Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day Twenty-five: Some realizations, more jewelry from New Zealand, and a new acquisition.

Realization #1: As much as I love an Annie Hall style 'borrowed from the boys' look, my most successful attempts at incorporating menswear into my outfits combine a single masculine element with pieces that are unambiguously feminine. Here, it's guys jeans, with a cashmere cardigan, and pointy flats with bows. I usually go all masculine-to-the-maximum and try to wear these jeans with mens shoes and various other gentlemanly touches. I was beginning to think I just didn't really like actual menswear on me as much as I like it on other people and that was making me sad. I want to be able to emulate everything I admire.

Realization #2:  Although I spend a tremendous amount of psychic energy (and blog space) wondering if about the width of my belt or the appropriateness of  my jewelry or whatnot, there are some items that come into my hands that resonate so strongly with my inner glamor girl (or my inner rock star, or my inner Russian spy...) that I don't give a damn what anyone else might say, think or feel about my choice. Case in point- this vintage fur cape that was waiting for me at the Salvation Army store. There was no question it was mine from the moment it hit my shoulders. It might be a bit much, it might be a bit costumey, it might not be terribly PC, but it is beautiful and I love it and I love how I feel when I wear it. That's a feeling I need to indulge and cultivate.

I like:

  • Having established a formula for incorporating menswear into my wardrobe. It's making me excited to try other items that I haven't been happy with before- like those giant shoes. 
  • This greenstone necklace is a much better match with this outfit.
  • I love love love the cape. I have another vintage fur cape but it is a much fancier style so I find it difficult to wear with everyday clothes. This one is a bit more wearable for daytime so I hope to get it a bit more exposure. And it looks fantastic with my hair, if I do say so myself.

I'd change:

  • I need to get some sort of shoe cream for these nude shoes. They are looking sort of shabby but I don't have anything to clean or polish them with. 
  • And I need to remember to only buy pointy shoes that can be resoled. I am murder on the toes of pointy shoes and I don't think there's anything that can be done for these since they have rubber soles.

The verdict:

  • It's not a fancy outfit, but it is a casual outfit that I'm very happy wearing. Although I like to be a bit fancier in general I don't want to always have to be dressed up in order to feel like myself- and my life lately (sadly) tends more towards sweater and jeans occasions than silk and pearls occasions.
  • I rate this as 8/10. There are certainly more interesting and exciting casual outfits I could come up with if pressed.
  • I need to wear more clothes that make my heart sing.


  1. I think the cape is fabulous too! It brings out your inner 50's vixen and I think those jeans on you are smashing... I really like this look

  2. Amen, your heart must sing! I too have to just do one menswear look - I look frumpy when I try to do more. LOVE that fur cape - nothing non-PC about wearing thrifted pre-loved fur. It's certainly better for the environment than extruded oil products that go mushy after a couple of years.

  3. +1 on loving the cape!
    I think the juxtaposition of feminine and masculine elements looks smashing on you. I love everything about this outfit! The way the shoes and cape bookend your hair colour, the shape and fit of the cardigan and jeans, your attitude!

    I have a similar haircut, and I love wearing my black brogues with a little black dress and a beige, strict trenchcoat in spring and summer. The different elements really set each other off.

    On the apropriateness of wearing clothing / jewelry elements that "belong" to other cultures - I have never heard this being an issue with non-Northern Americans. I live in Scandinavia, and jewelry made by or inspired by the Sami indigenous culture are readily sold and being worn by all that like the styles. I have never heard Sami people claiming that this constitutes some form of appropriation (and I am sensitive to issues involving the Sami). I rather have the impression that many appreciate the recognition of the beauty of their cultural expressions.

    Any thoughts on this? I know that European-descended Northern Americans may feel some sort of colonial guilt, but if that is what causes the fear of "appropriation", the same should be the case here. The now ethnic majority in Norway oppressed and tried to assimilate the Sami until the 1970's.

    1. Mens shoes with LBD goes on the list of looks to try out soon!

      Yes, cultural appropriation might just be a North American thing. But we teach it at the university level so it must be something we take somewhat seriously. For me, on a personal non-academic level it's more a concern of "am I pretending to be something I'm not and also trivializing this culture by adopting without understanding?" I think folks from the USA can sometimes be accused of being culture vultures seeking what they perceive as a more interesting identity. I worry that I am guilty of this. And of seeing the rest of the world as a place to acquire novel goods.
      The individual who made my necklace made it to sell and I'm sure they are not at all picky about who bought it and are thrilled that it sold. But I worry about the fact that Maori culture, language, social systems, religious beliefs etc. were systematically all but eradicated while the commodified trinkets endure. I'm not suggesting that this means that I shouldn't wear the necklace. Well, to be honest I'm not sure what I'm suggesting as a solution.

  4. "But I worry about the fact that Maori culture, language, social systems, religious beliefs etc. were systematically all but eradicated while the commodified trinkets endure."

    I see this point, and think it is a valid one. Perhaps we will have the same issues here in a few years (actually, I know a woman who is finishing up her Ph.D. on certain Sami issues right now, I'll ask her to what degree cultural appropriation as discussed in academic circles in Scandinavia). My lack of sensitivity to this particular subject might also stem from the fact that I live in a country with a total population of 5 million - we Norwegians are, in and of ourselves - all a minority in the larger picture. Thank you for elaborating!