Variations on a Fashion Theme

Tenue du jour and new shoes!

J Crew shirt, Madewell jeans, vintage belt, Dolce Vita shoes, vintage Coach purse stolen from my mom!

These days have been so busy. Sometimes I am surprised about how many lives I can cram into one day of my life. As I go through my agenda I shift identities – arts professional, policy student, indie rocker, cyclist, friend, writer, cook. I’m juggling a lot and trying to accomplish even more this fall and I’m curious as to where all this running around will take me.

Variations on a fashion theme

Built by Wendy jacket, J Crew t-shirt, Zara red slims, Dolce Vita shoes, Leila Rowe necklace, vintage satchel

It’s during these time that I don’t have time to think about dressing up. I want clothes that will help me get the job done and will support me through all my metaphorical costume changes without necessitating a real one.

Coach bag + Dolce Vita shoes (playing tourist gets expensive!)

Vintage Coach bag and Dolce Vita shoes

I want an outfit that will put a little lift into a long day of appointments. Instead of always falling back on black, I try to pick one unexpected color or pairing. Lately I’ve been relying on my rose and bright pink jeans, different colored bags, and new shoe choices to serve this purpose. How do you dress to support all of your daily identities?

Rainy Day Color Block

Built by Wendy blazer, Zara jeans, Matt Bernson shoes, Vintage satchel, Leila Rowe umbrella.

Summertime Coup d’Coeur (et craquage pour les soldes)

I know what you might be thinking: when did this blog start to be so much about trees, art, and philosophy? Where’s the fashion, where’s New York City? Maybe you are not actually thinking that because you also know that being a blogger who touches on fashion is a fairly new penchant for me. So here is a little entry to satiate your (er, my?) fashion cravings before I head back to the woods of Maine and New Hampshire and the mountains and plains of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. At least blog wise, that is. I’m firmly rooted in Brooklyn for another month, thankfully, as I love the soft sadness and changing weather of late summer in the city.

Top: J Crew, Skirt: American Apparel, Shoes: Ellips

This summer I resisted participating that oh-so-French twice yearly tradition: les soldes. That’s when all the clothes from last season go on sale and you can watch that beautiful object that you’ve had your eye on get deliciously marked down until you can almost afford it. This was the case with Ellips, the chausseurs de createur from which I got a beautiful grey, black and red pair of heels from in the winter. How I wanted their multicolored summer sandals! How I could not afford them! Finally les soldes rolled around. I took a deep breath and grabbed my credit card. But no! The pair I really wanted, the lovely Alice, was out of stock in my size, which is one danger of waiting until the sales.

I hemmed and hawed and finally decided on a second choice, which was the sassy Anais, who I like to imagine was named for one of my favorite writers, Anais Nin. Something I love about ordering from Ellips is emailing Priscille, la creatrice herself, en francais (though I am sure she speaks English perfectly) to place my order. She is so nice and helpful and her shoes are beautiful, comfortable and high quality, in addition to being handmade in Spain with all natural leather. I could hardly contain my excitement when they arrived. I gave them a special bike transport home and then took them to work the next day (in my bag, no biking or riding on the subway in these beauties!). Apparently, they were the star of our weekly meeting. I already have my eye on a pair of boots (or two) from the new collection. The Bonnie or the Bluette? Either way, I better start saving!

Special shoe transport

Hot times, summer in the city

Structured, architectural Friday outfit

XO Shirt, BCBG Skirt (from Housing Works!), Dolce Vita shoes. Shirt bought at Alter in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Could not resist another coffee and outfit pic!It is stating the obvious to say it gets hot in New York City in the summer. Of course it does and it’s really not that interesting to talk about it. However, when I was in college I used to avoid the city in the summer for exactly this reason. I would pack up my bags, sublet my room, and decamp to Portland, Oregon for the summer. As a result I missed the worst of the summer heat and refused to wear, or understand why anyone would wear, sandals or opened toed shoes of any kind in the city. I told my friend L.J., “That’s gross, your feet turn black, no thank you.” A lifelong New Yorker she looked at me incredulously and said, “Have you ever been on a subway platform in August?”

Now that I don’t have the luxury of extensive time off during the summer I’ve learned to embrace NYC’s sweaty pleasures like free outdoor movies and concerts, as well as good, strong air conditioning in most stores and my place of employment. Here’s a few workaday outfits, and one for weekend fun, enjoy!

etite Bateau tank top, Brooklyn Industries skirt, Dolce Vita shoes, silk scarf from Cambodia, Melville House tote

Back at work, back for coffee!

BB Dakota dress, Vintage LL Bean leather tote, Cole Haan shoes (so nautical, no?). Taken with Instagram.

Coffee of the day, look of the day

H & M tank, A. Cheng skirt, Espdrilles from Paris, Les Compasantes bag. All 2006 or before, except the bag! Taken with Instagram.

