March 31, 2011

Meeting Attire

See by Chloé Trail Print Dress (spring 2009)
NY&co Blazer (from Gabriel Brothers)
Spanx Tight End Tights
Steven by Steve Madden Director pumps
Necklace from Chris

When it warmed up for a few days I had another big meeting scheduled and was thrilled to have my "outerwear" be this simple blazer. It was a $10 Gabriel Brothers find that originally came from New York and Company (or maybe the Limited... I can't remember which). I paired it with this relatively toned down printed dress. I wonder if I should think about finding a few plain, solid color pieces that are reserved for times when I need to up my professorial professional ante? Skirt suits would frankly be overboard for the majority of scenarios when I need to look the part.

March 30, 2011

In the dark OOTD

I wore my darker hued Bold Boutonnière to campus last week and was anthro-spotted by a student. Frankly, I didn't think my undergrads knew about Anthropologie (since the brick and mortar stores are just far enough away from campus and they're a bit younger than the target demographic). But sure enough, a stylish student asked if my dress was from Anthropologie. And in the process of our conversation, my addiction was outed. Thankfully I don't think most of my students know how much of my wardrobe is sourced from there... haha

Do your coworkers, colleagues, or (if you're in the classroom) students know about your brand fandom?

March 29, 2011

Back from Chicago

My conference presentation went really well and I feel super motivated to expand my "fighting diamonds" paper into an article-length manuscript. I've been working on it since I returned on Saturday. On Thursday night after doing conference things, I partook in the free evening at the Art Institute of Chicago Museum. Their collection, particularly of modern art is really fantastic. While there, Chris snapped this photo of me with a Frank Stella. He thought it would be fitting since my home OOTD photos are often taken with my tripod in front of our Frank Stella poster.

My patchwork dress (which I've been wearing like crazy since it became cold again) fit right in! You can see the short sleeved version here.

March 27, 2011

Weekend Casual OOTD

Alma Mater blazer from Anthro
J Crew Rosette sweater
Gucci wedges (in suede here)

Back in February I bought these chinos at J. Crew on major sale. They were about a size too big and way too long but I figured I would branch out from my comfort zone of printed dresses and skirts to try something trendy for a change. I knew I wanted to cuff them and wear them baggy so too big and too long fit the bill. The pants remind me of my favorite pair I wore to death in the 90s. Those were a steel gray color but the feel of them was exactly the same. They're slouchy and I am sure that my somewhat short, non-lithe body was not who they had in mind when they imagined people wearing slouchy chinos, but I enjoy doing something different now and then.

March 26, 2011

Travessia dress: One that got away...

Before I decided to indulge my love for Anthropologie, I remember admiring the Travessia dress in the shop window. I had no occasion for which it would be appropriate. I also was living alone, off of my modest grad student stipend. Living alone is expensive, even in Pittsburgh. This meant my income was pretty constraining. It was before I took on adjunct work to supplement my income and before I was splitting bills with my partner. I had no reason to need such a fancy frock and no cash with which to buy it. So it passed me by...

Over the years I caught a few reader outfit submissions that included it on Anthroholic. Each reignited my desire for this dress. And then I finally saw one available in the Trade Market of Effortless Anthropologie. I emailed the member and she was the sweetest! I asked her a zillion questions about fit and she was generous enough to send it to me to try. It didn't work out and the side zipper meant that my tailor would have charged an arm and a leg to take it in. But now I have a good idea of what I need. I sent the dress back and reimbursed her for shipping. (If you are reading, I want to reiterate my gratitude, Marcela!) But the hunt is still on!

All of this is to say that if you see for sale a size 8P or 10P in this dress, please let me know! I have a few summer weddings to attend and would love to sport this pretty number for them.

Does anyone else have a running list of "ones that got away?"

March 24, 2011

Ritual Consumption: Birthday Shoes

This little blog is going on four years old! To be fair, I've only been blogging with more-than-semi-monthly regularity for about a year. But regardless, I have a few ideas to celebrate and thank everyone with a giveaway.

