Friday, January 28, 2011

Online Discount Shopping on a Friday Night

Just scored the last pair of these Alexander Wang pegged pants with pleating and leather trim from Shopbop at 70% off.

I knew there was a reason I stayed in tonight.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Boots, Interpreted

I went with a rather uninspiring outfit for the first day of the new semester. (It's hard to get excited about corduroy.) So I decided to compensate by building my Tuesday outfit around a single strong item. Only one option came to mind: over-the-knee black boots.

Dixon over-the-knee boots from J. Crew, these are crafted from superb oiled suede. The rich patina and flared top pulls this pair away from the streetwalker vibe that high black boots are so prone to and toward instead a old-world, Elizabethan feel. They're elegant and swashbuckling at the same time.

Very apropos, since my AP Lit class is beginning a unit on Shakespeare. I took the bard concept further and paired the boots with a flowing ice-gray silk tunic from Ever.

Remove the top, and you get an entirely different look: something Trinity from The Matrix wouldn't look out of place in.

There is very little a fine pair of black leggings cannot do.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tartan, Not a Tart

I have a mug of hot cocoa next to me, and half an hour ago I took some melatonin. I'm going to be out like a light tonight. I need the deep sleep. Tomorrow is the first day of the second semester. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to wear. Normally, I like to mark first days with a classic schoolteacher uniform so elaborate and precise that it's almost self-referential. Tomorrow's forecast, however, is below freezing and I am not masochistic enough to wear a pencil skirt and tights in that weather. Unlike last Wednesday, when I celebrated our return to school after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and a snow day with a cute tartan ensemble.

Shirt: Gap. Skirt: Anthro. Shoes: Banana Republic. Tights: J. Crew.

The skirt is from Plenty by Tracy Reese, and it is fabulously waist-shrinking, hip-enhancing, and leg-lengthening. The plaid wool plays nicely off the forest green suede of the round-toe pumps, while the tights are a dark brown and the blouse is a cream. I turned the bow into a skinny tie instead. Dressed like such a schoolteacher-secretary cliche, I couldn't resist hamming it up:

Definitely one of my Top 10 Work Outfits. It's just fun to wear. Now, I have to go and lay out something for tomorrow, then dive under the covers and sleep, sleep, sleep.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Linen and Leather

Today, I decided to throw on my new Edun pullover. It's a cotton-linen blend, but the weave is thick enough to make it wearable indoors even in winter. After spending yesterday in my massive Vince cowlneck sweater, in any case, I want something lighter today. This pullover is part of my first purchase from Edun, and I'm satisfied. The fabric and cut are of good quality, yet still retains an organic, of-the-earth feel. The material drapes like a dream. The color is, well, I can only describe it as linen-colored. I played with this fact by photographing in natural light from the window (the snow outside acts as a great reflector) and giving the pictures an antique tint.

My last haircut was two Christmases ago.

The leather cuff is handmade, and from The Muse in downtown Frederick. The necklace has a leather tassel as well.

The pullover is still on sale in all sizes at the Edun website. Now I'm going to get back to enjoying the snow.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Favorite Neighbors and Other Things

Today it happens to be snowing again, and since school is closed, I've spent the day bunked down at home as usual, chugging tea and inhaling off myself Comme des Garcons Avignon. This time I have on one of my favorite sweaters, a gigantic brown knit cowlneck from Vince, paired with cigarette jeans in dark wash from Vintage Revolution. Yes, this ensemble goes with Avignon much better. After I put up the last post, I went out that afternoon and snapped some pictures of the things I wrote about. It was so cold, my hands were completely numb after five minutes. Here is the amateur montage.

Graves among church courtyard wall. Robert Frost's "Mending Fences," anyone?

The view from my window.

The playground really is right smack dab next to the wall of graves. It's the most poetic juxtaposition.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Impression/Scent: Snow, Whites, and Avignon

One of the perks of being a teacher is snow days. The night dropped a white blanket on us and I got to sleep in this morning, burrowed under duvet and throw. When I finally dug myself out, I changed into my favorite winter stay-at-home ensemble, by now as familiar and worn as a pair of old slippers: faded vintage straight-leg jeans, oversized white sweater, dark hardwood ring band, and Comme des Garcons Incense Avignon. Bare feet.

Book: Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat.
Website: Style Bubble.

One of the first things I like to do on such a day is brew a strong cup of English breakfast tea in a gigantic round white mug, and sit down at my desk. Handed down from my great-grandmother, it's made of carved dark cherry topped with a slab of veined white marble. From here, I can look out the window and see our small walled courtyard, which has been transformed into drifts of white snow with stubs of olive and russet vegetation peeking through. In the corner directly across is an evergreen tree with red berries. It contrasts charmingly against the opposing row house with its whitewashed brick exterior and black slatted shutters.

A bit further beyond is a wrought iron gate leading to a larger courtyard, this one belonging to the imposing Lutheran church with spires and art deco stained glass windows. It has a tiny children's playground next to a single row of ancient gravestones. Perhaps later this afternoon I'll bundle up and pop over there for a bracing stroll.


I'm crazy about my Avignon, which is the very first bottle I acquired (along with Tam Dao from Diptyque) when I got into perfume not a month ago. The frankincense and myrrh are somber yet comforting. There is a spiciness that my novice nose can't name. I keep ducking my head to inhale what feels like the infinite depths of this immensely warm and refined odor. Cold vaulting cathedrals, yes, but being a religion major I have always felt at home in their immense pews. Avignon is really meant to be worn with dark, heavy clothing, but having it waft out of a white expanse of thick soft wool is a delight, too.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Score: Boots from Diane von Furstenberg and Belstaff

Remember when I counted my boot collection and found seven pairs? Now it's nine. Thank you, post-holiday sales.

1.) I have long wanted to jump aboard the platform black ankle boot bandwagon. The trouble is that most of them are just too bloated and clunky (the worst offenders are those Jeffrey Campbells that seem to turn up on every third style blog; yes, you know exactly what I'm talking about) for my more streamlined sensibilities. Then, surfing the Shopbop extra 30% off post-Christmas sale, these Fausta boots by Diane von Furstenberg caught my eye.

The dark brown wood and the little gold band at the heel made them unique. They have a seam running down the front that ends in a slightly pointed toe. Promising. So I ordered the absolute last pair (not kidding; it just happened to be in my size).

They fit perfectly. I feel like I can wear them anywhere, from work to the coffee shop to a nightclub.

Shirt: Madewell. Pants: Level 99 from Anthro.
Necklace: Jacquie Aiche from Shopbop.

2.) Dangerous things happen when I surf sales. At three this morning, I was red-eyeing Net-a-Porter's extra 20% reductions, and there were these Belstaff Jenn boots.

I'd seen them somewhere else last fall, loved the buckles, then forgot about them. Now here they were, and again the absolute last pair. (Not kidding; after I hit order I went back to the product page and got a red Sold Out message.)

I got them in size 10. I'm usually a 9.5, but sometimes need to order down in boots because I have such narrow feet and calves. The fit guide said for half sizes to order up, so we'll see. I've noticed that designer shoes fit more snugly than mall brand shoes, in any case. Don't they look so good?

P. S. I am pleased to report that my Alexander Wang Frida booties (from this Score post) fit gorgeously. The heels are higher than what I'm used to (no hidden platform), but when it comes to fashion, one should live dangerously.

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