What’s in YOUR Bag?


In the realm of “stupid little things that seem to chill me out”, I love nothing more than one of those “What’s in Her Bag?” articles you find in, say, a fashion rag or a Pinterest post.  The heavily styled, yet seemingly random dump of perfectly packaged, curated, and unused status-minded items that people who apparently have their shit together seem to find essential.

I eat this shit up with a  spoon (a spoon covered in old oatmeal and lint.  From my purse).  The marketing is so great.  I fall for it every time.  Olivia Palermo (A woman UK Glam refers to as “irritatingly perfect”) needs Elnet Hairspray and SK-II treatment mask in her purse (a mask??) AS DO I.  Karlie Kloss likes L’Oreal BB Cream? Well that’s so weird because I just realized I do too, Karlie Kloss we have so much in common.

I remember back in 1998 Seventeen dumped out Katie Holmes’ bag and in it, amidst the pink and green Maybelline mascara (this mascara is the WORST by the way.  I don’t know why people keep featuring it in “What’s in your bag?” articles and Best of Lists) and the Kiehls Number 1 lip balm (that was a real trend item in the 90’s) and Hard Candy nail polish, and probably something quirky like a Blow Pop, and  LOADS OF WB CASH,  was a full bar of Dove soap.

In her bag.

Because of this, I bought so much Dove soap.

I didn’t even watch Dawson’s Creek!  I just love a list.  And items you can buy at a drugstore.  It did not occur to me at the time that Katie Holmes probably does not carry around a full bar of Dove soap in her purse for God’s sake.  Her Mom, however, shops at the J. Crew my sister used to work at so NW Ohio represent!  We Ohio women (as Katie Holmes is by birth) do not, however,  regularly carry around full bars of Dove soap in our bags.

Still, I’ve lived in Chicago for 11 years now so maybe that caught on.  Reminder to text my sisters to ask.

Anyway, as I was cleaning out my OWN bag today (allergy season…the kleenex.  My God.  The Kleenex.)  I thought hmmmm…this is a fucking disaster.

There’s no old timey camera.  No Louis Vuitton. No weird European facial oils.  NO MOZART ARIAS (see above)…
Okay.  There is sheet music.  I have an audition.  But it looks like shit and there’s what I hope is chocolate on it.

There’s no cashmere.  What are you fucking kidding me, cashmere?  I couldn’t keep a piece of paper in decent shape.  CASHMERE?  That shit has to go on my actual person or stay at home.

Is that a whole apple just by itself?  I tried that with a banana once.

Once.

Wait.  In that top one.  Is that…a polaroid of herself?

I kind of respect that.  Very Memento.

There are expensive sunglasses in every one of those examples.  I am not responsible enough for expensive sunglasses.  I spend around $30 because my optometrist said that’s about what you have to spend to get the right sun protection because I have a thing on one of my eyes under the lid that would HORRIFY you.  He told me that he’s only seen it in farmhands and me.  I assured him that I don’t lift things or do any sort of labor at all.

Maybe it’s from hauling around this bag.

(He says it’s from dust.)

MY BAG:

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

SOME of the actual contents of my own bag:

  1.  ALL the tampons.  All of them.  Yeah that’s right super plus.
  2. a map of the New York subway system.  It should be noted I live in Chicago.  I am currently in Chicago.
  3. A used Kleenex with a melted Twix bite in it.  (OH.  Okay so it probably IS chocolate on my sheet music.)
  4. a full thing of the world’s least chic deodorant:  Lady Fucking Mitchum
  5. Ventra card.  NOT, I repeat, NOT an MTA card (although there is a used up one of those too.)
  6. Keys.  Not mine.  My friend’s.  Where are mine?  I don’t know.
  7. Wide tooth comb I bought for camp before fifth grade.  I carry it around because what are the damn odds?
  8. Pen from the Ritz Carlton.  A red herring meant to distract from used kleenexes and super plus tampons. As if someone from the CIA is going to look in my purse and think,”Well, gentlemen.  It looks like we have an interesting character here…”

Other items not pictured because I couldn’t fit them in:

Dr. Scholl’s blister pads because this is real life.
A gris gris bag from New Orleans that my husband bought for me.  A fine tooth comb because volume.
An inhaler
Kleenexes because so many fucking Kleenexes
An umbrella
A hard copy of The Goldfinch that I bet my friend Nick thinks he lost.  Well I have it.  And it’s great.  And there might be chocolate on the cover.
A journal
There SHOULD be a pair of sunglasses.  I have no idea where they went.

What’s the moral here?  I don’t know.  Because I WILL buy something just because Kate Winslet or Lupita Nyong’o has it in her bag.  (Have they done one of those features?  I need to know.) If it was rumored Marilyn carried it around?  Throw ‘er in.  I don’t carry a handbag.  I carry a TRAVEL TOTE.  That’s right my every day bag is a damn weekender.

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Autumn Rhythm – My Search for the Ultimate Fall Perfume


Don’t you think there ought to be a perfume called Autumn Rhythm?
The Bombshell Manual of Style

I do.

I am once again on the hunt for perfume.  This means a few things 1.  I will drop a lot of cash. 2.  I will succumb to perfume press descriptions which I’ve learned are complete bullshit, generally speaking, but nonetheless will reach saturation point where I will feverishly smell any sample that uses words like “honeyed” “spiced” “tonka” or “boozy”.  Full disclosure:  I already hit that point a week ago.  3.  Further, when my husband arrives home he will find me surrounded by samples, blotters, bottles, notebooks, and guides and will say without fail, “It smells like a whore house in here.”  To which I will reply, “A really expensive one.”

