Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Leading Ladies

I always feel a bit like Annie Hall when I wear this suit. I heard a recommendation that smaller women seeking a menswear look should try shopping in the boys department of a department store like Nordstrom. Nordstrom being a bit above my price range, I tried the boys department at Marshall’s and found this suit for only $14!

Because of the masculine cut of the suit, I paired it with a more feminine blouse and accented with delicate dangly gold and pearl earrings and a cameo brooch, and made sure to wear it on a day when I had time to do my hair.

When I took off the jacket today, I felt a little bit like Katherine Hepburn or Marlene Dietrich in the pleated higher waist pants. Pleated pants aren’t generally my thing, but I like stepping out of my comfort zone occasionally and trying something different.

The brooch was given to me recently by my mother. It was a gift from an old boyfriend. She never wanted to wear it after she got married (almost 35 years ago!), but she liked it too much to get rid of it. So a few months ago, she passed it on to me.

work, audition

Suit Jacket and Pants: Young Kings by Steve Harvey
Blouse: Lapis
Shoes: American Eagle
Cameo brooch: vintage from my mother
Earrings: vintage from someone in my family
Belt: Forever XXI (came with a skirt)
Bag: Levenger (gift from my boyfriend)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Which Holiday?

I can’t decide if this color combo reminds me more of a pumpkin at Halloween or of the Catholics and Protestants on St. Patrick’s day.


Jacket: Body by Victoria
Pants: Body by Victoria
Sweater: Moda International
Cami: Bozzolo from Presence
Celtic Cross Necklace: from St.-Martin-in-the-Fields
Earrings: H&M
Shoes: Nine West

Monday, September 28, 2009

dumpster diving (and accidental thrifting)

My neighborhood is not exactly the Upper East Side in terms of the gold mines of home furnishings that can be found on garbage day, but some good stuff can be found in the alleys near the dumpsters. Last fall, I got a stack of paperback novels that someone had thrown out. All stuff by authors I liked!

My boyfriend is much more of a garbage connoisseur than I. He found a collection of expensive-looking drawers that looked like they had been ripped out of someone’s huge custom-built walk-in closet. He took them home and put them in his workshop (he likes to refinish furniture and other home-related projects). He once found a gorgeous piece of marble (or granite??) on top of an old vanity, and pulled it off and took it home.

Today, I saw 2 huge mirrors leaning against a door near some dumpsters. Both were about 6 feet tall, one was 3 feet wide, and the other was a foot and a half. The larger one had a huge zucchini-shaped piece missing from the lower left corner, but the smaller one was in perfect condition. They were near the dumpster, but they were leaning against a wall right next to the back door of Buffalo Exchange. I really wanted the mirrors, but it crossed my mind that maybe Buffalo Exchange had put them outside while moving things around, or in order to fix the broken one. So I went in and asked.

Fortunately for me, the mirrors did not belong to Buffalo Exchange. Someone actually was throwing them away, and they had been sitting out there most of the weekend. Yay! New mirrors for me!

While in Buffalo Exchange, I found a pair of beautiful suede booties, with a wider 2 inch heel (my preferred height). I still had a few dollars in credit but I didn’t have my credit slip with me. I put the booties on hold, hauled the mirrors home (and put a few slices in my hand - ow! - that big one was heavy) and grabbed my credit slip. While I was in my apartment, it occurred to me to pick up some winter stuff that I was looking to sell. Applying my two credit slips, I got the suede booties.

My new suede booties:

My new narrower mirror replacing a busted one near my front door:

My new wider mirror:

The chair mostly hides the missing piece on the larger mirror, but not entirely so I put these feather boas around the mirror to cover what the chair didn’t. I had actually picked up the boas a year ago, to do a craft project with a different broken down mirror I had in my house. The other broken down mirror used to be near my front door (I replaced it with the smaller mirror I picked up today!) and the mirror was in perfect shape, but the frame was busted, so I was going to attach the feather boas to the edge. I never got around to the project, so these boas were available to be added to my new acquisition.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

reading and lawyers and history, oh my!

I recently saw Noopur wear this T-shirt on God Made Me Funky. I immediately fell in love with it, and did a search online to see if the store was still selling it. Eureka! It was still available in only one size – my size! So here I am wearing it.