Years ago I had a livejournal. Eventually I made it private but much like my old LJ, I like to revisit my previous years entries and look at how I celebrated milestones. On this blog, since it is material-centric, I like to remember my outfits and what I wore during travel. I also enjoy seeing the gifts I bought for others and how I indulged myself for my birthdays. My annual tradition used to be to buy a cute bag but in more recent years I've ended up buying myself a pair of shoes. The above were my score for this year. I saw the seaming on the toes of these Chloé flats and loved how they were evocative in a subtler way of the Paddington bag. I already have the Paddington lock flats. And I've come to find my Chloé flats blend comfort with durability more so than MBMJ or Tory Burch or any other flat favorites. If it isn't clear from the photo, I gifted them to myself early (bday isn't until April 5th) and have worn them quite a bit since!

How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you buy something for yourself or drop hints? Do you forgo gifts altogether and go out for a fancy dinner or throw a party? Are you low key and try to let the date go by unnoticed?

March 22, 2011

Target GO! Collection Re-Release

The other day I found myself in a Target that had a few of the GO! Collection's best of dresses. While there I grabbed the available sizes of the Temperley ruffle shirt dress and the Rodarte lace print dress. I liked both but didn't buy either, in part, because the sizes I needed weren't available. The Temperley dress was very sheer. I am wearing a large and it was sized generously. The Rodarte dress seemed nicer in person than I expected. I am wearing a small but needed one size up. The Tucker dress behind me had the wrong hanger so I thought I had grabbed a medium but it was an XS. I am not an XS and don't think I've ever been one. So that didn't make the blog (haha). But I'd say that all of them ran pretty true to size, if not a bit large.

Part of me feels like the fact that I passed on them the first time around means I should pass again. Is anyone else snatching up the GO! Collection re-releases?

March 21, 2011

Winter's Last Ditch OOTD

MBMJ shoes
Michael Kors Calista bag

I wore the above See by Chloe patchwork print dress last Monday and the Friday before that. This piece haunted me after it went on sale and sold out. The retail was insane. I cannot fathom how/why they get away with such obscene pricing. I love the dresses and prints but they're priced in an even more inflated way than retail MBMJ. It's Anna Sui caliber pricing! Which means that even on sale I cannot afford it.

I finally tracked one down on ebay and am so glad I waited. I am also glad that it seems like SbC clothing has flown under the radar of counterfeiters. Unlike MBMJ or Anna Sui, when I find a deal on ebay, I don't have to weigh the possibility that it is fake. Even if I won't get to wear this dress a lot, it is the kind of visually interesting dress I hope to wear for years. And I saved a lot of money compared to the sale prices (Zappos' current sale price triples it!). It was an online only item for a lot of retailers so I didn't expect to find one marked down enough for me. Even if stocking patterns have not resumed what they were pre-recession, I am convinced yet again that everything eventually will go on sale. And if it doesn't then who needs it?! Anyway, when Chris saw me pair it with my many years old SbC coat, he made fun of me for being such a fangirl.

March 20, 2011

D'armee Review and a sneak peek of most recent research project

The name alone drew me to this D'armee dress from Anthropologie. Since my dissertation focuses on the history of military recruitment via mass media, I have internalized the aesthetic values of all sorts of military-inspired pieces. Olive (aka army) green is one of my favorite neutrals. And although my local store didn't have the the khaki iteration of this dress, I was glad to figure out which size I needed so that I could include it in my "birthday wants" wishlist. The fit was true to size and I am wearing an 8 above. It is lightweight enough that it will transition easily to spring. The fabrication seems unworthy of the retail price. But now that it is on sale, it is reasonable. In other news, I am working on my conference presentation for Cultural Studies 2011 in Chicago.

(image I took of an archival ad from the NMAH)

I am excited to be writing about the bizarre, somewhat misguided patriotism of the diamond industry during WWII. I hope to get a lot of feedback on this manuscript so that I can submit it for publication this summer.

March 17, 2011

St. Cubes Day!

