See, I won’t be going this year. I know. It stinks.
But! There is always next year. Next year, and vicarious living.
Speaking of things I can’t afford right now–tiniest violin, I know— here are some local artisans selling Burn-appropriate attire and accessories. My favorite. You should feel free–nay! feel encouraged–to treat yourself. Then, tell me all about it.
Seriously, though. There are light-up clothes for christssake. It’s Burning Man-designed.
Then there’s Brash Lady Inc. out of Berkeley who’s got the kind of jewelry that others are always grabbing and groping with lust and covet in their eyes.
Millionaire Kream (again out of Bezerkeley) sells these blinged out sunglasses that are almost too cool to bring to BRC and actually too cool not to bring. What? What do you mean that makes no sense? You make no sense. No, you’re stupid. These glasses are stupid!!
I love the far out fashion of the Burn and may have to dress like an extra from the most-stylized, post-apocalyptic, I-dream-of-Utopia movie never made anyway, because between August 30 and September 6 that’s where I would be if I could.
Other requisite wear includes: Kick-ass boots that are easy to hoof it all over and dance in, FUR, more lighty-up stuff for when the sun goes down, more and omnipresent bandanas for their utility and versitality, whatever the hell crazy ass thing you want.
1. Answer: It’s fucking close to water. (Thanks Heidikins!)
2. Or better yet, send me pictures.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this, trying to figure out what exactly I want to say about Style and how to impart my suggestions for dress.
Because one of the things that I knew I didn’t want to do in this blog was to post a bunch of DON’Ts.
One, I think that a great, key thing about fashion is that it is our visual and outward avenue for self-expression, and I just never want to be the person to say that x,y,z is an inappropriate or unattractive way to do that. I’ve got Liberté (French for “freedom”) tattooed across my hip so clearly personal liberty is big with me.
Two, the Internets are full of haters, and I would rather just stay out of that whole mess of vitriol, pleasethankyouandyou’rewelcomeokayiloveyoubyebye.
Three, rules are meant to be broken. So I can say “Oh khakis lack imagination and epitomize blah and boring and caution and Connecticut,” but then Michael Kors – with whom I really, really just want to have brunch, is that weird? – sends something like this down the runway and I’m all “Nevermind! I take it back!” and start scouring the Goodwills for a stain-free pair in my size and dreaming of that matching sweater.
My first suggestion for dress is simple: Accessorize!
Now, this may seem patently obvious, but throwing on a funky necklace can make the most casual, comfy, and lackluster of outfits seem chic. And on those days when you just don’t want to make an effort, your jewelry can elevate your look and make it seem, my dears, like you do give a damn.
Things to keep in mind:
The whole process with be easier and faster, and you will wear more of your pieces with more frequency, if you have your jewelry and belts and so on out in the open. Put your bling on display. You’ll be more apt to remember it’s there, remember what you have, remember to put some on.
Jewelry and other accessories don’t have to “match.” In fact, contrast is key to creating a dynamic look. Seriously, just grab the first necklace and/or earrings and rings you see and run with it. It’ll be fine. You’ll look great.
Sometimes, more is more. Don’t be afraid to Go Big. That whole “before you leave the house, take a look in the mirror and remove one thing” rule? Kind of like white after Labor Day, or pantyhose, i.e. STUPID.
Belts! They’re not just for holding your pants up. In fact, I’m pretty convinced they have naught to with that.
Goodwill et al., Etsy.com, garage and estate sales, Cost Plus, and your mom are all wonderful sources of (often, very) cheap but quirky and unique pieces. Load up.
Known en anglais as the Breton sweater (after the French province of Brittany), la marinière is as French as baguette.
Or fois gras, maybe.
It’s as Gallic as chain-smoking and existentialism.
Originallycreated for the French navy, the uniform was first co-opted by French sailors and mariners and seafarers and fisherman and other nautical men, becoming the iconic marinière, visual metonym for sailor and sea, marin being French for sailor.
