Saturday, December 28, 2013

In which I am the last person on earth to notice the after-market trend

Back after a holiday breakdown,  I ventured out on Grand Ave. sans snowsuit and, bing bang,  ran into this smilesperson for the American Dental Association.  As perfect as her teeth are here in the land of regular checkups,  just imagine the VIP treatment she'd get in Alabama.  A full set of teeth should never be taken for granted.
I digress.
It's come to my attention, finally, that clothing manufacturers are getting into the after-market pimping biz.  What used to be a DIY expression of individuality and rad creativity is now co-opted by professionals with access to more than  a hot glue gun, as illustrated by the Free People MASHup of military styles above.  Yes, I like, and it adds an extra layer of interest to under-appreciated elbows, but I'm a little nostalgic for prototypes made with glue, safety pins, puff paint and other shit from Michael's.  Speaking of, let's take a trip through DIY after-market add-ons I may or may not have worn...

Ok, I've already got the scissors out, poised to make this last one.  I feel like puff paint might make this my very own.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

it's no surprise, the key to success is...

Work hard and don't wear pants.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

where was I? what just happened?

The answer to these all-too-common questions is easily intuited from the photo documentation -- duh, Detroit! 
It was lovely I tell you.  The skin of my upper arms vaguely recalls feeling balmy breezes and the kiss of natural sunlight, and my kneecaps,  my goodness, they're still giddy from cavorting like a couple of sassy pink grapefruits.  That reminds me -- I saw grapefruits. On trees!  Under sweaters!  And another happy accident of the Home of Medical Enhancements, everyone just assumed my eyebags were simply cheeks that had drifted.  Man, I enjoyed myself, a sensory rush.  The rods and cones were absolutely frenzied registering colors like country club and bougainvillea and shiny Bentley.  All those nose hairs (neatly trimmed for the trip) filtered out the smog so that the eucalyptus and wild fennel came through full strength with every huff.  Was that my quads screaming or the pterodactyl circling overhead waiting for signs of weakening on my back-to-back sick runs in the Santa Monica Mountains?  Otherwise it was just me,  Charly Manson's disciples and the big blue veins ocean.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

going places

Fake animals about the neck are strictly OK because it was thirty below habitable in Mpls, thus a strong survival instinct is at play here.  In sharp contrast to some flip flopped  dudes disembarking from Tampa/St. Pete who are almost certainly dead by now.  Our cozily swaddled traveler, above,  is on her way to a career in fashion merchandising, by way of Milwaukee, NYC, road trip with the fam that ended in Mpls and back to that fashion capitol.  NYC.  Not Milwaukee.  Phew.  I am so so glad she was paying attention during the AirWear class which spent a full week on the rise and attempts to banish pink velour sweatpants and Uggs from the travel milieu.  Possibly because of the economy,  this unfortunate look is stubbornly entrenched.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

would you like a leather boost with that?

Leather sleeves, leather pockets, leather lapels -- I love leather upgrades. See, that's an airline reference because, if you couldn't tell by the always-four-a.m.-with-a-migraine lighting, we're at the airport.  I'm not sure what happens when you go to throw that garment in the wash. I think a bag drops down from the ceiling and you have to breathe into it because there's going to be turbulence on the wardrobe front.  I have never felt even the slightest risk of being comfortable on an airplane.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

she be spoking

We spoke.  She be spoking.  More amazingly, she be walking around in her own giddyup kicks that she be cut and formed and soled and pegged with her own MFA-from-Art-Institutes-of-Chicago certified fingers.  And she can be make them for you too!!
Ok this language gimmick be giving me the fantods.
See that little animal on her neck?  Relax, totally cleared of distemper.  See that genuine Swiss army man bag with the boyfriend attachment?  That's her Leatherman.  Get it?  Because Swiss army, she works with lea....

Holy hides,  I want those!!  This is Amara Hark-Weber's foot but it could be yours because she makes custom boots and chaps and other daywear just for you!  See?  You can choose the materials, the design, the level of toughness, and she will draw around your foot and say nothing about the bunions and out with the awls and knives and hacksaws and ice picks and hammers and stretchers and belt sanders and guillotines (shoemaking is a pretty violent undertaking) and swaddle your insteps with the most achingly beautiful article you ever sweat in.  I'm gonna give you that website again in case you were unconscious --  It's not as easy as you'd think.  Takes 2 - 4 weeks, depending on whether you want one boot or two. 
This picture shows she still has all her fingers which makes it pleasant to shake her hand and pass over the benjamins in exchange for your custom raccoon carrier or ring or CIA badge case or shackles wristlet or other useful stuff.  Just in time for Festivus -- remember, nothing says Happy Holidays like a custom leather vacuum cover (hint hint people).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mr. Rogers kicks some A

First off, I can't speak to the nuclear explosion happening in Mr. Roger's neighborhood, but nevermind because that is a tear-off cardigan our on-trend can a whoop-ass is rocking     cue up Green Beret song... silver wings upon his chest...
and shiny aerodynamic kicks unencumbered by seams or laces.  It's no secret, this agent is killing it in the style department.  sorry, I...

