Thursday, June 6, 2013

Repeat

What goes around, comes around


Fast fashion is great in that it allows for a quick succession of trends to parade by in a given season. It's (often) cheap, easily replaced and, just a few years later, perhaps regretted by its previous owner. Don't lie – you know you've stalked yourself on Facebook pre-2010 and wondered: "What, of all things, was I thinking? Wearing?

Fast fashion is fun, but the classic article will always reign supreme in my mind. I'm not sure why, but I've always had a thought of my future children and grandchildren rummaging through my old clothes, shoes and accessories, pulling out pieces that were, and still are, remarkably wearable. Maybe it's that I'm hoping to be a cool mom or grandma. Maybe it's a secret incentive for me to buy nice things that will last forever. Or maybe, it's the notion that there's something special about things that never go out of style. 


And here we are: Jean Shrimpton in a '60s Vogue UK shoot, wearing a lushly printed floral shirt, simple white skirt and low-slung pointed heels. Recalling recent runway shows, in comparison, sparks a reverse deja vu. Pointed shoes are boldly back – in flats, low heels and higher (Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton). Florals, while not presently new, are nonetheless here again. And a white skirt – whether pencil or mini – will never be gone. 

Photo: Jean Shrimpton in Vogue UK, April 1965 by David Bailey

Floral print top, Clover Canyon (on sale!); Quilted skirt, Topshop; Mary Jane mid heels, Marc Jacobs

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just Because

On indulging oneself

As a college student, it's important for me to pay careful attention to my spending habits. My parents pay for my tuition and apartment, give me a monthly stipend and I do make a bit on my own, but money certainly isn't falling from the sky (and what a shame!).

Often, I become fixated on a certain thing, whether it be a pair of shoes, a beauty product or a specific colored Sharpie Pen, and think about it a little too much until I finally get it. (It's true, I couldn't stop daydreaming about the tropical-hued Sharpie Pens until I finally found them at Target a few weeks ago.) Unsurprisingly, my wallet cannot keep up, and these fixations soon turn into lists.


There are two categories of my mental material lists: attainables and unattainables. Attainables include things like a new Bauble Bar necklace, a silk blouse from J. Crew, a coffee table book, a refill of my favorite Philosophy lotion–affordable things that don't put a dent in my sad, sad bank account. Unatainables on my list are a Chanel 2.55 bag, a pair of black Christian Louboutin pumps and another David Yurman bangle.


O.K., yes, these lists are vastly contrasting. In other terms, attainables can be purchased multiple times a month, and unnatainables can be purchased about once a year. Impulse vs. calculated, affordable vs. expensive, and depending on who you ask, smart vs. stupid.


I think we all battle with the urge to buy. The advent of online shopping is certainly no help. I'll admit I look at Gilt, Hautelook and Shopbop every single day, although rarely buy anything. I often try to reason with myself: How many times will I wear it? What can I wear it with? How much use will I get out of it? It it classic? Will it hold up over time? There are so many considerations when making a purchase. I have to say that my shopping habits are quite calculated.


But what if I want something "just because?" If it makes me happy, isn't it worth it?


Not long ago, I discovered that I really wanted a Moleskine notebook to make lists and take notes in for my university's student newspaper, which I work for. Hemingway used Moleskines, so naturally, I needed one. A hot pink one.


For the uninitiated, Moleskine notebooks are leather-bound, usually small notebooks, sketchpads, journals and what-have-you that are often found in the possession of writers and artists. Since they're made of leather, it shouldn't come to a surprise that they're more expensive than your typical Five-Star notebook. This new friend was going to set me back about $20–hardly anything in the scheme of things, but my more sensible side was trying to convince me otherwise. After moments of inner argument, the hot pink leather notebook was mine.


The moment after I bought it, I thought, "Well, that was dumb. Here I am, a poor and hungry college student, spending $20 on a silly notebook." I was fortunate to have a friend with me who replied, "So what? You wanted it."


She was right. I did want it. And there's nothing wrong with wanting things, to buy things because it makes you happy and not only out of necessity. Besides, if I hadn't bought it, I would have ended up spending the rest of my life wondering what it would be like to own a hot pink leather notebook.
So the answer, wholeheartedly, is yes. Happiness from simple pleasures is indeed worth it.


Photo: Cher Horowitz, "Clueless"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Foiled Plans and Happy Accidents

A dramatic retelling of a personal debacle

I'm very much a supporter of plans. I make plans to make plans. So of course, crisis management has never been a strong suit for me. Welcome surprises are just fine, but the unexpected has me much out of sorts. 

It was quite an unwelcome surprise when I opened my awaited package (I stalk them via tracking numbers online many times per day until arrival) to find not only the wrong size in my ordered dress, but the wrong color as well. My younger sister's debutante presentation was the next day – a full-day family affair and the apex of my hometown's high society. I ordered the dress months in advance (Rent the Runway, yes), and was looking forward to wearing it since it was different than what I usually go for. Any woman can tell you how wonderful it feels to wear a beautiful cocktail dress. Of course, just as your aren't allowed to upstage the bride, I knew I couldn't upstage my sister. (Although, I had little chance of doing so. She was wearing a heavy satin Ulla-Maija gown.)

Nevertheless, I put it on the dress I was sent and felt like a Las Vegas call girl. A little tight, a little short. I've always thought I look good in red, with my fair skin and dark brown hair. I had never felt more wrong. 

Here starts the small town shopping scramble.

Don't get me wrong. I love where I grew up, mainly in that there's plenty of Tex-Mex restaurants and that my cats live there. The shopping, though, is marginal. Sub-marginal. Our mall is terrifying, and what boutiques we do have offer slim pickings and high possibility that someone you are related to owns the exact same dress you just purchased. 

I quickly exhausted my few retail options later that night and the morning of, thoroughly put out by the lack of competence in whoever was in charge of my dress' shipping and that Smalltown, USA had nothing to offer me in terms of acceptable sartorial options. I was utterly helpless, wandering around my least favorite department stores, looping around again and again because there had to be something.

Like a soundtrack to a terrible movie, "I've Got a Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas was playing in Dillard's, and when I got in the car – and this is not a joke – Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" was on the radio. 

I was being dramatic, but for valid reasons. I like to think one of my few redeeming qualities is my innate ability to shop – and with razor sharp focus. Historically, I'm ruthless in the retail realm, scanning racks and fighting the crowds like it's an everyday thing (which, it nearly is). It was embarrassing.

At this point, you've got to be worried. Was I going to be stuck wearing a hideous dress in the face of my judgmental hometown and as the subject of at least a good third of the 1,000 photos my aunt took? (As the only family member with a Nikon, my aunt was the unofficial photographer for the day. She did take around 1,000 photos that day. No, she did not charge an hourly fee.) Or worse, would I have to re-wear a dress from a previous event? As ridiculous as it may be, I'm staunchly against outfit repeating, as I like to call it. (Think what you want. I consider it a fun challenge.) 

Alas, my reputation was spared. Hanging in the back of my old room's closet was a satin strapless BCBGMaxAzria dress. Tags on. Never been worn. A beautiful sight for the sorest of eyes and the weariest of hearts. 

My dear, dear sister had been hoarding a collection of dresses the past year in anticipation of the flurry of events this spring, her final semester of high school. Apparently, she had one too many – a most happy accident.