Friday, May 13, 2011

Love You Till Friday

In math, they say it takes 3 occurrences before you can determine a pattern. Based off the fact that I've only blogged two days in a row in all of 2011, I have not yet shown a pattern of being a consistent blogger this year. In the grand scheme of things though, I'm ok with that.

At the risk of sounding overdramatic, there was an event this week that really put things in perspective for me. Those that follow professional cycling were saddened to hear of the death of Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt on the third stage of the Giro d'Italia. I won't go into the details, because frankly, there are plenty of writers who wrote about the event more eloquently than I ever could, but I will say this: Seeing someone die on live television and witnessing the aftermath really makes the whole "Oh no, Blogger went down for 2 days!" thing seem pretty trivial. I'm not dissing any fellow bloggers out there, nor their readers. After all, here I am, on my soap box, taking pictures and writing to anyone and no one, into the void. But on my list of priorities in life, freaking out over posting consistency just isn't ever going to place at the top.

Ok, now that I've probably alienated any readers I had left, let's dive into the clothes, eh?

For one of my most worn skirts, I can't believe it hasn't made it into the blog yet. I bought this last summer and have paired it with pretty much every top in my closet. Yet for some reason, I never seemed to have the opportunity to dig my camera out. I think the beauty of it is two-fold. One, the elastic waist allows it to sit pretty high up, which is about the only way skirts look flattering on me. Two, the print is so out there that it begs to be paired with opposing patterns. Plaid, stripes, polka dots, whatever you can throw at this skirt, it'll take it and make it look fabulous. Oh, and three, it has pockets. I guess that makes it three-fold, which I'm pretty sure isn't an actual term. Oh well, I still love it.

Top (actually a romper): H&M
Skirt: Cooperative via Urban Outfitter
Belt: Forever 21
Shoes: Forever 21
Sunglasses: Forever 21

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Color Me Impressed

I have this knack for wearing the exact wrong outfit for the occasion. Case in point, not only is it supposed to pour today, but I'm also supposed to spend my day at work cleaning out bike tool kits covered in grit and grime. And yet, I wear a bright skirt that'll no doubt end up covered in grease by the end of the day.

The thing about me is I'm also incredibly stubborn. I'm sure the majority of those reading this blog are well aware, but to the approximately 3 people reading this that don't know me in real life, it's true. I could make some Taurus joke and call myself bullheaded, but I already make enough bad jokes as it is. The point is, as soon as I bought this skirt and top over the weekend, I already knew it'd be showing up in Wednesday's outfit (because Monday and Tuesday already were featuring newly purchased items). So rain and bike grease be damned, I'm going to pull it off. 

I think this is the most Urban Outfitters I've ever worn at one time, but I instantly fell in love with the skirt and the 2 for $24, fit like a dream, come in awesome prints v-necks were too good to pass up. As summer starts to peak around the bend, I have 2 major clothing requirements: 1) Is it cool enough to stand up to the summer heat? 2) Can I ride my bike while wearing it? These both pass the test with flying colors. (Sadly, the shoes do not- they won't fit in my toe cages.) What are your favorite picks for this summer?

Shirt: BDG via Urban Outfitters
Skirt: Cooperative via Urban Outfitters
Belt: Forever 21
Shoes: thrifted Report via Green St Consignment (Philadelphia, PA)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Say Hi

Uh....this is embarrassing. I meant to call, baby blog. I really did. I promise. It's just, uh, honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!

Oh wait, that's a quote from the Blues Brothers. Oh well, same gist. It comes down to this. When I started this blog, I was burnt out from a job that had me traveling 3 weeks per month. I welcomed the opportunity to take a few months off from working and just do nothing. Of course, this lends itself splendidly to blogging on a daily basis. Nowadays, I'm working 25 hours a week, going to school full time, attempting to teach myself French on my spare time, and learning to knit on top of that. Sometimes, there's just not enough time in the day. So when you find that 1) you've woken up 3 hours before you need to leave for work and 2) that you're smitten with your outfit, you gotta carpe diem and dust off your camera.

I've found that I'm really digging sheer knits this season. It's probably still a bit too chilly to wear this particular outfit without a shirt on top, but it'll be pretty ideal for summer I think. I've been a bit cautious about this whole sheer trend thing, especially because I find it particularly tacky if my stomach tattoos show, but this seems to be a happy medium that may even be work appropriate. Not only is the fabric pretty airy, but the trapeze cut should keep me nice and cool in the dreaded Philadelphia humidity.

