the dressing table

On December 30, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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I like the routines of grooming and preparation surrounding the dressing table, a key player in the (not the literal but certainly the ceremonial) beginning and ending of each day. This for me is almost always some elaborate series of attentions paid to the skin but the full setup* is stocked with all manner of tools and medicaments, cosmetics and paraphernalia. A great deal can be accomplished in this space, particularly in the realm of transformation, and it’s often a meditative process. It strikes me as a private space, too, where I am with myself (with the reflection of myself, too, causing that multiplication/division of identity a mirror always does for me).

*No coincidence that I show you only a fragment, though this is partly a matter of obscuring what the mirror would betray, which is a true, true—as I define it—mess (this, too, is private).

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This, I realize, sort of in conjunction with my bathroom and all its tools and potions and particulars, is the main reason I don’t like to be away from home. My current favorite products within familiar reach. This general arrangement, at once stylized and utilitarian, and the set of routines it facilitates, is one I don’t like mucked with.

Showing you a bit of it as I enjoy seeing how people store things; how their lives, their daily environments, really look. In this no detail is too small to interest me (sometimes it is only the small details that will interest me). I keep this space quite organized (there are cardboard dividers in the mugs to sort pencils and brushes into subcategories, I’d just used the lipstick when I took this), though I change it around often, too, rotating products in and out according to my rapidly shifting whims and preferences.

IMG_0247You’ll spot a number of favorites I’ve mentioned, and more.

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all the gold things can stay

On December 27, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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One of my favorite side-effects of the resurgence of vintage and retro aesthetics is the old school packaging popping up here and there. If lipstick is good, lipstick in a weighty gold tube is better.

A great example is this Albeit lipstick I mentioned briefly before (wearing here). Estée Lauder’s Mad Men collection has the same vintage look, as does Charlotte Tilbury’s new line. What can I say? I like the color gold. I agree that one can have too much of it and that it is sometimes tacky beyond redemption…but there it is. I want it. And it’s festive in the bargain.

A great formula is key, of course, but packaging is part of the experience. Even if the act of using the product is private, as I think is more often the case for our generation (fading is the image of the woman pulling out a compact to touch up in public), still each element adds its weight to the whole, marking the difference between the perfunctory and the ceremonial. Naturally it feels special to use objects we find beautiful, and their beauty helps us to be mindful of our task. More appreciative, maybe. If we have chosen truly to our taste. It is the case for me, when I choose truly to my taste.

Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder and YSL have always understood this. Michael Kors had the right idea from the start with his new collection (we agree about the supremacy of gold, Michael and I). Props to biodynamic brand Dr. Hauschka for their satisfyingly luxe packaging, and it’s not as metallic but I quite like Clarins’ packaging, too.  Once in a while Revlon releases one of their retro pigments in vintage packaging and I keep waiting to run into one. Certain designer brands, too, do limited edition packaging once in a while that I think really lovely (think Givenchy, think Armani). Tom Ford, though he doesn’t go full-on with the gold, has that Midas air about him, everything he has a hand in glinting in the light.

I find value in that sensation of using something special. Often I wouldn’t think of these objects as especially important to me or tangled in sentiment (if so it is a sentiment that begins and ends in their aesthetic appeal), rather as influential when directly in use. I think I take it to something of an extreme, and want every object in my little empire of possessions to feel special, purposeful, chosen. Really a lot of them do, though. A lot of them are. It is perhaps not too unrealistic a desire.

fa la la la la

On December 25, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

Exhibit A

Christmas tea (cardamom)

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Exhibits B, C

sweater, hat (this is the hat I was talking about)

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Exhibit D

festive decor

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Merry Christmas!

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weekend distraction: winter white

On December 22, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

I love white all year round, really, but particularly in summer and winter. I think the only difference for me season-wise is the weight and the volume of the textures involved. So for winter: fur, leather, long sleeves, layers, length, weight.  I don’t want just a pop of white here or there, I want a bright monochromatic shout. Not only in the realm of fashion, either, this is a deep preference that spans all environmental contexts.

I am nothing if not consistent.

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I covet white bedding especially. 

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Michael Kors

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Gianfranco Ferré

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Kate for Mango

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peonies

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Tuvanam

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This kind of bohemian chic look attracts me more and more. 

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I am on the hunt for a white coat. Scandal may be to blame.

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Salvatore Ferragamo

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I want white pumps like this. I don’t care how impractical they are, I am shopping right now.

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Donna Karan (damn)

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Haider Ackermann (check him out)

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Marco de Vincenzo

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I could do this all day.

images via pinterest

 

the long pencil skirt

On December 19, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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Regardless of where the waistband sits I like pencil skirts that hit at this point just below the knee, still showing the full curve of the calf. There is something shapely to me about the combination of what is and what is not revealed.

The pearl set* is a bit prim with the turtleneck—a turtleneck sweater tucked into a high waisted pencil skirt being already in that clean, preppy Ralph Lauren vein—but I am myself a bit prim, and I like sometimes to look it. This necklace is stunning, too, a metallic lavender freshwater strand with rosy overtones that Pearls of Joy sent over. Metallics are a special, relatively rare pearlcreature of their own.

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* These are complementary but not literally a set. I mean pearl earrings and a pearl necklace together, which can seem like too much (or too formal). Sometimes, though, I like to be too much. “Too much”, or maybe “a little bit too much”, is not a bad description of my style.

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This would have been a good opportunity for a belt, though I like the uncluttered color block look, too.

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One thing I like especially about a high waisted silhouette is the expanse of the full…haunch, I guess you would call it, in profile. I like clothes like this, that obscure the body without disguising it or breaking up its natural lines. The outfit is conservative in its coverage yet sensual in its silhouette.

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Long No. 2 pencil skirt from J. Crew (thrifted), French Connection turtleneck sweater (via Marshall’s), Zara pumps (thrifted), fingerless gloves (eBay), Mulberry bag (thrifted), natural golden akoya earrings from Pearl Paradise, metallic lavender freshwater pearl necklace from Pearls of Joy. On the lips: Dr. Hauschka lip balm (which we love).

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