Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Bottle of Perfume? Really?!

For $82, you can buy a new perfume at Bloomingdales made by Moschino. The most remarkable thing about this eau de toilette is the bottle.

Here it is. I kid you not!




What do you think? Clever?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Demure

I'm demure. In many ways. So I thought I'd dress the part.

On my way home from court yesterday, I stopped at my favorite thrift-store. Just to look. I saw this conservative skirt-suit with a cute rounded collar. It was brand new and only $7. I thought seven bucks was worth an experiment. I want to see how demure I can look on the outside.

What does this outfit make me look like? I don't know. A real estate broker? An office worker? A Real Housewife of Long Island? Tell me the impression you get from it. Thanks!


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Favorite Experience

What is your favorite thing to do? I'm talking about an act or gesture that you enjoy. For me, it's simple -- in fact, I just did it. Let me provide context.

I'm a lawyer. Every week I go to court and battle adversaries. Often the struggle is hard. Even a routine appearance can become important because judges are unpredictable: not enough coffee and one might force you to argue a critical issue. Good lawyers always need to be prepared. The experience is stressful. I've done it hundreds of times over the past 34 years and never -- not once -- have I avoided pressure.

So, back to my question. The moment I leave a courtroom, when my job is done, I loosen my tie and open the top button of my dress-shirt. I experience relief -- deep, satisfying relief. The act provides more than physical comfort, it offers psychological and symbolic relief. I've done my job, tension evaporates, and I relax. This is such a calming gesture. I don't know any other act in my life which gives me the same feeling. I faced a tiger, stared it in the face, and survived. Necktie-loosening is my acknowledgment of survival.

How 'bout you? I've heard many women say their favorite time is when they return home and take off their bra. I can relate to that.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Things I Saw Today

A motorcycle isn't really mine until it makes a Hajj to The Big Duck. We did that today in ridiculously-comfortable weather; it was 60 degrees here in New York despite being the nadir of Winter. The Big Duck is the Ka'aba of my two-wheeled faith.




While out riding, I saw a decaying but beautiful painting on the side of a building in a neglected alley. Isn't it nice?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Neiman Marcus


Neiman Marcus is one of the finest retail stores in the world. In existence for over a century, the store is usually found in large cities. Which is why I was surprised to hear that they just opened one on Long Island, where I live.

I visited it today. Full of designer goods, the store is the kind of place where you ogle clothes and products but walk out empty-handed because the prices are astronomical. I saw a nice men's jacket for $1,750, a pretty woman's dress for $1,750, and a cute cardi... wait for it... for $1,750. That's a popular price at this store.

Of course they do have more expensive goods. Believe it or not, they sell a men's jacket made of real crocodile that costs $120,000. House or jacket? Hmm... Here are some other items I saw.


 
This Sachin & Babi Noir’s jacquard dress
with a high-low hem, cut-in shoulders and jeweled neckline
is a mere $1,050

 
Would you pay $105 for a tube of lipstick?
How about if it contains soja seed extract, Brazilian murumuru butter
and chamomile flower oil for ultra-creamy texture?
Made by Tom Ford

 
These cat-eye sunglasses have glittery butterflies
sculpted onto their frame by Anna-Karin Karlsson, $865

Your boyfriend having a birthday?
Get him these Maison Margiela duck feather sneakers
with multi-color dyed feathers for $2,180
 


 
And, finally, to prove I wasn't lying,
Stefano Ricci's crocodile jacket for $120,000
 
 
Have you ever heard of this store? They do a fabulous catalog each year for the holidays.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Curves? Ally?

I don't have curves. My body is a cylinder: 40-40-40. But clever fashion design helps me create the illusion of a female shape. Ever since I saw dresses like the one below, I craved its magic.

Searching for jewelry to go with the neckline, I found a choker at Target for $14. It works perfectly with the dress and I like its elegance.

Have you ever worn a choker necklace? And what do you think of my outfit?


