dress quest: the white maxi

On June 29, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve been searching for a great white summer dress for decades now, it seems. Somehow it’s eluding me.

I’m imagining a drapey (a heavy silk-like cotton blend, imagine) white maxi dress with a casual Grecian look. Something like this, though this dress only looks the thing from the side, and upon investigation is no good.

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Last year I picked up this ‘Goddess Maxi’  from Victoria’s Secret. No longer on their site but you can still find it around. It’s a bit too formal, though, to meet the criteria of the quest. The fabric itself is a little fussy, heavy and stretchy with a slight slickness, and the gathering detail in the front also feels fancy to me. Pretty, but not the one.

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I considered their knife-pleat maxi, too,* but decided it’s better in color (I like the navy), and anyway it doesn’t come in white.

*I usually find Victoria’s Secret hopelessly tacky but once in a while I really like a piece of clothing, and I like their bikinis and their simple cotton underwear, too.

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Anybody have a recommendation for me?

I could also happily turn in the direction of a 40s midi dress, I think.

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If you see one like this, tell it I’d like to meet it.

images via pinterest

tennis whites

On June 2, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Anyone looking at the number of tennis skirts I’ve amassed would guess I play a lot more than I do. The process of shopping for my tennis wardrobe is a prime example of aspirational acquisition. I want to play more, and I want the way I look to reflect that. Want to look as if I do play.

[Which I do, though, while I am not bad, I am not what I would call good yet, either.]

I want to be inspired to be the kind of player I look as if I might be, and dress like the player I want to be (dress “up” – ready parallels here with dressing like the person you want to be). There is always power in looking the part.*

*Did you see this video of the homeless veteran who has a makeover that changes his life? Did I mention this already?

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And tennis has the best outfits.

I know that the tradition of white is all tied up in the sport’s aristocratic heritage and is fundamentally impractical…but I love white. And white just looks better and better as the summer wears on and I gradually bronze up and bleach out.

I mentioned planning to feature some tennis gear a while ago when I mentioned getting this watch, but somehow or another kept getting thwarted.

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I prefer skirts to dresses, tennis-wise, but the dresses have their charm, too. They are both so adorably unnecessary. Such a quaint holdover, dismissed long ago by every other sport I can bring to mind.* Such an instantly recognizable uniform (and any uniform may also be a costume: I was a tennis player for Halloween once, effortlessly). The option to wear them is too good to pass up.

*I could think up some feminist issues with this but I don’t feel like it. They are cute. I like them.

This particular dress is forgiving of how out of shape I am at the moment.  [Shall we blame winter? Even though it was a while ago now? Let’s blame winter.] You may not be able to tell…so much the better.

Pure Lime tennis dress, Fila visor (this is key), Adidas racquet bag (this one is enormous, I carry everything in it), Wilson BLX Pro Open racquet, Saucony sneakers. I like tenniswarehouse.com for this kind of gear, which has great sales now and then and a number of useful guides. I like to pick and choose across brands in this context as in any other.

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Yes, I really do wear the wristbands.

I’ll have to show you some of the classic pleated tennis skirts I have, which have to be my favorites. Or do I like the sleeker ones best? It matters not.

x

the ascot

On May 26, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s a shame how rare it is to see an ascot these days.  Rarer still than seeing a bowtie. Such an elegant way to add a bit of color or interest to a plain shirt or outfit, for men and women alike, with an endearing element of eccentricity. It creates the sense of an additional layer that is really only the illusion of a layer.

Any light scarf can be made serve the purpose.

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This would have been better if I’d worn a shirt that buttoned up farther, maybe. More color this way but there’s something appealing about a small triangle of color peeping out, too. The loose, casual interpretation vs the severe, polished interpretation.  Both have their strengths.

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Silk is a nice way to go. 

The most enjoyable part of wearing a shirt or vest with buttons is the art of leaving certain of them undone. I like the idea of this look with no ascot, nothing at all at the neck, and another button on the shirt undone. Love the looks I’m seeing across runway shows recently (to say nothing of American Hustle, long may it be an inspiration to us all) of extremely deep Vs (front and back). I have many personal aspirations re: the deep V. The smaller breasted of us can wear it relatively innocently, I think. Relatively… It still makes for a potentially distracting eyepath, but one that is much more suggestive than it is revealing.

So much more appealing to me to create the impression of revealing than to literally reveal, which is like explaining the joke.

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Vintage silk scarf from Jones New York, H&M vest, Banana Republic shirt (thrifted), Express jean leggings, Mulberry bag, Trotters loafers. Sunglasses: cheap (retro, no?). On the lips: Shiseido Lacquer Gloss in RS 306.

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I never get it when people with broad shoulders want to disguise them. Shoulders love to be accentuated. They seem to jump at the chance.

But maybe it’s just me, and some lingering 80s influence.

x

the leather driving gloves

On April 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Have been browsing for a pair of leather driving gloves for a good 5 years or so, always finding it difficult to find them in a brick and mortar to try on, especially women’s gloves with their sleeker fit and more delicate fingers. The most promising options were in British menswear shops with understandable-yet-still-galling postage fees, and I delayed. A few years ago a glove shop opened on Newbury St, Sermoneta gloves, selling Italian-made gloves, and I finally gave it a proper browse last week.

I found the salesperson pleasantly tolerant of my endless trying on (I have large hands, and glove sizing is been pretty inconsistent in my experience, making it quite a risk to buy a pair without trying them on first,* not to mention feeling the quality of the leather first).

*As there is variation in each pair, this means not only trying on multiple sizes, but trying on multiple pairs within the nearest size.

I pronounce the visit a success.

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I do not always feel that my shopping is a success, reader. I return a fair amount (though, too, there is some amount of returning built into my shopping methods re: sizing and comparison, etc.), and have to sometimes resell or eat the cost of something I changed my mind about. My whims are fallible, my tastes are sometimes—only really in retrospect, inconveniently—questionable. Often I return something because I recognize that I have made a compromise (of fit, construction, quality, adherence to some vision) I did not want to make, and should not make. It’s a steady stream of stuff coming in and stuff going out again over here.

It’s all the more satisfying, then, when there are no doubts and no reservations. White 1/2 finger driving gloves?  Don’t mind if I do. I was looking for basic turquoise gloves but…that’s how it goes. These were the ones that sang.

There is something about a pair of sublimely fitted gloves that is as sensually tempting as it gets.

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It’s satisfying when you get home from a bout of acquisition and can say, I got this.*

*Like, in the sense of ‘I’m all over this’…not like ‘I acquired this’…though you do technically now have it…oh never mind.

 

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

 

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