Ah, tradition.

Speaking of tradition, we have entered my favorite season of the year. For a few years now, I’ve been searching for my perfect Autumn perfume.  I love perfume and I love Autumn.  It only makes sense that I would want to meld these two loves into one symphonically spiced dream stormcloud that is bathed in fallen leaves, Jack o’Lantern light and atmospheric moodiness.

Now that I’m fully graduated and carrying around a card that says I am an adult…  Aren’t I?  Didn’t we get one of those? Autumn has become more of a leisure season than summer.  It’s my favorite time of year and as such, I feel I should be scented appropriately for it.  Just like I ritually pull my sweaters out of my cedar chest each year, I love the idea of pulling a pretty crystalline bottle of something spiced, boozy, and warm out of a drawer.

I mean, of course, bourbon.

But after THAT, I would like to reach into a second drawer and pull out a perfume that has patiently waited until its “time.”  I want to build a scent memory and limit this particular scent only to September, October and November.  I crave ritual and tradition.

What I want is to wear on my pulse points my ultimate concept of Fall.  For me, each September, October, and November I am sucked into an autumnal bolt of toile fabric frolicking merrily amidst the falling leaves, drinking a cidery cocktail as I wave to hay-riding, football-tossing passersby on their way to a pumpkin patch, having just left an apple orchard where they ate pork chops and traded flannels.  We are all rosy cheeked, good-looking and temporarily freckled.  We will meet up a bonfire that night where we will tell ghost stories, drink hot toddies, and wear cloaks.

Can we bottle this?

I’m not looking for my Fall perfume to be revolutionary or weird.  Nor do I want to smell like a Glade plug-in.  To illustrate by contrast, I like my Winter perfumes to feel like a cozy cashmere blankie scented with vanilla smoke, a  cup of caramelized something or other in my hand.  For Autumn, I want things a bit more outdoorsy– less shelter from the cold, but still warm enough to kick through some leaves.  Slightly dry, but still cozy.   In Summer I love zingy citrus and herbs, cool breezy berries, and white musks.  Spring is all about Iris, for me, but that’s a different post.

Not all perfumes or notes have a seasonal connotation, of course.  Paris by Yves Saint Laurent, for example, is a loud rose.  Roses, to be sure, could be associated with, say, June.  But a tea rose is to Paris as Ru Paul is to a woman.  Fabulous but not real.  This is a rose that showed up via spaceship after aliens caught a glimpse of Alice and Wonderland and the Golden Afternoon.  It is juicy and shouty and I wear it not because I love roses but because it is the smell of hot pink.  Azzarro pour Homme is similarly seasonless in that it smells like the world’s most attractive man and we can all agree that’s a wonderful thing year round, no?

So my quest is specific and has a hypothesis:  Is there a scent, wearable by a human who must occasionally occupy space near other humans, that contains all the atmospheric things I love about fall?

  • cloves
  • pumpkins
  • apples
  • cinnamon
  • squashes and gourds
  • rain
  • leaves
  • color
  • sweaters
  • scary movies
  • caramel
  • brandy
  • Applejack
  • baked goods
  • hay
  • harvestiness (TM – me)
  • books
  • fireplaces
  • bonfires
  • incense
  • candles
  • football (open to interpretation, but surely a little leather and sweat wouldn’t hurt anybody)
  • Gothic fiction
  • Ghosts
  • Witches (in the cauldron dwelling healing wise woman sense, of course)
  • Pencil shavings
  • Unsolved Mysteries

I’m speaking conceptually, of course.  The concept of an apple is far more interesting in the world of perfumery than a literal apple.  I mean, save yourself the $80 and just grab a Granny Smith.  Unless the literal kind of fragrance is your jam, then hithee to a Bath and Body Works.  I’m talking about art and shit.

For each of these aforementioned autumnal concepts, I can offer a perfume-related option:

  • Incense?  Armani Prive Bois D’Encens
  • Pumpkin – Etat Libre D’Orange Like This ( a weird “pumpkin” accord inspired by Tilda Swinton of all people and frankly, it’s too much for me)  I wish the bottle would hiss, “If it’s war Aslan wants, then it is war he shall get!” when you spray it, but that’s neither here nor there.
  • Football – Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Kahn – Rrrrggggllll.  Full disclosure, this perfume smells like leather, musk, and armpits.  Really very expensive well-crafted leather, musk, and armpits.  Between the sheets leather, musk and armpits.  It’s wonderful.  As a former cheerleader, I can tell you that a football bus smells nothing like a high-end French manufactured perfume, even with the armpits.  I only WISH it did.  Rather, it smells like  all the things that glandular adolescent boys smell like including hormones, sweat, and anger.  And not just the present ones, but the total tonnage of all the football players past who also rode this bus year after year, like ghostly hormone-addled, often bloodied and grass-stained masses of testosterone and young masculinity, silently accompanying their successors to and from battle.  An image that’s almost beautiful, if not for the stench.  Throw in 50 Booster-provided sack lunches complete with bologna sandwiches, Doritos, and Twinkies as well as a few liberal and ultimately futile pumps of raspberry-scented body spray from the cheerleader occupied front of the bus and you’ve got a cumulative odor that I will never forget and yet inexplicably miss.
  • Pears – Annick Goutal Petit Cherie.  A charming little scent that is not dark enough for fall.  Yet, if you love pears, this is your girl.  (This particular juice is known to go bad before it’s time, so buy the small bottle.)
  • Witches – Ormonde Jayne Woman.  Witchy, not in the evil green-faced way, but rather the cauldron-dwelling wise woman, beautiful and terrible and lurking behind dark branches and mossy glens.  It’s unlike anything else out there.

