Posts Tagged ‘My People’
This is Girl of a Certain Age Shanna France: school psychologist, mother of two, and my sister in law. Less than two years ago, she decided to pick up running. Today, she finished her first New York City marathon in four hours and 45 minutes. I am stupidly, dorkily proud.
For a while I’ve been wanting to get an around-the-wrist tattoo, but haven’t quite been able to come up with the exactly right execution. Then the other day, Tribeca Mom says “You should get a Liberty print tattoo,” and I’m all like, “Oh My God, I totally should.”
And so I did.
My dear friend and former coworker Elise Loehnen—who lives in LA and works as the editor in chief of Beso—is a woman who is not afraid to let her sartorial freak flag fly. There were times when I would see her coming down the halls of Lucky in one of her crazy-bright shirtwaist vintage dresses, complemented by a big belt in a dramatically contrasting hue, then topped off with a doorknocker of a Navajo squash blossom necklace, and I would just have to crack up. It was totally loony but a delight to behold, and while none of it had anything to do with any trend of the moment, it all, I eventually came to realize, was brilliant. Elise understands the joy of color and print, and I would venture to say that she, more than any other one person, is responsible to passing that on to me. Her style has definitely morphed into something quieter and more grown up in recent years. But she can still bring the crazy.
Straight Leg Jeans from Big Star This is a heritage brand that’s due for a comeback: The denim is really high-quality, and the wash is unadulterated. I like straight jeans because they don’t make me look too hip-y (like skinny jeans, which are the bane of my existence), but they’re still cuffable.
Pointy-Toe Skimmers Cute and then more cute.
Timberline Ltd Pendleton Laptop Case I bought an 11” MacBook Air earlier this year that literally changed my life, particularly with the arrival of a baby (more on Max later). I was surprised to find that while everyone has jumped on the iPad case bandwagon, nobody is making them for my sweet little laptop. (Does anyone really even use their iPad?) I found this awesome lady on Etsy who custom-made a case for me for about $55: As Kim can attest, I’ve been on the Pendleton tip for about 20 years now, and while it’s surfed in and out on the trendscape, I will never, ever quit it. I love my case almost as much as my computer.
Liberty Print Nike ID Sneakers These might not count as cheap, but on the cost-per-wear spectrum, mine have been essentially free: I love a good pair of sneakers and while I’m a big enough person that they can look mannish and not so cute, these work. Even my judge-y husband thinks so. I wear mine to work out, and I wear them with black cuffed jeans.
Victoria’s Secret Chambray Shirt If I learned one thing from Kim and Andrea at Lucky, it was to never dismiss Victoria Secret clothing—there’s a lot there that doesn’t involve sequined sayings across the rear. This chambray shirt looks super soft, and I love that it doesn’t feature any weird fading. I’m still carrying many extra pounds from having that aforementioned baby, and so a button down and button down-plus-sweatshirt combos have been my go-to for getting through these chubbier days.
Necklaces, Layered — 1, 2, 3 Here’s a good triumvirate (everything is better in odd numbers): Even before I had a baby, I liked to keep all my shapes nice and tailored. I’m curvy, and so something with a collar, that fits well, always does me the most favors. Often, those things tend to be boyish (if not actually from the men’s department), and so I add my pin flair through a happy jumble of necklaces.
Riot Sweatshirt Am I too old for this sweatshirt? Am I too old to shop at this new Tomboy-themed site?
Vintage Enamel Taurus Charm + Vintage Enamel Travel Charms As I’ve traveled over the years, I’ve picked up loads of charms, specifically of the enamel variety. But there’s no reason you can’t jump the line and pick them up on eBay! This guy has a great selection, PLUS, he has enamel astronomy charms, a path I decided to take to commemorate Max’s arrival (in lieu of wearing his initials and all that jazz).
All Knit Caps How awesome are these hats? It would look super lame on me here in LA, but if I find any reason to visit the East Coast this winter, I’m all over them.
Sioux Barrettes Being from Montana, I can’t go home without stopping by a trading post or two—I’ve always been obsessed with seed beadwork. These are from the Sioux tribes—gorgeous right?
