Sunday, April 17, 2011

The story of my boots.

Because high heels are painful, sandals cannot be worn year round due to the weather, and tennis shoes don't match with much else other than pants, the boot is my favorite shoe.

I cannot remember my first pair of boots. They might have been red cowboy boots, or maybe I just wished they had been red cowboy boots. In the past several years I have had several pairs of boots. When I was 17, I found a pair of brown suede boots in a thrift store in Minnesota. Usually I prefer not to invest in secondhand shoes, but these were too good to pass up. I wore these boots all the time. When I wore pants, I would tuck my corduroys into them and wear a matching belt. As pants faded out of my wardrobe I wore them with black leggings and baggy shirts. Last year, my suede boots traveled to Europe with me. We walked Paris, Salzburg, Greece, Munich, Dublin and I am sure many more together. The more miles I walked in the these boots, the more worn out they became. While in Athens, Greece I said adieu to my previously favorite pair of boots.

Also while in Athens, I welcomed a pair of short brown leather boots to my collection of shoes. There was something about these boots being laced up from the back that grabbed my attention. I walked in these boots through Greece, Italy, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and America. The last few months, this pair of boots and I took a break. I guess you could say it was like I was cheating on Europe by wearing them in the States, but that might be a bit of a stretch. Recently, I rediscovered my love for this pair of shoes and have been wearing them quite a bit. I had forgotten how comfortable they are.

Last year I searched Europe far and wide for the perfect pair of knee-high leather boots. If you know me at all, you'll discover that I am very picky about my fashion. Every piece that I invest in has to be perfect, down to the last button. I could not find my perfect pair of knee-highs. But alas, upon my return to Portland last summer, I stumbled upon the most immaculate pair. I thought it would be difficult to find a pair of knee-highs that actually reached my knees, considering my legs go on forever. And ever. This pair of brown leather knee-highs not only reaches my knees, they pass them. The buttons on these boots also allow for versatility. If I prefer to wear my boots not as knee-highs, I can roll them down. However, this has never happened.

The other pair of boots I have at the moment are my rain boots. It may have taken over a year of trekking through the Portland rain, but I finally bought a pair. Probably one of my best investments to date. Especially living in Portland and Minnesota, they are brilliant for both extreme rain and snow. I used to own a pair of knockoff Uggs, but those also got tossed out while abroad because of their over use. My rain boots are black and imported from Sweden. I am not sure how I stumbled upon them, but I fell in love at first sight. They are lined with faux fur and have yet to fail me. The only downside is they are a bit chunky. I guess I would rather have heavy feet than wet feet.

Besides my rain boots, most of my boots have been brown and leather. I am not sure why this is. There is just something aesthetically pleasing about brown leather boots. I have also owned my fair share of cowboy boots, though somehow they seem to disappear from my closet and never return.

Though I am thrilled about the onset of summer, it also breaks my heart. Summer means tucking your boots into the back of your closet until the start of fall. Let's face it, no one wants sweaty, hot feet when they could be prancing around in flip flops and showing off their freshly painted toes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gustav Klimt: important in the world of fashion?

 google images
google images
Recently I have come to the realization that I cannot escape Gustav Klimt. He is everywhere. Well, at least he is everywhere in my life.

For those of you who have not discovered this famous Austrian painter, you better read on.

Klimt is a god.

I first discovered Klimt in my art history class last year. After learning of his work I traveled to Vienna to see his creations firsthand.  His work is so genius that I ventured back to the Belvedere museum several times. I've also had to write a few German presentations on him and I keep falling in love. While I was in New York a couple weeks ago, there was a Klimt exhibit near the Upper East Side.

Klimt was born near Vienna in the mid-1800s. His favorite subject was the female body, though his early work was considered mainly academic as he focused on architecture. Early in his career he was commissioned to paint murals in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (also a must see museum in Vienna). He kept busy painting murals in many buildings throughout Vienna. However, after the deaths of several of his male relatives, Klimt had to take financial responsibility for his family.

The deaths of his family members affected his personal art style drastically. Klimt's audience obviously noticed a change in his work and it was offered referred to as "pornographic." Due to the sexuality of his paintings, Klimt's audience found his work disturbing and several of his works were destroyed.

Besides the sexuality of his paintings, Klimt is most well-known for his use of gold leaf. His inspiration for the method came from Byzantine, Minoan and Greek art.

Now what does Klimt have to do with fashion?

While John Galliano was head designer at Dior, the 2008/2009 spring/summer collection closely resembled Klimt's work. Models strutted down the catwalk in silk gowns adorned in gold or sprinkled with gems.

Klimt fanatic, Ariana Sewell, thinks Galliano's use of Klimt-inspired looks was brillant.

"I think more designers should look back into the history of art to find inspiration," Sewell said. "There are so many current trends being recycled from previous decades, and I would like to see designers find new inspirations by linking the world of fashion with art."

Fashion is art after all.

The origin of my favorite clothing.

