New Blog Alert

Posting a quick note to recognize a new blog that I have quickly come to love. It's called The Story Is In The Seams and it's the brilliant brainchild of blogger Aleah Rae, who also writes The Queen Knows Best. Her latest creation is about "fashion, fiction, and fotography". She finds a lovely photo, writes a short story about the model, and creates a look from her closet.  AND, she's invited me to guest post on her blog! My post just went up, and I'm excited to see what other guest bloggers have created.  Keep a lookout for Aleah Rae, she may just be appearing on this blog soon.


see you in 2012!


I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Summit Lake Lodge in Moose Pass, Alaska for the next week. I've been there a few times before, and I cannot wait to return. It'll be a week full of family and friends, wintery fun, and excellent food. Oh, and also no internet. I will be completely unplugged. So, I leave you for a bit with this post dedicated to my wardrobe for the next 7 days. Not really. I wish I would be looking this awesome. In actuality I'll be wearing Cherokee boys bibbed snowpants, my old Columbia puffer coat from 8th grade, and Croc boots. Oh, well. Happy holidays, everyone!


"Silent Night" - Priscilla Ahn

Silent Night

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. I love Christmas. I love the anticipation of time off and reuniting with friends and family and shopping for loved ones and holiday decorating and Christmas specials episode of television and my annual viewing of Love Actually and CHRISTMAS MUSIC. 

My favorite thing  about Christmas music is that each year can bring some new songs for me to enjoy. Most are covers of the classics, some are original. Some are wonderful, some are dismal. One of my all-time favorite covers of a classic is Priscilla Ahn's "Silent Night", found on The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs compilation (one I highly recommend for those who enjoy softer, folksy contemporary holiday jams).

This arrangement is simply gorgeous. The harmonies are hauntingly beautiful and modern and seem to present the song in a new light, but doesn't walk away from its roots. As I listen to it, I feel myself get lost, but then I always find my way back at the end. This look represents that soft stillness and cold and peace and hope.

Listen to the song here.

Alexander McQueen backless gown
£2,198 - theoutnet.com

Anna Sui lace cape
£172 - farfetch.com

Snake handbag

Diamond jewelry

Maison Martin Margiela long opera glove
$383 - net-a-porter.com


"Suicide Medicine" - Rocky Votolato

Suicide Medicine

I will be forever indebted to my parents for a number of things. The obvious things: raising me well, giving me a really great childhood and adolescence, molding me into the person I am today. Another notable influence? Music. My music tastes have very much been influenced by those of my parents. My father is the one who taught me to appreciate an album in its entirety, without shuffling songs and without skipping songs. And he always stressed the importance of purchasing the actual CD, not the digital version, so you can appreciate the artwork the artist painstaking selected. 

My father is also the one who introduced me to Rocky Votolato. He was in a record store one day and hear a song from "Makers" being played. He immediately loved the song and asked the staff where he could find that album (another trait I got from my parents - having and indulging in immediate reactions). Since then I've seen Rocky twice live, once with my dad. I've really come to appreciate his music as each new album has been released since then. He seems to cross genres, moving from a rougher tonality and harsh melody to a lighter, folksy sound and then on to an almost country feel. 

This outfit is inspired by "Suicide Medicine" from Rocky's album of the same name. This was the one of those harsher feeling albums. This song has such a great hook but you can't ignore the sound of erratic desperation and hopeless nostalgia. Those are the feelings I tried to evoke with this look. The look is pretty straightforward - rough around the edges, alluding that it was hastily thrown together, but I really enjoyed putting the details together. I added some uber-girly pearls and feminie shades to evoke the sense of vulnerability in this song. I especially like this YSL clutch that looks like an addressed letter; I included it here to reference the life that was lost.
Listen to the song here.


"Born To Die" - Lana Del Rey

[I'm deviating from my usual formula for today's post, and perhaps experimenting in what will turn into an additional formula going forward: discussing the styling of a music video. Instead of creating a unique look for a specific song, I'll be analyzing some of the stylistic details of a specific music video and creating a collage of looks similar to those seen in the video. Cool? Cool. Here we go.]

all screenshots taken from the music video

Lana Del Rey is an interesting artist, no? She's certainly beginning to garner much more attention in the recent months. She signed with Interscope in October, her debut album is due in January 2012, and her video for "Born to Die" received over 1.5 million hits in two days. 

