February 28, 2011

What I Wore to Napa

Once the weather cleared up Chris and I decided to drive north with his mom to Napa. We really only had the stamina for two wineries so we went to Beringer (old school, super big, reasonably priced, now super corporate style winery owned by Foster's) and Stag's Leap (smaller, fancy, more prestigious, and a little too expensive).

We loved the Stag's Leap one and ended up getting a few bottles which meant we had to tack a $25 checked baggage fee on top of the cost. BUT I am happy to have some nice bottles to save for a special occasion.

I wore a MBMJ pique wool polo dress from 2007ish? In my head it made sense to wear burgundy since I knew I would be drinking wine. That's sort of embarrassing to admit but drinking and walking around unfamiliar places is my recipe for stains.

February 26, 2011

Pre-Bay OOTD

purple silk top by DVF
J.Crew rosette cardi
Off Fifth skirt
flats from Brazil

I wore this before I left for SF but never had time to post it. I paired it with my 3/4 length sleeve built in scarf MBMJ coat.

The Shoes were a purchase from Brazil.

And I realized later that they might be a little too close to some Christian Louboutin flats. Not exactly. But a little close.

The shoe industry in Brazil is pretty extensive but a lot of the boutiques and fancier stores had taken obvious inspiration from aspirational brands. I saw Brazilian-style Varinas, Revas, and Chanel-esque flats. And when I got home I saw the shoes that perhaps inspired the ones above. I feel a little mixed about them now but they are so comfortable and cute that I can't just not wear them.

BTW don't forget to email me (jesspgh at gmail dot com) your hardest working garments!

February 24, 2011

On top of the world OOTD

Dress from Brazilian fast fashion store, Checklist Boutique
J. Crew cardigan
Michael Kors Calista bag
Hue tights
Chloé flats

Although it rained for the first half of my trip to the bay, the weather cleared up enough to do something touristy. We drove up to Twin Peaks and took a few photos.

The wind was crazy up there which is why I am holding my sweater in the top photo.

Chris is wearing a Rag and Bone jacket, Vince sweater, tshirt from Brazilia underneath, and Tom Ford sunglasses.

February 23, 2011

Meeting Tien and Anjali!

I am so behind on blogging because I am drowning in work but I wanted to quickly post about my brunch at Bar Tartine, visit for treats at Tartine Bakery, and impromptu Bloomingdales shopping with Tien of Adiaphane and Anjali of Goldenmeans.

It goes without saying but man these ladies are intimidatingly gorgeous. In fact, when we were driving to the Mission to meet them, I warned Chris. I don't know why I found it necessary to do so. I guess I just wanted him to brace for an onslaught of pretty at brunch. Thankfully Chris is one cool customer. I on the other hand introduced myself AS Chris because I was a little nervous. And this is odd since I have met plenty of e-pals over the years, irl. Still, I bumbled. Thankfully Anjali and Tien were super sweet. It quickly felt like we were old girlfriends gabbing away over a meal. I was so excited to see Tien brought her fancy camera. And she generously took some photos of me and Chris.

It was pouring rain (which limited further my already limited wardrobe options) and Chris and I thought we had to head over to Oakland for our niece's bat mitzvah so we parted ways. When we checked in with Chris's mom we learned we had an hour to kill. Rather than sit in the hotel, Chris suggested we go to Bloomingdales where he wanted to buy a shirt that was lingering in his memory from the day before. As soon as we stepped through the door, we ran into Tien and Anjali who had the same idea. I wish I could have gone with them to Anthropologie. I'll have to plan on it for a future trip. Thank you so much to Tien for her skillful photography and fancy camera! And thanks to both Tien and Anjali (who conquered some brutal traffic to be there) for meeting up on a dreary, cold Saturday morning! I loved meeting in person these women who were both so incredibly sweet, funny, stylish, and intelligent!

February 20, 2011

Coveting Kate Spade

This weekend I got to head west to the Bay Area for my niece's bat mitzvah. Although the weather was dreary and rainy I was grateful to be in a place with a lot of incredible restaurants and shopping. While here, I grabbed brunch with two of my absolute favorite bloggers, Tien of Adiaphane and Anjali of Golden Means. (This goes without saying but, they are both GORGEOUS in person, not to mention super sweet and fun. More on that later!)

While shopping on one of my drearier first days in SF, I was able to try on some Kate Spade dress in person. For some reason the local Kate Spade store has a very limited selection of clothing. I promptly became obsessed with this Violetta dress. It is so charming and cute. But unfortunately it is also way out of my budget. And it is a little too similar to (albeit fancier than) the Two Wheeler.

I am wearing an 8 which is true to my anthro size for this style of dress. I found the fabrics to be extremely luxurious and although I can't afford the price point, it seems clear why the brand can get away with charging such a premium.  At least I now know my size so that I can watch for sales!

