Monday, September 15, 2014

Altuzarra, A Bigger Target and Me

Altuzarra for Target. 
  I should know better.

I had decided to lower my expectations and not even get up at 0-dark-thirty to make the 45 minute drive to to hit the Altuzarra for Target debut at our Big City store. Dan suggested that we might want to try a bigger store in a Bigger Big City and see if they had more stuff.  I'm all for a little exploration of that kind, so we got up very early and left while it was still dark to make the drive north to a Bigger Big City Target.  We left in plenty of time because I was sure there'd be at least a little bit of a line.  We chose the newer and largest of the two Targets, and it took us just under 2 hours to get there.  

No line. That was the good news.
The bad news was that out of the 50 items in the collection, we were offered fewer than 20 of them. Typical. 

We tracked back to a second Bigger Target and they had even fewer items, and I learned that I could have saved myself the whole trip north, as they were stocked just about as well as our more local-ish store. 

I did get one item that I liked from the collection, which I'll wear much later in the year.  There were only three of these at the store, one each in large, medium and small.  As I was coming out of the dressing room from trying on the one I bought, I passed a woman who must have been the second arrival.  She was carrying the remaining two sizes of the same sweater to try on.

The moral to my little tale is that the early bird might not get all the worms she wants, especially if all the prettier, dressier or more interesting worms are available only online or sent out to the much larger, urban worm habitats, but she still has to get up early to get any worms at all.

We had a decadent brunch followed by great and equally decadent hibachi grill lunch (no actual worms were consumed.)  That made the day better. But what made the day very much better was that during the shopping that occurred between brunch and lunch, I found the pink wool coat I have yearned for since last winter.  Love at first sight, and the price was right.  You will see that one later in the year, as well.  And I still have a chunk of the change I had saved to spend on the Altuzarra stuff.  

Too bad for you, Target.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Little Short Post

After last week's long winded post, I thought I'd give you a break.

Short and sweet, this week. Just like ME. (hahahahahahahah!) 

Although I don't really have my Fall-Winter 2014-15 Lust List fully compiled yet, and it's still hot here, I'm transitioning into an Autumnal State of Mind.  

I came across this dressy little skirt ... one of the first real midis I've seen in any of my haunts here. It happened to be love at first sight, and the price was right.  How could I not bring it home and put it right to work? I'll wear it often this fall and winter, too, I know.

But for now, I'm beginning to bid a fond farewell to summer with a white embroidered lace crop ( the sororal twin of of the black one I wore some weeks ago here. )

The little BCBGeneration shoes are a recent purchase as well.  Hard to see in the big picture, but here's a close up ... these little darlings deserve their own pic.  They're suede and some minuscule reptile-reminiscent (like from a really tiny reptile) textured fabric.  I love them, and you'll undoubtedly see them again.

And that's that for this week.

I'm going over to Darkly Sleek Patti's Visible Monday to catch up with the grownup glamourati.  Join me?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fixin' to Get Ready ... or Why I Love the September Issues

I come by my fascination with process honestly. My grandmother used to announce that, when she was beginning to consider the steps necessary to even begin a process and before actually taking any action, she was "fixin' to get ready to" begin the whole thing. The women in our family break down the steps this way, I guess.

That's sort of where I am with the whole fall wardrobe thing. There's a process I construct for myself regarding the decisions I make about what I'll put on my back every fall. More than practicality, it's mostly to prolong the delicious sartorial pleasures that seem to belong especially to this time of year, and it starts with the knowledge that the September magazine issues are ready for my perusal. Anticipation is such a huge part of any pleasure, and fall outfits are right up there with all the things I most enjoy anticipating . It's way too hot to wear any of the fall and winter clothes that I see in the magazines even if I owned any, and the local stores are just beginning to show some limp-looking transitional items. So I begin with an eager appraisal of the ideas the designers are selling. First, it's all about the ideas.

For those who pay attention to such things, we saw the first versions of these concepts hatch months ago at the annual-seasonal string of international Fashion Weeks held in the great capital cities of style. These events are devoted exclusively to what designers had to say and show about what they hope to sell to the stores who will, in their turn, hope to sell to us in the coming weeks. I don't pay a lot of attention then because it's just too far away in time. There's another season or two of What I'll Wear to play with and figure out before the coming fall is imminent. But now, I'm fixin' to get ready to consider what they're saying. And the people who put these magazines together know how to talk to those of us who want to listen.

