building blocks

On September 17, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

If you are attacked as regards your style, never reply; it is for your work alone to make answer.

                                            — Voltaire, Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary. 1802

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Here’s the shirt I picked up from the Altuzarra for Target collection (available on Net-a-Porter). Really nice cut, just an OK fabric, polyester crêpe de chine, which just means a plain lightweight weave with a crisp appearance. Some pieces are especially fruitful starting places for a look, and I get so many images and ideas when I see this cornflower pinstripe buttoned number. Things just start falling into place, snowballing as if of their own accord into a fully formed ensemble. For instance…

First: pencil skirt. Not black, though, not dark at all, I think. Something pale, gray possible, or flax. I want a heathered texture, for whatever reason. Something in a warm fabric for early autumn, literally and figuratively. This thin woolen blend No. 2 pencil skirt from J. Crew suits. This is a critical fork in the road, and determines all the colors to come.

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Then shoes, I think (though any element may be the starting place, and any may yield the next). And I still have those heeled huaraches from the Altuzarra show on my mind, so something along those lines, but in a richer shade now.

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Then lipstick, surely. I could go in a few directions here, anything on the red or plum spectrums, even a rusty orange, but a medium to dark fuchsia wins the day. Cannot recommend the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy line enough.

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Then I see browns, golds, ivories for the other accents. Pearls, of course pearls. This is the Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand palette, an excellent option for a basic mix of easy shimmery and matte neutrals. I like this strong blue anchor (not that it is a bold blue, but that it is a definite, conspicuous piece of color), gently shadowed and warmed by pale neutrals. I know I’ve hit upon a a good color vein, or combination of color threads, when it pleases me to see them together. There is a certain almost visceral satisfaction to these happy combinations, as if sating your (ravenous, always) eyes with a nourishing meal.

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It doesn’t matter what the colors are, really. Which categories they satisfy. Just as it is beneficial to begin thinking of makeup as one massive collection of pigments with various textures (not lipstick, but creamy pigment, not eyeshadow but powder pigment – so the potential applications begin to multiply), so you begin to think of your entire wardrobe (and more and more of life begins to fall into the category of wardrobe, of style) as a collection of colors in varying shapes and sizes, textures. Building blocks.

Then I toss in a watch. Gold-toned, surely. Love the sleek, clean designs of Danish brand Skagen’s watches.

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Just one example.

summertime blues

On July 7, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

While blue seems to be the favorite color of a significant fraction of the population, it’s one of those colors I often overlook when picking out clothes and accessories. I do like teal and turquoise, which is to say I like my blue with green in it.

When I notice holes like this in my wardrobe (there is also almost no red in my possession, I noticed recently) I like to think about them – about why there might be such an omission, and whether or not I’d like to remedy it. I do abstractly like ultramarine and cornflower blues, baby and powder blues…but there is a great difference between liking a color and wanting to wear it. It’s a decided personal stamp of approval, it seems, to wear (and so, often, to purchase, to have purchased) a color.

If there was ever a time I would want to sport a true blue, summer is it.

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This saturated cornflower blue t-shirt (I know, a t-shirt. So adventurous) is now the brightest blue on hand. The part of me that wants to wear some combination of white, cream, caramel, and cognac at all times thinks it’s a bit garish but I do like it. Fashion baby steps.

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J Crew tee, Joe’s skirt, Steve Madden sandals, vintage beaded clutch, Skagen watch, Vuarnet sunglasses, 10mm pearl studs from Pearls of Joy, pearl ring from Pearl Paradise, 6mm pearl necklace* from eBay, vintage amethyst bracelet. On the lips: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Favorite. On the nails: Deborah Lippmann Girls Just Wanna Have Fun polish (a really bright, pretty coral).

*I’ve been wanting a choker length pearl necklace in a small pearl size for a long time, basically because of the costumes in movies like Dangerous Liasons, Valmont, and anything set in 18th century France, in which they are often worn by young, unmarried women to great effect. I like how they ever so gently mold to the curvature of the throat, the 6mm size youthful and understated.

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le moto

On May 5, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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After years (years!) of futile* hunting, I found a pair of knee high leather boots. The leather is gorgeously soft. You can’t quite see but they have a modest heel. They were destined to become best friends with this jacket.

*bootless…

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Boots better folded up or down? Can’t decide…

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This is my new favorite lip color thing.