February 18, 2011

DVF at Work: Another Professional Experiment

I wore this DVF in giant Spring Shadows print to work on Valentine's Day. I quickly realized it would be necessary to pin the top, or else risk classroom cleavage. Typically I avoid such body conscious silhouettes but I have seen so many lovely ladies on fashionism.org sport DVF for their very professional workplaces that I decided to try it for mine. It must have been a lucky outfit because this week (while I remain swamped with work) a manuscript of mine was accepted to one of my favorite academic journals for publication. And what is even better is that the reader comments (which can demoralize even if they conclude with a provisional acceptance) actually made me feel MORE confident about my career instead of less. This does mean I have added work to wrap quickly, during a time when I am already overwhelmed. But I am glad for it!

I wanted to point out that one of my favorite bloggers, Marianne of "Looks Good From the Back"  already blogged about one of her hardest working items back in January. She wrote about her favorite shirt. And it happens to be from one of my favorite designers, MBMJ! I am eager to get more submissions for this showcase so if you can send them to me at jesspgh at gmail dot com by March 4th, I will blog the list the following week.

February 16, 2011

The hardest working garment in my closet

Marc by Marc Jacobs Paisley dress
J. Crew ruffle cardigan
Spanx tights
Marc by Marc Jacobs captoe maryjanes

I've been thinking a lot lately about selectivity, sale googles, and shopping. As I notice my Anthropologie wishlist dwindle, with only a few errant past-season items waiting to pop back, I feel good. I feel like I've gotten a better handle on my consumerism. Whenever I find myself with nagging pangs of want, I force myself to acknowledge whether I have similar items already before buying. "Does this fill a gap? Or does this just mimic an already loved, perfectly functional piece?"

As my closet expanded (or more accurately, got stuffed to the gills) it became increasingly difficult for anything to fill a gap. At this point the only thing I can do is upgrade or weed out lesser-worn pieces. This process also has me thinking about the hardest working pieces I own. Those items that I relish in wearing and repeating, again and again, year after year.

Since some of the hard workers for this year are only about a year old (or less), I'll have to wait and see if my taste for them grows or fades with time. But this winter the above dress has been one of my hardest workers. I want to compile a list of my hardest workers and would love to have reader input too.

If you want to submit a photo and/or description of your hardest working garment(s) please email me at jesspgh at gmail dot com. In doing so, you/it will be featured on an upcoming blog post. Be sure to include a link to your blog, if applicable!

February 15, 2011

A Valentine's Symphony of Spinning Lace

Valentine's weekend marked the conclusion of the Tchaikovsky festival in Pittsburgh. One of Chris's favorite pieces was on the Pittsburgh Symphony's agenda so we asked some friends if they wanted to go on a double date. We had drinks at Six Penn Kitchen, went to Heinz Hall for the performance, and then to Kaya for a late dinner. It was a lovely evening! And it took the pressure off of February 14th. Although we had plans to see a film after Chris cooked a delicious Valentine's Day dinner, I asked if we could stay in, instead. I had a long day and was pretty tired. And we just had such a nice date that it seemed silly to force myself out on a Monday night, right before we head to the Bay area. Chris was kind enough to oblige so we stayed home and I baked cookies for dessert. Here are the date night detail shots:

Chris wore a Shipley and Halmos suit, vintage tie, Theory shirt, Fiorentini and Baker shoes, and a Paul Smith topcoat (shown at the top). I wore the Spinning Lace dress by Tracy Reese, my full skirted windowpane coat from alice+olivia, some velvet ruffle pumps by BCBG, and opaque tights. When Chris saw me playing dress up when I first bought the dress he said immediately that we needed to go somewhere fancy. I admit we were a little overdressed for the symphony but I was glad to have an occasion in which to flounce around anyway. I hope you had a great Valentine's Day!

See my posts on the Spinning Lace dress here and here. See more of the coat here

February 14, 2011

Thoughts on BHLDN

Nuptials of Yesteryear inspiration slideshow from BHLDN.com

The Anthro-centric Blogosphere is buzzing with anticipation over BHLDN, the new wedding themed online retailer. And because I recently planned my own nuptials, I count myself among those impatiently awaiting the website launch, timed strategically with Valentine's Day. Like Roxy of Effortless Anthropologie said, this development seems to be an intelligent and logical extension of the Anthropologie wing of Urban Outfitters Corporate. Even if it is clearly separate from Anthro, the saccharine sweet, intrinsically quirky influence is omnipresent. Anyone vaguely familiar with the DIY-influenced, "indie-bride" wing of the wedding industrial complex (as championed through Style My Pretty, Once Wed, Project Wedding, Real Simple Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, etc.) can see how close a fit that trend is with Anthropologie's lifestyle branded aesthetics. And with competitor J. Crew in the wedding game for some time now, it isn't surprising that Anthropologie/UO would hope to score a piece of the profit action. After all, anything with the word "wedding" in front of it comes with a major up-charge.