The delicious juiciness of this part of the process is that it's all potential. No money beyond the price of the magazine is required at this point ... and that's good because I'm squirreling my pennies away for later, but I can give my imagination a work out. Right now, it's not just about the stuff, the goods, the acquisitions to come. In the pages of the magazine, the efforts of lots and lots of very talented and highly creative people end up in my hands, for my evaluation and appreciation. Every coherent article or editorial photo spread is a further response to the creativity of designers that began months ago. For my nickel, this seat is better than any I could have wished for at any tent at NYFW.  It's all a distillation and interpretation of what a lot of passionate people in multiple arenas of contemporary design are thinking right now, and these narratives they create and display in the magazines are wonderful to me. I love a good narrative in a book, or a film, or in a song, but especially in a great pair of shoes.

Anyone reading here knows at least a little about the relationship of politics and social realities to fashion. A familiar example is how skirt hems went up in the last century during two World Wars. We're all familiar with examples of political and social ideas that resulted in world-defining, life and culture changing, post-war responses from all the arts. Some of the most controversial and subversive ideas of  past decades have shown up illustrated in September issues of the fashion glossies.  Our own generation's relationships are likewise producing similar responses by the arts in this information-saturated era,  right now, for us to see in an abundance of ways never before imagined.  It's all another way our history is reflected.

It isn't world peace, and it's isn't a cure for cancer, but there's a place for an appreciation for this kind of beauty and these visual ideas that help define who we are as part of popular culture. There's certainly room in my somewhat isolated world.

As an example, I'm seeing a ramping up of the 60s revival that's been going on for some time now. And it's not just the sweet flirtatiousness of the mod-mini and bright prints, although they are still there, front and center. I'm interested to see a substantial dose of Clockwork Orange - dystopian bootery worn with the girly minis and floaty prints. It's gone from workman-like, construction-inspired boots worn in contrast with sheers to paramilitary lace-ups with everything in a couple of seasons. Lots of narratives implied here, and much to be inferred from them, and all of it at least a little angst ridden. "Tough, street-stomping" lug soles (that description from an editor at Bazaar, last month's issue) are hot this year. That's in line with that implied social nervousness, feeling at best assertive and at worst a little defensive, frightened and aggressive. If that isn't a strong narrative, I don't know what is. But to the broader point, what is it that we fear and need to defend ourselves against?

Like Doctor Who warned, just last week, "Don't look in that mirror ... it's furious!"

I'm charmed and invigorated by the evolution of culturally specific fabrics, patterns and ideas that, in recent decades, we have ripped whole-cloth from cultures that we may or may not be insulting when we've cheerfully co-opted their traditions. Here's a distillation I can enjoy guilt free, because in returning traditional elements back to their originating cultures, we can say a belated thank you for the loan and allow the inspiration to remain in "tribe international" wovens and bulky knits.  This year, they're often rendered in non-traditional materials, but with a hand-crafted and sophisticated beauty we see in the best of traditional indigenous expression in textile art. It's not so much "a-cultural", but multi-mixy-cultural and satisfyingly blended. In an era where a lot of our political and social divisions around the world are fueled by our differences, it does my psyche no harm to indulge in the hope that we might be ready to celebrate such a cultural collaboration and lose some of our fears of blending.  (Ahem. I know that sounds pretentious, but that's what I think.)

All of the above is closely related to this year's fauve-like hand painting on luxury leathers and fabrics. To me, it translates into a beautiful iconoclasm, and I want to do some of that!

And big, hairy muppet-fur coats, this year in pastel and jewel-like tertiary colors. It's likely I won't indulge in this outerwear idea, but when I see anyone in the real world wearing one, I will think "more power to her!" and indulge in a few envious thoughts about the good time she's having wearing it. There's nothing to be understood about this idea beyond the desire for some fun while remaining cozy in the cold, and who can fault that? After the year I've had so far, I could use some fun when the winter skies inevitably turn gray.

And if those ideas don't grab you, consider the ramifications of Normcore as applied to the already presumably normal people we already are? What does all that mean? Am I the only one who is cracked up that Gap has a whole, huge ad campaign admonishing us all to "Dress Normal," with examples set for us and modeled by the celebrity-likes of Zosia Mamet (Girls) Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) and the style-iconic Angelica Huston? 

Huh. There's a thing to ponder. But probably not for very long ...

