Saturday, January 26, 2008

and then Mozart!

I mentioned once before that Out of Africa is a significant movie for me. Besides reducing me to a terrificly heartbroken pile of tears and Robert Redford reminding me of my dad to a frightening degree, the look of the thing is a love affair for me.

I've always really liked the wedding outfit, despite the oddly shaped hat, with it's Maleficent-esque collar and edible cream color. I really adore most of her dresses in this movie, especially the delicate dressing gowns and lace shawl things she wears while storytelling. Khaki actually looks appealing, though that I'm sure owes a lot to the environment and individuals, with smart riding outfits and things being sort of practically sartorial and sharp. I really grew up with my dad dressing awfully reminiscent of this movie, so it seems very right and comfortable to me.

I'm also really in love with her house.

I love the improbable strangeness of places like these. The ridiculousness of setting up a full table and chairs with the best china outside, with putting a carpet on the grass, is all very appealing to me. I know it's sort of presumptuous and obnoxious to do that sort of thing as well, one of those symbolizing dominance over landscape and all that, but the impracticality of it really appeals to me. I think it is why I am also fond of movies where people have gone places and put carpets on sand and go and have afternoon tea on dunes. It's so strange, so alien looking, I love the audacity of it. So besides that I want all those tea-steeped things in that house, I love how it's all just so and very all plopped down in the middle of gorgeous Africa.

Anyway, it's all of that and then it's also one of those really personal movies I want to curl up inside, that squeezes my poor little heart till I think it might burst.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Droll, droll, drollery.

I have absented myself most abominably. In my defense, the Spring semester has started, and I have taken on much more this semester than the past few. I also have no planner, since my trusted weekly Moleskine ran out and the darned things are nowhere to be found. I have just spent many weeks looking for some other kind of planner, but nothing is suitable. Everything was either too small or had weird plastic winding on the side, or was splashed in obnoxious psychedelic colors and patterns I so often adore in textiles, but cannot deal with on stationary and the like. I have instead taken a plain lined Moleskine and stamped the dates into it with my library stamp. The results are not perfect, and I have to write the days in as well, but it suffices for now.

Once again though, I am thrust into the problem of dressing for campus. The hike from my car to the buildings is really heinously long. Something about the campus location and the fact that the entire thing seems to be some kind of dubious wind-tunnel makes life very hard. I wear a lot of wool berets pulled over my ears and bury my face in scarves. Of course, then one runs into a new problem. To make up for the unforgivable walk from the parking lot, there are a series of underground tunnels! This means I almost never have to go outside during the day, but then I also overheat and have to come up with some kind of device to tote around all my cold weather accouterments and loads of books.

Furthermore, I am constantly hit with the dilemma of what to wear to class. Though I of course have my very best confidence wearing some breed of dress or skirt with tights (or other exciting hosiery), the first few days of class are always exceedingly awkward. In so many classes it is intimidating to be the girl in neon colored rights, especially when you don't know any other students or the professor. I also don't have a routine yet, and so have thrown on several past outfits to remedy this problem. (Wardrobe_remix is really helpful for this. It's the closest thing I've got to Cher's enviable computer closet in Clueless). My boyfriend made a point once that he had to wear a hat the first week of classes or else when he did want to wear a hat, everyone would make a big deal about it and all that. I made fun of him for this recently, even though it was something he said ages ago, but it's really stuck with me. I suppose it's because I feel quite the same way. There are so many things to wear the first three of four days of classes, self-absorbed as it is to assume people pay attention to what one wears but really when one wears things out-of-the-ordinary for the area it's a problem, that I am very easily overwhelmed, and certainly at the lowest point of my daringness and outfit construction abilities (my goodness, what a poorly constructed sentence).

Oh, enough of this. In more exciting news, I bought my second pair of wellies. My first pair were a pair of Wellipets Frog Boots that were just adorable.

I ought to upload a picture of me fishing in them, but I am deeply lazy and this probably will not happen. Anyway, I loved them. I remember the glorious sensation of looking down and seeing those little yellow eyes looking up at me. I didn't think to order a pair now in my adult size, but at the same time I'm also not certain how I feel about that. I think it gets a little too precious in that not-good way. I ended up buying these from work.

