Monday, January 30, 2012 haul

I woke up on this snowy Syracuse morning to a yesstyle box! It could not have come at a better time, as the leggings I ordered fit my snowy landscape perfectly and I will wear them today. Shipping from Hong Kong consistently takes less time than ANY domestic shipping. Figure that one out.

First is this Peter Pan style crochet collar top. It's cute. She looks like a pumpkin!

I've had my eye on this simple color blocked top for months... pretty sure it was from the summer collections. Oh well. It looks terrible on me at the moment since my paleness is akin to the white paint on my walls. (Why are there no tanning places around SU? I can name 5 tanning places that sandwiched ISU's campus. Hm.)

Last is this pair of snowflake leggings! I'm 5'8 so they're really short on me, almost like those leggings that stop mid-calf. I plan on wearing them with boots anyway so that doesn't matter much. I chose the left pattern.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

DIY Ripped Tights

Deconstruction time!

I got a 3 pack of black tights for Christmas, 2 patterned and 1 plain. I already have a plain pair and these are low waisted (for tights? not a fan) and after I wore them once, I put a nice run in them. Two, actually. But it was New Year's Eve so... it was beyond my control.

(Booo, no longer perfect tights. What to do?)

So as one of my it's-midnight-and-I'm-bored projects, I decided to rip them. If they turn out horrible, it's a learning experience, as I always say. I browsed a couple tutorials on youtube and this one was my favorite by far. Of course I don't have a seam ripper with me so I armed myself with other sharp objects I DO have: scissors, thumb tacks, pins, and a razor blade. Sounds great?

I ended up using the razor blade because scissors chop too much and pins don't cut. AND THEN, something amazing happened. I timidly cut a little hole and tugged at it, just like the video said to and I got these huge lines unraveling up like this:

What ended up happening is that I made lots and lots more runs. It reminded me of that beater that I unraveled over the summer (see here). And I decided, who needs gaping huge holes? I liked these little holes and big runs better. And this was so fun! I love deconstruction so much.

Once you're satisfied with the front side, take your tights off, put them on backwards and rip more holes and stretch. You'll find that when you put them on again and stretch them out, all the runs will keep... running. Resistance is futile.   

And here's the finished product, taken right after I got a haircut (don't judge the mop). Try it, it's great fun. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thom Browne (aka my soul mate)

Oh my studly goodness, will you take a look at this masterpiece of a menswear collection?! I came across a post from one of my favorite DIY blogs, Outsapop, and had to click through to the rest of the shots (the designer here is Thom Browne).

As I clicked along, my jaw dropped lower and lower because this collection is essentially everything I love. I think Thom might actually be my soul mate. He used studs. Anchor motifs. Doc Marten-esque boots. Sunglasses. Knee socks. Tailored jackets/ coats. ...That is everything I love and currently wear. If I was a menswear designer, this is what I would make. Well, this is actually a little more stylized than I would do (Man-belly shirts, not so much. And the headgear freaks me out a little... ok, no, that's a lie. They're baller.), but this would definitely be Amy-aesthetic if such a concept existed. Observe the brilliance:

He also takes some drastic liberties messing with proportions here. Kind of like super accentuated football pads (Note the leatherhead. Definitely early 1900s football) or... tumors? I kid, I kid. Did I mention I also love plaid?

This look is just dfhbguafdicanteven. And mohawks too! The more I look at this, the more it freaks me out how * me * it is. Honestly. Peep this site here for the rest of the pics. It gets a little pastel near the end which is kind of wonky, but whatever.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Emilio Pucci Pre-Fall 2012

I'm been neglecting runway stuff lately. Sorry. I popped over to today to check out what was going on since pre-fall has been blowing up my tumblr dashboard lately anyway. I clicked on Emilio Pucci because, and I'm admitting this right now (no regrets), I think Emilio Pucci might be my favorite fashion house. Or at least in my top five. And this set proves why: Pucci designs clothes that I see myself wearing. The silhouettes are interesting enough but simple at the same time. Fabric choice is what makes them more special than simple. And actually, a lot of these designs remind me of things I already have, just better and much more luxurious. It feels slightly nostalgic and wayyyyy my style (except maybe more elegant :)

This reminds me of what I wore to my pinning ceremony for Phi Sigma Pi four years ago. No, really. Here, I'll even show you a picture:

Teehee, stretchy shirt has so much stretch it's almost glowing. Yech! Anyway...

I have a sweater with this kind of tie-your-own bow top.

I have a lacy dress! This is more form fitting and a bit longer than mine.