But throw all of those together and you smell like an Autumn-themed migraine.

And I want ALL the things.

After going through dozens of samples and bottles, I’ve learned some things, realized  some notes I don’t want in this perfume and I’ve narrowed down my list to the following:

  • Brandy perfume – There is a perfume company called Brandy that produces only one perfume, also called Brandy, that smells like boozy apples and spice.  It’s great.
  • Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka – The most mainstream pick of the bunch.  The bottle is a purple apple covered in gold writing.  The juice is sweet with notes of licorice and fruit, vanilla and booze.
  • Oliban by Keiko Mecheri – Very spicy and autumnal with a big dose of incense.
  • Geisha Rouge by Aroma M – It’s an oil, instead of an EdP.  It’s gorgeous.  It smells like everything I love about the season. I am also fantastically allergic to it, but this has never stopped me in other areas of my life like hayrides, cats, dogs and rolling down grassy hills (which is awesome.)  So Geisha Rouge is NOT OUT YET even though it makes my neck burn.  There IS an EdP formulation which will probably solve the issue.  And yes, I am willing to go into aniphylactic shock for a perfume.
  • Commes des Garcon White by Commes des Garcon – A spectacular cinnamon cedar.
  • Dzonghka by L’Artisan Parfumeur – It smells like woods and tea and dry wonderful things.  It also has this peculiar (and great) note of what Finesse mousse used to smell like in the 80’s.  Like if you soaked a cedar plank in Finesse mousse, while drinking a cup of Earl Grey.  Which might sound, I don’t know, sticky– but it would smell amazing.
  • Ormonde Jayne Woman – Far too fabulous to stay with just “witches”.  I hesitate only because the thought of ONLY wearing it in Autumn saddens me.  Also, it costs a lot of money.
  • Bois de Violette – Serge Lutens.  I once heard this perfume described as “purple.”  This is right on.  I’ve also heard it described as the ultimate “rainy day at the library” perfume.  Also right on.  What’s more autumnal than plummy shades and  rainy days surrounded by books?  Purple is also the traditional color of royalty and so is the price tag on this perfume.  However, the point of luxury is not to calculate all the practical things you could have purchased with the amount you spent.  Rather the point is to enjoy it.  Still, if I do settle on this perfume, I may hyperventilate a bit at the Barney’s counter.
  • Padparadscha by Satellite – It is none of these…and yet all of them.  It’s an amber, which is hardly exciting in the world perfumery but undeniably pleasant.  What it does have is a dose of pepper.  I love pepper.  It is dry, spicy and warm.  Which is exactly how you want to feel in Autumn, as opposed to wet, bland and cold.
  • Voleur de Roses – L’Artisan Parfumeur.  Putting aside the apple and pumpkin spice version of Fall,  this is a mysterious gothic rose.  Wrought iron, thorns and the colors from the Crayola “bold” marker pack.  This is Autumn from the dark corner of a Slytherin party.  There’s patchouli here.  And earth.  Another “purple” scent.  But this time, in deep dark velvet.
  • Botrytis byt Ginestet.  “Botrytis” sounds like some sort of elderly affliction involving swollen ankles and orthopedic shoes.  The perfume, however, is nothing of the sort.  It’s honeyed, spicy.  It’s fruits are boozy.  It feels like a sunny Autumn afternoon.  Even the bottle is topped with a gold leaf.
  • Brigitte by Tocca.  The fruitiest of the nominees, take that as you will.  It’s spicy and gingery with a rhubarb note I dig.  Marketing jargon says it has a “panettone” accord, and that’ just fine with me.  It’s pretty and it’s inspired by Brigitte Bardot.  What’s not to love?
  • 1270 by Frapin.  Frapin is a French cognac maker that has delved into perfumery.  To me, this makes FAR more sense than fashion designers making perfume.  I mean, think about it.  That makes no sense.  Clothes and perfume have NOTHING to do with each other.  In fact, I would argue perfume does better without clothes entirely, but that’s a philosophical discussion. ANyway, Frapin 1270 is a cognac for the skin with many wonderful layers that unfold as you wear it.  It’s lovely and warm and unisex.
  • Black March by CB I Hate Perfume.  Oakmossy and dark without ever venturing into gourmand.  It’s green but in a deep dark woods sort of way.
  • Russian Caravan Tea by CB I Hate Perfume.  The best tea perfume out there, in my opinion.  It’s gorgeous and smoky and sweet.  The only problem is, Will and I will fight over the bottle.  We both love it.

But these are the “newbies”, relatively speaking.  The best age in perfumery was arguably the 50’s through the 70’s when mysore sandalwood wasn’t endangered, Europe wasn’t freaking out about citrus oils and allergens, and perfumers weren’t ruled by cheap executives.    What Autumn is, thematically speaking, is dark, rich, mysterious and textured.  We must look into the perfumes of the past to truly delve into this idea.  Although I must tell you that I have nixed a few of these from my nominees for the Ultimate Fall Perfume, that is purely from a personal point of view.  As a student of perfume, these not only fit the bill, they wrote the book.