For once in my life, what an untrue statement, I am sad that the weather has not permitted me to wear them. Instead they stand there, next to all my other shoes, unworn and pristine and smelling lightly of runner, alone and unworn. They are really comfortable, which was a nice surprise, very squishy inside. I went with the grey and I have visions of wearing them with blue tights, but beyond that I'm not sure what else. I admit that wellies have never really appealed to me. They always have seemed slightly ridiculous, for me at least, when they have turtles or puppies or other strange things on them. I feel like understated is the way to go with them.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mad Hatters.

I have never understood hats. That is to say, I think they are deliciously novel ideas, but when placed on my hands (better yet: on my head) I do not know what to do with myself. I am not the sort of person that hats tend to compliment (my mother looks marvelous in hats, very much in a Gene Tierney sort of way); they make my face look very long most of the time.

For this reason, I am very fond of berets. I have quite the collection, if I do say so myself. They are lovely, since I don't feel it too obvious that I am wearing a hat with them, and have the wonderful addition of often being wool and keeping my poor ears toasty when it is abhorrently windy. However, ahem, I must complain about one aspect of them: maybe this is just me, but they squash my delicate ears and after a little while of wearing, hurt too much to go on. If I don't pull them down low enough, I find my hair goes awry and then my ears poke through that way and that is something I simply refusr to tolerate.

I suppose I really enjoy the idea of a hat. I have always wanted a top hat desperately, though real-sized or miniscule I still cannot decide, and even had grand plans to wear one to a winter ball or prom in high school (that did not happen, much to my disappointment). I have a very large black felt hat that I bought and have never worn but it looks interesting and whimsical, hanging haphazardly off of a now-defunct lamp.

(I do not really approve of baseball hats and the like. I don't know why, I'm sure they have their uses, I just sort of hate them irrationally for no reason.)

My dad wears very interesting hats. I should document them pictorially as they really are a sight to see. He has berets also, my dad is very cool, and also a very odd safari hat that I don't think he has ever worn in real life but it too looks waderlust-y on his bookshelf. He also has hats which I am not sure of the name, but they resemble fedoras without being quite so self-consciously sartorial (I really am busting out the vocab for this post). He also wears those rabbit fur hats with the flaps on the sides, only his aren't lined in lumberjack patterns and he doesn't pull the flaps down. He also has a pair of ridiculous gloves that go up to the elbows to match the hats. They look like giant paws and scare the crap out of the cats. Someday I will do a post all about my father's dressing habits, which are something amazing. If there is any one cultural or pop figure who reminds me most of my dad, most of the time, it is Robert Redford in Out of Africa (Oh the heartbreak! Another movie that fills my soul with divine grief while also appealing to the very bones of my aesthetic soul).

It's just that hats really say something. To me, they are the ultimate in knowing what you are doing (when they're done right. Alternately, they seem to say, even if this looks stupid I have confidence!). They sort of seem like this strange item, which when placed on top of the rest of the outfit, locks it all into place.

I bought this hat at J. Crew (outlet!), since it seems to be one of the few that does not make me feel as though I am trying too hard to wear a hat. I rather enjoy it!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In that crazy real world, we have jobs.

When I first applied for my job one of the questions I asked during my interview was about the dress code. Blissfully, we were permitted to wear anything provided it fell into a vague 'business casual' or 'not too dressy but neat and professional' type of description. I work retail, so this was wonderfully lax but meant that I could wear many of the skirts and dresses I hadn't the nerve (yet) to wear to classes.

And then, they hit us with a blow so shocking, and just two weeks into my employment, that we were never to be the same. Black only! Or white shirts. We were to look like the girls at Coach, which was not so bad for me really since I never feel so warm and happy and enclosed as in all black ensembles (though some of my co-workers were dreadfully unhappy), in trousers and sweater vests*. I have to say, I am not a trouser kind of girl. I'm not really a pants kind of girl in general, and I feel so icky in office-y attire, so boring and plain and blank. Needless to say I've tried very hard to wear all black in exciting ways, day after day, shift after shift.