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Gloves In The Stone

During the past two years, the pink boxing gloves have travelled around the world. Believe it or not, they're still going strong.

The gloves are now in Australia where Jazzy Jack is wearing them to illustrate a charming story she wrote that's a cross between King Arthur's legend of the sword in the stone and whimsy from the old Batman TV show of the 1970s (Pow! Wham!).

Go visit her blog to be entertained. I particularly like how JJ mixes masculinity and femininity which reflects the true nature of all of us.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Interview with Jessica

Our interview series begins with one of the best bloggers out there -- Jessica from Canada. Jessica's blog, Chronically Vintage, is an exceptional source of information and inspiration.

Jessica focuses on vintage fashion which is interesting not only in itself but as a place we can go to borrow stylish accents for our modern wardrobes. For example, two years ago I started wearing seamed stockings after learning about them from Jessica's blog. Wearing them instead of modern hosiery is easy to do and adds notable panache to one's outfit.

Jessica's presentations on past fashion are replete with fascinating history. They teach us about the culture of earlier times and women's lives back then. I love Jessica's blog because it engages us in many ways including as food for intellectual curiosity. I hope you enjoy this inaugural interview with Jessica.

**   **  **  **  **
 
- What first inspired you to wear vintage?

You know, it's interesting but there wasn't one exact experience that inspired me to start wearing vintage. For as far back as I have memories, I've been incredibly fascinated by the past, very much including the fashion element side of things. My paternal grandma loves to tell a story that I think highlights this point wonderfully. When I was a wee girl of two or three years old, I would take her family photo albums down off of the shelf and, instead of tearing out photos or colouring on them as many kids might be apt to do, I would sit there entranced, studying each image with reverence and asking my grandma as many questions as I could about the black-and-white faces staring up at me.
 
As I grew (a little) older, I was naturally drawn to studying the past, be it through books, movies, museums, speaking to elders in my life, or simply observing the world around me for historical elements. Though I greatly enjoyed (and still do) history in general, I've always felt especially pulled towards the Victorian era to the early 1960s, with an emphasis on the 1930s, '40s and '50s.
 
I was born in 1984, so in the late '80s and early '90s, less than fifty years had passed since the 1950s wrapped up and the influence of that decade (and the ones right before it) was still more prevalent in everyday life and I'm so grateful for that fact. By the age of about nine or ten, I'd vowed to myself that, based on my love of the past, when I grew up, I would wear the styles of the decades that I held nearest and dearest to my heart, even though I had no idea then that there were actually adults in the present day who wore old school styles.
 
Hop ahead to when I was 15 years old. I started earning some of my own money and couldn't hit the thrift stores fast enough. Back then, at the end of the '90s/start of the '00s, mid-century vintage clothing was still quite easy to find -- often for a total song -- at many vintage stores, flea markets, swap meets, yard sales and such and thus the seeds of my vintage wardrobe were planted.
 
More than sixteen years later, my closet is a fabulously fun mix of genuine mid-century vintage, 1980s does 1940s and '50s pieces, vintage reproduction, and vintage inspired garb -- with a little bit of goth thrown into the mix, as I'm a dyed-in-the-wool goth girl at heart, too. It's a continually-evolving part of my life and something that brings me an unending amount of joy. 
 
 
- Why does vintage fashion interest you so much?

Excellent question! There was a particular blend of elegance, femininity, exquisite tailoring and sweetness that run through 1940s and '50s styles that speaks to my soul. Though these elements haven't entirely vanished from the modern fashion world, they're rarely seen -- let alone on a large scale -- to the same degree. I feel compelled to integrate such things into my style and since I'm head-over-heels crazy about the past, wearing vintage fashions is just a natural choice.
 
I also love that vintage gives one the chance to express their individuality is such a beautiful, creative, versatile way. Wearing yesteryear styles has also had the added benefit of helping to grow my confidence and self-esteem, two things that have not always been strong suits for me. 
 
