Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crazy, crazy

I can't believe how busy I am right now. I leave in less than 24 hours and j discovered this morning that I can't check in online on American which means I have to leave an hour earlier than planned tomorrow morning (as my flight leaves at 8.30 am, this isn't going to be fun).

I don't know if I can get everything done before I leave. I graded two classes last night and went to bed at 2 am. Every errand I've tried to complete today has turned out to be more complicated than I imagined. And I teach until 10 tonight too....

Have a great holiday everybody. I'll update sporadically from the other side of the Atlantic. I still don't know if Evan will join me--with BA on strike, the fares are insane and we may be apart until January. :( At least I'll have my family and old friends to keep me company in his absence.

Monday, December 14, 2009

No. 6

As I mentioned, yesterday Cindy and I found a couple of beautiful items in Barneys Co-op, specifically dresses by No.6. It took me a while to put two and two together and realize that this was the brand that made the much coveted boots.

On returning home without a No. 6 dress, I decided I wanted one. I looked at their online shop (http://www.no6store.com) and searched in vain for online boutiques stocking their dresses other than Barneys. Cheaper than Lyell, and more wearable for everyday, these are the nearest thing to must have dresses I've found since Mayle closed. They have a small collection, but there are several items I covet. Here are a few:



 

 


Today, I sneaked away at lunchtime, met Cindy in Barneys and picked up the London dress in black velvet, with floral silk sleeves covered in lace overlay. It is my Christmas present from Mum and Dad and was on sale. We both loved the mini dresses, but all the size 2s had sold out--they only do size 1 (2-4) and 2 (6-8).



This is my new dress. You can't really see the detail (Barneys has it online and there is a magnification function) but it is really beautiful--deep silky black velvet and silk floral sleeves and back covered in lace. It's certainly a collection to look out for. I think most of the dresses other than the one I bought have pretty much sold out in a size 2, but I'll be on the lookout for more items and report on my findings when I return to NYC in January.

Today's outfit? Functional. Stripey J. Crew long sleeved t, Madewell jeans, ankle boots, Fletcher by Lyell scallop cardi and Mayle Emanuelle jacket.

Rainy Sunday

Cindy was back so we braved the rain and checked out some sample sales. First, we looked at Rag and Bone. I always like the idea behind their work, their craftsmanship and some of their fabrics. I have a denim skirt from an early collection, which I like--especially for its details (lots of buttons at the back) but don't wear too often because it is a little stiff. I tried on a few things at the sample sale (which was heavily picked over) but the fit wasn't quite right. They seem to cut for girls without hips and also have a more monastic aesthetic (as Cindy put it) that isn't really me.

We then hit Helmut Lang--good discounts but still pricey and so not me--leather and masculine styles. The sale was right opposite the Target pop up shop--Cindy picked up the Rodarte ribcage dress which runs small and looked great on her.

The best items we saw were in Barneys. I'll post more on that later, but there were some new interesting items that made me feel more enthused about shopping.

After another trip to J Crew, we hit Macy's for yet more tights. Then home for fish tacos.

My outfit? Grey boots, Sienna Hue tights, black Club Monaco skirt, Lyell black scallop top, Club Monaco black chunky cashmere cardigan and my Odette. It rained so hard my feet were stained orange/red from the dye from my tights.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

... Saturday

I was up bright and early for my first ever Saturday acupuncture appointment. I will have to miss three weeks, so I decided this was the best course of action. Besides, my acupuncturist works miracles and I want to do this. It was her first ever Saturday session and she was fully booked. After I return, I'm going twice a week. I hope I can stick to my diet over Christmas and won't have to detox or anything, despite the temptation of English chocolate.

After that, I shopped. Toys R Us and Hello Kitty meant Times Square on what had to be one of the busiest and most tourist-laden shopping days of the year. After a little more Christmas shopping, I met Evan and we graded in Starbucks--for him, student papers, for me, the MA exams, before eating Vietnamese food (one of the lesser Asian cuisines in my opinion, especially in NYC) and heading to Trader Joe's then home.

As for my outfit, I dressed for the weather. Leggings, boots, Club Monaco gabardine box pleat skirt from about 5 years ago, striped J. Crew t-shirt, black Club Monaco thick cashmere cardigan and Odette. I think the days of glamorous dressing are on the wane--as it gets colder, the dresses are getting fewer airings. At least the milder British weather means they'll get another outing before the cold of winter really hits home. In preparation for this, I bought some J. Crew toothpick skinny cords in charcoal grey yesterday--just $29.99.

Such a Busy Weekend: Friday

I'm totally behind on blogging as I'm trying to rush to get everything finished before I leave for England and fit in as much socializing as I can before Tuesday. I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday (except for Evan--we owe each other two Christmas gifts and a birthday present each so we're obviously not great with gifts). I had to go to Toys R Us in Times Square which was dangerously packed--the escalators literally threw me into the people in front of me who could move because of the hordes of people ahead waiting for elevators. Not only is the store poorly designed, but it really showed me why sample sales make people wait outside. I know it is a bad economy but the crowds were insane and crowd control next to non-existent.

Onto other, more fun matters. Friday was frigid. My outfit really marked this--I was layered so much I looked several sizes heavier. I wore tights, my thick Danskin leggings (the best), my Stella McCartney for H & M wide legged pants (which are amazingly high quality and drape very well, despite being worn about 100 times and being a size too big), a tank, my thermal long sleeved grey top from Wisconsin, a black v-neck cashmere sweater, my thick chunky navy cowl neck cashmere Club Monaco sweater and Olympe (plus cashmere hat, scarf and red leather gloves). I don't think the temperature hit 32 and the winds were insane. After writing a final and starting on the MA exam grading, I headed into Lyell to meet Erica. She looked amazing--and baby Leon is the most perfectly adorable child.

Lyell have somewhat retooled their policies because of the economy and Emma's bad experience with retailers like Chicago's Jake, who took her inventory and then never paid her. She has drastically cut back her production so her designs are basically only available in the US at her store (and the inventory at Refinery 29 is that of the shop, although there is inventory in store that isn't available online). She's also doing gowns to order. The only way cheap Lyell will be available now seems to be through ebay or through the Urban Outfitters line, which is doing really well. There's also been some big celebrity buys, most notably Katie Homes who wore the beautiful short tweed scallop jacket and shorts outfit recently. I liked both pieces but passed because I don't really know how much wear I'll get from tweed shorts and the jacket is a little too similar to my older Lyell tweed peacoat from FW 06. I also discovered the pretty blouse I liked--the one in beige and black--doesn't really look good on me (the color is wrong and I would need a 10 in the blouse--the biggest remaining size is an 8).

Erica bought a lovely black jacket. I got a purple wool skirt--completely unexpected but very flattering. After walking Erica to the subway, I headed off in search of remaining gifts. I visited the Opening Ceremony sample sale--still a long line to get in at 4 p.m. Nothing great inside--lots of merchandise, great discounts but the clothing was largely ugly. After checking INA (no Mayle except the black glittery dress with puckers that they've had for months), I met my friend Rebecca and her son Charlie. They were in town for Rebecca's Ph.D. proposal defense (she passed!). I'm now on her dissertation committee and I imagine I will start receiving chapters this spring.

After a frigid day, I got home and we ate take out Thai. I still hadn't found a present for myself from my parents, and that is still on the agenda today... Hopefully it will get sorted out before I leave.

Congratulations Jane and Kathie!

On Friday, two of my closest friends got married. I'd have been there except they can't get married where we live and they are currently in Germany for a year (my friend Jane is a Fulbright Distinguished Professor and was my senior colleague at my last job). As Germany allows gay marriage, and as they will benefit from this as that's their home for the year, the girls decided to make their partnership of 25 years legal. I'll see them in England in a week and celebrate with them, but for the moment, I wanted to mark the occasion with this posting.

Here are the girls at their civil ceremony:



And here is their wedding cake:


 
 
Evidently the cake tasted very good. Jane said it was amazing to have their relationship sanctioned and recognized. This was something she hadn't really thought about before, a feeling she'd never had, even though she was all for gay marriage. I'm so happy for them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Shopping: Nearly Done

Just a brief update before I head into school. Yesterday I took most of the day off to do some more Christmas shopping and to meet with a friend and then have dinner with my cousin, Alex and his friend who are on holiday in NYC.

I misjudged the weather--the cold snap (or winter as it's called) that starts today. Yesterday was actually quite warm as I discovered after I wrapped up in a number of layers that I ended up depositing in my book bag. My final version of my outfit was still too warm--Lyell scallop lace blouse from FW 08, black brocade high waisted tulip skirt with slight leopard print from Club Monaco, bought on sale on Saturday, sienna Hue tights, gray boots, Sveva and Odette. I met my friend Mike for lunch, spent two hours discussing academia, politics and our work plans, then bought the rest of Mum's Christmas present, presents for my sisters-in-law, and some gym shorts and argyle socks for me in the sale. I also got a fabulous J.Crew bracelet I've lusted after on sale--pictures to follow.

Then I met Alex and his friend Paul at Grand Sichuan then headed home. Today is going to be freezing--and long. I have no idea what to wear--a decision I have to make now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feeling Positive

It may have been cold today and I may have way more work to do than I have time, but I feel pretty positive that I'll get everything done--at least the things that matter. I had a great acupuncture session today (and I have another booked for Saturday--her first Saturday session since I've been going), so that might account for my greater than usual optimism.

