summer tropics

On July 21, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Far more likely to engage my attention than a floral print is a botanical print. Perhaps because they tend to be more lively, less repetitive? Because I love the color green? Because they often incorporate more earth tones?

It is likely all of these things, amplified by the volume afforded by the maxi length. What I really like about this print is that it conveys a tropical look without being garish or neon about it.

floral print olive summer skirt

I am particularly predictable about this kind of olive shade, grounded and earthy, and just inexplicably compelling, the way one’s favorite things often are. Can we take a moment for these sandals? Adore these sandals. Can we take another moment to embrace shamelessly rumpled silk?

henna italian leather sandals

Henna still going strong.

Ah, the maxi, so easy, so cool and loose, such a strong impact of color by virtue of square footage alone. I quite enjoy the gathering up and sweeping around required to go up stairs and such, too, and very much enjoy the billowing that accompanies descending the stairs. Yes, long skirts rarely look so well as when they are displayed upon a stair.

J Crew silk camisole Coach sunglasses

I also love this Cleopatra-style necklace, which I picked up at a Cambridge artisan co-op a couple of summers ago.  Always on the lookout for interesting, handmade pieces like this. I recently met the owner of local company December Thieves, which specializes in pieces from emerging artists in jewelry and fashion. She has wonderfully curly hair as well! Obviously we got along. She has the kind of shop that makes you want to take up metalsmithing.

pearls stacked bracelet

Kara Ross bracelet, amber ring

Especially like to pair amber with earth tones.

J Crew silk camisole, silk blend skirt (thrifted), Kara Ross bracelet, Gian Luca sandals, Coach sunglasses. On the lips, Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Favorite (color showed better on instagram).

 

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pencil it in

On May 18, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I cannot get enough of midi length skirts and dresses right now, especially in a pencil silhouette. There is a retro ambiance to this length, hemmed somewhere around the calf, that is conservative while still feeling chic.

asos midi jersey pencil skirt

I find this length revealing in all the best ways, much more universally flattering than something that reveals the knee, and drawing attention to the calves and ankles in a way I find particularly feminine. I think this holds for a full or a fitted skirt, it’s all about that length.IMG_9281

The slinky jersey accentuates the pencil silhouette here, creating that fertile tapered curve from the width of the hips to the narrow point of the knees. Clothes that reveal more or less everything but do so with plenty of fabric nearly always come across as sophisticated to me. I positioned the skirt fairly high up on the waist as well, and do I only imagine that I seem taller?

The curvier you are, the better this silhouette looks.

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And white. Of course.

One can imagine this look with a black skirt but…white is definitely the bold, conspicuous way to go. Somehow white skirts are exponentially more appealing to me than white pants. Why is that? I’ll have to think more on that.

I can imagine it with a teal skirt or something along those lines as well, or a bright shoe, but I wanted to keep it duochromatic.

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Remember this necklace?

I like a natural look like this, a peachy/bronzy look with no eyeliner. This is the Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Formentera as bronzer/highlighter, NARS Gilda blush, a beautiful matte burnt coral, and Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Penelope Pink with a little Korres lip glaze over top to pink it up (Penelope Pink is not that pink, despite the name, it’s a really nice nude). The Beach Sticks are lovely, by the way, remind me of the Kjaer Weis cheek creams, and a bit like a NARS multiple upon initial application but with more of a cream-to-powder formula as you blend. Very easy to blend with fingers.

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Try putting a touch of your blush (or bronzer) just above your crease with a loose blending brush to tie everything together. It doesn’t really matter what other colors you may or may not have going on on the lid (I have gold here, incidentally, loving my Lorac PRO palette), it works with anything.

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asos white midi jersey pencil skirt

J Crew silk blouse, asos jersey midi pencil skirt, Zara suede d’orsay pumps, thrifted jewelry.

J Crew polka dot silk blouse

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cart unity

On March 19, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I enjoy the process of shopping, whether physically or virtually adding items to the cart (and removing items from the cart, this also key), and find it especially satisfying when there is some harmony or narrative to the cart, as when, in the grocery store, purchasing ingredients that complement one another, seem conspicuously to belong with one another,* reveal precisely what you intend to make with them.

*Conversely, also deeply satisfying when they seem conspicuously not to belong with one another, when the cart contents are markedly odd and unexpected as a unit.

Not every vendor carries a sufficiently broad range of categories to make interesting juxtapositions, though, too, I’ve been pleased with certain combinations of just shoes or just paint brushes – it needn’t be a precisely logical harmony. It’s not that the items would necessarily be used together, though perhaps that might be the case, or it might be fun to imagine it as the case (say, a skirt and a pair of sunglasses), but more that they are aesthetically compelling together according to whatever quirky beauty-logic is currently reigning in my head at the time.

Here’s a recent J. Crew cart I found pleasing, somehow more appealing to purchase these items together than it would have been to get any given element singly.

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Here we have: two neutral silk camisoles, Garance Doré stationary, notebooks, notecard, Troi Ollivierre lipstick in Parker.