Burgundy velvet blazer. I believe I've already expressed my love for this design multiple times. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wedding Dress Details

I was checking up on my favorite wedding blog, Once Wed and I was completely blown away by the dress in the latest post. This site has recently been featuring DIY-style weddings, kind of country and very homey, which I totally approve of.

I'm just in love with scalloping details and dresses or shorts, so this dress made me swoon. Look at all these edges! So adorable! Vintage-looking dresses are the best. The blog linked to the website of the dress maker Chelsea Rose, which was unfortunately under construction. But the site does have a sample lookbook and after flipping through a few pages, I found that custom detailing is their specialty. Take a gander!

(The way the light illuminates this...!)

Anyone can sew piles of fabric together. But not everyone can make it look good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Velvet Blazer

One of my favorite pieces to wear this season is my velvet blazer that I got from Ragstock about 2 years ago. Ragstock had a huge rainbow spectrum of colors at the time, now I wish I had bought more than one. There was a burnt orange one that was wicked cool. Alas.

It used to get stares from people or that familiar “um... wha-?” look. But I suddenly love wearing it. The blazer shape makes it able to fit into professional wear but since it's velvet, it goes easily with jeans and can be dressed down pretty casually. I wore this when I went to the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and a friend commented on how it matched with the velvet accents of the theatre. Hah, I didn't even think of that when I picked it out! Although the red clashed with my Willy Wonka colored coat.

I also feel like I need to justify my wardrobe sometimes. Here's my justification for today: Adam's look here. See? Same as mine. But he's a guy... irrelevant. Ladies can rock blazers just as hard!

Here's more proof (although I lost the link for this one. I snagged this online somewhere a long time ago.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

NYC Outfit V

Outfit for the New York Times and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And my usual derpy face...

cardigan: H&M
cami: F21
Peter Pan collar: DIY
skirt: F21
tights: Gap
boots: Nine West
bag: Kenneth Cole

The New York Times

This morning, the AJ crew visited the New York Times. They're one of the (if not THE) most reputable papers in the country and living in New York state for the nearly half a year, I've become quite familiar with their publication.  

We were shown around the cultural floor, which came in varying sections. There was a news desk area with a television type setup, meeting rooms, and cubicles sections for different departments. It was funny being taken past each department and guessing which they were before being told. The books sections' desks were almost completely hidden in stacks of books all around. A desk in the music section was covered entirely in cd cases and huge volumes about Mozart and other composers.

I could tell immediately when we got of the style department. The first cubicle I saw had ripped out ads and editorials from magazines posted all around and even its own coat rack. The coat was this season's orange color. And the whole cubicle was much more organized that any other that I saw. Clearly this was fashion land. Our tour guide, James Oestreich (classical music editor), casually pointed out a man across the room who had just walked in, naming him and asking if anyone had seen the documentary about him. I nearly fainted; it was Bill Cunningham (As you all might remember I wrote a post about him here). I kept looking back, hoping that he would walk past and I could shake his hand while gushing about how much I love what he does. Alas, we continued on our tour.

We learned a lot about the paper today, all of which was informative, but I couldn't help feeling a little discouraged at the same time. Oestreich started out as a football player in college and never had any kind of formal training in writing. Yet he's an editor at the NYT. We've lately been finding out that this is the case with a lot of journalists. It makes me wonder if having rigorous writing training is as necessary as I believed it is. It seems that a lot of people just “fall in” to writing. Funny how things work isn't it? But then, I think about where I am (at the NYT, for example) and I realize that without this program, there's no way I would be here. I wouldn't be in that building, meeting all these important people, in this huge city, in this entire state.

That makes all the difference.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Opera: the spectacle

This was my third opera I have attended and I was a bit apprehensive about it. The Metropolitan Opera was showing their world premier season of The Enchanted Island, a new opera. Some of my reasons for skepticism: there are 10 main characters, the music was by a multitude of Baroque composers instead of just one composer, the story followed 2 Shakespeare plot lines, AND it was in English (bwa!?). I've seen Carmen in French and La Traviata in Italian so this seemed a little out of the ordinary for me. 

 The Opera House at Lincoln Center was much more modern looking than I expected. Red and gold were the main colors (obviously the red of the velvet curtains and the seats and gold scalloped ceilings). But the most striking decor were the beautiful crystal and glass chandeliers. Now I know why the people in opera audiences use those tiny binoculars on a stick: the place is HUGE. As a rule, opera singers don't use microphones. Their pipes have to be so vigorously trained so they can project and fill up a huge space. So impressive.

 One thing that struck me as intriguing was what I noticed in the gift shop. There was a plethora of wrap/ cardigan like articles of clothing and ALL of them had a wrapped and almost late Elizabethan style collar. I wondered when/ why that became a “thing” for opera. Perhaps it's based on typical opera costumes and meant to evoke the spectacle associated with opera.

