"Pack up your troubles...c'mon get happy..."

I've discussed the fact that I am now a confirmed "carry-on only" girl when it comes to travel...but now it's time to put my money where my mouth is. Starting today I'll be on the road for one week...just me...my American Apparel vinyl duffle (as I'm still searching for a different travel bag)...and my handbag/computer bag.

The only outfit duplication should be on the "travel days" at the beginning and end of the trip as I need to take one very thick sweater for emergency protection against the cold (hello Minnesota!) and there's no way I could get it in the bag with everything else.


Loop sweater - Simone Shailes for Topshop, striped t-shirt - American Apparel, peg-leg pants - Prada, suede boots, tweed coat - Benetton (borrowed from Mr. Heb, over-sized and cozy), suede clutch - vintage Mulberry (carried inside my computer bag due to airline bag restrictions)


“Relax, Georgie, I'm just making my collar and cuffs match.” - Carole Lombard

As Dr. Phil might say...if he was discussing jewelry instead of broken marriages and assorted psychoses and neuroses...it's time for a little "cuff love" (I know, I know, it's a groan-inducingly bad pun but I couldn't resist). I feel the need for the aforementioned c.l. because I realized the other day that since buying Pamela Love's talon version my Chanel cuff has spent a lot of time lazing around in my jewelry box and very little time on my wrist...a state of affairs that was soon rectified.Photobucket

It's 80's...it's a gob-smackingly excessive display of conspicuous consumerism (especially during a recession)...and it's about as subtle as a 10 foot high neon sign...yet I inherited it (and therefore have no internal quandary over how much it cost) so I don't feel the need to "baby" it. Yet another reason to love this cuff...it can be used and abused and shows little sign of wear.


“Beauty attracts us men; but if, like an armed magnet it is pointed, beside, with gold and silver, it attracts with tenfold power” - Jean Paul Richter

You used to be able to buy (admittedly rather tacky) little plastic figures of boys and girls...which had magnets in their heads...and, when placed in close proximity to each other, they "kissed". I think, during a certain time period, it was one of those gifts inevitably given to little girls...sweetly innocent but useless from a sexual education perspective (though, I suppose, some men do tend to lunge so maybe plastic boy was illustrative of a certain type).

Chinese jeweler Qeelin has taken the whole "magnetic kiss" concept and elevated it to rather mind-blowingly decadent level...goldfish...in white and black diamonds...rubies...and orange sapphires...with tiny magnets clasped in their golden lips. As with their plastic counterparts, the magnets attract...or repel...the lips of other fish they meet...though I'm not sure how many of these you'd run into to be able to successfully test the theory.


Home is the sailor...home from the sea

Upon reflection I decided that my $10 H&M purchase is more "top" than "dress"...for me, at least...on someone 5'7" or shorter this would be a dress...at 5'11" it's a little short (I was obviously hunched over in the changing room).

Not that I'm unhappy about my purchase...dear me, no...but I'm still on the lookout for something stripe-y, and dress-y...and longer...


Striped top/dress - H&M, scarf - Urban Outfitters, jeans - Joes, suede boots, talon cuff - Pamela Love


“In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.” - John Steinbeck

I've been trying to do more "closet shopping" recently...not just in an attempt to save money but because I'm finally willing to admit to myself just how much clothing I own and the resulting overwhelming guilt is forcing me to wear some of it...or, at the very least, give it a quick airing while I decide whether it's a keeper (i.e. it may be "useful" someday) or not (i.e. needs to go on etsy or Ebay asap).

I was actually feeling pleased with myself as I was able to add two items (yes, a whole two items, to my etsy store last week...namely some suede shoes and a pair of pale Armani Jeans with "designer rips") but I met my indecisive nemesis when it came to this Moschino messenger bag. Constructed of the nylon that Prada and other Italian designers seemed so fond of during the 80's...and enough golden embellishment to sink a ship...it's placed me on the (rather uncomfortable) horns of a dilemma...and forced me to have a bit of back-and-forth with my inner voice...

Self: "It has zips and pockets and would be useful for travel..."
Inner Voice: "Are you insane? You wouldn't get within 6 feet of an airport metal detector with that little lot."
Self: "Possibly...but it's a nice example of 80's excessiveness..."
Inner Voice: "By that I take it you mean it's tacky and nouveau riche?"
Self: "It's a nice shape..."
Inner Voice: "It looks like a nappy bag!"

At this point the discussion between Self and Inner Voice disintegrates into a petty squabble...hair is pulled...shins are kicked...and vague allusions are made to shopping indiscretions of days gone by.

Basically, I rather like the bag but don't know if I'd use it...add Mr. Heb's opinion to the mix..."It's hideous and, anyway, you've got much nicer bags...use those"...and I'm dithering. My first impulse is to shove it back in the closet and hope that my feelings will be clearer when I next unearth it but that seems cowardly...



“All things are easy to industry, all things are difficult to sloth.” - Benjamin Franklin

Desperation for a little color amidst all the mid-winter gray caused me to pull a rather lightweight summer skirt out of the back of the closet...with very thick tights I was able to go outside without developing frostbite but, it has to be faced, the shape of this skirt isn't the best.