She's not brand new to the scene, however. Amanda Dobbins of nymag.com wrote an excellent piece summarizing her rise to fame, as well as the backlash surrounding it. Essentially, she's being marketed as a sexy new indie sensation, but a number of music bloggers have called her out for being a poseur and adjusting her image to fit into the indie mold (Dobbins' piece references most of those bloggers and their articles). 

As for me, I've enjoyed listening to her singles "Video Games", "Blue Jeans", and now "Born To Die", but at the same time the idea that she may be manufactured to appeal to a certain audience leaves a bad taste in my mouth (bad sound in my ears? Does this idiom work?). And then again, how many hundreds of other artists are completely manufactured in order to be successful? I think the issue here is it's typically pop artists and the machines behind them that fall into this category and their listeners don't care as much to lead to any real backlash. Lana Del Rey's people tried to pull one over on the wrong demographic. As an indie sensation, she's appealing to the hipsters, those vehemently opposed to "the mainstream". I know I'm stereotyping, but I think it's those stereotypical hipsters that are being the loudest over all this. If your audience yearns for authentic indie cred and then finds out it's not authentic at all, you can bet they'll yell about it. 

Anyway, this is a fashion piece, so let's be done with the politics and controversy and get back to the style, because, you guys, this video is pretty stunning. 

The song is about a relationship that's essentially doomed to fail (hence the title) and, in the video, it does so, quite literally. The video was shot in a French castle and the juxtaposition of shots in this ornate location and the gritty scenes in the car is beautiful. The colors are simple and impactful, and the flames at the end are especially abrupt as they provide a bright pop of orange after scenes of neutrals, reds, whites, and blues (minus the tigers, of course).

Each look worn by Lana is fantastic and understated, and the beauty is spot-on. In her throne she wears an Antonio Berardi gown with her floral crown and pet tigers. We also see her face featuring a strong red lip, dramatic cat eyes, and oh-so-trendy triangle nails, a favorite of refinery29 nail DIYs. The next time we see her she's wearing a classic Americana chic ensemble with Daisy Dukes, some red hiker boots and a fabulously fringed motorcycle jacket. Her final outfit is an uncomplicated slip with a perfectly curled hairstyle and nude lip.

Want to recreate one of the looks? Here are some ideas.
Born To Die


"Daisy" - Fang Island


Have you ever heard a song for the first time and just had an instant connection to it? This actually happens to me a lot. I'll be listening to something on the radio or a podcast and interrupt a conversation to declare "Oooo, I like this". I love when this happens to me, because it reminds me of being a kid. It's totally black and white, and I immediately love something or I don't. Completely uncomplicated.

That is exactly what happened the first time I heard "Daisy" by Fang Island. The melody is infectiously upbeat and I can't help but feel happier when I hear it. Each time I hear it I have an inclination to dance my heart out. It's important to note here that I am not what one would consider "a dancer", so my dancing to this song would like involve much spinning and jumping and running.

That being said, how perfect is this outfit for just that kind of dancing? Can you imagine the twirl factor of this utterly marvelous Matthew Williamson skirt? And the mod Melissa Vivienne Westwood booties give just the right pop of color without being too impractical to impede my moves. This ensemble is about dressing like a kid with a (very) grown-up budget. It also makes me smile when I see it, which makes it the perfect match for this song.

Listen to the song here.


"King of Anything" - Sara Bareilles


I think this is such a kickass look. Not in the literal, if I wore this I'd be able to hurt you, kind of way (although I probably would if I stepped on you), but in the totally confident, send me any challenge and I'll crush it kind of way. A brocade minidress and fur boldly paired with some thick knit socks and badass leather half-gloves? It's beauty meets total toughness. Maybe not total toughness, but there's definitely a message of "go ahead and try me" here, and I love it. The wearer of this outfit trusts herself wholeheartedly and is self-reliant while still maintaining a careful attention to and appreciation for detail. She values what she has, because she's worked so hard to get it. 

On my iPod, you'll find a "pump me up" playlist. I'm not talking about an exercise playlist, that's a separate one entitled "WORKOUT JAMZ". This is a playlist specifically for when I'm feeling sort of down and need a pick-me-up. First on that list is Sara Bareilles' "King of Anything". I absolutely love everything about that song. I love the melody and I love the message. It has a witty way of declaring independence: "I hate to break it to you, dear/but I'm not drowning/there's no one here to save". It's all about owning who you are and the choices you make and, not to get too cheesy, I think that's a fabulous statement to make.

Listen to the song here.


I'm getting better with this internet thing...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

It'll be so easy and so great!