I applied for a job I won't get today, but in reading through my application materials, I realized I have another book project that I need to write, will write, always meant to write. This one might even get me the job I want (if the femininity and early cinema books don't). The topic centers on effots to construct a transnational European popular culture (especially film/TV) during the formative years of the EU/EEC. Besides looking at material cultural practices, I'll look at the circulation of texts/stars/trends across national borders, and include a chapter on how this impacts on the relationship with the US (here I can insert my British invasion research). I have several conference papers on EU culture, femininity across borders (something that also appears in my femininity book). If I can do all these, I hope I can write my way into the job of my dreams. It may take a while, but I know I can do it. I think some of the readings for my German Cinema grad class also really helped here--and hopefully my genre and national cinema class will help me develop some of these ideas even further next year. Hopefully I can fulfill these plans and my other pressing dreams in the new year--or even in the waning days of this year/decade.

As it was cold, I didn't get to wear anything too exciting today. J. Crew stripey long-sleeved t, black box pleat Club Monaco skirt, grey Inhabit cashmere turtleneck sweater, black Danskin leggings, grey boots, Sveva cardi, Odette coat, Club Monaco red cashmere scarf and red/gray/white Steven Alan cashmere scarf. I fear we're entering the season of layering and my pretty items will not be worn for several months. I do feel the cold and I noticed some of my students don't--some were in regular t-shirts, cardigans and jackets. At least two others dressed like me in multiple layers so I'm not the only person who prefers to be a little more warm...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hotel For Dogs

I'm sitting here, post-Daily Show when Evan says "I have a movie for you." Looking up, I see he's started Hotel For Dogs from HBO (or Showtime) on demand. This was a film I wanted to see last year, not just for its cute factor (really, how could you not like the premise or the star canines--although Hotel for Cats would be better). Rather, I've always been in love with the title for its sheer descriptive banality. Titles are not a forte of mine, it's true, so I can imagine this was one of those working titles--let's just call it Hotel for Dogs until something better comes along. Clearly it didn't.

I don't know if I can watch the whole thing, though. Not just because of the irritating rapid camera movements and excessive use of wide angle lens, but because of the pathos and melodrama endemic to its premise--homeless animals. I think in another life, I'd be a child running a hotel for dogs AND cats. After all, I have to hug my babies every time an Humane Society or ASPCA spot runs on NY1 (and I have to reassure them that I am indeed a member of both).

Christmas Shopping

As the semester (and year) wind down, I'm finding myself typically short of time. Saturday I worked, Sunday I did some Christmas shopping and met my friends Alyssa and Gina for dinner. Gina moved to Pittsburgh earlier this year so I don't get to see her nearly often enough.

It's pretty evident how much the economy has affected retail. Most of the stores had far less inventory than last year, discounts are minimal and shoppers aren't really interested in most of the full price merchandise. J. Crew was busy (although much of the store was not on sale and the most crowded area was by the not too interesting sale section), Banana Republic empty (given how horrible and over-priced the merchandise I wasn't surprised). Club Monaco was also pretty empty--again, the nice items weren't on sale and the reduced items were the ones attracting all the shoppers, many of whom weren't buying because the reductions weren't impressive and the stock dull.

Gina is temporarily working retain and agreed that the shoppers aren't shopping. People want the discounts from 2007-8 and the same quality of merchandise that was available then. Neither are being offered, shoppers have less money and they are leaving empty handed. She works at a well known national clothing chain and their takings on Black Friday were a fraction of their target.

I've barely ventured into the shops this year, largely because I'm too busy and also because these aren't places I usually shop (I also tend not to shop for men's clothing). I thought the sales last year weren't so great either. A lot of "cheap luxury" has vanished (stores like the Gap and Old Navy were stocking cashmere, albeit of dubious quality, but they aren't any more, although it is available in Macys). While I think the stores imagine they can tutor people into changing their expectations, so they'll spend more or adjust to lower quality, that didn't seem what the shoppers I saw yesterday were hoping to do--nor the people who shop where Gina works. I think this consumer battle is not going to play out quite how either side wants.

That said, I did find gifts for Dad, most of one of my brother's gift and half of Mum's. I already shopped for my niece so I just have to buy for another brother, two sisters-in-law and Evan before I leave for the UK.

As it was cold, it wasn't the most interesting weekend for outfits. Saturday I wore my new J. Crew thin gray and black striped long sleeved t-shirt, new brown Inhabit cashmere sweater, gray tights and black Club Monaco box pleat skirt (I also didn't leave the apartment). Yesterday I wore my Madewell jeans, J. Crew black and white striped long sleeved t-shirt, my new double layered Inhabit light brown cashmere sweater and Odette with my Jeffrey Campbell wedges and Steven Alan cashmere stripey hat.

Friday, December 4, 2009

More new arivals

In addition to working on another round of pesky job applications (that will be summarily ignored by search committees looking for the youngest, cheapest and trendiest candidate), I had a rare Friday treat. I met Cindy and Monica for lunch near Cindy's work. I wore my new Madewell jeans, a Pi organic striped long sleeved tee from Bird's sale this year, my new deep scoop Inhabit cashmere sweater, my old ankle boots (need to be replaced soon) and my brown tweed Lyell peacoat from FW 2006. The girls looked lovely as ever--Cindy in Mala, Monica in Nadege, and we had a lovely Thai lunch and chat.

I then headed off to J. Crew--I'd heard the long sleeved stripey tee shirts I love were on sale. Alas, I think others had beaten me to it (or maybe these are just more popular in NYC than elsewhere). I did find a pair of thigh high socks--I'd been looking for these for months but they had eluded all my efforts. I got the last pair in black--they were reduced to $9.99 which was great. If I can find a gray pair, I'll get them too, but I'm not hopeful. I went to a second J. Crew (Rockefeller Center) and did find a striped tee shirt, but it had finer stripes (black and gray) and wasn't quite the one I was looking for. It was very nice all the same and $19.99 so I was extravagant yet again. Mind you, this time last year, it was Mayle dresses and coats, not J. Crew t-shirts but it all adds up. I need shoes (desperately) but finding the ones I like online in stores and in my size (40-41, 10-11) eludes me. I have to find something soon as sandals and boots aren't a good substitute.

I received an email from Sephora with a $15 gift certificate inside so before heading home I picked up the Tarte lip gloss holiday sets. Tarte is free of parabens and other chemicals, so it's become one of my few default options. I don't want to take my big holiday set home as it is too bulky, so some of the lipglosses and my Korres eye pencils and deluxe eye shadows will have to be it.

I made one more GNC purchase (liquid cholorophyll) on my way to the F train. So far this week I've gotten L-Carnitine, Royal Jelly, co-enzyme Q-10, DHEA, baby aspirin, organic fish oil and various other supplements. At this point, it's quite comic looking at my various bottles on my chest of drawers. Hopefully they'll work!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

United Bamboo Cat Calendar

I forgot to mention this special delivery. Some of you probably read about the United Bamboo 2010 calendar, which features cats modeling special cat-size United Bamboo clothes. As soon as I read about it on racked.com, I contacted them to reserve one. I got an email yesterday around 1 p.m. saying these were available and as one was reserved for me, I had five days to purchase it. So, I ordered it before heading down to NYU to meet some students.

This morning at 9, the USPS person came with a big box. It was the calendar--lightening fast. It only has 6 photos. At $25 I suppose I had hoped for 12, but as a cat parent, I understand the difficulties of this task, unless the cat is Peeps and loves getting dressed. Blue and Remy regard it as a fate worse than death, one that no number of cat treats or cans of Wellness can warrant.




Anyway, the calendar is lovely, big and has a metallic cover. The cats are beautiful and look mighty fine in their outfits. And some of the profits go to the wonderful KittyKind rescue group (www.kittykind.org). I'll be smiling at those beauties for a year so I think this was a great purchase.

Arrivals

Today was a long and tiring, but not without fun. One of my undergrads loves Mayle and I helped her find a cardigan. Then she won an auction for an Odette coat, which made her really happy. I like bonding with her over these items. She had on her Rising Sun wedges and I asked to try them--they were so soft and comfy. I do need the 41 (her size) although I might be able to get away with a 40 if by any miracle they reappear. I wish I had got them last year...

I just got home to two new arrivals--the Inhabit cardigan and the first sweater I ordered with the round drapey neck. Both are really nice--super soft with a great drape. Both fit really well, and both are very similar browns although there is a clear difference. I am very happy with both. I thought the sweater was a risk but it is far nicer than in the photograph. So this is turning out to be sweater week--Evan can't get his head around the number of sweaters I already own and my continuing need for more. But I do wear them (he doesn't--men don't really seem to feel the cold) and try as I might, I don't think he understands different weights are useful for different weather. Today I wore Sveva  for the first time and I love it--soft, nice drape and beautiful details. I paired her with Eniko in Paradiso, a thin J. Crew black t-shirt, purple tights, grey boots and navy Odette.