Sequins are easy, I love them, they add a bit of flair and texture and general quirk that delights me. On the downside they have a particular talent for irritating that ever-so delicate skin on the underside of the upper arm.

I don't wear these shoes anymore. I gave them to Mom, since they squish my toes terribly and I believe they are responsible for a bump on my foot that was not there before, and am very sad. Slips and strange tights however, make life better.

Anyhow, I find dressing for work increasingly difficult. The most frustrating thing about trousers is the length. They do not allow for a change from heels to flats, most of the time, and so I often bypass my modest little pile of them and instead toss on skirts or dresses. I do wonder what will happen when I am forced to get a job that does not involve selling things, when the only options are indeed suits and trousers.

*I am very sad to report that I do not have any sweatervests. This is a terrific travesty. I even found one I liked at J. Crew on sale for 19.99$, but passed it up and days later it was gone. Oh, regret. You plague me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mustard on top mayo on the bottom.

So yes, in my childhood I watched a lot of old movies. Two in particular are linked not only in their creation, but also for me in my childhood. While not exactly an old movie What's Up doc, with Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal, is possibly one of my favorite movies ever. Words cannot express how much I love this movie, or the movie it came from: Bringing Up Baby. I feel like it's an under- appreciated movie, really. It is just fabulous and hilarious and I want to hug it like mad.

I must mention that I love the outfits. I love Barbara's (as Judy) red paisley/plaid/print shirt with a deep passion. I love that shirt and have always wanted one. Her hat is also deeply adorable, although it would look atrocious on it, and her makeup is lovely also. She wears a white suit at the dinner scene in the movie that I've always envied. Madeline Kahn wears a ridiculous tea number that I cannot decide if I want or find revolting. She also dons an extremely insane robe.

Sadly I find it's hard to locate pictures and stills from this movie, and as I only have it on VHS and my VCR/TV is gone to the great beyond, I present you with youtube videos! It is really a bonus, since you can witness the hysterical genius:

You don't get the dialog in this one, but it showcases the outfits I'm talking about beautifully. I want that shirt. Want, want, want.

There is the heinously glorious robe. This clip is here mostly because I enjoy it. Also note the plaid overnight case! I must have one, even though I never go anywhere overnight, simply to tote it around and imagine it has something interesting in it, like 70s clothing or igneous rock formations.

With Kathering Hepburn and Carey Grant there is no possible way Bringing Up Baby is not brilliant and adorable. And once again, I love her clothes:

This dress in particular. It's so swingy, so wonderfully girly, without being confectionery and prim. (And of course, I have a thing for that whole uptight professorly look on guys).

And because this post isn't long enough, but mostly because I could resist, some clips:

I love how she matter-of-factly speaks to him about such ridiculous things, talking to the dog, and the way she says 'David'.

I felt it was only right to have a scene of chaos from each movie.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Without reasons is no reason not to.

Today was one of the few days when I bothered to dress up when I had nowhere to go. I have no idea why I don't usually do so, since my outfits aren't often uncomfortable. Once again I blame it on my uniform days when I came home and shed most of my garments in favor of some brand of lounge wear (although usually this was just boxers, my school polo, and knee socks). I feel strange lounging in front of the TV all dressed up. Even when I was younger I dressed up to be someone, for a game, and then changed back into something else when I was finished with that particular character or person.

I used to dress up along with movies a lot. I especially remember doing so for Beauty and the Beast. Belle was, of course, appealing because she was brunette, wore blue, and read a lot of books. I had a dress I loved, it was ruffled at the hem and had a darling little collar and a petticoat. It was also splattered with violent, impressionistic flowers that were not at all dainty. I wore that dress constantly, particularly liking it when I was watching/playing as Bell or as Little Bo Peep in March of the Wooden Soldiers (Strange, I know. Looking back it's a frightening movie). I watched a lot of Fred & Ginger, but oddly, hardly ever dressed up to those. I watched a lot of those since mom could only take animated kids movies so much; I suppose they were sort of hypnotizing.

I also wore my Halloween costumes constantly. My mom always made my costumes, and they were severely badass to the point of awesome. I came home, changed out of my little plaid jumper, and went straight into a unicorn costume or Catwoman or something.

