Saturday, May 31, 2008

Unrequited color love

youlookfab had a thought-provoking post about the disconnect that sometimes develops between the colors we love and those that look best on us. I'm certainly guilty of completely ignoring colors because I don't like them.

I used a very fun tool called Colorbender to make these palettes.

First: colors that like me, and that I like in return.

As you can see, I am all over jewel tones. White, black, navy, and dark grey all work on me. I love saturated blues, teals, and purples, and I tend to avoid anything approaching pastel, with the exception of periwinkle.

Next: colors that work on me, but I don't wear them.

Reds, browns, and terra cotta all look good on me, but for whatever crazy reason I much prefer shades of pink/plum to any shade of red/orange. However, I'm much more apt to wear shades of cranberry (2nd from left) than bright tomato red (1st color), and I actually have a cranberry-colored shirt I wear fairly often. Still, it doesn't get nearly as much play as anything blue, green or purple. As for brown - well, chocolate brown is nice enough, but I simply prefer black, gray or deep blue.

And lastly, just for fun, we have colors that don't look all that great on me, but I wear anyway.

Pale pink, pale gray and mustard yellow all wash me out, but this effect is easily mitigated by a scarf or laying the piece over a "good" color, like deep blue. The story behind leaf green is that I simply love the color: it's fresh and uplifting. Not the best color on me, but not terrible either. Also, at some point my mother told me I should never wear green, so wearing my beloved leaf-green top is my little way of rebelling.

(Postscript: With the exception of mustard, I'm really not a big orange/yellow person, so I have little idea which shades of these colors work on me. For all I know, I look divine in pumpkin, but I have little desire to find out.)

So, this exercise reveals that:
1. Me and pastels will never get along.
2. I should probably learn to love red.
3. Good thing that blue is my favorite color, because I look great in it!
4. My mother can't keep me from wearing leaf green.
5. I should keep an eye out for bright blue, rich purple or magenta pieces.

So...anyone else have complicated relationships with certain colors? Spill!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Seems that I'm on a bit of a shoe-buying spree. Summer makes me nervous about shoes because not just anything looks good with shorts, skirts and dresses (while you can hide any old thing under pants and it generally looks ok). Thus, I feel obligated to throw money at the problem.

From left to right: Can you believe this is my first plain black pump EVER? Crazy. I found them at Buffalo Exchange (secondhand store) for $17 - not a bad deal for a real leather pump in perfect condition. And while they have a peep toe and ideally I wanted a closed toe, I wore them with tights today and no one screamed bloody murder, so...they'll do.

Center: Snakeskin Cynthia Vincent flats from Revolve Clothing. They pinch my pinkie toes, so I'm not sure whether to return them or break them in like the appropriately masochistic tool of the patriarchy I am.* Otherwise, they are cute and well-made and I can't wait to tell people I killed a snake and made shoes out of it.

And in front, we have a sort of D'Orsay/Mary Jane hybrid from I just got them today (no points for fast shipping,!). The color's not my favorite, but it's hard to find a brown shoe that's not totally frumpy (a stiletto heel helps), so I think they'll be all right.

And I still have two (two!) pairs of flats coming in the mail. If I can avoid wearing flip-flops all summer, I'll be golden.

*I've been reading a lot of feminist literature recently, can you tell?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Still having a flat moment

Certain bloggers (I'm looking at you, Decorno) have only fueled the fire of my flats obsession. I swear to God, two weeks I couldn't find ANY flats I liked, but - when it rains it pours, apparently. Sam Edelman, $66.90 (comes in lots of other prints also)

I actually tried on this flat (in a different print) at Nordstrom the other day. It's fairly comfortable and well-made. But: is it monumentally stupid to spend $67 on light-colored satin that will probably get grubby if I look at it wrong? Is there some sort of spray/gel/magical elf spit that can protect satin from the elements?

Anyway, besides that concern, this flat is poooooooifect. About 90% of the time I'm either wearing mint green, periwinkle, white or black, so - sha-wing.

Nine West, $40

These are extremely close to the silver flats I wore to death, which is why I like them. Plus they're on sale for $40!

Sam Edelman, $90

I've been ogling these for months but they haven't yet inspired me to actually buy them. I wonder if they're comfortable, if the yellow would work on me, and if the back strap is thick enough to cover the gross red/purple scars on my heels (don't ever wear cheap shoes, kids.) I think I'm gonna wait until they go on sale and then give them a try, if they still appeal.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Flat shoe EXPLOSION!