I've been a bad girl this week. Yesterday, I picked up a pair of Madewell's skinny slouch jeans (size 27!). I went in to look at the sequin tank they have in one of their emails. It is lovely but I want the L and they are out (so I left my number). They had jeans on sale, so I tried them on (their prices are reasonable). They were nice but I decided to look at the skinny slouch hoping they'd work miracles on my muscular thighs. They did. I was stunned. The 29s fell off me in the hips/waist, the 28s were big too but both showed me how flattering these could be. The 27s weren't even tight but made my big thighs disappear so I got them. They are basically like skinny jeans with a little more give. I wonder what the 26s look like--I think I stopped before I went too far.

Then I looked in J. Crew who had some new and lovely jewelry. I also found the infinity bracelet on sale (I thought it was $29.99 but it was $39.99). So that went home too. Or rather out with me to my friend Allison's opening. She's doing a line of t-shirts and jersey items that are super-soft and organic, with a barbed wire print. I should have got one but I was feeling guilty about the tons of pieces I've got this week--and the lack of Christmas shopping that I've accomplished to date. Then I had dinner with my friend Mara and back home in the rain. For all this, I wore my black Filippa K mini dress, black chunky Club Monaco cardi (unnecessary as it was so warm), black leggings, grey boots, Odette and my rhinestone J. Crew bracelet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Month, New Sweater

The month hasn't started on quite the note I'd have liked--things I thought were in process unraveled and I'm back to the beginning. But I have done quite well with sweaters recently and today I added another gem to my collection--the Sveva sweater from SS 06. It's the one that's somewhat like Fall 08's Aiko, but has no zipper, is made from a soft wool blend, not cotton, has shorter puffed sleeves and is quite a bit longer (the Aiko stops at the pockets, unlike Sveva). Although there are marked similarities (the backs are very similar), the more I look, the more differences I find (like the two buttons on each side by the pockets on Sveva).




I got the lovely sable as you can see, so I'll have a lot of sweaters in this colorway now, including the Anita cardi from SS 06. Sveva is very cosy and I look forward to wearing her a lot. Apologies for the sideways photo--I can't work out how to rotate it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

One more post...

Here's my new Mayle sweater which I hope to get and wear soon!



Isn't she pretty? I'd love to know her name.

Addendum: What I Wore Today

I'm not trying to pad my blog post count (although this makes it the most blogged month of 2009 at 25) but I did forget to record today's outfit. Not much Mayle today. I wore a black box pleat gabardine skirt from Club Monaco (it's the reason I didn't get Amandine--my skirt is very similar and I've had it for about 5 years), my bottle green silk pintuck Lyell blouse from FW 2005, my navy Mayle cardi from FW 2006 with the wood buttons (never knew the name), heather gray tights, gray boots and Odette in Navy. It was getting cold as I left and I also knew that I'd get covered in chalk but I needed something warm. At least the chalk is rubbing off my left sleeve although I have no idea how I managed to get chalk up there.... Leave it to me to make a mess of myself!

Cyber Monday

So, I finish off the month with 24 posts, not bad considering my workload and Thanksgiving! Today was another crazy day, one with unexpected high and low spots.

I guess the high spots were my cyber Monday finds. Evan reminded me to check some of these out last night. GNC had 35% off for its Gold Card holders so I stocked up on my vitamins and supplements for this month and the beginning of next (as I'll be in the UK). I ended up saving $42. Evan's sister (a doctor) recommended against cod liver oil because of mercury and overdosing on Vitamin D, so I have to look for fish oil which GNC doesn't stock. Co-enzyme Q-10 wasn't on sale, otherwise I'm set for another month. Thank goodness for my FSA which helps offset these costs, acupuncure and my herbs.

My other cyber Monday find was the Inhabit cashmere sale. I like this brand, particularly its more imaginative knits, although I find some of their pieces pill a little too much and their customer service can be dicey (to put it mildly). But the prices were so low--80% off some pieces, plus free shipping, that I couldn't resist. The cold weather has started and reminds me I need more sweater options. So I got the following.



 I got this in a dark brown. I liked it before but it was $578 and now $118.

 

This will be versatile and was only $68 (down from over $300). I got it in a tan and will likely wear it with a variety of other layering pieces. At that price, who can resist.

After logging out and paying, I spotted this one for $98, down from $475. Another soft cashmere piece, this looks so warm, cozy and different. I like imaginative knits and this fit the bill so I took the plunge, again. I got it in a brownish lavender color. It has long attached sleeves under the shorter sleeves so it should be warm.



Then I heard about a Mayle striped sweater, which I ended up getting too thanks to a very dear and kind friend. Of course it was also in a variety of browns! So I'm probably stocked up on brown sweaters now. Inhabit also have another cashmere cardigan for $58 but it is time to stop on this binge now.

Low points--same as ever, too much work, etc. All the things I'm working on are still goals to continue working towards. Still, at least I'll be warm while striving for them.



Thanksgiving Trip

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. We headed up to Boston to visit Evan's sister, brother-in-law and nieces and nephew. I love Evan's family and always have a good time with them. I think the ultimate compliment was when his 15-year old nephew eschewed hanging out with a friend because he wanted to spend the time with the family.

For the trip (Amtrak), I wore my Earnest Sewn Ginger jeans, Fiorentini and Baker boots, Mariko top in dove and my grey Vince cashmere boyfriend cardigan with Olympe. Lots of grey and maybe a little warm for the still balmy weather. When we arrived, everybody was in jeans so rather than changing into Ignacia, I stayed casual. As Evan's sister's family mainly eat organic food, I was fine with my diet although I did have a slice of cheesecake which isn't on the list of approved foods.

The next day we did some Black Friday shopping--I got a bar of soap from Anthropologie and two pairs of pyjama pants (for the price of one) from the Gap. We were in the suburbs so nothing too exciting although I did not that the local UO had selections from the Fletcher by Lyell line, including the lace top I just bought. Better than the shopping was my companion--my friend Shari from grad school spent most of the day with us. We shopped, mainly window shopping, talked, laughed and then went back to Evan's family's house where we ate dinner and Shari (who is, among many other things, a yoga teacher) taught some poses to Evan's nieces. For all this, I wore Katia, the thick navy wool cardigan with wooden buttons from F/W 06 that I need to get repaired (I love this cardigan) and my grey boots/grey tights with Olympe.

Saturday I returned (same travel outfit), then went to see some friends who had a baby on Thanksgiving--the child is adorable. We bought them Thai food and I sat in some soy milk although fortunately my skirt was fine (outfit was a gray and black Philip Lim skirt from FW 2006?, Lyell scallop lace top from FW 08 and black Inhabit round neck cashmere sweater with Odette, red tights, grey boots).

Sunday was another sewing day at Alyssa's. For that I spent a lot of time in and out of my Mayle Liliane dress which I teamed with purple tights, grey boots, black cashmere chunky cardigan and Odette.

The penultimate week of classes starts today. I suspect a lot of tired students now that the much longed for Thanksgiving break is over, the temperatures are falling and much work still has to be done. I empathize with them and wish Thanksgiving fell about three or four weeks earlier myself so it could be a decent break midway through the semester rather than a too short preview of the holiday ahead.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Washday

Today I did laundry. It was one of those exciting days... I booked my ticket to London, spent about an hour I-M-ing my brother (wonderful, hysterically funny human being), spoke to my friend Shari who I hope I'll see while I'm in Boston (brief trip and Thanksgiving commitments make these things uncertain) and spent the day doing little errands.





I also watched one of my new Criterion DVDs--Carl Dreyer's beautiful and dreamlike Vampyr (1932). It's like no other film ever--scary and beautiful. I watched all the supplementary features too (two documentaries, one made for Danish TV) until Evan asked if we could please watch something else. I highly recommend Vampyr. It features Sybille Schmitz who is the real life inspiration for Fassbinder's Veronika Voss and its leading man/producer started as a French aristocrat, sponsor of the avant garde and ended up a fashion editor in NYC (Harrper's Bazaar and, I believe, Vogue), discovering Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein among others.

Fittingly, it wasn't a dress up day. Earnest Sewn ginger dreams (skinny, high waist) and a brown and white checked silk Steven Alan Dahlia top.

I'm still not feeling 100%. My stomach is bothering me and I've got a bit of a headache. I suspect I ate something not so good and got some kind of low grade bacterial infection. Still, it's nothing too bad and isn't stopping me from working.

Danya

So, I wore a dress for acupuncture, albeit with a long sleeved J.Crew black t underneath so I could just roll the dress down around my waist. Today's outfit--Danya with the black t underneath, gray cropped Inhabit cashmere cardi, burgundy tights, JC shoes.

Today was tiring. Lots of student consultations but my students are so nice. One of my students came in wearing Ignacia with red tights and a red jacket and looked very stylish. Another even bought me a coffee and piece of cake. I was so touched by her kindness and so sad that I couldn't drink the coffee (one sip made me realize how much better caffeinated coffee tastes). I gave the cake to Evan.

On that note, my acupuncturist praised me for the way I've stuck to the diet and said not all her patients were as good. I felt so proud--like I got an A on my homework. Hopefully all that work will pay off but it is nice to know that I'm doing well.