I think I bought it for the color (which, as I said, is the reason I wore it today) and ignored the fact that there's something "off" about the general fit. Perhaps lopping a few inches of the hem may help...the nice thing about this idea is that as all of the seams on the skirt are raw I can chop off some length and leave it as is...no sewing involved...possibly the laziest DIY project ever...which raises the question of why I haven't done it before now.

The answer...pure, unadulterated sloth.

Peacoat - APC, boiled wool school scarf - Paul Smith, skirt with raw edges - Anthropologie, loop sweater - Simone Shailes for Topshop, suede boots (outdoor), perforated flats (indoor)


Seek...and ye shall find?

Despite the fact that yesterday was bone-chillingly cold...the high...the high mind you, was about 14F (-10C)...that's not factoring in the wind chill (which means that one of the ice cubes in my freezer is having a milder winter than I am)...Mr. Heb and I decided to venture out. The end goal was an art gallery but, you know how it is, you're wandering past a store...you're the "cold and huddled masses"...it's a centrally heated America waiting to welcome you in.

The welcoming store in question was H&M...I hadn't been in in a while and had therefore not realized that their sale had reached desperation level. Like the circles of Dante's Hell it had passed from "sale"...to "2nd reductions"...to "gift with purchase"...to the level I visited...where the clothes lurk in corners embellished with $5 and $10 labels.

Yesterday I mentioned that my summer wish list included a striped dress...in a typical "ask and ye shall receive" scenario I found one...too thick for summer but, at $10 and from H&M's organic cotton line, too good to pass up. A faux-Prada lace turtleneck, also $10, was similarly difficult to ignore. Perhaps the best part of the outing (apart from visiting some of John Singer Sargent's ladies at the museum later in the day) was that I had a $10 H&M gift certificate lurking in my wallet meaning that the total outlay for this little extravaganza was $10 (plus tax). Oh, I love a frugal splurge...



“Orange is the happiest color.” - Frank Sinatra

Much as I'm whining right now about incipient hypothermia I know that, come the sweltering days of mid-summer, I'll be pining for a cold snap. That's because cold weather dressing is relatively easy (pile on numerous layers until a nice fug starts to build up) but summer dressing is a much more difficult prospect altogether.

Last year I tried to have a plan/wishlist for prospective summer purchases so that I didn't run amok in desperation...buying whims which added nothing to my wardrobe...and, for the most part, it worked. Last year's key warm weather purchase was United Bamboo's ribbon top...perfect for either business casual, or just plain casual...it was something that I actually looked forward to wearing when it was warm (a relatively unheard of occurrence).

This year's wishlist includes one or two nice tops (i.e. not t-shirts)...a pair of black pants...a dress (preferably striped)...and a pair of comfortable (when worn without socks/tights) ballet flats. If I can add these to my existing wardrobe I'm not going to claim that I'll be in warm weather nirvana...but I may be able to cope.

And, miracle of miracles, I can cross one of those items off the list...in the shape of this tangerine top from hazel & jaloux...which should add a nice shot of "60's French ingenue" to my closet. Though it was well-priced initially it became even more so thanks to a 15% off coupon that turned up when I did a Google search...I've said it before and, gosh darn it, I'll say it again...before buying anything online try a search for discount codes...a lot of the time you'll be successful and, at the very least, save the postage charges.



"British-style marmalade is sweet marmalade with a bitter tang..." - Wikipedia on marmalade

I keep catching myself staring at this image from Balenciaga's menswear collection for Fall/Winter '09...the wonderful, deep, marmalade orange shade...the cut...the zipper detailing...and the armour-like cuffs (gloves?) peeking out underneath. I'm in love...Photobucket


Love is in the air...

I have no idea who came up with the concept of the Valentine gnome but bless them for it. Usually I loathe the majority of V-day gifts...too cutesie...too overwhelmingly romantic...too desperate...so the concept of a cheeky dwarf holding a couple of over-sized blooms strikes me as brilliant.

Plus, if like me you don't have anything in the way of a garden, your V-day gnome is perfectly sized to lurk amidst the undergrowth of any potted plants you may have...which hopefully, unlike those in the Hebden household, are not in the midst of mid-winter death throes.


“The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an ax-murderer” - Paula Poundstone

The sun is shining...and thanks to that, the radiators going at full blast, and the fact that I'm not planning on setting foot outside today...I can fool myself into thinking that it's not actually sub-zero...and wear some lighter layers (really just an excuse for another outfit with my self-mutilated plaid shirt).

The necklace dates from a time when Emporio Armani was less...cheap looking...It's satisfyingly non-plastic...real metal and glass...weighty and ethnic. The scarf is also vintage and (as you can see from the detail shot) shows exactly how much a moth can chomp through given sufficient time and a hearty appetite.


Linen dress - Anthropologie, t-shirt - Gap, plaid shirt - Ralph Lauren, necklace - vintage Emporio Armani, wool scarf - vintage Moschino, glitter flats - Me Too


“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” - Charles Dickens

After much heming and hawing I've finally decided to upgrade my iPod (1st generation mini) for something with a little more entertainment value (a 16GB iTouch). And by "much h&h" I mean about...oh, 8 months...because, though I will sell my soul for certain items of clothing I categorize electronics with things like vacuum cleaners or getting the plumber in to fix a leaky faucet...from a practical standpoint they're better value for money than a lot of my purchases, they just lack excitement.