  • Cuir de Russe by Chanel.  Although I’ve never had this experience, I am convinced this is how it would smell sitting in the back of a Bentley with a wealthy gentleman who had a drink in his hand, a cigar in his mind, and the window open.  It’s grand.  There is something autumnal about leather, and this is arguably the best leather. Seek ye not the perfume counter for this masterpiece, but get thee to a Chanel storefront.  It is part of their exclusive collection and yes, it is very expensive.  That said, the bottle is very generous.  And truly, you can’t beat the quality.  If you are going to splurge, splurge into this.
  • Mitsouko by Guerlain.  Whereas I would put Shalimar in my “Winter” perfumes, Mitsouko has a drier edge.  Much of the perfume community considers Mitsouko to be the greatest perfume ever created.  It is an acquired taste for some, myself included.  I’ve been “teaching” myself about it for years.
  • L’Heure Bleue by Guerlain This one has a nuttiness to it.  The Bombshell Manual calls this a summer evening scent, and I see their point.  But I raise them L’Heur Bleue’s coziness.
  • Bois Des Iles by Chanel.  Another “brunette” scent.  Probably a classier one, all told.  Bois Des Iles is similar to Ormond Woman in that I dislike the thought of limiting it to Autumn alone. It is incredibly grown up.  Even at 31 I feel like I might be being presumptuous to put it on.  Like high heels when you are 5 years old.  But how much fun are those high heels?  Perfumes: the Guide calls it No 5’s Brunette sister.  And I love that idea.

In truth, the likelihood that I would settle on a singular scent for an entire season is remote.  However, I need some sort of figurehead for the theme.  And if I pick up some flankers on the way, the more the merrier. September feels much different from November and certainly if I was feeling zany, I could find a scent for both the early and warm days and the later cold and grey days.  Halloween opens the door to even further possibilities.  My Ultimate Autumn Perfume will, I hope, encapsulate all those things and more.  If  not, well, it’s just perfume. *wink*

My So Called Style – Fall Wishlist 2011


Angela Chase

Flannel shirt. Check. Ripped jeans. Check. And you guys, I totally married Jordan Catalano.

Or Dillon (90210). I don’t know for sure, but I bet he’d prefer Catalano.

I officially can’t wait for Fall.

Yesterday I posted my inspiration for Fall fashion this year. Never has it been more near and dear to my heart.

The key to a, shall we say….nostalgic look is to have the spirit of the era and yet not so authentic as to the point of costume. Part of the many reasons I count myself a Johnny Depp fan is that he embodies the spirit of the kind of fashion I like. Weird. Slouchy but not sloppy. Sexy. With a sense of humor. And a product of the 90’s. In the best way. He also knows how to rock an arm party (I will detail below). That’s the thing about the 90’s. So much of it isn’t gender specific which is not usually my style. But certain elements rise to the top. The white tshirt. Jeans. A leather jacket. Boots. These are human items of clothing. They are inherently cool. They are also a blank slate. Built for customization, and it is the accessories that define the person and the outfit.

The Spirit of the Season

I would wear this.

Yesterday, I established that Alicia Silverstone/Cher Horowitz is very much a fashion icon for me. As is Johnny Depp, as I said above. Other 90’s style icons include Eddie Vedder. Fairuza Balk. Linda Evangelista. Meg Ryan. Karen Elson. Kate Moss. Lisa Loeb. My So Called Life. Drew Barrymore. 90210.

Love Angela’s layering. Hipster’s dare to dream of Rayanne’s style.

I adore this top. I’m not usually into crochet, but the fit is great.

When I was 11, I thought Jennie Garth was the prettiest girl in the world with the best hair I had ever seen. I continually strived for and failed to achieve this style. The jacket, however, would totally work this year.

While I love Seinfeld, I never got into Elaine’s style. It was a bit too Amish for me. Jennifer Aniston’s look on Friends was a bit too “done,” however I always loved her way with a white tshirt, and her coffee shop outfit, with the black mini and the black tights was adorable. This is another of my fave’s:

This is summery, but I dig it.

The hip hop United Colors of Bennetton thing was also a bit too bright for my palette. It’s funny. While the clothing of the nineties was relaxed, often the hair and makeup was intense, if not severe. Dark lips. Pale matte skin. Thin but dark brows. Slicked back hair. It was the era of grunge. But it was also the era of high glam and the supermodel. Cindy Crawford had the big hair, the perfect makeup.

But let me also say that my 2011 Fall wishlist is not entirely circa 1993. What I am focusing on is iconic, quality items, with some cozy autumn in between. I stopped short of Birkenstocks. 1. More of a summer shoe. 2. I don’t know if I’m THAT nostalgic. Still, having graduated in 1999, you would assume (and would be correct) that a lot of my present wardrobe is already apropos for this fashion season. I did pick up a flannel last year. It was like coming home. My Dad is probably glad I bought this one rather than raiding one from his closet. I have something else I plan on raiding from his closet this year. I’ll let you know when I’ve secured it. Anyway, I have several pairs of ripped jeans, and dammit I love them. Lots of white tshirts, although it’s time for a new one. Such a classic item, but you have to refresh your supply. A denim jacket. Sweater vest. Button downs. Plaid school girl skirt. I am heavily editing my 90’s style for this year. Anything post ’96 feels not right. No ringer tees. No huge jeans (I was never into that in the first place). No baby hair clippies. Oversized is not going to be the fit I’m looking for. Rather, I want to mix proportions.

