30 March 2006

The Beauty of Everyday

I ate lunch pretty late today--around 3PM. I went to Harlequin Bakery, which is so adorable, even though I knew they wouldn't have any pizza so late in the afternoon. Their truffles caught my eye--so I bought one little box of two for myself and one for a friend. I am a sucker for decor and packaging. What can I say? The little box for my friend fit perfectly in this carved wooden box I carry my individually packaged teabags in. I will not deny that I am almost unbearably smug about this wooden box. It's like being one of those bitingly chic women in 1930s movies who puts her cigarettes in a cool box to offer her guests--only not unhealthy.
On the counter at Harlequin they had these mango jellies for $.35. Who can resist that? So, I bought one of those, as well. The taste of mango takes my brain to Tel Aviv. There's more mango-flavored stuff there than we have here in the US. It's oddly metallic, but a really good ripe piece tastes mellow and almost smooth. I love Harelquin's pistachio-green, pink and brown logo. Food colors. Sweet, minty colors.
So, I walked down the street to Bella for something more substantial. They had mozzarella and Roma tomato sandwiches there! Ok, I guess mozzarella and tomato sandwiches take my brain to New York. It was delish.
I walked back to my office and realized running out for lunch is very ordinary and, well, needful, but it was the style epicenter of my day.

29 March 2006

Rock Star in the Office

I'm not an office rock star in the sense of being some typing or spreadsheet ninja. My outfit yesterday made me feel like my office's resident rock star. We had a site visit from the Americans for the Arts reps, and I was like, People who live on the east coast often have this very parochial idea of what the Midwest is like. That is, if they're not from the Midwest themselves. So, I needed a good outfit. I wore the navy J. Crew top I always wear and these black trousers that are admittedly from the Gap that have a slimmer silhouette. My socks were navy, and I wore the Docs I've had for nearly 10 (!) years. I wore a black belt with a square silver-colored buckle. So, my lines were very Keith Richards in the early 1970s. I untwisted my hair and pinned the back up and wore black eyeliner. The total effect was very new-wave 1980s British band--especially my hair. I swaggered to the printer and copy machine all day.

26 March 2006

Style Icon, Pt. 3

Ah, Björk. Click on her name at left to brighten your day! After I bought her Greatest Hits, I realized most of Björk's songs are about love. "Pagan Poetry" is the most emotional song about loving another person I've ever heard. When Vespertine came out in 2002, I immediately loved "Pagan Poetry," but sort of couldn't deal with the voices and musicboxes. I'm ready for it now--so any day I'll be able to handle Medúlla. I really like the imagery she creates in "Hidden Place":

the beautifullest
still strong
dark and divine
and the littleness of his movements
hides himself

He invents a charm
that makes him invisible
hides in the hair

Can I hide there too?
hide in the hair of him...*

Björk's music is about being out in the world having adventures and experiences and emotions. She is brilliant. Her voice gives me chills. I love the back-of-the-throat trills she inserts where necessary--like she just couldn't contain herself and the feeling had to get out.
She is unashamed to be herself and do what she wants to do. People who had hissy fits over her Marjan Pejoski dress--you know, the swan--can suck it. That was completely original. Björk wears designers like As Four, Matthew Williamson, Alexander McQueen and Sophia Kokosalaki. Pretty different from the ever-present Chanel and Prada that famous people usually swath themselves in.
I love that Björk presents herself differently. Really, it's the visual equivalent of her music:

"The reason I do photographs is to help people understand my music, so it's very important that I am the same, emotionally, in the photographs as in the music. Most people's eyes are much better developed than their ears. If they see a certain emotion in the photograph, then they'll understand the music."*

*Info from

22 March 2006

Department Stores Love Wisconsin

I must be a blogaholic. Just a quick one at work. Nobody will notice! I had an interview this morning with Carson Pirie Scott, which was recently bought by The Bon Ton, for a Merchandising Assistant opening. Carson Pirie Scott used to be a part of Saks Incorporated. I was walking down the street and I knew I would do a post. There seem to be a lot of department stores around Milwaukee. The place where Borders is now used to be a Gimbel's. There's an Art Deco parking garage on Michigan that says Gimbel's. I'd heard the name before, of course, so I googled it. The first Gimbel's was here in Milwaukee. Who knew?
Then, of course, Kohl's is headquartered here in Wisconsin. I applied for a Fashion Stylist opening there. I was like, I'd be good at that! Then I realized I'm shooting a model this weekend and that I've had other people model for me since I got my 35mm. Holy crap! I should put together a portfolio. Thinking about that made me start to sweat. But, you know, I shoot photos, I style. Hell, why not?

20 March 2006

Ehh...Bay View

I am doing this post to give myself a little treat. Yesterday I was in Bay View. So far, no one has touched my hair. I have no qualms about punching anyone who does, though. I went for my knitting lesson at Knitwit. I hate purling--no, wait, I'm trying to do some behavior mod--I love purling. Recently I dreamt that Susie was trying to convince me that I should felt wool--that I should consider it as a career option. Knitwit does have drop-in felting days; I'll think about it, Suze. After my lesson, I felt I needed to go to Sweet Kicks because that's where my knitting teacher told me she got her sweet purse. Sweet Kicks is across the street from the Highbury; as I was walking into the store, some guys loitering around the Highbury's entrance cat-called me in a non-threatening way. Sweet Kicks has many, many pairs of Campers there, but not the kind of boots I wanted. They also carry Le Coq Sportif and Gola brands. I bought a red plastic cabochon-shaped ring. I knew I would post about yesterday afternoon because I found myself buying jewelry. I don't wear jewelry. I wore the ring out of the store. Something must be afoot. This must be a new phase of my life. Seriously. Next, I stopped by FASTEN and looked at their sale items. I was looking for a boy gift. I decided against the little gray wallet with a car screen-printed on it. I went nextdoor to Paper Boat. The stuff there is usually a little out of my, ahem, range. They carry bags, some clothing, jewelry, etc. I've been totally excited to go in there and find the brands like Lekkner and Polaire that I see advertised in Venus or Bust. I found a nice little something, though, with a giraffe motif.

