Shades of summer

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On my thrifting excursion the other week, I came across a slew of beaded necklaces. They were all individual pieces, but just happened to be sorted by complimentary colors—shades of pinks and purples together on one hook (like a gorgeous Bali sunset) and pale blues, green and gray on another (so cool and calming). I loved the hues together and so after I bought them (for about $1 each) and got them home, I hooked them all together to create two big necklaces that I could easily throw on whenever I wanted. I think the results are really pretty—and, as they say, the price is right.

Pardon the plain white tee. I could tell you that I wanted to show them off on a basic background, but the truth is, I haven't bothered to change out of my jammies today.

A great show of spring fashion

So they're really keeping me busy over there at Up today is the first part of my coverage of Marymount University's senior fashion show last week—snaps of some of my favorite outfits worn to the pre-show reception and luncheon. (Can you believe that maxi dress at the bottom left is from Victoria's Secret? And on sale? It seriously looked amazing in person. Also, I may have come home and ordered one for myself immediately. {Update} Unfortunately, the dress they sent is not the one that they had pictured on the page before. {It appears the link has since been updated since my order.} Maybe I missed the fine print somewhere? In any case, boooo.)

The whole event was great fun: I got to swap stories with Cynthia Rowley (my Q&A with her will go up tomorrow) and catch a really cool runway show (which will be posted about on Friday. Several of the designers created great tulle pieces, so I was pretty deliriously happy.) Oh, and did I mention that Christian Siriano was there? He is so incredibly tiny and seemed like tons of fun. (Plus! He and Nina Garcia will be on Ugly Betty tomorrow night. It looks hilarious.)

Better late than never! Live-blogging Gossip Girl

Ah, yes. Well. Due to some technical difficulties, we are a little behind on this, but we do think our style points are still valid, and so, here you go! Those of you who would prefer a more concise version of our personally selected GG highlights can find exactly that over here.

8:01pm: We start with a frenetic SAT montage. Wait, producers, you're going too fast for me to see the eye candy! Ooooh! Cute vocabulary flash cards alert!

8:02pm: Oversized headband count: 2 (gold with a big bow, basic black)

8:04pm: Headband count: 3 (red with a oversized brooch above the right ear)

8:05pm: Chuck's bright orange coat is slightly overly day-glo. The color works way better on Serena's fingerless gloves.

8:06pm: Headband count: 5 (textured silver, bright yellow)

8:07pm: The triumphant and much-anticipated arrival of Georgina, aka Michelle Trachtenberg! We dig the bold blue scarf, G. (It's not unlike the one the Sartorialist was sporting around D.C. when he was here for his gallery opening. Is a bold blue scarf the new black?)

8:11pm: On even closer inspection, Georgina's makeup is really incredibly flawless.

8:11pm, part 2: Headband count: 6 (skinny this time, with a little purple accent)

8:12pm: Cute boy alert! Cute pug alert!

8:13pm: I love Vanessa, but I've never been a fan of the gold door-knocker earrings. We get it. She's Brooklyn. Let's move on to something fun and cute and significantly subtler.

8:14pm: Well, apparently, big earrings are back for everyone. Georgina's rocking some seriously distracting huge royal blue hoops as well.

8:15pm: Headband count: 8 (purple silk, skinny white patent). Also Blair's humongous polka-dot bow-neck blouse is faaaabulous.

8:18pm: I'm definitely digging Chuck's kelly green and white striped v-neck sweater (and the clashing plaid peeking out from underneath). I guess bright colors are in for boys this spring too.

8:25pm: Chuck is now rocking the bright red! I dig it, Chuck. You go with your colorful self. (Spotted in the background: Super-hot pink tights! Swoon.)

8:26pm: Headband count: 10 (green and black striped with bow)

8:27pm: Headband count: 12 (embellished red, wide black). Also a very cute bright yellow umbrella.

8:28pm: Nice cape, B! We love the plaid lining. But that diamond-pattern sweater? Ew, not so much.

8:29pm: I generally find that electric green a really bad outfit choice, but Vanessa is still managing to look pretty cute in the diner. I particularly like her rosy, flushed-by-flirting cheeks.

8:30pm: Georgina is wearing some seriously fierce heels. Also some less fabulous rubbery-looking leggings. Serena continues to look uncharacteristically uncute. What's up with that blah mint green bead necklace?