The ironic part of all this is that, like my mini, I'll probably use this to death...I certainly plan on traveling quite a bit this year and the touch should preserve my sanity during the countless hours spent sitting in airports. Of course I couldn't leave the thing unadorned...and engraving was free...so I had a little quote added to the back...now I need to check out the apps store to see what fashion apps are available.


"A secret deep inside you that only scouts can know."

Today's title quote is from the (incredibly long) Girl Scouts' Court of Awards & Fly-Up/Bridging 2002 which I found via the joys of Google. I have no idea what this ceremony is as my own time with the Brownies/Guides was remarkably short thanks to a difference of opinion between myself and "our fearless leader" regarding some Scottish sword dancing that we were supposed to be practicing.

None of which really has much to do with anything...except that the sheer volume of brown I ended up wearing today reminded me of a Brownies' unform..."Dyb dyb dyb, dob dob dob", as they say.

Plaid shirt - H&M, lion sweatshirt - APC, skirt - APC, moccasins - Old Navy, talon cuff - Pamela Love


"...the victim of his indifference"

“In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference” - Rachel Carson

Oh, how I love the e-mails that I receive from PR firms...the utter insanity behind some of the phraseology that makes you wonder if anyone who receives one nods their head in agreement and says "this is the greatest invention since sliced bread". The latest...with the subject line "Don't Let the Recession Kill Your Fashion Addicton" is about bottled water. But not just any old bottled water, oh no...this is Jean Paul Gaultier for Evian water...or, in PR-speak...

"Is the recession infringing on your label-loving fashion addiction? This year, Jean Paul Gaultier has the solution. The cutting-edge designer has partnered with Evian Natural Spring Water to create a limited edition bottle for the fashionista who has it all, but wouldn’t mind a little more…

Available on ShopEvian.com for just $13.95..."

So...let me get this straight...in this time of "recession" I am supposed to cough up $14 (plus tax) for water in a desperate attempt to feed (or water) my fashion addiction? Quite frankly, if my addiction ever reaches that level I will fasten the straps on my (designer, naturally) straight jacket myself.


Baby, it's cold outside...

A sudden (and extreme-ish) dip into colder temperatures meant a return to my cold-weather staple...jeans. Although I love jeans I can't help feeling that I'm stuck in a rut by the time mid-winter rolls around...on days like this, when it's bone-chillingly cold, there are few things that can keep you as warm as a pair of jeans (with tights underneath)...but, at the same time, you can help but feel peeved that Mother Nature is dictating your wardrobe selections.

Though, thankfully, my twin addictions for coats and accessories mean that I can generally vary my exterior appearance somewhat there's still the underlying thought of "oh dear God, not jeans again"...especially as, thanks to the blogging world, it's so easy to jealously view what those in slightly warmer climes are wearing.


Tweed coat - Gap, striped scarf - APC, tweed and leather gloves - Aquascutum, bag - Balenciaga, jeans - Joe's, hi-tops - Converse


"The talkative parrot..."

“Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about.” - Saskya Pandita

My first thought when I saw this 1940's sable cage stole was, not unnaturally, Susie Bubble...as her cage-y outfits are a joy to behold. My second thought was how much dress-up fun could be had with it. Followed closely by a third...what weather could this be worn in? I know...I'm too practical...I should embrace the whimsy and move on...but fur suggests winter (or, at the very least, an appreciable chill in the air) and I don't see this particular stole offering much in the way of warmth.

Of course, my fourth thought was, I need to mute my practical inner voice...he's such a little killjoy!



"...like a Parisian punkette..."

“(It's) like a Parisian punkette. You know, originally the punk (were) English so it's the French version of punk which means a kind of bourgeois. A little chic, elegant and (some kind of) accident (can) happen,” - Jean-Paul Gaultier


I'm trying to decide if there's any truth to the old maxim "you can't go back"...because I find myself faced with a sudden yearning for some Doc Martens...either a zip-fronted style or something zippy in patent or even something with a Scottish flavor...yet I can't help but remember my previous foray into Doc-dom (late teens/early twenties) when I wore them on an almost daily basis...and wonder on the wisdom of "going back"?

I'm vacillating...between concern that personal style should evolve over time and Docs have (up till now) been firmly associated with a different period in my life (and certainly a different look)...and the knowledge that Doc Martens themselves have evolved (these are not the punk-ish bovver boots that I remember).

Any thoughts? Am I over-thinking this or do I have a point (however oblique) and should the search continue for a non-Doc boot?


"...but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end."

First there were the run-of-the-mill print advertisements...then there were advertorials...now we have reached the plateau of the online 'zine. First Gwyneth Paltrow and "Goop"...which I have mistakenly refered to as Gloop on more than one occasion...and its lifestyle advice..for wealthy folks who don't mind discussions on herbal laxatives and bowel elimination (maybe it's just me but somethings fall under the category of "too much information"). Though I'll admit to sneaking peaks at her (her stylist's) advice for fashion basics which is sound, if not budget friendly.

And now, we have "Swide"...Dolce and Gabanna's 'zine offering which has beaten Paltrow's site (in my estimation) for the weird name award. It reminds me of the Simpson's episode where Marge's lover takes her out to brunch..."It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don't get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal!" Swide is a strange hybrid of 'zine and commercial for the nouveau riche (at least whatever nouveau riche are left in the current financial climate). An article on how to Kill time at the airport, for example, suggests spa treatments at Charles de Gaulle to "ensure airport security doesn't interfere with one's beauty"...or, if you have insufficient time for a mud mask, watching D&G's Time 2008 video. Or, even more bizarrely, models backstage at the D&G FW10 menswear show were asked how they'd resolve the economic crisis...