The main frustration today: air fares to England are super expensive, way more than normal at Christmas. I am having to foresake BA (my favorite) for the not so great American Airlines (bringing my own food for sure). But when the flight costs $200+ more for economy and BA only gives you 1/4 mile for every mile flown, then there's just no comparison. I may even be able to get the full milage on my BA frequent flier card. Still, I'll have to use those miles--my USAirways ones are about to expire and I have enough for a flight but no time to go anywhere (and no idea where I'd go anyway). I imagine they'll expire well before my conference in LA this spring. So, tomorrow, I'm going to bite the bullet and get my ticket home for the holidays and just grit my teeth for that crowded 7 hour flight over and 9 hour flight back. Thank goodness for ipods and magazines.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Busy, Busy

As the semester comes to a close and finals approach, I'm swamped. Lots of students coming to office hours, which is great as I get to meet them, but I do wish some had come in a little earlier--for their sake and mine. I didn't feel too great yesterday either--I hope I'm not catching any of the flu bugs that have been circulating around campus.

Other than work, I have nothing much to report. Yesterday's outfit was another Lyell one--the black top with the scalloped lace neck and dollman sleeves from Fall 08, my stalwart Lyell black box pleat skirt and my trusty chunky black cashmere Club Monaco cardi combined with gray tights, gray Fiorentini and Baker boots and my black Lyell little girl peacoat.

If today wasn't acupuncture, I'd be wearing a dress. I still haven't fathomed what to wear and I have to leave in an hour. That autumn chill rules out the gaia pants outfit I'd picked out in advance. I want to give my box pleat skirt (or skirts as I have two) a little break.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back to Mayle

As today was going to be one of those days where I sat at home, graded, prepared my materials for this week's classes, I knew I could afford to start breaking in a new pair of shoes. To be more precise, I'm trying to break in a pair of black Chi Mihara ankle boots that I got in the Saks sale about a year ago and have never worn out. They seem like they could be comfortable and may even be a wardrobe stalwart, but they are a little stiff and need to be worn in before I venture out into the city streets.

As pajamas and boots aren't a great look (even for sitting on the computer and typing), I had to dress up a little. So I put on black Rosamelia (I had the ruffle removed), black Gloria cardi (SS 06), blue-green Hue tights and the boots. I still wish Jane had made the body of the Rosamelia a little longer--without the ruffle (which I kept), it is a tad shorter than I'd like. It''s not so much length but proportion--styled wrongly, the skirt is short and wide. But with Gloria, it seems to work pretty well. The boots also help. This is a dress that can be vastly improved with the right shoes and accessories. If Jane had made it without the ruffle so it hit just above the knee, I think it would have been vastly more popular. There's a lot of work to it and the bodice is great, as are the sleeves.

Testing out Fletcher by Lyell

Yesterday was primariily frustrating. I tried to install a new printer driver with limited success (it took two hours because of compatibility issues with Evan's external dvd drive--the one on my laptop has broken). Then we went to pick up a coffee table we bought from cragislist. The coffee table is great--a Pottery Barn one from three years ago that's actually a lot nicer than the updated one and has the big drawer and shelves I need for my papers/book/grading. But our movers got stuck in tunnel traffic--we assumed Queens-midtown but actually it was the Lincoln tunnel. I waited with Evan for 1 hour, then left to hit Trader Joe's. Meanwhile, he waited for another hour before they arrived (fortunately there was a lobby in the building). Then there was the cable outage--first sound, then the sound back but the remote control wouldn't work, and finally, after two boosts from Time Warner, the cable resolved whatever issues it had.

I wore my new Fletcher top and cardigan with my Lyell box pleat skirt (almost copying an outfit from the SS 2007 lookbook), Lyell little girl peacoat, grey Fiorentini and Baker boots and my Mayle Agnes bag. The top is great--granted the silk and lace are a little lower in quality than the Lyell original (which I don't have) but the difference in quality is minimal. There are also two tweaks that make this more wearable than the original--the lace panel isn't as big or as low as the Lyell version and it is a shade longer, so it hits my hips, making it far more versatile. One of Lyell's problems, for me, is that some of her tops are cut too short in the torso--a style decision but not one that I like, preferring longer tops myself. The cardigan is also great--the sleeves are 3/4 whereas the originals were short and puffed (the longer sleeved cardigan which I have was only available in ivory cashmere or brown wool). I think it may possibly pill but no sign of that as yet. I hope it won't as both of these are great--I highly recommend them. They don't look cheap at all and blend in seamlessly with my more expensive Lyell and Mayle items.

We went to a new Thai place in East Elmherst last night--Ayada. It was amazing. Everything tasted fresh and I think it is a new favorite, up there with Sriprathai--although this place was good for the lighter dishes and Sriprathai better for heavier food. It was also cheap--entrees around $8. Amazingly good and the people who ran it were so nice.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Steven Alan Sample Sale and Fletcher by Lyell

I treated myself to an afternoon off and headed into Manhattan around 4, wearing my black and white striped J. Crew long sleeved t, J. Crew double rhinestone necklace, black chunky cashmere double breasted Club Monaco cardigan, denim mini, black leggings, Fiorentini and Baker grey boots and my Lyell little girl peacoat. I first headed to Urban Outfitters to scope out the Fletcher items. The quality of the newer pieces is much better and I got the black top with the lace insert on my covet list (a L, M would fit but I like the drape on the L). In addition they had the cardigan with the star pattern at the top that I own in the ivory cashmere from FW 2005. It was in black, just $58 and was mainly cotton with some wool, so it came home with me too.

I then went to Steven Alan, where I later met up with Cindy. I got a shrunken blazer in a lavender/black herringbone that makes me look tall and thin and a liberty-esqe print blue cami. I wasn't awestruck by the stock--many of the shirts in my size were in colors that were not so flattering--dull plaids, yellow/pink Liberty prints (I wear a L in SA because of my shoulders). I nearly got a plaid shirt but realized it would be spending for spending's sake. After I found the jacket ($195), I put other shirts back and decided to go with the investment piece.

Cindy and I walked around a bit, checked out Save Fashion again (nothing there of note) and got dinner at Rice. Then it was home on the V-train. Somehow the TV isn't working right--no sound. I suspect either the cable isn't right or, more likely, cat interference on the remote...

Wednesday and Thursday

I made a Herculean effort to complete some of the grading and managed to finish the celebrity class papers (all 40). My students worked so hard with many of them doubling the required page length, adjusting margins and font to ensure they could write as much per page as possible. Many of the papers were really good, so I wanted to give them a thorough reading. Combined with my teaching, this gave me little free time over the last two days.

Outfits for those days: Wednesday--ivory Jemeen, gray tights, gray Vince cashmere cardigan and Lola clogs; Thursday--Hera, Lyell box pleat skirt (another beloved staple--so much so, that I own two), orange cashmere cardigan from Club Monaco, gray tights, JC wedges and my black Lyell little girl peacoat from 2005 (I really love this one).

I watched the finale of Project Runway when I got home at 11 p.m. last night. I was underwhelmed by the collections as expected and unsurprised that Irina won. Not because her work was better, but because the judges for some bizarre reason seemed to want her to win from the start. All the collections were problematic at best--Carol Hannah makes nice dresses but she didn't present a collection and nothing she's done has been wow worthy or that creative, Althea is dull and one note (there is no way she translates street trends...) and Irina is horrible and has poor taste. I liked a couple of the cardigans, some of Althea's pants and jackets and a couple of Carol Hannah's dresses but it really is a good job that they're starting the next season of PR so soon to get the taste of this one out of the viewers' mouths.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Some Covets

Let me preface this by saying that I'd prefer to get some of the Mayle items that are on my wishlist. But these are not turning up on ebay or in consignment stores in my size. And when they have been on ebay, I've been outbid in the last seconds. I console myself with the thought that my fellow size 8s now have these items, but in the interim, I'm thinking about the following items that are actually available in stores for mere mortals to buy rather than randomly available, in uncertain condition and for whatever price the seller deems fit. As you can tell, I am a little frustrated with relying on a secondary market where there's no guarantee the pieces I want will be available and where they could be priced for far more than condition and scarcity demands. I just hope all those people who have some Mayle and don't wear it decide to sell--after all, many of the items I want were made in pretty large numbers and I'm sure most aren't being worn any more (the same, I'm sure, applies to all of us and our covets).

But for now, on with the items that are available. I'm going to stick with clothing here and consider accessories and shoes at a later date.




This first item I've yet to see in stores and may hate in person. So far, I've not been impressed with the fabrics used for the Fletcher by Lyell line, possibly because I own many of the original pieces that have been recut and reworked and can see a major difference between both lines, even when the cut is similar. That being said, I loved the original of this top. I planned to get it, but it sold out in my size before it was reduced. I didn't want to pay full price, in part because the lace was very low and possibly too revealing. But at this price ($68), I may go for this unless it looks like really cheap lingerie.




Speaking of Lyell, I have to second Marti's recommendation and highlight this jacket. I don't think it goes up to my size (it seems to stop at an 8, which in Lyell is usually more like a 4-6) and it is too similar to my brown Lyell tweed coat from 2006. But if I can find it in a bigger size, I might go for it in the black. I have to be careful, though, as I already have three Lyell coats and nine Mayle, so I wonder if I really need more outerwear...




I also like this Lyell blouse. I have to try it on, but it is certainly a possibility.