Rainy day backyard party

Scarf: Brooklyn Industries, t-shirt:J Crew, Jeans: Madewell, Shoes: Vans, Belt: vintage. And a Ricard, bien sur!

I bought this cute floral belt on the way to the rainy pre-fourth of July backyard party I was headed to. I found it at one of my favorite vintage shops, actually probably the only vintage shop I bother to go into, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s called Seven Wonders Vintage, it’s run by a lovely young lady and you should visit.

Short Shorts Story

Shorts style

Built by Wendy blouse, old Gap shorts, Campers sandals

Normally I really don’t like shorts. I think there was a stretch between age 18 and age 25 where I almost avoided wearing them entirely, though I’ll have to verify by looking at old photos. I usually skip over shorts for skirts and dresses, but when the thermometer rises above 80 degrees sometimes putting on the slightest sundress seems like the biggest effort. I crave simplicity and an outfit I don’t have to pause to consider, plus something that’s cool and functional. Enter shorts. I really hesitated to wear shorts to work, but decided I could dress them up with some heels or classy oxfords and a structural blouse or a white, slouchy, eyelet blazer. This blazer was my one concession to the summer trends, and I ordered it online from Built by Wendy. On sale, naturally. One thing that guarantees dressing up a simple summer outfit is red lipstick. J. (who graciously took these iPhone photos at work) said, “Hey, it’s cool, you’re not casual, you’re wearing lipstick.”

Shorts Style II

Short Story

Built by Wendy slouchy eyelet blazer, Brooklyn Industries shorts, Vintage Eitenne Aigner oxfords

Where I really feel self conscious about shorts, however, is short shorts. When you have curves short shorts can be less than flattering. Sometimes they just make me look a whole lot wider. No one needs to see that part of my body like that, okay? But you know what, it was hot last Sunday and I was biking to Williamsburg for my weekly writing date so I thought I’d take a chance on these blue striped shorts I got from Built by Wendy (also on sale, see a pattern?). You know, it worked. Would I wear these to work? No, but I’ll feel comfortable rocking them at the cafe, the beach, the barbeque and in the park for the rest of the summer.

Sunglasses shopping coup de couer!

Petit Bateau t-shirt, Built by Wendy shorts, Sunglasses purchased and photo taken at In God We Trust in Greenpoint, Brooklyn using Instagram

Jouez vous au tennis? Non, pas de tout.

I hate to say it, but I’ve never liked tennis. My mother and grandmother are ardent tennis fans and tried to teach me how to play it when I was little. I got mad because I couldn’t just hit the ball as hard as I wanted. At that point I was too young to understand that many sports are about controlled strength. Sensing my disinterest in the sport my mother tried to appeal to logic. “It’s a good skill to have,” she explained weakly. I think what she meant was that it was a good way to network with the wives of rich business people you or your husband may be trying to impress. This made me even less interested and brought out my disgust of WASP culture in general. Even as a small child I knew I wanted nothing to do with the dominant, upper-middle class New England elite. Not for me. So needless to say, I have not picked up a racket since the age of 9. However, this year I got sucked in to the excitement and drama of the French Open, or le tournoi de Roland Garros pour les francais. Will I watch Wimbledon and the US Open? Maybe, but what also got me interested was all of les filles whose blogs I love and their Roland Garros inspired style. Stephanie, of the Byglam blog, put together some really nice ensembles inspired by the tournament, and like I have done before, I bit her style a little bit in coming up with this summery, sporty get up. Also, just in case, I found this list of tennis terms in French to study for next year.

Ready for the courts

Keep your eye on the ball

Shirt: Built by Wendy, Skirt found at Housing Works, Bensimon sneakers, Nola Springtime bag by Les Composantes
Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !

Girl from the North Country

The other weekend I went “home” to Maine for the wedding of one of my best friends from childhood and to celebrate my birthday with my parents. Like most people I have a complicated relationship with home. My current home is in Brooklyn, New York and probably will be for the foreseeable future (unless someone wants to offer me a job in Paris or London, hint hint). But usually when I refer to “home,” I mean Maine, where I grew up and where my parents still live. When I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to get out of Maine and transform myself into a bohemian urbanite. I am the first to admit I had romantic ideas about what life in the city would be like, and not a lot of idea about the heartache and hard work it would actually entail. As the years that I have lived in New York City go by I become more comfortable with where I am from, but I also don’t feel like I need to flaunt it. Accepting my home is also about accepting who I am and how it has shaped me.

Dressed up for the wedding at Hawk Ridge Farm. Brooklyn Industries dress and sweater, American Apparel tights, Robert Clergerie shoes

After the ceremony the bride and groom lead us through the pasture to the reception.Of course, being Maine the weather was something to contend with, but we're used to it.

Nola Springtime bag by Les Compasantes (a birthday present to myself), American Apparel marine sweater, Ben Simon sneakers

Hanging out with Sonny. I borrowed my Dad's jacket.