I love to read. I regularly attend 2 book clubs, and occasionally show up at a few more. I visit the Chicago Public Library often. I am thrilled to live a short walk from Borders. Coffee and books and magazines, all in one place – what an awesome idea!

This is my second reading shirt. The first one I purchased was a “reading is sexy” tee from I saw Rory wearing the shirt on Gilmore Girls. I immediately went searching for my own, and found the exact same tee.

I was at Hackney’s a few nights ago. It used to be my regular neighborhood hangout back when I lived in Printer’s Row. The Printer’s Row Book Fair takes place annually on Dearborn Street, right outside of Hackney’s. Our waitress was wearing a Hackney’s T-shirt that said “Get Lit” from one of the past Book Fairs. The "Get Lit" tee was no longer available for purchase. I know, because I asked.

Lakeview Festival of the Arts

T-shirt: Forever XXI
Jacket: vintage (or from the early 1990’s at the latest; it’s been floating around in my family for a while; maybe it was my mom’s??)
Jeans: Delia’s
Scarf: handmade by my mother
Necklace: St. Thomas More pendant from Westminster Cathedral (the Catholic church in London with the beautifully colored marble columns, not Westminster Abbey, the protestant church in London where all the famous and royal people get married and buried)
Peace Sign Earrings: World Market
Purple Faux-Suede Boots: Wet Seal
Cuff: new from a boutique in Wicker Park

Thank you to my boyfriend for taking today's great photos.

History Lesson (with my ode to reading above, today seems like the day to totally nerd out):

St. Thomas More wrote the book Utopia. He was a lawyer and an advisor to Henry XVIII of England, the king with 6 wives. Henry’s first wife was Catherine of Aragon. Catherine had been married to Henry’s older brother, the crown prince, in order to strengthen the alliance between England and Spain. Henry’s older brother died before ascending to the throne and Henry became the new crown prince.

Catherine and Henry were married to each other to continue Spanish-English alliance building. The Catholic Church does not generally allow a woman to marry her brother-in-law after the death of her husband, so the couple had to get a special dispensation from the Pope in Rome. Approximately 20 years into the marriage, Henry XVIII decided to marry Anne Boleyn. But first, he had to get rid of Catherine somehow.

Henry asked the Pope in Rome to annul his marriage to Catherine on the basis of consanguinity, that they were too closely related b/c Catherine had been Henry’s sister-in-law. The Pope refused to grant the annulment, since Rome had granted Henry and Catherine a special dispensation to marry in the first place. Henry declared the Church of England to be separate from Rome, and named himself as the head of the church. He granted himself the annulment, and married his second wife, Anne Boleyn (who he later beheaded, see the recent moview The Other Boleyn Girl).

St. Thomas More never approved of the Church of England's split from Rome, and he refused to swear allegiance to Henry XVIII as the head of the church, over the Pope in Rome. Thomas was imprisoned for this, and eventually executed. A Man for All Seasons, the winner of the 1967 academy award for best picture, is about St. Thomas More. He is the Catholic patron saint of lawyers. I got this pendant while studying abroad in London during law school.

Caveat: The facts in this history lesson come from my memory. If you're interested in the above story, please independently verify the facts before relying upon them.

Small print, part two: With a discussion of religion and lawyers, I really felt that I should put some small print at the bottom of this page. It just seemed fitting.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pretty in Plaid

This jacket is one of my recent thrift finds. The buttons are fabric covered. The fabric covering had fallen off the top button and just the plastic shell was left, so I cut it off. I like the look of the two remaining fabric buttons, so I wore it with just the two buttons, but I was constantly adjusting it. The third button is necessary for it to lay right and stay in place. So I'll have to replace the buttons.


Jacket: (thrifted)
T-shirt: Wet Seal
Skirt: Moda International
Tights: ??
Boots: Moda Italia (thrifted)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fashion as Art

I went to the Art Institute after work. I fell in love with the wood block prints by Ito Shinsui. The landscapes were nice enough, but I was really blown away by the Beautiful Women series. I was drawn to the striking blues and reds, the detailed representations of the fabrics, and the expressions on the women’s faces. While admiring the prints, I recalled a recent topic that Sally and Andrea addressed on their blogs, reacting to judgment from others who believe an interest in fashion is shallow. I began to think about that while taking in the prints.

