Monday, January 18, 2010


I love tulle bows. When I was little my mom used to make these hair thingies she called frou-frous, which were just tulle made into flowers with glitter paint on the edges and attached to a hair elastic. I loved them. A few seasons ago I attempted to replicate the black sheer bows from Chanel with slick ponytails:

Which did not work out so well because the materials I used were not heavy enough to fall correctly. Thankfully, I have the Spring 2008 Louis Vuitton to stare at and emulate:

My bow resembled these two most, although it was slightly more formed and slid jauntily to the side. I love it to death and the fact that I can create makes it eve better. I think, in my dream, it was also raining so the picture was made even more ridiculous with some kind of umbrella. It was an excellent dream.

I sort of can't deal with this week (although I clearly love vague statements like that one: I kind of love you, that sort of thing). I hate all my outfits and none of my clothes are (wait for it! here comes a hilarious moment) speaking to me. Part of it I think is that I just have to go to work later anyway, so normally I'd spend the day wrapped in a towel before it's time to go to work.

However, my hair is all cooperative and lovely, and I love my necklace today. I bought it ages ago and haven't worn it nearly as much as I had planned. My skin is cooperating, the weather is not too bad, and I have supplies to make myself a delicious lunch.

I am all kind of out-of-sorts today. Normally when I open the store I don't get out until 3 or 4, and so I end up lazing around for the rest of the day in strange remnants of whatever it was I wore to work (tights with a t-shirt thrown on, black dress with a ridiculous bun), but today I was set loose at 1 o'clock.

I'm normally relatively fussy with my outfits. I am all about the preciously quaint and whimsical. I imagine when I'm getting dressed as being like the scene during the opening credits of The Secret Garden (my all-time favorite movie ever), only I can dress myself, when Mary is being buttoned into all sorts of frivolous under-things. Today though, I came home and played around with several new articles of clothing. The above dress is H&M, one I always eyeballed but never bought, that was on sale for an embarrassingly low price. I have one other denim dress that I love to pieces so this seemed a perfect twin. Maybe because nothing spung to mind when I first bought it, I didn't know what to wear it with. I bought a pack of these socks ages ago, and they work alright with it, but I don't feel my usual undercurrent of confidence I usually look for in outfits. I also can't wear these shoes for more than a few minutes unless I'm sitting. Oh, how I miss heels!

Next, this skirt. I am all sorts of in love with the flowers on it, although you can't really see them because I am a terrible brat and lost the light, and while my initial reaction was to wear it with a frilly blouse. I rethought. The skirt is one of those obvious runway-inspired bits from Forever21, and I do have a Batman shirt, that it's such a shame not to milk it for all it's worth. Not sure how I feel about it. Definitely not myself. I tried it with the above ankle-socks but it was just too-too for me. Perhaps I will try it with a frilly blouse and the vest.

The thing is, today I am unsure of my clothing-self. It's a dreadful feeling, like being sort of off-kilter. I suppose, like any other off thing or day really, this is the problem when one depends so greatly on clothes to set the tone.

Now to decide which outfit is good for getting ice-cream.

It's all so cool, prim, and perfect. A Lolita School Teacher, or something, with a parasol and the face of a vintage Barbie--I don't mean that in a bad way either. I think Kate Beckinsale also looks like a Barbie, and I mean it in the good, vintage way instead of the anatomically insane and vapid sort of sense.

There is so much perfection in her outfit, and demeanor, that I almost can't stand it!

These are the two most recent scarves I've acquired, and somehow I feel that they ought to stick together as roses and butterflies should! The slip is also new, and I am so deeply in love with it. The lace on the bottom is much more decadent than any of my others to-date, although the length does not exactly match up too well with most of my dresses and skirts. I don't terribly care, that is what wind is for.

I've also debated on the dress for weeks, but it was on sale for rather inexpensive and it's nice. I really like the shape and it's very comfortable so I am looking forward to wearing it during summer days.

I've been meaning to check out the Marc Jacobs Splash scents, but I'm often chased away from Sephora's jarring lighting. Today I ran into them at a perfume counter, and sprayed a bit of my cardigan with 'Pear,' as it was one I had smelled briefly and rather liked (Grapefruit was nice, if a bit sweet, and I didn't particularly care for Basil, much as I like its pale green color).

This is an example of an Everything Was on Sale outfit:
Turtleneck: Express, bin sale, 5.60$.
Dress: Target, on sale twice over, 8.99$
Tights: Nine West, 1.99$
Shoes: Journey's, 9.99$
Flower Pins: Gap, .97$
Necklace: Garage sale, 3$

It's not as cheap as some thrift finds, but, I don't know, I think it's an example of the kind of digging and gambling on waiting to buy from my post a few days ago. I also ended up losing the turtleneck, as the weather warmed up and stopped raining, and throwing my usual H&M biker jacket over it all, which I think is a look I rather like more anyway.

