Thursday, September 27, 2007

War 'n' Peace

So in my internet rambles I've started to see a new theme trend popping up.

As we all know, skulls are kind of over and done with (unless you're really cool and ironic like me) and aren't we glad because they were ev-er-y-where on everything from scarves to shoes to earrings.

But the new motif I'm just starting to see around is the peace symbol. The symbol, which reached it's heyday in the 60's/70's is now coming back into vogue with our reclamation and reinterpretation of the fashions of those times.

If you use Polyvore, you know you can search through hundreds of pages of clothes and accessories. I found 15 pages of skull-related items and less than a page of items with peace symbols.

Here are just a few of the pieces at the head of the pack:

1. Donald J. Pilner Jibon - $225 (he has boots and flats with this too - Neiman Marcus)

2. Isabella Fiore Peace Embroidered Flat - $375

3. King Baby Studio Peace Dog Tag - $725

4. Isabella Fiore Peace Out Shoulder Bag - $595

5. Mickael Kors Danbury - $164

6. The Sak Peace Bag Shopper - $315

7. Koolaburra Peace Sign Boot - $425

We're rehashing the past. I didn't jump on the bandwagon for skulls, and I know I won't be getting in line for these. But it's interesting that we went from a sort of grisly image which followed a period of war and strife world-wide and now there is a big push for ending the war, mimicked with a resurgence of the peace symbol.

Ya heard it here!

P.S. A big shout out to Elaine, Sky High, Edwin Star (huh!), and Mr. Tolstoy for being fashion trendsetters.

Ensemble du Jour

The Outfit
Still hot here which stinks but because I got my new "designer" shoes from Payless I wanted to wear a pair and try them out. Which is how I ended up with the brown theme and the layers.

I'm wearing a light dark brown Merona skirt from Target, my cap-sleeve "Cameo" shirt from, the faux leather jacket from Target and my new Payless Finsbury heels in brown.

The Focal Point
Since it gets kind of chilly in my office (and I'm bored to death of all of my warm weather tops) I grabbed my new jacket. I love the seam detailing and slight puff to the shoulder.

I have to say I'm impressed with these shoes from Payless. They were comfortable and were done really well for their low price. I did wear stockings with them because I wasn't sure how comfortable they would be all day. The girls in the office liked them a lot and we debated about the lack of breathability that their man-made materials could have. But since these are mostly cool weather shoes, I'll probably wear them with tights, so that should help some.

But the Birshin style I was not impressed with. I have a high arch and found them uncomfortable. Plus the pseudo-patent leather parts look cheap and plastic-y. If they had just done a t-strap with out those or the plastic looking platform, I think they would have been much better. Also, a buckle instead of elastic for the ankle strap part.

I took these back to the store. It was very easy to do the return, so that's good. We'll have to keep our eye on how Payless progresses with these designer collections.

Vintage Inspiration

Faith in the UK often has a lot of cute styles. Plus if your here in the US you know you won't find everybody wearing them. Of course the downside is that our exchange rate stinks and shipping can be high depending on the company. I used to order from them and Office but they rarely go to a size 5 equivalent.

But I was perusing their site yesterday and noticed another vintage "inspiration" - these 3 strap mary janes.

The dark teal color is great and the half stacked wood/half covered heel gives it a different twist. But they are very reminiscent of my vintage pink triple strap stacked mary janes.

Obviously not in color but the toe, heel and straps bear a striking resemblance. Designers have been playing with placement, shape and number of Mary Jane straps for years, but it is interesting to see how vintage styles still have a very strong presence.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Opening doors and divergent paths

I received a quote today...

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.
— Flora Whittemore

and it made me stop and think about all of the choices in our lives, big and small, and how they define us and bring us to where we are. It's hard to imagine forward about how so many choices will change the course of your life. And how many ways these choices become interconnected to create the person you are.

From the relationships we keep, create or end to the people and places that move through our lives, each of them leaves a mark upon us.

There are three large defining moments in my life that I look back to and see how my life could have been totally different. The first was my choice of college. I had applied to a large number of schools (I was doing a project as well as applying) and had a number of options. I had a scholarship to the college I ultimately went to, which also happened to be one a number of people I knew went to. I often think how I would have met totally new people, lived in a radically different city or even how this difference would have changed my career, if I'd gone to another school. I don't regret where I am now but I do wish that I would have branched out and gone for less safe choice.

A few years out of school I was very very unhappy. I was unhappy with my life, my job, my living situation, etc. I remember being on my 22nd birthday; I was in another country with my family and I was crying my heart out in the middle of a public park with my Dad trying to console me. I don't get that upset very often, but I felt lost and had no idea how to fix my life. For me the lack of a plan and options was the worst part.

To distract myself I did a lot of volunteer work at a zoo. I mean ALOT - 500 hours in less than 2 years. I love animals and it was good to be out of the house and outside of myself. This time cemented my belief and support for always getting involved and doing volunteer work. But it also got me a job opportunity.

At the same time I had been applying for jobs in my field. The same week I got a job offer from the zoo I got an offer in marketing that was a big jump from where I was. That may have been one of the hardest decisions I had to make. Do I take the lower paying job at the zoo or the higher paying job in business. I ended up taking a holistic look at where I was and took the job in business. It enabled me to move to the next phase in my adult life.

