Monthly Archives

July 2016


Look of the Week

That’s a-MUSE-ing!

Meet the new muses, Carsyn and Jessie! Like Calliope to Homer and Clio to Herodotus, these two sartorial sirens have been inspiring me for awhile.

Carsyn is H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S! There’s no doubt about it! She used to sashay up to my desk, Liza Minnelli style, and ask poignant questions about history. It would transpire something like this: “Miss Hare (kick-ball-change), how come (shimmie-sashay) President Lincoln (twirl-and-counter-twirl) said four-score and seven (high-kick) instead of eighty-seven (ta-da-with-jazz-hands)?” Always mesmerized by her positive energy and elicit goofiness, I would unabashedly answer back, Gene Kelly style: “Well, Carsyn (shuffle-step-chug), President Lincoln (heel-toe-flap-ball-change) wanted to give the audience (bombershay) a sense of time elapse (cramp-roll) in a manner that was eloquent (shuffle-ball-change) with a pinch of Je Ne Sais Quoi (ta-da-with-jazz-hands)!”

Carsyn was a student in my history classes for all three years of middle school. She was so confident in her pre-pubescent skin! She graduated from middle school just this past spring. Every day I looked forward to those dance moves. They got better and more elevated as she moved up the class ranks. By the 8th grade she was busting out moves à la Chorus Line while quoting excerpts from A Letter From Birmingham Jail. I let kids be themselves in the classroom. Why not?! If doing the “can-can” or “lindy hop” helps you learn or expend energy, then in the fine words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard: make it so!

Now that Carsyn has flown the coop to high school, I’m wondering who will take her place. She has a special place in my heart, this one. She encouraged me to start this blog–even coming up with my logo idea! She is super creative, smart, determined, and has a great head on her shoulders. She is a loyal to her friends and a natural leader to her peers. Lookout world, here she comes!

Carsyn’s friend, Jessie, has come up the elementary ranks with her. They’ve known each other since pre-school. I’ve had the pleasure to work with Jessie in ancient, medieval, and U.S. history. Whether we were spelunking in the Lascaux Cave; riding down the Nile river in our felucca; learning to pour ceremonial tea as a Samurai warrior; or launching water balloons on the Gettysburg battlefield amidst enemy lines, we were inspired to learn from each other. Yes, a teacher does learn a lot from her students in the time she spends with them. In my case, I get to spend three years with my students! Plus, there’s a class field trip we take in each grade to further our bonding. Yosemite in 6th for five days; Catalina Island for 7th for five days; and the East Coast in 8th for eight days.

I love to tell everyone that Jessie’s middle name is Rhiannon. She might kill me for saying that but anyone worth their salt in music knows where the name originates–Fleetwood Mac (Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night, and wouldn’t you love to love her). I hope she appreciates that later on in life because that name is everything!

Jessie makes math and history look “easy like Sunday morning.” She is the Queen-of-Kibosh and the Undertaker-of-Overkill.  No one can take a dozen selfies and squeak by unnoticed in Jessie’s world. It’s refreshing to know that a teenager knows the limits on selfies. If it were up to her, she would start a selfies-anonymous group. Sure, she would have her hands full. But she’s like Superman and a silver bullet: she’ll stop it before it takes innocent lives. Just say NO, man! Must. Not. Take. One. More. Selfie! Go, Jessie!

I thoroughly enjoyed my day hanging out with these two. I got schooled on make-up (as always); got caught up on the latest Jimmy Fallon lip-sync battles; learned the reason why Kat Von D ended her friendship with Jeffree Star (duh!); philosophized the brilliance of marabou feathered soccer slides and anything with pom poms; and questioned whether a grown-up should take sides in the Taylor Swift vs. Kim Kardashian Twitter debacle. Yeah. I’m too old for that shit! I’ll place my wagers in the upcoming presidential election!

One last salient topic we harangued about: body image. There is an excess amount of pressure to look a certain way in our society–especially since the advent of social media. Teenage girls are under the gun to buy into many of these perceptions about their bodies. Some healthy. Some not. I gained a little insight into their world about what it means to have a positive body image. The struggle is real–whether the individual girl experiences it or someone in their circle of friends. It gave me an idea to start a series called, “Body Talks”. To have a monthly round table discussion on body image with a variety of young girls and women, who can discuss their feelings and ideas openly in a safe environment. So stay tuned!

Photos #1-6

On Carsyn (left): Topshop pompom shorts and blouse; Risaroxx vintage wrap shirt (as jacket); vintage huarache shoes. On Jessie (right): Risaroxx Vintage 60s babydoll dress; Adidas sport slides.

Photos #7-20

On Carsyn: vintage Ana Sui button up blouse; black and white mini skirt w/ top; Risaroxx vintage metallic platforms. On Jessie: vintage Kate Spade ascot blouse; Risaroxx vintage denim skirt and crop top; Tory Burch flats.