See what I mean? Love this largely cream palette with gold accents and that single pop of berry pink. I like the range of textures, too, metallics and silk, paper and cream. What would also have been fitting in this cart is these great cream and gold New Balance 620’s (really like their various brand collaborations, for the record, some great color combinations). Really similar to a pair I was jonesing for last year but couldn’t find from a vendor that would ship to the U.S.

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Only of course they are sold out of my size.

Hm. I’ll try to show some other examples later (do you like seeing what people buy? I’m often interested to know this kind of mundane data, and it’s not a bad way to learn about new products). Definitely doing some spring shopping at the moment.

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silk charmeuse & lace

On February 8, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Speaking of lingerie, here’s a recent acquisition I am loving. A silk charmeuse chemise from Sapphire Bliss, a brand with a small collection of intimates, quite reasonably priced (especially when they have a sale to close out the discontinued styles, like this one) and with beautiful fabrics. Around the same time I purchased another chemise from another brand, more expensive and dramatically less nice, a cheap rayon blend that was basically a mass of static cling. Returned that, kept this.

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I love a chemise, whether worn as a night shirt, a slip, or (especially) as a luxe camisole. I look for light, expensive feeling fabrics and good quality lace. Cheap lace is not hard to spot, for one it’s not very expensive, for another it’s often bulky, thick (not delicate) and bland, maybe even familiar because you’ve seen it before in some other inexpensive application. Sometimes tacky (the color, for example, or the scale of the pattern), and sometimes poorly constructed. Good lace is not hard to spot, either. Usually it’s on good fabric, is one tip-off, and vice versa.

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Silk charmeuse is a nice variation on silk, charmeuse being a thin satin weave – threads woven such that one side of the fabric is glossy and one dull. You can also find poly charmeuse but it doesn’t breath as well as silk, just as you would suspect. It can be quite nice, though, too, and hardy. I also like the silk camisoles from J Crew, as a plain option.

A sufficiently elegant chemise can easily do double duty as a chic tank top, and pairs beautifully with a blazer. Such a versatile piece. Slightly longer and you’ve got a dress, a look that was trendy last fall (and still fair game, I think).

A visible piece of lingerie, tastefully done, can add an intimate, vulnerable touch to an outfit. These are fabrics you want to touch, that look, even at a distance, wonderfully soft and smooth. I like such elements, that draw people in, that make the clothing an extension of or bridge to the skin rather than a simple shell or covering.

 

under it all

On January 30, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve been meaning to talk more about lingerie, which I enjoy and have just as many opinions about as any other style category. Really I think I’ve only done this post, on bras I like for small breasts, which is my sort. Here, finally, is a beginning, though an atypical one. Almost all of my bras are black or beige but in this instance I made an exception.

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My neutral preference is partly practical, bright colors often don’t work under tops, obtrusive and not so versatile, and partly personal…I just find it more to my taste, more sophisticated, more clean and simple to have a limited palette when it comes to underthings. Easy for it to match, as a bonus, which I do find appealing (though I’m not militant about it, as you see here), regardless of whether or not there is an audience.

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L’Agent Provocateur, Vanessa bra

With more expensive brands (which can be very worthwhile when it comes to lingerie), though, I’m often looking at styles from previous seasons, and bright colors are more likely to be on sale and in stock in my size(s), so this was one of those playful purchases. L’Agent Provocateur is usually too elaborate for me—too “sexy”—but now and then they have something simple.* I am not really interested in being sexy in that way, I find, or, more accurately I don’t think it is that sexy, and I’m wearing it for myself, after all.

Sexy is a silly word, often, and not one in the forefront of my mind (or even seriously in my vocabulary, my personal vocabulary of words that are useful for me), though I do have other concepts in the forefront, I would say, that could coincidentally translate to it. A slightly undone elegance, a natural freshness, a careless insouciance…these things I might strive to achieve.

*If this bra didn’t have the tiny ribbons on it—which I really don’t get at all, this need for tiny ribbons on bras and underwear—it would be just right. I plan to take them off.

IMG_8275In this case I just got the bra in black as well. When lingerie works (fits), I tend to take advantage. My underwear is black, white, or beige, and typically briefs, though sometimes boyshorts, and typically cotton. You are dying to know this, no?** These are Victoria’s Secret (not bad for basics, if you skip over the logo-heavy/tacky stuff, I’ve featured a bunch of their swimwear), though I’m really liking the brand Commando at the moment.

**Let’s talk about bodies later, too. For now: this is my current body. Some of it, anyway. Bodies cannot be too much of a surprise, can they? Clothes only conceal so much.

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I have functional T-shirt bras as well but a little lace, a little silk here and there…these can be pleasant indeed.

Once you’ve got lace and silk, you may as well add pearls. This beautiful peacock freshwater tin cup necklace is from the Etsy shop LiliasTreasures (which I’ve mentioned before, here, here, and here), currently sold out but her work is lovely.

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The earrings are stunning rose-toned gold metallic ripple pearls from the UK shop Pearlescence, also wonderful, with excellent customer service.

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