Speaking of trends, are leather leggings out? Was that a fad I jumped on too late in the game, like buying a hooded cape in December? Do fall trends translate to spring, or am I assuming so only because the weather is so similar? I don't particularly care, as both my cape and these leggings are some of the most comfortable pieces I own. What's not comfortable are these shoes, which I couldn't resist, and yet after TWO purchases trying to find the right size, they're still too small. And too cute. And I will wear them until my feet blister and bleed and Ray needs to carry me home from the bar.

Shirt: Staring at Stone (??) via Urban Outfitters
Leggings: American Apparel
Shoes: H&M
Sunglasses: Forever 21
Necklace: Forever 21
Nail Polish: Forever 21

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Amateur's Guide to Planning a Fashion Show- Part 2

I'll be honest, 2011 is probably even worse than 2010 so far. Due to this, I've had 0% urge to post anything. But for reasons unknown, in the 3 weeks since I've had a real post, I've gained 4 new subscribers and I feel like I owe them something for thinking I'd actually have enough posts that they'd need to subscribe to my RSS. Luckily for all involved, I received an email from the San Diego Bike Expo a few weeks ago asking for tips and advice planning their fashion show. The following post is a summarization of my response, which should be considered the sequel to my original post, the Amateur's Guide to Planning a Fashion Show.

P.S. Keep in mind, I was doing a bicycle-themed fashion show. This will not be entirely relevant to a traditional fashion show, but then again, it's also free advice.

Without further ado...

1) Designers-

This should be the first focus. I started contacting designers six months before the show. Get started ASAP! In general, you want to get everything started as far in advance as possible because trust me, there's never enough time!

The expo directors had started a basic list of companies to contact, but it was all pretty loose and unorganized. Organization is definitely key, especially if you're going to have multiple people working on the show. So I started a shared google document spreadsheet that had columns for: Company, website, contact name, email, phone number, and communication notes. I also included yes/no boxes for: Participating and Items Donated or on loan. The communication box was absolutely key. Everytime someone had contact (which was almost exclusively me, but it still allowed everyone else to see my progress), I put a note in the communication box with the date, my initials, how I contacted the (phone, email, etc), and general notes. So it'd look like:

01/09/2011 Received email from Nan re: help with SD fashion show (MJ)
01/10/2011 Sent email to Nan re: tips for planning fashion show (MJ)

Once I got some sort of confirmation that a designer was interested, I sent them a contact to sign and fax back. I'd be happy to send you my copy, once I get home from work. To be honest, this was just a precaution- no one ever got to the point that I had to threaten anything legal, but it did help prevent some major issues. [Designer name withheld] sent her clothes only 1 week before the show. The deadline for receiving clothes was 1 month before. There was no way I could get any models in for a fitting, so her clothes never made it on the runway. Her sales rep was pretty annoyed at me, but I had the contract to prove that [designer X] knew the clothes had no guarantee of being featured if they weren't received on time. That avoided a huge issue. Be sure to be clear about your due dates and any other stipulations.

I also sent an packing slip so we knew what we were going to receive. In theory, it was a great idea. In actuality, it was a bit of a mess and I ended up having to do hand counts anyway. Next year, I would definitely create some sort of spreadsheet form that you can email your designers so that you've got everything already in a digital format. This will allow you to create a master inventory list so you don't lose any items. If you're doing a charity raffle like we did, it'll also help you keep track of what is being donated and what is on loan. Finally, you'll be able to create outfits by looking at what you have virtually, rather than trying to go through dozens of packages. By the way, I definitely encourage a raffle to benefit a local non-profit organization. Almost all of the designers donated something and we raised $1,500 for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Coalition.

One of the places where I could have improved from last year was in the amount of stuff we got. Because we were going to raffle things off, I figured the more the better. While we certainly raised a lot of donations, it created a MESS for creating outfits. I'm not exactly sure how to keep that under control, because not every designer makes both tops and bottoms or you may want to mix and match outfits. Maybe a good guideline is to accept only 2 complete outfits per designer (1 mens, 1 womens). Or be sure that you've got enough bottoms to match the tops and vice versa. If you pick a theme, you'll probably have an easier time creating outfits. Sticking to a color theme (ex: red, black, and white) will also help out. Only accept one size of clothing from designers. Sticking to one size makes everything so much easier.

If you do have items on loan, make sure you've got a decent way to get everything back to them. On that inventory form you send them, be sure to get their return address as well as a way to pay for shipping. Most people will have UPS or Fed Ex accounts. If not, see if they can send you a USPS shipping label or set up a paypal account so they can send you money for you to ship it yourself.

Once you receive clothes (FYI, receiving to your parents house is not always the most convenient!), figure out an organization system. Maybe it's folding and separating by category (jerseys, bibs, socks). Maybe it's getting garment racks so you can see everything at once. Definitely be sure to get garment racks and garment bags for the show itself. We went to Target and got the cheap racks for $10 each. With one per model, it worked out perfectly. Each rack had each outfit detail taped to it so models and helpers could get the models ready quickly and without confusion. I recommend talking to a local college with a fashion design program (or even boutiques if you've got contacts) as they may be able to lend racks or bags.