The Breton striped shirt came into being following the 27th March, 1858 Act of France which introduced the navy and white striped knitted shirt as the uniform for all French navy seaman. This, I think, is really cool.
Given the smudged and sticky histories of stuff, it tickles me to no end that this one specific thing, this sartorial trope, has the benefit of a birthday, a quantifiable record beyond the quality of its endurance and distinction.
And of course Breton stripes are things that continue to pop up and prance down the runways.
The simple, uniform pattern looks amazing paired with florals, leopard print, polka dots, toile, and so on. Here I’ve created a suggested look. Most of us have a floral skirt, great wedges, and some funky jewelry. Go wild.
My second recommendation for this French look pairing requires you to steal those camoflage cargo pants from your boyfriend. They make him look like a tool anyway, you know this. With the iconic striped blouse, these douchey pants make good. Mix dainty and dangerous accessories, for a rad masculine/feminine energy. To say nothing of the Army/Navy marriage. Yes, I am so clever.
For my final suggestion, I’m going for *POP*. In this case, RED is the **. Here I’m proposing a red sari as wrap skirt, but any red bottoms would work just as well, because the those stripes are going to stand out against the red. Though I would suggest choosing a non-knit fabric to contrast more acutely with the Breton sweater or T-shirt. For this particular look, because of the sari and the additional awesomeness of turquoise and red, I’m also throwing in Indian-Indian and American Indian accessories, throwing out mixed cultural references to the mix.
Note: Jak & Jil is a wonderful fashion photography blog run by the lovely seeming Tommy Ton. Likewise The Sartorialist is a wonderful fashion photography blog run by the smart and thoughtful Scott Schuman. All runway images taken from Style.com.
Sartorially, I have been gravitating frequently to gray these days.
I’ve got this gray, Silence and Noise tank, the tank version of this leotard, that I have been rocking frequently. Out of embarrassment I wore my striped shirt today to get my coffee but then changed back into this comfy number once again home. I’m washing it tomorrow so it can come to the wedding in Philo with me this weekend.
I’ve got a treasured, heather gray maxi skirt that hangs off the A quite nicely. It’s a bit moody and a bit blue in some lights but I love it. I got it at a clothing exchange years ago. The silhouette is statuesque yet flowy, and it somehow makes me seem taller than I am. And, again, it’s GRAY so it too has been put into rotation quite frequently as of late.
Finally, I’ve got that rad fur vest that Erin gave me. This is maybe my favorite thing ever.
I want to stress that this does not mean my mood is grey nor should this suggest to anyone Not in the Bay that we are currently plagued by gray weather, because my mood is pretty high and the weather is AMAZING, all blue skies and warm temps and “Man I love it here.” I think the lack of color here has more to do with a desire to pop.
See springtime in Berkeley is an explosion of color, the brightest in the spectrum, everywhere, everything in bloom, flowering, bitchslapping my sinuses with their pollen-heavy splendor, Roy G. Biv dropping rhymes all over town, Nature just showing off–so wearing gray is almost the only way to be seen.
It’s also a variant spelling word, which as a Grammar Dork and Crossword Doer and Logophile I think is really cool. G-R-E-Y, like the Metric System, appears to be the preferred everywhere but America. “GrAy” in America and “grEy” in England. Both me and Wikipedia have heard that gray can refer literally to the color and grey to the metaphorical mood or state of being. Or GreyvsGray.com says they can refer too to different shades of gray.2
vintage Levi Strauss canvas work pants from the nineteen-teens. Seriously. I purchased them at last spring’s Vintage Clothing Expo. The vendors had acquired them from an estate sale, and these Most Favored of Trousers came with two photographs dated 1921 that showed the original owner chilling serenely by an untouched creek wearing my new pants. They put me back, if memory serves, $75, which seems like a steal considering that they’ve already held up well for nearly or more than 100 years. Legit. Their color is much more green in real life.
a red, v-neck cardigan worn backwards, acquired last week from a street-side free pile. People throw away the best stuff. Yes, I washed it.
black leather bondage heels from Nine West, purchased probably two years ago. I love these shoes. I spent almost $100 on them–which I never do, I very rarely spend that much on anything, though I know that’s not that much for shoes–but I had had had to have them.
black leather, studded belt, borrowed from Hannah. Tee hee, thanks Hannah! (I’m house- and cat-sitting for Hannah Banana right now so this borrowing-of-belts is news to her*wink*.)
