Send Me a Postcard…

…from Black Rock City.

See, I won’t be going this year. I know. It stinks.

This is me on the playa circa 2008. Or 2007. I wore that thing both years, so... The "bathing costume" is vintage, bubble gum pink. The boots have fringe and a cowboy heel and silver bling you can't see. Those glasses started out NEON pink and they folded up into a tiny, easy-to-tote cube. I miss them so! PS How is Tacate is like sex in a canoe?1

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.

Light up LED hair clips by Blue Moon Designs in Oakland. $20. Battery included. Yes, I said "included."

Blue Moon Designs is Oaklander Katherine Becvar. She made those rad flowers for your hair. She also makes these uber-cool and -useful utility or pocket belts.

I think this one is my favorite. Black courderoy and tapestry pocket belt with bustle. $125.

Seriously, though. There are light-up clothes for christssake. It’s Burning Man-designed.

Because sometimes the real-world logic of a clock's geography is lost (no pun intended). Just know, say, your camp is SOUTH of the Man. Isn't that easier? Wait it's just me? Oh. Well. "Sail Away" compass necklace by Brash Lady Inc. $25.

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.

By way of additional proof: this "Darkness Fades" (working) hourglass necklace. $20 ON SALE. So I kind of love how most everyone only has the vaguest idea what time it is on the playa. But, be dead honest, how awesome would it be to time shit Dark Ages style?

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!!

See what I mean? Classic Pearl Millionaire Kreamsters. $45.

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.

See, for example, here I'm wearing an amazing black and white, graphic ballgown. We're at a Denny's in Reno, on our way back from the Burn. What of it?

FIN

1. Answer: It’s fucking close to water. (Thanks Heidikins!)
2. Or better yet, send me pictures.

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Style U to Style You: Accent, Accessorize, Adorn

I’ve been asked in the past, specifically and most recently by the immeasurably talented and increasingly stylish Annie Bacon, to impart some style tips upon my dozens! of readers.

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.

The simplest outfits benefit from major bling. Your favorite jeans from high school (which you refuse to throw out because, hello, you've had them since HIGH SCHOOL) and your lover's ratty undershirt (that you wear because it smells like him) are suddenly smoking with select accessories. P.S. Doesn't that necklace remind you of Sasha Tierney's stuff? Also I love anything with scarab beetles.

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.

No joke, I saved this image (months ago) as korsfa10theonlywaytomakekhakiscool.jpg

So, yeah.

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.

This idea for jewelry display comes courtesy of Real Simple magazine. While awesome, you also can't go wrong with simple hooks or a checkerboard of nails in the wall. I love hooks.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Belts! They’re not just for holding your pants up. In fact, I’m pretty convinced they have naught to with that.
  5. 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.

Cupcakes and Cashmere screwed decorative knobs into her bathroom wall. Google DIY jewelry display for a crapload more ideas.

La Marinière

Known en anglais as the Breton sweater (after the French province of Brittany), la marinière is as French as baguette.

"Bah, ouais, allez-y…Moi aussi, j'aime le pull chameau avec la mariniere. Merci…Et bien sur c'est cashmere." Image via jakandjil.com/blog.

Or fois gras, maybe.

Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

As ohh-la-la as triple-crème brie. Or BB elle-meme.

It’s as Gallic as chain-smoking and existentialism.

It's said that this distinct, defined, and uniform design--these navy and white stripes--was chosen for its visibility amidst the choppy, murky sea, allowing for overboard young men to be spotted and hopefully plucked from their untimely, watery deaths. Image via TheSartorialist.blogspot.com.

Originally created 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 utiliarian uniform was adopted and adapted by Coco Chanel (above) in the early 20th century. Oft-repeated iterations by Gaultier and Galliano keep this look in the lexicon. As does the fact that every woman in France owns several versions. (P.S. Ain't Cooc's chien fantastic? Photo via Paperblog.fr)

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.

This adorable photo also tickles me to no end.

