“How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them” - Benjamin Franklin

A discussion on The Fashion Spot regarding New Year’s style resolutions got me thinking. As I mentioned before, I’m not a believer in the traditional resolutions…weight loss, new job, etc...as I feel that, generally, you’re setting yourself up for failure...especially when it comes weight loss...and do we really need to start the year feeling bad?

The style resolutions that I read though seemed to be more positive...or at least achievable…so I decided to break with tradition and make some clothing-related resolutions of my own.

1. Wear something within two weeks of purchasing it. If there’s a delay between purchase and first use I have a nasty habit of letting new purchases languish in closet no-man’s land.

2. Try to focus on buying at least a few things that I actually need. As my bank account can attest, I find it alarmingly easy to spend money on something that I will get limited wear out of but is “beautiful” rather than buying a few of the practical, yet dull, necessities of life.

3. Continue to "cull the herd". Anything un-worn, un-loved, or ug-ly has to go. No more keeping things because of the memories associated with them or the fact that I remember how expensive they were. Hello eBay, thrift store, or donation box! Goodbye to staring at clothes that make me feel guilty!

I could probably keep going but I’m going to stop at a (hopefully) manageable three. Which, of course, leads to the question...what are your style resolutions for 2008?


If you go down to the woods today...

It's so cold that, quite frankly, my only concern at the moment is how to wear several thick layers without looking like a yeti. Actually yesterday I just gave up...and decided if I was going to go the overweight-furry-animal route it would be the cuddly kind...so a vintage Emporio Armani "teddy bear" duffel coat was yanked out of the darkest recesses of my closet...and I crossed my fingers that the overstuffed effect caused by the layers underneath would be put down to over-enthusiasm in trying to accurately portray a teddy bear (possibly one that had over-indulged at the picnic).

Once the weather cooperates though I'm looking forward to taking some inspiration from French Vogue stylist Geraldine Saglio's outfit...classic with just a twist and perfect for a lazy weekend (though sadly not one with wind chills below zero).


R.I.P. Z.u.l.u

It's always depressing when an old friend leaves us. My recent loss...a bottle of Nars' Zulu nailpolish...a dark, bottle green in whose depths I was able to become a twisted femme fatale (at least in my own mind). I first came across the color in a winter editorial from a British magazine (too long ago to remember which one)...the model wore winter white...and was as pale as I...yet her nails were chic-ly tinged with green. I could have imagined Morticia Addams in a similar shade if she had decided to take a break from blood reds. And so, my bottle of Zulu was purchased, and worn...and worn...and worn...and is now a sticky puddle at the bottom of the bottle. Unfortunately I missed the brief re-release of this color at Sephora during the run up to Christmas...my (bottle green) fingers are crossed however that another batch is released fairly soon.


As the ball drops...

I realize that as it's only a couple of days before New Year's Eve I should, according to conventional wisdom, be dashing around trying to get the final elements for my outfit or making an appointment with my hairdresser. I should, but I'm not. Because, dear reader, in my humble opinion NYE has deteriorated into a free-for-all amateur night where the participants have to be loud, have to get drunk, and have to "party" to keep up with everyone else. It's a state of forced celebration...and where's the fun in that?

Like the teenager who's been caught smoking a single, illicit cigarette and is condemned to smoke an entire pack in one sitting...or the goose who "couldn't eat another bite" but is destined to be fois gras...regimented frivolity leaves a bad aftertaste.

And so, as in prior years, party invitations have been declined...a menu has been decided upon...a couple of bottles of decent champagne will be purchased...and Mr. Heb and I will welcome in the new year together. Had I placed my order earlier, APC's karaoke CD would probably have been added to the mix, as what better way is there to say "hello 2008!" than with an off-key rendition of "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" or "Police and Thieves"?


The Splendid Best of 2007

As the year comes to end, the Splendicity community has gathered up it's best posts from the year. Take a look at what you might have missed over the year. Be sure to check out all of the members posts to get to know some of the best beauty, fashion, style, and shopping blogs on the web.


