Visualizing

i've been having memory lapses lately. very short term, along the lines of walking into the kitchen and then forgetting what i wanted from there. very annoying.

if someone removed an item of clothing from your closet, let's say not one you were going into the closet to get, would you notice?

Fine lines

tan lines, underwear lines, bra straps.

i recall a fellow dancer mocking me for wearing underwear with my leotard in our ballet class. i was all of 4 i think. the underwear showed along the edges of the leg, naturally. what on earth did it matter if my underwear was visible while i danced around my bear, for cryin' out loud?!

i have to admit, i never really developed an underwear phobia, so ripe already in this other kid's mind. i never wear underwear with a waistband higher than the one on my pants or skirt, and i guess i avoid clothing so tight so as to provide a virtual x-ray of my underwear, but i don't lose sleep over the thought of revealing lines and i don't buy stringy things to wear in lieu of underwear. the worst thing that could happen, i figure, is that someone might be able to ascertain merely from looking at me that i am someone who wears underwear. i'm really okay with that type of a reputation.

a few weeks prior to the wedding i went to a short while ago, i became a bit conscious of the footwear-to-be. i was going to wear very open, strappy flats to the wedding. but i was spending my summer days often, though not exclusively, in converse high tops, and short sun dresses. you can see quite clearly i was facing a tan-line dilemma. in the end i decided, (censored)! and while in the end there was no sharp contrasting color clash on my limbs (and i was glad of it), the threat of one did cross my mind.

after clothing is carefully picked,

do you go out of your way to address the other issues?

Quack

some clothes are loved and worn to bits. some clothes get under-appreciated and then are reborn as vintage, thrifted and worshipped by a new owner (who then loves and wears them to bits).

some people peak early... and then have nowhere to go but down.
but even those who peak later, like the fabled duckling, don't then remain a perfect swan forever, do they?

that's the thing about a peak...

do you believe that style can peak? has yours?

Ready-to-wear

some items come fabulous. they just are independently wonderful, and easily appreciated by anyone with eyes, either due to their design, tailoring, details, whatever, or their fame (any "it" bag or any heavily promoted or editorialized item, for example). wearing these items requires nothing more of you than just showing up. in them. and then you get some of the credit for their fabulousness, which you actually deserve, to a degree, for having chosen them.

there are some items, on the other hand, that require more of a contribution from you if they are to realize their full potential. some items are simply simple, while some are actually blank slates, waiting to be filled in. (the "picture" above is blankness.)

the majority of the time, do you prefer insta-fabulous items or a blank slate that you fill in?

Name tag

when we are born, sometimes even earlier, we are given our first adornment. it is immediately applied and helps define us when there are few other ways. sometimes it is meaningful, sometimes generic, but it's our first extra, our first add-on, our name.

i don't know if it's true for everyone, but i certainly questioned my name at different points in my childhood. there were various types of names that appealed at different times, to reflect different tastes, but always the same reason to contemplate different names, i think. trying to define myself, myself.

i gave up eventually, realizing that i had redefined my name. my name meant me, represented me (to friends, loved ones, enemies) precisely because i had defined who ___ was. so i no longer needed to seek a name that could capture who i was or wanted to be. i had that name already, simply by being.

but names are still fun because they are words, and words are fun.

and so much of commercial fashion is about names. you are who you wear, so many fear/believe/buy. of course in reality, no matter what, you will always be you.

if you went through a renaming phase when you were younger, what name did you desire to have?

if you had to pick a name for yourself now, to reflect your style, what name would you pick? your own or something else?


i will probably leave this post up for 2 days (with the next new post on tuesday), because i'm still mulling my answer over.
for what it's worth, mr. mcqueen was born terrence steven mcqueen.

Categorically-speaking


i am not a formal person. i don't feel good "dressing up" for something. i went to a wedding last week. black-tie recommended. i had a new dress for the occasion, or rather, i used the occasion for (the excuse to buy) a new dress. since the occasion was the justification for the dress, i respectfully waited for the official day to wear it, knowing that after that use, i would appropriate it as an everyday item. i waited months.