After I left the Shinsui exhibit, I admired some turquoise and coral 19th Century Mongolian jewelry, and continued to think about the issues raised by Sally and Andrea. Then I moved on to the modern wing and viewed the Cy Twombly exhibit. In the last room of the Twombly gallery, there were two stunning 18 ft yellow and red paintings of peonies. Written on each of the canvases was the poem:

AH! The peonies
For which
Took off his Armour

The poem references a (14th century??) warrior, who was stopped short by the beauty of a field of peonies, and went from warrior to pacifist while in the presence of the natural beauty of the field of peonies.

Beauty is in nature. Beauty is in art. Both have ugly sides as well. The ugly and the beautiful can inspire awe, reflection or provide tranquility. Art can be puzzling. Sometimes it seems to be nothing more than a pretty picture. Occasionally, the artist’s point of view comes through clearly. To me, that is powerful art.

I enjoy fashion in the same way I enjoy other works of art. The body is the canvas, and the clothes are the ink. The person wearing the clothes is the artist, who uses colors, textures, and shapes to express his or her vision and point of view. The result can be beautiful, or ugly, and just plain bland. Occasionally, the point of view is expressed loud and clear. Other times the viewers are left wondering. Each artist has a distinctive style, some sticking close to their established aesthetic, while others demonstrate more variety.

Is fashion frivolous? Is art? Dance? Music? Literature? Beauty in nature? Or are these worthy things to appreciate and enjoy?

work, Art Institute, dinner and drinks

Jacket: from Filene’s Basement
Cami: from JC Penney
Skirt: from a little wool shop in London selling all English wool
Onyx Cross: from Portobello Market, hung on an itty bitty skinny leather belt that came with a pair of pants I no longer own
Onyx Ring: my law school class ring, can you see the little silver scales of justice on the stone?
Earrings: vintage
Back-seam Tights: H&M
Shoes: Ann Taylor LOFT (thrifted)

Here are some of my favorite Ito Shinsui prints from last night.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coffee Break

We had an evacuation drill at work today. I walked down the street, got a mocha and took some pictures (with some assistance; thank you to my good sport of a photographer).

A college friend was in town visiting me this past weekend. I had a great time with her. We spent part of the weekend shopping, mostly in the Loop and Wicker Park. I got this bag at TJ Maxx. I mentioned to my friend that I was looking for a black work bag, and she spotted this. I got this cameo necklace (free!) at Buffalo Exchange. Okay, it wasn’t exactly free. I had credit left over from the last time I sold stuff. It completely covered the cost of the necklace, and I still have some credit left.

This skirt was part of my thrifting haul in August. This is my second time wearing it. Last time I accented with sandals and white summery accessories. This time, the darker accessorizing is more fitting for fall. Predictably for me, I wore a green top both times. I’ll have to try the skirt with a different color next time. Maybe burgundy or mustard.

These textured tights were a pleasant surprise. I found them at the back of the drawer this morning. I purchased them several years ago, along with a cream pair in the same texture. I had no idea that I still owned them. They may possibly be ten years old or older.


Blouse: Express
Cami: Wet Seal
Skirt: American Eagle Outfitters (thrifted)
Textured Tights: mine from ???
Shoes: Ann Taylor LOFT (thrifted)
Earrings: ???
Belt: ???
Cameo Necklace: thrifted
Bag: from TJ Maxx

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not Quite Twins Again

Last time I wore this pink-and-white-striped shirt, I paired it with a gray vest and pants. The same day, my boyfriend wore his pink-and-white-striped button down shirt with a gray vest and pants. I almost warned him that I was wearing this today so we wouldn't be dressed the same again, but I figured, what are the chances? Well, I should have followed my instincts because he wore his pink-and-white-striped button down shirt again today too. At least this time we didn't look as much alike, with me wearing a grey skirt and him wearing a black suit.