8:35pm: Embroidered purple sweater, short leggings and exposed red bra strap, Jenny? Hmmm…. not so much. But the sleek bob you're sporting now is fab.

8:36pm: Headband count: 13, 14 & 15 (goldish, white, black)

8:38pm: I am enjoying Vanessa's shrunken black leather jacket. Plus, she and Nate make a really cute couple. Ooooh! Kissing!

8:39pm: That Michelle Trachtenberg can really rock a smoky eye and a glossy ruby lip. Buffy's little sister is officially all growns up!

8:47pm: If my hair looked as good as Serena's when I rolled out of bed (after being roofied and subsequently partying all night to boot), I'd be a very happy girl.

8:48pm: Nate rocks a cute double-breasted navy blazer! Vanessa rocks… those door-knocker earrings again. Really, we were over them back when they were on Sex and the City. Yes, she's so urban! The point has been made!

8:50pm: Headband count: 16 (knotted hot pink). Boy, those kids really dress up for their SATs. If I recall, I wore my field hockey uniform (we had a game immediately afterwards). Still, I do think my pleated hockey kilt would actually go over well in the Gossip Girl costume department.

8:54pm: I take that back. Blair's neck brooch and buttoned-up blouse is more grandma than groovy. But is that Balenciaga we see? I actually like the cream and white contrasting blazer. An unexpected color combination, but it's kinda cool.

8:55pm: Chuck rocks the vibrant purple cardigan and the daffodil yellow pants. (Wow, they're really going overboard with this new signature look, aren't they?) And also a pastel color-block gingham oxford that I'm pretty sure I owned a similar version of back in 1989.

8:57pm: Oooh. The drama is distracting me from the fashion. I do like Serena's gauzy white scarf, however. I guess they decided that Georgina always wears royal blue.

8:58pm: Cute boy alert again! So far, I like this Asher. Very clean-cut. Plus, he loves hot dogs. How can you fault a guy that loves hot dogs? And actual dogs?

9:00pm: Remember how great "Scenes" clips were at the end of 90210 and Melrose Place? The Gossip Girl editors definitely need to take a cue from that and give us more meat to look forward to. Particularly now that the secretly gay character has been openly revealed in the gossip columns. (Oh, you didn't hear? My lips are sealed, but it's an easy guess.)

9:01pm: Also, can they just kill One Tree Hill already? I don't watch it anymore, but I feel it's suffering a long, painful, ridiculous dramedy death.

Can Chie Mihara do no wrong?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obviously, she cannot. Do any wrong, I mean. Because just look at these gorgeous Boutonniere Sandals, via oh happy day.

{The only thing that is disagreeable is the $328 price tag. But finally! Have I at last found a DIY project for all those flower pins I bought years ago?}

In which I discover a tiny slice of sewing heaven

If you managed to click over to my Bethesda vintage/thrift store piece, you would know that the highlight of my trip (after the slew of really awesome finds—the $8 record player? amazing!—and trying on real, actual YSL vintage) was discovering the Bethesda store Accessories of Old. I literally stumbled upon it while walking around the neighborhood, and I'm so glad I did. Honestly, if there was a special heaven for sewers that loved vintage, this would be it.

I've never seen anything like it. Everything in the store—from the buttons to the ribbons to the various accessories, like barrettes and brooches—is authentically vintage and often in the original packaging. The owners, Andrew and Lisa, have filled the store with the huge amount of leftovers from Lisa's grandfather's sewing supply store, which opened in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1918 and was stocked with gorgeous items from Europe and beyond. For those of you who don't have Bethesda on your current travel radar, they also sell online. (Etsy crafters, take note!)

We are personally making up a shopping list for a major return trip soon. First up: All of our favorite cardigans are getting a makeover with vintage buttons. Next up: We are definitely making retro cocktail rings out of some of those really elaborate buttons! And then: We will learn to sew something that requires trim. Lots and lots of amazing trim. Sigh…

Glad about Gladiators*

Monday, April 28, 2008

I hadn't been particularly feeling the gladiator trend so far this season, but this Stuart Weitzman Gladio version ($265, in silver or gold) might have just made me change my mind. Gorgeous! Via the DCGF.

And while I'm at it, I might as well throw in these lipstick red heels ($299) too. Such glossy, fire engine-y, super-fierce goodness. Drooool.