14 March 2006

Jewelry Love: SERRV/A Greater Gift

I was on the bus this morning and I was thinking about how I was going to have to do a quick post about the organization formerly known as SERRV. I don't wear jewelry that much; it's not inaccurate to say that I don't wear jewelry. Recently, though, I discovered a bracelet I bought as a gift for someone, but never sent. This bracelet "is very Masai." It's this gorgeous red. Oblong and small round wooden beads. I pair it with this turquoise jacket I always wear as a layer or a little green Austrian-style blazer with red facing at the cuffs. Also in the same never-sent batch of gifts was a pair of red-beaded double horseshoe-shaped brass earrings. Made in Kenya. A Greater Gift gets lots of samples from artisans all over the world, too. I once scored a pair of little metal bicycle earrings in the gift shop that I sent to a British South African friend now living in Omaha. The stuff they sell is unbelievably affordable, too! The link above will take you to the jewelry webpage. Stop by one of the stores in Madison. They also have this cool Tibetan collection. As I've mentioned in a previous post, A Greater Gift is an awesome Fair Trade non-profit. Store addresses in Madison are 122 State Street, half a block from ye olde Capitol, and 2701 Monroe Street, nextdoor to Bluephies. Don't sleep on it.

11 March 2006

Style Icon, Pt. 2

I was going to do Style Icon, Pt. 2 about Björk, but that's going to have to be Style Icon, Pt. 3. Style Icon, Pt. 2 is about me. Is that self-aggrandizing? Who cares? I was getting dressed for a Public Allies event last night and realized I should talk about myself as a Style Icon because I am killing it. Yesterday I wore not one, but two bangin outfits. The first part of Friday I wore a pair of jeans, rust-colored Royal Elastics, an Elmer Fudd hat I found in Madison, a navy blue quilted jacket with a pink flower pattern, and a turquoise jacket under that. For the evening event, I wore one of my Super Secret Vintage Dresses from the 1940s with a pair of Frye boots from the 1970s. I considered wearing the pair of Camper mary-janes I have for a very Björk-like look, but decided on the boots. This made me realize I am a thoughtful or clever dresser. I will explain why. The dress was black with these sort of kimono-like sleeves and two sets of pleats at the skirt. Someone who doesn't know much about clothes might think the dress was, in fact, from the 1970s because that decade was sort of retro with an Edwardian look and lots of drapey-ness. So, wearing these 1970s boots with a dress someone could mistake for 1970s was brainy. Also, my hair was cornrowed (snaps to my girl Shana for hooking up that joint) and secured with these black hairsticks--which played off the kimono sleeves.
When I look back on my style history, if you will, I realize that I've been a style icon in the making. I had my prom dress made by a seamstress. I had another dress made for me. The past week or so I've been trying to remember for what occasion. I picked the material--black with small gold flowers. I ended up selling this dress to a clothes-trading store in college. When I was 12, I badgered my 4-H leader into giving me her daughter's dress from the 1950s and can-can. At 12, I was completely obsessed with the 1950s because I was mainlining re-runs of The Donna Reed Show on Nickelodeon. The dress was pale green with a darker green watercolor-like pattern. Cleverly, I wore this dress with a pair of grey-green flats (Flats, people, flats!! I was 12 and I knew to wear the full 1950s skirt with flats!) from Walmart. I wore this outfit to a tea (!) for my Home Ec class. I had this other slubby-weave pink ensemble (it may have been linen). I have no idea where I got that from. In the late 1980s, vintage wasn't cool--it wasn't even vintage; it was second-hand, and middle-schoolers want everything new from the mall. But I was totally worshipping at Donna's altar. Around this age, I was also poring over this book about English costume from 1900 to 1950. I checked this book out repeatedly. I think this book was by C. Willett Cunnington, a costume historian. I don't remember the name, just that it had a pink dust jacket.
It irritates me when people like Kate Moss are called icons. How hard can it be to slap together designer shit that's new every season?

08 March 2006

Candy, Gum, Cough drops

This past weekend I went to a birthday party. Since it was not just a birthday party, but also a fantacular, I wore a costume. I was a candy girl from the 1940s. My costume was completely slammin. I totally nailed it. I wore vintage pieces I bought this past fall--a black blouse and a black moire jacket with a peplum that buttoned diagonally. With that, I wore a pair of black dance shorts, fishnets and 1940s-style platform sandals with a two-piece wrap-around ankle strap. In fact, everything I was wearing was black. I topped it all off with a hat I borrowed from my neighbor Megan, which I perched on my head at a saucy angle. I looked like a showgirl! Like I should have been in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or Cabaret. Well...I was covering up too much to look like a showgirl. I looked like a candy girl.
I felt wonderful. I felt powerful. I was in my element. I was doing what I was put on earth to do and doing a goddamn good job of it. I was so amazed that, with the exception of the hat, everything came from my closet. Full disclosure: I've been a candy girl before in Madison's Cherry Pop Burlesque. So, it's not like this was just random sartorial dominion.