(Winds are at about four-thousand miles an hour today.)

This dress is a miraculous find. I think someone tried to wash it at some point, and the crepe (mmm, delicious) shrank. This results in the strange ruffled effect at the hem, which I rather like, and a bit odd bunching at the neckline (it's sheer with a nude-colored cotton underneath, which did not shrink) that isn't really noticeable except when it gets uneven. It is also missing a belt and I only just noticed a tiny pull in one of the seams under the bust, but all this is overlooked because the skirt is so lovely, and it fits wonderfully. It's machine-sewn, but it has a tag inside that it was custom-made for someone. It was also twenty-five cents, which makes me love my local thrift shop even more.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be nice out, and so I plan to wear an outfit I've been saving for such a day. I think I may go to the library or the museum and take some furtive pictures!

I find I am quite lazy these days. I attribute this to the end of classes, the lingering feeling that there is something that needs attention, that a critical essay must be read, but there is nothing! The weather lately has fallen into something chilly, not at all like the funny summer-weather days that previewed weeks ago, like a kind of false-fall. It makes me want things that are dark, veiled, covered things, inky-blotty colors and runny edges.

I knew her for a little ghost
That in my garden walked;
The wall is high -- higher than most --
And the green gate was locked.

And yet I did not think of that
Till after she was gone --
I knew her by the broad white hat,
All ruffled, she had on.

By the dear ruffles round her feet,
By her small hands that hung
In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
Her gown's white folds among.

I watched to see if she would stay,
What she would do -- and oh!
She looked as if she liked the way
I let my garden grow!

She bent above my favourite mint
With conscious garden grace,
She smiled and smiled -- there was no hint
Of sadness in her face.

She held her gown on either side
To let her slippers show,
And up the walk she went with pride,
The way great ladies go.

And where the wall is built in new
And is of ivy bare
She paused -- then opened and passed through
A gate that once was there.

The Little Ghost, Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am also unaccountably craving experiments in lingerie. I feel like that is a terribly subversive sentence, full of all sorts of vaguely debauched sentiments, only not really. I've never been terribly interested in lingerie, especially as it applies to outerwear but all of the sudden I am all about it. Last week I found a pile of ebay auctions of 1930s underthings in peachy colors with all kinds of pretty lace and funny straps and snaps and things. I've lost the link, although I know it is here somewhere, and I suddenly want piles of delicate things to wear in sweaty summer situations.

(This, clearly, has nothing to do with anything in this post, aside from the fact that it's terribly enjoyable).

Classes are over! Exams are over! I can't shake the feeling that I need to be doing something, reading some critical article, but I don't!

That said, I can't be bothered with anything fussy today, but I'm also not in the mood for jeans. Today it's just throw on a skirt and a shirt with some easy shoes and keep the fuss to a minimum.

I've changed about 12 times already today, was settled on the second outfit (it's softer) and then changed back into the first (after trying about a million other ones). It's cloudy and sad, so let's relax!

Romeo & Juliet

Beth (Little Women) and Bonnie Blue

Scarlett O'Hara and Snow White

I have 11 or 12 in total, though these are my favorites. I used to take the hats of Romeo and Juliet and put them on my cats (who were named Romeo and Juliet), which explains why I wasn't allowed to take the dolls out often.

Dolls have always been kind of creepy, especially the ones you aren't allowed to play with, and old ones seem to be the most frightening. We have one in the case, I have no idea where it came from, who is really delicate but really frightening. I think the eyes might have fallen out, and her head is not attached (I prop it up on her neck), although her dress is very nice. I didn't take any pictures of her since she scares me, although now she's probably going to be angry and come alive at night and do something creepy.

I'm going to have to tough it up soon, between being inspired by fairy tales and dolls I'm going to turn back into a 5-year-old! 

Jo, how could you, your one beauty!”

I've been meaning to compose a post about hair for a while now, and what better time to do it when I'm supposed to be writing a final exam paper on any number of British modernist authors.

First, my hair is kind of a big deal. I've always had a lot of it, even as a baby I had a ridiculous looking mass of dark, curly hair (the curls disappeared by the time I was 6, much to my disappointment) and except for a strange digression into a modified mushroom-cut, it's always been long. It has never actually made it to my waist, but for a long time my goal was my elbows, and I got it there in high school. I've just always had long hair, and it's something I've always been reasonably confident in.

That said, it's always sort of plagued me, the connection between femininity and hair. Especially long hair, although no one can deny some of the most feminine and lovely women have short hair. There is always that strange myth that men like long hair on women, the idea that a woman with short hair or a man with long hair are somehow tip-toeing into some strange region of questionable gender performance. I always remember a professor of mine thinking on the idea that when she was a student and when she began teaching closer to the 70s and thereabouts, she often had many more girls and young women in her classes who wore their hair short.