View origin of my favorite clothes. in a larger map

Above is a map of the location of where I got just a few of my favorite fashion pieces. You will notice that I purchased many of my boots, jewelry and accessories in Europe, while many of my clothing originates from the States. This is most likely because Europeans take a special liking for accessorizing and doing it well--they love scarves and boots. My clothing tends to be purchased in America because it is cheaper and the fit is better. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mia Hart: the essence of style.

Photo courtesy of Megan Drouhard

I met Mia Hart during my last year in Salzburg, Austria. We lived together for several months. Since our time abroad, I have watched Hart's style blossom into something magnificent.

This year, she chopped off her long chocolate curls for a cut like that of Amelia Earhart, but obviously cuter. What a babe. I would not believe it if you found anyone who could rock this cut better than Hart.

"After I cut my hair I felt the need to wear more feminine clothing," Hart said. "So I end up wearing a lot of dresses, leggings, scarves and long coats."

Hart said her clothing decisions are heavily dependent on comfort.

"If I can't stretch my legs or stand up in it, I probably don't own it," Hart said.

Lately, the 50s and 60s have influenced Hart's style, or, as she calls it: "kind of an Audrey Hepburn feel."

Hart's high-waisted pants and penny loafers are clearly not just your grandparent's favorite outfits anymore. Her high-waisted pants, tucked in shirts and cardigans fit her slender body perfectly. She also is not afraid to don herself in skinny jeans or shorts layered over tights. Printed dresses are also a favorite of hers.

"I've been pretty into high-waisted clothing because it's much more comfortable," Hart said.

According to Hart, her style reflects Portland's style more than that of her hometown located near San Francisco.

"I shop mostly at thrift stores but I a lot of the clothing I end up buying is from Urban Outfitters or American Apparel," Hart said.

Portlanders tend to go for the hipster/indie style, Hart believes, while her hometown is more of a hippie-town.

"I live about an hour away from San Francisco, and you start finding a lot more diversity with people and fashion choices when you get into the city, which is more similar to Portland," Hart said.

She said she also believes fashion is largely influenced by the music culture, which both cities have.

"This is extremely odd now that I'm thinking about it," Hart said, "It seems like people who listen to the same music end up dressing similarly."

Daily, I trek over to the library to see what Hart is wearing. She stays so true to her style it's like she was born to be a fashion icon. Obviously, Vogue better catch on. 

A (sort of) New Yorker's take on fashion.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anna Wintour: the personality and success of the high priestess of fashion.

The Wall Street Journal

*(You'll want to read my previous post -- "The September Issue" -- before this one).

The name is Anna Wintour.

If you are anybody in the world of fashion and you are not in her inner circle, you are terrified. To those of us who have never been acquainted with her, she is the petite woman with the signature blonde bob behind the dark, round Chanel sunglasses sitting in the front row at fashion shows.

"Anna Wintour has this no nonsense personality," Brie Colangelo said. "She's cutthroat and says exactly what she thinks. She is the goddess of fashion because she is so brutally honest."

Wintour was born in 1949 and became editor at Vogue in 1988.  Though her reign over the fashion world did not begin until later in her life, she has always been connected to the world of journalism through her father, who was an editor of a London newspaper.

"I think my father really decided for me that I should work in fashion," Wintour recalls in "The September Issue."

With the help of her father and the connections of her journalist boyfriends, she quickly rose to the top in the fashion magazine industry.

Though she is known for her signature look and for being the best in the industry, most know her for her "ice princess" personality.

"At some stage in her career, Anna Wintour stopped being Anna Wintour and started being 'Anna Wintour,' at which point, like wings of a stately home, she closed off large sections of her personality to the public," The Guardian reported.

There have always been rumors of her volatile outbursts and her unrealistic requests. Hence, the birth of "The Devil Wears Prada."

"She is the editor of one of the most famous, if not the most famous, fashion magazine in the world," Colangelo said. "If she was easy going and indecisive people wouldn't respect her as much, work as hard to earn her approval, or respect her opinion."

Perhaps Colangelo has a point. Would Wintour be as worshiped by her army if she did not rule as a dictator? Vogue is definitely the Associated Press of the fashion world, being the most credible source, but would the publication still be so if it were not for the cutthroat personality of Wintour?

Jocelyne LaFortune, an aspiring journalist, agrees that Wintour's strong personality has played a large role in establishing Vogue as the bible of fashion.

"It's hard to imagine someone who isn't as strong willed being successful in an industry that is so cutthroat and competitive," LaFortune said.

Afterall, Wintour is quoted as saying: "You either know fashion or you don't."

The September Issue.

The Wall Street Journal

“There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous,” Anna Wintour, the chief editor at Vogue, explains in the ninety-minute documentary “The September Issue.”

Perhaps, it is the high priestess of fashion herself that puts everyone on edge when it comes to fashion, as we have seen in Meryl Streep's depiction of her in the "Devil Wears Prada."

However, this documentary, which follows the Vogue editor through the drama of piecing together the 2007 September issue (the most coveted issue of the year), shows a softer, funnier version of Wintour that will make any fashion fanatic adore her.

This documentary allows us to follow Wintour and her top-of-the-line fashion team around the world to London, Paris, Rome and New York as they put together the fattest issue (over five pounds in weight) of Vogue to date. I adored watching the Vogue entourage travel to Versailles and Rome -- places I visited while living abroad last year. The dream world of Vogue appears more tangible after experiencing these places first-hand -- the places are just as glamorous as the garments being modeled.