Viva Woman finds out how to read the secret batch codes of beauty products and determine their expiry date.
A Touch of Blusher brings you highlights from 2007.
Makeup and Beauty Blog brings you 5 Makeup and Beauty Tips from Paris Hilton.
Savvy Skin tells you the Top 10 Signs You're A Beauty Junkie.
Just in time for you to ring in the New Year, makeup loves me teaches you the fine art of properly applying false eyelashes.
Ellen from Spa Beautifully shares the Top 10 Beauty Trends to Look for in 2008.
Beauty and Fashion Tech has found that The ThermaClear Acne Treatment Device is One of the Year's Most Interesting and Useful Devices.
The results are in for Temptalia's Best of Beauty Awards 2007, check out who won!
Sugar Shock says, "My Lips are Sealed".
Christine at 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic spends time with Celebrity Makeup Artist Jake Bailey and Max Factor.
Beauty Secrets Revealed Shares a Blueberry Age-Defying Face Pack Recipe.
At Teen Style Lounge, Liberty shares 6 Quick Tips to Super Kissable Lips.
eBeautyDaily lists the top 10 beautiful things she couldn't do without in 2007.
The Scented Life says that Bond no 9 is bringing Andy Warhol back to life - in a little silver bottle!
Beauty Banter muses on the 5 Minute Make-Up application! Including the EXACT products you'll need to achieve the no-fuss look!
NY Spender asks "Is your hair color right for you?"
A Girl's Gotta Spa! thinks the Baby Quasar LED Light Therapy is a splendid secret weapon against acne & wrinkles.
Makeup Minute thinks Billy B's Paintbrushes are splendid beauty tools that are worth every penny.
Cinnamon Kitten's 2007 in Review: 5 Favorite New Products.
Beautyholics Anonymous has Effective Ways To Losing Weight.
Beautiful Makeup Search says that this is one must-have beauty product that works for everyone.

Eagle eyed ShopDiary was the first blogger to point out the startling similarities between dresses by Diane Von Furstenberg and Forever 21. A week later, DVF sued Forever 21.
Style...a work in progress says "...Sea Bass, Sea Bass...that's four Sea Bass".
STYLEnosh asks the the difficult question, "Have You Let Yourself Go?"
She Knows Best has a Men's Fashion Don't List.
Spork Fashion Exclusive! Actress Shannyn Sossamon Shares her Style.
The Snarkstress needs your help in finding out just what exactly is on David Beckham's head.
Indie Style File has A Take five interview with Kelly of Killer Cotton fame.
The Fashionable Kiffen says that fashion is an art form.
CelebLOOK tells you where to get Emmy Award Dress Look-a-Likes.

Laya's EYE
shows us a new class of wine glass charms.
Her Accessories has a list of 10 reasons (or excuses) to treat yourself to a really good pair of shoes.
Style It Less '07 Review | List Of Under $100 Stylish Looks.
Style Tots has some Spring 2008 Pediped News.
Shopalicious is convinced that these knickers will put you in a festive mood to ring in the new year!
Kim at All That and a got in lots of pics of Simply Vera, the Vera Wang line at Kohl's.
The Latest Luxe says to Set Your Gold Standard with Stiletto Patent Sandals by Bruno Frisoni.
Aging Fabulous says that these are Must-Have Wicking Pajamas.

The Splendicity community wishes you and yours a very happy, healthy, and splendid new year!


Fringe benefits?

I am now going to commit fashion heresy and say that, up until this point, I have not been a fan of Kate Moss' latest haircut. It's not just the fact that it's aging and unflattering on her...there's the additional thought that it's going to be a whole lot more aging and unflattering on everyone who gets a copycat cut. In addition, there's the disturbing fact that the overall vibe is more suburban mom than edgy supermodel.

Having said all that, in the new ads for Yves Saint Laurent, the fringe works. I have a feeling though that this is a temporary, ad-induced, change of mind...I wasn't keen on the jewelery from the YSL show either and even it looks good in this picture. Ah, advertising Gods...if only you could wave your magic wand in my direction occasionally...I wouldn't mind the "rose colored glasses" effect every now and then.


