Thursday, August 21, 2014

Have You Seen the J.Crew Catalogue?

Daphne Javitch in J.Crew and Dries Van Noten (Image via J.Crew blog)
I received the fall J.Crew catalog in the mail yesterday, a delivery that seems both a novelty and a rarity in this day in age, especially for a brand that pioneered the use of Pinterest as a marketing tool. At first I thought it odd that such a technology-embracing retailer like J.Crew would still send out a quarterly print display of its products, but then I studied the catalogue and I realized that J.Crew once again wins at being cutting edge.

The J.Crew catalogue as it stands now resembles more of a fashion magazine than a clothing catalogue. It starts with a note from creative director Jenna Lyons, similar to how fashion magazines begin each issue with a note from the editor. Turn the page, pat the bunny (as my 6th grade social studies teacher used to say) and you'll see editorial spreads that look similar to those found in the latter halves of Vogue and Elle. Each features creative-type females in their homes and on the street, going to fashion shows or reading books with their kids, wearing J.Crew clothes paired with items of their own. For example, a pair of pants photographed in the feature looked familiar. I knew I had seen them before in a non-J.Crew context, and my clothing-cluttered thoughts quickly reminded me that they were Rosie Assoulin and sold at a price point that carries one or two more zeros than that of J.Crew Collection. An interesting innovation as far as clothing catalogues go, whose primary purpose is to sell their own product.

Surely, editorial creativity isn't the only reason for J.Crew's new quasi-fashion magazine. Perhaps by pairing their styles with high-end pieces, Jenna and Mickey are trying to further distance J.Crew from the 3-5-7-inch chinos of its past to the jacquard and pajama trousers of its future. And by photographing successful creative types in their glamorous lives, they're also trying to deemphasize the mainstream American image that J.Crew has historically portrayed.

Anyway, to quote another teacher from my middle school years, what say you?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Non-Dr. Marten Combat Boots

I've historically been turned off by combat boots, especially of the Dr. Marten's variety, but the Maje and Sandro renditions of them have made me wonder why I haven't considered them before. Actually, my blog archive reminds me that I did consider them during the latter half of 2013, although it's worth pointing out that anytime after May 2013 was a dark time for me because I was still getting over the breakup that was college graduation and the end of life as I knew and loved it. Fear not, I love life again but it took some time and lapses in judgement, which my brief inclination towards a pair of Dr. Marten's circa fall 2013 suggests.

I also know that I considered them sometime in 2001 when the chef d'oeuvre/magnum opus of The Princess Diaries opened in theaters. Princess Mia pre-Paulo "you broke my glasses, you broke my brush" makeover sports combat boots in her "as usual, this is as good as it's going to get" way. (See how I weaved Princess Diaries quotes into that sentence to show my encyclopedic knowledge of the movie?)

Thirteen years after The Princess Diaries came out and almost a year after dark hole fall 2013, I made the jump and bought combat boots. It went something like this: it was Friday afternoon and I was scanning for a list of sample sales to ring in the weekend. I settled on the Scoop clear out sale for its proximity to my office, and as soon as the digits on my analog computer clock turned to 5:30, I headed down the cobblestoned-blocks of the Meatpacking District to the store. I knew I shouldn't have gone in the name of saving money, but it was a. Friday afternoon b. summer c. my life, my decision.

In their buckled up glory: Rag & Bone Hudson boot
I was leafing through the Splendid tshirts and patterned tops I normally associate with Scoop when I saw a pair of combat boots not too different from a Sandro pair I had window-licked earlier that week (isn't that the French translation of window shopping?). They weren't Sandro, they were Rag & Bone and they fit like a goddess but a couple of taps into my calculator proved what I already knew: I couldn't really afford them. I put them back in the box and idly wandered through the store only to find myself right in front them again. Just like Audrina kept finding herself on the back of Justin Bobby's motorcycle, I couldn't tear myself away from them. So I bought them. It felt so wrong, it felt so right, and now I have combat-esque boots. I win. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Seltzer vs. Diet Coke

Ladies and ladies, friends and sisters (seriously, only my friends and sisters read this), you pinged me and I responded, so without further ado, here's my half-drafted/half-assed thoughts on seltzer, Diet Coke, and the friend zone.

