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Pocahontas in 2011

28 Aug

The other day a friend texted me saying “Ok, apparently Pocahontas is fashionable this season.  Wtf am I supposed to wear?”  And she’s so right!  She meant it in a broader sense, in the textile/pattern sense, but I instantly connected in the headband across the forehead sense.

Also known as a hippie headband, these are popping up all over the place.  Again.  Must be a part of the whole revival of ’70s colors and patterns. 

So what is it about wearing a piece of fabric across your forehead? For fashion, I should add, since athletes use headbands to keep their sweat under control (And then of course there are those musicians that wear sweatbands on stage, which might be for fashion and might be for function- but I digress.).  The women I see with these headbands are young, college aged ladies.  I highly doubt any woman over the age of 30 would be caught dead in that. So are they sexy? Maybe the nod to the ’70s hippie style is a nod to the culture as well?

I’m hoping this goes away soon.  My friend is right- I really don’t want to dress like Pocahontas when I stopped watching Disney princess movies over a decade ago.

Well, mostly.


Family, Pt. 2

8 Aug

Time to post some more family photos!  You will be interested to hear that we’ve traced a branch back to Ireland, and one ancestor was even killed by a horse-drawn trolly in Brooklyn.  I’m still waiting to hear of someone in jail… though I guess that applies for the present too (HA!).

From my father:

Joseph was my father’s uncle who died young. Dad says that after Joe died, Frances went to work full time, which meant Dad inherited a younger “brother,” his cousin Donald, and was strongly encouraged to take Donald with him where ever he went, which didn’t always go over so well.  When I was about 10 or so, Donald worked at Shea Stadium during Mets games in the summers, running up and down aisles throwing bags of Cracker Jacks to fans.


At least she looked happier for her wedding:

We originally thought my great grandfather here was in WWI garb, but now believe this might be a uniform for the Boy Scouts (or some version thereof).  More research to come!

More Tails, Please!

3 Aug

The other night I sat out on the Boston Common to watch Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s All’s Well That Ends Well.  Right before the show started, some of the actors came out with collection bags to get donations from the audience.  This is, in itself, very uninteresting, except for the fact that they came out in costume!  A brief taste of what’s about to come.  And really, who doesn’t want to see Victorian costumes up close?  The actors closest to my area were men in tailcoats, MY FAVORITE.  Men just look better in tailcoats, especially period tailcoats.

Tailcoats, though only used for formal evening wear now, were much more popular at the turn of the 19th century.  They were originally designed for the English gentleman on horseback, and then became day wear in the hands of dapper Beau Brummell.

Today, there are two main types of tailcoats – the dress coat and the morning coat.  There are many little differences between the two, most of them nitpicky and only relevant to tailors, but the important difference between them is the cut at the waist.  The dress coat has evolved into a coat with a squared cutaway, while the morning coat gradually curves into the tails in the back.

Dress Coat

Morning Coat

You will also notice that you do not button your dress coat – all of those buttons are decoration only – but you can use your one button on your morning coat.

And finally, if you still need convincing that tailcoats are the way to go, I give you the cast of The West Wing.

It’s not the best photo, but all of the men are wearing tailcoats.  And if President Bartlett wants you in tails, I really see no reason to argue.

McQueen,the Sublime and the Frightening

18 Jul

I must ask you to go to New York City before August 7th.  Go to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Wait in a long line for an hour and pretend to be interested in Mesopotamia.  And finally enjoy the epic-ness that is their summer exhibit, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.

McQueen is such a fascinating character.  His work is at once ferocious and majestic, sharp and voluminous, intricate and political.  In addition to all this, his work is very feminine.  His corsets have breasts and hips.  The tailoring has curves.

The exhibit delves into what they call his “romantic mind,” which includes elements of Victorian Gothic, nationalism, exoticism, primitivism, and naturalism.  I personally was drawn to the softer pieces, dresses that one could potentially wear in public without fear of hurting oneself.

And if softer isn’t your thing, never fear.  McQueen wasn’t really into “soft.”

“Life to me is a bit of a [Brothers] Grimm fairytale.”

Reuters, February 2001

To Save the World or Not

14 Jul

Upon returning from New York, I was trying to decide what to write a blog about.  Unlike Pittsburgh, I have so many fashion impressions from New York City.  Should I talk about the rompers?  The braless dresses?  The amount of HATS you can buy on the street?!

The topic that has really stuck with me turns out to be an old one: TOMS.  This was hardly my first introduction to the shoe, but it was one of my first concrete experiences where I can remember saying “yes, I want one.”

TOMS, in case you don’t know, has a pretty rockin charity campaign.  For every shoe you buy, a pair goes to a child in need.  And the price isn’t ridiculous, so it doesn’t feel like you are paying for two pairs instead of the one.

Their downfall, for me, has always been the style.  I just find the design of the shoe plain ugly.  The toe is strange, there’s too much fabric, and the patterns are straight up bizarre.

Is this supposed to be a ballet slipper?

Plain ugly.

But after seeing approximately a bizillion pairs over the weekend, I’m starting to reassess my opinion.  I have at least two close friends who own a pair and adore them.  They are easy, simple, and apparently really comfortable.  The no sock thing is really an option and won’t destroy my heels.  And, of course, there is the knowledge that you’ve helped a child in need.

So now for the big question.  Which pair should I buy?

Giraffe Prints: the Underdog

1 Jul

Now that I am firmly on the animal print train, I enjoy looking for prints that are less used.  We all have leopard, cheetah and zebra print, but that gets boring because again, we all have it.  I am now on the hunt (ha!) for giraffe prints.  Anything and everything applies.  And I’m finding some fun things!

This is kind of weird, but hey, he went for it.

And though these are not giraffe print, they are still AWESOME!

Now I want a cupcake.

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.