XS Men’s J.Crew Shirts I buy ALL of my button-downs from the men’s department at J. Crew now that they sell them in XS: They’re cut extra-narrow, but they’re nice and long, so I don’t expose myself when I bend over. I usually wear them under a sweatshirt, or with a chambray or cardigan on top.
Tribeca Mom and I had a date on Saturday—she was family-free for the weekend and itching for a walkabout, and I was happy to oblige. We enjoyed a little Mexican-Peruvian Brunch, and then it was off to Selima Optique on Broome Street. In a city full of chic alternatives to your usual mall brand opticians, Selima may be the chicest choice of all. They’ve got a surpassingly cool in-house line, a nice selection from other designers, and the kind of efficient and straight-up friendly service that keeps a person coming back. Which, as somebody with light sensitivity issues and a more-is-by-all-means-more outlook regarding the acquisition of new sunglasses, I do. Frequently.
To that point: what do you think of my new Ray Ban Clubmasters? I’ve wanted some forever, but the classic Clubmaster shape looks crazy on me. These are squarer, which somehow renders them softer and more flattering. Definitely less hipster than the original, but then again, so am I.
Here they are close up. Cuteness, no?
Tribeca Mom had a substantial American Express gift card burning a hole in her pocket, so we hit the Jerome Dreyfuss store on Broome Street—as excellent a spot as any for a splurge that’ll cost you nothing. Dreyfuss is Isabel Marant’s husband, and his bags work a similarly Frenchy-understated fashion insidery angle. I own one, a small grey leather number that makes any outfit I pair it with just a tiny bit cooler, and would die for another. But today was not about me. Tribeca Mom got this, and it is perfection: big enough to carry papers, but chic enough to bring along to dinner or a nice lunch, and made of the lightest leather. I can’t stop thinking about it.
I try not to get superstitious about too many things; it seems unnecessary to add an extra layer of stress in life by fearing year your world will come apart the moment a mirror crashes to the floor. But I do believe in the power of tailsmans, for they are like little self-fulfilling prophecies one walks around with: you put them on for strength, and in doing so, simply summon the strength you’ve had all along. For years, whenever I was facing something scary, I wore two hearts as a pendant. Each had been given to me by close friends. One was a gold locket, the other, a beautiful pink quartz Kazuko puffed heart. They reminded me always that, no matter how baroquely bad things got, and no matter how strong my impulse toward self-loathing became, there were people who loved me and who I loved back.
Of course I can’t put my finger on it right now. And I could use it at the moment, because somebody I love very much has had a bad turn, and right now we’re all a bit in the dark, waiting to see what the coming weeks and months will reveal. I have felt the desire to reach for something, but I own no other piece of jewelry that has the meaning those hearts did. So I’ve been looking for something new. These are all on the splurgy side, but when life pisses you off, there’s power in blowing a whole hunk of cash, too. This shell-shaped Om charm from Good Fortune is the loveliest Om charm pretty much ever.
The evil eye can mean some pretty heavy stuff—there are cultures where it is believed that one can cast cruel spells with it. But we happy Americans have just decided to make it a symbol of protection and good luck. I love the little diamond moment on this delicate one by Sydney Evan.
Figas originated in Europe, and were most commonly used to increase fertility. In some cultures, it’s said to ward off the effects of the evil eye. I just think it’s badass.
My friend Dolly is a vegan of the most uncompromising variety: she has Tofurky at Thanksgiving, eats cheese made out of cashews, and—in what is perhaps her most heroic sacrifice, for she is a very stylish person—foregoes not just fur (which you would expect) but leather too. This strikes me as both highly admirable, and— is it altogether too Cher Horowitz to admit?—thoroughly unimaginable. Faux leather almost always looks sadly and obviously faux, and the bags in particular are almost inevitably ruined by too much hardware, oversized zippers, ill-placed exterior pockets, or—not infrequently—some bummer combination of all three. Still, a few of you have requested sources in this category, so I keep an eye out for happy exceptions. And fortunately for us, Dolly has totally come through. This hobo is in an excellent shade of cobalt, and one could not ask for a more classic shape.