2) Models

We decided that we wanted to use real cyclists instead of models. They weren't all perfect sizes, but it gave the show real authenticity and ensured that the clothes actually looked right. Other, unintended bonuses were that it was free and they all brought their friends to the show!

We used a local cycling club to email their membership base looking for models. I also contacted local shops and cycling clubs. When all else failed, I contacted friends. We ended up with 6 models, averaging 2-4 outfits per model. After the show, a couple people said it would have been cool to see more models (even if each model only wore 1-2 outfits), so that's something to think about. As with the designers, I contacted potential models months in advance, knowing that people were going to drop out. There were many flakes, a few creeps, and some people that just weren't really suitable. Get more models than you think you'll need and always have a back up ready.

And there you have it! Maybe not the most professional way to run a show, but keep in mind, this was the first show I ever planned. It was also done on a budget of $250, attracted about 200 people, and ended up being covered by multiple media outlets. I may end up writing a part 3; guidelines for the actual show itself. If anyone would like further specific information, feel free to email me or leave a question in the comments!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

No More Long Years

Happy new years, dear readers!

I know I've been MIA recently. My family is going through a particularly trying time lately. 2010 brought many good things (a blog, a new job, a new college focus and 4.0 GPA, wonderful foster kittens, my cousin's wedding, directing a fashion show, and a free trip to SXSW for starters). It also seemed to dump a whole bunch of shit on me, particularly at the end. I, for one, am happy to say goodbye to 2010 and welcome in the New Year. May this year be as wonderfully stable and positive as the past year was manic and turbulent!

Tank Top: H&M
Sweater: Active Basic (New Deal Clothing- Santa Cruz, CA)
Skirt: H&M
Belt: Forever 21
Tights: L'eggs
Shoes: Dollhouse (Eternity Fashion- Philadelphia, PA)
Sunglasses: street vendor

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Faking the Books

I call this outfit my "faux"-vorite. Ok, bad pun. But lest anyone think that a) I support animal suffering or b) I have a ton of money, please keep in mind that the fur jacket, leather pants, and suede wedges are all man-made. They also are all my favorite new additions to my closet.

I would have never pegged myself as a leather pants kind of gal, but after seeing so much inspiration on my daily blog list, I finally gave in and ordered a pair from Forever 21. They're surprisingly comfortable, even if I do get bizarre looks from my landlord. I've also been on this unstoppable search for a decent fur long-fur jacket and fate was on my side when I spotted this beauty at Urban Outfitters. Even better, it marked down $100! If there's anything I love more than obnoxious clothes, it's a good deal. Despite the 3/4 length sleeves, this coat is actually pretty warm. That's good news, since temperatures are hovering around freezing and we even got our first bit of legitimate snow this week. Here's to hoping for a white Christmas! (says the Jewish girl with the Catholic boyfriend)

Shirt: Top Shop
Jacket: Kimchi Blue via Urban Outfitters
Pants: Forever 21
Shoes: Dollhouse
Sunglasses: street vendor 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shake, Rattle, Bang Your Head

I don't have any sisters, but I did attend overnight camp for eight years, so I understand the joy of a virtually-unlimited wardrobe by means of borrowing clothes with the people you live with. Each year, that month-long vacation meant access to a dozen girls' clothes and make up (I went to a Quaker camp, so we weren't supposed to wear any, but try telling that to a bunch of pre-teen girls). These days, it's just Ray and I, which means I'm on my own. Unless of course, your best friend who lives out of town accidentally leaves a hat behind when she's crashing on your couch.

I don't know what made me put it on. It's not really my style. I don't even wear hats! Call it curiosity, call it boredom. I don't know. I was getting dressed, the hat was sitting there on the table, and on it went. Sorry, Lee! I think I may have to add some hats to my own collection, because this thing is awesome. Probably great for a bad hair day too, except I'm having a phenomenal hair day and couldn't resist some sans-hat pictures.

I've had this baby doll dress for something like four or five years. It doesn't get much wear, other than interviews, and I'm not sure why. What's more versatile than a casual LBD? Belt it, throw on a cardigan, mix it up with crazy shoes or colored's so adaptable! I've got to remember though that if I'm going to wear something that hasn't been worn in months (if not years), I must steam and lint-brush it! Does it show that I've got 4 cats and zero-motivation to put away clothes after they've been washed?

Jacket: H&M
Dress: H&M
Belt: Heritage 1981
Shoes: Forever 21
Tight: Forever 21
Hat: borrowed from best friend
Sunglasses: street vendor