I tried this cardigan on in J. Crew this weekend. I love the style but I'm not entirely sold on the fabric. I have a wool allergy and this cardigan caused it to play up on the one exposed piece of arm it hit (raging burning feeling). This may sound like the most stupid item to consider, but I think I'd wear it over other items and may not have a problem if I wear it that way. Or maybe I just like the style and want to share it with people who can wear it.




Rachel Comey Retractor's dress from Frances May. I prefer the versions of this that aren't in leopard. While I love the green in Domohoka, I think the darker print would be more versatile.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Long day

I taught, I grade, I saw students, I responded to student emails and I got home at 10.15 p.m. and watched Gossip Girl. I'm now about to go to bed after I've done the dishes.  That about sums up my Monday. I wore Lilian, Magheeta (ivory), lavendar tights and my Jeffrey Campbell wedges with Ludovine over the top and my J. Crew locket  and pinky rectangular glass drop earrings. the dept. secretary (who is so lovely) told me she loved my clothes and how unusual they were--I explained a little about how much I like Mayle and how she closed this year. Then I went back to work.

Gossip Girl name-dropped Tisch a lot tonight. But the image they give of Tisch and its students is so wrong--they aren't socialites but good kids who work hard and are very low key and care about their studies. I have to ask the undergrads what they think of all this when I'm back in Tisch tomorrow.

Ebba

I recently wore my olive gold Ebba for the first time. As longstanding readers of this blog might recall, I went back and forth on this dress when it was in the shops. Several times I nearly got the marine version, only to have other items I wanted more turn up at the right price. Ebba had caught my eye early on but then when the fall items came in (remember, this was pre-fall), it seemed less desirable than Eniko and the others on my wishlist. Besides, there was the matter of fit. Ebba runs narrow in the hips so I needed the 10 to be comfortable--and I don't carry my weight there. The dress just runs narrow in the skirt.

With last week's warm spell, I pulled Ebba out so I could wear it before it got too late. I paired it with my Vince cardi and a gray pearl bead and rhinestone J. Crew necklace. At the end of the day, I realized how much I liked Ebba. It has an early 60s feel--almost Betty Draper-esque--and it is comfortable, full of those little details that make Mayle Mayle.

So, this is another little hidden gem to add to my list.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yesterday

I escaped briefly from the papers, grading, lectures and other writing, picking the rainy weekend day to play rather than today's mild sun. After completing some chores, I met Cindy and picked up some baby/toddler clothes for my niece from the Gap (who had their 30% off Give and Get promotion). I didn't realize I had to say something to get the 5% donated to a non-profit so I'm a little miffed about that part of the very fine print. But I got Charlotte three nice items and another 40% coupon off one item on a Wednesday so I'll use that for her final Christmas gift. This means I have officially started my present buying for this year.

After hitting up H&M to look at the (horrid) Jimmy Choo collaboration which lived up (or down) to my very low expectations--tons of remaining clothes, by the way if you like that kind of club-wear or bad 80s redux--we went to J. Crew where I nearly bought another bracelet. I have decided it will have to wait until the book is in the mail, which should be imminent. Cindy got a great cardigan and we headed to Inven.tory for the latest Save Fashion. The stock was a mess and pretty much overpriced/not my tastes (again), but I did pick up two pairs of Devotte sandals (same style of flats--one brown, one bright blue) for just $45 each. They are also very comfortable and will help me eke out my Africana flats for a couple more summers (I hope). We checked out INA which had no Mayle and Tokio 7 which had one tiny and very worn black cardigan. Then it was  dinner at Spice with Evan and Adrienne, before Ev, Adrienne and I headed off to see An Education, which was great. I had two minor quibbles--Peter Saarsgard's accent was a little all over the place and the final letter--which was wrong in so many ways that I can't go into here lest I spoil the film for anybody. Great clothing, however (definitely some dresses I'd love to own like the purple frock worn in Paris and some of the eveningwear), and the main actors were great. The period details were pretty good, but not Mad Men perfect.

And for all this I wore Margarita in black, with a black J Crew long sleeved t-shirt, my Vince cashmere cardi, Fiorentini and Baker grey boots, purple tights and Ludovine in black. Cindy wore her Amalfi Federica, her new cardigan, black tights and black Belle shoes.

Today, I'm writing lectures. Then I have a pile of grading waiting for me--the ones I want to leave til last are, of course, the ones I have to grade first. As for clothing? Pina in black, my Vince cardi, Devotte brown flat sandals. I still need to get some shoes/ankle boots for the winter or fall that are comfortable enough for teaching, not suede and work with skirts. I just can't wear the Lola clogs all day long--at least not yet. They have taken me over 2 years to break in and I think they're nearly there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Things I liked about this week

It's too easy to sit here and bemoan the things that have been tough, tiring of simply frustrating--the near miss on the ebay auctions, the coffee table debacle, even the grading. So here are some of the things I've enjoyed, in no particular order:

1. the Mad Men finale. I can't recap it as well as my dear friend Ben (whose blog, Nobody Puts Baby in a Horner is on my blog roll and offers amazing, self proclaimed irresponsible recaps). But I love the show, the clothes, Pete Campbell's confession that he wasn't really sick, Trudy Campbell's hats, Sally's precociousness, Don's story, Roger's rougueishness and Joan for being Joan (and she looked so great in her black capri pants, grey cardigan and white shirt). I  love the 1960s and have published a lot on the era and its media--so many transformations in gender and society--possibilities changed, styles mutated and the world appeared to transform itself at least twice from 62-68. The transition between  early 1960s style and elegance and mid-late 1960s mod Swinging London youth fascinates me--so much great stuff, the world quickly forming and reforming so each moment is as distinctive as it is ephemeral.

2. South Park. Eric Cartman episodes are always sublime, as are Butters ones, for that matter. But this week's Dances With Smurfs was one of the better ones, complete with its surreal Glen Beck parody. Following from Butters as a pimp and the dead celebrities episode, this half season has been one of the best, filled with rare treats. Even the weakest episode offered the thrilling spectacle of Eric Cartman singing "Poker Face" while playing Rock Band with Kyle and Kenny.

3. The Girl Can't Help It. The screening for my celebrity class this week made me realize (again) just how underrated Jayne Mansfield was--as a comedienne, singer and screen presence. She is no Monroe but that's because she is herself--funny, smart and completely in control (as seen in her perfectly sharp enunciation).  She has none of Monroe's vulnerability--she's together, smart and in on the joke. That's tougher to romanticize but she comes across as a lot of fun and as the obviously smart woman she was off-screen. My students must be aware of my fondness for the Tashlin-Mansfield films: I also screened Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter earlier in the semester. And that's a film that any fan of comedy or Mad Men, for that matter, should check out.

4. Criterion Collection DVDs 50% off at Barnes and Noble. Undoubtedly the best DVDs around, although their collection is limited. I have already bought four Criterion DVDs this semester so I was a little miffed about missing the deal on these (especially as one was Fassbinder's FDR set with the great Veronika Voss). But I made up for this by getting 12 more discs--including upgrading my copy of Vampyr, finally getting The Rise to Power of Louis XIV, three more early Godards, an Ozu double set, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, The Scarlet Empress and The Third Man. Some are for teaching, some for research purposes, and others are just for me.

5. Sewing with Cindy and Alyssa. Such great people and so much fun to use another part of my brain and get away from work.

6. Bored to Death. The best new comedy of the year and one that completely captures Brooklyn (or at least the Brooklyn I know).

7. Acupuncture. Always wonderful, sometimes more than others. Next semester's schedule allows me to go twice a week. Hopefully it won't be necessary, but it is currently a great and necessary part of my life. My acupunturist, Juliette Aiyana, is truly gifted.

8. the weather--early in the week, that is. Sunny and warm. I love hot days in November.

9. Jim O'Rourke's The Visitor. My copy finally arrived from amazon (on back order since before the cd was released). His first CD in about 7 years, this is recognizably him and therefore I know I'll love it as I get to hear it more. It sounds beautiful but as it is all one track, it is going to require more plays before I feel I know it and can listen to its textures.

On a final note, my apt is so hot that now I'm wearing the olive-gold Ebba and bare legs, no cardigan. At least inside I can enjoy my pretty Mayle when it's cold outside.

Working

I graded today and applied for two jobs that I likely won't get. I couldn't believe the day escaped from me so fast. I might post again later today, but so far, little to say.

As for the outfit--today is the tweed Josephine dress (FW 05, I think) with FW 06 black silk Georgina blouse, Vince gray cashmere cardi, purplish Hue tights from 04 and gray Fiorentini and Baker boots. I'm about to add Navy Odette and run out for dinner.

Tired

So, time for a rare Thursday update (8 hours teaching plus travel times doesn't really allow for much of anything else). I can't believe the semester is nearly over--my classes for next semester are filling up already and I'm barely digging my way out from the last of the midterms/paper proposals.

So, not too much to say. I wore Clothilde with some black skinny pants,Vince gray cardi, JC shoes and Olympe today. I  really need to get another pair of skinny black pants as these are now a little too loose.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Errands

It's getting to be the busy time of year/semester. Yesterday was acupuncture (good although I confessed to my acupuncturist that I was a little down about my lack of success/progress), then German Cinema. For the last warmish day, I wore my silk top from SS 06, Lyell scallop skirt, gray cashmere Vince cardi (my stalwart cardigan) and Ludovine with blue tights and the Jeffrey Campbell wedges.

