Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Q&A: Summer Sandals

Hola snitchez and bienvenue to the first installment of my sartorial advice column. Two of my friends suggested I start this because I'm often on the receiving end of longwinded messages regarding what to wear and where to buy thangz. That sentence wasn't intended to position myself as a holier-than-thou consumer of clothes, but more of a testament to the fact that 87 percent of my daily thoughts are related to items with which I'd like to adorn myself. Soooo ask me anything, and know that if I don't have the answer off the top of my head, I'll take pleasure in finding it out for you.

Without further ado, the first Q from a friend and reader under the alias of Closed Toed and Confused:

"I'm in the midst of a sartorial conundrum. I need some summer sandals but am unsure of which to buy. I've never been much of a flip flop girl (too beachy) and have steered more towards the gladiator sandal. But as I think about a new purchase, I'm left wondering--is the gladiator dead? I'm pondering a pair of Birkenstocks right now but I'm pretty sure the rainbow straps I want scream gay pride."

Okay, well I love Birkenstock Arizonas. I've had the same pair since 2005 though I haven't worn them consistently over the years. I got the hint that they'd be coming back in style when I saw them in surf shops in Biarritz during summer 2k11, and as we all know, the French are legit forerunners when it comes to fahshan. Even though Birkenstocks are on the feet of French citoyens and models walking ready-to-wear runways, everyone shouldn't go buy a pair. If you dress hippie or dowdy on top, wearing Birkenstocks on your feet won't de-frumpify your look. So if you're going to wear Birkenstocks, you should do so with well-pedicured toes, skinny jeans or rolled boyfriend jeans, or a shirt dress/skirt. And rainbow straps equals #shinebrightlikeaNO. I happen to know that the reader who sent in the question has an affinity for navy blue, so I think a navy blue suede pair might complement her wardrobe. Or maybe in white or a pastel shade? The color you choose depends on how well it will mesh with the overall tone of your wardrobe.

I don't think gladiators are dead, but I think Jesus sandals could be a good compromise between them and Birkenstocks. Jesus sandals have the bulky look that is hashtag trending right now and the advantage of being a classic piece because they'll definitely come in handy when you're on a senior citizen tour of India in fifty years. I like this pair from Freda Salvador. I should also probably note that I'm not sure of the exact definition of Jesus sandals, but I once saw a pair of shoes at the leather market in Florence for 30 euros that had straps going over and around the foot, and since they reminded me of Jesus Christ Superstar, I called them Jesus sandals.

Finally, if you're loyal to the gladiator, you might want to think about investing in a pair of K. Jacques tropeziennes. Tropezienne shoes will never be out of style, and though I don't own a pair, I imagine they get better with age. You can also get them with rainbow straps that don't shout gay pride. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Back 2 Adidas

As I was about to turn off my light last night and bury my face in my mound of pillows, I grabbed my computer and went to Adidas.com. That I acknowledge this was a bizarre thing to do is precisely why I'm writing about it here. I had read an article in the Thursday Styles earlier that day about writer Jason Horowitz's habit for Adidas originals, and at 12:05 AM, I was inspired to follow him in his act of sneaker collecting.

When the Stan Smiths started popping up in seemingly out of context outfits during February fashion week, I scoffed at them. They were ugly and I didn't need white bulky shoes that would make my size 10 feet resemble boats. But then I went to Paris tee-hee and the French were wearing them so I needed them too. Instead of buying white tennis shoes, I bought a pair of navy campus shoes on the Adidas website from my little fifth arrondissement hotel that had very hostel like qualities. My navy shoes and I have gotten along great. We've had quite a blast frolicking around New York City and jaunting to Colorado for a weekend, and I won't forget the memories because there's no marker of a fun time like a permanent beer stain on your shoe.

In the daylight savings city that we now occupy, I've started a lovely post-work habit of bopping down to SoHo and scouring racks of clothes amidst the European tourists who have nothing better to do than go to Zara. (Seriously, why?). In the months and years leading up to now, I had thought the massive Adidas store near the Broadway-Lafayette subway stop to be so "ew, who wears Adidas anymore" and random, but now it's my sneaker mecca. There's a Journeys or something like it next door, where I realized upon entering that I've unintentionally acquired most styles of sneakers that the store offers without ever having shopped there.

To bring this post full circle, the last thing I did last night was look at Adidas originals online, the first thing I did this morning was write 200 words about them, and the first thing I'm doing when I get out of work today is trying on as many white Adidas styles as I can get my hands on at the Adidas store in SoHo.

