good

sometimes i feel bad that i rely so heavily on e-shopping. if i want cute boutiques to populate my neighborhood, shouldn't i literally support them by giving them my business? when i made a large purchase not so long ago, my taller half rationalized that i was helping the economy. what a self-less act.
i appreciate the influx of tourists dropping their savings here during our slump. if the tables were turned, would you hop across the border for a shopping excursion?

could you ever be induced to shop just to support your local economy?


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

one year

while you were cozily tucked in your bed last night, head nestled comfortably on a pillow, having, i hope, peaceful dreams, i sneakily turned one year older. bet you didn't even notice.
just like me, this blog is also a gemini.
after a year of anything, it's fair to stop and ask, how are we doing so far? so if you feel like it, please let me know.
this blog started when i ended my first blog, a project demonstrating, through daily photographs, how many unique combinations could be made with 34 pieces of clothing, a practice in less-is-plenty. by the time the blog reached more-than-enough combinations, i was sick of those 34 pieces, but not because of their limitations - it was the goal to not repeat a combination that got me down.
i did learn that a small wardrobe suits me fine, and that i am very happy to repeat pieces or combinations within a matter of days. yet i still look and lust and shop (not always with satisfying results). so i segued from exploring my wardrobe to exploring my shopping habits (motivations, inspirations, influences, inhibitions, patterns, etc. etc.) with retail recovery. i'm a word and image girl though, so all along i've toyed around with a series of side blogs that let me play with pictures, most recently with pencil and paint on Up and Down Town. that blog has been a little neglected recently due to work and possibly wacky vision - and now a touch of the flu. but i am entirely committed to maintaining it and expect to put up a new post in a day or two. i appreciate the enthusiasm some have shown for that project.
anyway, back to clothes - i'm attempting a third blog now and i can't decide if it's of any value to anyone besides myself - so if you have thoughts about it, please write them here under this post (the new blog will not have comments). a reminder (to myself) (remindingmyself.blogspot.com) is a space where i can focus on, through photographs, what i already have, and a. remember that it's probably more than i even need, and b. see if and where any real spaces might be, so that my purchases can actually fill them. so it's essentially a scrap book of what i have - an extension of the "minimal shopping for maximum satisfaction" maxim printed under the title of this blog - a philosophy in action, if you will. any value to making it a public blog? i'm not sure of that yet.

retail recovery will continue to be updated nearly every day, up and down town should get back on track with posts on most week days, and a reminder (to myself) will be updated just 2 or 3 times a week.

Doctor's orders

aw drats, eye doctor said i'm far-sighted. i need reading glasses...no, wait, let me rephrase that, i need glasses for reading.* and i won't lie, i'm looking forward to finding a pair for myself (and i'm looking forward to not getting so nauseas every time i spend more than 5 minutes at the computer). people who depend on glasses always roll their 4 eyes at me when i get enthusiastic about glasses, but to me, it's a pretty ideal accessory, with a big emphasis on function, which is the only way i get past my accessory-aversion, if the doohicky can actually do something - i'm so grateful my watch tells the time. the foot doctor also happened to mention that i need to wear open-toe shoes this summer to assist with the recovery of the footsies. and that sent me off looking at new shoes, but i stopped myself. eyes trump feet, and i can work with what i've got in the footwear dept. for now.
it is interesting to me that the fact that eyewear is not mandatory for me (unless i want to read continuously without wanting to throw up, that is) makes it fun, while the requirement of it makes it a nuisance to others. and so presumably it will eventually be one for me as well... maybe.
we'll see if dependency on glasses takes the fun out of it for me, but for now, all i can see is that a prescription from the dr. says "go shopping!"

if you were medically-required to wear your favorite items (clothing, shoes, bags, accessories) that you currently enjoy, do you think it would shift your feelings from pleasure, to pain?

*disclaimer -
do not be misled by this diagnosis. i am young, do you hear me, young!


t-shirt arrived. i think it may be the first item i've ever bought that was "made in austalia." that would mean that this t-shirt has the farthest point-of-origin (PoO) out of all of my clothes.

labels aside, my three favorite items (at the moment) were made in japan, romania and bangladesh.

what is the farthest flung PoO in your closet?

how close to home is your favorite item of clothing's PoO?