*Yes, this is really the best title I could come up with. It's been a looong day.

Is it just us…

…or is this Mike & Chris trench possibly the most perfect coat ever?

This $330 piece of extreme goodness is via our good friends over at Fashion Binge.

More vintage goodness (if I do say so myself, which I do)

It was still balmy on Saturday when we headed out to dinner, which was good enough reason for me to break out another floral dress. (Good thing too, because the rains began a few hours later and it has been chilly and damp and dreary ever since.)

This one's from a small vintage shop in Delray Beach, FL. But my favorite part is really the oversized black patent vintage frame bag, a Goodwill find. Can we just talk for a second about how awesome this bag is? Because it is really awesome.

I also ended up throwing on a few extra-long strands of shiny black beads to spiff up the neckline a bit. You will just have to imagine.

I'm back to being bundled up in jeans and raincoats for the time being. Looks like things might warm up by the end of the week to sundress-appropriate levels again – here's hoping!

In which I finally get my tulle

I know I've been pimping my new string of style pieces, but really, I just think you'd like them! Like today's round-up of Bethesda's best secondhand/vintage/thrift stores (complete with synopsis of what I bought during my reporting excursions. Like this faaabulous vintage tulle skirt! I'm thinking of chopping off about 10 inches to make it more Agyness-ified. Thoughts?)

Incidentally, my awesome new "These Pancakes Don't Run" t-shirt is from local D.C. company T-shirt Insurgency. They set up shop every weekend in front of the equally awesome Capitol Hill Books (just steps from Eastern Market) and also sell their highly irreverent, somewhat political, very funny designs online. Plus: purple!

Your vintage dress o' the day

Sunday, April 27, 2008

For some reason, I took about 12 pictures of this dress and not a single one of them was clear and/or particularly attractive. Sigh.

Still, it was too cute not to post. Longtime readers might remember when I purchased this particular item from eBay back in '06. Since then I've chopped it short and added a belt, and it's quite the fun patterned mini-dress, if I do say so myself.

The Napa Valley sandals from Aerosoles are my new summer heels, and even though they make me about nine feet tall, I couldn't pass them up. Cute and comfy!

Oh, but this was not the only vintage I sported this weekend! Stay tuned for more…

Yay! Bikes!

For a change, D.C. happens to be at the forefront of a new trend: shared bike systems. (Well, sort of. Uh, 120 communal bikes for the whole city? Doesn't that seem a bit… low?) Still, I happened to be in Paris soon after they launched the Velib system last year, and it just seemed like such a cool idea (not to mention something Parisians were completely proud of).

Truthfully, I have some serious desires for a bright pink bike of my very own (with a Carrie basket, natch) to ride around the city this summer, but if that falls through, then SmartBike DC seems like a good backup plan.

In any case, I'm definitely aspiring to Sartorialist-worthy bike style.

ISO a poufy, pony-worthy dress. And a very large hat!

One of my favorite moments in movie history is the gorgeous Ascot scene from My Fair Lady. Costume designer Cecil Beaton's amazing black and white dresses and oversized, fully plumed hats (plus gray morning suits and silky top hats for the men) come together to create an incredibly drool-worthy fashion moment. (And oh! The perfectly precise choreography! I can't find the whole scene online, but you can get a short glimpse here.)

My love for this scene is probably one of the reasons why I jumped at the chance to join my friends in Nashville for the annual Iroquois Steeplechase in a few weeks. I'm told that large hats and fun race day dresses are encouraged. (And I definitely need some spectator binoculars!) My thrifting eyes are peeled until then. I can't wait!

Little snippets of my apartment

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I've mentioned I'm not *quite* ready for the Big Apartment Unveil – for starters, it would mean removing the cat-protecting sheets from the couches and keeping Commander Robot distracted long enough so he doesn't immediately roll his overly hairy little body all over them, which just seems kind of exhausting – but there are a few little parts of our place that always make me smile. I do love my Petrie, but sometimes, the tiniest touches end up being the best ones.

Starting with above: Bold matchbox (in a tiny bowl from Spin in Beijing). I picked up a slew of these in Thailand; I love the colors and graphics.

Then we have:
Vintage owl collection!

