severe appeal

On September 1, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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I sometimes wake up craving a severe, restrained look like this. Hair sleek, lines simple, fabrics luxe, colors muted, face stark, accessories minimal. I often associate this kind of austere, controlled elegance with Ralph Lauren, who does it so well.

This craving may be attributed to a severe mood, an ungenerous mood, or perhaps it is a display of control to balance some hidden lack of control (surely there is no shortage of this). Or something less traceable.

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Usually I prefer, like J Crew’s Jenna Lyons (good interview), to leave something (or many things) undone to give reality and warmth to the look. An air of carelessness. There is something especially armour-like about heavily polished, curated looks, however, something impersonal and impenetrable that has its own peculiar appeal (though it runs the danger of being completely charmless, even if technically well executed). The transparent purposefulness of the approach also sidesteps the phenomenon of spending much time and effort to look as if you have not spent much time and effort, though this too is compelling in a bizarre way.

I couldn’t want to do this sort of look every day but it is occasionally satisfying.

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The tooling on this bag is lovely. Ralph Lauren, fittingly. A thriftfind.

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Ralph Lauren bag (thrifted), thrifted silk tank, Victoria’s Secret linen beach pants, Birkenstocks, 10mm pearl studs (of course, it had to be pearls) from Pearls of Joy, vintage Geneva watch. On the lips: Stila liquid lipstick in Beso.

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I am often looking rather severe, which is either me being horribly serious or just my face, doing its thing. I don’t think there’s any way to tell them apart.

x

 

the turtleneck dress

On February 10, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

While I love a sweater dress, a turtleneck dress now and then trumps it for me. Isn’t it a bit old-fashioned to like turtlenecks? I’ve been a devotee since grade school, when I wore what were surely hideous ones (prints!).  I like to have my neck covered? My neck is easily cold?

I think it is simpler than that. I think I’ve just always thought: those look cool.

And I basically still think that. At least I’m consistent.

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Well, it’s not meant to be quite so tight. I’ve been eating lots of popcorn.

I rather like it, though. A strange blend of conservative and ever so slightly risqué or gauche. And it is meant to be tight…

The balance of conservative and sensual* inspired the austerity of this ultra-tight, drastic side-part bun.  Here again is that just-below-the-knee length I like so well.

*reminds me of the crop top in this way.
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Dress from asos, Cole Haan pumps (thrifted), Breil Milano watch (thrifted), Mulberry bag (thrifted).  On the lips: MAC huggable lip color in Love Beam.

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buttoned up

On October 24, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

I have to thank CPL* for sending me a photo worth emulating, and more interesting still for being in line with my style (I had all of the ingredients to reproduce it on hand) yet unlike anything I’ve worn before. Expanding horizons.

*Her blog, geek outsider, is located at the junction of race and geekery. Very cool.

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It’s impressive to me what a difference it makes to do up those top buttons. Loosen the hair and undo the buttons and you have another aesthetic altogether.

I like the simplicity/severity of the clean collar, the white against the black. It seems like you rarely see a clean buttoned shirt like this, so prevalent are bib-style necklaces (and ties). The absence of decoration is almost more distracting than if I had added a detail at the throat.

The lipstick you may remember from my recent lipstick ramble. Oh! I’ve just realized that glasses would have been fitting here.

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Love the clean geometry of the cuffs peeking out. I am won over by such small details.

IMG_8756J Crew buttoned shirt (thrifted), H&M cardigan, American Apparel skinny suede belt, AG jeans (thrifted, cropped), Jeffrey Campbell France strapped boots, Pearls of Joy 8-9mm studs. On the lips, MAC lipstick in Dubonnet.

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