Aside from the 90’s, the runways were packed with 60’s style. I have cute little kitten heel slingbacks that will do the trick. Lots of shift-ish dresses, a plaid jumper. My black turtleneck. I picked up a pair of perfect black mary janes I can’t wait to wear with fun tights. I also have a pair of Marcia Bradyish plum t-straps. More of an early 70’s look, but it applies. One thing I adore about 60’s style is the fantastic, and highly linear tailoring. So flattering. So chic and dressed up and so very easy! If you throw on a cute a-line shift, and slingbacks, you’re done and you look polished. Being such a child of the 90’s, I very often could use a 60’s spit shine.

Plaid is big this year, with both a 60’s and a 90’s feel. I’m Scottish (and other things) by way of ancestry AND I love the early 90’s. Trust me. I dig some plaid.

The way I come up with my wishlist is a combination of items that really reflect the look I am going for, and also items that I could really use in my wardrobe. My lifestyle calls for lots of different types of outfits. I’m an actor, so I audition a lot. I feel like personal style is a major part of showing who I am. I also work 8-5 in an office in a business dress environment. I see a lot of theatre. I go to Ohio a lot. These are all situations that dictate what I wear. My list is much more unisex than past years. I expect next year it will be lots of feathers and bows and sky high heels. But this year…. without further ado – Here are my edited wishlist/shopping list items for Fall 2011!*

1. Leggings – black full length leggings. Perhaps a heather gray or a navy. Maybe even an olive green.

2. Slouchy sweaters/perhaps a tunic. I am not a tunic fan, in reference to myself, really. However, certain forms of the tunic appeal to me. One in particular is a collared version. It looks like a button down, except it isn’t. I love this shape because it does actually have a shape.  I’ve heard it called a Popover.  I like this. With leggings and maybe riding boots, I think this could be a comfy and cute Saturday outfit. Slouchy sweaters, on the other hand, are all about proportion. I’m looking for very thin knit, with slim arms, and probably and off-shoulder or boat neck neckline. No bulky knits, for the most part. I would even consider a cheery henley neckline. (Makes my boobs look fantastic. Not gonna lie.)

3. Black leather jacket – This was on my list last year. Will has one. I may just borrow. Although a super soft girly one would be awesome.

4. Varsity jacket – I never got one in high school. I will have you know I lettered twice, too. Cheerleading and choir. Guess who majored in theatre?! I didn’t buy one for many reasons, the main being I was too busy dressing like Angela Chase. Also I had recently moved from another school district and old alliances are hard to beat. Anyway. It only took me 16 years since my freshman year to finally give in. I want the Buffy look. Varsity jacket. Leggings. And a ponytail.

5. Doc Marten’s – I never actually owned a pair. My huz has a pair of really kick ass ones I bought for him one of our first Christmases as a couple. Nearly knee high. I can’t decide if I want the boot or the oxford. Probably the boot.

6. Hoops – Hoop earrings are kind of my signature. I get made fun of all the time. You should know they were also Brigitte Bardot’s signature jewelry. You just couldn’t see them under all that hair. They are on the list this year because I would like to shell out for a nicer pair than the Target multipacks I buy every year.

7. Cropped sweater/vest. Per yesterday’s post, I want to mess with proportions this season. Long shirts topped with cropped sweaters feels so dancery and cozy.

8. White shirt – This has been rotting on my list for years now. It’s no fun shopping for this staple. Particularly with my chest. Finding the right top can take forever, and you have to try it on. You can’t order this one. Still, once I secure the wardrobe holy grail, playing with it will make up for the drudgery of finding it. I want an oxford style, regular cuff, white shirt. Broadcloth, or something similar that is slightly thicker than the average blouse. I may peruse the menswear department and then have it tailored on the sides.

9. Straight leg jeans – versatile, cuffable. Ever so slightly slouchy. Dark but not indigo.

10. Ribbed tights – fall colors and jewel tones. Maybe a pair of cream. Only for my brown riding boots, though. I’m going for equestrian, not little girl.

11. Mod A-line dress – I’m picturing short or long sleeved. With tights. Probably solid color.

12. Red or grey low chuck taylors

13. Red Minnetonka moccasins – I have a pair of the classic that I use around the house. I need a pair to wear outside. They are too cute and comfy. Very bombshell in the woods.

14. Bibs – I miss them. I can’t help it. I think they look sexy, if done right. Fortunately for everyone groaning right now, outside the local Tractor Supply in Ohio, I think they are going to be hard to come by.

15. Madewell Plaid Coat – It’s not even available yet. I saw it in a magazine. To quote 90’s icon Wayne Campbell, “It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.”

16. Mad about plaid dress – Donna Ricco is a genius. She does one thing and she does it really well. That thing she does is dresses. And this is one from her line this year.

17. Jersey long sleeved maxi dress – Another item to wear with a cropped sweater. Such a dramatic sillhouette.

18. Maybe a slouchy harness boot or Frye Campus boots – Frye Campus boots in Banana have been on my radar for many a year. Will has harness boots. I’m not looking for a true harness, rather a slouchy piratey looking pair.

19. Arm party. I love tattoos. Just not on me. Rather, I dig an arm party. I have always been a fan of bracelets. Necklaces aren’t really my style, minus a couple special ones. An army party is the equivalent of one bracelet inviting all it’s friends over to play. The key is mix of textures, widths, and metals. I am looking for fun invitees to my fall arm party. I’m thinking hammered metals, bangles, and friendship bracelets. If you look at Rayanne in the above photo, she’s got a tape measure as part of her arm party. Creativity is key, and there are no rules. It’s a party!