Monday, November 25, 2013

whoa, check out those paddles

 Does something seem stiff, contrived about this photo?  Well thank you, it's not just me then.  Little things like,  A. No one likes art unless there's likker involved, or maybe cheese.  Why are they at the Mpls Institute of Art then?   B. Their hair has not been slept in and neither have their clothes. That makes me suspicious.   C.  Does it look like someone told them to stand over there and act like you know each other? What kind of hideous crone would do such a thing, all the while pretending to have a real camera?

I really like that shitzu she's carrying on the right and those tiers of joy on the left, and I could about pee my pants every time I lay eyes on their boots -- heels of the brutalist school and cuffs of the pirate school respectively.  Wendy, left, laid a square piece of heavy card stock on me that is the exact size and shape of a condom package, which happens to me a lot, so of course I put it in my wallet and went right home.  After several glasses of wine,  I retrieved it and to my great delight, found that it was in fact a business card.  We were so excited! exquisite paper products. Their motto is Safe Stationery.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

using the old bean

This woman is so smart her brains are oozing out at the top.  Wait... that's her hair.  And the winner in the Ruin Knitwear That Is Both Beautiful and Versatile With Grotesque Imagery category.  A-thankyou, you've been too kind. 
Moving on... first off,  she dreamed up this design herself. It's a real honest-to-goodness fabrication.  Weird becuz...  Then,  instead of handing her initial sketches off to nine-year-olds in Mumbai, she busted out the sticks and executed this skillful fisherman sweater pattern with her own digits.  Let's visualize -- formless ball of yarn,  then we speed up the film and it appears she's winding strings of yarn around a wire,  a miracle occurs, and wala! she's walking around at the Institute of Art with a cool vented hat that didn't exist before.  Nothing, something.  Pretty big transition.  The yarn is in counseling.                

your thoughts here
Ok, that's enough.  Let's look at the features of this article.  By opening or tying the top vent closed, one can maintain optimal operational temperature.  One can liberate one's ponytail or fro or otherwise expansive hair.  Or, if one's neck is like,  Heads heads, 80% of body heat, blah blah. What about us?  Our veins and stringy stuff are clacking together -- if that happens, one can pull the whole thing down as a cozy windpipe warmer.  And don't even get me started on the turban-y swagger. This is a one-off but she's thinking about selling them.  I'm gonna write the marketing materials. Prob'ly.
She buttoned the grey sweater vest in back because she felt like it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

going back in time

Even aside from the enormous magnetic nostalgic draw of this puffed and plaided blouse,  I'm puzzled as to how she could manage to not look like a Home Economics major?  I would have said it couldn't be done -- the little house on the prairie collar, the four food groups puffed sleeves, teamed up with school uniform navy pants?  I mean, this gal has gone deep into what I know to be very hostile -- deadly even--  style territory, liberated the hostages and has returned triumphant.  And somehow, sassy.  She is my hero.   
But a wise caveat lest you're I'm tempted to relive my glory days as a Sunday school teacher (the parallel rise of religious extremism is purely coincidental)  -- style is a one-way street.  You can never go back,  regardless of how mad hawt you I looked in your Boundary Waters red and black oversized sweater.  Ever forward my friends,  inexorably,  bravely staggering forward, blazing new trails of eye-watering impropriety.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Here we find award-winning style in the person of one of the star soccer players representing Jimmy Lee Rec Center, runners-up to the St. Paul City Championship in the 14U division.  The team is all Somali or east African girls, the only one of this demographic in the Twin Cities.  The girls kick it in a more aerodynamic and one would assume, hi-tech, hijab (head scarf) than the one she's sporting here, Jimmy Lee soccer jerseys, shorts and leggings underneath.  Clearly, they are not hindered in sports or cramped in style. 
 The desire for personal expression through clothing is, after all, what this blog is all about.  Example A+, above.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


As you can imagine, at first this post was going to be about backpacks.  Big ones, small ones, blue ones, ones with a pot roast in them, backpacks accessorized with the most beautiful golden hair loosely done up and shining in the late afternoon sun like one of those Rembrandt paintings that illustrate the opulence and glory of a moment with foreshadowing in the long shadowing that clearly indicates she will be married to a rich old merchant with a bulbous nose but will get some awesome spices out of the deal that urges the viewer to hold onto the syrupy stillness.  Before it gets dark and cold for five months.  There's a lot to say about backpacks.