Today was a day full of work, errands and some frustrations. I started applying for jobs in between teaching/prep/writing/grading, and have to finish this by Friday as the deadlines are fast approaching. I missed the gym due to an ebay auction (a frustrating loss) and an increasingly complex craigslist furniture purchase/pick up. Everything was ready to go with a coffee table we're getting (one with drawers to maximize storage) until the seller emailed to say that her building only allowed furniture to be moved between 9-4 and needed to see the mover's insurance and bonding certificates. A flurry of emails followed but the net result--moving the table tonight--was not to be. Then I went to meet one of my grad students at 6.30, treating myself to a grey pearl bead and grey rhinestone necklace from J. Crew's sale and two plates ($3.95 each) from anthropologie.

Net result; no coffee table, no completed job apps, no gym,  and no completed book (still trying to finish proofing). I also have that nagging sense that NYU really should have given me a research assistant this semester---I really do need one.

Oh, and no Mayle either today (unless you count Olympe, which I wore during my trip to see my very nice grad student). Earnest Sewn Ginger skinny jeans, silk plaid gathered Steven Alan shirt, and a black round neck Inhabit cashmere sweater.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tests

It's that time in the semester--midterms are in, I've got a lot of grading to do, and the next round of testing begins. I'm digging my way out--I return the grad papers tomorrow-and hopefully I'll be able to do more of my own writing soon. I want the book out of the way and I want the reward I'm going to give myself, be it the cardigan or bracelet.

It's hitting me that the year and the semester are winding to a close. How did that happen? Still so much I promised myself I'd achieve this year remains undone, as yet unaccomplished. Just 8 more weeks left to get it all done. That's my real test.

Today was beautiful---warm, sunny, low 70s. I figured that I should wear something I won't have a chance to enjoy in future months. So I wore my black silk Josie romper (which I'd only worn once around the house) with a silk gingham Steven Alan dahlia shirt (love those puffed sleeves), Monogram clogs and Emmanuelle jacket (with my prefall cardigan in case I needed something in the classroom). I got several compliments, which was interesting to me as I wasn't sure what to wear underneath Josie (the t-shirts I'd tried had necklines that were too high, too low or just wrong). So now I have another idea of how to wear this, rather than on its own (not really appropriate for teaching, or November, no matter how balmy). I love warm November days--I love that it's possible and not even that rare in the North East, but hate the fact that these warm spells are now so very brief. Tomorrow, acupuncture, German Cinema and mid-60s weather so I think I can get at least one more good springlike outfit in before the weather chills.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sewing Sunday

About five years ago, my friend Alyssa taught me how to sew. She does things properly, so I learned how to make pillowcases first (matching the stripes on the upholstery silk, setting in invisible zippers, cross stitching over the edges to prevent the fabric fraying). Then she taught me how to make patterns, muslins how to do French seams. We started draping but then she had her apt. remodeled--a process that took years. We're now back sewing.

This afternoon, we had our first sewing circle in a while. I'm planning on making a few dresses and have new fabric, as well as some cashmere from Beckenstein's, some lovely silks from Mood (including a Marc Jacobs collection green print that I want to make into a short sleeved dress) and some wool for a tulip skirt. I've got the lining, the zippers and thread and am ready to go. I spent the afternoon tracing and cutting out a fitting pattern, looking over my old fabrics (most haven't dated and still look as beautiful as when I bought them) and thinking of ideas that I hope to pull off. It's nice to be creative again and do something that energizes a different part of my brain.

This afternoon's outfit was a favorite from last fall--Yves in rose, black tights, gray Inhabit cashmere cardi and my new Jeffrey Campbell wedges. You need to be able to move in clothes when you sew--and you need to be able to hike them out of your way so they don't get cut up.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Topshop black dress and my Bracque belt

That about sums it up for today. I got dressed, realized my passport wasn't where I thought it was, turned all my drawers, piles of sweaters, bags, belts and shoes out onto the bed and other available surfaces. Finally, it turned up (it was in a make-up bag in the very basket I thought housed my passport).

After that, I graded. Then we got Thai food from Srirprathai, watched some of this morning's 90210 (the real one, the good one that's getting into its greatest years--the sophomore, junior and senior college years where the show gets increasingly crazy). Then it was back to grading.

For this scintillating Saturday, I wore navy tights (because they were in my hands after going through my very overstuffed tights drawer), a long sleeved black topshop mini dress from around 2004 and bracque, which now buckles on the second hole! When we went out for take out, I combined it with Olympe, my grey and red Steven Alan hat and Fiorentini and Baker flat gray boots. I did put on red Chanel lipstick for the first time in many moons. I was worried it might be a little harsh and aging but I actually think the reverse was true--I'll have to see how it looks in daylight.

And now, it's back to work.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Slim Pickings, Full Day

I should have stayed at home all day and graded today as I have papers from two classes to grade, 15 grad student and 40 undergrad essays. But I was being interviewed for the Cinema Studies blog so I got up bright and early and found myself back in Tisch only 12 1/2 hours after I left last night.

After that, there were errands to run. My desk copy of one book on transnationalism and German cinema never arrived, so I bought one from the campus bookstore. Then I stocked up at GNC (fertility blend, coenzyme Q-10, multivitamins). At this point, I feel like I'm taking more herbs, vitamins and supplements than anybody should, but I hope it all does its work. Then I checked consignment stores for Mayle. Not much out there--some of the cardigans I saw literally had been worn out by their original owners. They had finally lost their shape, the color had faded and they were likely only accepted for resale because of the label. I'd far rather spend the money on the cardigan in J. Crew that I have my eye on. But I'm also going on record here--I vow no more J. Crew necklaces or cardigans (or anything  for that matter) until I finish the book which I am effectively copyediting right now. It's all but done (one full day or two is all I need), so I have to finish it this week and then I can celebrate. It needs to go so other things can find their way into my life.

Evan is at a conference in Boston. It was really lonely coming back to an empty house last night at 11 pm and I just ate and crawled into bed with the cats. He should be home in the next couple of hours but I have missed him.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Catching up Day

Today was one of those days where I realized that I had to manage the little things that had been stressing me out. So I answered emails, cleaned up my desk, filed away old lecture notes, and realized that it was dark before I knew it. I didn't make it to the gym which means I must go on Friday. Overall, today was not a remarkable day, one of those that barely warrants blogging about.

Clothes-wise, today I didn't wear Mayle. Instead it was my black and white striped long sleeved J. Crew t worn beneath my Roland Mouret for Gap short sleeved black mini dress. That was one of the best designer collaborations yet it was so low key as to be almost invisible. One day I'd love to own a real Roland Mouret dress. The sleeves on this gap one are amazing and the dress has held up really well to a lot of wear. Much better than any of the CFDA collaborations since, which were not helped by the strictures of white shirt/khakis. In my opinion, it's far better to let designers work in other fabrics and colors, particularly those that are more flattering and stand u better to repeated washing and wear.

Vows

After talking to one of my students today (she's writing her midterm on fashion blogs), I'm vowing to be a better blogger. So:

1. I will update most days, even if it's brief (Thursdays are so crazy and are likely impossible).

2. I will post photos--I can borrow Evan's camera until I get a new one.

3. As this is, in part, supposed to be a fashion blog of sorts, I will keep a better record of what I wear, maybe even a photographic one.

To that end, I wore my Helen today, with my Lyell scallop black silk skirt, a long gray Autumn cashmere cardi, gray hue tights, my new Jeffrey Campbell eleven strap studded wedges and Ludovine. I changed into my black and white stripe long sleeved J. Crew t with the Lyell skirt when I got home tonight after German Cinema.

I also popped into J. Crew (again) before acupuncture. I picked up the black stone and rose gold necklace, earrings and bracelet as all were on sale (pictures tomorrow, along with Peeps and Blue in their Halloween garb). Speaking of acupuncture, it was intense today--amazingly good then the feeling from the needle in my forehead was so strong that I thought I'd pass out (not sleep) or even die. It was crazy--I fought it which I know I shouldn't and wish I hadn't. The sensation was so strong that I still feel the after effects nearly 9 hours later and I actually felt a little nauseous and shaky afterwards. I wish I'd let it go, fallen asleep and let the needles do their work. Yes, I am a wimp. But it was another reminder that this is strong stuff, good stuff and that it really works. I'm hoping to go twice a week soon, as soon as my teaching schedule permits.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick or Treat

We did our own variant on Halloween this weekend. Evan was sick so we stayed at home Saturday night with the cats and played trick or treat with them. The trick was dressing them up in a variety of Target cat Halloween costumes (and one small pet devil wig) and then rewarding them with treats after taking their photos. It was easier to bribe them with treats first, however, as the joy of food and full stomachs made them easier to handle. The exception was Peeps who takes afer her mum and loves being dressed up. She also dislikes treats so she was the easiest to handle. Photos will follow, I promise!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Harry

As I was about to get in the shower this afternoon after working out at the gym, my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number (it was a 917 area code, so local). I couldn't believe it when it was my best friend from college--Harry. She's in town for just a few days, which is a miracle in more ways than one as she has a fear of flying and has only flown twice since she was 17.