 
- How can we entice others to try vintage styles?

I've never set out to convert, so to speak, folks to vintage as I'm a big advocate of wearing whatever one desires, but if a person feels a calling to vintage and isn't sure how to dip their toes into the water, I suggest they think about what sorts of garments they wear and feel most comfortable in present. Are there similar vintage styles that could be swapped in for them? If so, give a couple a try, perhaps worn with some beautiful vintage jewelry or a great mid-century purse and see how you feel. Does that sort of outfit excite you? Are you comfortable in it? How do others respond to your attire? When you wear vintage (or vintage-looking) garments, do you feel like you've "come home" (a/k/a found your sartorial voice)? How is your confidence affected by such? Do you feel like you want to keep going and expand to more vintage styles?
 
If the answers to such questions are positive for you, then I suggest you continue to add more vintage (and/or vintage reproduction) pieces to your closet. You will likely start to find you're pulled towards one or more particular decades (say, the 1930s and 1940s, or just the 1960s) more than others (at least at this stage in your life) and will naturally hunt for pieces from or that look the part of those years. Have fun with wearing vintage and enjoy the fact that everyone's wardrobe is a constantly evolving thing, meaning that as more time passes, your style may change. Chances are you will still be drawn to at least some of the vintage elements that spoke to you initially. 
 
 
- When did you start paying attention to the clothes you wear?

July 10, 1984! :D I'm just teasing, as that was the day I was born. I like to think such was the case, but chances are it was a little bit later. I know that by kindergarten, I was in love with fashion and really pushed to be allowed to dress myself as early as possible. I've always been incredibly fascinated by clothing and the role that one's wardrobe choices can have in their life, far beyond the actual garments themselves. While vintage fashion is at the heart of most of my own looks, I adore style in general and both study historical fashions from the dawn of civilization right onward, as well as modern trends, styles and happenings in the clothing world. 
 
 
- Do you enjoy thinking about fashion?

Massively so! Fashion is so much more than what we wear. It is rife with cultural influences, personal choices, and emotion. In both the context of my own wardrobe and the world in general, I think about fashion and try to learn as much about it as I can. One could never know everything there is to know about style, or sport every outfit under the sun -- not by a long shot! -- so the fact that this is a well of knowledge that can always be extracted from helps to cement fashion's place not only in my own life but for society as a whole. 
 
 
- What styles appeal to you?

In general, I am drawn to looks that are classic, elegant, feminine, beautiful, creative and fun. I love a hit of whimsy in my wardrobe and never shy away from such. No matter what I'm wearing, be it vintage or otherwise, I like to look put together and strive to create looks that channel the past, while also letting my own stylistic voice shine through. 
 
 
- What role do clothes play for you?

For me clothing is an incredible source of happiness and no where is that more true than with vintage fashions. I feel like I come all the more alive in them. They help to bolster my confidence (I'm naturally incredibly shy and self-conscious), are a great way for me to share my love of the past with the world while also providing a wonderful counterpoint to some of the more negative/stressful aspects of my life, such as many severe chronic illnesses I've been battling since my late teen years.
 
Clothing is a form of art. Even if one can't paint, sing, dance, or sculpt to save their life, most of us have the ability to use our wardrobes as our own personal canvas. We can play it safe, be wildly experimental, dabble in a certain style today and another the next, use clothing as a shield of sorts or, conversely, let it express our inner selves in a way that may otherwise not be possible. I've experienced all of those things and many more through my own fashion choices and love that in the process, what I've worn has, at times, helped me grown, mature, and widen my outlooks on the world, too.
 
 
- Are clothes a means for self-expression?

Very much so! Even in today's (thankfully) often more progressive, diverse world, clothing still remains one of the hands down best ways to instantly express yourself to those around you - as well as to reconfirm to yourself your own tastes, beliefs and/or desires. It's wise advice not to judge a book by its cover but the simple fact of the matter is that we, as humans, are hardwired to do so and how we dress is like the cover on the book of our lives, so what we choose to say to the world with our fashion leanings is definitely a powerful form of self-expression.
 
