Year the First

One year ago today I made the first posts on this blog. (I still have that photo of Uncle Karl on my bulletin board, too.) This year I’ve made some strides in refining my personal style, have discovered that my interest in fashion is on the anthropological level rather than the breaking-news level, and have explored some awesome perfumes. I’ve even managed to attract a few readers!

To all of you who’ve read and comment on my chattering in the past year: thank you. You rock. And stay tuned–I still have a few posts up my sleeve.

For Unto Us a Child is Born

Unto us a Son is given; and the government
shall be upon His shoulders; and His name
shall be called Wonderful! Counselor!
The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah and Handel said it better than I ever could.
Happy Christmas!

The Last-Minute-And-Probably-Too-Late-Anyway-But-Oh-Well Gift Guide

There are some Christmases (or birthdays or any other holiday, really) when I finish my shopping early, and have thoughtful, lovely presents for everyone on my list. They’re wrapped with gorgeous paper and tied with bows. I stayed within budget, and some are possibly even handmade. However good my intentions may be, though, those Christmases tend to be infrequent (read: almost never).

Fortunately for me, I finished my shopping today. But as I wandered the aisles of my favorite gift store (no, really) I started thinking about what to do if I totally mucked up and didn’t get someone a present. Instead of presenting somebody with an I-Obviously-Bought-This-At-The-Grocery-Store-On-The-Way-Here gift, go for the gusto. Wallow in your lateness. Make the most of it. Give your person a gift that is so magnificently unexpected, so hilarious, so MIND BOGGLINGLY ASTOUNDINGLY AMAZING, they’ll forget it was even late.

For instance, take the book Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir. This would be a good gift for anyone with a sense of humor. If you don’t know anyone with a sense of humor, give it to outdoorsmen, conspiracy theorists or aspiring writers. You can buy a copy here.

Consider a lifesize cardboard cutout of Edward Cullen. I know this seems like a serious gift, but it all depends on who you give it to, and how. For maximum impact, plop a Santa hat on Eddie’s head, hide him in your recipient’s closet (or if you live in a temperate climate, outside a window) and start a countdown. When you hear shrieks, you know your gift has been discovered. This works best for people who hate Twilight, literature majors or people who don’t like undressing in front of other people. Bonus points for WD-40. You can buy one here.

What is possibly the best food on earth? Bacon. What is the best way to save money? Take a brown bag lunch to work. How can you prevent your apples from getting squished? A lunchbox. How can you give the greatest gift ever: a way to save money and protect food in the magic of bacon? A bacon lunchbox, of course! In the entire history of lunchboxes, this one is clearly the best. Give this to your favorite teacher, construction worker or cubicle-dweller. Give it to your favorite chef. Give it to anyone who eats. (Protip: fill it with (cooked) bacon for a baconstravaganza.) You can buy one here.

The Tauntaun Sleeping Bag is perhaps the pinnacle of ThinkGeek.com merchandise (and let me tell you, they have thought up some amazing things). I still haven’t figured out why somebody hasn’t done it sooner! What could be warmer than the thought of snuggling up in a pile of steaming intestines? Send this to your favorite smallish child, animal rights activist or your friend who just bought a ticket to Siberia. You can find it here, if it hasn’t sold out yet.

If you bestow this beaded headdress on one of your friends, it proves two things. One: Lanvin was producing just as many beautiful clothes in the 20s as it is today. Two: you have impeccable taste and know your fashion history. And the best part? Your recipient will look fabulous in it. Give this to your local fashionista, your most recently engaged friend, or your favorite Josephine Baker impersonator (perhaps with a few bananas). You can order it here.

Thus concludes this awesomely awesome gift guide of awesome (patent pending). If there’s anything you can learn from this advice, it’s this: do your Christmas shopping early. But if you can’t, don’t freak out and play it safe. Go for something weird. ‘Cause when the wrapping paper hits the floor and your recipient suddenly announces her hatred of Bigfoot/Twilight/bacon/Star Wars/Lanvin, she can always regift it, right? Right.

