• fashion,  seasonal,  style,  vintage

    Looks of Ski Seasons Past

    Generally, I’m a summertime and sunshine kind of girl. But I have to admit there are a few things about winter that I like. Skiing is at the top of the list. I smile, or maybe grimace, when I think about some of my ski outfits from years past. As a pre-teen in the late eighties/early nineties, I loved my neon pink Columbia jacket that reversed to electric blue.  I even had neon pink goggles to match. Then there was my shiny purple Nevica jacket with its gimmicky avalanche alarm stitched into the shoulder–just what every fourteen-year-old ski bunny needs.  In high school I rocked a very aprés look, with an iridescent…

  • beer,  fashion,  holiday,  style,  writing

    So Much to Celebrate

    On New Year’s Eves past, I’ve stood with my toes in the sand on a Mexican beach, danced on a ballroom floor in San Francisco, bummed a seldom cigarette at a Chicago bar, cozied up with Fat Tires and football in a Colorado condo, and waved my arms on many a curbside, shivering and looking for elusive empty cabs. This year, I’ll be all of two blocks away from home, celebrating with close friends and a tribe of tots aged 3 months to 3 years. The gathering will be modest, but never have I had so much to celebrate in bidding farewell to a year. In 2011, I finished a…

  • books,  icons,  literature,  style

    Literary Looks: The Great Gatsby

    There are people who live in my head. I’ve collected them over time, over thousands of pages read everywhere: on subway seats, in library cubicles, under the covers, over the moon. The best of these people are realer to me, and more enduring, than many flesh and blood faces that pass through my days. Characters they are not. Rather, they are icons. This second installment in my collection of “Literary Looks” is inspired by one of such paper icons: Daisy Buchanan of The Great Gatsby. Daisy. The socialite. The cynicist. The girl with “the voice full of money.” Her style represents all the hope and flash and fleetingness of youth.…

  • books,  fashion,  fiction,  literary looks,  nerdiness,  style

    Literary Looks: The Sun Also Rises

    Lately, I’ve been feasting on a lot of good reads. To celebrate, I’m compiling the first of a series of literary looks inspired by books and writers. My book club recently finished The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. It’s a well-researched, fictional account of Hemingway’s relationship with his first wife, Hadley, told from her point of view. During their 5-year marriage, Hemingway wrote and sold his first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926), which is set in Pamplona among the bullfights and running of the bulls during the Feast of San Fermin. Remembering that novel got me thinking about Spanish style, and prompted this literary look, which would be perfect for watching the festivities in…

  • budget-friendly,  fashion,  style

    Frugal Fashion

    While scouring the racks at my local thrift store, I spotted this phrase on a chalkboard above the vintage dresses. A new mantra, perhaps? Certainly a sign of the times. But I also see it as a challenge. What tricks do you have to look fabulous without spending a fortune?  

  • fashion,  local,  style,  upcycling,  vintage

    Pop-Up Vintage

    Last weekend, I went to a pop-up vintage sale held at Zip Dang on Monroe Street. Because I have a newborn baby and therefore a short attention span, I like the idea of a pop-up sale, which is essentially retail’s answer to a flash mob. Since pop-up sales are carefully curated and arranged, I can go in with a mission and usually find what I’m looking for, which, in this case, was anything unique that fit my post-pregnancy body (read: A-line dresses). Zip Dang normally carries some vintage apparel, but also carries upcycled items, one of-a-kind art and clothing, cheeky stationery, and kitschy-cool household goods. The event this past weekend, which…

  • fashion,  style,  vintage

    Summer Stripes and 60’s Style

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with 60’s style. I suspect my obsession grew from playing with my mom’s Barbies, with their mini dresses and painted-on smokey eyes. Buried somewhere in a Rubbermaid container in my parents’ basement is Fashion Queen Barbie, shown at left, with her fabulous gold striped swimsuit and creepy wigs. The most interesting Barbie accessory from my mom’s much-played-with collection is a mini diet book with politically incorrect advice on “How to Lose Weight”:   Okay, so maybe the real 60’s weren’t as altogether fabulous as the style-savvy sixties of my imagination. Still, my fondness for the fashion of that decade persists. I even…

  • green living,  style,  vintage

    Vintage Style for a Steal

    Got a wedding or other summer soiree on your calendar that calls for a dressy handbag? Whenever I’ve had to buy a purse or clutch for a special event, I’ve always been disappointed at the slim selection available at department stores. Many of the dressy bags are cheesy and reminiscent of prom, and the nicer ones come with price tags I can’t justify for an accessory I’ll only use a handful of times, at most. Rather than scrambling around at the last minute for the perfect special occasion bag, I’ve started to keep my eyes open at garage sales and secondhand stores for versatile vintage pieces. During a quick spin…

  • fashion,  film,  style,  vintage

    Whatever Happened to Fancy Hats?

    As I approach my due date, I’ve been spending more and more time on the couch watching movies. My husband and I have long since burned through the new releases on our Netflix queue, so we’ve been working our way through some oldies but goodies. This past weekend, we watched the “The Maltese Falcon,” which I am ashamed to admit I had never seen. There’s a lot to be said about the film. It’s a noir classic. It’s based on a mystery by acclaimed American mystery writer Dashiell Hammett. What really stuck with me, though, was the abundance of fabulous hats on screen. Why don’t people wear fedoras or other fancy…

  • art,  fashion,  style,  vintage,  writing

    Pucci: Antidepressant in Fabric Form

    At the same time I’ve been nurturing a baby boy, soon to be born in July, I’ve also been nurturing another baby: the manuscript of my novel, GENTLY USED. It’s a multi-generational tale about a vintage clothing store and the stories behind the clothes on the racks and the women who work and shop there.  Doing research for the book was almost as much fun as writing it. Over the last year, I amassed a lot of pictures and information, uncovering more vintage fodder than I could ever include in a single novel. And, of course, I stumbled upon some new obsessions. What I didn’t have room for in the…