"Beauty and brains - if you've looking for a way out of economic gloom this video is must-see viewing.

Finally speaking about finance doesn't have to be dull - we only wish our bank manager looked the same."

I suppose this kind of hybrid is inevitable...and, as a blogger, I certainly shouldn't be surprised about this migration to the internet world...I just wish it didn't make me think of the commercials that you see at 3am for miracle cleaning products or vacuum cleaners.



Sew, sew...quick, quick...sew

I told myself that I wasn't going to do an Obama-related post...as dear mama used to say, "never discuss politics or money with your friends...it'll only lead to arguments"...but I couldn't resist this picture of Elle's Style Director, Kate Lanphear.

And (in for a penny, in for a pound), here's a link to the only free inauguration memorabilia that I came across...a Barack Obama cross-stitch pattern...cushion covers, throws, the world is your tapestried oyster.



“The great seal of truth is simplicity.” - Herman Boerhaave

Today's ensemble is, I suppose, an homage to my grandmother...in that it's comprised of 90% black and I'm wearing the antique intaglio ring that she wore on a daily basis. Intaglio is Italian for carving and in intaglio jewelry the design in carved into (usually) a gemstone. Signet rings, like grandmama's, that are decorated with intaglios were often used as seals...pressed into sealing wax onto some nobleman's letter so that whoever received the epistle knew that it hadn't been fiddled with.

If I actually wrote letters anymore...as opposed to sending emails...I'd probably be tempted to use it...


Boiled wool sleeveless jacket - Alexander Wang, sweater - APC, t-shirt - Muji, jeans - Levis, boots - J Crew, leopard print scarf - APC, antique intaglio ring


“This was the most unkindest cut of all.” - William Shakespeare

When I was ten-ish...and a bit of a tomboy...I finally persuaded my mother to buy me a pocket knife (after months of pleading I might add). True, it wasn't quite the hefty blade of steel that I'd envisioned...it was a vintage pocket fruit knife whose cutting edge was probably only a little over an inch in length. But it was a knife...and I'd managed to break through the barrier of parental "you'll cut yourself"'s...so it was a victory in childhood terms.

As I sat in bed that night using my new acquisition to peel an apple (admittedly not that adventurous but it was, after all, a fruit knife and I was hungry) I managed to cause very little damage to the apple...but stick the knife into the fleshy part of my palm. Blood flowed...the apple fell off the bed...and the death knell sounded on my desire for a blade.

I don't know what happened to that little knife...which is a shame as it was decorated with mother-of-pearl and would have been ideal to use as a pendant...like the ones that pleats have in their etsy store. Though the folks at pleats have also salvaged vintage pencils and other ephemera it's the pocket knifes that will have a soft spot in my heart...and, potentially, some other part of my anatomy if I'm not careful.


“A few clowns short of a circus”...aka "Under the big-top"

Sometimes you just want to bundle yourself up in over-sized knits and baggy pants...not conventionally flattering I know (though better in person that via my questionable posing/photography)...but perfect for running errands and a good opportunity to pull a couple of vintage items out of the closet.

I've professed my love of 80's Joseph before...the advertising campaigns featuring Pamela Hanson's photography...the "Joseph woman" who was, at once, sexy and innocent...racks of Alaia (which I wish my mother had purchased)...and the quintessential Joseph item of that time, the hand-knit sweaters...in heavy wool or cotton...featuring designs than ran the gamut from full-on floral to antique Tibetan tiger rugs.


Hand-knit cotton "circus" sweater - vintage Joseph, flannel peg-leg pants - vintage Ralph Lauren, hi-tops - Converse


“The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.” - Albert Einstein

When considering summer...in the abstract way that you do when you're bored and you've finished staring at the icicles which completely cover your neighbor's kitchen window...I decided that, this summer, I need to avoid wishful thinking syndrome. That totally bizarre affliction that causes you to buy certain items because they look great on someone else...or conjure up a certain feeling when you look at them...or make you believe, temporarily, that you live a lifestyle somewhat different that your own. Not that I'm dismissing fantasy in fashion...fantasy is everything...but relentlessly fixating, and buying, one specific item or style that you get minimal wear out of isn't fantasy...is crazy.

Which is why I am going to try my best this summer to avoid the siren's cry of...the sandal. In my head sandals conjure up images of the south of France or the Greek islands...ambling around on lazy summer days...managing to look chic, yet cool, on even the warmest days. In reality, I walk (a lot) and the majority of sandals either rub in the most painful of locations or (by their very design) allow every pebble to work its way inside and try to hitch a ride. I need to focus on the fact that, even in the height of summer, I am a ballerina kind of girl...and though, for example, these red patent numbers from See by Chloe are gorgeous they're not for me.Photobucket


"Culture is a sham..."