Fashion Forward

A Novel Idea…

I’m not much of a handbag connoisseur, but I’ll sport any accessory that is unconventional and unique. If it looks artistic or reads like a masterpiece–I’ll play the canvas. Slap it under my arm and I’ll move like Baryshnikov and wax Goethe-etic.

There’s something about whimsy that makes me fall in love. I’m head over heels with every handbag from Dolce and Gabbana’s Almalfi collection (or any season, for that matter), and I’ve come to discover a few more designers that are along the same Seussian style lines.

Sarah’s Bag is a Labenese fashion house that has a poignant purpose close to my heart: empowering women. They design luxury handbags and accessories, while at the same time helping at-risk women get back on their feet and mainstreamed back into society. Wow! I absolutely admire people who use their business as a foundation for a good cause. Sarah Beydoun, the creator behind this house, is exactly as her business seems: ingenious with a noble heart. Plus, her designs are works of art. They should be sitting in their own wing at the Pompidou–right next to Warhol for Pete’s sake. Lucky for us, she has partnered with her marketing and media-minded sister to make the brand bigger and more accessible worldwide. We should be seeing more of these fanciful bags in stores near us!

Another designer who stays true to her waggish ways–Betsey Johnson. I’ve been a fan for years, since her first store popped up in San Francisco in the 1980s. An hour’s drive away from my school dorm never stood in the way of this college kid. No, not me. Betsey Johnson et. al is a master at her craft, and she needs no ‘splainin’. She is the queen of quizzical and will always reign over the whimsy.

Since I am on my teacher budget, I found a few novelty bags on that are reasonably priced. There are a few Timmy Woods (of Beverley Hills) creations that I have been watching–“the Eiffel Tower” (as seen in Sex In The City)–has sold. Too late! I didn’t swoop soon enough. The “playing cards” bag is stunning, though. Don’t let that one slip away!

Enid Collins is also the quintessential novelty purse designer from the 1960s. Her creations came with DIY packets and extra replacement beads. She was the first to do this, so she has become a cult favorite in the vintage scene. Click here for the link to one of her vintage designs.

Finally, there are the 60s and 70s varieties that I love! True vintage! No-name labels attached. I’ve added a few links for your perusal! Click here to see a vintage raffia bag at the Jellyjar; click here to see a vintage needlepoint bag at the VintagePurseSnatcher; and click here to see a vintage wicker fruit bag at VansVintageTreasures.



Fashion Forward

Fashion Dialysis….

My sister and I have a game we like to call, “I’d sell a kidney for that!” It’s exactly as the phrase implies! I raise you one healthy kidney, and (insert-house-of-couture-here) matches with one iconic and coveted garment. You get it, right?

We grew up in a household with two educators for parents, and a brother who lived and breathed sports. They worked really hard to give us everything we needed. We didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend outside the bare necessities, but my mom took it upon herself to find creative ways to give us what we desired.

My mom knew that my sister and I liked to express ourselves with idiosyncratic clothing, so she took us to stores that were distinctive and fit the family budget. Enter the San Francisco outlets! Home of Gunne Sax, Esprit, Fritzi, and You Babes. We also had a secret little outlet in Santa Cruz that was a staple for our summer seasonal binges: Pretty Mama. Think boho babe meets surfer siren.

We stood in line for hours just to get in to some of these places, so it wasn’t exactly a routine that any normal folk would surrender to. And we are not normal folk. Typically, these places popped up in abandoned warehouses in the seedier parts of town. Cramped, dirty, disorganized, these buildings had little to no air circulation. Women would come from miles away to find a bargain, often bringing their second and third cousins. It was a family affair–shopping conscription if you will. You got drafted by the eldest and were called to duty. Here’s how it went down in my family:

“Mobilize the troops Geraldine, we’re heading to Gunne Sax for the day.” “Shit, Nora! Well, let me call Charlotte by god! We’re gonna need reinforcements.”

You were screwed if you were a young boy, like my brother. Poor sod. I think he suffered PTSD from a forced excursion when he was 10 years old. It wasn’t easy. The experience was anything akin to a sample sale at Barney’s New York or H&M’s exclusive designer collection on opening day. You literally entered the store at your own risk!

My mom would camp out in the dressing room line, while my sister and I scooped up everything we could get our hands on. Get in, get out in two hours. That was always the plan. If you were trampled on or got lost, that was the breaks. It was every man for himself!

Bereft of expensive designer labels from the likes of Saks and Neiman, our wardrobe suffered from lack of couture and requisite designers. Woe is me. So my sister and I started a game called: “I’d sell a kidney for that!” It seemed to distract and ease our pain from not being able to afford the caviar of fashion.