I'm a Diet Coke addict. Though I limit myself to one a day, I can't go 24 hours without it. I get one sometime in the afternoon as my daily reward for just being me. My addiction has inconvenienced me and anyone else in my company when the desire strikes, except my dad who is both my accomplice and enabler in our joint struggle against DC.

I used to have two a day, but the stomach bloat and acne that started to plague me on the reg made me reduce my intake to one. In the time that I'm not drinking Diet Coke, I sip seltzer. I like seltzer for its carbonated properties and faint tastes of raspberry lime and cranberry-apple, but I don't crave it like I crave DC. That's the thing with seltzer and Diet Coke: seltzer is great, you like it, but it isn't as good as DC, and while you're waiting for the time to come to have your Diet Coke, you sip seltzer.

That's what it's like being in the friend zone. Think of it like this: the object of your affection is the consumer/addict of carbonated beverages and you're the carbonated beverage. Are you seltzer or Diet Coke? If you're the friend, you're seltzer. Diet Coke is the dream. You're friends with the guy, and while he likes spending time with you, he's always waiting for something better. You satiate his need for company/hydration, but at the end of the day, you're just flavored water. You don't have the za za zoo of Diet Coke.


Now, where does Diet Dr. Pepper fall on the spectrum?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On Synthetic Leather

When I was in fifth grade, my friend Julia tried to sell me her pleather jacket for $20. It was a trench coat and it was more patent pleather than plain pleather, and I almost bought it because a. it was definitely featured in the Spice Girls movie; b. I have always loved clothes; c. I have always loved pleather. Flash forward to my junior year abroad when I found myself in the mother of all Topshops while visiting my dear friend and former co-blogger Alyssa in Edinburgh. Synthetic materials abounded and a pleather jacket spoke to me from the racks. It had a voice like Kate Moss but it looked like an Olsen twin and I needed it. It was motorcycle style and came with a removable fur collar and on principle, I buy anything that comes with a removable fur collar. Bang for your back, can I get a wut wut?

Aside from being the most versatile thing in my closet, my pleather motorcycle jacket is also the founding member of my synthetic clothing collection. Employee No. 2 is a pair of pants that I bought for New Year's Eve 2k12 because I wanted to ring in the New Year looking like a Zara mannequin and since I don't have a bald white faceless head, I had to settle on a pair of pleather pants to get the job done. Despite having torn in the backside (read: butt) multiple times, these pants have proved themselves to be the key to a fun Saturday night so long as the top half of my arse is covered all night.

I knew you were synthetic when you walked in
The rest of the gang includes a pair of suede shorts and a suede fringe jacket, both of which are awesome in their own way. I won't bore you with the details but I will tell you that I absolutely could not afford the suede fringe jacket and I muttered "Uh oh, what have I done" to myself as I walked out of Anthropologie with it in my shopping bag. You live, you learn, you love, ya know?

I Zara'd my way home from work yesterday with the intention of buying a suede fringe skirt to match the aforementioned jacket, but upon entering the store and saying a nice g'day to the security guard, I made eye contact with a black pleather dress on the sale rack. This was it. The dream man of synthetic materials. I couldn't live without, it couldn't live without me, and it was $19.99. 4 realz. So I bought it. Dur. I also bought a pair of pleather shorts that were $25 because I couldn't find the suede skirt and at the end of the day, it really didn't matter which side of the faux-cow my material came from, I just wanted something to cover my bottom, though the shorts barely do.

So that's the story of my synthetic clothing collection. Don't light a cigarette near me, I will catch on fire. And not in a cool Hunger Games Opening Ceremonies kind of way.

Are You There Blog, It's Me...

I haven't blogged in a while and that isn't anyone's fault but my own. If it's any consolation, I have a bunch of half-written blog posts in the drafts section of my email, where you'll also find an essay that equates being in the friend zone to being seltzer (#ping me if you'd like to hear more) and a list of things I want for fall, which I then transcribed to a Post-It note and placed in my Staples planner lest I forget what I want to buy and wear and prance around in come the autumnal months.

Another monthly astrology forecast has come and gone since my last blog post, an unremarkable unit of measurement given that I have no idea what my August horoscope is trying to tell me. It doesn't matter though because I'm off horoscopes. I thought I was having some days of true love in June and July but they actually turned out to be days of friendship (see seltzer essay), and apparently I'm going to have the "international trip of my lifetime" in the next thirteen months but my recent excursions into anywhere that sells fabric on hangers leads me to believe otherwise, unless the foreign lover that is supposed to enter my life pays for my foreign trips. Things to think and dream about: that.