20. Chambray shirt. – Fairly deep in color. I like the versions that are available right now. I’m picturing with leggings and also with my plaid kilty skirt.

21. Another flannel – I have one that is yellow and blue. I need one in the red/black/green area. I’m thinking with leggings.

22. Raglan sleeve grey crewneck sweatshirt

23. Brown High Heeled Boots

24. Black ballet flats

25. Day/Play dress(es) – Think Alicia Silverstone in the Amazin’ video. Not tooo hippy dippy. I already have the floral one. Could be worn with leggings?

* I won’t be purchasing all these items. This is just a list of items that would be welcome in my wardrobe.

* The total list has about 50 items on it.  That is true.

Fall Wishlist 2011

All Saints long sleeve dress
$44 – allsaints.com

Ted Baker tee dress
49 – johnlewis.com

Carven long sleeve sweater
58 – theoutnet.com

Reiss shirts blouse
110 – johnlewis.com

James Perse white short sleeve shirt
$50 – jamesperse.com

Aryn Glasser hoody
€179 – conleys.de

J Crew vintage chambray shirt
$98 – jcrew.com

H M studded jacket
30 – hm.com

Levi s romper
$55 – macys.com

Madewell knit legging
$22 – madewell.com

Ribbed stocking
$20 – topshop.com

Madewell knee high heels
$325 – madewell.com

Repetto ballerina shoes
$280 – ssense.com

Steve Madden black heels
$85 – heels.com

POL gold silver earrings
$17 – target.com

G by Guess post earrings
$15 – gbyguess.com

Rhinestone jewelry
$5.99 – tillys.com

Dr. Martens 1460
$120 – zappos.com

Converse All Star Oxfords Shoes
$30 – piperlime.gap.com

SO Striped Varsity Jacket
$20 – kohls.com

Minnetonka Thunderbird Ii
$39 – zappos.com

Happy Rex Manning Day! – Fall Fashion Lookbook 2011


Part One of Fall Fashion 2011 (Tune in later this week for my 2011 Wishlist)

For past Fall Fashion posts:

Fashion 2010

Fashion 2009

Fashion is a huge ocean of which some waves I ride, and some I ride out.  The past couple years definitely had some trends I was into.  While I’m not a huge Mad Men viewer, I don’t mind the sweeping sixties vibe that followed in it’s wake, but with all the benefits of women’s lib already fought and somewhat won.  Still, while I love mid-twentieth century fashion all the way from the 20’s-70’s, the heart and soul of who I am (for better or worse) resides in the years 1991-1995.

I waited patiently for many years.  Sure, fashion hinted, or rather hiccuped in this general direction.  A ripped leg here, a doc marten there.  But now…now the 90’s that I know and love have returned to the fashion world.  Leggings, slouchy sweaters, tartans, doc martens, rugged mixed with classic.   Sure most of the mags are touting 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s fashion but if you look, that’s not exactly what you will see.  That combo, combined with the demands of 21st century lifestyle has ressurected the decade of my style influence, my artistic soul, the 1990’s.

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I am above most things, a movie fan.  This isn’t to imply that the 90’s were influenced by movie fashion.  90’s fashion was almost entirely influenced by the music scene.  What I love about 90’s movie fashion is that it is edited and it is usually not the point at all.  Lucky for me, that equals inherently wearable outfits.

Friends, do you know what I’m getting at here?  Do you know what I’m saying?  I’m saying Cher from Clueless represents everything about this season for me.   I’ve been waiting, dear God, 15 years for this.

Ignore the pouty face, this outfit is one of my favorites from the movie and the essence of what I'm looking for this season. Cropped sweater, button down, plaid skirt, and you can't see them, but she's wearing mary janes.

But let me not get ahead of myself.  Last year, while poodling around in my physical look book (a couple of very messy but inspired binders full of clippings) I sorted out the genres of fashion that I love and that work for me.

  • Classic
  • Dancewear and Dance inspired
  • Bombshell
  • Baroque
  • Bohemian
  • Romantic
  • Glamour

The 1990’s have a solid representation when it comes to Classic, Dance, Baroque, and Bohemian.  I love the Bombshell look and I LOVE Glamour but this year, I’m going back to my roots.

The following are examples of 90’s movie fashion that are serving as my inspiration this season.

"I really think Musictown is torn on the revealing garment issue. "

There is not an uncropped sweater to be found on those ladies.  Worry not, for I am not a midriff barer.  But I AM a cropped layerer.  And thus I shall continue to be.

"Okay, so you're probably going, "Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?" But seriously, I actually have a way normal life for a teenage girl. "

"I have direction." "Yeah, towards the mall."

I love schoolgirl chic: button downs with sweater vests, little shift and wiggle dresses, tartans,  mary janes and wide headbands.  If viewed through a nineties lens, you really have created the ideal space for my style to work.  Thus Cher is one of my fashion icons.

So is Buffy.  The original Buffy.  See this post for a full run down on Buffy style, particularly her prom ensemble.

"Get out of my facial."

"Great. My secret weapon is PMS."

I am IN LOVE with this outfit, varsity jacket included.

Even the cheerleading outfits kick ass!  I mean, I WAS a cheerleader.  These things appeal to me.

How funky is your chicken?

The following picture is important to me, for you are seeing my high school style sitting next to my adult style.

"I totally paused!"

But the boys have much to offer.  The following examples ARE early nineties, but by way of the 50’s and early 60’s.  No fashion era is without influence.  Take for example, the regency era.  Think Jane Austin.  Those fashions while being their own look, have a distinct Grecian feel to them.  Just an example.

