High top sneakers, Killerfemme style

American Apparel t-shirt, Mavi jeans, Ubu ring, Asos “DENY” wedge sneakers. Photo by Danielle.

My latest favorite pair of shoes illustrate that I can never predict how my fashion tastes will develop. In the late 80s and early 90s all the cool kids had Air Jordan sneakers and they regularly shelled out large sums of their parents’ money each season to purchase the latest model. I was immune to this trend. Shod in moccasins, boat shoes or penny loafers from the Dexter Outlet I thought those high tops, with all their extra ankle padding, big tongues and laces were ridiculous.

Hello, beauties.

I have held on to this belief throughout the last twenty years and was never tempted to rethink it until I started seeing baskets compensées on French fashion blogs last fall. These shoes were  inspired by Isabelle Marant who put out some wedge heeled high top sneakers which sent the fashion world into a twitter. Naturally, this trend has quickly trickled down into fashionable retailers with more accessible prices. “Cool,” I thought, admiring les filles prancing around Paris in high comfort and style, “but really, not for me.”

Tough and stylish for the courts of Brooklyn

My resistance crumbled when Stephanie, always a source of fashion inspiration, posted about a “Marant-like” version of these shoes by Asos, and then later showed off several versions of them. Stephanie makes everything look good and wearable even to the less fashion forward of us. I finally cracked, especially because Asos was offering 10% off.

I’m trying my best to imitate an 80s advertisement

These shoes are a complete departure for me because I’ve always been a Converse or Vans sneaker girl. However, my first time wearing them out they drew complements from all over Brooklyn, from hipsters, metal dudes and fashion bloggers alike.

Let’s play defense!

Sometimes when we decide to try a new look we have to risk looking and feeling a little ridiculous.

I’m grateful to my fellow blogger and neighbor Danielle for helping me document these beauties on the courts of Sunset Park. You can check out her own photos on her Tumblr. I was tempted to call this post, “Jouez-vous au basket? Non, pas de tout,” but felt that was just a little too self-referential. What fashion risks have you taken lately? Do you think you’ll fall for the wedge sneaker craze?

I’m sitting this one out with my Kate Spade sunglasses

En Fleur!

Cardigan: Brooklyn Industries, Blouse: Jennifer Glasgow, Belt: H&M, Pants: Zara, Shoes: Soda (from Modcloth). Photo by Christian

There’s a few weeks in April and May that are fleetingly perfect. The sun is out, the breeze blows, you can wear stylish layers, but not overheat, and still not freeze if you happen to forget your jacket. Flowers pop and everywhere you look there is renewed energy, color and vigor. This past weekend was an oportune time to pay a spring visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where, thanks to a strangely warm spring, the cherry trees and lilacs are in full bloom several weeks early.

Azaleas at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

In planning my outfit I wanted to dress to match the colors I knew would be in full effect and also dress to around comfortably. Azaleas, lilacs, cherry trees, tulips, and peonies are all in bloom right now…  I knew the color palate would be pink, fuchsia, lavender, magenta and rose, so I put together the hot colors of the season: tangerine and bright pink, with the print of the season: floral. It was the perfect time to introduce my new shirt by Canadian designer Jennifer Glasgow that I bought in Montreal. With transparent tangerine and floral prints its on trend and timeless. Also, do you like how my pants disappear into the azalea bushes? Finally, did you know you can check out the status of the cherry blossoms at BBG on their bloom map?

Photo by Christian

I love the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in any season, but in early spring it is over the top with color and flowers. It’s wonderful for a weekend morning wander with friends and as a word to the wise, if you get there between 10 am and noon on Saturday entry is free! What is your favorite thing to do in spring?

Walking among the cherry blossoms

Lilacs are on of my favorite flowers. Couldn't you just smell them all day?

Cherry blossoms and blue sky. I tend to take the same photos every year at the Botanic Gardens.

Celebrating under the cherry trees. Photo by Christian

Tulips at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Pants, Pants, Pants, Pants, Everybody!

Spring greens and leopard accents!

Blouse from H&M (forever ago), Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Matt Bernson heels, Squasht headband

Apparently fashion’s new bright, spring colors are helping revive the US economy and sales in retail are up. Though I am on a self-imposed shopping diet (it’s not going very well, does anyone know of a Weight Watcher’s like program to curb conspicuous consumption?) I could not help but succumb to the continued rage for color blocking, helped in part by some bright numbers from Old Navy (of all places!).