I won't let my new shoes be the victim of spilled beer.

Here's a tricky Q: what's the plural of Adidas?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Conference Room Coat

One of the conundrums in which I've often found myself over the past eleven months has been related to the appropriate outerwear (or in this case, innerwear?) for an office building. My first place of full-time employment, that which I entered a mere three weeks after graduation, was a casual work place with a funky air conditioner. When it was 90 degrees outside, it was 30 degrees inside, and when it was 30 degrees outside, well, it was still 30 degrees inside. The air conditioner was broken for the last two weeks that I was working there, and the loft space that our office occupied became one of those dry and stuffy rooms that smells of whichever hot foot idem was last put in the microwave.

As the temperature rises outside, those of us who are proudly among the ranks of the terminally seated are faced with the question of what type of sweater or coat to wear inside during the day. Do we opt for a generic hoodie like the boiz of Silicon Valley (great show, great show), or do we take advantage of freezing corporate temperatures to bust out our faux fur coats? Maybe we just wear an overbearing scarf? A neutral colored pashmina? Not much to belabor on the point and given that I have about 20 minutes to get ready for work and get myself on the C train, I'll leave you to ruminate over this sweater coat from Zara, whose wool (or something like it) material may make it seem like a useless purchase in April, but would make for a great office overcoat.

Disclaimer: The coat used to come in a nice navy, but it appears to have sold out of all but the green and orange shades. Eh.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Swing Coat

April and May, like their fall counterparts October and November, are tricky months for outerwear. The weather isn't warm enough to forgo a coat, and we want to be prepared should the temperature do a 360 and either rise or drop at the bat of an eye. Fall coats prepare us for winter in that they tend to be wooly or dark colored, while spring coats connote something light and give the warning that warm weather is ahead.

I feel like the above sentences were written much too seriously and in the style of Harper's Bazaar, whose pages are filled with essays that espouse the importance of midi skirts as if they're related to PITME. (That's what Model UN used to refer to peace in the Middle East, duh.)

I told my mom that one of my immediate priorities this month was finding an April coat, to which she responded with a look that asked more or less, "what did I raise?" In the spotlight today is the below coat from J.Crew. I like the idea of trench coats, but much like high heels, they might be too grown-up for me. I don't think I'm mature enough to wear a trench coat and take myself seriously while wearing it. The swing coat below contains what I like about trench coats -- the khaki color, oversize cut, and flap in the back (what do you call that thing?). It also gives off a late 50s/early 60s vibe reminiscent of the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I went to the J.Crew on Prince Street yesterday to buy it, but the sales associate seemed to think I was crazy for thinking I'd be able to waltz in the store at 6 PM and expect them to have any sizes below 10 left. Sorry, didn't realize trench coat wannabes were in so high demand.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One More Thing

One more thing. (I've had a Word document open on my computer for the past couple of weeks titled 'One More Thing' that I started after reading BJ Novak's book, and every time I've had a thought, I've been writing it down in my Word document. It includes a 400 word paragraph on the worst types of people to stand in line behind at a frozen yogurt store. Other notes include: "My dad just asked if Dara is a man's name or a woman's name." The last note, dated yesterday, says "I think I'm having a Joan Didion moment." I'm not sure what I meant by that but in any case, I've decided to put some of the notes that would have otherwise gone in my Word document on da blogue below.) Incongruent thoughts in one, two, three!!!!!!

This blog is now taking a food turn. I'm not much of a foodie in that much of my diet consists of gum, diet soda, and frozen yogurt. I feel like I should follow that sentence with the quick disclosure that I'm also not anorexic--I just like to consume things (food, clothes, diet soda, material goods in general), and diet soda and gum are easy things to constantly keep ingesting with little consequence. Although both temporarily bloat you. And it turns out, not so temporarily if you consume too much in too short a time. Ask my sister about the time she picked me up from the airport in San Francisco and I had to look up ways to deflate myself.

The cafeteria at my place of employment has lots of free diet soda, no free gum (to my knowledge) but free frozen yogurt so there's that. It resembles Whole Foods minus the loiterers with debatable living arrangements who come to use the bathroom and and sample the hot food bar. The lunch scene is somewhat similar to that of my college dining hall except the eggs definitely don't come from milk carton shaped boxes, and I don't feel comfortable hunting down the lady in charge of refilling the chocolate chips. Also I probably won't put in a request for after-dinner peppermints like I did in college. And I wouldn't feel comfortable eating the ceviche I had for lunch today in Central New York...which brings me to my next point: CEVICHE!

