January 28, 2013

You *Can* Juggle It All

Happy Monday! Is this it? Is this the week you're finally going to get your shit together?

vintage children's sweater from Etsy // Opening Ceremony skirt // shoes from eBay  
Me neither. Not really. Not totally. But I've made peace with that. I didn't want to do an uppity New Years post until I got a grip on what it is exactly that's going to change this year. I don't make resolutions (I don't articulate them anyway), but I always do my spring cleaning in January. I organized my desk (there are no drawers, so keeping everything neat is paramount), got rid of a bunch of clothes, bought myself some new ones, and came up with a little system to help me balance school and freelance work and blog stuff. If I started selling my nicer things here and there on the blog, would that interest you? I'm always on the verge of starting an Etsy shop, but it would really just be to help clear out my personal wardrobe and pass on the occasional Super Find—you know,that piece you come across in a thrift store that's maybe not your size or style, but you know someone out there would die to have it? I really like those...

January 25, 2013

Bars n' Stripes

I've been having a bit of pant trouble. The rest of the world seems to go about their day in pants like it's nothing at all, but the act of covering up my prized coltish gams is throwing me off. No fear, though. I shall force Pants to become friends with me if it's the last thing I do.

blouse, jacket, and shoes - thrifted vintage // pants - Forever21 // purse - H&M
I bought two pairs of pants over the holidays; vintage wide-leg Navy pants, and these sort of pajammy-looking things from Forever 21, the mecca of the but-its-only-twenty-dollars impulse purchase. I like them a lot, but I'm new to this whole trouser game, and styling proper pants isn't as mindless as styling skinny black jeans: they're just like wearing black tights, n'est pas?

On this day I was channeling the little old Chinese ladies I see bustling around Chinatown. Their wheeled carts are always brimming with raw ingredients for foreign culinary delights; tubers and protuberances that I couldn't even begin to pronounce, let alone cook with. Add a plastic visor and about eighteen grocery bags and I'd blend right in...! Hmmm. Now I'm overthinking it. Next time I'll just throw on a big sweater and call it a day.

January 21, 2013

Inspiration: Toilet Paper

These images are all from artist Maurizio Cattelan's beautiful art magazine Toilet Paper. There is no text, and no context; each issue is just page after page of carefully composed, often surreal photographs made in collaboration with photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. They're not "fashion images" per se, but somehow they make me psyched about getting dressed. The grainy, saturated colors and weird subject matter put me in a whirlwind, stream-of-consciousness inspiration mode which got me thinking about how ideas and values get manifested and coded into our daily, physical lives.

I caught up on a lot of reading over the holidays, including a second pass at Dick Hebdige's Subculture: The Meaning of Style. It's a short but dense book that uses the sartorial origins of punk as a foundation for talking about subcultures in general—how visual codes of dress seek to either naturalize or expose broader social mores. Take the safety pin: an ingenious gadget of domestic utility, its prescribed function of fastening diapers made it a symbol of homemaking, child-rearing, and domesticity. But it has since gone through a cycle of subcultural appropriation by punk, followed by re-incorporation into a parent culture that has commodified this new meaning of the pin and sold back to teens as "punk". I saw a baby tee at TJ Maxx recently with a huge, glittery pink silkscreen print of a safety pin on the front. The significance of the safety pin as a symbol of punk ethos is so strong (albeit empty) that you don't even need the symbol itself to evoke it, just a picture of it.  RIVETING STUFF. I'm serious.

Of course I don't think moi dresses herself with the normative references and sartorial cues in mind, but the discrepancy between what my clothes signify to me and what they signify to others is always amusing. As a teenager I took most of my cues from books, dressing like what I imagined a particular character to look like, or attempting to channel the hackneyed sensuality of the Sexy Librarian (I don't know where this archetype came from. I'm sitting in a library right now and neither staff nor patrons are coming close, least of all yours truly). Now I'm wary of consciously dressing to mimic the aesthetic of a particular book or movie, because books and movies are carefully crafted totalities, and I am just one lady out there in the world arranging swaths of fabric over my torn up body.

Looking at and engaging with art has certainly had an impact on the way I dress, but in an oblique way.  Art people tend to consist of drapey black things and New Balances, and I like to wear colorful graphic things. I don't flout the codes of my tribe enough to ever really stick out, but I'm into a lot of stuff—art, fashion, swing dancing, stand up comedy—and slipping into the uniform of any social set is something I consciously avoid. The attitude always carries the risk of antagonism, a grumpy little subculture of one, but I would like to think that attitude begins and ends with my clothes.

I still try my best to be a sweetie pie wherever I go.

These photos are abstracted manifestations of the concepts of my ideal sartorial self— graphic, colorful, a bit perverse, funny, and whimsical but not na├»ve. What kind of weird shit makes you excited about getting dressed?

January 11, 2013

Pale Monster

shoes, jumper - vintage via Etsy // blouse and coat - vintage, thrifted
Four weeks in SoCal have flown by! The mister and I are spending the day packing up, figuring out what we can cram back into our suitcases and what must be mailed back to our tiny apartment in Oakland. I'm also in the middle of dyeing my hair blue. So we'll see how that goes. We took some quick snaps in front of my parents' the other day, me determined to shoot in the full sunlight because I love how bold and sharp the colors come out even though all that Sharp Boldness probably burned my retinas into oblivion. I'm wearing just a couple of the many treats I thrifted this time around—an acid-hued 70s blouse and ridiculous fuzzy blue club kid jacket that I have been wearing nonstop. I think I actually think that it goes with everything in my closet, and by god do NOT make me prove it to you.

January 6, 2013

Field Trip: Getty Villa

vintage cardigan, purse, and sweater // barely visible pixie market skirt
Big ups to my mother for trying to corral her family together for some cultural enlightenment, but she was unfortunately blessed with three radically different children: an MMA fighter, a IT consultant, and an art critic whose affections for antiquity could be described as tepid at best. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time wandering the grounds, eating a ridiculously bountiful picnic (thanks in no small part to the mister and his homemade batch of scotch eggs) and making ballpark guesses at the cost of maintaining the grounds.

I know this is the time of year when I should be thinking about my fashion resolutions or something. What with teen girls the world over elaborately articulating the evolution of their aesthetic and references—I ask myself, should I be making monthly mood-boards?—I wonder if I'm giving enough thought to my own. Truth is I think too much about clothes as it is, and whenever I'm in want of inspiration, art always provides the best (read: abstract) kind. I'm not a beauty-products expert, but modeling one's visage after the carved spouts of the villa's East Garden Fountain are sure to give you that holy-shit-is that-the-Visigoths-coming-over-the-hill look, perfect for tumbling over a fiscal cliff.

January 1, 2013

A New Year, a New Litany of Crushed Hopes & Dreams

vintage dress // velvet jank heels
Happy New Year! If you're reading this... thank you so much for continuing to patronize this here corner of cyberspace. 2012 was a big year at For Show. I got a "real" camera, met a ton of great ladies, dabbled in vintage selling, and found my voice a little bit. I had a bit of a finding-myself freakout this week, in which I thought about abandoning all of my life goals up until this point and becoming a standup comedian, but I got through it with a clear head and even some great story ideas. Crisis averted.

I'm debuting some new regular features and posts in the coming year—I'm actually making a post calendar this week—so I hope you'll stick around.

Also, how great is my mom for buying me this dress on Etsy for Christmas?