Anyway, I give you the boys of Dead Poet’s Society and School Ties.  The clothing is 50’s prep school, but the slouch, the attitude is pure 1990’s.

"I sound my barbaric yawp."

"The honor code is a living thing. It cannot exist in a vacuum. "

Here is a pic from My Own Private Idaho.  This is unisex fashion that looks sexy on anyone.  Honestly!  Picture Alicia Silverstone in that leather jacket.  It would rock!

"I'm afraid if I shared your wine, I might catch this awful disease you appear to have. My jacket would grow little zippers all over it and my toes would have jingle bells on them like those there. "

In a bit of a different take on 90’s fashion, here is the character Carrie (Michelle Forbes) from the movie Kalifornia.

"Too graphic. Too overt. Not suitable for mass consumption."

Her style is simple, severe, and awesome.  It’s grey tshirts, black tshirts, that incredible haircut, and one of the best leather jackets in movie history.  The cigarette is nearly it’s own character.

In that same vein, we have the ladies of The Craft.

Their skirts were either very short, or very long.

"Hail to the powers of the Watchtowers of the East."

Let us not pretend the maxi dress is something new.

This is my fave: prep school style combined with early 90’s attitude.

We are the weirdos, Mister.

The trap (that I consistently fell into as an adolescent) of 90’s fashion, for women, is that it can quickly become so masculine, it’s shapeless and sloppy.   So what I hope to be at 30 is what I wanted to be at 13.

If you combine Alicia Silverstone’s fashion in Clueless with her looks in the Aerosmith Amazing, Cryin’ and Crazy videos, you have now seen my Fall Fashion Inspiration for 2011. Ditto for Liv Tyler in Empire records and the videos.

Say what you will about Aerosmith.  I have mixed feelings myself, and they are all ignoring the past 15 years.  Those are three of the greatest music videos ever made.  It doesn’t hurt that I had a huuuuuge crush on Jason (NOt, I repeat, NOT Jeremy) London.  Have you seen Man in the MOon??? (Not Man ON the Moon…that’s the Jim Carrey pic).   Okay fine.  Amazin’ is the least amazing of the three videos.  The whole virtual reality thing sort of dates it.  Okay, fine, I love the song Amazing.  I totally do.

But look at her dress!!!

That dress with Doc Martens is perfection.  She hitches a PLANE with it.  Not a car.  A PLANE.

Moving on, with a slightly more beachy vibe, we’ve got Lori Petty in Point Break.

Add a touch of the West for the ladies of Gas Food Lodging.

Let us not forget Singles.  The single most 90’s movie ever created.  I defy you to find one MORE 90’s.

I know that, if you are a fan of the early nineties, you would expect to see Reality Bites here.  Howev, while I love Betty Page, the Betty Page bang doesn’t work for me, nor does the waify hipster look of the movie.  I’m as preppy as the nineties get, which isn’t very.  But it is enough.  And it is what ultimately leaves me just a bit cold towards the movie.  I respect it!  It just isn’t “me.” In me there is a conflict of yuppie, hippie and grungey that basically rivals that of the plot of PCU.

I’m in my element, people.  I’ll come up with a wishlist tomorrow, but I think you can see where I’m headed.  We are shaped by the styles of our coming of age.  I will now attempt to improve upon them.

A View from the Homefront – Day 2 of the 30 for 30 Winter Challenge


There is a connection...just read on

It really does feel like we’ve been through some sort of battle and now it’s a weird white post-snowpacalytpo world out there.

Of course the real question is, “But what will I wear?!”

Before I get to that, it has been announced that tomorrow is ANOTHER office jeans day.  With the assumption they are doing this for our comfort level, I see no reason not to wear something slightly dressier if I want to.  My be-fri and I are going out for a joint birthday celebration tomorrow (she’s a New Year’s Baby and mine is coming up) so I have to at least try a little, you know?  What kind of a Chicagoan would I be if I let snow get me down?  I ask you. Plus I chose my 30 for 30 items based on the fact that 40 hours of my week are spent at my day job.  I’m running out of casual-wear already!

But, for Thursday, the day after the storm, I took refuge in jeans day and wore the now fashion-blogger ubiquitous gingham shirt.  And today, as opposed to yesterday, I really like my hair (you should also know…or maybe you shouldn’t…it’s filthy.  No way was I going to get my head wet in this weather).You see, I just closed up a production of Kiss Me Kate, a show that had been running since mid-November so the 40’s hairdos are here to stay for me.  I’ve always been a fan, but now it just feels natural.

Backstage at Kiss Me Kate - I played, appropriately, the Wardrobe Lady. The dress is real 40's vintage! (So are the shoes...but those kids aren't in the picture.)

Another 40's incarnation - this time more subtle. Ha! Except for the evil grin, that is. Gingham - tied at the waist with character shoes at a pickup rehearsal.

So with all that background mumbo jumbo, here is Day 2 of the 30 for 30 Winter Challenge:

Day 2 of the 30 for 30 Winter Challenge

Okay, so I know the photo is, um, lacking.  But here’s the thing, Will took as he was headed out to shovel our car out of a snow bank.  I had no room to be picky.  Also, you’ll notice I can’t take a picture without a cat in it.  I consider him an accessory because I certainly wouldn’t wear him alone.  I show you this photo only to document that indeed I am continuing on with the project.  Better photos coming when William isn’t rushed.  He’s a good photographer.  But not when he’s got shoveling on the brain.