"Satisfied" - Cee-Lo Green


I so very much wish I had an occasion that demanded an ivory tulle tea length dress. If we're being honest, I wish I could wear a poofy dress every day of my life. "But you can!", they say, "wear what you want!". No. I work in a corporate setting. I cannot walk in wearing a dress as wide as it is long. Not until I get promoted a couple more times. 

Until that day comes, I will fantasize about an alternate reality in which it is perfectly acceptable to twirl instead of walk from place to place. Oh I can't wait. This would be my dressed down version, hence the denim and thick scarf. A girl can't be dressed to the nines every day - she has to slum it once in a while. 

Side note: whenever I see dresses like this I always think about Lea Thompson's dress at the Under the Sea dance in Back To The Future. If it weren't for the casual accessories I may have made this about the song "Earth Angel". It may or may not be a dream of mine to dance to that song. That's a pretty achievable dream, you might think. Oh really? Then why hasn't it happened yet?

But instead while slumming it on a lazy Saturday in this ensemble I would have Cee-Lo's "Satisfied" playing in my head on repeat. His album "The Ladykiller" was one of my favorites in 2010, and this song is one of the main drivers of that. It has such a retro feel and I can't help but feel happier when I hear it. I shoo-bop and doo-wop in my head every time, and this dress has doo-wop written all over it. 

Listen to the song here.


"Gangsta" - tUnE-yArDs


Proenza Schouler is fantastic, is it not? It never ceases to amaze me how they can come up with these mesmerizing and innovative patterns season after season. These pants are like the chic lady-version of Zoombas, and I totally mean that as a compliment. I didn't want to upstage the pants (as if that's even possible), so I tried to keep the rest of the outfit understated without being boring. The simple and classic Givenchy flats were perfect, and the Burberry Prorsum blouse has exquisite shoulder detail, and I rarely say no to a strong shoulder. 

As I was putting this look together, I couldn't help but get the tUnE-yArDs song "Gangsta" in my head. I recently had the opportunity to see the tUnE-yArDs live, sort of on a whim, and I'm so glad I did. Easily one of the best shows I've ever seen. Merrill Garbus, the woman behind the band, has such and incredible energy and her ability to write and perform such unique songs is really something to see. I think "innovative" was I word I used to describe her as well, because her drumming and vocal stylings and overall melodies are unlike anything I'd heard before. It's only natural, then, that she get matched to these remarkable pants.

Listen to the song here.


"Eve, The Apple Of My Eye" - Bell X1


So, anyone remember a little show called "The OC"? Like many people my age, it was my favorite show when it was on the air. From its debut in 2003 through the glorious finale, I never missed an episode. Aside from the fabulously soapy plotlines and sexy broodiness of Ryan Atwood, another big draw for me was the music. 

Bell X1 sort of got their US debut on The OC - maybe some of you remember the episode in which it was featured? Marissa finally gave into her girl crush with Alex, the cool chick who worked at The Baitshop, and they made out on the beach as the tide turned on Valentine's Day. Meanwhile, Ryan was realizing he'd never get Caleb's approval to date Lindsay and Seth seemed to completely ruin everything with both Summer and Zach and their comic. Oh, and Kirsten found that Sandy was secretly hiding his ex-fiance in his office. It was a really profound ending. 

After getting the season 2 soundtrack for my birthday, I found myself listening to this particular song on repeat. I took it with me to college, and I have distinct memories of listening to this song as I walked to class through the cold Chicago winters. Whenever I listen to it today, I'm brought back to that place. Not The OC, unfortunately, but a place where it's quiet, and cold, but beautiful. And I think about missing someone, and desperately wishing they were with me. 

This song has such lovely and simple imagery. "The only thing that we share/is the same sky". You realize that it's best that you're apart, but it's still so hard to accept. That's what I hoped to embody with this ensemble. The color palette is somewhat muted and dreary, but there's hope that comes from the bits of color and oh-so-fabulous fur. I can see myself wearing this as I wander through the snow, despite the seasonally inappropriate footwear. This is about looking forward, past the sadness, past the cold, to a brighter spring.

Listen to the song here.


"Go Do"- Jónsi

Go Do

It's nice to have that rush of energy hit during winter, when it's so easy to get bogged down with the short days, frigid weather, and grayscale wardrobes. Not to knock the gray on gray look, it's very chic, but a little color never hurt.

Pantone just released its Spring 2012 Fashion Color Trend Report, and Tangerine Tango was the top color for the season. I couldn't be happier. Winter is really starting to hit hard and I can't think of a better to way to start looking forward to spring. The color is so fresh and inspiring and makes me think of swimming and riding my bike and taking naps on the beach of Lake Calhoun. 