A little Frenchie, a little Rock

Zara jacket, Ann Taylor shirt (from Beacon's Closet), Brooklyn Industries Pans, Ana Alamedia heels, Leila Rowe necklace

Perhaps it is the transition between seasons, but I’ve also been enjoying new versions of my classic favorites – slim black pants and jeans – and have gotten my new favorite slims from Mavi, a classic pair of straight legs from Built by Wendy and slim black pants (with zippers on the ankles) from Brooklyn Industries. I’ve even wearing pants of all colors to work (gasp, Killerfemme, really?).

Have you succumbed to the bright spring colors? How do your outfits transition from weekdays to weekends?

Bright and bold

J Crew shirt, Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Miista boots

Bold for spring! Yellow pants and stripes!

Outfit details

Spring Accents Part II

Zara jacket, Vanilla and Lace shirt, Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Jeffrey Campbell shoes, Squasht headband, necklace bought at Cog and Pearl

Spring accents and lunch time record shopping

Details, with vintage LL Bean tote and newly purchased Grimes record

So yesterday after work I did some shopping. Bye bye clothing diet.

Chicago wrecked my shopping diet

Fluo accents + leopard shoes, ça va?

Mirror in Chicago hostel: Built by Wendy jeans, American Apparel shirt, Old Navy cardigan (with matching fluo chair behind me!), Matt Bernson slippers

Today I am in love with my new Built by Wendy jeans

Details of my Built by Wendy jeans

High-Style Hand Knit Woolens

Gaptastic infinity scarf hand knit by me!

I know, I know I wait until winter is on its last legs to share some wooly goodness with you. But rest assured, if you leave anywhere vaguely North the March winds are just as chilling as any other winter weather, so you still have a good few weeks to swaddle yourself in wool to keep warm. This year marks my return to knitting after a five year break. While my mother is a knitting expert, and I have an archive of one-of-a-kind sweaters she has made me since I was a little girl, I am a slow and imprecise knitter. I love making things, but I’ve never been able to retain knowledge about how to knit from one project to another.

However, for the second winter in a row I was seeing huge, soft, infinity scarves that engulfed their wearers in warmth and style and I wanted one. In December saw a grey, silky wool cowl at one of my favorite boutiques NOS in DUMBO, but when I inched in to look at the price I balked and declared, “I could make that!”

Another piece of wool I’ve been wanting to add to my collection is the perfect cable knit sweater. I reached out to my mother and asked if I might be able to commission such a sweater from her. In a beautiful marriage of technology and craft I put together a Pinterest board to share my cable knit ideas with her and she found a variety of patterns on Ravelry, a pattern sharing and social networking site for yarn crafters, for me to look at. Together we found the perfect pattern, which was in a book she ordered from Amazon! Ahh, the modern world.

Skeins of Bel Aire yarn for the scarf

While I was home for the holidays my Mom and I went yarn shopping and after considering various organic yarns for my sweater I wandered around the yarn shop, Grace Robinson in Freeport, Maine, and found the perfect yarn for the cowl of my dreams. It was thick and soft, like petting a cat or grabbing a handful of clouds, if clouds were warm. It was 100 percent Merino wool by Bel Aire and the color was poetically named “Philly Fog.” I bought 3 skeins. I admit I had the yarn before the pattern, but my mom found me the perfect pattern on Ravelry, the Gaptastic Cowl. As a note, the yarn I used was a big bigger than the yard suggested for the pattern, so my scarf is even chunkier than the one in this pattern.

Crackers the cat helped me wind the skeins into balls of yarn

I had to get a little help from LJ to remember how to cast on and encouragement from Sabine, but I actually remembered how to knit pretty easily and didn’t even need a lesson to remember how to pearl!

Knitting lesson from LJ at Cake Shop, New Years Day

Of course my mother, champion knitter that she is, finished an entire sweater before I finished my scarf, but by mid-February I have been able to wear my two new high-fashion, handmade woolens – my lovely cable knit, organic, Oatmeal colored sweater made by my mother, and my voluminous grey cowl, made by me!

My beautiful mom-made cable knit sweater with a thrifted, handmade shirt, Mavi jeans and Swedish Hasbeens boots

My Charming Darling Winter Ellips

Ellips day

I can be a rather impulsive fashion buyer. Actually, instead of impulsive, let’s say efficient. When I see something that speaks to me that I know I can integrate into my wardrobe and if the price is okay (even if it’s a little too high, but the object is worth it) I try it on and if it works, boom! Mine!

Cables!

My new Ellips boots with a thrifted skirt, American Apparel tights (layered over black Calvin Klein tights), a blouse from Uniqlo with a new cable knit sweater made by my Mom!