The big cover-up

When you're a child, the main problem you run into at Christmas is whether or not anyone remembered to buy the batteries for whatever game they bought you. As an adult, though you still may have battery problems, the issue more often becomes what much needed accessories the gift-giver forgot to buy. This Christmas, for example, I bought Mr. Heb an iPod Touch, but not a carrying case. In my defense, I didn't actually forget to buy a case...it was just that the only case I found that I actually liked was on back-order until the end of time.

And so...as happens in times of desperation...the sewing kit came out...

Mr. Heb favors the English-Bohemian-alcoholic-writer look, i.e. the mix of patterns and textures found at Paul Smith with a dash of Trovata and memories of Hemingway, and the goal was for the case to reflect that aesthetic. Armed with felt (for the lining), polka-dot fabric (from a worn-out shirt), braid (from a bandleader's uniform), ribbon, and a vintage mother of pearl shirt button this is the end result...more Sergeant Pepper than Hemingway but protection nonetheless.


Never Say Never

Wouldn't you know it...just as I was getting ready to congratulate myself that there was nothing in the sea of post-Christmas reductions to cause my credit card any angst...along came the APC sale.

On the plus side, I feel mildly virtuous...having turned a blind eye to several items that were heavily marked down but weren't actually things that I needed...

One the other hand, a couple of items did make their way into my cart...a black crew neck sweater (to replace my black APC zip-front cardigan which is beginning to show signs of wear) and the marled scarf which I mentioned before but couldn't rationalize at full price (and ended up being too lazy to knit myself).


An all consuming passion

“She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies” - Lord Byron

Having, at this stage in the festivities, indulged in one too many Finger o' Fudge, Crunchie bar, and chocolate digestive I'm drawn to the volume of these pieces from Rodarte's Spring collection.

Yes, I have a chocolate hangover and need something beautiful, yet spacious, to see me through the day.


Patterns That Occur In Nature

As I sit here wondering if that last glass of champagne yesterday was a good idea...yes, "mummy is feeling delicate"...I find myself looking over at the "gift chair" (i.e. the temporary resting place for Christmas goodness until it is moved to its permanent storage area) and pondering the fact that the striped sweater which Mr. Heb unwrapped yesterday goes very well with the flannel and leather Day bag which was my gift. They obviously demand to be worn together...and, as Mr. Heb is not a big handbag carrier, I have a feeling we all know who will be borrowing what from whom at some future date...

"Coveting thy husband's gift"...the eighth deadly sin...

But back to the bag...and the reason for the title of this post...

I know that I've mentioned my "look books" before...scrapbooks filled with magazine clippings which act as reference, inspiration, and wish-list all rolled into one. I find it strangely fitting when a new purchase references back to an old clipping...like it was "meant to be"...in this case, my new Balenciaga has some striking similarities to a (I believe Gucci) jacket that I clipped out about 10 years ago...


Deck the halls...


Seasons greetings to everyone who reads this blog...your visits, and comments, are greatly appreciated. Wishing you, and yours, a wonderful holiday...with good food, good wine...and a generously-minded Santa.


Familiarity breeds contempt

In the Christmas Eve lull (similar to the eye of the storm, i.e. the calm before all hell breaks loose) I find myself doing strange things...like visiting Banana Republic's website. I know that some people get great finds there but their site always makes me think of millions of business casual outfits, yearning to be free. And currently, it's also home of the weird wallet semi-knock-off. The s.k.o. being something that's not a total copy of the original but is definitely heavily influenced...like these large and small wallets from Banana Republic...close enough to their Chloe cousins for the similarity to be noticeable, yet lacking the charm and overt shininess of the original.

From sweet oranges to slightly bitter marmalade in one easy step...


