• books,  fashion,  food,  vintage

    Vintage Advice

    At a flea market this summer at Madison’s Fete de Marquette festival, I purchased a used copy of Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette, first published in 1952. How could I pass up a book that covered such wide-ranging topics as Monogramming, How to Eat a Maine Lobster, and How to Write an “Angry” Letter? Being a lawyer by profession, though, I don’t need much help with that last one. There’s even a section on what to do if you can’t remember someone’s name (Ms. Vanderbilt recommends saying “Nice to see you” or “You’re looking well.”) Although some of her advice, when viewed from a modern day perspective, is downright…

  • fashion,  holiday,  vintage

    Baby It’s Cold Outside

    I live in Wisconsin, where below zero temperatures for days in a row are not uncommon. Many midwesterners suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I have discovered that SAD has an ugly cousin, FAD. FAD stands for Fashion Apathy Disorder. It’s a disease that strikes downtrodden souls during the winter months, encouraging them to just give up on the notion of looking good because no one will see what you’re wearing under that down parka and ski mask anyway. FAD can strike anyone at any time, and is most prevalent during the dark days of January and February. There is no need to be alarmed, though. There are ways to…

  • beauty,  design,  fashion,  green living

    Runway Fashions for Rent

    Have you ever looked in your closet before a big event and concluded that you have nothing to wear? If you said no, you’re lying. Choosing clothes for holiday parties, weddings, and other special occasions can be stressful and expensive. And after you’ve gone through the trouble of finding something acceptable to wear, the sad truth is that you’ll probably only wear it once or twice–for most of the year it will hang neglected in your closet in a garment bag. I stumbled upon an ingenious solution to this problem. A website called Rent the Runway allows members to rent current styles from over 90 designers for prices ranging from…

  • art,  beauty,  design,  fashion,  nerdiness,  vintage

    Four Centuries of Fashion

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on vintage fashion for a novel I’m working on. I recently came across a treasure trove of information on the website of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Perusing the photos of garments from the 1600’s through today is like taking a walk through time–albiet in a corset and sometimes painful shoes, but always looking fantastic. Here are a few of my favorite ensembles from the Met’s archives. All photos are from the Costume Institute’s website.

  • blogging,  design,  fashion,  vintage,  writing

    Vintage Vixen

    I have not been posting as frequently in the last couple of weeks because I’ve been working like a crazed woman on my second novel, Gently Used. The novel tells the story of a fictional vintage clothing store, the women who work and shop there, and the garments that come through the door. It is loads of fun to write, and whenever I get blocked, I do research on vintage fashion, which has led me to some fun discoveries online. A recent search for 1950’s ball gowns led me to the Etsy store of Timeless Vixen, a vintage shop based out of Beverly Hills. The shop carries an impressive range…

  • coffee,  fashion,  vintage

    Come See Me at Style Maniac

    Today I’m guest posting on vintage fashion over at Style Maniac— a blog by the fabulous Doreen Creede about decorating, dressing, reading, eating, and entertaining in style.  Hmmm, all of my favorite things… it’s no wonder I read it religiously. I love how the internet makes it possible to collaborate on projects with creative people everywhere, whether they’ve been to your home or just your home page. So, as Style Maniac would say, kick off your leopard print flats, pour yourself a glass of wine (or a cup of coffee, depending on when you’re reading this) and check out my guest post.

  • fashion,  green living,  local,  music,  vintage

    Rock Star-Worthy Looks

    Stars put on a great show on Friday night at the Barrymore, complete with multicolored lights, bubbles, and a keyboard kazoo. And guitarist and vocalist Amy Millan wore sequins, just like the last time I saw her. If I were a rock star, I would wear sequins every night. Seeing all of the beautiful young things in the audience in their carefully-selected concert clothes got me thinking about (what else?) fashion. Here are some rock star-worthy looks from three of my favorite style bloggers. I’d be happy to wear any of the following ensembles to a show. What the three looks have in common is that they all involve at…

  • art,  design

    Everyone Needs a Photographer Friend

    It is absolutely essential to be friends with at least one good photographer. Seriously. The person doesn’t need to be a professional–anyone with a decent camera, preferably a digital SLR, and knows how to use it, will do. In these days of constant life documentation on Facebook, Picasa, Flickr & Tumblr, you might as well look good. This is where the photographer friend comes in. A good photographer can make you look Project Runway-ready even if you’re feeling bloated, have a giant zit on your chin, and your hair decided not to conform to the styling products you put in it and instead looks straight out of a Flock of…