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hear me roar

On July 28, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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I don’t even think of Anne Klein, typically (find their cuts very boxy, and their fabrics largely unpleasant), but randomly found this great tropical-esque printed shirt dress in a sale there. Whenever it seems like I may have too many shirt dresses, I tell myself that it would be impossible to have too many of such a failsafe item, surely.

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I am such a Leo.

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Haven’t worn these sunglasses in a while. So retro.

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Ann Klein dress, vintage Donna Karan belt, Breil Milano watch, Vuarnet sunglasses, Pears of Joy 11mm freshwater studs, Pearl Paradise 8mm freshwater necklace with thrifted lion pendant (pendant hanger linked here). On the lips: Stila Valentina.* On the nails: Essie Ruffles and Feathers.

*Picked this up after seeing Lisa Eldridge use it to great effect in this [excellent] video on orange lips.

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inspiration: Twin Peaks

On July 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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If you’ve watched and loved Twin Peaks, as I have, check out this Uncut article, which offers great backstory with a lot of the key players chiming in. I [finally, after years of being told to watch it] saw the series about two years ago. I was hooked from the pilot and it virtually took over my life for one watershed month. If you haven’t seen it, there is nothing like it (no excuses: it’s on Netflix instant streaming). It’s right up there with the original Twilight Zone as one of my favorite shows.

Twin Peaks is going to come up again, so much incredible styling.

image via Uncut

thoughts on a pile of accessories

On July 25, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

These accessories from Monday’s post look so good without me.

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It struck me that this is how I usually see my accessories and clothes (and pretty much everything I own): isolated, out of the context of an ensemble, waiting to be used rather than in use.

The thoughts then meandered like so:

Even or especially when in use, I often can’t see things I’m wearing. Necklaces and earrings, invisible, only noted in the mirror periodically. And clothes…I don’t actually see what I’m wearing once I’m past the initial putting-on. I feel them, I know them, but I don’t really see them (except, in my case, later sometimes, in photos). Rings and watches, bracelets, maybe…but I’m not typically looking at them, or paying attention to them. They, along with everything else, are temporarily assimilated into the body, and I forget about them until they get in my way, somehow, or until someone else comments on them.

Masses* of objects waiting for a purpose, to be put to use. Even in an Iris Apfel mood (here’s a great conversation with her), I can only wear so many things at once. This ties into my interest in displaying the dormant objects. I want to wear them, sure, I want to be the kind of person who would and does wear them, but also I want to see them. And in a way I can only see them when I’m not wearing them. And in a way, the pleasure of wearing them is due in no small part to the appreciation developed over extended not-wearing of them, during which they became familiar in a manner that is entirely distinct from the familiarity established in the wearing (which has its own potentially powerful appeal).

*Of course I have too many objects, despite always culling, always curating.

Thinking about dressing (clothes or accessories, makeup, etc) as an act of decoration, whether careful or careless. Thinking about a closet as a jumble of decor options, as a store might have a box of candles, ribbon, flowers, standing by. Thinking how odd for our culture to elevate (increasingly, it seems) that box alone, without the store or the window display or any application whatsoever. It’s almost preferable, the objects in the absence of any application, in a pure state of being. A shoe without a foot.

[Amassing metaphors is a pleasant activity. Let me know if you have any good ones.]

I get it, though. I often like objects for themselves alone, and don’t even intend to wear them much at the time of purchase. How could I, when there are so many others rotating in, competing for air time. But I rationalize: the wearing is to be stretched out over some decades (’tis a sound bargain!). This is an extremely careful and discerning kind of consumerism, but still a flagrant one. There is something a little monstrous about it.

summer bodycare favorites

On July 23, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Sunscreen, moisturizers, body oils, body scrub…here are a few of the body products I’ve been enjoying so far this summer.

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Banana Boat Sport sunscreen — I’m not that fussy about which sunscreen I use on my body, I mostly want an old-school sunscreen smell (I really enjoy that smell when it is authentic, in the context of sunscreen), and happily turn to brands like Banana Boat and Coppertone.  For a great explanation of the various types of and methods for rating/categorizing sunscreen, and what that means for you, check out this video, which I found educational. Facialist Caroline Hirons interviews plastic/reconstructive surgeon Marko Lens, the brains behind the Zelens skincare line, who has an excellent Italian accent.

Elemis Frangipani Monoi body oil — Smells awesome. Frangipani (or plumeria) is a tropical flower with a lush, peachy, creamy scent that reminds me of some lilies, but more fruity. Monoi is a term for coconut oil that has been infused with the tiaré flower, or Tahitian gardenia (which smells a lot like frangipani). Great for (easiest to get out of the bottle in) summer because coconut oil is solid below 76°.  The fragrance is nicely balanced and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts but won’t repurchase. I will instead go for

Monoi Tiare Tahiti Monoi Tiiki Tahiti Coconut Oil — Same idea as above (sans frangipani) but much less expensive. The scent is stronger here, and a bit less complex (fewer ingredients), but also lovely. I find that it dies down pretty quickly, anyway, so don’t be afraid of how it smells out of the bottle. This brand also has a vanilla version, with a vanilla bean in the bottle, and it smells like frosting in a really authentic and delicious way (not in a synthetic, gross way). A bit too sweet for me but I know there’s an audience out there for it.

The Body Shop Olive Cream Body Scrub — I exfoliate year-round but with particular care in the summer. This smells great, bright and herbal. I wouldn’t mind if it were a bit scrubbier…but it works. I use a body brush beforehand, and sometimes an exfoliating glove along with the scrub, so there’s no shortage of friction. I like a number of salt and sugar scrubs as well, and am not too particular about the specific product slotted in here.