I love the Hermes-ish orange of this shoulder bag from Matt & Nat so much that I’ve decided not to mind the fact that it’s branded.
The satchel is usually a more lady-ish shape than I tend to go for, but they’re cool when they’re all big and roomy like this.
Inspiration struck rather unexpectedly on Sunday, in the form of my ten year-old nephew Eli—a boy whose interest in clothes is negligible, but whose ensemble had a doesn’t-even-know-how-cool-it-is vibe that I found quite winning. First off, he was wearing this red, white and blue striped t-shirt, which looked like it had been plucked right off of Peter on just about any episode of The Brady Bunch. It’s like the perfect kid’s T-shirt ever, pretty much.
But possibly a touch on the butch side for me. I’d go for something like this ribbed Isabel Marant top, which feels quite appealingly Jan. (Two more options: This baseball-sleeve version from Edith Miller; and a somewhat dressier silk one from Equipment.)
Around his neck on a length of leather, Eli wore a shark’s tooth he’d acquired at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! gift shop. A very appropriate accessory for sleepaway camp—where he is soon headed—but this pave version from Tom Binns feels somewhat more me-appropriate.
As for bottoms, that’s where the inspiration pretty much peters out: Eli had on those highly synthetic knee-length shorts that basketball players wear, and I’m not sure there’s a way to work any version of that item in here and still take myself seriously as a human being. I might instead go with a subtly contrasty pencil skirt like this one, with very small dots that will not compete so grandly with the stripes for attention. This quiet/loud approach is a nice way to introduce the whole clashy-clashy thing into your repertoire. But maybe you’re way past all that. In which case: this.
Or you might try J. Brand’s skinny cargo jeans, which sound scary but are actually quite flattering, especially if you—as I so often recommend—size up.
Those of you who’ve had cancer, and I know that’s at least a few of you, are familiar with the parallell universe that is Cancerland, a strange destination where everything tries its best to be business as usual, but nothing really is. And when you’ve lost a breast in the bargain, the haze of recovery becomes just that much thicker. A dear friend is inhabiting her own personal Cancerland right now, and she’s handling it with unimaginable amounts of grace and good humor. She has requested that I find her some attractive mastectomy bras (does it surprise any of you to learn that people are forever delegating shopping tasks to me in times of crisis?) and this has turned out to be about as simple as locating an English-speaking puppy. What is wrong with this world, people? How nuts is it that at the very moment in a woman’s life when her sense of femininity has been most compromised, she can not find a bra that makes her feel like a woman? We did locate this one, from Dutch lingerie designer Marlies Dekkers; it’s called the Care Bra and comes in many colors and with all the right pockets and straps and adjusters. But it’s only available on her (Dutch) website, and after shipping fees and a less-than-ideal exchange rate, it’ll run you over $100. More affordable options include a couple from Royce, like this black number with just a little bit of lace, and this one, which is a little more straightforward. I also found this nude bra from Amoena, which is nice and minimal and pretty much exactly what my favorite t-shirt bras all look like.
But mostly I found myself disappointed: by all the cute little lingerie boutiques here in Manhattan with nothing to offer, and the big department stores that unilaterally came up empty too. Victoria’s Secret almost did the right thing a few weeks ago when, in response to a change.org petition with over 128,000 signatures, they announced they’d start manufacturing mastectomy bras. And then just as quickly backed out, explaining that “Through our research, we have learned that fitting and selling mastectomy bras in the right way…is complicated and truly a science.” Nobody, of course, has more resources and money to devote to creating and marketing whatever kind of bra they want than Victoria’s Secret, so I’m not quite buying that. But I am hoping they’ll change their minds.
My longtime friend (and sometime co-conspirator) Andrea Linett is an ideal shopping companion. She has endless stamina, is famously amusing, and has a great eye not only for what’s worth buying, but—perhaps more importantly—what’s worth leaving behind. We don’t get to see each other nearly as often as back when we were running a magazine together, but we still talk and text all the time. And have shopping excursions when we can, occasionally running into former co-workers, who always look mildly shocked to see we’re still at it. On Sunday, Andrea and I made a date to visit Gargyle, a boutique way deep down on the Lower East Side that I’d never visited—and that shockingly, given that this is so much her turf that some neighborhood shopkeepers once nicknamed her The Mayor of Ludlow Street, neither had Andrea.