Blouse: Express
Skirt: Bebe
Tights: H&M
Shoes: Ann Taylor LOFT (thrifted)
Silver Hoop Earrings: gift

Friday, September 18, 2009

Never Say Never

I just commented on Angie’s blog a few days ago that I prefer double breasted jackets closed rather than open, and here I am wearing an open double breasted jacket! I planned to wear this jacket buttoned, and I prefer it that way, but it didn’t look good with the outfit. I was in the process of taking it off to replace it with a different jacket, but while unbuttoning it, I noticed that the outfit actually looked good with the jacket unbuttoned. So I left it that way.

work, out to dinner with my best college girlfriend who is visiting from NYC, then out for drinks with my boyfriend and my friend

Jacket: Express
Long Sleeve T-shirt: Forever XXI (thrifted, $2)
Skirt: Express
Tights: H&M
Boots: Moda Italia (thrifted, $4)
Earrings: mine from the early '90's
Silver Chain: vintage from my mother
Celtic Cross Necklace: from St.-Martin-in-the-Fields
Bag: Marc Jacobs (thrifted, $12)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Orange Crush

Tonight the Joffrey Ballet gave a free performance at the Pritzker Pavillion, the outdoor theatre in Millenium Park. Usually I would dress up for the ballet, but given that (1) the performance was free, (2) it was outdoors, and (3) the evening was cooler, bordering on chilly, I decided to go with comfy and warm. It was a good show. Always is. I have never been disappointed with a Joffrey performance.

Thank you to my boyfriend for taking my pictures tonight.

Joffrey Ballet performance in Millenium Park

Orange Crush T-shirt: Junk Food (thrifted)
Green Long Sleeve T-shirt: Gap
Sweater: from Filene’s Basement
Jeans: Delia’s
Shoes: Converse, with wide laces from Strange Cargo
Necklace: World Market
Peace Sign Earrings: World Market

Please disregard the tag sticking out.

Pink and Orange Plaid

I love this backpack. I love the suede and the color and the style. I often get compliments on it. I got it at the beginning of law school (eight years ago! eek!), and I used it to lug around my laptop and big heavy law textbooks. After graduation, I continued to use it to carry clothes for dance class and shows, to go away for the weekend, and sometimes as my personal item for plane trips. It’s held up exceptionally well and it’s still going strong. I generally try to carry a smaller bag for work, but if I have a lot of things to haul around, this is my go-to bag.

The shoes are one of my newly thrifted items from Monday.


Jacket: Toy Box, $5 from Filene’s Basement
Long Sleeve T-shirt: H&M, also $5
Pants: Express
Shoes: Nine & Company (thrifted, $4)
Necklace: World Market
White Hoop Earrings: Aldo
Backpack: Wilson's Leather

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


This vest is one of my favorite vintage pieces. I've had it for years and have worn it casually and formally, on its own and over blouses, camis, tanks, tees, turtlenecks, dresses and who knows what else. It was originally part of a three piece suit, but the cut of the pants and the jacket collar were too seventies-looking for my taste.

The blouse was a thrift store find from my trip to Pennsylvania in July. It was only 50 cents.


Blouse: thrifted for 50 cents
Vest: vintage from my mom
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Newport News
Diamond Stud Earrings: graduation gift from my parents
Josephine Baker pin:
Weener Ware

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three Bows

I wanted to wear one of my newly thifted belts today that matched my blouse, but my pants hit near my hip bone, and the belt is only big enough to go around my waist, not my hips. So I fell back on this Old Navy beaded black velvetly tie belt that came with a pair of black jeans that I don't even own any more.


Suit Jacket: Express
Cropped Pants: Express
Tie Blouse: Lapis
Belt: Old Navy (came with a pair of jeans)
Thigh-high Socks: H&M
Shoes: Nine West
Earrings: H&M

Big Bow Headband: H&M

Monday, September 14, 2009

Forgetful and Thrifting

I forgot to actually take a picture of my outfit today! I was a bit repetetive, and wore the exact same skirt, shoes, and earrings as yesterday, but I had on a yellow tee shirt and a cream cable cardigan sweater, and I wanted to get a picture of the pretty colors. Oh well.

I went thrifting this afternoon, on half-price Monday. For $22, I got 3 jackets, 1 skirt, 3 belts, a pair of shoes, and a Christmas coffee mug.

Here are my new clothing items from today and yesterday:

Yellow Silk Dana Buchman Jacket

Wool Luca Luca Jacket

Cute Plaid Jacket with Fringe and Pink Trim (colors are a bit washed out in this photo)

Fun Polka Dot Skirt with Tulle at the bottom and Three New Belts

Green Shoes with Reasonable Heel Height

Black and White Vintage Dress that I got at the Renegade Craft Fair yesterday