Old-school telephone (from Mustafa, the legendary 24hour little India department store in Singapore):

A nicely folded pile of vintage floral sheets in the linen closet:

My growing Font-emblazoned Kitchen Collection:

A yellow Melamine full tea set:

And finally: Albert, my robot coat hanger, from the cutest children's shop in Paris.

Albert is entrusted with holding my red quilted vintage housecoat, which is what I wear around the apartment most days. With slippers. Seriously. I'm a few haircurlers and a half-finished cigarette away from being a perfectly retro disgruntled housewife.

Secondhand Style

As those of you who read the DC Goodwill Fashionista blog know, the local Goodwills here are really active about showing off their most fashionable wares. As a vintage junkie, I love it! Check out these images from their fab new spring lookbook. They're incredibly retro-licious. (Oh! That hat! Swoon. And ohhh! That little floral jacket! Double swoon.)

Pssst... My D.C. fashion event picks for the next week are over at I'm so, so, so excited for the online launch of discount designer retailer C-Mart! It's a legend in these parts for great finds and now checking out what's new no longer requires trekking to Maryland.

(Brush) Strokes of Genius

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

First, Jason Wu transformed a basic white dress into an adorably artsy piece with some black fabric paint for Teen Vogue (above). Then, Susie B. took her own super-creative skills to a white dress of her own (below). Who'd have guessed that the two cutest takes the painted trend would be DIY-able? I think it's time to head off to the craft store, stat.

Gossip Girl returns!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The new episode of Gossip Girl starts at 8pm. Don't be late! We've just decided to live-blog our thoughts, so check back often for our continuing commentary.

9:00pm: It was all a little too Jenny-focused for my liking, but welcome back, GG. We've missed you. We look forward to more fashiony shenanigans for the rest of spring!

8:59pm: Oh Serena. Beige is not your color!

8:58pm: Also, why is Blair wearing her uniform to Butter? Could she not have put on anything cuter? Step it up, B.

8:56pm: I do like Jenny's embellished-peter-pan-collar spring coat. Methinks a DIY project is coming to mind...

8:54pm: I'm sorry, but does anyone else think that Farmer Wants a Wife looks like the worst. Show. Ever?

8:50pm: Shark sweater!

8:39pm: So loving the poufy bright party dresses! Totally 80s. Also the red Valentino...? Swoon.

8:36pm: The sparkly snake necklace? Seriously? Who is this blonde girl and what have you done with Serena?

8:32pm: Wow, a whole segment between commercials and nothing fun to report. {I'm avoiding plot points for those of you who haven't caught it yet... fashion commentary only!}

8:25pm: My post-show reading will so be the new New York mag cover story on the GG phenomenon. But not before. It requires my full attention.

8:19pm: When did that young girl get elevated to the A-list clique? Wasn't she wearing dowdy ski-hats and dropping off library books in the last episode?

8:17pm: I don't know, Serena. Not your A-game so far. That too-small leather jacket (cute style, but not the right size) and then the beigey dress? Hmmm.

8:12pm: That yellow-and-white striped coat worn by the clique-y girl, Isabel? So cute.

8:08pm: A Brody Jenner reference? Uh, okay... Also -- love the idea of Blair's royal blue belted coat, but it's kind of... widening. No?

8:05pm: Is Chuck doing the double-shirt layered-collar thing? I think we need to bring that back. Or maybe he just did.

8:02pm: A Breakfast at Tiffany's reference! So cute.

8:00pm: Ack! Never have I been so excited to hear Kristen Bell's voice.

7:55pm: 5 minute warning! Getcher popcorn ready!

The cutting edge of fashion

Last week I hit up the Shecky's Girls Night Out shopping party here in D.C., and while I'd say most of the merchandise was not-quite-my-thing, I did find a few seriously fun jewelry lines in the mix of vendors. You can find my shopping picks (including these cool cleaver charms from NY-based line Pretty Little Thing) at the Washingtonian site over here, if such things are of interest.

Gingham, bedhead, enormous sunglasses…

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Really, all that's necessary to fully embrace the day.

Guess I got what I asked for, what with this gray Sunday o' thunderstorms. I'm watching the rain while curled up with my kitties and The Portable Dorothy Parker. We might go a little crazy later and break out Enchanted. (It's true! A Disney comedy I haven't actually seen yet!)