“Culture is a sham if it is only a sort of Gothic front put on an iron building -- like Tower Bridge -- or a classical front put on a steel frame -- like the Daily Telegraph building in Fleet Street. Culture, if it is to be a real thing and a holy thing, must be the product of what we actually do for a living -- not something added, like sugar on a pill.” - Eric Gill

I've been trying to find more ways to wear my Chanel jackigan...I mean cardet...I mean jacket/cardigan hybrid. Purchased a couple of years ago, vastly reduced...okay, as vastly reduced as a pretty thick cashmere Chanel jacket with tulle trim around the edges can be...it's one of those pieces that I love but that kind of languishes in my closet. I don't feel quite as guilty about that as I probably should as it's a classic that I can wear now or when I'm ninety (unless my arch-nemesis Moth Man gets his sharp little teeth into it) but I do need to work its luxe-gothicness into more of my winter outfits...


Cardigan/jacket - Chanel, plaid dress - Gap, diamante pendant necklace - H&M, zip flats - Ash


“Lots of people think they're charitable if they give away their old clothes and things they don't want.” - Myrtle Reed

I've been window shopping online for the past few days and I've been struck by two things...

  1. The on-going recession means that quite a few people are off-loading their designer pieces to resale stores
  2. The majority of items thus scandalously reduced would look absolutely rotten on me
And so, I'm passing on the details of some finds in that hope that someone will snatch them up and revel in feelings of happiness and good clothing...

Item #1, a Balenciaga tweed suit with leather detailing for...$210. On someone with the right build this will look amazing...whereas I would resemble a linebacker in drag as a librarian-biker (a rare subgroup who ride pillion on a Harley Davidson while reading Keats). The fact that the pieces can be worn separately (and that this is therefore a double bargain) is almost too much to bare.


Item #2, Hermes full-calf spats for...$245. Sized 36.5 (which I have to assume is shoe size as I've never heard of calf sizing) these would be too small for me...though the ability to change shoes into boots at the pull of a zip makes them awfully tempting.


Item #3, Louis Vuitton kilt-ie shoes...for $185. Too high (four inch heels)...too small (size 35.5)...obviously we were not destined to get together...but for someone with smaller feet and a sense of balance they'd be perfect.Photobucket

And, if none of these take your fancy, the site for New York charity Housing Works (which works to provide services to homeless and low-income city residents living with HIV and AIDS) also has its fair share of Chanel, Ferragamo, Comme des Garcons, and others...


“Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd have frozen to death.” - Mark Twain

Another bone-chillingly cold day...though, somehow, when the sun is shining you manage to convince yourself that it's actually warm...even though the actual temperature is below freezing and the windchill...well, let's not even mention the windchill.

So, sun shining...birds singing (though the poor little blighters could just have been complaining about hypothermia) it was a day to pull a couple of feel good items out of the closet. Both, funnily enough, sale purchases and...better still...both sale purchases of items which had been on my wishlist for a long time...in the case of the sweater, a long long time, i.e. about ten years...the coat, spotted in Jalouse, caused a case of "there's no way that's going to appear in a US store" until, miraculously, seven or eight months later it did.

Coat - See by Chloe, marled scarf - APC, Mickey Mouse skull sweater - Lucien Pellat-Finet


“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” - Leonardo da Vinci

As I was chatting (in a virtual way) to the search for chic about my latest suede handbag acquisition we got onto the topic of "other suede I have known" and I realized that I am a terrible "bag lady" (in that I never know the "names" of any of the bags in my possession). I feel bad, the designers obviously spend weeks...days...hours...minutes...seconds thinking of just the right name for their latest design and, to me, it's "the boxy Balenciaga with a lots of pockets" or "the Sonia Delaney-ish Miu Miu"...conversations on fashion and bag forums make little sense until someone posts a picture and I mentally strike myself on the head while saying "oh, THAT bag". I can't help it, I'm just more interested in the actual design and materials used rather than its nom de guerre.

So, to answer search's question...here is a picture of my other suede (though, I actually have a vintage Mulberry suede clutch so I suppose technically this is suede #2)...a futuristic, in a 60's kind of way, little number from Balenciaga. The pro's...good size, thick (yet soft) suede which holds its shape beautifully, and (of course) the matching mirror...vastly outweigh the one (admittedly irritating) con...the buckle closure. Leave it undone and it's an open invitation to pickpockets, close it and you'll spend 5 minutes attempting to open it (fine after a lazy lunch, not destined to get you voted 'Miss Popular' in the line at the drugstore).Photobucket

Of course, what this really means is that I really need to stop buying suede handbags...because, really, three (all in varying shades of brown) are enough for anyone. And, though they're all beautiful, there are chunks of the year when they can't be used...rain/snow cause staining during the colder months and (I'm sorry, I have to say it) sweaty hands can create havoc in the horrifically hot days of summer. So, dear readers, if you hear me mention "suede" and "handbag" in close proximity in any future musings please feel free to scream the phrase "three is enough"...virtually, of course.


“Love is a tie that binds; matrimony straps them together”

Oh, Gods of over-priced and completely unnecessary footwear, why do you provoke me this way? I can neither afford...nor offer any reasonable explanation for desiring...Sigerson Morrison's African-ish, gladiator-ish boots. They'd leave crazy tan lines in the summer...and offer absolutely no protection from the elements the rest of the time...so why am I lusting after them?



“The most important things to say are those which often I did not think necessary for me to say - because they were too obvious.” - Andre Gide

According to The Wall Street Journal, "If trendforecaster ESP Trendlab is right, thriftiness will still be in style in spring 2010.