Sounds like sort of a dispassionate decision, but less than a year in working at this job I was on a business trip and all of the right doors and details and stars aligned to create the moment where my husband and I met. If one of the details had changed in any way, we never would have met.

I know this to be true.

The other big change in the time continuum was deciding where to live. I knew I didn't want to stay in Florida and after I got married we debated several places. In visiting all of the colleges when I was applying so long ago, I had visited central North Carolina. A brief visit of two days. But I fell in love with it. And now many a year later, I got a job offer and we moved. I had not visited since that first visit and my husband had never been at all. But we moved. Made the big risk. Opened the second door to the right and stepped through.

I know this is a little abstract for this blog, but this philosophy is what I'm about - take a risk, try something daring, be willing to make a mistake and possibly regret it.

Luck and love (and great shoes) can't find you if you aren't out there.

P.S. Photos courtesy of Aradan, Asseenintv, Bleachpuppy, El Contador, and Grabow on Flickr

Modern Geisha

It's so interesting to me how a designer can be inspired by a single story or element and expand that image into an entire collection.

Alessandro Dell'Acqua's latest collection is drawing heavily on the image of a modern geisha. Geisha and Asian styling is iconic with the bold use of color, pattern pairing and overwhelming sensuality and femininity.

The obi belt has become very popular and I've seen iterations for the past several years - from belts to dresses to crochet. I love Alessandro's streamlined interpretations and saturated colors.

This is my favorite outfit. It looks eminently wearable with the square neckline and subtle tones. Note the belt tie in both images - it shows up later.

While the geisha shoes were a combination of practicality (keeping long kimonos out of the mud) and somewhat restraining (male imposed, to be sure), they do have a structural graphic beauty.

The runway shoes are just as staggering but with modern materials and colors. Note the thicker pink strap; reminiscent of the strap on traditional shoes and mimicked by the obi tie done on the skirts. Clever, no?

The aqua strap on this sandal ties it back to the rest of the collection but in a much more practical style.

All those straps - very pretty and not at all "gladiator-y" but is it still a restraining throwback?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ensemble du Jour

The Outfit
Okay, it's still hot as all get-out here so I felt it was okay to stick to some summery colors. I paired a khaki linen skirt with my bright pink cable-knit light sweater. This is definitely a summer top. And today it needed to be since it was almost 90-degrees. Luckily I got a parking space in the shade so my car did get all heated up.

For my statement jewelry I wore my very chunky vintage bracelet. It's the perfect preppy green and pink tones. Love it.

The Focal Point
The focal point is the pink color that I tried to use through out. And it's actually one of my favorite tones of pink. I have it all over in my accessories. These Sergio Rossi heels incorporate it perfectly. The body of the shoe is a very neutral bone color. The design is very unique but classic with the perfectly toned stacked wood heel. Even the cap of the heel is great - it's sort of a spread out circle. The toe is pretty pointy but these are actually quite comfortable. I've worn them traveling and walking through airports with no issues.

And look at the cool straps. Aren't the little knots in the end so cute?

Great pics by Schmoopie from Hep Cat Media.
Thanks, Hon!

Vintage Inspiration

When I saw these Valentino Python Sweetheart pumps on Shoewawa I was momentarily distracted by the shine and material of the shoe. Then I realized they looked really familiar to me.

Their shape and sihlouette is very very close to my vintage La Rose red velvet heels. From the small extension coming off the back to the v of the vamp, the lines are very "inspired by".

I love the shapes but I think I like the red velvet material and the heel style better.

Favorite Fall Colors

I love Fall. I love that it's still dark when I wake up (sort of) and it's getting dark when I'm driving home from work. The cool weather, crunchy leaves, bonfires in the backyard and romping around with the dogs.

Coming from Florida I never really had a Fall until we moved two years ago. we get the seasons now and it's still so novel to me. And I love the colors - dark greens, mossy browns, deep red, bright pumpkin...

Pedro Garcia (whom I'm having a bit of a love affair with lately) seems to be ready for fall if these heels are any indication. These are pointier than mine but still have the trademark frayed edges and I love that deep moss color.

Pumpkins! I can't wait to roast em up, puree them and make a pie!

And aren't these gorgeous??? I love that the colors are called "Fossil" and "Flame". So pretty!

I never really wore orange a lot but I am getting more and more into it. It is a strong but really versatile color.

Not really for kicking around in the leaves but I bet they look great with a pair of jeans and a JCrew cable-knit cashmere sweater (and cute patterned headband, of course!).

P.S. Photos courtesy of Katmystiry and Catalepsy on Flickr

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Shoe List - Pink!

I used to have a lot more pink in my life, like my room growing up. But now I like to use it in accessories to add that pop of color. And I love almost every version of pink from baby pink to bright fuchsia - think the pink that Isaac Mizrahi uses at Target. That may be my favorite shade of pink. It's that girl-y, Barbie, candy pink that goes great with so many colors including white, black and green.