In sunnier times (i.e., Friday, which was spent running around on some errands), I sported this green gingham vintage wrap dress with an empire waist, $10 from the Rockville Goodwill. (FYI, did you know we were supposed to be pronouncing it om-peer waist? I personally did not. Thanks for the tip, What Not to Wear!) The dress is nicely voluminous and airy and big meal-appropriate, though Commander Robot (as you can see) was not overly impressed.

PS) Hey, would anyone out there in Internetland be able to invite me to fffound? Much obliged.

Oh hai.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm feeling kind of weird and out-of-sorts today. I think it might just be the result of too. Much. Fun! (That, or maybe dehydration?) In any case, I have much to do but it is 85 degrees and sunny and summery, and I'm having a hard time staying in and sitting at my desk. At this point, I need a rainy, chilly day so I can get back to being productive.

In the meantime, a slightly lengthy recap of yesterday's goodness.

For starters, I'd like to say that I don't wear crazy vintage dresses around every day or anything. Just most days! It's really a showering/laziness/mood-based kind of thing. For yesterday's non-stop-running-about-town, I actually sported a pretty restrained striped shirtdress from fave Singapore shop Soon Lee. It's fairly straightforward in the front, but has extra gathers in the back to create this great voluminous cloud of shirt behind you. I paired it with my vintage tuxedo vest, a wristful of copper bangles and oversized aviators. Not my best pics, but here you go.

Oh, and also flip-flops (super-comfy Havaianas slim in silver metallic, if you'd like to know). They were necessary because my first order of business of the day was a much-needed, welcome-spring! pedicure at Queen Nails (at the risk of sounding cranky/old/cheap, did you know that pedis at your neighborhood hole-in-the-wall nail salon now cost $36? Man, Asia has spoiled me.) Queen Nails was actually nice and bright and not too hole-y; they did a great job outfitting my toes in glossy Russian Navy. (Oh, I know that I'm supposed to have moved on to bright pinks and spicy yellows, but I love the Russian Navy! It's just so perfectly inky.)

I also swung by local favorite Second Story Books, because I always like to check out what secondhand fashion and design books they've gotten in stock. I've been eyeing A Fashionable Mind, a collection of 1970s columns by New Yorker style critic Kennedy Fraser for awhile, and finally bought it. So far, it's vintagey fashion assessment goodness.

Then I popped over to see Carrie at Axis salon for my monthly trim. I really think she's really getting the hang of my Katie Holmesian aspirations.

Then I stopped by to see the ladies at Secondi, where I recently dropped off $800 of cute-but-no-longer-worn pieces (I get half of it if it all sells. Not too shabby!) Also, a really cute Orla Kiely bag ($70) was spotted among their ever-changing mix. Go!

And then, I swung up to Adams Morgan vintage mecca Meeps, which is always a favorite. And, I don't mean to make anyone insanely jealous or anything, but I just may have found the most unbelievable vintage cocktail dress that bears an incredible resemblance to a certain big bow-shouldered gown sported by one Blair Waldorf to the debutante ball. Except mine is a deep navy-inky-midnight blue. And it is gorgeous. So are these flowers. Nice segue, huh?

The full bow-shouldered dress unveil will be coming after a few slight alterations, I promise. Also, even though I was about five hours early, Meeps let me pick out a free pair of vintage-y shades (which happened to be their Third Thursday promotion last night). I scored the oversized pair below. They are wonderfully enormous, which some days, is just what you just need.

Oh, and then I popped into to Greater Goods, as planned, for my Envirosax fix. They've got the very newest line in stock, and also an adorable dog named Stella to pet. {Everyone, Stella. Stella, everyone.}

Finally, there was some general running around and looking at flowers and visiting of stores and multiple happy hours and boneless fried chicken and mashed potatoes from Logan Tavern.

I wore a new dress from Annie Creamcheese for the evening festivities, and yes, it is perfectly vintage and quite the find, if I do say so myself. I'll give you a better glimpse the next time I wear it, but here's a peek:

{This was shot in Bobbie Medlin's fab new store on M Street.}

{Also, fyi, Annie Creamcheese is having a buy-one-get-one-half-off deal right now. They have been seriously stocked lately.}

Then I came home and had lots of weird dreams that I was on a fashion reality show. I suppose it's no wonder that I feel all kinds of funny today. Still, there is no time for dilly-dallying. There are thrift stores out there to be conquered, after all!