Anything that makes me think of summer is my favorite thing. Swimsuits? My favorite. Sunglasses? Favorite. Watermelon? MY FAVORITE. Some music selections have a tendency to remind me of summer as well, and one album in particular that does so is Jónsi's 2010 debut solo album "Go". The first release from the album, "Go Do", was played on repeat in my car when it first came out last year, and the mile a minute pacing and enthusiastic woodwinds always put a smile on my face. I thought it would be the perfect match to this mega-cheery ensemble. 

Listen to the song here.

H M flare dress
£30 - hm.com

Senso shoes
$175 - solestruck.com

Reed krakoff handbag
$490 - net-a-porter.com

Kenneth Jay Lane gold plated jewelry
$75 - net-a-porter.com


"Kiss That Grrrl" - Kate Nash

Kiss That Grrrrl

So this Lela Rose skirt is the best, right? I cannot possibly imagine a more perfect skirt. The layers! The colors! Just the best. The absolute girliest skirt of all time ever. I saw this and immediately had to create a look around it, but I couldn't go totally girly; it needed some edge. Enter skull scarf and Alexander McQueen skull clutch.

That's how I feel about Kate Nash's "Kiss That Grrrl". I remember the first time I heard this song, how I thought it was positively delicious. I mean, the title alone gives a less-than-subtle hint at its ferocity. It's the less obvious version of "Before He Cheats", and it doesn't take long to get past the retro-inspired beat to hear lyrics that explicitly warn "kiss that girl/and I will shrink up/and I will die/and I will think up/a thousand ways/that I can hurt you/and you will never touch my hand". 

I think if I owned this outfit I would constantly twirl and bounce and adorably threaten my boyfriend to never even think of looking at another girl.

Here is the song
VPL crop top
$133 - lagarconne.com

Lela Rose full skirt
£3,665 - net-a-porter.com

Lanvin wedge shoes
$896 - kirnazabete.com

Alexander McQueen pink handbag
£1,345 - matchesfashion.com

TopShop scarve
$45 - topshop.com

TopShop bow glove
$36 - topshop.com

Thierry Lasry brown shades
£290 - brownsfashion.com


I'm sorry I've abandoned you

I know my demographic is small. It mainly consists of my sister and my brother's girlfriend (now my new roommate). But if that's all I have, then my ENTIRE fanbase has been badgering me for months to begin posting again. I had some good excuses. I was really busy with work, then I was on vacation, then I was up for a promotion, then things got extra busy with some new friends, then I moved, then I didn't have internet, and now here we are.

Well, I hope it was worth the wait. Because I have quite the queue of looks ready for the posting. And a new layout to boot. And I have expanded my music collection and can't wait to feature some more songs.

Here it is. Take two. For reals this time.


"Summer in the City" - Regina Spektor


 "I start to miss you, baby, sometimes".

So we all know that this winter has been the absolute worst. I mean, really. Enough? Enough with the snow? Please? I'd like to have it be summer now, please. But I suppose all I can do until this frozen garbage melts it lust over spring trends and plan my ensembles in advance. What better to ring in the warmer season than this delightful Chloe frock? The salmon color is perfectly lovely and I added the jacket because, who are we kidding. As much as I'd love to jump head first out of winter, I know it's going to take some easing into.

We also know that summer is about showing off how much we worked our ass off for a killer beach body. I myself have a plan to do some intense bikram yoga and diet of primarily nonprocessed foods (ugh, do I sound like I'm writing for GOOP right now? Sorry.) to get myself ready for a little trip to Mexico. But whether there's an actual trip planned or not, I think motivation can also come from the possibility of seeing that someone that you used to love. Fantasies of casually running errands and passing on the street, looking utterly fabulous. "Oh this? It's nothing, just a little something I threw together - felt appropriate for this great weather we've been having! But how are YOU?"

That's the external. But that doesn't always match what going on in our head. This song is heartbreakingly beautiful in its tales of loneliness. "I've been hallucinating you, babe/In the backs of other women/And the tops of their shoulders/And they turn around and smile and/There's no recognition in their eyes". It's some of the saddest nostalgia to imagine, but I can't not love it.

"And don't get me wrong,  dear/In general, I'm doing quite fine."

Listen to the song here.

Chloé sleeveless dress
1,410 GBP - matchesfashion.com
Miss Selfridge printed jacket
38 GBP - missselfridge.com
Linda Farrow metal sunglass
247 EUR - luisaviaroma.com