I suppose I might just not have the nerve to dress up for no reason, if I'm not going out of the house, although I have no problem wearing fancy clothes on normal days. I think it's because I don't want to over-wear some things and get sick of them before I wear them out in the world. It's very strange, this exploring my dressing habits!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

We like to match.

I am very scattered and random (a warning!).

Today I shopped a ridiculous amount and spent much more money than I probably should have. On the upside, I managed some really lovely deals and bought practical shoes. I always feel guilty when I spend chunks of money on clothes that aren't thrift acquired, since I know there are plenty of gems lurking around for pennies, but I can also justify my way out of a paper bag.

I borrowed my cousin, Annie's, cardigan for the day, and it was a wonderfully comfortable outfit for lengthy shopping excursions. We also bought two of the same dresses and have yet to decide if it is a little too twee and reminiscent of when we were very young if we wear them together and take pictures. Not seriously, of course, but in a silly manner.

I did go thrifting the other day and bought an armful of slips, some with lovely little vintage tags, and this pretty little blouse form the twenty-five cent rack. I passed up a cropped fur coat that reminded me of something Tenenbaum because I was low on cash, and I've been thinking about it ever since. That is always the way, no?

The greatest thing of the week:

Bee Cake

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Dear Shadows, now you know it all

Lately I am fond of black-and-white, shadowy things, that are inky and grey and just a bit ancient looking or old in the manner of stories like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Medieval productions of Shakespeare plays. Somehow, I connect them in my mind.

Helena Bonham Carter

Jerry Uelsmann

Sophia Kokosalaki


I forget :(

Apparently, sticks and grass gone to seed and wheaty-looking things also factor into this current disposition.

And of course, because who better fits into a slightly Gothic and macabre sense-of-life (and also because it is always exciting when one's own name is in a book), have another Gorey reference:

The Gashlycrumb Tinies

"Dear shadows, now you know it all,
All the folly of a fight
With a common wrong or right.
The innocent and the beautiful
Have no enemy but time;
Arise and bid me strike a match
And strike another till time catch;
Should the conflagration climb,
Run till all the sages know.
We the great gazebo built,
The convicted us of guilt;
Bid me strike a match and blow.

In Memory of Eva Gore Booth and Con Markiewicz"
-William Butler Yeats

(Oh! The drama of pretentious posts!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Things I've never owned: Birdcage

Just before Christmas I purchased two fake birds from Target. That's a little bit of a fib, I bought the blue one first and waited till after Christmas to buy the other, who has a little bit of a flesh wound on his chest, with intentions to buy all of them except he was the only one left. In any case, they are sitting on my Compact OED and looking quite happy. They have neat little clips on them as they're meant to be Christmas ornaments, but I couldn't possibly pack them away.

This reminded me that I am rather fond of birdcages. Many times have I come across some spectacular wondrous one at an estate or garage sale that is out of my price range, and what am I going to do with one anyway?

I am however, thinking that I must have one, even if I only use it as a house for faux-birds or books or teacups.

I rather like this one, although I would like to be fanciful and paint it pink or blue or perhaps purple, but I will be keeping my eye on this gorgeous thing. My post-Christmas paycheck is eeking away as we speak.

Of course Etsy yields some lovely tokens.I feel as though I must have a birdcage charm. I also like this onefor its somewhat Gorey-esque aura.

The kind of lazy that is deep in your bones.

I have been awful about this whole blogging thing! I suppose I will blame my insecurity about my blog skillz in general although, to be truthful, the cause of all my time-related problems stems from work. But now the holidays are over and store are back to normal hours, which feel so wonderful so far, that hopefully I'll be actually doing the things I enjoy and figuring out exactly what I want this blog to be.

A few Holiday pictorials are in order!

A smile would have been nice, but oh well!

I also have to confess that I've been slumping around the world in ridiculous outfits. We've had extreme amounts of snow piling up all around, and even though I know I ought to expect it, I am still miserable every time. I love it from inside, being homey and making cookies, but then I inevitably have to leave the house to go to work or some other distasteful endeavor, and I hate the snow. Oh! Complaints! My main sort is that I am forced to wear horrendous footwear.

Oh deers!