The Write Stuff

As I find myself spending more and more time online I am coming to really miss the actual process of putting pen to paper. Not that I'm taking a dislike to my beloved Apple laptop...I'm just feeling a little nostalgic. If I believed in New Year's Resolutions...and didn't regard them as a chance to set yourself up for failure...I'd say that I needed to resolve to "write" more. Instead I'm going to suggest that I need a pen of such beauty that it makes me want to write...like this cast bronze one which features, once again, my beloved skulls though, this time, in such a way that they resemble souls in purgatory. Not necessarily a bad thing as it would remind me of Dante's words...to "be sure that you write what you see".


Timing is everything...

As I worked my way through my emails this morning I couldn't help but wonder...shouldn't a post-holiday sale start, well, after the holidays?


The Evolution of Mankind...and his hangover

As we're in an official season of gluttony and excess (I know that personally I seem to be cornering the market on red wine and British chocolate products)...and I have a collection of vintage health and beauty books...I thought it might be interesting to see how the advice has changed over the years.

Published in 1931, The Week-End Book works under the assumption that every household has a virtual pharmacy in their medicine cabinet. This is the "kill or cure" method for hangovers because, if you get this one wrong, you could have some problems.


On the Morning After, comfort the cod and feeble brain by recalling the warning of Mayster Isaac Judaeus who saieth: "It is unpossyble for them that drinketh overmoche water in theyr youth to come to ye aege that God ordained them."

If it matters little to you whether the age that God ordained be reached or no, drink the following cordial:
Take a Sp. Ammon. Aromat. mx, Sodii Bic. gr.xv, Tr. Capsici miii, Tr. Card. Co. 3i, Tr. Zingib. Fort.mv, Tr.Cinc. Co.mx, Tr.Nuc.Vom.mx, Sp.Chlorof.mx. and Water of Orange Flowers up to 3i. Take also of Caffein Cit. gr.v, Acid Cit. gr.x, Tr. Aurant mv; and Water up to 3i. Add two tablespoonfuls of the first to two of the second drink and whilst the effervesence lasts.

The Harper's Bazaar Beauty Book, published in 1960, veers towards the bubbly perfectionism of a Stepford Wife.

Your Diet

The perfect day for beginning the winter diet is when the holidays have reduced you, but not your figure, to a state of groggy satiety. After the Christmas turkey stuffed with sausage, and the plump New Year's goose stuffed with sausage and chestnuts, and the assorted wines and liquors of the season's parties, you wake up feeling that you're ready either to hibernate like a big bear or do something self-improving.

Now is the perfect time to strike. Diet today, this New Year's Day of resolution. A thin little sliced chicken sandwich, a long stalk of celery, and a tall glass of orange juice will seem like the best meal you've had all year. And you can carry on from there with the good habits, either until you're back where you were, or better than ever."

Which brings us to the current day...and Barnes & Noble, when the cover of Glamour magazine caught by eye as it exhorted its readers to "Get to your happy weight!".

The disturbing thing is that while our concerns appear to have stayed the same over the years the method of delivery is disturbingly dumbed-down. It makes you wonder whatever happened to feeding your inner man?


Hey, Professori!

On the face of it, "70's English Professor" shouldn't be a good look...virtually any movie set in a learning establishment during that period should have taught us that. Yet one look at this picture of Mary Kate Olsen and I'm yearning for a corduroy jacket with leather patches on the elbows and a leather bag capable of carrying a small mobile library. Yes, my inner nerd is fighting to be free...


Do you want fries with that?

Even though I may, on occasion, silently curse the sheer number of ads in certain magazines I do tend to enjoy browsing through them. I love what they provide me with...the ability to see detailed shots of some of the clothes or handbags I had my eye on...a chance to gain a sense of the woman that the designer sees wearing their clothes (and her lifestyle)...

But the ads for Marc Jacobs' Spring/Summer collection just confuses me. I like Juergen Teller's photography but why would a shot of writer/director Harmony Korine tucking into fast food like he hasn't eaten for a week induce me to spend vast sums of money on clothes? Join Weight Watchers, maybe. But shop? Not so much.