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So glad the weather for this jacket has finally come around again. Coach knee-high boots (thrifted), Allsaints Cargo leather jacket, Express leggings, J Crew Kiss Kiss tee, Solange Azagury-Partridge Hotlips ring (thrifted), Mulberry bag (thrifted), Spektre sunglasses. On the lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso. This stuff is incredible, it goes on opaque in one intense layer and doesn’t move until you take a makeup remover to it (and it’s stubborn even then) or eat something greasy. This shade, Beso (the name fits the look, no?*), is a lot like MAC’s Russian Red lipstick, a deep, siren-worthy blue red.

*Got tons of compliments on this, and hardly ever get complimented on anything, honestly. A Northeast thing, I think. Even a smile is kind of uncommon on the street, though a certain kind of appreciative stare isn’t unheard of. Not that I am especially interested in feedback (I want to do whatever, wear whatever, because because because because because) but it can be interesting social data, what gets compliments. Even more so here in the land of reluctant social interaction. I realize I note compliments more consciously with perfume, for whatever reason.

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the western buckle

On April 14, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

“Once he gave her a ring with a sphinx engraved on its stone.

‘What is it?’ she asked. ‘A sphinx?’

‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘and that sphinx is you.’

‘Is it really me? she asked and slowly raised her enigmatic gaze towards him. ‘Do you know that’s very flattering?’ she added with a slight smile, but her eyes still had that strange look.”

                                                        —Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev

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I picked up this belt buckle while browsing for cowboy boots at Helen’s Leather Shop in Beacon Hill. It’s embossed with a delicate floral pattern. I like the western atmosphere a large belt buckle bestows, and I often like to take turquoise with my oversized buckles. And when I wear turquoise I want to wear white…you see what’s happened here. Oh, here’s a pair of the cheap sunglasses I mentioned.

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Love the shape of this skirt, long and high-waisted with a gentle fishtail effect.

I don’t mind at all mixing brown and black.* I don’t mind mixing the varying shades of turquoise here, either. Blue nearly always seems to look good with blue, no matter which shades.

*Honestly, I don’t have a black bag. Nor is a black bag anywhere near the top of my wishlist. This is one of those wardrobe ‘staples’ I simply cannot care about, and do not remotely miss. I take this as more evidence that I should keep on doing what I want.

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details

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 Linen skirt from ASOS, Ariat tooled leather belt, J Crew tee, Mulberry bag, Steve Madden P-Heaven flats, Skagen watch, pearl shell drops (eBay). On the lips: Bite Beauty Matte Crème lip crayon in Blood Orange (this color is electric in person, have been hearing such good things about this brand and am impressed so far). On the nails: Wet n wild I Need A Refresh-Mint.

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hit ’em high

On April 7, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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I hit ’em high, hit ’em high, hit ’em high

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Hooooops.

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These are incredibly comfortable jeans. Pseudo-jean legging things. I don’t uniformly love a high waist (not every time, not in every context), but I really like these. At one point I was going on about back pockets and proportions, and these pockets are, to me, a great size. (I also really like these jeans pocket-wise, the pockets of which are even more square). Larger back pockets, if anything, make my ass look bigger, more generous—as does a high waist—, which I like. Small back pockets do not make it look any smaller (no one is fooled by this ploy), which I don’t want anyway*, and they look immature and useless besides.

*I want it to look…not small. Like, a handful. I have no time for jeans that are not on board with this goal.

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Express Stella high waist leggings, Eric Michael boots, Urban Outfitters plaid shirt, Banana Republic trench (thrifted), necklace via asos, J Crew belt, Mulberry bag (thrifted), Fossil watch. On the lips: Milani lipstick in Naturally Pink, much blotted and with Smith’s Rosebud Salve over top. On the cheeks: Michael Kors bronzer and Tom Ford blush in Love Lust, which will tell you about soon. It’s gorgeous, just a bit more muted/sophisticated than the (otherwise very similar) Japonesque blush I like so much.

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I’ve been wearing my hair down more, too. Not as inconvenient as I was remembering. Hm. Don’t faces look totally different at 10′ vs 2′ away? The whole architecture of the face seems to change.

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p.s. I’m giving away one of these Designsix ‘love’ necklaces this week. Just leave a comment below to enter! Open internationally, winner will be chosen randomly next Monday 4/14/14 at 10pm EST and informed through disqus. Good luck!

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