I love Harry to death but she is notoriously late and awful with plans. Already, we've planned to meet once and she's had to cancel. Back in the days before cellphones when we were undergrads at the University of Kent, I'd wait for her outside Boots in the High Street for hours. She'd always swear she'd make it by 10 am, and often wasn't there until 1 p.m., always with excuses. We lived in the same college, so I don't really understand why we didn't agree to meet by Lord Rutherford's bust in the quadrangle--equidistant from both our rooms--and get the bus in together. But I guess that's the mindset of 18 year old girls. No matter how hungry, cold or frustrated I was with her, I couldn't stop smiling when Harry rushed up to me, carrying at least two carrier bags, explaining all the reasons why she was late. Half the blame has to be mine for believing she might actually make it into town on a Saturday morning by 10. Of course, I was always up for breakfast--they served it only until 8.50 am and I wasn't going to miss out on a meal or coffee that I'd already paid for. Besides, I had a fondness for the rubbery toast and small slightly damp wrapped butter portions and the weird but strong coffee made out of some liquid concentrate.

Harry is a character and a wonderful human being. I'll get to see her on Friday (alas I teach all day and most of tomorrow night with an 11 am-10 p.m. schedule), but she leaves Saturday and it is such a shame she isn't here for longer. I haven't seen her for three years, but hopefully, this Christmas she'll have time to get together in London or somewhere between her home and mine. Regardless of how little time we'll have together, I am utterly thrilled that she's here and that I'll get to see her soon.

More J. Crew Jewelry

Once again, I was early for acupuncture. Once again, I fell victim to my own consumerist desires. With 10 minutes to spare, I decided to check the jewelry at J. Crew and walked out with two pieces--a pair of earrings and a rhinestone/glass bracelet. I love bracelets but they aren't easy to find, other than bangles which don't fit over my wrists or bracelets threaded on elastic (bound to break). I chose between three yesterday and still may go back to get another. I also like the fact J. Crew offer a teacher discount--nobody else does and it is good to feel wanted when you do a job as a college professor that never offers bonuses and doesn't have good pay but requires many years of education.

Onto the jewelry. These are my new finds:




This bracelet almost looks like a cuff and lies flat. The earrings are both lovely and lightweight. There are some even nicer pieces but I really can't wear earrings that heavy--if they were lighter weight, I'd be there getting thee or four pairs. Here they are:



Finally, here's the other bracelet. If I finish the book this week (and I think it is possible), I may treat myself to this as well. I just have a few misgivings about the clasp--will it support such a substantial bracelet?




If I purchase this, I just have to decide between the white pearl beads on gold and the rose gold/pink version.

Or I could just be a good girl and stop spending money on accessories but that would be less fun. I have to admit I've spent more on J. Crew than any other store this year, what with these fabulous accessories and the lovely striped long sleeved t-shirt I bought there recently. I guess it shows that this has not been the most inspired season.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shopping

So I'm still coveting the other pair of Gap/Pierre Hardy boots--the shorter pair. I know I shouldn't buy more and I realize the Gap have successfully eaked out these boots to whet peopl's appeatite (mine included). But they are so comfortable that I think I'll bite the bullet, providing I can find them.

Otherwise, it's been an odd fall. I'm not that enthused about shopping and consequently the thought of upcoming sample sales doesn't thrill me the way it did in past seasons. I like some items from APC, Jeffrey Monteiro, Rachel Comey, Steven Alan, Lyell, J. Crew and even Kate Spade. But no Mayle means I have less interest in new clothing (although new shoes/jewelry and even sweaters are another matter) and am spending more time scouring out older pieces. But I miss the adrenalin of shopping and waiting/hiping those key pieces I need will be put on sale while anticipating the new lookbooks for holiday, resort and even spring 2010.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pierre Hardy for Gap boots

Although I can't eny that I have a lot of clothes, shoes and boots are always tough for me. As I teach, I spend a lot of time on my feet (my classes are often 3-4 hours long and in many cases, I don't get a chance to sit down). I also use public transit, often return home late at night and generally have a limited tolerance for pain. I have big feet (size 40, sometimes 41), so I have to compete with the other tall girls for limited sizes (shoes are made on a bell curve--just a few 35, 36, 40, 41).

In some ways, I think, this excuses me for buying the shearling Gap/Pierre Hardy boots yesterday, size 9.5. I was a touch early for acupuncture so I popped into the Gap on 17th and 5th and found them by the doorway. Without looking at them in a mirror, I quickly tried on the shearling in olive (the only ones, I think, in 9.5) and in 9. Time was at a premium, they seem comfortable, so I rushed to pay (no line) and left.

I did feel a bit bad for contaminating the pure space of acupuncture--a site for transcending materiality--with my bulky shoe box in its almost too small bag. But the session was great. Later, I tried my boots on during office hours and they were comfortable. My only misgiving is a lingering doubt that the shorter boots fit my style and my needs more--I need boots for dreses and skirts more than pants. So, do I get the shorter version too or sacrifice the beautiful olive ones for the gray ankle boots? Or do I wait for the shorter ones to go on sale? I guess I'm going to have to play this one by ear.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mayle for sale updates

Cindy's Michaela has sold, as has my Thea and the sale on my Lida is pending. Suvi is still available.

Thank you everybody for your interest in these pieces.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mayle for Sale, Part XII

Cindy is parting with two more beautiful pieces, one of them extremely rare. I love the Michaela and the Jemeen (as you know) is one of those dresses that's perfect and so wearable. Over to Cindy:

I am putting my exceedingly rare Michaela dress in the rio plata print up to trade or sell.  Only three of these gorgeous Michaela dresses were made for the Ten Little Indians limited re-editions collection.  It is a size 6, true to size (17” flat bust, 14.5” flat waist, hip is open), and in perfect condition.  I wore it twice – the day the 242 Elizabeth St. shop closed and for my wedding rehearsal dinner.  



 


Also for trade/sale – my black and white Jemeen dress from the Resort 2008 collection, size 4.  This dress can fit sizes 4-8 depending on your fit preference/height and is a lovely workhorse mainstay for your collection.  New without tags. 



 


Please contact mayletradesale[at]gmail[dot]com if interested.  Thank you!
 

A Happy Ending

In late September, I saw a dress on ebay that was top of a friend's covet list. It had a low BIN so I bought it after calling her (she was not near a computer). Then the long wait began. The seller didn't respond to emails as she was on holiday, the package never arrived.

I finally filed for restitution throught ebay. The seller again didn't contact me so I called them after the required week had elapsed and a coupon refunding my money is on its way. Ebay were amazing on this and I have the funds for another Mayle purchase. I wish my friend had been able to get her dress but this wasn't the disaster it could have been.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gym

Even with my efforts to be healthy, my life has been so busy that I've relied on the odd yoga video and walking/shopping for my workouts in recent months. This is not something I'm proud of. I used to work out 5 times a week and my stomach was flat. I was also a small size 6. After doing more reading last week, I decided that I had to stop procrastinating. So, on Saturday, I headed into Manhattan to get some gym shoes (my last pair were 1/2 size too big and literally cut grooves into my heels) and then went to the local gym and signed up for a year's membership. I didn't make it there today (the pile of 140 exams for two classes made sure that wouldn't happen), but tomorrow I'm going to start on my new routine. If I can make it there three times a week, I'll be happy. As I teach evenings, the daytime beckons. I like to do cardio every day and alternate weights for upper and lower body but I'm going to be realistic and start light and build up. I cannot sacrifice work time for the gym, but I can't continue sacrificing everything else for work.

Thanks to Christina, I recently acquired the Mayle high heeled Oxfords from Fall 06 in black suede. They are very high so not everyday shoes, but they are so comfortable and like new. I don't know the style name (that's one look book I never saw), but as soon as I get a working camera, I'll take photos to share. I've had very little luck with Mayle acquisitions recently, but given the expense of moving and acquiring new bookcases, closet shelving, a new dresser and wardrobe, that might be as well. My other major find was the Emmanuelle jacket from Fall 08. It was not cheap, but it is heavenly. Again, photos to come.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jewelry

Cindy and I met up yesterday to comb consignment stores, visit Gerry at Poupette's stall at the Designer's Market and do a little window shopping. In the wake of Mayle's closure, it seems that my main spending has been on the Mayle secondary market, if we can call it that, and accessories. I'm relatively new to jewelry: not that I don't love it, or that I haven't bought stacks of earrings, necklaces and bracelets in the past, but so much of it was cheap. After finding tarnished pieces in makeup bags and boxes in the past, I went cold turkey. In grad school, I used to buy reworked vintage earrings from a stall in the library mall at Madison; I've also acquired more cheap jewelry from Forever 21, Topshop and the like over my life than I care to think. About five years ago, I realized that there was no point accessorizing good clothes with the cheapest costume jewelry and started to be far more selective. This meant finer pieces from craft shows, selected items from anthropologie, some pieces from Bird, a few Isabel Marant necklaces. Still, my collection of pieces was small and mainly consisted of a few necklaces and earrings. I love bracelets, particularly the 1950s/60s style chain bracelets with dangling charms etc. but whenever I bought one from a vintage store, I had the bad luck to get one that was on the verge of disintegration.