Last weekend, I came to the depressing realization that my favorite pair of silver BCBGirls flats are worn out, and not only that, but they smell like a locker room. The poor suckers have been worn to death, and now it's time to put them out to pasture. I've been keeping an eye out for decent replacements (even traipsing down to Nordstrom's famous semiannual shoe sail in the rain today), but to no avail. (side note: I'm convinced some flat shoes are made of concentrated hate, because there's no way a flat should ever pinch, rub and draw blood the way some of these shoes do.)

I hope that together, these two pairs will be a decent replacement for the silver flats, may they rest in peace.

Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent snakeskin flats, $118 (I used promo code PEOPLESTYLEWATCH for an extra 20% off)

The maroon satin ones are just pretty, and I look forward to wearing them with neutral outfits. The snakeskin ones will do all the work the silver ones did, and possibly more. So, yay! No longer will I be living in stinky, cruddy old Velveteen Rabbits!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Did you hear?

DSW now has an online presence, and for a limited time shipping is free. La dee dah.

It seems that selection online is similar to the store's, but if anything it's better. There is more size availability, for one.

The annoying thing about their site is that they only show each shoe in one color, even if it comes in multiple colors. Booo. Anyway, here are my fantasy shopping picks:

(God help me, but I think these are amazing)

JS by Jessica, $60

As a side note, I went to DSW (and Marshalls, and Loehmann's, and Nordstrom Rack) today to try to find a simple pair of black closed-toe pumps for work. Have such shoes attained unicorn status? The closest ones I found were these Taharis, but the store didn't have them in a size 7 in the normal black (not patent) leather. Luckily the website has them, so I may be a-ordering. I nearly bought a $150 pair of Marc Jacobs pumps simply because they came the closest to fitting the bill.

More jewelry creations

The heat kept me mostly inside yesterday, and I took advantage of the time to make more jewelry. From L to R:

1. simple earrings made with gold rings and rose quartz. The perfect white T-shirt of the earring world...I like these so much, I'll probably replicate them using beads in various other colors.
2. Silver necklace with tourmaline briolettes and more rose quartz. Rather than having a clasp, you just loop one end over another.
3. A lariat made with rainbow moonstone and tanzanite briolettes.

I still have lots more ideas...dramatic earrings made with green and brown tourmline briolettes, a long necklace made with the remaining rose quartz nuggets, and much more! My confidence keeps increasing as my technique improves, which will mean more bright and bold creations. Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You're an animal

After browsing summer dresses online, I realized that my two favorite finds have one thing in common: animal prints.

It's a dress covered in fish! And I absolutely love it.

[ Free People fish dress, $128 ]

This next one's a bit more subtle. Can you guess which animal inspired the print?

Turns out it's giraffe, which I didn't figure out until reading the item description.

[ Giraffe print dress, $139 ]

I love both these dresses. The animal prints are creative and and whimsical without being overly cutesy. If I bought one or both, I'd definitely be turning over a new leaf...should I go for it?

Friday, May 16, 2008

And speaking of dresses...

This one from Urban Outfitters is just perfect. Great colors, cool silhouette, unfussy style. Me like...a lot.

If you're not convinced, get a load of the back:

I rest my case.

BCBG dress mania!

It's finally happened...I got a second job so I can have spending money and contribute decent amounts to savings/investments. As a result, I have a bit more money to play with, and rewarded myself by checking out the BCBG store at the mall. I normally hate mall brands (Bebe, Guess, Victoria's Secret) but for some reason BCBG is, for me, the perfect bridge between mass-market and designer. Their vanity sizing it out of control (I'm a XXS, for instance), but their sales people were perfectly charming and when I went in yesterday they took 15% off dresses that were already deeply discounted, so what the hell.

Here's the first dress - the ubiquitous wrap dress, but in a print I actually like (probably because it's blue). I wore it today and it kept me perfectly cool in this hot weather, so A+++.

The other dress doesn't seem to be on their website...but it's a raspberry-colored satin dress with a deep V neckline, empire waist, and a strip of chiffon at the hem. It's pretty much a cocktail dress and I plan to wear it during nights out, to weddings, and so forth.

Also, BCBG's website is pretty sweet. They sell pieces from the runway collection (I adore this dress, which are fun to ogle if nothing else. I like this skirt, too.