For some, it may also be a form of personal freedom, independence, rebellion and/or growth as well, and those potentially life changing benefits of fashion really cannot be overstated. 
 
 
- Are clothes camouflage to avoid being seen?

I think that fashion can easily be either (or neither), depending on the person, their life, their history, their struggles, and their needs.
 
I've never personally (on a conscious level at least) used clothing to hide from the world. Being an intensely shy person though, the fact that my vintage fashion choices often draw attention to me is not usually something that I see as a benefit of dressing the way I do but I have made peace with it over the years and rarely get flustered these days when folks approach me to compliment or otherwise talk about my attire.
 
I do fully acknowledge that making the distinct fashion choices that I do definitely causes me to stand out -- especially in a small Canadian town -- and ultimately, even as a shy person, I rather love that. Why, I've always wondered, would anyone opt to look like the masses when we have the ability to create our own fabulously unique sense of style, be it vintage, goth, punk, futuristic, fantasy inspired, or anything else our hearts desire?
 
**  **  **  **
 
Thank you Jessica for speaking with us. The rest of you should go visit her blog!


Friday, February 12, 2016

New York Bagels


What is a New York bagel? Don't be fooled by its many imitators: a New York bagel is something special. A bagel should be slightly chewy but not tire your jaw. It must be fresh and contain no preservatives. A New York bagel is one of those things that you recognize when you eat it.
 
A real bagel is made in the authentic New York tradition: dough is made and kneaded, then it's boiled in a kettle, and finally it's baked in an oven to make the outside crispy. Some companies shorten the process by steam-cooking but their products don't deserve to be called bagels; they're soft and flavorless.
 
Our local newspaper recently reported on a nationwide search for the best bagel in America -- and the winner was a store on Long Island. This shouldn't surprise anyone; bagels are a way of life here. I think there's a law that every strip-mall on Long Island must contain at least one bagel store.
 
The winning store (A&S Bagels in Franklin Square) has some unusual features. First, I learned it's open 24/7. Yup, it never closes. If you hanker for a bagel at 4:00 in the morning on a Tuesday, they'll satisfy your hunger. Second, it always has a line. Always. Third, they do a big wholesale business. Secret: many "bagel stores" don't make their own bagels; they buy them pre-made from A&S and merely bake them to appear homemade.
 
I went to A&S today to check out the store and its wares. The store is a ratty old building in a crummy industrial area. Their building is huge but has only a tiny room open to the public; obviously, most of the space is devoted to bagel-making. There is no dining area, just two cashiers at a counter. The cashiers are crusty old women who learned how to put on makeup in the 1950's. Even though I deliberately visited at an off-hour, there was a line. There's always a line.
 
With all these negatives, I figured the bagels must be pretty damn good to attract attention. And they are. In a word, they are perfect. They have the exact right consistency of chewy. They are fresh as a snowflake and made with natural ingredients. A bagel you can bring home to Momma. Also, they have a nice variety of 20 different flavors: I had a cheddar cheese bagel that had as much cheese on it as bread. Yumm.
 
Do you eat bagels?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Meet The Bloggers


I like bloggers. I admire what they do. The effort to blog is hard and the impulse to share is generous. People willing to blog are usually kind, diligent and stylish.

That's why I'm starting a series of interviews with bloggers. After checking with you last month to see who'd be interested, twenty hands quickly shot up. I've started the process by contacting four bloggers and have material for a first batch of interviews. I'm going to pace them at one every two weeks which feels right. The first interview will go up this weekend.

I believe you'll be impressed and entertained. My questions are truly novel and the bloggers' answers are interesting. The interviews use my curiosity as a wedge to uncover fascinating insights from bloggers who say things you wouldn't expect. Reading them will be fun.