Coincidentally, Hannah B also hand-made that rad, red necklace. Hannha, hannah, hannah.
I love the idea of repurposing old clothes, knickknacks, belts, and so on and giving them new life: turning that maxi into a mini, morphing by mere placement that too-small belt into a suggestive leather necklace , making that single, once-favored earring into a now-favorite pendant.
But recently I’ve been marinating on ways to move beyond these simple changes. (mmm, mmm, mmm…)
See, my friend Julia Campbell,1 a young and funny woman, an awesome artist studying at the University of Iowa, she posted the above photo on her facebook page a while back. Yes, that is a beanie and scarf made entirely from rubber bands. Yes, she admitted the beanie was quite uncomfortable to wear. Still though, doesn’t she look adorable in it?
Here, at least, wearability isn’t really the point. Créativité, passion, action: voila, les buts, n’est-ce pas?
I love the creativity it took to make this: to look at some everyday, useful item and see the possibility for some completely different something. I think fashion is the perfect foray for these types of adventures.
And then Julia went ahead and fashioned a fancy raincoat from trashbags. I know this may not be an entirely new concept2–use what you’ve got, necessity’s a mother, yada yada–but I think sometimes, on a practical level, we see a pipe and all we think to is tobacco and smoke, whatever else Freud might say.
And her trash bag slicker immediately made me think of this, which will be of course “worth” thousands of trash bags:
For my part, I have been building what I call the Island of Mismatched Earrings collar. I’ve been wanting one of those big ol’ “statement necklaces,” or bibs, or collars, or whatever the kids are calling these heavy duty décolletage decorators, dreaming of owning something like this or this or this. Only, you know, free and DIY. Because I am poor.
It’s still a work in progress, as I think it will only look better as it’s filled out with more and more widowed earrings. This will happen organically and eventually. I’m constantly losing earrings, even when I put on those little rubber backies. The base of the bib is a structured velvet belt that was just a tad too small to actually wear and still expect to breathe. So with some strategic pleats, and a few stitches to keep it secure, the once-belt-now-bib has a shape that rounds my shoulders and lies flat across my collar bone.
And I’m literally writing this post and Jezebel turns me on to this madness:
I’ll say again, it’s a halter top made entirely out of TAMPONS! Walter Raes is a British designer who creates crazy-sauce fashion out of household and industrial materials. According to his website, “he takes the disposable remnants of our everyday lives to create his brilliant pieces, explorations in form and function.” THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE.
Giddy Spinster is based in Berkeley and uses used/upcycled stripper heels (let’s be honest) to make these rad planters that are “about hard-working women, the increasingly artificial nature of American femininity, and the impossible images that women face in our society.” Smart. And her bio leads me to believe we’ve got similar life philosophies and would probably have fun over drinks.
All this talk reminds me too of a particular YA book where, in one scene, the protagonist and a few side characters sewed dozens of Matchbox toy cars and Micro Machines onto a dress for some crazy assignment. Maybe one of the girls was studying fashion? If anyone can tell me the title, they’ll get 5 personalized haikus written by yours truly. Just leave your spot-on answer or nice-try guess in the comments.
Admission: I know Julia because she was BFF with my kid sister when they were in like 2nd and 3rd grade. I would babysit the two of them. The fact that she, and my kid sis obvs, are old enough to be intelligent, dynamic women in their own right makes me feel kind of old. Hi Girls.
After all, Project Runway’s MO is often “make clothes from shit that would never normally be used to make clothes.” But this is reality vs. Reality TV, which we all know are two very different things.;-)