Gargyle is is a wee little store, but it is packed with wonder: flowy Mes Demoiselles dresses; sexy lace blouses from Lover that I would totally wear even though I am not a sexy lace blouse person; their own rather beautiful line of bags; and more. I wasn’t sure how Andrea would feel about these snake print embossed leather platforms, but she thought they were as awesome as I did, so of course I not only bought them but wore them out of the store. I am about a million per cent sure that at least one of you is going to insist they are awful and the very soul of clunk, but I am here to tell you that when you put them on, they are magic.
I do love a leopard print, but rarely on a bag: as with shoes, it almost invariably ends up looking cheap. This Wood Wood tote is a glorious exception, thanks to the excellent washed-out grey and black print.
Right down the street from Gargyle is Project No. 8, a spare, clean design store that displays its wares pristinely and thoughtfully, giving the art gallery treatment to, well, the same stuff that pretty much all of these places carry. Waxed canvas totes? Check. Artisanal soap from Brooklyn? Check. Hand-tooled wallets? Check. Apartamento magazine? Present and accounted for.
Of course I am generalizing horribly. There’s plenty of beautiful stuff at Project No. 8, and it’s all quite carefully chosen, and this crystal bee tumbler is maybe one of the best things ever.
Then we moved along to Maryam Nassir Zadeh, a store I absolutely love even though I have never bought a thing there. The clothes are all expensive and esoteric, with shapes that are frequently complicated and far easier to pull off the closer you are to six feet tall.
For instance, I would not attempt this, but it is a wonder to behold.
My favorite thing at Maryam Nassir Zadeh are the shoes. I can’t even bear to look at these Robert Clergerie platforms.
And check out the heel on these gold Rochas slingbacks!
Several winters ago, on a Sunday night so frigid that under normal circumstances nothing would have made me leave the house, I traveled to the farthest reaches of the Upper East Side for an impromptu dinner party. It was at the home of a friend’s recently deceased godmother—a fearsome/beloved fashion world eminence of whom there are a very few each generation; a woman for whom scholarships are named, and short documentaries are made. My friend was having people over to pay tribute to her famously sprawling Park Avenue duplex—and by extension, the woman herself—before movers came the next day. The evening was memorable in many ways, and highly instructive in one. Most of the woman’s important clothes had already been sent off to the Costume Institute, so there wasn’t much to see in the way of flash. But my friend directed me to an unassuming-looking hall closet, and when I opened the door, I saw something truly amazing. One long rack of no less than forty versions of the same exact quite simple shift dress, executed in every fabrication and color you can imagine: cotton, silk, tropical wool and charmeuse, houndstooth, black, fuchsia, and simple dove grey. Here is what she wore for the last decade or two of her (very long) working life: pretty the exact same thing, every day. This discovery overjoyed me, and whenever I feel like I should be taking more and bigger chances with my wardrobe, I think of that closet, and that woman, who knew exactly who she was. And it is in that spirit that I present my second installment of the things I wear all of the time—but sadly, do not have in multiples. I’ve extolled the virtues of the Clare Vivier messenger bag on more than one occasion, and I’m very fond of this tote shape, too. And of the blue and the black, which is an unstoppable combination always.
A slouchy black dress with just a little bit of something unexpected going on never lets me down. And I love the sleeve length here—just a couple of extra inches throw a lot more sophistication into the whole enterprise.
Tops with some interesting drape to them are a cornerstone of my wardrobe—because they’re cool, but also of course, because of their superior powers to camouflage one’s less desirable spots gracefully. I’ve got a Helmut Lang top from another season that’s very much like—but not identical to— this one, and I wear it so much I hate when it’s time to send it to the dry cleaner.
The jacket that makes the outfit interesting.
Walkable platforms—inevitably quite 70s-inspired in design, although that’s never really a conscious choice.