But then I got talking with this woman, she was waiting for a ride and couldn't get away who is on the nursing faculty at St. Kates,  and realized this post should not be about backpacks but rather about...

forearms!  See that fantastic Zena bullet and bad juju deflecting shield?  That's Libyan silver.  Now don't embarrass yourself by admitting you thought that was some different kind of silver like vegan or sterling, but better.  It's from an old-school mall in Libya.  Of Muammar Gaddafi death-to-Americans fame.  That Libya.  It gets better -- she was there with her mum,  just the two of them,  having a little holiday.  In Tunisia and Libya.  Most people take their mum to Old Country Buffet.  This woman and her mum have gone all over the world,  apparently taking advantage of the Civil War and Military Strongman specials airlines are always offering.  Are you, like me, getting an image of her mum driving a hard bargain in the medina with the help of a bullwhip ala Harrison Ford?  Dammit, no means no, and I don't drink tea!  Anyway, that was a long time ago, before 9-11, but she recounted that a Libyan guy came up to her and her mother and asked where they were from.  Naively they admitted to the stars and stripes and their new friend put a damper on things by saying, "We will kill you all."  I asked if the two of them gathered up their I Came To Libya And All I Got Was This Death Threat t-shirts and took the next camel out of town and she laughed and said no, but for the rest of the trip, they were Canadians.  No one hates Canadians.
The wonderful ring is from another mother-daughter outing to Finland, undoubtedly from when her mum won that fermented reindeer milk drinking contest.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


From real hide to Naugahyde (her posse called em vegan) to fringed and possibly faux,  this woman presents a conundrum to PETA.  But that's their problem.  I am fully in favor of the comprehensively black, vacuum packed for freshness look.  As we know from my previous neoprene shorts expose, a day without rubber clothing is stupid.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

boots, nostalgia ... which is better than wigs, nostalgia. or dustmops, nostalgia.

Sometimes all it takes to make me happy are some brand new work boots against a brick floor in close company with a filigreed wall.  
I'm drawn to this style of work boot (these happen to be Sebago that he's just breaking in) because they're seminal to my youth.  Teens of every ten-year age group adopt a boot that represents their ... I'm gonna say it... zeitgeist.  (I feel bad about using that word but experience has shown I can get over all sorts of journalistic crimes)  The cohort before me chose Frye harness boots as their shoe mascot, and the group after did those flat floppy semi-pointy toed boots like Robin Hood wore.  Or hi-top LA Gear sneakers -- feel the burn!  At the 1970s convention, which I did not attend because I was busy nerding it up in AP Biology gosh, a committee decided to go ahead with mullets, bellbottoms, Qiana knit, mauve, curling irons and construction boots, usually in a buckskin color with the iconic white sole and stitching.  Of that list, the only item I was able to score even remotely within the statute of limitations was the boots.  I wore them with my Wrangler jeans.  And a floral cotton blouse with Peter Pan collar, tucked in to the jeans.  Since I was unjustly cheated out of those other elements of style,  I've pursued them with unreasonable zeal now because I can do whatever I want, gosh.  Every time I see work boots like this,  I think they are so so happening.  And I think about ciliates.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

University of Meta-floras

Yes, yes I tell you -- floral pantalones in the fall, white before dinner and sex after marriage.  All the rules are in the window.  Short is long and hair is cute,  80s is cool and 30s is cold.  And the alligators aren't real, they're shoes, silly. 
If we get any closer, they'll bite.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

two things to love

 This is going to be one of those days.  The power has already gone out twice,  despite some very persuasive cursing under no circumstances will iPhoto or Blogger or whoever is really in charge of my life upload the edited version of this picture, my lower front teeth still feel like they're being filed with a real course grade metal rasp so I'm going around like a llama, and it's not even 9:30 am. 
So by golly, let's make lemonade. With a shot of methyl alcohol.
Look at that beautiful head o rapunzel ringlets with red highlights!  And that's not all!  Roll your orbs southward and look at these Strawberry Shortcake Gets A Job At Morgan Stanley shoes!
Llama love.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