And spectacle it was. The sets and costumes were gorgeous. There were mermaids flying in the air. There were beautifully lighted moments and special effects that had the audience gasping and quickly muttering to their neighbors. And the music... do I even have to mention that? It was perfect and every solo made me want to cry. The whole thing was outrageous, over-the-top, and sometimes you just had to laugh at the absurdity of it all. But that's opera. And it was the most amazing performance I've ever seen.

NYC Outfit(s) III & IV

Outfit for Harlem:

blazer: Ragstock
jeans: F21
boots: Nine West

Outfit for the Metropolitan Opera:

sweater: thrifted
dress: from a friend
heels: thrifted

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Broadway... "is perfect in a whorish way"

I'm not a theatre person and this AJ program is very full of play connoisseurs. I have always found plays to be cheesy and over-pomped. Actually when comparing plays to musicals, I'd rather see a musical because if you're going to up the over-dramatized cheese factor, why no go all out? Jazz handssssss.

I probably prefer musicals because I'm totally incapable of acting. Musicals at least involve song and dance which are SO much easier to remember than straight-up lines and blocking and emotional interacting with fellow players. I've been in three productions in all of my life: middle school versions of “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Once Upon a Mattress,” and “Guys and Dolls,” all of which were fabulous and surprisingly enjoyable. But I didn't live and breathe theatre the way the main roles did. Half the time I wished I was in the pit with fellow band members busting out some twirly upper octave runs with my best friend and our beginner Gemeinhardts.

But the play that I saw today reminded me that good theatre isn't over-dramatic and can be really enlightening. Today's highlight was only announced to us yesterday: we saw the play Seminar at the John Golden Theatre. Who was the star of the show? Alan Rickman. Oh yes, Professor Snape. His character was kind of a jackass of a fiction writer and teacher who eventually helps his students in his own twisted way. He was a perfect character for Rickman to play. There was one moment when he chuckled in his "Alan-Rickman-voice-y" kind of way and the audience just exploded. The man only needs to make some kind of noise and the audience immediately swoons. I enjoyed the play a lot more than I thought I would. It was about writing and how that humanizes (or dehumanizes) a writer. A good choice by our program leaders.

...I guess... theatre is okay... sometimes.  

NYC Outfit II

New York City day two. Highlights include: finally taking the subway, the New Museum and sliding through 2 floors on a slide with flashing crazy lights, seeing Alan Rickman on Broadway in Seminar, and a panel tonight with New York Times cultural critics and AJ alums. 

sweater: yesstyle
skirt: F21
tights: gift
boots: Nine West

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New York City First Timer

I've never been to New York City before. Usually when I tell people in my AJ program this, I get shocked expressions and faces full of disbelief.

I think it's a Chicago thing. NYC is kind of our rival. We love beating down New York. Chicagoans are very fond of comparing and saying how gross and dirty NYC is due to their lack of alley ways. I'm the first person in my entire family to ever go there. My Mom told me how proud she was that I was going to the place with a hint of disgust in her voice. My Aunt and Uncle work for United Airlines and US Air and have been all over the world... never NYC. I've been a self-proclaimed hater of the place even though I've never been there. There's a flatlanded pride about Chi-Town that my Midwest has, so I've always been apprehensive about the Big Apple.

I expected the place to be like the Chi (pronounced shy, not like chai) but on a grander scale. I know skyscrapers and Lake Michigan is comparable to an ocean to me. I know crazy cabbies and wet cement sidewalks. I know business men in their suits who are always walking around in a hurry.

What Chicago lacks, and this pains me to say, is the fashion factor. NYC is the fashion capital of the country. Duh. People scour the streets devoted to taking shots of street fashion for their blogs and websites (see a previous post about BILL from the NYT). Chi is usually full of day trippers donning their City Clothes or regulars in sweatpants running out to Dunkin' Donuts for their daily cuppa. I feel like neither of these would be acceptable in NYC. You have to dress the part always or else you don't really belong.

The articles of clothing that I noticed the most on the street were fur hats. Fabulously swank fur hats on ladies with long coats. Unfortunately most of them walked past me before I had the chance to get my camera ready.

So far, I've only seen the Chelsea hood and areas that didn't seem too terribly “inner city” to me. I guess I expected the city to be taller... but I haven't been to the huge skyscraper zones yet. Other highlights of the day included:

-lovely train ride next to the Hudson River
-walking on the High Line
-terrifying cab rides
-finding a Starbucks hidden inside a swank BMW and Volo dealership
-VIP front row seats at The Daily Show, seeing their office area, and talking the Emmy award winning head writer Steve Bodow