The quest for the Holy Grail

The clip from Monty Python's Holy Grail has (I admit) very, very, little connection to the rest of the post but, having worked my way through three (count 'em, three) articles on the UK Times' website on "How to shop the sales", I am in need of a change and there is a somewhat tenuous connection between Python's Grail and my own...quite a few things on my Grail List are French.

To explain, my Grail List is a selection of items that I have lusted over for a long period of time but which are way out of my budget. They're the things that are always in the back of my mind when I go sale shopping...because hope springs eternal that they may be sitting on a rail, marked down beyond belief. And, actually, I've been incredibly lucky. I have, on two separate occasions, been able to cross things off the G.L...namely a Lucien-Pellat Finet sweater and Chanel jacket.

In the spirit of the season, for fellow Grail List-ers, I wanted to mention this canvas Chanel jacket . From vintage online store Vagabond NYC...and listed at $385...I need someone to buy it now...before I realize there was a typo on my G.L. and I actually wanted two Chanel jackets (to go along with the Two French Doves on my 12 Days of Christmas list).


Normal service will resume...we hope...

You only realize how complete your addiction is when you are forced to go cold turkey. No, I am not talking about a shopping ban...instead the loss of internet service for most of today...which caused pangs of anguish and made me fully appreciate how much this blog has become a part of my daily ritual.

Providing the internet demons play fair normal service will resume shortly.


The not-so-basic basic

I found this cute outfit of the day on Lucky's website and it made me want to pay tribute to the thing that makes "business casual" a much less painful experience for me...the not-so-basic basic. The loud, overly patterned, or very bright pieces which have a strange chemical reaction when added to "office clothes" in muted colors. The n.s.b.b.'s become a little more "appropriate"...and the o.c.'s are no longer "drone wear"...a middle ground of individuality is attained.

And so, not-so-basic basic, I salute you!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


The unkindest cut of all...

When I was about ten...and a tomboy...I lusted after a penknife. With monotonous regularity I would submit my request and, with equally monotonous regularity I would be told "no, you'll cut yourself".

Then, one magical day, I was given a mother-of-pearl handled fruit-knife.

As you've probably guessed, there was a "fruit based incident" and, in my excitement over being able to slice an apple in bed, I plunged the knife into the fleshy part of my palm. Of course, I neglected to mention the incident to my parents (because, well, no one likes a know-it-all) but I still bear the scar, both physically and apparently mentally.

Which you'd think would have put me off small, sharp, instruments...but no. When I saw this Whittling Kit all I could think was that it could potentially be the greatest stocking stuffer of all time. Five pieces of wood, a small knife, and a one-page instructional guide...who could ask for anything more? Plus, when I run out of wood I could try to emulate the crayon carving shown below. And, if an accident should occur, I have a good excuse to use one of the Swarovski Band Aids I mentioned earlier in the week.

As they said in the A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together".

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Hey Pig

This little Piggy went to market
This little Piggy stayed at home
This little Piggy ate roast beef
This little Piggy had none
And this little Piggy cried "Oie, oie, oie"
All the way home

As I typed out the verse above I realized that Piggy number three is essentially a cannibal...what with this, and the porcine totalitarianism of Animal Farm , pigs don't seem to be getting good press.

Time for a change...and what better way to spread a little love than with these cute/cool accessories from Henrik Vibskov? The swine-y take on the, now ubiquitous, Keffiyah scarf gets the most points for originality but I actually need a laptop case…not wanting to be hog-gish but it would be a great stocking stuffer...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Spring into my fervid arms...

I've been severely underwhelmed with H&M as of late...it's seemed like anytime I went in I was surrounded by a sea of decidedly lackluster clothing...I know, I know, "it's H&M"...but it used to be the case that on every trip I found at least one item. In fact, I'd just about got to the stage where I was going to stop even going in. But, based on these pictures from their Spring collection, the tide has turned...farewell uninspired fire hazards designed by the color-blind...hello you chic, but funky, lady.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Step away from the glitter...

