Here are some of the month's highlights. Stay tuned for even more fun in April!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Even though one of them is fictional, the three women that come to your mind first, when I mention women who look sexy in menswear, are probably Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Annie Hall. You may also have thought of Lady Gaga, but I don't mean women in drag; I mean women who look like the sexy women that they are while wearing a suit.
It's a testament to her style that Annie Hall can hold her own next to such icons as Dietrich and Hepburn. And it's a testament to Diane Keaton, because, after all, there's a lot of Keaton in Hall.
Like last month's Fictional Fashion Icon, Alex from Flashdance, Annie Hall has had a huge influence on fashion, and Annie's almost timeless style remains relevant decades after it first made a splash. Her neutral color palette, baggy-and-cinched silhouettes, and whimsically sexy take on menswear continues to inspire generation after generation of fashion-loving movie viewers.
Yes, the late '70s was a magical time for fashion, and almost everyone looked pretty awesome -- I mean, Woody Allen's outfits in the film are pretty fantastic too -- but Annie's style is a cut above you average '70s-chic ensemble. She has a unique point of view and she's not afraid to dress differently than everyone else.
And it's her signature pieces that endure: her vests, her wide-brimed hats, her scarves, her amber-tinted glasses, and the way she layers spaghetti-strap camisoles and dresses over t-shirts.
Monday, March 26, 2012
I've been dead set on the idea of having a Mad Men party for a while now. I wanted to invite people to get dressed up, and I wanted to make a slew of kitschy, retro food. I knew that the looooooong-anticipate season 5 premiere was a thing worth celebrating, so I invited friends to come over Saturday night ("Premiere Eve") to revisit the season 4 finale in preparation.
I did have fun planning the menu, and I got more use out of the vintage mold I use for cranberry sauce. I started cooking early in the day with an apron thrown over my slip; I felt very '60s housewife-y. There was punch and a small drink-making station, and everyone dressed up. I hung up vintage ads and decorated the table with a typewriter and polaroid camera from the period. I had a lot of fun planning, and I think we all had a great time celebrating.
If you feel inspired, and want to have your own Mad Men party, might I suggest the season finale as a good time. Though, it's really always a good time to throw on a vintage dress and start wrapping chicken livers in bacon.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
I spent yesterday afternoon reading in the park. It's so hot that I already have to seek shade to protect my skin. The weather this year has just been too weird.
I love this dress because it's simple and feminine but with a few surprises, like the mismatched floral patterns, the tie in the back, and the humongous pockets in the sides. It's the perfect thing to wear on a hot day, because the light cotton breaths and it cut makes it fall away from the body.
Mixed floral dress - H&M Garden Collection (two years ago I think)
Gladiator sandals - Target
Baroque sunglasses - Prada
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I've never exactly thought of purple as a favorite color of mine, but then I noticed so many places in my life where I'd chosen it, like the lovely Anthropologie quilt on our bed and the satin comforter I had on my bed in high school and college. Or the velvet throw pillow on our couch, or the "Lilacism" nail polish by Essie that I love so dearly.
Maybe I've resisted the idea of myself as a "purple person" (that is, a person who likes purple, not a person who is purple) because I've always thought of purple as being next to pink in terms of colors girls are supposed to like. More on our culture's complicated relationship with pink here.
Purple is again one of those colors that men, in general aren't supposed to like. But, purple has such a rich history and so many varied associations, we really shouldn't sell it short.
Positive purple associations and/or fun facts are as follows...
01. The most regal of all colors, purple is still associated with royalty because it used to be a shade that only royals wore. Why? It was such a difficult color to produce in the days before synthetic dye, that purple garments were very, very expensive. As such, royals wore purple along with jewels and precious metals to show off their wealth, grandeur, and power.
02. Purple represents "Spirit" on the LGBT flag. That's why every October 20th people show their support of LGBT youth by wearing purple on Spirit Day. Here's what I wore this past Spirit Day.
03. Painters will tell you that, although they look gray, shadows are actually a shade of purple. It makes sense because sunlight is vaguely yellow and the opposite of yellow is purple. Pretty cool, right? Does it make you think shadows are prettier now? I hope so, though I love the color gray as well; it's so soft and makes me think of clouds and stones. Also, would you guess that this dress is actually purple, even though it looks fairly gray?
04. Cincinnati has a "Purple People Bridge," a pedestrian-only bridge in a pretty shade of lavender that crosses the Ohio River into Newport, Kentucky.
05. J. K. Rowling wrote in Pottermore that "Wizards at large in the Muggle community may reveal themselves to each other by wearing the colours of purple and green, often in combination." Long before this little tidbit of Harry-Potter-universe knowledge surfaced, I'd been obsessed with this particular color combination, painting the walls in my bedroom green and accenting them with the aforementioned purple satin comforter. Later, I discovered that my aunt and cousin were also obsessed with the color combination and had decorated several rooms in their house with a green and purple color scheme. My mother is also mad about purple and green together. Maybe we are all magic at heart and don't even know it. Here's a purple and green outfit I wore recently. I wonder if any passing wizards thought I was one of them. ;)
06. In the poem "Warning," Jenny Joseph warns the reader that, "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple / With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me. The poem (which you can read it its entirety here -- and really should, as it's hilarious and lovely) inspired The Red Hat Society, that ladies club you sometimes see lunching together always clad in purple dresses and red hats.
07. Gogol Bordello likes to play their song "Start Wearing Purple" (see below), which is a bit of a reference to Jenny Joseph's poem, to kickoff their shows. It's a way to introduce themselves as something unusual and to invite the audience to join them in their silliness, if only for one night. When they say, "start wearing purple," they mean, "start acting crazy."
08. The book "The Color Purple" gets its title from a bit of philosophy the character Shug shares: "I think it pisses God off when you walk past the color purple in a field and don't notice it."
It's a funny thought that such a thing would "piss God off," but then, purple is such a magical thing, maybe we should make sure to notice it every time we pass it in a field.
I mean, wow! One color that represents royalty and magic, mischievousness in old age and the indestructible spirit of LGBT youth. Is there any color better prepared to handle with grace and humor whatever associations society throws at it?
Without further ado (I mean, that was a lot of ado -- not that purple doesn't deserve such a spotlight), here are some of the ways I've worn purple lately. As usual, you can click any image to bring up the full outfit post. Here's your soundtrack...