One of the emerging trends the firm is forecasting for that far-away season is “urban archaeology,” which it defines as a mixture of old, worn-out clothes and new styles.

“There’s a kind of wistfulness about it and appreciation of the past,” says Sharon Graubard, vice president and creative director at retail consultancy ESP Trendlab. The consumer treasures “the holes and the worn-out areas” and stains, which Ms. Graubard views as a romantic metaphor for urban decay.

So...really...what the majority of us have been doing for many years now? Mixing high and low...designer, high street, and thrift store. I mean, it's beautifully word-smithed...the whole "romantic metaphor for urban decay" and "urban archaeology" but not really worthy of a WSJ article, albeit a very short one. One wonders what will come next, the blindingly illuminating news flash that we can wear articles of clothing more than once?


“MOUSQUETAIRE, n. A long glove covering a part of the arm. Worn in New Jersey. But "mousquetaire" is a might poor way to spell muskeeter.” - A. Bierce

Like many other bloggers I am completely smitten by Balenciaga's pre-Fall '09 collection...the bags, both the over-sized book bags and the studded/quilted grey shoulder bag, are absolute perfection...the strangely loose-yet-fitted-yet-appealing-nonetheless pants...and most of all, the fur! Call me part-yeti if you want but the thought of elbow-length, shaggy fur gloves has me salivating...and also reminds me that I have a vintage pair of faux-fur, shaggy, Armani mittens somewhere...temporarily M.I.A. it looks like a closet safari is in order to try and track them down.



“I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I'd look like without plastic surgery.” - Joan Rivers

If you happen to be in Leeds this evening you can catch the opening night performance (and world premiere) of "Skin Deep"...a new satirical operetta about the search for "perfection" via plastic surgery. Now, personally, I'm a fan of anything that ridicules the cult of perfection...though I will admit to sharing the common morbid voyeuristic fascination with plastic surgery victims (it's like slowing down to glance at roadkill on the highway...you know you shouldn't look...and it's going to make you sick...but you just can't help yourself).Photobucket

The heart of the matter though is that I can't imagine why anyone would allow themselves to be cut open unless it was a matter of life and death...much less hand over vast sums of money for the privilege. Of course, people want to look their best but, isn't that the point, that it's their best? Neither a doctor nor society's ideal but the best that they can reasonably attain with what they've got.

Of course, now I'm curious about your thoughts on going under the knife. Do you consider it a viable option in the fight against aging...a magic pill for those with low self esteem...or a step towards a society of flawless, identikit, mirror images (lacking in individuality and boring beyond all belief)?


"An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea." - Buddha

I finally got around to taking scissors, needle, and thread to my Marshall's purchases...partly because I've been too busy to tackle it earlier and partly because I needed to gird my loins for all the hand sewing that I was going to have to do (note to self, must try and find a cheap sewing machine).

The end result is one loss...the striped shirt was too thin to successfully mimic Rachel Comey's striped original and is now in the undershirt pile...and one win...a first pass at the men's plaid Ralph Lauren shirt has made it wearable...I may have another go at it in the future to make it slightly more fitted (once my fingers recover from having pins stuck in them like a voodoo doll).


Plaid shirt - Ralph Lauren, Perfecto jacket - Heimstone, jeans - Rag & Bone, bakelite Buddha necklace - vintage 1920's, moccasins - Old Navy


“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” - Plato

As it's all too easy to buy something online in the sales and get that "drat, that wasn't quite what I expected...and because it was reduced I can't return it...so I'm stuck with it lurking in my closet making me feel bad because I wasted the money" feeling I wanted to do a quick update post on the Tila March suede bag that I picked up in Matches' sale. Because, contrary to what you might expect from the first (rather extended) sentence of this post, it's actually better than expected because it's (virtually) three...three...three bags in one...morphing from shoulder to mid-length to messenger in the time it takes to un-snap and re-snap the studs on the strap.

In a strange way it makes me feel doubly frugal...the only downside is that the snow has been falling (or lying round in slushy piles) since the bag arrived and I'm too paranoid to mix suede and snow with reckless abandon.



“One mustn't criticize other people on grounds where he can't stand perpendicular himself" - Mark Twain

A kind of (unspoken) resolution for me this year (blog-wise) was to do a few more "outfit posts". In the past I've steered relatively clear of these because I've noticed on other blogs that nothing gets the old hate mail going like a picture of the blogger's outfit and I haven't felt like wading through multiple "you look (fat/crap/like a bum) insert insult here" comments. However, as I post on multiple lookbook sites...my new favorite being the French site modepass (check it out to get a true feel for French style, though lots of other countries are represented)...it seems overly paranoid to not post them here as well.

And so, here's the first of what will probably be rather sporadic posts of the day's ensemble...

T-shirt dress - vintage DKNY
Pleather jacket - H&M
Necrophilia scarf - Alexander McQueen
Boots - J Crew
Talon cuff - Pamela Love
Watch - Hermes


“Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all” - Nikita Khrushchev

You have to hand it to those advertising boffins. Here we are deep in the midst of a recession...and some bright spark decides that what Saks really needs at this point are shopping bags which hark back to the propaganda art of the Soviet Union in the 1920's. You can almost hear the marketing meeting...