The seasonal blues...you know, the ones that attack when there are more hours of darkness in the day than light...appear to be taking their toll. At least I assume that's the explanation for my current fixation for "shiny things". The latest? These Swarovski studded Band Aids…they're over-priced, more than a little tacky, and they draw unnecessary attention to the fact that you're a klutz and have injured yourself again. So why do I keep clicking back to Miss Geschick & Lady Lapsus's site to take a look at them?


Fur from the Madding Crowd

'Tis the season for 50's style fur hats...at least if you go by some recent pictures that I came across...as both Sienna Miller and several of the Face Hunter's street-stylers have been sporting chapeaus worthy of the chicest grandmas.

To be honest, I'm glad to see a few more people wearing this style...I bought one a couple of years ago at Prada (as modeled by the crazy Christmas cut-out)...when I was feeling flush and the words "mink" and "Prada" closely linked didn't send me into a complete state of shock. I wear it when I'm feeling lavish...and cold...and, though I don't want to be surrounded by people wearing the same thing as I am, it is nice not to feel like the only person alone in the wilderness...even if I am walking along in a fabulous hat.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


“Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks; When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one!”

I'm not suggesting mass emulation of the "Lizzie Borden Strategy for Settling Family Disputes" but I have to admit that she may have been on to something with the idea of adding an axe to her ensemble. While I was prowling around Urban Outfitters the other day I found a black plastic pendant...a hybrid of Karen Walker's silver axe pendant and the Perspex pleasures of Tatty Devine.

Better yet, it was on the sale table for a fiscally responsible $4.99...thereby striking a blow for the cause of affordable accessories.


Tales from the Quilting Bee

I know, I seem to be obsessed with the weather at the moment...but, as we got about a foot of snow last night, I am in serious shut-in mode. I just want to turn on the fairy lights...make a pot of tea...put on something cozy...and hunker down.

One look at Alexandre Herchcovitch's print dress and I get a mental picture of patchwork quilt, roaring fires, and log cabins. Somehow it manages to emanate a feeling of warmth and cosiness...pretty impressive for a short-sleeved, mini-dress.


Rack 'em, stack 'em, and pack 'em

As part of my recent jewelry frenzy I've been obsessively trying different ring combinations...hoping to find one that was wearable for everyday (so no over-sized cocktails rings), yet "different". The winning pick and mix consists of a "One Love" silver ring from Wright & Teague, a Victorian engagement ring, and a faceted red agate ring. If I hadn't found a selection I was happy with though I would have been ordering one of Iosselliani's ring stacks...six separate rings, in silver and gold, with a mix of Swarovski crystal and chain details.

Perfection...in an imperfect way.


An Ode to Practicality

As we are in the grip of yet another winter storm I wanted to say a few words on behalf of practical clothing. Especially since during the last few bouts of bad weather I've seen men and women in outfits more suited for a balmy day in June than the middle of an ice storm. And so, a few thoughts...

Gentlemen - walking around in minus whatever windchills with no coat, jacket, or scarf does not make you look "tough"...just mildly deranged...and frost-bitten.

Shoes - I know it's what your mother told you and therefore horribly un-cool but having wet feet will make you miserable for the rest of the day...and ruin the shoes that you're so desperately trying to wear. Do yourself a huge favor, buy a pair of wellies and carry your nice shoes in your handbag until you get where you're going.

Practical does not necessarily mean ugly - there seems to be the general thought that practical and cute are arch-enemies...they're not...though you may need to do some searching to track down their lair.


The stuff of fairytales...

For all the appealingly twisted, fractured fairytale elements of Prada's Spring/Summer 08 collection the one thing that really induced feelings of lust in me were (probably unsurprisingly) the handbags. Specifically the striped bags. Admittedly slightly gaudy...a little tacky, in a 70's disco kind of way...they were, nonetheless, something that I could see myself getting quite a bit of use out of. In fact, the only negative in this love affair was that they looked a tad small. Then I happened upon Dansk's large shoulder bag...a little more 70's college student than disco diva but a definite addition to the "stripey bags I covet" list.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...