On top of Bradbury Mountain, my favorite place to walk when I'm home.

Maine springtime "color block."

Skirty Spring

More red, black and grey today!

Vintage Vera scarf, H&M Skirt, Ellips Shoes

Oh my, it’s finally spring. I can finally break out some old favorites and take skirts I got at thrift stores and clothing swaps in the past few weeks out for a trial run. Now that it’s not so cold I could also pair them with some of my very favorite pairs of shoes, many inspired by my favorite French bloggers. Thanks to my obliging co-workers for the pictures!

And today I love my Ellips #shoes from #France!

Ellips shoes detail

I first found out about Ellips on Dee Dee’s blog, which you can read about here.

All shades of white and grey today!

Antoine et Lili scarf, Uniqlo shirt, Anthropologie skirt, American Apparel tights, Robert Clergerie shoes

I'm in love with my Robert Clergerie #shoes today!

Robert Clergerie shoe details

I first saw these shoes on Aurelia’s blog and fell hard for them. I cannot get enough of them, as you know.

Bringing some sassy southwest style back to Brooklyn.

Skirt bought at a Tucson thrift store, Dolce Vita shoes

Have I showed you my new shoes? I'm obsessed!

Dolce Vita shoes detail

These shoes were also influenced by Aurelia, and also Stephanie on her lovely blog By Glam (who always has the best shoes and looks).

Petite Frenchie Style

Mariniere sweater American Apparel, skirt from Housing Works, Swedish Hasbeens shoes

This outfit was inspired by French blogger Eleanore Bridge!

Details: skirt, shoes, socks

American Apparel socks, Swedish Hasbeens shoes detail

Details: stripes, chains

Stripes, chains details

Red, Red, Red (and Grey)

Antoine et Lili sweater, BCBG skirt, Ellips shoes

Call it a “coup de couer,” but when I read about the fresh, young French shoe brand Ellips on Dee Dee’s blog my heart crumbled a little bit. I love shoes with chunky, functional heels and different colors that still manage to be chique. Add to that the fact that these ones are designed by a young designer and handmade in Spain. Lucky me, they were on sale. Noticing there was no way to order them in the US on the website I emailed the address listed, not sure I would get a response. Not a minute later the creatrice herself wrote me back and voila! soon the shoes were on their way to me in the US.

New shoes on old cobbles

From Paris studio to DUMBO cobbles

A detail of my lovely Ellips shoes!

To celebrate the latest addition to what is becoming a French shoe (and clothes) collection I matched them with other red French clothes and accessories (okay, actually it’s just a coincidence they are French, mostly it was the color!).

Antoine et Lili sweater, and Ubu ring (a gift from Paris!)

Thankfully, I took advantage of our “false spring” weather these past few days and created outfits that let me wear the shoes two days in a row!

Grey, black, red

Brooklyn Industries dress, Ellips shoes

Today I debuted a new dress I got on sale at Brooklyn Industries (yes, I wear many dresses from them, and yes, I buy them all on sale). Combined with my vintage silk neck tie I felt like I was rocking a “60’s air hostess turned arts advocate” look. It felt great to be freed from the burden of winter for just a few days and celebrate it by wearing a splash of color.

Love the false spring

Soaking in the false spring in beautiful Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

Corita Style!

I love my band Corita. We have been a band for over two years now and been playing shows out for over a year. I was recently asked about how I mitigated the stress that comes with New York living and I brought up Corita as an example. There are few things better than having a time every week to get together with 3 of your closest friends and work on a collective, creative project. Since we all have our own careers there’s no pressure on the band to “make it,” in the traditional sense of getting signed, man. For us “making it” as a band means writing good songs, challenging ourselves as musicians, and making sure that when we play out, we play well and look good. To that end, we always coordinate our outfits.

Half the Band in a Super Punk Glam Portrait

You can see another photo like this here with our good friend Phil Pierce from the band Crawl Babies (who are one of our favorite bands to play with).

Black dreses, colored tights, black shoes

Sometimes we get even more girly with our get up.

Summery Pastels (in low light)

Professional, yet punk

And sometimes just punk! (thanks to wunderfemme)

Dots, stripes, and old glory

I want to apologize to Nick, our drummer, who is also very stylish, but stuck behind the drums, and so not often photographed. You might say that I’m being a superficial feminist rocker by talking about fashion, but listen, rock and fashion have always been closely related and dressing up for a performance is part of our way of saying “thanks for listening, we care that you are here.”

Sculptural Shirt

I like clothing that is sculptural. I like it when it has a shape that it holds on it’s own and when it’s not completely clinging to you and when there’s an obvious construction the designer was going for. I was totally excited when I found this very chiseled (yet soft!) linen/cotton blend shirt on sale at Built by Wendy.

Geometric!

I also love the detailing!

High Collar with Gathers, brilliant!