"No...you see...it will be ironic...comparing the current climate in the US with post-war Russia...a Russia with "almost total economic collapse, famine and bitter discontent". Won't shoppers see the delicious incongruity and biting wit and flock to the stores to lay down their hard earned cash?"

The sad thing (for me at least) is that I actually do like the design...which was created by Shepard Fairey (the artist behind the Barack Obama 'Hope' poster)...but the overall theme just seems a little tasteless and over-the-top at the moment...an advertising crossroads where 20's despair meets 80's decadence, but does the road lead to shopping nirvana?



"The act of putting pen to paper..."

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.” - Norbet Platt

Apparently the volume of mail passing through the US postal service fell by 5.5% in the last year. I can't say I'm shocked...personally I send ecards for holidays, birthdays, and other "occasions" and generally work under the theory of "no email address, no card"...something which illustrates my inherent laziness and must have my mother turning revolutions in her grave (considering that she used a fountain pen for all correspondence and insisted on a thank you note for the smallest occurrence).

Part of my mourns the loss of the written word...the physical act of putting pen to paper...the rich feel of expensive notepaper...the heartbreak when you sent the last card from the box...the joy when you found a new design which exemplified "you". Especially when I come across something like these Giles Deacon notecards for Smythson. Yet, much as I love them, I know that if bought they would sit in a drawer...unsent (though caressed and admired when I happened upon them).


"Life in plastic, it's fantastic!" - Aqua

As I mentioned previously, the search is on for a piece of carry-on luggage. Unfortunately I've been bogged down with work and haven't had a chance to really get started on my quest. I did, however, stumble upon a couple of "gosh, I wish these were in leather" options on Topshop's website. I say "gosh..." because my American Apparel vinyl duffle is working fine (for the time being) and I don't want to swap vinyl for polyurethane (or, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "A plastic by any other name would smell as sweet").

Roomy...shoulder strap and carrying handles...and some nice, punky little studs...all would be good were it not for the overwhelming plastic-ness. To add insult to injury I even spotted a wheeled bag which made me regret my loathing for "the wheelie"...but who could resist the supreme tackiness of patchwork snakeskin?



"My name is Geek...I put them on as a shocker...

Time for a quick game of spot the difference...one pair of sunglasses are the (in)famous Blu Blockers...best known for their rap commercial and $14.95 price tag...while the other pair come to us courtesy of Louis Vuitton's continuing homage to Stephen Sprouse (and ring in at $560).


The question, if you're going for the "I bought these for $5 in a gas station in 1982" look either pair will give you the desired effect...why not save a little cash and support the Blu?


“All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction.” - Oscar Wilde

Though I'll be making my own version...I do, after all, have enough random charms to sink the proverbial ship...there is something charmingly eclectic (if a trifle sterile and ready-made) about Belgian design duo Wouters & Hendrix's triple-strand charm necklace...probably the mixture of garnets and coral, both of which are favorites of mine.

Staring at W&H's necklace though made me think about my "style quirks"...personally I'm a random ring mixer of old...yet I rarely pile on a variety of necklaces...it's all too easy to get stuck in a rut...and sometimes and inspirational "kick in the pants"...even for something so basic as a trio of necklaces...is welcome (and necessary).



“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.” - Miss Piggy

Even though I am decidedly not a make-up girl I have two fixations in the cosmetics department...nail polish and lip gloss. And I probably love them both for the same reasons...they add a slight veneer of "effort" to my otherwise unkempt appearance and, most importantly, they require very little when it comes to upkeep.

I can continue to justify buying nail polish because I use all of the bottles that I buy (though there is one minty green number that I received as a gift and which is gathering dust as we speak)...but as I have pots and tubes of virtually untouched lip gloss sitting in my bathroom cupboard I think I need to restrain myself from buying any more. Which is tough as I'm currently drooling over Shu Uemura's latest offering from its spring collection, a tint and a gloss in one little tub. It's so useful and multi-purpose...like the things that boy scouts use for taking stones out of horses' hooves...Photobucket


"...with tubes of cerulean blue - and vermilion and rose madder - for his artist's eye..." - Erica Jong

While I love gray when it comes to clothing I'm getting a little weary of all the other gray surrounding me at the moment...the sky...the sidewalks...and everything else that seems to be tinged in a mid-winter layer of murkiness. Which means that my thoughts are turning to a more summer-y color palette...which, in itself, is a little odd as I even during the summer months my clothing choices can be a little sombre.

Be that as it may I am slightly fixated on Acne's v-neck "sweater"...not a piercing blue (though it could be amped up depending on what was worn underneath)...and not really what I'd call a sweater (as I tend to associate sweaters with providing at least a cursory level of warmth)...it's a amalgam of negatives that suddenly becomes very positive indeed.


“Formula for success: Rise early, work hard, strike oil.” - Jean Paul Getty

I know that every so often I witter on about various methods of hair conditioning (you may remember by experiment with the olive oil, for instance)...but as I mistreated my hair so badly in my youth (dying it jet black...bleaching it...and then working my way through most of the colors of the rainbow) I have underlying hair guilt. I know it's not the same hair...I just feel the need to make reparation for my earlier sins...well, that and the fact that my hair is naturally thin and flyaway and needs all the TLC it can get.

