bootie call

On November 17, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Ah, boot season.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Spring is OK for boots but not sufficiently dry for the suede styles that are my clear favorites (if acquisition is any indicator). This, among so many other reasons, is why autumn reigns supreme. Another reason might be the predominance of plaid, for which I have always harbored a weakness. Perhaps it is my rural upbringing?

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In particular I am craving the extremes of thigh-high and ankle boots. Booties. Bootlets. Much browsing and buying and returning before I discovered these charmers from UGG (which lacks romance but there it is). These have a great cowboy silhouette in the toe, minimal yet sculptural detailing, a great pale wheat color, and the slightly tapered chunky heel that I am drawn to these days.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Isn’t there something wonderfully pristine about a bare, unadorned throat? 

Ripple pearl drops from Pearlescence, Chanel Rouge Noir Illusion d’ombre smoked out with a sepia shade from the Viseart neutral matte palette, MAC Peaches blush (new, loving), MAC prolongwear brow set, Wet n’ Wild Megalast lipstick in Bare it All with Urban Decay 24/7 lip pencil in Naked, which is almost a perfect match, some other stuff you can’t really see…

In the hair I’ve been using the deep repair mask (as a leave-in treatment) and the styling cream (for definition) from the Carol’s Daughter Tiare line. Smells amazing and I like how soft yet defined my hair is. Doing pretty well with my resolution to wear it down more.

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On the nails: Zoya Taylor. Basically a realistic concealer shade for me thanks to a touch of peachy warmth. Really nice color, though the whole time I’ve worn it I’ve wanted to add gold glitter to liven it up. The formula I find OK but it cracks on me within 48 hours or so.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

J Crew flannel shirt, Obi-style leather belt (eBay), Express leggings, Breil Milano watch, Ugg boots, Rough & Tumble bag (more on this bag later, loving this).

I have a few of these obi belts and find them so versatile and sleek. Though I could also like this look without a belt at all, loose and casual, to me the belt is doing so much here to amp up the style factor. The power of a good belt.

Get thee a good belt.

x

belt it

On December 12, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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I like a herringbone pattern, especially in charcoal.  I got another faux fur collar as I wanted some contrast here (and generally find it difficult to resist white things).

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oxblood suede (♥!)

Yes, my coat has perfectly functional buttons, and I do like that boxy boyfriend look achieved by simply buttoning it as well as the casual look of not buttoning it at all, but why not add a belt? You know? Just why not?

I’ve been randomly adding a belt here and there where no belt is needed, and it opens whole new world of possibility. Many of my favorite uses of the belt are entirely cosmetic. I am coming around to investing in a really excellent belt (in any style, but with something a bit special about it), which belt can then carry the day, regardless of what it is in fact belting. I’ve observed that a nice dress with a supbar (cheap, plain, ragged, uninspired, etc.) belt yields a supbar effect, while a subpar dress with a luxe belt yields a luxe effect. I think the conclusion here is obvious.

Did I already talk about this? This feels familiar…but perhaps it was only in my mind. Perhaps I am building on the initial idea to invest in a belt and going on to say that I would then wear that belt in all manner of unconventional contexts. Belting a coat that has no need of a belt (or which already has a belt!), belting a scarf, belting a sweater or anything bulky, having a belt slung at the hips independent of any assigned loops, wearing multiple belts.  Much like the artful placement of a superfluous zipper (or like jewelry, which realm of decor a pointless belt approaches), a purely aesthetic belt can immediately up the style factor, especially one that is well chosen. Indeed, the more out of place it is, the better it will function as a feature of interest. It can also up the femininity factor, the waist being a definitive part of the female silhouette, and the highlighting or exaggeration of the waist a much-considered matter in the fashion and beauty industries (not to mention all of the feminist and body issues bound up in it and the zones above and below it by association, i.e. ratios). The waist is powerful, and so is the belt.

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Alorna herringbone coat (thrifted), faux fur collar (eBay), bon chon gloves, Old Navy sweater, Express leggings (I was skeptical about these at first but I think if I wear them and stare at them a bit more I’m going to like them), Cole Haan pumps, Michael Kors belt (thrifted). On the lips: MAC RiRiWoo. Oh, and here are the textured gold sphere earrings I was waiting for. They are heavy but they will do.

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 RiRiWoo (♥!) Like I said, the color is stunning, ultra saturated and ultra matte. 

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weekend distraction: Carolina Herrera

On November 9, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

Periodically there is a certain look or silhouette I have seen, perhaps only briefly, that stays with me for weeks or months, or longer. Haunting me, tugging at some as yet incoherent desire, shaping outfits to come.  To determine their appeal is a retroactive exercise.

There are two such looks at the moment (well, a great many more than two, but two dominate), and I wonder if it can be a coincidence that they are both from Carolina Herrera?

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This first is from Herrera’s Fall 2013 RTW collection, and a number of the pieces feature this fantastic belt in some form or another. Black and white of course we love, but also the severe structure of the neck and shoulders, the close tailoring from neck to waist, contrasting with the fluidity of the skirt. This was, somehow, the piece that convinced me that it is worthwhile to invest in a truly excellent belt. A belt that can, solely by its own virtues, cocoon the bearer in a halo of sophistication. [Must find an opportunity to show you the one I found.]

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This look is reminiscent of Herrera’s own uniform; she is invariably chic and nearly always in a white blouse and black skirt, which she changes occasionally for a black blouse and white skirt (this is a slight exaggeration, I think there is a gray skirt, and sometimes she is in all black…but the exaggeration is only slight, I promise you). I have mentioned before and will surely mention again my devotion to the white buttoned shirt, and I think I’ve covered my current preoccupation with long, full skirts, too. Here they are together! Living in harmony! In two of my favorite colors!

While quite different, the looks share clean lines, simplicity of design, an element of severity, and that maximal contrast.

Herrera is a Venezuelan designer whose brand was built on her own reputation for impeccable style. Her designs are often described as ‘classy’ in a vintage sense of the word that is increasingly rare in usage; the one giving the sense of elegance and grace without any irony or mobster w/ cigar imitation voice.  The designs are feminine in the sense of accentuating the waist and incorporating the soft lines of light, fluid fabrics, but they are often (certainly I think in these examples, it varies) stately, too. This is a reserved (and thereby fortified) elegance, which makes it all the more striking, poignant, to my eye.

images via pinterest