Having been a college student, a waitress, and then a teacher for most of my life, I still continue to play the game. Magazine pages are dog-eared and runway looks are downloaded with compulsion as my sister and I contemplate the styles that would be worthy of a kidney. We sit at the table like card sharks at a hot poker game ready to call someone’s bluff.

My sister throws down her novice selection: Gucci Pink Ruffled Crepe de Chine Mini Dress (Net-a-Porter). Not bad! Not bad! I up the ante with mine: Valentino Pre-Fall Psychedelic Tunic (featured photo montage). Hard to beat that one as it’s not even available yet!

She raises me with: Chloe Off-Shoulder Crepe Mini Dress (Net-a-Porter); and I follow with: Dolce and Gabbana Majolica Organza Dress (Luisaviaroma). Snap! She throws down a “big blind special” with: Dolce and Gabbana Leaves Print Poplin Dress (Luisaviaroma). Touché, my sister, touché! I finish with: Antonio Marras Lace Embroidered Mikado Jacket and Pants (Luisaviroma). My spirits are high.

The final round is for the high stakes. We’re all in. No organs left to give. My move: Saint Laurent Metallic Blue Star Sneakers (Net-a-Porter); Hers: Laurence Dacade Embroidered Boots (Net-a-Porter). Mine: unbelievable Gucci Embellished Leather Biker Jacket (Net-a-Porter). I think I have her cornered. She moves stealthily…and then…KABLAM: Blue Glitter Shark Bomber Jacket (Luisaviaroma). Shit!

I fold. I am not worthy of a jacket with a glitter-bombed JAWS on it! We grew up with that shit! Jaws was the bomb. He terrorized us both–in a weirdly fascinating way. I concede the win.

We both agree with our picks, “We’d definitely sell a kidney for that!



Look of the Week

Coachella Cray-Cray…

Another festival season flew by like Randle McMurphy flew over the cuckoos nest. If I see another romper-clad; fringe-duster; rose crown; gladiator-sporting gypsy, with Starbucks in hand–I’m going to stab myself in the eye with a stiletto!

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the festival getup when it first came out to commemorate Coachella. It was fresh, young, hip, and it definitely reminded me of the Woodstock days–the Godfather of all festivals. You can’t go wrong with a little fringe here and there. In fact, I possessed several fringed dusters that I wore the hell out of with my Doc Marten boots back in the day. It’s what a bitch needed to take down dudes in the mosh pit. We’re talkin’ the early days when Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and Iggy and the Stooges headlined Coachella. I would crawl on my friend’s back and hook my arms around her neck. She swung me around like a rag doll–my fringe flying–my boots making contact with kneecaps. It was some serious shit. We’d stumble out of the pit with bruises and bloody noses, and we called it good times! We took our festival celebrations seriously!

Then festival wear got it’s own season for crikes sake. Year after year, we saw the same thing hit the grassy fields in Indio, CA: fringe, fringe, and more fringe. It was a fucking fringe fest. Then the trend spilled over into the regular spring and summer seasons. What was once purveyed by Free People and vintage stores only, was now available to every girl in the world via Forever 21 and Target. When Target came out with it’s own boho festival line, I knew I had to take drastic measures. That’s when I ditched my beloved festival wear at the local Crossroads Trading Company and ran straight for the hills. The fork was stuck in me. I was done. I then called a family emergency meeting with my sister and put the kibosh on all festival wear.

If festival season is all about wearing styles that are comfortable, cool, and music-friendly, I’d like to see something change for next season. Even though I liked what Kendall Jenner wore this year, it was predictable (the Dylanlex necklace was stunning, though).

I LOVED the dress that Natalie Joos sported (she danced so hard, her dress fell apart). It appeared to be an antique Victorian dress that was shortened. Maybe? Maybe not, but it was refreshing to see her wear vintage, nonetheless!

Well, as we head in to America’s biggest festival day of all–the 4th of July–may we all find our inner festival chicness. Something that is cool, comfortable, firework-friendly, patriotic, and definitely UNIQUE! Let’s try to leave the fringe at home, or at least save them for the shoes!

All items pictured will be available on site soon! Yes, they can be worn to a festival!

First outfit:

On Carsyn (left): Risaroxx Vintage Red, white, blue shirt; Risaroxx vintage Krizia white denim skirt; shoes Zara. On Niky (right): Chloe lace inset blouse; Risaroxx Vintage tennis skirt; slides Sam Edelman.

Second outfit:

On Carsyn: Risaroxx Vintage Diane Freis blouse; Risaroxx vintage tennis skirt; J Crew slides. On Niky: Rena Lange ruffle sleeve blouse; Risaroxx Vintage fruit skirt; slides Sam Edelman.