black and boots = New Yorker

Sarah plain and tall walks into her favorite place to malinger and finger the merchandise, My Sister's Closet,  and boom boom gets kicked in the eyeballs by these gangstas from the upper east side.  My blood pressure hiccuped and my eyebags filled up like a toad's threat display because I initially took them for Balenciaga.  But, duh, this is Balenciaga
und I vill do vhatever he says und like it.  Crap, no wonder the dude has sold so many expensive shoes and handbags. In fact, just gazing into those demonic eyebrows,  I'm compelled to cash out our 1995 Villager van and put the proceeds toward some of those Balenciaga socks.  Those ones with the straps and buckles.
Do you see how we I have been drawn off by his sinister powers?
Ahhh, that's better.  This is the New Yorker,  a native of Forest Lake, MN,  who owns the still-smokin Tibi boots and the black wardrobe required of all residents of Manhattan and a tri-media little-bit-ombre-little-bit-manic-little-bit-Prozac Kenzo bag (see below) and the best job in the world.  That seems a lot to fit into any NY apartment and I stand ready to take some aspect of it off her hands.  Preferably the job.  She works for Corsican mob boss street style goddess and divine illustrator Garance Dore, whose name you'll see over there to the right of this drivel.  The one I have been pronouncing GA-rens DOOR.  My god, stop embarrassing yourself -- it's  gu-RAHNS DOR-ay.  Anyhoo,  this woman, underneath her noir New York exterior, was just a delight, so nice, did not say a word about the swath of prairie that girded my loins and was shopping with her stylish mom and neither one had stabbed the other in the neck with a nail file.  It was a pleasure I tell you.

Monday, October 28, 2013

what to wear when you work at home

 You could do something classy and rich-looking, like Abby, above, who is positively made of vanilla cashmere.  And accessorized (!) with a belt (!) that matches (!).  Her skin is perfect, her hair is neat, her coat is grade A creamy, her last meal is not visible on her clothes or face.  She works at home, one assumes,  doing socially redeeming work at which she is very capable. In a word, she looks successful.

And then there is this.  
A poster child for the holes in the mental health network,  this calamity was already in progress at 8 am, though the public was largely spared.  Those are neoprene midsection girders, fully functional, so that at any given time, the perpetrator could hurl herself into cold water with almost no immediate damage to the parts covered.  Her nod to professionalism, more like a spasm than a nod, is the man's button-down shirt and corset stilettos.  Different professions, but professionalism nonetheless.  I've lowered the curtain of decency over the bad parts (so you can just imagine) but I will say, her eyebags were neatly folded.  One can almost smell the acrid smoke from burned bridges.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

questions answered

If you've been wondering how to do Sexy Nerd, wonder no more.  If you've been wondering about that pimple, squeeze it.  This is the editor of Riff Metal Mag, which answers the question,  Does this bruised and bloody hell-inspired makeup wash me out?

Monday, October 21, 2013

they got the memo

The one I didn't get. The one that instructed visitors to the Minneapolis Institute of Art to dress like Janelle Monae.  But I caught my mistake right off when I saw these two, because duh, the black and white, the hair, the neckwear, the poppin lipstick.  And while I don't usually document costumes,  these women nailed Janelle Monae so perfectly, I went ahead and broke that rule.  See?
Dang, I wish I'd gotten that memo because I can really do a Janelle Monae if I try, and I felt like a great big dummy dressed as I was, a tranny version of Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront, Part XV.  Anyway,  I was just complimenting  the Janelle Monae look-alikes on their awesome black glasses with the white nosepiece when they said they'd added that white tape themselves. Becuz, see, it was Nerd Night at the MIA, not Janelle Monae Night, and those were taped-up nerd glasses not awesome black and white Janelle Monae glasses.  Oh.  
I knew that.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

walk like a Parisian

One of the many bad things that happened just after I raised my camera (not quite high enough, as we are missing the uppermost layers of her cute layered hair) is that her rich-looking green coat lost all its woolly magnificence and looks instead like it was made out of playdoh.  Doh!  I think I can explain.  Because that is so pleasurable.  I was experiencing quite a bit of retinal dissonance with the cute haircut and gorgeous scarf at the north side and the Most Wonderful Shoes In The World all the way on the south.  At the last minute, the shoes won out.  She got them in Paris this summer and is afraid she's wrecking them by wearing them to bed and in the shower and stuff.  But I agree with her -- don't take those pups off until they disintegrate. Nonstop enjoyment.

My understanding of portraiture is that you can get all the body parts of one person into a frame, but this is a skill I'm developing.  It's in development. In fact, word to Canon -- AutoWholeBody.  My camera has all these crazy auto features -- AutoDevilEyes,  AutoDrunkPhoto,  AutoPlaydohClothes,  AutoStrangerInPerfectFocusWhileYourSubjectLooksLikeAlgae.   When I point my camera at a person and it looks like I intend to get the whole show in the frame, the AutoWholeBody feature overrides my shaky hands and gets in the topmost hairs.  I'd pay good money for that.