And of course Breton stripes are things that continue to pop up and prance down the runways.

For Spring 2010, Basso & Brooke offered up several allusive looks. This one is my favorite.

Peter Som sent this number down the runway for Spring, which basically proves incontrovertibly that stripes are the best of the prints to engage in mixology.

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.

I'll leave you with one final fashion image: Moschino sent this look down the runway for Fall 2010. Long leather gloves! Sunglasses! Cowboy hat! Love.

I Would Buy Myself a Gray Guitar and Play

I didn't love it all, but Alexander Wang did grey great for his Spring 2010 show. Deconstruting the American Jock, all gym wear gone couture, Wang continued to show a panache for smart and cool. Here, I love the unexpectedness of the skirt. I think the top would look kick ass with some high-waisted, black, stovepipe pants and chunky, tan heels.

Sartorially, I have been gravitating frequently to gray these days.

This is arguably the penultimate look from the collection, with those killer shoulders and sleeves, the high point color contrast of neutrals, and a tongue-in-cheek slur against sportswear and high fashion. Socks like that make my knees look weird but I'll take the shoes please.

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.

The color palette here is mostly grays and greys and tan and khaki, laced with red and denim. The knits are sloppy chic and I drool. The black looks at the end of the show were no good to me.

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.

But I keep thinking about this collection as I keep straying to the gray knits every morning. It's a bit odd, but I'd love it right now. It's so Bay Area weather-appropriate and cool.

Finally, I’ve got that rad fur vest that Erin gave me. This is maybe my favorite thing ever.

Calvin Klein is just one of my favorite brands ever. The tailoring and cool simplicity kicks it out of the ballpark again and again. And Francisco Costa can do no wrong in my eyes, so I of course love this line for Spring 2010.

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.

To me it's simple yet interesting, somehow both tailored and voluminous. I love the smoky palette that turns pastel. I love that how ethereal and messy the fabric appears.

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.

Look how the material just suddenly becomes diaphanous. Notice how the crinkles defy gravity. Check out the cool, Asian-inspired shoes.

Plus, gray has always been a favorite color.1 It’s soft or bad-moody, heathered and feathery, cloudy, stormy, smoky and sullen, ash and stone, concrete and cerebellum.

For Spring 2010, Gucci sent out all these amazing hardware splattered dresses and frocks, like this one here. The clothes were all athletic yet sci-fi fantasy.

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

A lot of the great outfits in this collection were white, but this grey monochrome is quite alluring, and I love the idea of a close-cropped, tight throughout suit.

  1. And August and Everything After has always been one of my favorite albums.
  2. Words are so badass.

This is another monochrome look from Frida Gianni that I'm quite taken with. I could done without the all-black looks in this collection, because, well, boring. But the tribal-esque ikat looks were good, and all blue, red, black, and gray. I'll take this coat right now though please. Thank you. Ok, I love you, bye-bye.

Clothes for Social Folk

Remember when I bragged of my love for army/olive green and red?

Well, here’s the proof.

Here I am at the Shop Social mixer at the posh W Hotel. Hosted by Chictopia.com and DNA (designers + artists), this event gave me the chance to chat with fellow bloggers and touch base with some great local designers.

I’m wearing:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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*.)
  5. Coincidentally, Hannah B also hand-made that rad, red necklace. Hannha, hannah, hannah.

After I took this get-up to a vaudeville-like, circusy, carnivalesque revue called Hello Folly! at Amnesia in SF. Highly enjoyable, it was a mix of performance art, folk opera, and music. It was also awesome.

It was awesome touching face-to-face base with Alex and Amy and Jenny, seeing Liz again, meeting Jen Jennings of Serial Cultura and Alyssa Nicole, who were all sweet as pie and oh-so talented. These photos come courtesy of Kristine Kirong over at Chictopia. Thank you again Kristine for the wonderful pics.

It was awesome as always to see the Folk Opera. I love you all madly.