Tag Archives: fashion

I love Vera Wang

I used to think “elegant wedding gowns” when I heard the name of designer Vera Wang. And with good reason, because that’s what her design group is known for.

But after seeing the designer and her staff featured in the Wall Street Journal’s  weekly “Work Wear” column, I now think “great professional clothing.” They don’t just design it; they wear it.

The photos accompanying the article show Wang and her staff in beautiful tones of olive and beige worn with black basics — many of the fabrics interestingly textured knits, wools, heavy cottons, and mesh. In short, they were wearing classic mix-and-match elements that would make a great wardrobe for urban professionals of all ages.

Shoes: They’re Simple. No, they’re not.

Simple sneakersI’ve been looking for the past five years for great pair of fashion sneakers. Something I could wear with jeans and casual clothes — without leaving the impression that I’d been in the midst of cleaning my garage.

I didn’t want the puffy white marshmallow-type track shoes I associate with soccer moms at Jazzercise class.

But I found that a lot of the contemporary “retro” sneakers had even less arch support than the cheap canvas Keds they are suppose to evoke.

A few weeks ago I was visiting my favorite fashion blog, Fashion for Nerds, when I spotted the perfect pair of sneakers. The blog lists all the items shown in the photos, and the sharp black and white sneakers (with grey ribbon laces) were “Simple.”

Indeed, it was simple to find them. But I was horrified to discovered that the eco-conscious Santa Barbara, CA, company that made Simple sneakers closed recently and all that are left of these beautiful and comfortable fashion shoes are a few size 5s on Zappos.com.

Ebay to the rescue!

It took only three days on eBay for me to find Simple sneakers in my size (I held out for the black-and-white ones with the grey ribbon laces). They arrived, they fit, and I spent all last weekend racing around a convention in them. Yesterday I walked a few miles through town, and my feet felt great.

Yes, I’ll be hunting for a second pair of them.

Fashion trends: Winter 2011

I know that any appropriateness of the season’s fashion to the season’s weather is purely accidental, but this winter in Seattle the clothes actually make sense.

I attended a technology conference last month and stood in the registration line with two or three hundred professional women ranging in age from the mid 20s to the late 50s. I saw exactly three women wearing skirts and maybe two dozen  wearing shoes that were not boots. A few of the shoe wearers had some kind of flirty dressy shoes; the others were wearing urban-style athletic shoes.

The uniform was clearly boots and jeans.

Riding boots

Not only were boots ubiquitous, but most of them were low-heeled riding boots (ranging from English style riding boots to Frye/Harley style “engineer” boots). Talk about comfortable and attractive!

Skinny jeans

I’m rather sorry to say goodbye to boot-cut jeans, but there’s no question about it: skinny jeans are back, and there are styles that flatter even non-skinny people. More good news is that the show-the-crack hip huggers with rips all over them are  gone, replaced by a “just below the waist” contemporary fit jeans in dark denim — a look that works for most shapes and sizes.

Sweaters and scarves with complex personality

The relatively conservative boots and pants are set off by sweaters in interesting knits and colors — the chunky, bulky, complex knits are a departure from the figure hugging cashmere of recent seasons, and definitely look either handmade or handmade-like.

Long ethnic scarves are still the thing, but this year’s variation on the theme subtle. Instead of felted wool and nubbly brocades, the new materials are a bit limper, made of cotton/hemp gauze or rich wools with steampunkish paisley designs.

Sweater, scarf, skinny jeans (photo: Sundance Catalog)

Enjoy it!

So, enjoy a season of warm, comfortable boots, flattering jeans, and fun colorful sweaters and scarves. It may be years before we see anything this sensible again.

Sad to say, it took me nearly an hour to find an image of a woman wearing this style you see every day on the streets of Seattle. All of Nordstrom’s jeans were shown with stiletto “hooker” heels. Bleh. I had to go to the Sundance catalog to get something close to the Seattle look. So excuse the snow and the lack of a messenger bag!

Cup of Brown Joy

If you like tea or steampunk, you’ll like this Prof. Elemental video “Cup of Brown Joy,” beautifully presented on Vimeo (below). If not, you’ll just be confused.

You can downloaded Prof. Elemental’s album “The Indifference Engine” from iTunes. It has a jazzy remix of “Cup of Brown Joy,” plus “Fighting Trousers,” the soundtrack of a video of the same name that he made as a challenge another “chap hopper,” Mr. B. The Gentleman Rhymer.

It’s all explained here.

You can purchased the track to the original “Cup of Brown Joy” directly from Prof. Elemental’s site. He accepts PayPal, which he acknowledges with this email response:

“Thanks everso for your purchase. I promise that the proceeds will be spent on scones and fine hats.”


Elemental – Cup Of Brown Joy from Moog on Vimeo.

>Boo, hiss, Eddie Bauer

>I’m frittering away my weekend returning t-shirts to Eddie Bauer. The “petite” versions of two of their t-shirts reveal not just too much cleavage — they reveal my bra, all the way down to the band at the bottom.

No, these aren’t “layering” shirts, cut low for a tank top underneath. They look fine on the models in the catalog. The problem seems to be that Eddie Bauer thinks “petite” means shorter length at the bottom, not shorter proportions throughout. Bleh.
Fortunately, the Gap — not known for their modest cuts of clothing — has V-neck t-shirt in petites that don’t have this problem. I don’t find Gap clothes to be as durable as Eddie Bauer items, but at least I can wear them in public!

>The difference between indecent and charming

>80 years, apparently.

According to costume historian James Laver, there is a timeline of fashion. It dictates, among other things, that something considered “indecent” is usually 10 years before its time, while something “charming” is 70 years after its time (having passed through smart, dowdy, hideous, ridiculous, amusing, and quaint to get there).

I’d argue that the timeline is becoming accelerated. Fashions of the 1960s were back in for most of the first decade of the 21st century, having made it from “daring” and “smart” to “charming” in a mere 40 years.

Late-Victorian/Steampunk, however is right on schedule at about 120 years.

Thanks to Teresa at Making Light for pointing me to Laver’s timeline at Fashion-era.com.

>Paris fashion finds steampunk

>The article in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal is titled “Paris Finds Its Comfort Zone,” but just take a look at the pictures and you’ll see that what it’s found is…steampunk.

Duster coats that wouldn’t look out of place on Sherlock Holmes; Alice in Wonderland “Mat Hatter” top hats in brown and burgundy; and lace blouses right out of a Goth girl’s closet?

You tell me.