The Side Effects of Derelicte

I recently came across this photo of a fashion blogger in New York during fashion week. I’m not going to identify her (I’ll call her Blogeuse) because this post isn’t really about her or her blog; it’s about a general fashion attitude that makes no sense to me. This picture really made me stop and think: When it all comes down to it, how is she dressed any differently from the girl in the teal sweater?

Because really, both outfits aren’t stellar. Blogeuse’s dress is shapeless, with no embellishments or tailoring or intricate construction to indicate higher quality. Teal Sweater Girl at least wearing some color, but that skirt is not the best choice, especially with those beat-up, rather ugly flats. Then again, Blogeuse’s shoes aren’t especially flattering either. Both girls aren’t wearing much makeup, and don’t appear to have spent much time on the hair.

Really, the only way to tell that one girl is into fashion and the other is the quality of Blogeuse’s shoes and bag. And maybe her highlights.

Blogeuse obviously cares about fashion, otherwise she wouldn’t have a blog in the first place, or pilgrimage to NY for fashion week. Teal Sweater Girl is carrying shopping bags, so she might have interest in fashion, but the verging-on-frumpy skirt and shoes indicate she probably doesn’t. Looking at the two of them, they might be shopping together. There isn’t much that stands out between the two girls that says one is a Fashionista.

But most fashion people would say that one is miles more fashion-forward than the other. Bloguese is all about legs and edgy shoes and Erin Wasson. Teal Sweater Girl is démodé and frumpy.

So what gives? What’s the point of being into fashion if you end up looking nearly identical to people who aren’t into fashion? Why bother spending $200 on a dress or lusting after designer shoes when you can achieve the same effect by simply not caring?

No offense meant to the blogger–she can dress that way if she wants. I just think it’s weird that  people put so much time and effort into looking like they don’t care, when they end up looking like all the people in “Middle America” that they claim to detest.

Should’ve Dreamed of Vogue…

The Prince helped the Princess to rise; she was entirely dressed, and very magnificently, but his Royal Highness took care not to tell her that she was dressed like his great-grandmother, and had a point-band peeping over a high collar; she looked not a bit less charming and beautiful for all that.
from The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

The moral of the story: If you’re going to sleep for 100 years, get Anna Wintour to send you an issue of Vogue from the future so you don’t look out-of-date when you wake up. Point-bands? High collars? Soo last season.

Rodarte for Target!

If you’ve read this blog before, I’ve established that I admire the Rodarte sisters. They’re smart and have an interesting aesthetic, even though I wouldn’t wear most of the clothes because they’re, y’know, impractical. So when I heard about their line for Target, I was this close from setting up a “Rodarte for Target” google search as my homepage. Because a line for Target means two things: potential wearability, and the possibility that I’ll be able to afford something.

Well, NYMag somehow got their hands on the lookbook (I don’t believe it when they say it’s the entire thing–it’s missing the black lace halter dress and the nude lace dress that looks like a nightie, and I recall a lot more on the racks in the leaked preview material, and YES I AM OBSESSED, OKAY?), and I’m still excited. I’m considering this line my own personal reward for slogging through my first quarter of graduate school, which hasn’t been my favorite thing ever.

I don’t understand why they would decide to put in pieces like the denim jacket. I already have one that I got on sale at the Gap, and I’d rather buy one that I know is quality over one from Target, even if it has the Rodarte label. Target has a good price/quality ratio, but it’s not high enough for something that’s supposed to be as durable as a denim jacket. Although, the denim adds an element of toughness to all the lace and froth, and heaven forbid a designer make a collection these days that isn’t all about being edgy.

But questions aside, I am looking forward to seeing this in the store. I want to try on the frothy dresses and especially that blue tulle skirt. The tights are fun, and for some reason I really like the idea of nude-colored knee-high socks (maybe it has something to do with my short legs). The lace and sequins and fun of this collection outweigh nearly everything else. And I can’t wait!