Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not my best look.

Believe it or not this is my best picture from today:

We visited the Musical Instrument Museum today. Here I am squinting into the sun, wearing my museum issued headphones, and looking awfully lumpy.

Later, beautiful, wonderful, darling Chris sat for hours playing Angry Birds in one thrift store after another while my mother and I shopped. And he found me this gorgeous, hand made, vintage skirt (which fits me perfectly.) Isn't he the greatest?

Thanks, Chris. I love it!
I can't ever resist black and white check.
A red and black dress that isn't vintage but has a 'vintage feel.'
I believe this is an ashtray, but soon it will be a new home for rings and pins.
New $10 drugstore sunglasses with errant bra strap and poor lighting.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Visiting Phoenix.

We're visiting my grandparents in Arizona. I'll be the first to say that this isn't the most flattering outfit but heat like this doesn't allow for much in the way of camouflaging opportunities.

This skirt is the first thing I've purchased since I made my new year's resolution to minimize that didn't require me getting rid of five items to offset it's acquisition. It's a dress from H & M that I turned into a skirt by cutting off the bodice. The combination of prints (which, unfortunately, you can't see well in these photos) really appealed to me but there was no way I could have manged to keep my chest inside it's tiny spaghetti strapped halter top. It's a bit embarrassing that, not only is this the first clothing item I've done anything even remotely creative with since the beginning of the year, but that the extent of my creativity was limited to a few quick snips with my dressmaking sheers. I didn't even finish the cut edge. If I had it to do over I would cut a bit more generously and turn over and stitch the edge, but when I did this I thought that I would like the edge left raw more than I actually do. Next time I do something like this I will make the extra effort.

These orange sandals look great with the orange stripes on the skirt ruffle.

Today we visited the Phoenix Art Museum to see two fashion exhibitions. TWO!! In one museum. How awesome is that? When we were planning this trip I knew that the museum was having an exhibition of the miniature French fashion dolls from 1945, the Theatre de la Mode, which I have wanted to see since I learned of their existence back in 1993, when I was in fashion school. After we made our travel arrangements I discovered that we would also get to see an exhibition called Fashion Independent. Both exhibitions were amazing. Either alone would have been worth a special trip. Getting to see both was like winning the fashion lottery.

Posing with Paulo Soleri's Il Donnone (1972)
Raaarhh! With Sui Jianguo's Jurassic Age (2006)
Chris and I love these lacy looking trees. We're hoping to plant some in our front yard.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trying to look like I know what I'm talking about.

On Friday I had the privilege of judging a student produced fashion show. American River College is a Sacramento area community college and their students designed and constructed all of the garments as well as managing the fashion show production. It was very, very professional and impressive.

Although I think my background contributed some perfect qualifications for judging- I have an associates degree in fashion design from a similar community college program and a bachelors degree in apparel merchandising- I still agonized for a few days over what to wear to this event. I clearly remember being a fashion student and wondering why many of my instructors dressed so poorly, especially as it seemed to call into question their understanding of the subject they were teaching. These teachers were in fact highly qualified and extremely talented but their appearance often belied their knowing anything about, or even having any interest in, fashion. I wanted an outfit that said I understand proportion and balance and texture and modern styling. I wanted an outfit that communicated expertise with a dash of personal flair and, because judging a fashion show isn't an opportunity one gets everyday, a bit of special occasion sparkle.

I wouldn't claim that this outfit is the height of fashion or anything but I felt modern and appropriate and comfortable, both psychically and physically. Sometimes that can be a tall order for me.

I've had this sequined cardigan for almost a year without wearing it. I bought it as a back up for an end of term party event last year with the thought that I'd also like to try to incorporate the sequins-in-the-daytime look into my repertoire. I didn't wear it to the event and I didn't wear it anywhere else either, daytime, nighttime, or anytime. But I figured, if you can't rock a little bit of extra sparkle when you're judging a fashion show, when can you do it? And I think it worked.  

I've been making several attempts lately to pull off a *fancy pants* look. I don't wear trousers often and I think of them as a much more casual option than dresses or skirts. When I purchased most of the pants I currently own it was with the intention of hemming them so that they could be worn with flats. There's much more space in my wardrobe (and my current life) for casual pants than for dress pants. But what happens is this- I want to wear the new pants right away, but I'm too lazy to hem them, so I wear them with heels once or twice and then when I finally get around to the business of hemming them I don't want to sacrifice the long legged look I've been achieving with the high heels. Here's the paradox- although I really enjoy the long lean effect of trousers and high heels, I don't really like the look overall. I would much prefer to be wearing a dress or skirt. And wearing high heeled shoes with pants seems like a tragic waste of beautiful shoes since no one can see them (and yet they hurt your feet just the same!)

I'd thought that I'd come up with a sort of solution to my dilemma. I decided I'd wear my pants with heels when they were new, and then hem them for flats when they started to loose their punch. The problem is that I almost never wear them so they stay pretty new looking. I'm still on the fence about whether I should shorten this pair. The black cotton isn't as black as it could be but I'm still conflicted because when I look at myself in the mirror with these pants on, and without shoes, I feel as if I look about 20 pounds heavier than I do when I have the additional 3 inches of height that heels provide. So what am I to do? This is a look that I can admit is flattering for me, but I'm not sure that it is me. And it doesn't really fit my life. And it for sure doesn't do my shoes justice. 

I'm wearing this same outfit again tonight to a concert, with a different pair of pants- well, actually the same pair of pants in a different color, but you get the idea. If I get the same effect of tall slimness (for me, at least) from the other pair (they're a pretty grey blue) then I'll probably hem the black ones. It's not like it's hard to find a nice pair of black pants so if I hate them hemmed they'll be easily replaced.

Here are some photos from another of my *fancy pants* attempts, last weekend. I wore this to a late Easter/early mother's day brunch, and to a jazz concert at the Mondavi Center.

Shoes, that sadly, could not be seen under the pants.

My mom has just repainted her house and has yet to replace her pretty blue shutters.