Thursday, June 30, 2011

There is No Such Thing as “Parisian” Chic

You know what Paris?  You’re beautiful, we get it.  You have the Eiffel Tower.  The Louvre is the home to the Mona Lisa, Death of the Virgin, and the Venus de Milo.

And okay, Paris is also the home of the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré where you can stroll the narrow avenue and stop by the home of Hermès and more importantly until 2009 Christian Lacroix, darling (and yes, I will cop to owning one Lacroix scarf I bought entirely so I could fling it across my neck while exclaiming, “it’s Lacroix darling, La-CROIX.”)

My non-Parisian style drinking icons.
All that aside Paris does NOT corner the market on chic and dammit, it’s time someone told Paris so.

I’m currently reading Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange  and overall, I love it, it’s cute, it’s positive and I’m enjoying it immensely.

Seriously, it's a fun read, go buy it!

That said, I gotta be honest so far I’ve learned that Parisian women:
1.  Idolize Jackie Kennedy Onassis (American) and Audrey Hepburn (Brit)
2.  Revere Breakfast at Tiffany’s as über-chic (American movie about a New York Socialite as played by a British actress and based not all that well on a story by American author, and fellow Southerner, Truman Capote who is now so easily confused with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and okay fine, the french designer, Hubert de Givenchy, did the wardrobe for Hepburn for the movie, but Californian, Edith Head was the costume supervisor)
3.  Speaking of Tiffany (jewelry store, not 80s pop starlet), it seems Parisians appreciate the brand’s elegant simplicity (founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany of Connecticut)
4.  And lastly, according to Ma'am de la Fressange, Parisian women sport Converse sneakers as their “casual” chic shoe when trying to appear as though they are “not trying too hard” (Converse, a Massachusetts company founded in the early 1900s by Marquis Mills Converse of New Hampshire).

Now, I’m not all about patriotic fervor.  Chic knows no nationality.  I’m also pretty sure that French women, much like the rest of us, do get fat.  And there is no damn shame in that.

Women are chic because they want to be chic.  Not because they live in Paris, New York, Milan, or London.  But it does make it easy to market a book.  After all, I bought into it.  And I'm glad I did.  Tongue-in-cheek review notwithstanding.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I told you: no wire hangers EVER

So, call me crazy, but I sorta understand Joan Crawford.  You don’t put $300 dresses on wire hangers.  They do awful stretching-out things to the sleeves, AWFUL!  But also, who buys a 9 year old $300 dresses?  Joan fucking Crawford, that’s who.

If I could afford to buy a 9 year old $300 dresses I’d choose to makeover my own closet instead.  What?  Nine year olds grow like crazy, talk about a bad investment.

Forget the closet, I’d make over an entire room.  Yes, I’d have a dressing room.  And I’d walk into it wearing a full length silk robe, feather boudoir slippers, and my hair back in a turban.  I’d be feeling like Daisy Buchannan minus the whole hit-and-run thing.

My dream dressing room, in addition to having the Skybar Wine Serving System, should have either a beautifully upholstered chair or ottoman (putting on boots or shoes with a buckle currently involves a lot of hopping and leaning against walls before I finally give up and sit on the floor), a dress form just for fun, and framed vintage prints of my favorite Avedon photographs.

1951 Avedon Portrait of Barbara Mullen, sigh.

I would also want a vintage oval mirror and a built in center island with drawers for jewelry, belts, sunglasses, airline sized bottles of vodka, and all those other tchotchkes we all end up collecting and wondering “where can I put this?”

Look at these closets and let us collectively drool:

You can invite 2 friends over to have a boot-putting on party with all these chairs!

Yeah, I forgot to mention, but I'm gonna need skylights too.

Bit more masculine but my favorite of the three.  I'd totally kill the plant though.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tried to Care, Distracted by Shoes

So it seems the big news in the fashion world of late is that the American Medical Association has officially condemned the practice of using Photoshop to artificially slim down models to unhealthy proportions and oddly, I’m finding it hard to care.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the images are ridiculous, but the American Medical Association?  Do we really need them to tell us what’s wrong with fashion?