In From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and their Tellers Maria Warner dedicates two entire chapters to hair (I'm kind of obsessed with fairy tales. I have piles and piles of books of fairy tale criticism, compilations, articles, and I've somehow managed to write tons of term papers on them).

“The language of the self would be stripped of one of it's richest resources without hair: and like language, or the faculty of laughter, or the use of tools, the dressing of hair in itself constitutes a mark of the human. In the quest for identity, both personal and in its larger relation to society, hair can help. The body reveals to us through hair the passage of time and the fluctuating claims of gender; strangers offer us a conspicuous glossary of clues in the way they do the hair on their head, for in societies all over the world, calling are declared through hairy signs: the monk's tonsure, the ringlets of the Hassidic scholar, the GI's crewcut, the sansculotte's freeflowing mane, the flowerchild's tangled curls, the veil” (Warner, 370).

There is something terribly personal about hair, which I suppose also explains the strange bond people feel towards their hair dressers (although as someone not really into sharing or being outgoing, I find the implied closeness of that relationship a little uncomfortable). But there is the romance in giving a lock of hair, the intense and slightly creepy bit about Victorian hair jewelry intwined with the process of mourning, how it's poetically dealt with in inmate terms. Then there is always the ideas of color, the implications of it if it's applied, general reactions to differing shades, what level of masculinity of femininity, youth and age, has to do with color and style. It's all part of that language, but all the same, I'm not quite sure what to do with it!

In any-case, since I'm not really sure what I'm talking about (the English major gives herself away), here are some examples of movies that always make me think it's a good idea to cut my hair (even though I know none of these cuts would suit me):

Juliette Binoche in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (another beautiful and heartbreaking movie that I almost can't deal with)

Audrey Tautou in Amelie (typical, I know, but come on, it's impossible not to!)

Saoirse Ronan and Keira Knightly in Atonement (a new example, but added to heartbreaking and beautiful movies I can't deal with, but it also made my want to chop my hair. My boyfriend thinks I identify too much with Briony because she's a strange little writer-child who wears a bobby-pin the way I always do and runs around stomping on leaves, which might be true, but whatever)

Diana Quick in Brideshead Revisited (I know you can't see her hair, but her hat is adorable, and I couldn't get a decent cap without it, and I didn't include enough of her in my Brideshead post anyway)

I've been going to the thrift store for weeks trying to find some nice floral spring and summer dresses, but most of my trips have been fruitless! I suppose it's because my favorite store is very small and they've had to spend weeks going through what they have and transitioning into spring stuff. Either way, I found a pile of summer dresses this time! I ended up with only two, and the lovely woman there gave them to me half-off! Normally they have half-off for students on Saturdays, but she remembers me and knows I'm a student so I got one today!

My favorite of the two is this one, it had shoulder pads which were atrocious, but I cut them and the belt loops (the belt was missing) off. It needs to be ironed and washed, but I'm kind of in love with it!

Also, applause for my dad's garden! You'll see it throughout the year, sometime I will take pictures of it (maybe when the pool is uncovered), and it's possibly the most perfect garden ever. It's like my sibling. Thank God the world is green again!

I am very attached to particular versions of books, whether it be with particular translations or certain illustrations of my favorite children's books. There is a certain version of The Little Mermaid that I cannot find and that I must have. I've had dreams about finding it, I look in every used bookstore, library, I do online searches every few weeks to see if it pops up anywhere. I know my school library had it when I was in first grade and then it disappeared (I think because it had bare-breasted mermaids in it). I have no idea how to find it, and in recent months I've been toying with the idea of seeing if the school might have a record of it.

Anyway, I was also very attached to a certain copy of Snow White that I owned. I thought we put it in storage with other books of mine, but it's gone missing. Last week I ordered it from Amazon (for forty-five CENTS. Amazing, I am full of joy) and it arrived today!

This is and has always been my favorite illustration from it, it's my desktop wallpaper now. As a child I loved the deer and hidden animals, and as I think on it, that particular dress has really been iconic in my brain. When I used to doodle fantasy, Lord of the Rings type outfits they often looked like that, and pale yellow and blue were often my favorite colors.

Note the iron shoes lying on the floor on the left-hand side. I love the strange, macabre, matter-of-factness of fairy tales.

Maybe it's because I've grown up to be an English major but I find the books of my childhood really have shaped how I move through the world, or rather my vision of the world, or something like that. Mostly, I think it's something that happens to everyone regardless of what they study, but it just makes me so happy to have this book again! And it's in better condition than it was when I had it (it had library stamps all over it)!

It also has a lovely inscription inside (I love other people's inscriptions):


Happy Birthday
To Stephanie-
On her 7th
from Naaa + Popper

(Stephanie read this whole book to me-- it was fabulous, fantastic, really great reading!)

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