Archive | June, 2011

Where Did All the Hipsters Go?

30 Jun

This past weekend I went to Pittsburgh to visit two close friends.  I know, Pittsburgh.  But it ended up being a really fun trip, complete with a zooquarium, the Red Sox, street shopping and delicious food.  I spent a lot of time looking at buildings- almost everything is made of dark brick, and there are so many signs for businesses that might or might not be open, it’s fun to guess which business is real. There are also fire flies!  Who knew?

I also paid attention to the fashion around me, though that statement might be a stretch.  I can’t speak for all of Pittsburgh- maybe I was never in the fashionable part of town- but from what I saw, Pittsburgh is not that interested in being fashion forward.  The major themes seemed to be a.) sports wear, b.) club night, and c.) more sports wear.

SPORTS! SPORTS!  Turns out Pittsburgh is very proud of their sports teams.  And no wonder- they have the Steelers (football), the Penguins (hockey), and the Pirates (baseball).  I got to watch a Pirates vs. Red Sox game, so there was a TON of Red Sox t shirts around as well.  We were well represented.  But I didn’t see that much Pirates gear when I wasn’t at the ballpark.  Instead, I saw lots of Steelers and Penguins jerseys, even though neither team is playing at the moment.  I did see a few Bruins jerseys- I’m surprised they were allowed to enter the state.

The other consistent theme seemed to be short and tight, aka the look for your Saturday night club experience.  Granted, it’s hot outside.  Apparently they are in the midst of a heat wave, so I respect that you are just trying to stay cool by that point.  But the shorts were bejeweled.  The sandals were sequined.  And quite a few shirts left very little to the imagination.

I’m sure some people wore things besides sports ts and insanely short shorts while I was there (like my friends).  But my strongest memory was the lack of variety.  No one stood out from each other, no one tried to make a statement or experiment.  There were no goths, no real prepsters.  And NO HIPSTERS!  That was the weirdest of all.  Pittsburgh has quite a few universities, where one might safely expect to see a few, but no one seems to be hanging around this summer.  There was not one hipster to be seen in my four days there, and we even went to a few places where one might expect to see one.  I felt like I was on a safari, trying to catch a glimpse of a rare giraffe or something.

And of course there was a furry convention going on at the same time, so that added some flavor to the scene.  I got a pretty decent shot of one fellow as we were passing him.

Who even knew they had a convention? Learn something new every day.

A Discussion on Open Toed Booties and Romans

14 Jun

One of my favorite friends Michelle (of the VP post fame) sent me this charming cartoon from Natalie Dee:

With it, she asked

Michelle: Louise, how do you feel about open toed booties?

Which led to an afternoon of emails back and forth.  Enjoy.

Louise: I love them!  Well, I love peep toe pumps, and since open toed boots are their cousins, I like them too.  I think the peek a boo is sexy, much like cut aways in shirts or dresses.  Sexy in a non threatening, not too revealing kind of way, which is the best kind of sexy in my book.

Michelle: Sexy? Perhaps. However, I generally associate boots with cold weather. At least with a cut-out shirt or dress, you can throw a jacket on, but they do not make jackets for your booties, and even if they did, that’d be weird.

Louise: As much as I love the image of jackets for your booties, I agree, there is the weather problem.  And yet I think the weather problem is purely in terms of precipitation, not temperature.

For instance, you wear sneakers year round, but probably not the same pair.  You have sneakers for running, sneakers for fun adventures, sneakers you only wear when it’s hot out, etc.  Why not have boots that function the same way?  Like sneakers, the boot covers your whole foot, and some boots are better for cold weather and some boots are better for going out dancing.  The open toed bootie is great in spring, fall, warmer days, cooler days, and any day in between where you want to look fabulous and give your height a boost.  I would not wear them in rain, however-  I would wear my rain boots and bring my booties to work.

Michelle: I find this difficult to counter, so I will conclude by saying that open-toed booties remind me of a fawn’s feet.

Moving onto the asymmetrical, draped dress, what are your thoughts? Let’s not take Natalie Dee’s version too seriously and just go with the basic concept.

Louise: With the dress I think she might have better argument.  There are many horrific orange colors out there, and you have to be so careful with the draping of anything.  In addition, asymmetrical cuts often remind me of the awful handkerchief dresses from the 90s, which need to remain burned.

That being said, they aren’t all horrible.  Draping is often very flattering, if you shop carefully, and I’ve seen some really pretty asymmetrical dresses recently.  They are eye catching with that unusual hem, and in heels (or open toed booties), they make your legs look like sky scrapers.  The dirty orange isn’t the worst color either.  It looks much better on us pale folks than bright orange.

Michelle: First, to say that something should “remain burned” implies that becoming unburned is an option. So I am now imagining a handkerchief dress rising from the ashes, like a phoenix. If this ever happened, we would have to warmly welcome back the handkerchief dress trend, lest we offend the gods.

I like drapey dresses quite a bit, as long as the draping is simple and doesn’t require maintenance while you wear it (‘darn that sash, it won’t stay where I put it! oh my folds look a mess!’). Additionally, if it is any day other than Halloween, I would advocate for not looking like a slutty Roman.

As for oranges, I like a nice dark orange in the fall…although anything that can be considered “orange doodoo color” should perhaps be reconsidered.

And I would like to add that Natalie Dee is a genius. Open-toe booties or no open-toe booties – I would opt for leggings and a wolf t-shirt any day.

Louise: Agreed.  So long as it is unlawful to look like a slutty Roman at all times.  Even on Halloween.

Maxis: Are They Really That Great?

13 Jun

I find myself intrigued by the maxi dress this year.  I’m not interested in much else in this strange 70s revival- The shirt dress?  I don’t get it.  Where are your pants?- but the maxi is worth exploring.

This long dress started life in 1968 via Oscar de La Renta, lacy and ending just above the ankles.  It soon morphed into the flowing, flowery, caftany dresses of the early 70s, when it became a fashion staple.

The maxi is in the midst of making an impressive come back.  Celebrities have been wearing them for years, and folks love to praise it’s diversity in both look and function.  What better way to wear big and bold fabrics without looking crazy?  And I must say, women of all sizes look fantastic walking down the street with the fabric moving against their legs.

HOWEVER.  I can’t quite figure out the right time to wear them.  With the long skirt, I figure I can add a cardigan and I’ll be fine in coolish weather.  Except the fabric is too light, and I’m too cold.  So maybe I should wear it when it’s hot out, except then I do NOT want fabric anywhere near my legs.

A conundrum.

They are pretty though.

Work Wear for Those Insanely Hot Days

8 Jun

Summer is upon us!  Well not really, it’s technically still spring, but we’re in the middle of another heat wave, so I think it’s fair to say we are in summer weather.  My office has moved to a summer casual dress code, and there are people in bathing suits on the Esplanade.

But what do you wear if you can’t spend your days like this?

I am a big fan of wearing layers to the office.  It’s impossible to balance the outside heat with the inside air conditioning in one outfit, so just add a cardigan to the pile of shoes at your work desk.  That way you can wear any of your summer dresses and make them instantly appropriate (and warmer) for the office.

A fun blazer works just as well:

And don’t forget your hat!