That said:

Cardigan – Zara, Shirt – Old Navy, Tshirt – Hanes (Target), Jeans – H&M, Boots – JCPenney

Bear socks (not visible) gift shop in Cooke City, Montana.  Huz purchased them for me on our ‘moon. 🙂

In total, I have on 4 tops (1 cardigan, 1 gingham shirt, 1 tshirt, and 1 silk long john shirt), 3 bottoms (jeans, long johns and dance tights), plus a pair of bear socks, and boots.  -30 windchill my friends.  What’s funny is, I’ve worn less clothes and felt much bulkier.

Anyway, this outfit feels very “Betsy” to me.  I’m calling it my Winter Victory Garden look.  The hair and cardigan/button-down combo feel a bit 1944 Homefront to me.  Kind of like something my American Girl doll, Molly, would have worn after school.

 

Movie Hero of the Week* and Style Icon: Katharine Ross



Fashion Post

Movie Post

Katharine Ross

Katherine Ross costars in two of the greatest movies of my parent’s generation:  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Graduate. She just seems to embody something about the late 60’s and early 70’s as I understand them.  I love looking at my parents’ yearbooks and checking out what they wore.  I love the long hair, and the bell bottoms, and the quirky ringer tees, and wooden platforms, and floaty tops.  Katherine Ross sort of represents that to me.  Her style is outdoorsy, natural, and sexy.  She was born in California and just seems to exude a sense of the American West both in style and presence. Even her husband, Sam Elliot (another future Movie Hero of the Week), fits into this idiom.

Katherine Ross belongs to a group of actresses I like to call The Grand Brunettes because I believe they exude what is an inherent brunette-ness.  Katherine Ross, Barbara Hershey, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Vergara (actually a natural blonde, but she has taken brunette as her own), Anne Bancroft, Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren, Lena Olin, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Jane Russell seem to say “brunette” the way Marilyn  says “blonde.”

Perhaps someday I will post about The Great Blondes…but I doubt it.  That’s played, y’all.

Hair

There isn’t one hairstyle that says “Katharine Ross” in particular.  She wears it up, down, half up, in braids.  The key is a loose and slightly messy take with face framing layers. The key would be shine serum and a teasing comb.

Makeup

Her makeup rarely changes.  She always has a softly smudged lined eye in a deep brown or black with thick lashes.  Everything else is light and neutral.  Nude lips, with maybe a dusting of color on the cheeks or a bit of bronzer for that tawny look.

When I’m going for a Katharine Ross look, I use the following:

  • MAC lip pencil in “Spice” applied over a little chapstickOr, for a slightly more 60’s nude lip, try a Clinique nude lipstick.  I think Clinique nails nude and beige shades really well.  For a truly 60’s look, try to keep the shade a true beige with little to no pink.
  • I like MAC eye pencil in “Buried Treasure” for eyes.  It’s a very dark brown with little gold flecks.  It’s pretty soft in texture so it blends well.  L’oreal’s Le Kohl eye pencil in Onyx is a highly pigmented and blendable black.  I like true pencils and not automatic liners for this look.  To intensify and add a 60’s vibe, use liquid eyeliner on top of the pencil and wing at the ends.
  • I go with a matte face, with a very slight dusting of a tawny blush or bronzer where the sun would naturally hit.  Cheekbones, bridge of nose, a little on the forehead.

Movies

Katherine Ross as Edda Place in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

One of my favorite movies of all time is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.   In fact, that very film was the first time I saw Katharine Ross.  I loved her style and I liked how she held her own with Robert Redford and Paul Newman.  Having had many odd bondings with friend-boys over the years, I particularly loved her scenes with Butch.

Other films that should be included in a Katharine Ross movie marathon:

The Stepford Wives

The Graduate

Style

Of all my favorite style icons, Ms. Ross is probably the most casual.  Fabrics and textures included in a Katharine-themed wardrobe are cognac and lighter brown leathers, cotton eyelet, gingham, wood, denim, all-season tropical wool, prints – liberty and mod florals.

She often wears simple countrified styles, equestrian wear with a slight Victorian feel.  California cool bell bottoms and shirts tied at the waist with clunky platforms or riding boots would be an easy-breezy way to invoke some comfy late sixties style.

Check out this Polyvore set I created using Katharine Ross as inspiration:

embellished border maxi dress
14 GBP – janenorman.co.uk
Maxi dresses »

Winter Jumper
$270 – allsaints.com
Long sleeves sweater »

Classical Dressage Coat
$162 – modcloth.com
Tweed coats »

Etro Skinny Jodhpur
160 GBP – brownsfashion.com
Pleated pants »

Vince Camuto Fays Boots
$100 – piperlime.gap.com
Over the knee boots »

Open Heel Strappy Clog
$52 – needsupply.com
High heel shoes »

Hats in the Belfry Fascinator
$35 – modcloth.com
Party hats »

Brooks Brothers | Straw Boater Hat
$198 – brooksbrothers.com
Straw hats »

Anna Lou of London | Umbrella
20 GBP – annalouoflondon.com
Anna Lou »

D&G Tie-front gingham cotton shirt
135 GBP – net-a-porter.com


I hope you enjoyed this trip through the work and style of Katharine Ross.  If nothing else,  watch Butch Cassidy.  It’s divine.

*What is a movie hero? An un or under-sung member of the film making community who deserves more of the spotlight. And yet lack of such a spotlight often adds to their charm.