I wish I could give this blog post a topic to rally around but I can't because my brain is dead. It's August 13 which is kind of a big deal in my family because it is both my dad's birthday and my parent's anniversary, and it's calendrical positioning smack in the middle of the universal vacation month means that every other August 13 of my life has been spent on a beach, at a pool or sleeping on the couch, and not in a cubicle looking at two computer screens and a wall plastered with vocabulary notecards. Call le petit prince, I've grown up and it's brutal.

Expect some forthcoming posts adapted from the 'Things I Want for Fall' email I sent to myself. It features lots of boots, striped shirts and other things I already own but think I need more of.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Astrology for the Materialistic

You guys, astrology.

I'm late to the party, I know, but in the same way that I was late to the Jonas Brothers party in 2007, I jumped on the bandwagon at full force and now I'm addicted. When I read that Mercury was going retrograde for the first week of June, I had no idea what it meant. As any poser does, I looked it up online and then blamed every misshap for two weeks on Mercury being in retrograde. I can't stop consulting my horoscope. (I adhere to the Susan Miller school, but if I need extra guidance I source second opinions.)  Who am I? What am I? Sagittarius.

Now that I've discovered my newfound passion for astrological signs, I've been toying with the idea of wearing my sign on my sleeve (by which I mean, shoe, chest or neck). A few examples from the cross-section of clothing/accessories and astrological signs include Scosha's Supernova collection, VFiles sweatshirts, and Rebecca Taylor zodiac slippers.

I like them all because I generally like wearable objects of the graphic design type, but I've found in my sartorial experience that wearing such things on your chest fields a common question from observers: What's on your [article of clothing]? This is a great way to start a conversation at a party, but you have to be educated in what you're wearing for the conversation to flow. I wouldn't have had a clue that this necklace was depicting my sign had the product not included 'Sagittarius' in its description. Poser fail. I like the VFiles sweatshirts for laying it out point blank--who needs time for illustrations when you can just read the words? And the Rebecca Taylor slippers are a different story. Yes, I'm aware that there's a difference between zodiacs and astrology, but it's all the same hullaballoo to me.

The limits of my wallet restrict me from buying astrology-themed jewelry anytime soon, but between you and me, if I had a few more dolla dolla bills to my name, I'd be adorned in Sagittarius jewelry. Yolo.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sneakers and Crew Socks

Here's a thought: Vans with crew socks.

The look has been flooding my thoughts for the past week, which is a long time as far as outfit fantasies go. I tried it out last year with a pair of metallic high socks and my red Supergas. I thought it was going great until a friend asked "what was going on with my socks" as if I had no idea that I was wearing metallic crew socks. What did it look like was going on with my socks? They were clearly having the time of their lives being the stars of my outfit. I retired the look immediately because her comment dropped my sartorial confidence level to below 100% and the socks had lost their metallicity anyway.

Before I get into how sneakers and crew socks will be better this time around, I'd like to discuss the plausibility of sneakers in the summer, or more specifically, in bare legs weather. It's a tricky thing for me. I like sneakers more than the average woman, a partiality that may also correlate to my having smellier feet than the average woman, and having smelly feet is ind of a one step forward, two steps back situation. One plus one equals two and I can't wear sneakers without socks. I need to wear socks, except my keen eye for detail combined with my slight obsessive compulsivity means I can't wear ankle socks with non-running sneakers. The tiniest bit of sock exposure over a sneaker drives me insane (see: white ankle socks and Supergas). So, if I'm going to wear socks with sneakers, I might as well go to extremes and wear crew socks. It's very Wet Hot American Summer, don't you agree?

I like the idea of wearing high socks and sneakers with a dress. It reminds both the outfit wearer and any outfit observers that though the wearer's pedal half resembles that of a Lord of Dogtown, she is still a womyn who likes to feel the wind beneath her wings/through her legs as she's walking down the street. Can I get an amen?

Man, is that an eclectic outfit or WUT: Madewell poncho dress, Vans, Stance Banner socks, Thorlo Classic crew socks, Lulu Frost earrings, Madewell necklace