My latest obsession is also from the grocery store...though this time from the beauty area at Whole Foods as opposed to the oil and vinegar aisle...Dr. Hauschka's Neem Hair Oil. My overwhelmingly lazy side likes that it's a once-a-week treatment...my nasal passages have got used to the smell (which can seem a little pungent during the first couple of uses)...and, most importantly, my hair is happy...well conditioned, a little thicker looking, and generally feeling rather pleased with itself.Photobucket


“Assent -- and you are sane -- , demur -- you're straightway dangerous -- , and handled with a Chain.” - Emily Dickinson

Though it reminds me of the kind of protective garments worn by knights of yore when they were getting ready for a little pillaging or dragon slaying...and I find the party-ish styling of the images that I found extremely off-putting...there's something appealing about Haute Hippies ring dress. I think it's because I imagine it worn for wandering aimlessly around on a warm summer's day...with a wife-beater underneath...some beaten-up ankle boots...



“More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity” - Francois Gautier

The start of the year, the perfect time to start a new “quest”...my last one, if you recall, was for a gold bracelet...a hunt that went in various directions but eventually led to my talon cuff. The process worked (for me, at least)...finding ‘possibles’...getting my thoughts down on (virtual) paper...taking the time to mull over all of the pros and cons...until I found "the one". And now it’s time to start all over again, though this time with a slightly larger purchase in mind...luggage. Though I should probably clarify, as “luggage” always conjures up an image of the kind of matching set used by Joan Collins or minor royalty...whereas my requirements are much more modest...I only need one bag, but I have plenty of criteria...

  1. The bag must fall within the airlines' size guidelines for carry-on luggage. It's strange, I used to pack a quarter of my wardrobe for a short trip...but perseverance (and Mr. Heb's constant whining on the subject) have allowed me to do a complete 180...I can fit all of my needs for a week or more inside one carry-on bag.
  2. It must be able to stand the test of time... I want to be able to throw the bag around and know that it will still look relatively good.
  3. Having said that, the bag mustn't scream "I cost a lot of money" as I am paranoid about having my bag slashed open and the contents stolen.
  4. No wheels. I'm an adult...and I'm not incapacitated in any way...I can manage to carry my bag for the 5-10 minutes necessary. Additionally, I've noticed in airports recently that those with wheeled bags don't seem to move any faster than those without...in fact, they may even be slower as they are forced to continually adjust the bag as it topples over.

At the moment my needs are being met...well, some of them at least...by a nylon duffel bag from American Apparel but, it has to be faced, it's only a matter of time before the bag rips and my clothes are strewn around the concourse in front of my fellow travelers...and so, "the quest".

At the moment I'm thinking about a leather bag...with handles for carrying by hand or over the shoulder...but we'll see what turns up.


"...All the symbolism that people say is shit..."

“There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.” - Ernest Hemingway

Sometimes the difference between your dreams and reality is staggering. In my dreams, for instance, I write at a desk...and not one of those messy, paper-infested, dust traps either...in my dream world it’s one of those awe inspiringly clean, over-designed numbers that look like something out of Architectural Digest (and are probably death to any kind of creative thinking). In reality, I’m like a cat...well, okay, a cat that can write...in that I have “spots” that I will curl up and write in...at one end of the dining room table...on the sofa, by the radiator, in the living room...cozy nooks where I can concurrently write and “watch” an episode of The New Avengers.

Which means that I basically drag my laptop from room to room and any kind of “desk accessory” is about as useless as a snowman in the tropics. Which doesn’t stop me lusting over things like this set of faux shagreen pencils...in 'dream desk utopia' these would sit on the desk and look both chic and efficient. In reality, I would put them in a drawer for “safe keeping” and find them a few years later...trust me, this has happened with other dream desk accessories...I’ve re-discovered letter openers, writing paper, and other sundries with the wild excitement of a five year old on Christmas morning...I don’t need to add pencils to the list of missing, presumed hiding behind an egg timer.Photobucket


“He sins as much who holds the bag as he who puts into it” - French proverb

I think that by this point my tote fetish has been well documented...I've always found it hard to resist a versatile cotton bag that I could use to carry groceries, as a summer handbag, as a shoebag/extra handbag for travel, and countless other uses...especially when the majority of my collection have cost less than a fiver. But now, like Napoleon, I have met my Waterloo...or, to be more precise, when the humble cotton tote hits the $1,000 price point I question what the world is coming to? Okay, Chanel's canvas tote is the only one that actually reaches the magic number...Bottega Veneta's linen bag (which at least has leather handles to use as some vague price justification) rings in at $880...Lanvin's bag is cute, though not $680 cute. Suddenly...insidiously...after all this...YSL's $245 version seems...almost a bargain.



“A hangover is the wrath of grapes” - unknown

As I sat around yesterday with a hangover the size of a small country...an alarming, disturbing, hangover as I didn't really drink that much white wine on New Year's eve (I'm actually convinced that the severity of my headache was due to the combination of wine and cupcake...no ordinary cupcake, a chocolate monster filled with a peanut butter mixture, topped with chocolate ganache frosting and crushed up Butterfingers...I think the sugar-y excessiveness took its toll).

Anyway, as I sat in abject misery it's probably fitting that my thoughts turned to headwear...and these natty little velvet and felt headband whimsies from (surprisingly) Anthropologie.

Though, to have been absolutely perfect, an ice bag would need to have been attached to fulfill my current requirements...

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