And really?  They’re up in arms about an image from a Ralph Lauren Ad that went viral in 2009?  Bit late to the game aren't we AMA?

image originally from photoshopdisasters

We do this dance on such a regular basis.  I refuse to get my hopes up that things will change.


Ooooooh, pink shoes!

Nicholas Kirkwood Beaded Platform Court

Monday, June 27, 2011

Katie Likes Stationery

A side effect of working in paper is owning a lot of stationery.  Why use scratch paper for jotting down phone messages, grocery lists, and driving directions when you can customize your own gummed note pads!

Sticky notes be damned!  via instagram

Katie Likes Shoes Boatman Geller Note Pad, Macbeth Collection Mini Clipboard, and Faber-Castell E-Motion Ivory Ball Point Pen

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Observations != Compliments

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a little bit fussy when it comes to etiquette. It serves an important purpose; etiquette is observed so that people are comfortable and respected. Many argue that in modern society etiquette is outdated and unnecessary and perhaps in our every day lives knowing how to correctly set a table isn’t critical information, but that doesn’t mean that all social graces should be ignored.

image from

A case in point. Compliments are lovely. I enjoy receiving them and I certainly try not to be stingy in giving them. Compliments on one’s appearance are tricky, especially when given to a stranger. The gentleman behind me in line at the cafe who told me I “have a very sincere smile” got it right, the guy that hung out of his soccer van window to tell me my shoes were “hot,” not so much.

Lately though I’ve become perplexed by the non-compliment. These are observations that are said as though the person saying them is paying you a compliment.

For instance there was the fellow who told me in an appreciative tone “Those are some very high heels.” Well, yes, maybe they are, but you’ve left me flustered for a response because “thank you” hardly seems the correct response for your observation. Perhaps an observation in return? “The rise of your jeans are very high as well.” No, that would be impolite.

No, President Obama didn't comment on my shoes, but he does rock the high rise jeans!

Another (shoe-related) non-compliment I get is “how do you walk in those?” Well, one foot in front of the other usually, unless I’m feeling silly and moon walk instead. I don’t like being glib with my answer, so instead I take a defensive stance, “Oh, I’m so accustomed to heels, I hardly notice anymore.”

Once at the grocery store I finally had enough and told the non-complimenter who was scanning my groceries, “If you would stop putting my green tea on the top shelf I could wear flats, but you’ve made your store entirely unfriendly to those of us under 5’4”.” I was in a cranky mood.

I always take whatever comment is made in the spirit it is given, but it never hurts to think about what we say before we say it. And for the love of all that’s holy, never comment on a person’s weight!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Reluctant Southerner Enters Her Third Decade

Typically, I am about as badass as a baby chimpanzee cuddling a kitten.  And I mean a sweet chimpanzee, not one of those rabid zombie chimpanzees from the movie 28 Days Later (not to be confused with Sandra Bullock playing a rabid drunk in 28 Days). 

I’m a reluctant Southerner.  If you look at a map and then fold it in half, Maryland is ABOVE the fold.  As such I consider myself a mid-atlantic-er.  But now that I live in North Carolina it’s time I call a (kate) spade a spade and admit defeat. 

Anyway, where was I?  I think I had a point.  Ah yes.  I hit 30 this year and with it I was going to become one of those women who accept the aging process and I was going to learn how to gracefully style myself in an adult conservative southern way.  My only whimsy would be garish Lily Pulitizer pinks and greens worn on the weekend with a cardigan thrown over my shoulders to protect myself from the chilly 90 degree humid weather.  This was going to be my fate.

And then I bought red jeans.

Red jeans with Camilla Skovgaard Patterned Saw Pumps via Instagram.

Fuck 30.  I wore my red man-eating jeans unabashedly.  I didn’t do anything of interest in them.  I went to work.  I went to a jewelry party.  I ate a liverwurst sandwich while reading Elle outside of a local deli.  But I did it with (metaphorical) balls. 

Lily will have to wait.  Forty is a short ten years away.  Maybe by then my style will have mellowed to Palm Springs casual.

These, however, these I see in my new badass, chimp cuddling kitten-free, future:

Camilla Skovgaard Spear Stiletto Mules