BIG mistake.

why?
because this dress that i was (figuratively) itching to wear casually with my men's shoes, or my converse, or my perfect black flats, was foreign to me when i finally put it on for the formal evening. instead of wearing a favorite old dress, i was wearing a formal one. i hate that. by the end of the evening, i had figured out how i'd rather have worn it (different shoes, and sideways - the dress, not the shoes), but it wasn't ideal to use the wedding as a testing ground. i had been worried that wearing the dress beforehand would ruin the specialness of the dress, but by waiting, i ruined what was supposed to be the specialness of the occasion (just for me - i'm pretty sure the bride had a great time). i don't know why i thought i needed the dress to be pristine for the wedding - though i guess that attitude was what led me to purchase a new dress in the first place.

lots of editorials out there about transitioning items from day to night, and i always ignore them. i think in my case, it was a matter of making a mental adjustment rather than a sartorial one.

do you view your pieces in narrowly-defined categories (designated for certain occasions), or does anything go (anywhere, anytime)?

Carry on

  1. more tops, fewer bottoms
  2. use what you have
  3. a great haircut can compensate for a lot
  4. shoes make a big difference
  5. i always end up wanting an accessory
  6. ..
  7. ..
  8. ..
don't mind me, i'm just making a list of things that i am reminded of when i travel. you see, even with my wardrobe reduced to a microcosm of my daily closet options, i find that i fall into the exact same patterns that i do at home. i approach my choices the same way, have the same aggravations, etc. and usually, on the last day of a trip, i try to remember (never with an actual list - i'm not personally much of a list-maker) what i liked and disliked about my packing choices, or how they added or subtracted from my trip so that i can do a better job next time. my mental list lasts ... maybe barely through customs and then all is lost, so that i will surely be just as stumped when i face the prospect of packing my last bag as i was over 2 weeks ago. and i suspect that there are lessons here for my "real life" too.

do you learn anything about your style, strengths or weaknesses, when you travel?

Buying what they're selling

entering a shop in southern california, i know to expect most sales people will make a certain amount of friendly effort to engage me. many of them are highly trained, highly ambitious or highly caffeinated would-be stars-in-the-making, so they are able to deliver their "good morning" and similar dialog in such a way that one actually believes either they are true optimists who believe this morning is good, or (this one is really crazy) they actually want me to have a good one.

on this trip, i had spent sufficient time in other non-ny-y cities prior to landing in lax so that i could successfully switch gears and enter a more social mode myself. this enabled me to respond civilly (rather than suspiciously) to the big ultra-white toothy smiles and "have a great day!" imperatives that seem to come with so many retail transactions over here. so i thought i was in l.a. mode and couldn't be caught off guard by the cultural quirks of life in the sun, but something happened today that did surprise me - i actually believed a sales person's compliment. has the daily exposure to blue skies and tight clothing corroded my eastern shell? or am i losing perspective? before you answer yes to those questions, let me say that her flattery followed her correct identification of the not-widely-known label of what i was wearing based on the fabric/pattern. this was truly a knowledgeable individual. and for what it's worth, she did not segue into a sales pitch.

how often do you accept, at face value, a compliment you receive from a sales person?

Either or

you are traveling and have just enough time before a flight to pop into one store.
you can either go into an unfamiliar boutique that does not exist back home, or you can go into a branch of a store you're familiar with (and let's say you've been looking for an item they carry that they no longer had in your size or color choice at the same shop where you live).

which would you choose?

Negative impact

martin margiela's second US shop is a much-needed addition to little santa monica*. the tourists focus on the T - rodeo and wilshire, but littla santa monica is good enough for martin most likely because of that absence of popularity. though i predict that more will follow his lead. i especially love the exterior of the shop - the front and side of the building are covered in silver disks that move with the wind, creating a ripple effect, but the best part (to me) is that the shop name is designed in the negative space created from omitted disks. i love the use of negative space. (growing up in l.a., i think i found my own taste in what wasn't here.)