Although BHLDN was not on the menu of options for my own wedding planning, I was excited to see the dresses, accessories, and decor photographs released this week. Kim of Anthroholic had a three part series on her blog during which she documented extensively the exclusive preview (to which a select group of bloggers were invited). Since Kim is planning her own wedding and is by her own admission the Anthroholic, the launch seems to be very serendipitous for her! I definitely will be among the people scrolling through the pages of BHLDN today for its Valentine's Day launch. I am also excited to keep tabs on what Kim ends up choosing for her wedding, BHLDN or not.

Nuptials of Yesterday family photo I featured at my reception

I am sure even the most dedicated anthro-philes will not (pun intended) feel beholden to buy from this new site. Competition and choices are GOOD things for consumers. But the price points for the undeniably lovely dresses are pretty high for your average "indiebride" (spanning $1000-4000). Though that puts them in square competition with J. Crew's wedding line, there are also tons of dress options from bridal and formal gown boutiques and vintage dealers available for that or less. I really like the vintage-inspired aesthetics of BHLDN but from what I've seen so far, I could not have personally afforded my favorites on the budget I set.  I am intrigued by the guest/occasion dress offerings, accessories, and the beautiful shoes which seem to be available for lower prices (though they're priced higher than the fascinator that I modified from Etsy and my wedding Louboutins).

Nuptials of Yesterday family photo I featured at my reception

This is not to rain of the parade of BHLDN but to merely contextualize it. I encourage brides-to-be to enjoy having one more item on the menu, without feeling confined to or by it. And that is for as many sentimental reasons as practical. One of my fondest planning memories was dress shopping with my mother and sister. Being helped in and out of the dresses by the expert staff at Anne Gregory for the Bride was such a wonderful experience. For me it was also important to go to a local business. I liked having the staff's input, in addition to the people who I brought with me that day. I rarely shy away from shopping online, but buying a wedding dress online is difficult even with free return shipping. Trying on a shipped dress at home without the benefits of a well lit showroom and full length mirrors makes the decision harder. Wedding dresses are the sort of purchase where you want the option to evaluate all angles.

Nuptials of Yesterday family photo I featured at my reception

The highly curated collection from BHLDN likely will be a wonderful addition to the wedding and formal dress shopping industry. And BHLDN has assured potential shoppers that their stock is both exclusive and low volume. That is a great thing for indie/diy brides. But even with that claim, there will be a lot of people viewing the website just for the eye candy. I know I will be!

February 13, 2011

Return Chronicles: part 10000

This plaid Alice + Olivia dress was a great bargain at Saks in New York last month. But I've had it for almost a month, the return deadline is looming, and the tags remain attached. I think it should go back but took some photos and tried styling it to make sure I didn't want it. What do you think?

Oversized collar makes it visually interesting
Plaid (especially in gray and black) is something I find to be timeless
Shirtdresses are definitely timeless

The hem is shorter in the front and my gams are not the greatest
That big collar I like isn't the most flattering on my figure

February 12, 2011

Velvet Midnight OOTD

Velvet blazer from Target (years ago)
J.Crew silk ruffle top
Midnight Cygnus skirt from Anthro/Twinkle by Wenlen (Spring 2010)
Aquatalia boots from Burlington (years ago)

I wore this to campus on Friday and had no time to blog. It was one of those days where I ran late because I hadn't picked out my outfit the night before. As a result this was thrown together. One of my resolutions was to make my closet more professionally relevant/utilized so I have been trying to wear garments to work that I previously deemed only for weekend. This skirt is one example of that. And the jacket is another. I think the skirt is a little short for work but I wore it knowing I would be behind the media podium in class.

February 10, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside!

MBMJ Fall 2007 dress
Rosegold liz booties

This dress is so warm, I have to be selective about where I wear it. I can't wear it dancing. I can't wear it to cozier restaurants (unless I sit near the door). I can't really wear it to crowded bars. But it is perfect if I am going to walking around outside a lot.

BTW if any of you have fashionable men in your life, check out the closet cleaning of my fashionable partner, Chris by going here! He is selling great stuff from Marc Jacobs, Costume National, Trovata, and more!

February 09, 2011

Always living in seasons' past

photos from Style.com

Although twitter and the blogosphere are abuzz with New York Fashion Week updates, I have no time to follow what is happening from afar. Instead, because my closet rarely houses current season threads (my budget requires a deal!), I decided to show some of my favorite runway looks from Spring 2007 Chloé RTW. In the middle is the dress from my OOTD!

In a bad light

Chloe dress from spring 2007
Cece cardigan
Nine West pumps

The lighting in this photo is craptastic but I like this dress enough to share anyway. Such haphazard imagery is a testament to how swamped I am right now with a big work project. Thanks for bearing with me through it!

If you haven't already read it, I encourage you to check out Jewish Girl's extended blog entry about her nose and the path to body acceptance. I related so deeply to it and just loved her smart and witty writing! I added my own thoughts in the comments.


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