Anyway, thanks BCBG for liberating me from my newfound cash.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"We're mighty blessed."*

Dear Jenna Bush,
THANK YOU for choosing a wedding dress with straps. If I see another bride grabbing for the same satin strapless A-line gown that highlights her tan lines and back fat, I will scream.

Also - props to her for what seems like a relatively free-wheeling outdoor wedding. In my mind, weddings of the Republican elite tend to be buttoned-up, indoor affairs, but Jenna's wedding looks like it won't be too different from my cousin's wedding this June.

Too bad about the groom, though.

*Actual quote from President Bush regarding Jenna's nuptials

Jewelry creations

In case you're wondering what I've been doing with the mass quantities of shiny pretties I've been buying...
(From L to R)
1. Lapis lazuli barrel beads linked together with silver wire to make earrings. Surprisingly comfy, swingy, dramatic and flattering.
2. One of my earliest necklaces. A subtle confection made with moss aquamarine and labradorite rondelles.
3. A confetti-style necklace with moonstone, apatite, tourmaline, and sapphire beads all vying for attention. Since this has several colors in it, it's easy to wear. Made a couple days ago and I'm very happy with it.
4. The debut of gold wire! Simple earrings made with green and pink tourmaline. I might remake these because I manhandled the wire a little too much while making them, and they're a little wonky.

Next up - I'm gonna play with these beads. The three strands arrived in the mail just yesterday.

From L to right: a pile of pink tourmaline briolettes; a strand of smooth smoky quartz nuggets; a strand of tanzanite (oh so expensive, but worth it); faceted rose quartz ovals; and a pile of brown and green tourmaline. Below I have a mess of moonstone and some leftover lapis and apatite.

Yay! Making jewelry is fun!

Monday, May 5, 2008

I climbed through this window.

On Friday I came home from work toting a couple big bags of groceries. I was looking forward to a relaxed evening of food and the TV show Dexter (highly recommended, if you like sexy serial killers). I turned my key in the lock and...nothing. The door wouldn't budge.

In warm weather it's common for the paint to stick a little, but I quickly threw my entire body weight against the door and realized that this time, something was different.

I called the on-site manager, whose phone was turned off, then went over and knocked on her door. She wasn't home, of course.

At this point, I was hot, tired, and damn pissed. I was also wearing this vintage 60s minidress (tight! short! non-stretch fabric!), black tights, and black flats.

I was not dressed to squeeze/dive through a small bathroom window into my apartment, but that's exactly what I did.

In high school I had a phase where I was a bad kid who liked to sneak out at night, and my experience popping off window screens, balancing on fire escape railings and going headfirst through a window served me well.

I'm a bit bruised but the dress and tights are fine.

(The on-site manager still hasn't called me back, but I must conclude that someone - possibly the landlord, who was working on building improvements - went into my apartment and locked the deadbolt, which to my knowledge can only be unlocked from the inside. I'm only slightly outraged that someone went into my apartment without notifying me. That's illegal shit right there.)


I received a bead order in the mail today with apatite, lapis lazuli and rutilated quartz and couldn't wait to work with the apatite in this great teal color. If I have a signature color, it's teal. I had this chain and this toggle closure lying around, and parlayed them into a necklace. Personally I love the look of having the toggle in the front of the necklace - I think it's modern and eye-catching.

As you can see in the background, I have more teal apatite, some rectangular rutilated quartz, and tiny sapphires waiting their turn. Lots to play with, and two more bead orders (tanzanite, tourmaline, moonstone, smoky quartz, and rose quartz) to come in the mail soon!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Jewelry lust: Bijoux d'Odalique

If this jewelry doesn't make you sigh with lust, I don't know what's wrong with you. Bijoux d'Odalique is an etsy seller who combines the finest gemstone beads with a wonderful eye for color and form. Many of her creations are inspired by works of literature, which just adds to the charm.

It's images like these that dance in my head when I spend way too much money on gemstone beads.

I also find it interesting how she favors gold chain, headpins, findings, etc. more than silver. It seems that gold actually sets off the color of the stones better than silver. Hmm...

Bijoux d'Odalique etsy store
Bijoux d'Odalique's Flickr

Meme time!

I usually ignore memes, but this one from Wende captured my fancy.

What accessories do you wear everyday?