However, their are some wardrobe additions that I stalk for months, waiting patiently until end of season sales so that they are within my price range. This was the case with the boots in this year’s fall/winter collection from the fabulous, French shoe designer Priscille Demanche and her label Ellips. The first morning of her winter sale I pounced on the pair I had been eying all fall. Low and behold, they were already sold out in my size! Someone had bought the last pair of my first choice at 12:01 am the day of the sale. Well. That kind of persistence deserves the shoes.

Fortunately, I had a second choice, which was really more like a tie, all picked out. Voila, here they are, my darling bottines bleuette. Like my other two pairs of Ellips shoes (lovely red and grey low heels and some strappy, color blocked sandals) they are incredibly comfortable and I can wear them all day, trotting all around the city with a flash of unique color and style. What I love about these lace up ankle boots is they go with practically everything – slim jeans, skirts, dresses, you name it.

Debut de bottines Ellips! Cc @mhcestmoi

What I love about Ellips is that they are beautifully handmade in Spain from all natural leather and are clever takes on classics. As such they will always look fashion forward and will never go out of style. Definitely a piece that is worth the wait. And investment.

Hi hi bottines Ellips! Today is a great day!

As a note for US readers: If you are unable to order from the Ellips site using the shopping cart function (it may be set up only to ship to France) just email Priscille – she will arrange for payment via PayPal and get your order to you right away!

Black Cat Attack

Photo by Dandy Prof. Charlotte Ronson blouse (I know, again), Urban Outfitters jeans, Jeffre Campbell Lita's, Melville House tote

I admit that when I brought my Jeffrey Campbell Lita’s I had no illusions that they would be the most practical shoes in the world. I secretly asked myself, “How much are you really going to wear these?” And, yet. I find myself wearing them often! Even to work! My co-workers have asked me, “Are you going to wear your cat shoes tomorrow?” And why not? In my opinion, the idea of fun fashion is to bring levity to the everyday. I have found, however, that the cat Lita’s cannot be worn with any other pattern. The supporting outfit has to be super basic, all black, or all neutral. Voila, here are just a few of the ways I’ve worn them.

Black cat attack

American Apparel dress, Hue tights, Jeffrey Campbell Lita's

A little bit of glam makes the world go round

Merry and Bright

Modcloth dress, Gap cardigan, Hue tights, Robert Clergerie heels, Modcloth headband

This is just a quick entry to wish all a very festive and lovely season, whatever holiday you may or may not be celebrating. I hope that in this week leading up to the new year you will take some time to rest, reflect, regroup and spend time with the people who matter most do you and remembering what makes your life good. I am home in Maine for a few days to do exactly that, as well as be completely spoiled by my family and enjoy their incredible cooking. 2011 has been a banner year for me and I feel it has set things in motion for an even more rewarding 2012. We never know what the future will bring, but may it be merry and bright!

Cozy by the fire in my Built by Wendy sweater dress

Bright against the snow

The Cat’s Meow

Charlotte Ronson top, Urban Outfitters jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita's

I promised there were more heels coming up, et voila! As a graduation present to myself I caved into temptation and, after a bit of internet searching, I found the shoes of my dreams. At first I didn’t want to admit it, but I was really smitten with Jeffrey Campbell’s Litas.  Especially the ones covered with cat tapestry fabric. Because I love heels and I love cats. It’s as simple as that. But when I finally decided to go for it, after getting over the fear that I had lost all common sense, I found they were sold out almost everywhere. So, I was a little dubious of ordering them a from a shoe store I found after an incredibly precise Google search of “Jeffrey Campbell Lita Cat Tapestry,” but Eilatan Shoes, in California, had them (granted only in size 8.5, my size!) and they arrived within a few days. So here I am, on the streets of DUMBO, with my the cat platforms of my dreams. Tell me, does having a master’s degree and wearing platform heels with cats on them cancel each other out in terms of being taken seriously? I certainly hope not.

Vintage LL Bean leather tote, Jeffre Campbell Lita's

My Litas!!! (I've lost my mind!)

Don't you just love the Jeffrey Campbell box?

Two footnotes: I figured that pairing my Lita’s with plain denim and black would make wearing them seem less crazy. On Friday I picked up this Charlotte Ronson top at a sample sale at Angel Street Thrift Shop for $20. Not bad, eh?

Also, a question was posed to me: Are Lita’s really as comfortable as everyone claims? Answer: Yes. Take it from a New Yorker of shorter stature who rides the subway and walks fast with a long stride. I’m smitten. I want a pair in every color and pattern. Anyone out there want to be my shoe benefactor?