Weleda Citrus Deodorant — The active ingredient here is biodynamic (good for you, Weleda!) lemon peel oil but to me this smells like lime water with a little something else in it, which means it smells like a gin and tonic. Mojito, gin and tonic – why not smell like your favorite summer tipple? I don’t use this under my arms, typically, more as a refreshing body spray (all natural ingredients here, and no antiperspirant function) on the parts of my body most likely to overheat, or the parts that have already overheated. This bottle will last a while but I’m interested to try the rose one next.

Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter —  Coconut oil and shea butter whipped into a rich, luxurious cream. I like using straight coconut oil, too, or one of my options above, but this sinks in quickly and leaves skin moisturized for a good while. Such a good use of $5 or whatever it is. This smells like coconut frosting, so you’ll need to be OK with that. Not too sweet for me, though.

Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse — Having a dry oil to hand is really useful. So quick to apply and you don’t have to worry about getting oil stains on your clothing. This oil smells particularly lovely, a slightly old-fashioned (rather, currently out of fashion, but no less beautiful for that) floral bouquet that reminds me of classic French perfumers working directly from floral extracts (say, Houbigant, and others from Grasse). This floral is complex, restrained, elegant. It can easily be worn in lieu of perfume or, as I often do, layered under perfume to add longevity and interest. This one is a bit of a cult favorite, and there’s also a version with shimmer in.

Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer — As I’m using sunscreen so faithfully, if I want a deeper tan (a noticeable-to-me tan) it’s got to be a fake one. Tanning is your body trying to protect you from sun damage, and also the sign that the damage is done…so a safe tan is a fake tan. I think the main complaint is that fake tanners tend to smell like biscuits, but as far as I’m concerned they smell like those awesome Speculoos ginger cookies I love, and I can’t at all see the problem. I use this just on my legs, when I think to. I don’t have streaking issues as long as I wipe off the excess with a paper towel or some such, and have exfoliated beforehand. I have the St. Tropez bronzing lotion as well, and while it is a bit nicer, the color a bit more realistic, the formula a bit more effective…it’s not so much better that I’m inspired to pay for it again and again when there are decent alternatives like the Jergens (and now many others) out there. As for ‘firming’, good grief. Don’t believe that stuff.

My face is a whole different story.

earth tones

On July 21, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

“Luxury is aggression dressed as fashion.”

                                — Handbags, Anna Johnson

Here’s one of my ideas of an ideal summer ensemble. Loose and light, ultra comfortable (as in the photo I was recently distracted by).

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I could wear earth tones every day.

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So, this is a (pretty good) replica of Vuitton’s Sofia Coppola bag.

It doesn’t often happen that I am interested in a high-end designer item, not in the ‘willing to fork over my money’ kind of way, anyway (just in a ‘how inspiring’ way). Usually it’s moot because I don’t remotely have enough money to consider it. I liked the design of this bag so much, however (and for so long. I rarely like bags, only very recently do I even own multiple bags), that I was open to that shady category, the replica. I feel no disloyalty to Luis Vuitton, as they have not lost a sale…I was never going to spend $7,000 on this bag, so this is all happening a little outside their reality (intellectual copyright is still very slippery in fashion, a difficult topic, but the pricing of luxury brands is also a difficult topic). I did look around for something similar, actually, but none of them were as nice as this replica, which is, in fact, quite nice. It is, satisfyingly, about exactly as nice as it should be.

The cachet of luxury items is by turns interesting and troubling to me. They are, to the cognoscenti, walking price tags; subtle or perhaps not so subtle announcements of superfluous wealth. There is something aggressive and potentially gauche (if not outright tacky) about this. Especially when the items are being worn not because they are loved for themselves, but because they are on trend.

In the best cases, though, they are truly sublime objects, beautifully constructed out of impeccable materials. So there is something aggressive about them either way, but there can also be about them something ultimately tasteful, reflective of excellent taste.

Even what is now a kind of middle market, the $50-80 pair of pants, say (even given that a savvy shopper would almost never pay the full price), I would not call inexpensive. That is not inexpensive to me, anyhow. It is difficult to be stylish on a true budget (remembering that this book had a lot of great ideas about it, though). Or, it is not difficult to be stylish (given a bit of time to slowly accumulate good pieces), but it is difficult to be stylish in a variegated way, to have many solid style options. One must be very resourceful and invest a lot of time to find pieces made of good material that have been treated well, designed well, cut well, which, in many cases, at least at some point in their existence, were relatively expensive. Good clothes shouldn’t be inexpensive (someone somewhere was woefully underpaid, if they are…and likely even if they are expensive this is still the case…), they should be an investment.

I do like the French (at least, most famously French) concept of a minimal, versatile closet, some 10-15 carefully curated pieces that can be mixed and matched endlessly with different accessories to provide variation….but I like too many things. I want to look like too many kinds of people. I completely agree with the virtues of this concept but I cannot fully embrace it with my style so in flux. Maybe one day. My closet does need culling.

Ahhh. This is why I have no money left.

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This is Nars Taj Mahal blush again. So good.

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The necklace is various incarnations of jasper, which is quite a chameleon and has long been a favorite stone of mine.

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Camisole from asos, lounge pants from hush, Anthropologie Amentum sandals, obi belt from Viktor Sabo, Breil Milano watch, bag, bracelet and necklace from eBay. On the lips: Lipstick Queen in Jungle Queen, a beautiful, sheer poppy orange-red. [The packaging is a stunning dragonfly green and it's beautifully done all around.]

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