My roommate Brie Colangelo -- a California native -- introduced me to this documentary last summer. She discovered this documentary from a review in "Entertainment Weekly."

"I am not a fashionista in any sense of the world," Colangelo said. "But I enjoy fashion and I enjoyed this documentary. I am not one to spend a lot of time on my fashion, but this documentary definitely made me think more highly of the fashion and how much work goes into an outfit -- not to mention a fashion magazine."

Colangelo said she was very impressed and has more respect for the world of fashion after seeing this documentary.

"I really enjoyed this documentary because it gave us a behind-the-scenes look at Vogue and how Anna Wintour works and decides what fashion is in or out," Colangelo said.

The documentary also introduces us to Wintour's family life and we meet her daughter, Bee Shaffer, who does not share or understand her mother's passion for the fashion industry.

"Some valid points are made about how fashion is viewed by both fashionistas and those who believe fashion is unimportant and not influential in the world."

Either way, the fashion, the drama and the glamour of "The September Issue" will leave you drooling.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New York continued.

Hello all!

Unfortunately this will be another short post because I am still updating from my Blackberry. I was at a journalism conference all day and wandered around Chelsea, the lower East Side, NYU and Greenwich Village. While I was at a small diner in Greenwich Village, Daniel Vosovic from Project Runway sat behind me. You guys, I just about died! I was very tempted to ask him for an interview for my blog, but could not interrupt his dinner with several friends. Tomorrow the Westboro Baptist Church is protesting outside my hotel in Times Square. Also the keynote speaker is the daughter of the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church. It's going to be really interesting and probably frustrating.

On a lighter note, I will be sitting in on an Associated Press meeting. I know this has nothing to do with fashion, but I am freaking out!

Anyways, I definitely enjoyed the fashion of Greenwich Village because it was less touristy and more New York, if that makes sense. The girls had their own style of tights, boots and hats. This is the New York I've been waiting for.

new york, new york.

In the city that never sleeps, neither do I. I left Portland early this morning to jet off to New York, the fashion capital of America and my dream destination since as long as I can remember. I feel that this is somewhat of a pilgrimage, though I am here for reasons other than fashion (a journalism conference, if you are dying to know).

Though I have always dreamed of venturing to New York, it does and does not meet my expectations.

Where is all the fashion? Perhaps all the fashionitas were busy with their social lives or hiding from the tourists of Times Square. Perhaps Gossip Girl and The Real Housewives of New York exaggerate the glamour of the Big Apple? This is probably the case. However, I have realized that the stereoypical New Yorker tends to have an attitude, and with that attitude comes six inch stilletos and a fur coat.

My apologies for a lack of a post. There appears to be a lack of wireless internet. Thus, I must scrammble in between my meetings to update from my Blackberry. Please expect more updates later today, as I will be headed to Greenwich Village tonight.

Friday, March 4, 2011

my list of fashion f*ck ups: the legging.

As you may have realized in my last post, I am switching it up this week (and maybe next week too) by talking about current news, trends, etc.

video courtesy of youtube

Like Lauren Conrad, I have my own list of fashion faux pas or ffu's (as phrased by Conrad). Or, rather my list is one major don't: the legging worn as pants. Unacceptable. Always will be. Unless you are a size zero.

Several months ago, I wrote a piece for The Beacon, the University of Portland's student newspaper describing my hate for this popular, yet abused trend. This will not be the last time I write about leggings in this blog because my love/hate relationship with this garment is so strong. 

Throughout the ‘80s spandex leggings were worn for aerobics, and after Madonna’s “Get into the Groove” moment, they were worn outside the gym.

My first encounter with the legging was in the first grade. I had a pair of black stirrup leggings that my mother always tried to wrestle me into. Sometimes, I was very unfortunate and succumbed to her wishes. However, these days, it’s hard to find me wearing pants of any sort as my love affair with leggings has blossomed over the past few years.

Recently, the female population is stretching the role of my favorite fashion garment too far. Leggings are being worn without anything covering them up. If they are going to be worn as pants, it must be done correctly so as to not give off a look that is vulgar.

I have one rule to assure that you’ll look good: when wearing leggings, make sure your dress, shirt or sweater falls past your bottom. No one wants to see your very unfortunate camel toe or what type of underwear you are wearing.

If you insist on wearing a top that is revealing, perhaps the jegging would be a more suitable choice. Gaining popularity last year, the jegging is the love child of jeans and leggings. They give off the look of a skinny jean, but are just as comfortable and stretchy as the legging.

Leggings are the ideal garment of clothing for the fashionable languid dresser, which is precisely what I am. This stretchy spandex stand-in for pants is the ultimate in relaxation. If the wearer happens to eat too much or gain a few pounds, the legging allows room for expansion.

Though leggings and jeggings are the easiest way to wear pants without actually wearing them, they do not leave much to the imagination. Therefore, wear with caution and for all of our sakes, wear a longer top. 

You don't want your friends thinking you're an ffu.