So, as I look at the images, some of which are just so beautiful that, with or without the fashion context, they exist as their own separate pleasure, I begin to think about what I might like to say about myself this fall when I dress for the day. And what I don't want to say. It has been a year of a lot of changes for me here, and those reflect in what I'm thinking about, and that determines a lot of what I want to wear. I don't yet, can't yet make actual efforts in that direction, although I do admit to snagging a couple of pairs of serious fall shoes that were perfect bargains. 

This is the time to sit back, sip an apéritif, think about my appetites, eyeball the menu and put my napkin in my lap before the meal actually arrives. All fixin' to get ready for the actual feast, which can sometimes be as much fun as the consumption of the main dish.


What? You say you want pictures illustrating those ideas above that I went on for so long about? Sorry, you will have to go look at a magazine or Google the Interwebs and see for yourself. I'd love to know if you are especially taken with any ideas for this fall.

 All you get today is a picture of me in late summer, in extra casual go-to-town togs. Too hot to dress up, too tired to think about it much, but wearing a combination of a few favorite this-summer pieces that I wanted to put on one more time.

 I haven't worn the cork clutch and shoes together before, but they hit it off pretty well, no?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Almost Back

When last I wrote, I was preparing to take off a couple of days from the Blogosphere to slap together a new and improved website for our business, effortlessly and all-easy-peasy-like.

When, oh when will I learn?

I won't bore and belabor you with the infuriating details, but suffice it to say that it was a lot harder than I though it was going to be. Really a LOT harder.

But it's done, and the new site is up and I will be back around to see everyone at the Lovably Layered Patti's Visible Monday link party and catch up with my correspondence eventuality. I still have some cyber-business related chores to tackle, but I can see the finish line ahead.

The photo above is all I have to show you this week, and I'm sorry that it's not a What I Wore photo, but it is a pretty good graphic representation of how my week went.

Now that I can think of something other than my revenge- fantasy desire to choke the life out of a couple of tech-service reps, I can tell you that I was able to take a few minutes break this week from real work and steal a peek at the the fall style issues of the big, glossy fashion magazines that are just now arriving. Wow! Lots of new ideas to consider, and when I'm done with all my chores I'm going to start my Fall-Winter 2014-15 Lust List. It's part of my style-obsession hobby to luxuriate in plans for fall purchases. And it carries the added benefit of helping me stick to planned purchases rather than the kind one makes when one finds oneself in TJ Maxx after a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and no list in hand. Or is that just me?

But even though I just love fall, there's no hurry this year. Another reason I don't have a WIW photo for you is that I'm really enjoying wearing some of my favorite, feel-fabulous summer looks again that you've already seen. There's still time to try some different combinations, and I hope to show you some as we have lots of summer left down here in Steamy Old Nowhere.

I can't tell you much yet about what will be on the Fall List, but you can be sure there will be shoes. Lots of shoes.   

Monday, August 11, 2014

As Boho As I Go

On the fly today with plenty of excuses why I'm still absent in from my usual haunts in the Blogosphere (only one of which is any good: I've got to redo our business website from scratch with a program I'm still learning and it's slow going. I've added that to trying to figure out the best use of various new-to-me social media as a replacement for traditional advertising. Whew. Yes, indeed. )

What I Wore yesterday for the Sunday trip to the Big-ish City

This is about as Bohemian as I've gone in recent years. In the late 60s and all through the 70s, I had periods of folky-ness with everyone else, and a full-on-but-brief descent into an Earth Motherish period in the 90s. But since then, not so much. So, just a touch of Boho here with the print and paneled construction of this feather-weight skirt. It has a smocked-elastic waist that goes several inches up under the crop top, so no cami is necessary for modesty. Nice for the summer heat and flattering at the waist.
The crop top is made with a substantial embroidered lace front that holds it's structure. It's also very soft and cool with a tee-shirting back panel. Easy-peasy and casual.

However, I did have to take up the hem 3 and 1/4 inches, which was a pistol because the skirt is made of curved hem panels, lots of them. But that little challenge pales compared to the amount of fabric that had to be hemmed. I measured it twice just to make sure, 'cause I didn't believe it the first time. The hem measures just a little over 33 feet around. Whew, again. I'm no fool. I used the machine to hem this mother.


Back to the virtual grindstone. But first, I'm popping over to Perkily Printed Patti's Visible Monday .

Stop by if you can ... it's so much fun!