The first interview is with vintage-fashion blogger Jessica from Western Canada. The second interview has a European flavor and features Tiina from Finland/England. (Yes, her name actually has two i's.) Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cat Helmets


Aren't these cat-helmets adorable?! I want one. They're sold here.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

At The Last Minute

I subscribe to a literary magazine called The Sun. It publishes short pieces of autobiography on varying topics. The subject for the next issue is "At The Last Minute."

I'm submitting a description of an event that occurred to me long ago. I remember the event vividly and enjoy pondering its meaning. If you're interested, it follows...


The eldest son of immigrants, I carry the weight of my family's dreams. It's a leaden backpack. My parents view my accomplishments as their accomplishments; my life is a barometer of their success in a new land.

Forty years ago, I was an average athlete in high school, good enough to make the baseball and wrestling teams but not better than kids of other schools. We had a mid-season wrestling match with a neighboring team that was unimportant. Nothing was at stake, but the Earth shook that day.

For reasons unknown to me, my parents invited their fellow-immigrant friends to watch me compete. A bevy of wildly-enthusiastic supporters sat in the stands to cheer me on. Their presence was unnerving: their boisterous shouts pelted me like snowballs.

My opponent in the match was superior in ability but not insurmountably so; I knew I could beat him if I mustered sustained high effort. The match began. I slowly fell behind in points. The trend continued and time grew short. Eventually I realized I couldn't make up the point-deficiency with remaining time available; my only hope of winning was to pin my opponent to the mat, an outcome as rare as knocking out a boxer.

I searched for an opportunity. I saw none. I pursued with increasing concern; disappointing my family, in front of their close friends, was simply unacceptable. I could not let that happen, no matter what.

Suddenly, my opponent twisted his body, allowing me to grab his arm and place it into a half-nelson. I slid my free arm around the back of his neck. Our position was set for my signature move -- a wrestling hold so potent I could defeat anyone with it: leverage trumps size and strength. My opponent, not realizing he had lost the match, expressed hope in struggling against my hold. I let him wrestle, physically and psychologically, with the situation. After tussling, our bodies settled into quiescent calm as I heard desperate calls from the crowd who were watching time run out. Sensing the right moment, I flipped the doomed combatant over, locked him in place, and heard the ref smack the mat three times announcing victory. The crowd roared: their nervous uncertainty was resolved by a last-minute victory.

I looked up. I saw a group of working-class adults whose lives possessed few satisfactions. They were jubilantly celebrating, a rare experience for them. Their glee stunned me: my small athletic effort was fulfilling a larger aspiration, a dream of immigrants. Making it in America, after fleeing war-torn Europe during World War II, was their goal and it was happening in front of me. I play a role in this drama, something I hadn't understood until that moment.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Snow Day

It's snowing today here in New York. Heavier and wetter than usual, which creates beautiful visual images. Here are some...

 
 
 

 
 
 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Playing With Pants

After avoiding pants for years, I'm now exploring their possibilities -- and learning they can be feminine and fun. This outfit below started with the pants and I added pieces to complement them.

What do you think?


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Road Trips


During the past few years, I've worked too hard. Recognizing that, I plan to add balance to my life by taking time off and having fun. Fortunately, I know what makes me happy; I just need to do more of it. I'm committing to that and laying plans for fun this year.

Two things that please me immensely are riding my motorcycle and visiting friends. I can combine both passions since most of my blogger-buddies live far away. Riding 500-1,000 miles to see them lets me enjoy motorcycle-adventures during the journey and savor their company when I arrive.

Among the friends I want to visit this year are Sara in Detroit (Michigan), Emma in Columbus (Ohio), Debbie in Western Pennsylvania, Suzanne in Toronto (Canada), Christine in New York, Jen in Atlanta (Georgia), Allie in Manhattan, Aimee in upstate New York, and Kathy in Virginia. If I can find time for longer trips, I'd also like to visit my friends in Minnesota -- Ashley, Megan and Beth.

The prospect of these trips has me excited. Do you like to go on long road-trips?