Chaussures de Victoire

When the weather gets hot, I usually take a break from fashion. The last thing I want to be when I’m melting and sweat is sticky on my skin is particular about how I look. A sundress and some cute sandals are fine, with minimal makeup. Maybe a hat or some earrings when I’m feeling fancy.

But every year around this time, I start itching for fall. Even though the thought of wearing a sweater makes my skin crawl, I find myself yearning for crisp autumn air, for my lovely winter coats and sturdy shoes, for the excitement of new school clothes. So I start planning. Since 2007, I’ve been rather enamoured with the idea for a wardrobe based on a hip version of Minerva McGonagall. Kind of tweedy-professor-meets-Daphne-Guiness. For the last couple summers I’ve gotten really excited about it, thinking about how to make the Staid British Professor into someone young and fun. I’ve always loved tweeds and jackets and boots, but I also love bright colors and weird jewelry and architectural detailing. And I always thing “THIS YEAR! This will be the year I will actually carry it out!” It never is. I have enough cold-weather clothes to last me a long time; I don’t (and can’t) buy more. I have to work with what I have, which is a lot of all-American knitwear left over from my undergrad years. I’ve been slowly but surely moving in a more fulfilling direction, but it’s going to take a while.

Except I’ve just gotten a jump start. A few months ago, I walked past this delicious pair of Oxford brogues in the window of a little shoe shop on 23rd. They were laceless and kind of nude colored, and I thought they were the prettiest brogues I had ever seen (and trust me, I’ve been looking). This weekend, I was up on 23rd again with my friend Ch., and I spotted them again–I thought they would be long gone by now–so tried them on. They fit perfectly, and are truly some of the best shoes I’ve ever put on my feet (the brand is Pour la Victoire). They’re also quite expensive.

But I put them on hold anyway and inquired about a layaway plan. Then I went home and researched a little. And I found them for $50 less than I would pay in the store, $95 less than the retail price. So I evaluated my finances, steeled myself, and bought them online. Sorry, little shop. I’m getting new shoes this week!

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Acquisitions

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I got sucked into the vortex of terror that is Forever 21 today. It’s just so easy to pop in claiming you’ll just look, but then you get charmed by a skirt that a/ is buffalo plaid, b/ has great details, c/ fits great and d/ has rockabilly potential (more on that later) that is just cheap enough to be tempting, and you’re done. No surrender, no retreat (thanks to F21’s “return” policy).

Because I feel a little guilty about spending money whilst unemployed, I have set myself a challenge. Since the skirt cost $18, the first 18 times I wear it, I have to style it in a different way. No doubling outfits, ever. It can be worn with the same articles of clothing, but the silhouette/look has to be different each time. Progress will be photographed and posted.

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Have you ever come across something in a shop that you are compelled to purchase, no matter what? Those rare objects that have to be yours, no questions asked? Yeah, I didn’t even take a second look at this necklace before it was in my hands. This baby has my name written all over it (I loooove intricate jewelry), and it wasn’t going to take no for an answer. We are going to be very happy together.

Silver Shoes & Muumuus

I got the urge to go thrifting this weekend, and boy am I glad I went. It used to be that I had no luck in thrifting, but I’m learning that when I have the urge, I should go. Usually I’ll find something nifty.

Dress/Bag

This week I got a couple really good finds. There’s a quirky yellow structured handbag, vinyl but in beautiful condition. It’s obviously very old, the label is Berne, with a vintage zipper inside. The color is awesome, and just the ticket for spring. And then I bought a muumuu. I do not ever wear muumuus. But–this muumuu had the most beautiful floral print, I couldn’t let it out of my life. I’ve been looking for a sundress with a good floral print (I generally hate prints, and so finding one I like is momentous) , and this dress is so large that I think I can finangle a sundress out of it. I’m thinking something like this dress, which I tried on at Nordstrom last week but couldn’t justify buying. I’ll see what I end up with after a couple days sewing and a $7 thrift store find.

Beauty stuffs

It’s time to add some beauty to my life. I’ve been out of concealer for quite a while now, actually, and finally bought some new (hooray for sales!). I’m trying out Neutrogena Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector, and so far I like the brush applicator and the tingly feeling it has. Next up is Cover Girl Outlast Lipstain in Everbloom Kiss, which is waaaay brighter than I thought it would be, but still a really pretty pink. So far it’s stayed on through drinking tea, eating Chinese and multiple hours of shopping, so I’m happy. The main reason I rarely wear lipstick is my hatred for reapplying, so hopefully the lipstain will solve my woes. And then there’s a bottle of Savina neon red nailpolish, called “Charm,” pretty much an impulse buy at Nordstrom Rack when I bought my new…

Poetic License

Poetic License ‘Jeanie’ shoes! (Click on the photo to make it bigger.) I’ve been looking for shoes to wear to an upcoming wedding. My best friend from high school is getting married, and since I’m a bridesmaid, I decided it was high time for some new, rad shoes. Originally I was going for something edgier, like the BCBGirls Eslin in Tapioca (a kind of nude color), but they kinda made my feet look like horse’s hooves, which is never good. Anyway, these babies called my name, and not only were they at the Rack for $56, they were 35% off.

Lace & Satin

I’m gearing up to start on my 1926 dress, so a trip to the fabric store was in order (again, click the photo for a larger version). I bought some gorgeous silvery-grey crepe-back satin and cream colored lace with an adorable scalloped edge, plus some lining fabric for the slip underneath. I can’t wait to start constructing this dress!

Babargain!

Babar

I haven’t thought about Babar in years.  The most chic French elephant was a fixture in my childhood– I had Babar books, watched Babar on the television, I even had a Babar tracing book (I remember dragging my pencil around outlines of his shoes and his fantastic bow tie). The adventures of Babar, his wife Celeste, and their children were always delightful and fun.

So in my thrifting expeditions this week, I never thought I would come across what is possibly my best thrifting find ever: a Babar print in a hand-painted fluer-de-lis frame. And for a mere $2? Score!

Babar is back in my life, and he’s here to stay. Doesn’t he remind you a little of Hercule Poirot?

Eyeglasses.

A few months ago, I bought these rather awesome pseudo-cat eye glasses by Kate Spade. I love how they evoke the major cat eye look without being completely dated or heavy, although the wireless bottoms are making it difficult for my eyes to adjust to the new frames. I am disappointed to find out now that they come in silver, and not just this “almond” color. Ah, well.

I will not tell a lie: I was inspired by one of my most favorite editorials ever, My Funny Valentine, photographed by Arthur Elgort. I love the quirkiness of the styling, how it’s twee without being sickening. I’ve never been much for patterns, but the way these are small and worked in with solid-colored pieces is fantastic.

See the rest.