What is your beauty routine?
Morning: light moisturizer/sunscreen, eyeshadow primer, eyeshadow, mascara, eyebrow wax set with powder, face powder and sometimes blush. Evening: a different kind of moisturizer (redness reducing stuff) after facewashing. Every third day I wash and condition my hair and blowdry it to within an inch of its life. I also file my nails constantly and sometimes polish them.

What was the last item of clothing (for yourself) that you purchased?
Reversible, full, knee-length vintage skirt from Etsy.

Do you use a dresser, closet, or both?
Both, though my dresser is actually just a single-compartment Lane chest.

What type of earrings are in your ears right now?
None. I'm dressed in a 60s mod style today and earrings don't go with the outfit.

Do you wear glasses?
Yes, but only at the computer. Otherwise, it's just contacts.

Do you wear makeup?
Hell yes! I just brush a bit of powder on my face, so 90% of my makeup effort goes into defining my eyes. Today I'm wearing four different colors of eyeshadow (an all-over neutral color, two shades of purple, and a bit of pink at the outside corners.) Also, I feel naked without mascara and filling in my eyebrows. I don't wear lipstick, but I love tinted lip balms.

What is your favorite perfume?
None. I'm very sensitive to perfumes and all other scents.

Is your motto "quality over quantity" when it comes to clothing and accessories?
Increasingly, yes. If pressed I could probably create a functional wardrobe out of 10% of the stuff I own, and not particularly miss the other 90%.

Do you wear rain boots?
Never had a reason to.

Do you wear socks or slippers when your feet get cold?
Sometimes, but when I'm at home (i.e. not wearing shoes) I'm usually curled up under a blanket anyway.

Do you have a set of travel luggage?
No, but I want some. In a distinctive color, like baby blue.

If you are married, did you wear a veil with your wedding dress?
Not married. If I ever get married I'm wearing a cobalt blue silk dress with some sort of vintage fascinator with a little scrap of birdcage netting. It'll be super duper glamorous.

Do you wear a watch?
No, I can't stand stuff on my wrists.

Do you prefer zippers or buttons?
Buttons. I like how they force you to slow down and focus on what you're doing. Also, stuff gets caught in zippers and that's no fun.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It all comes down to confidence

Ok, ok, I know I've been kind of MIA lately. Researching grad schools, making jewelry, and keeping up on my social engagements has kept me in a happy tizzy of excitement. Truth be told, I feel happier and more alive than I have in ages, and you better believe I am riding this wave for all it's worth.

It's weird, but that tripe about "putting out positive vibes and getting positive things back" seems to be coming true. Strangers stop and give me compliments; I've had wonderful times whenever I've gone out to a cafe or bar; my friends seem more kind and supportive than ever. Even work is going my way: I'm giving an important presentation to a major client next week, and today I had an article published on a well-respected industry blog. Happiness begets more happiness, it seems.

In a lot of ways I feel this is a turning point in my life. Most people my age would say that college was the time that they built up the most confidence; but I've always been a late bloomer. I actually hit rock-bottom at one point in college, and though it was generally a happy time, I had major problems with insecurity and lack of confidence. Since then, I've grown up so much (the sink-or-swim work world will do that to ya), and at this moment I feel braver, more confident, and more willing to take risks than I ever have. Finally committing to grad school - and a trip abroad - are both good decisions, and simply committing to those things has made me feel like I'm finally living my life the way I've always wanted to live.

So, to sum up, it seems that my keys to happiness are:
- Making plans, and sticking to them. No surprise there.
- Taking risks.
- Surrounding myself with kind, giving people.
- Enjoying the little things - the warm sunshine, an inside joke with a friend, a dish cooked well.
- Making things. The interest my friends and co-workers have shown in my jewelry has been tremendous, and I feel a great burst of pride whenever I wear something I make. Sure, it's just jewelry, but when you can turn a silly bauble into a point of's pretty nice.
- Being in service to others.
- Not caring what people think.
- Being upfront about my weaknesses. This is a big one for me. I know I have my flaws, but I don't beat myself up for them, and I'm willing to acknowledge them without getting all torn up about it.

And to tie this back to fashion...dressing becomes pretty easy when you're happy and confident. More than ever I'm dressing to be bold and get attention, because for the first time in my life I can handle attention with grace and resolve - and a certain sense of, "fuck what other people think; I enjoy wearing this, and regardless, I'm too busy making Grand Plans for the Future to care if my shirt is perfectly ironed!"

It also helps that it's dress and skirt season, and I love me a dress and a skirt. But that's beside the point.