Are you ready for the shoe count? Here we go:

  1. Pink slingbacks with dimensional black flowers - very retro-secretary

  2. Steve Madden fuzzy pom-pom igloo boots - yeah, these are a "bit" much, even for me

  3. Vintage pink and white "plastic-y" bow slingbacks

  4. Vintage three-strap chunky heels

  5. Vintage pink and white loafers

  6. Light pink heeled sandals with butterflies on the back of the heel - excessive? You betcha!

  7. Bright pink mary jane platforms

  8. Candy pink satin Prada heels with croc toe caps

  9. Ashley Dearborn Roy G. Biv kitten sandals

  10. Viktor and Rolf for H and M platform sandal heels

  11. Delman pink stripe silk oxfords

  12. Pink Target Isaac Mizrahi driving mocs

  13. Chinese Laundry hot pink glitter open toe kitten sandals

  14. Charles David fuchsia ponyhair heels

  15. Nine West coral slides

  16. Pink/white/taupe crochet heeled sandals

  17. Kate Spade rose print fabric kitten mules

  18. Jimmy Choo Candy Pink high heeled sandals with gold glitter heels - my fa-vor-ites!!!

Yeah, I guess I like pink, just a bit.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Please pass the marshmallows

So, I know I'm going to be totally regretting this in February when we've had a lot of c-c-c-cold days and an ice storm or two, but I am really wanting the cooler weather to get here ALREADY!

Today it was 93 degrees. It's the end of September and it is 93 degrees. Can't it just be in the 60's or 70's for a while?

All I want is a large mug of warm hot chocolate. Not cocoa, real hot chocolate. The kind that is not much more than melted chocolate and crème.

Okay, hot chocolate, a pile of books, my sofa, a blanket and my snuggly puppy -

And if I have to go out, a pair of these to tuck my jeans into.

If you've only had Cocoa (milk + ground cocoa + sugar + vanilla + ground cinnamon), then you don't know real Hot Chocolate. The kind they serve at the famous Angelina's in Paris. And having Hot Chocolate in Angelina's should be on the list of things you do before you die, because it is To. Die. For.

In case you want to try and recreate the experience at home (and you should. Often), here's a recipe:

Angelina’s Hot Chocolate
The Angelina Cafe in Paris, open since 1903, serves a thick hot chocolate version in demitasse cups with a tiny dollop of mascarpone and whipped cream. They are famous for making hot chocolate from melted chocolate bars. Serve it in small cups or in 17th-century style chocolate pots and demitasse cups such as those sold in gourmet shops.

Be careful when you make it. I made a batch of French Hot Chocolate once for me and my husband. We drank it all because we didn't want to waste any of it. I never have anything with caffeine in it and started getting a racing heart beat and nearly passed out. It was a major caffeine overload. So pace yourself!

6 ounces fine-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup water, room temperature

3 tablespoons hot water

3 cups hot milk, divided

Sugar to taste

Real whipped cream, if desired

In a double boiler over low heat, combine chocolate and 1/4 cup water until melted, stirring occasionally; stir until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler pan from. Whisk in 3 tablespoons hot water. Pour into pitcher or divide among individual 4 mugs. Either stir 3/4 cup hot milk into each mug or serve milk in a separate pitcher.

Pass sugar and whipped cream in separate bowls; add to taste.
Makes 4 servings.

Le Sigh...

I have a bit of a Love-Hate relationship with Zappos Couture. I love that Zappos carries higher end lines and provides their same great service. But I hate the fact that they have such amazing things and I can't buy them all!

Just look at these gorgeous grey heels from Guiseppe Zanotti. I think he is becoming one of my new favorite designers.

The perfect shape and an a beautiful cool-warm grey suede that I just want to stroke.

What I love most is the crystal accent with the two leather leaves. I don't think you could find a place to wear these that they would not look perfect and amazing.

When is it again that I am winning the lottery????

Imitation = Flattery?

It's time for another blatant knock-off exposed!

Here's the Louboutin Criss-Cross Vamp heel. Lovely. Sophisticated. Elegant. A white heel that is classy and not trashy. And, as always, contrasted with the striking red sole.

And here's Steve Madden's "interpretation". He hasn't gone so far as to copy the signature sole color here, but he's got everything else dead on.

I am really surprised that Louboutin's company has not gone after the Steve Madden company. I've worked with companies that prosecute for this same type of infringement and the companies that copy end up having to pay restitution as well as destroying all the offending product. A very costly risk they take.

I like the opportunity to get a style for less money but I feel a little weird about buying such brazen theft of designs. Especially when the turnaround time is so fast. Louboutin barely gets their shoes in the stores when the copies come out.

I wonder if they have a spy....

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ensemble du Jour

The Outfit
Even though it was Friday, I was to have a meeting so I dressed up a bit. I wore a light grey pleated skirt and white v-neck knit top. I have a long necklace made of faux grey pearls and hematite beads. It's very long so I looped it tight around my neck and the then rest of it hangs longer down.

The Focal Point
Because the white and grey are so icy and cool, I wanted a strong contrast, so I went with my red Pedro Garcia round toe pumps. I love the distressed edges the most.

Happy Friday!