I added a ceviche situation to my salad bowl at lunch today, and oh my god (oh my god) you guys, I LOVE IT! I'm having it every day. I actually decided while sipping my post-lunch diet soda that I'm going to become a pescatarian because a. I love fish and ceviche; b. I like the word pescatarian; c. I'm trying to follow the Perricone prescription, which is a do-able diet until everything you touch starts to smell like salmon.

Hmmm, what else would I write if this post were 'One More Thing'? I haven't thought much about clothes lately. That's a lie. I was going to go buy a spring coat after work today but I got dinner with a friend instead, and in the end, socializing is better than buying clothes. But I do need an April coat. Il faut. 

Bringing my last thought back to my first one: Joan Didion. She's changing my life one sad sentence at a time. Apparently there's a wealth of Joan Didion books on my building's communal bookshelf so gonna go check that out now.

Au revoir you ppl.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bring 'Em Back, Bring 'Em Back: Denim Skirts

Though spring has yet to sit itself down in our concrete jungle, I know warm weather is on its way  because my neighborhood Yogurtland recently changed its hours to stay open until 11 PM. Other than Yogurtland's new nighttime schedule, the silver lining in #waiting4spring is that the longer it takes for warm weather to arrive in New York, the more refined my spring wardrobe wishlist becomes. For as long as I've had a laptop and could afford clothes, I've kept a sticky note on my desktop to which I routinely add and remove items (shoes, bags, clothes, skincare, perfume, makeup) that pop into my head as potential new members of my closet and bathroom cabinet. It's a process that only a dignified shopaholic would maintain, and it's helped me curb my shopping impulses. Every so often I look back at my sticky note list and take off items whose appeal has worn off, and I never buy things that aren't on my list.

I've been waffling over overalls for the past month--they'd be fun to wear a few times, but since I don't want to spend more than $10 dollars on them, the non-Citizens of Humanity pair will be hard to find. A denim skirt, however, has been a mainstay on my list. Denim skirts have been unfairly kicked to the curb in recent years. I blame Abercrombie. Abercrombie threatened to ruin denim skirts like that bitchy girl in middle school ruined the name you planned to name your first-born daughter. They made them too short, too frayed, too faded. And I'm not going to let Abercrombie do to denim skirts what that one girl did to the name Charlotte.

Denim skirts, like shorts and jeans of the same materials, can be worn with anything. Right now, tea leaves are forming a pattern of me wearing a denim skirt with my Adidas sneakers and a grey shirt during the day and with a go-to Zara black top and black booties at night. ASOS has some affordable denim skirts which I intend to make my own in 5…4….3….2…. WHERE'S MY DEBIT CARD?

On second thought, I might just make one myself.

Inspiration below.

Jonathan Simkhai Resort 2014 image via Style.com, Balmain Spring 2014 RTW via Style.com
Jay Ahr Fall 2014 via Style.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mourning the Conscious Uncoupling

Celebrity breakups affect me more than they do average person. I remember where I was when I found out that Brad and Jen were splitting up, and I have the image of Brad in his 'TRASH' shirt on the beach of Anguilla stuck in my head as if I were there with them, third-wheeling their breakup vacay. Heidi and Seal was an unexpected celebrity divorce that sent me for a whirl, but you know, I was ambivalent towards the Reese Witherspoon-Ryan Phillipe fallout. I've cried over Justin Timberlake's breakups even though I always knew he and Jessica Biel would get back together. There are two celebrity couples on whom I've spent considerable brain time fearing their demise as a romantic duo: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.

So you can imagine how I felt yesterday evening when I received a text from a friend sharing news of the conscious uncoupling. I shed a few tears, then I checked my email and thought how ironic it was to receive a goop newsletter at such a time. That I was unable to read the note from GP because the site had crashed only added to the catastrophic world-is-over feeling that grappled me as I walked into my apartment furiously texting my friends and trying to re-load goop.com.

I spent my first morning in a world that now lacks the Paltrow-Martin union making a breakup playlist. I'm not sorry that I'm not kidding. The playlist isn't too inventive--it includes the Country Strong soundtrack, Coldplay's greatest/saddest hits, and Gwyneth's rendition of Turning Tables. I read People.com's extensive coverage until I realized that there wasn't much left to report on the matter. And I don't believe any cheating rumors because both are too wholesome for that shiz.

I still can't believe it.

Expect me to jump off a cliff if Ben and Jen ever break up. Also maybe Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves. They do great things for Brazilian-Texan couples.