Discovering Miista, Embracing the Modern Shoe

Winter cool with my Miista boots, Monoprix studded leggings, Built by Wendy sweater dress and jacket, American Apparel beret, the leopard scarf I bought on the street and my lovely Nola bag from Les Composantes

What are the effects of regularly reading fashion blogs? I estimate I’ve been a regular fashion blog reader since the summer of 2010 (yeah, I know, I’m a little late to the party) and I started to write more fashion oriented posts on this blog soon after. I’ve always loved fashion and style and never cared much for labels and trends. I think that clothes are an expression of personality and being able to express myself through what I wear has always been important to me. (If you ask really nicely I’ll show you pictures of my from high school with pink hair, wearing sparkly purple lipstick and a feather boa – yes, the original Killerfemme). Discovering independent fashion blogs is a big of a revelation because it allows me to connect with and admire others who feel similarly about dressing up and getting on with their lives.

So after a year and a half of reading fashion blogs I noticed something. Blogs are changing the way I dress and impacting my aesthetic. Let’s take, for example, shoes. I love shoes. I cannot get enough of them. But one thing I was very skeptical of was the platform shoe trend. “Impractical,” I told myself. As much as I admired Jeffrey Campbell Litas I aked myself how would I ever pull them off? Too glam rock, too disco, too 70’s, and I’m not so short that I need 5 extra inches of height, I told myself. So I resisted. Even while my fashion blogging friends rocked them and looked fabulous.

Built by Wendy Sweater dress, headband from Modcloth, Les Compsantes bag, Monoprix leggins and yes, my Miista boots!

I even went shopping one day this summer with S.G. who told me, “I just can’t embrace the modern shoe,” as we fondled some black strappy chunky platform number in a precious Greenpoint boutique. I concurred.

Then one day, I cracked. I was walking to band practice along Smith street and I walked by the drool-worthy (and wallet emptying) boutique Dear Fieldbinder. I have never bought anything there, but I loved the whole experience of the boutique. Suddenly I wanted everything in the store. And then I saw them. Black, platform, strappy, with a huge heel. The boots that had to be mine. I tried them on. Light. Comfortable. Walkable. Sold.

Admiring the sculptural elegance of my Miista boots

I could not believe myself. Was I really going to wear these? I showed them to my bandmates. They swooned. A. started calling them my “Kiss boots,” and the few times I’ve trotted them out I get nonstop compliments. I even wore them to work and nobody flinched or threw me out for being unprofessional.

I did a little research into the brand, Miista, and found out they are a small, independent company making “fashion forward footwear and accessories in Hackney,” in London. They even mentioned how excited they were to be carried by Dear Fieldbinder on their blog! With my Miista boots feel like I have something truly original, like a piece of art that I can wear. And isn’t that the whole fun of fashion?

And watch out, now that I’ve embraced the modern shoe there may well be some Litas in my life that take my fashion forwardness (or insanity) up to a whole new level.

Also, psst psst, I’ve just joined lookbook.nu, so I get a double extra fashion fix. If you are on there please “fan” me and maybe if you like this give it some “hype.” I hype back, promise.

Living the Dolce Vita

My new Carrie Bradshaw-esque escarpins

Life in NYC is not always easy. Sometimes its downright trying and exhausting. And that’s why a girl needs (that’s a relative term) good shoes that support her arches and add a little spring to her step through pretty details. This year I acquired four pairs of Dolce Vita shoes, not bought because of the brand, but because of their looks and comfort. I got them online at Endless.com and Modcloth, as well as at a fantastic clothing store in Bushwick that I forgot the name of (it’s right off the Morgan stop!). I think this brand is on to something by being fashion forward, yet classic, well made, and fairly priced. I may be a long way from Carrie Bradshaw’s endless budget for Manolos and from living in the European capitals I pine for, but at least I have some fancy feet.

Even though I'm working today, at least I have bling on my toes!

Dolce Vita Polly glitter flat

Today: bling of different kinds

Dolce vita Polly glitter flat with Nola bag by Les Composantes, leopard scarf, Brooklyn Industries coat

Like Audrey Hepburn with glitter shoes

Build by Wendy blouse, Gap pants, Dolce Vita Polly glitter flat

Really adore my new Dolce Vita boots.

Dolce Vita Aisha ankle boots

November Neutrals

American Apparel dress, Antoine et Lili scarf, Brooklyn Industries tights, Dolce Vita boots

Primary Time!

Brooklyn Industries blouse, Urban Outfitters pants, Dolce Vita Boots

Summertime Swanky

Petite Bateau dress, Dolce Vita sandals, summer

New York architecture

The perfect NYC summer shoe