i packed light for our 2.5 week trip, thinking of it as a vacation to certain places and a vacation from certain things. i should not have tried to leave behind as much of my clothing as i did, however. the result was the inevitable desire to increase the selection i had limited myself to (1 skirt, 2 pairs of pants, 1 dress, 2 tops, 1 jacket). the selection had yielded endless possibilities, or more than enough for the time away, anyway, but the eye gets bored after a while. so i did a little shopping. but i was more influenced by an online image, which i would have likely stumbled upon while at home, than i was by my current and temporary location...or so i think. we will see how i feel about the new acquisitions when i return home later next week.

which provides more enlightenment about your taste/style:
a trip (or exposure) to a place that reinforces your known aesthetic,
or
a trip (or exposure) to a place that challenges or even contradicts what you are comfortable with?


*aka south santa monica boulevard (in beverly hills)

Swap

pick at least one item (on each) you would swap between these two outfits.

Taste test

"try it, you'll like it" absolutely positively never ever ever worked on me as a child. instead of succeeding to convince me to open myself up to new experiences, the imperative had the opposite effect. determined not to trust thoroughly untrustworthy adults, if anything, it bolstered my resistance. nope, uh-uh, not buying it. or tasting it, as the case was usually over food.

now on the other end of the i-know-better-than-you dichotomy, i personally happen to favor the indifferent shrug combined with the observation "you won't know if you like it until you try it" (works every time).

can you really accurately decide whether or not you care for a particular food without trying it first?

with clothes, how close do you have to get to conclude whether or not you like it?

Match

limited to these choices, match the adjective to the articles as you'd prefer to wear them (you can use each adjective only once):

1. shoes __
2. purse __
3. top __
4. bottom __
5. jewelry __

a. sexy
b. comfortable
c. expensive
d. high-end
e. durable

+/-

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

Time capsule

if you had to buy a piece of clothing today that you would have to put away and not see or use again until 10 years from now, and only then could you take it out, what would you buy?

Included


1. if you were planning on attending a party filled exclusively with men,
how would it affect how you dressed?

2. if you were planning on attending a party filled exclusively with women,
how would it affect how you dressed?

Occupied


1. if you were planning on attending a meeting filled exclusively with men,
how would it affect how you dressed?

2. if you were planning on attending a meeting filled exclusively with women,
how would it affect how you dressed?

Out there


sometimes, some people make me acutely aware that we are evolved from apes. in that context, some of the more drastic measures people take to look particularly civilized only makes them look ... less so.

imagine there is a more evolved species out there. using our basic options as starting points (i mean don't venture too far into sci-fi territory),

what would a more evolved species wear?
what would a more evolved species not wear?

Good-bye, hello

bon voyage to me - i will traveling for the next few weeks, but we're bringing the laptop and i have posts lined up and ready to go for this blog, and this one, so there should be new posts daily (or near-daily), and you might not even notice that i'm gone... unless the wireless fails. that would not be good. that would be bad.

Q&A

1. which color would you pick for each if you had to dress monochromatic in order to:
- flatter (yourself)
- conform
- stand out
- intimidate
- impress
- please (yourself)

2. what is your least favorite color to wear?

3. what is your favorite color to wear?

Fair trade

sometimes the pleasure gained from my various wardrobe acquisitions is a perfect anecdote to less pleasant details of life. i have the moments, of course, where i turn to shopping to release stress, or as a distraction, but independent of that, i get legitimate happiness from a few perfect items that i already own.

so imagine your favorite item, the piece that just sends you. something that can change your mood when you put it on, or even just admire it. now consider one of your daily aggravations, some stress or nuisance that ruins your mood.

if you could trade in your favorite item (clothing, accessory, jewelry) to eliminate the negative element, would you do it?

today

going to work on getting caught up on pictures for Up and Down Town.

Merit-based

i didn't weigh the practical advantages of the haircut i gave/got recently to sway me when the time came. now that it's done, i find myself frequently appreciating the many positives of my current style. if the new style has pros i did not previously benefit from, then the old hair cut must have had "cons."

other than using it will travel well as justification for buying a rain jacket recently, i can't think of any other examples when i used a pros/cons approach of evaluation for my clothes...

are you ever mindful of the pros and cons of your clothes?