My grandmother was a jeweler so you'd think I'd have inherited some beautiful pieces. Alas, being in the trade, she knew fine jewelry to be a poor investment and selected to spend her money on clothing and stocks. Her fine pieces included her engagement ring (now worn by my wonderful sister-in-law), watches (I have one delicate gold one that I am too scared to wear), and a few pins and gold/silver evening bags that live in the bank. I knew fine jewelry was a poor investment. I also love it and can't afford it, so I think I just decided this was too much to consider and gave up.

Cindy opened my eyes to other options, like Poupette's rings and chains (www.poupettenyc.com). I don't have the most beautiful hands, but Gerry makes a beautiful looped G ring and I'm going to invest in the silver which has a beautiful sparkly finish. I'm tempted to go for the rose gold (my favorite gold) but the silver looked so great against my skin.
 
Along with Marti, Cindy also introduced me to J. Crew's costume jewelry. We went in yesterday and my window shopping translated into a real haul. I got the following pieces--a gold look chain bracelet with hanging circle/open square charms studded with rhinestones on one side (the 1950s/60s charm bracelet look I so love), a pair of rhinestone earrings in a clear crystal (the ones pictured below, but in the clear color--they are sold out online), and a double rope of clear rhinestones tied up with a black grosgrain ribbon.



 


They make me feel pretty, refract light to my face and will work with anything. Cindy bought two amazing statement necklaces with big rhinestone crystals--her eye is flawless for accessories as well as clothing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Loving Helen

There are some Mayle items I always overlook. Pretty but somehow the weather or occasion isn't right. Or simply they fly under the radar. Until yesterday, Helen was one. I loved it in the holiday look book, but I bought it during the coldest weather so it remained on its hanger. Then it was too wet, too humid and too warm to wear. In some ways, it was the forgotten piece. I hadn't had it on for so long that I forgot why I liked it (other than the color--I love orange and it is a far easier color to wear than most people think).

Yesterday, I decided to wear it with jeans to teach. Lo and behold, it's a beautiful piece. Another reminder of why you have to try Mayle on, Helen drapes beautifully and has these amazing gathered 3/4 sleeves. It's not corporate, as I felt, but figure flattering with its high cinched waist. It will now be a worn far more often--it's versatile, pretty, detailed and another great Mayle find.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Mayle dress for sale

I forgot to mention that I also have a size 2 Pilar dress in ivory, new with tags, never worn. Evan picked it up for me but got the wrong size. I could never fit into it.

Again, please leave a comment if interested. Thank you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mayle for Sale, Part XII

This time, I'm selling a few things myself. If you are interested, send me an email or leave me a comment. I can send you measurements on request.



First, my Thea in putty, size 8. This makes me sad but it's time for reality. I love this dress. I've never worn it. It still has the tags attached and is in brand new condition. Alas, it runs small and would fit a 6 better than an 8. Even my recent weight loss has not helped as this dress is meant for someone with a narrower ribcage and shoulders. I hate parting with a dress that was a big favorite, but maybe some day, the 10 will turn up. It needs to be worn and loved. My camera is broken, but I'm going to borrow Evan's and take some photos.


 

 


Second, my Suvi top, Fall 07, size 10, pictured above (the first picture is a full length view, then there is the front, then back). Because of the color, the details are lost, but there are tiny pockets at the front. It is a silk wool crepe and fully lined. I wore this once and wore it briefly. It is lovely but too similar, I fear, to my Paradiso Mitsuko (almost identical cuts), and that is the top I pick up when I want something like this. As I have acquired a couple of covets recently and am dealing with reduced closet space, it's time to sell this to someone who will love and wear it. It is trimmed with the winter lace used for Danya, which I also own, and is a lovely and rare piece (not featured in the look book).



Finally, Lina, my knitted dress/sweater dress from Fall 07/pre Fall 07--again, pictures will follow after I borrow Evan's camera). I love it but it doesn't love me--the buttons on the sleeves and neck are touches that I couldn't resist. But I have an allergy to wool (well, to lanolin) and bought this because it was so pretty and figured it wouldn't matter (the same logic that convinced me to buy shoes that were a size too small). But my skin resists: the lanolin content must be high and it has to go. It is a Medium, and would fit a size 6-8 easily. Worn once for about 10 minutes, to pick up the New York Times from the lobby.

The blue dress is sold--if you are interested in the top, please leave a comment. Thank you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

From Cindy: Adventures in Franken-Mayle: yes, I DYE!

Here is the promised guest post. Thank you Cindy. I just wish Jane had made these dresses in the colors you chose.

Over to Cindy:

Upon scanning the Mayle Spring 2008 lookbook, I swooned.  Mexican funeral!  Flowers everywhere!  After a second pass, I begin to feel pangs of dismay – the book was full of covetable pieces, mostly in ivory.  Frankly, I fear wearing all-white ensembles because I thoroughly enjoy eating and sitting.  Notwithstanding, I purchased the Adela dress and the Bibi dress, convinced I would wear these beautiful pieces bravely.    





After languishing in my closet months later, tags and all, I decided to finally take the plunge and explore dyeing.  I fantasized about the dresses’ Franken-Mayle potential – how would ochre and plum silks look with enamel buttons?  

I wrote to Ms. Mayle, seeking dyeing advice for my Spring 2008 ivory silks.  Would the dresses shrink?  How would they dye?  She wrote:
“Hi Cindy-
I know that the dresses are made from sand washed spun silk and that the silk was dyed before construction.  I don’t think the dresses should shrink significantly when dyed but I’m not sure what the content is for the thread and I worry that it might be poly in which case, it wouldn’t dye with the rest of the dress, resulting in contrast color stitching. 
All the best with your dyeing adventures!
Jane”
Based on the fact that I didn’t really understand most of Jane’s e-mail, I decided immediately that DIY was out of my league.    

With a little googling, I learned that silk is a protein fiber that takes up dye beautifully.  The dyeing process varies depending on the type of silk and how the silk was pre-treated.  Dresses, however, are constructed with many other materials that are not dye-friendly – in particular, synthetic threads and linings, along with other un-dyeable details.  Mayle, fortunately, constructs most garments with silk linings, which eliminated the possibility that the lining would shrink disproportionately compared to the outer layer (positively horrifying). 

During my internet searches, I only found a handful of places willing to do “individual garment” dyeing.  I chose Metro Dyeing for the following reasons: 1) they had a write-up in New York Magazine; 2) the business was conveniently located in the Manhattan garment district; 3) the cost per dyed garment was $50; and 4) upon e-mailing, they agreed to let me unburden my dyeing neuroses in person.  Their website:

http://www.sampledyeingny.com/about.php
(They have a great “before and after” section where they feature Courtney Love’s dyed stage costumes.  Very reassuring!)

Craig, my friendly and helpful contact at Metro Dyeing, made me realize quickly that dyeing is not for the faint of heart.  The maximum shrinkage rate for a silk garment is approximately 4%.  If you’ve dry-cleaned the garment, the dye may settle unevenly.  The details on the dress would be affected by the agitation process.  The synthetic materials (like the bib on Bibi) would not dye the same color as the rest of the dress but would pick up some dye if there was some organic material in it (like the cotton in the bib).  Even color choice can be minefield – yellows and greens are unpredictable and require harsher dyeing processes and temperatures; purples and blues are easier.  Dyeing any garment black would require multiple passes and a true black was not guaranteed.    
But there were plenty of positives – Craig and his team are fabric dyeing professionals and would work with me during the dyeing process until I got the color I required (at no extra charge!).  He told me that the dyes were safe for sensitive skin, would not be affected by dry cleaning, and ultimately, he reminded me that I wouldn’t wear the ivory pieces as much the dyed pieces. 

I settled on a dusky purpley plum for Adela and a navy blue for Bibi.  Here are the intermediate results, post-work up, about three weeks after the first dye:



 

 

 

 





Upon viewing the dresses within the first 24 hours post-dye, I wished Craig hadn’t let me come up for a peek.  The results were terrifying.  The dresses felt like dried paper mache.  Most of the detailing – hems, straps, buttons - needed mending.  The synthetic threads and bib had taken up little or no dye.  But at least the dresses hadn’t shrunk much.  They had shrunk proportionately, perhaps by less than 2% total.  Craig suggested steaming the garments.  After about a week and two steamings, the sandwashed softness of the silk returned.

Encouraged, I searched for appropriate final touches for my dyed pieces.  To re-color the bib and obvious contrast threads, I turned to Dharma Trading Company (http://www.dharmatrading.com/) and purchased colorfast, dry-cleaning safe fabric markers that didn’t require special “settings” (i.e., ironing).




I found mother-of-pearl and brass buttons to replace the original peach buttons on Adela (thank you, Moya!) and asked my tailor to replace the white zipper on the navy and black Bibi with a black zipper.  With mended hems and re-sewn details, button and zipper replacements, and painstakingly hand-colored contrast threading, here are the final results, almost two months after I sent my garments to Metro Dyeing:



 

 

 



Voila, that concludes my Franken-Mayleing!  I am very pleased with the final dresses and I have loved giving my personal touches to these pieces.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and find that this post encourages you to consider dyeing (with all kinds of caveats!).  I pass this along to you as Jane wrote to me, “All the best with your dyeing adventures!”