DVF green hearts leaves justin
(sorry about the crappy, fuzzy mirror photo! I left my camera in my car)

Ok so I don't have a Cubes dress like Rosa or the other Fashionism gals. But I do have a green DVF. To be honest I never really celebrate or observe St. Patty's Day, unless you count the occasional shamrock shake. Most of the beers I drink are too dark to dye green. And my family is Italian and Slovak so rarely have they made a big deal about it. I don't think I ever had corned beef before adulthood. But I like my little tradition with the Fashionism community. And even though I didn't have anywhere special to go today, as Thursdays are my write/work-from-home days, I threw this on for a dog walk (plus the two-paths trench). What is perhaps more exciting than St. Patrick's Day is that today marks my first day of bare legs!

March 16, 2011

My hardest working narcissist necklaces

When I was thinking about the hardest workers in my closet, it also made me evaluation which are my most clutch accessories and shoes. Although it goes against the price per wear theory of bargain dressing, I tend to avoid wearing my (relatively) fancier jewelry, day to day. Instead I always reach for these cute but reasonably priced initial necklaces. The left was from Anthro, and the right was a gift that came from Etsy. I wonder if I am too old to wear things emblazoned with my name or initials? Is it infantile? I would say, no. In fact, the only people I know with monogrammed towels, napkins, sheets, or barware are responsible, fancy adults.

And I really like name or initial pieces. For example, I love Anjali's name bracelet! A friend of mine is making me a morse code name necklace. I think that will be the perfect way to express myself (and arguably, my narcissism) in secret.

Customer Service Rave: Rogan NYC

Plaid shirt by Acne
Stitch's jeans
Bonus Speck Dog

I bought Chris the above heather-brown, linen-alpaca, henley sweater from Barneys when we were visiting New York in January. Although he picked it out, it was a birthday gift! So I held onto it for a few weeks. After his birthday, when he finally wore it, he noticed that a hole was developing where the garment tag attached to the knit. Knowing that Barneys would offer a return brought little comfort, as Chris REALLY wanted this sweater. But by now Barneys had cleared out any leftover discounted stock for the Warehouse Sale. So I contacted Rogan NYC with relatively low expectations. After all, I hadn't purchased the sweater 1. at full price or 2. directly from Rogan. Much to my surprise, Vivienne of customer relations responded to my email immediately, saying that she would have a replacement shipped to us if we sent the defective one to the warehouse for evaluation. The replacement sweater arrived today, making Chris a very happy (belated) birthday boy and both of us BIG fans of Rogan.

I have long admired Rogan's draped cardigans and chic separates. They've demonstrated their commitments to environmental and social justice many times over. I have a deep respect for ethical companies. And it is just great to learn that some brands absolutely stand behind their products! Thank you, Vivienne and Rogan NYC!

March 15, 2011

Wisteria Halter Dress Review

The print of the Wisteria Halter Dress called out to me from across the store because it looked like something you could find on a kid's Easter dress. I love purple and green so I grabbed one to try. I had no idea it ran so large because I hadn't yet read Roxy's or Jewish Girl's reviews. But an 8 is what I had, so an 8 is what I tried. And it was too large all over. I suggest sizing down because it has ample room for curves. The dress has potential but I will probably sit this one out, even on sale. There's no winterizing it, in my opinion. And it is a bit bold and cutesy for my own day-to-day wardrobe. If you love the print, it would make a great shower or garden party dress. I would consider it if I was attending an afternoon outdoor wedding this summer.

March 14, 2011

Cold Spell OOTD

The weather has warmed a bit, but last week it reverted back to winter.  I was fine with this because I got to participate in a cold weather activity I hadn't done since middle school! I went ice skating. On Monday my friend Phil organized an ice skating event to raise revenue for our local Planned Parenthood. A bunch of us bundled up and put on some skates. I am not very coordinated so I gripped the side rail and took the hands of generous, patient friends (including Chris who is shown taking Rachel around for a lap).

Rachel and I had a blast even if we weren't the most skillful skaters. And Chris got to show off a little bit. He loves winter sports!

March 13, 2011

Late to the party: Take Action dress review

February was a crazy month for me. It flew by. Numerous publication and faculty service deadlines convened at the same time. It entailed a bigger-than-usual trip because Chris and I flew across the country (instead of staying around the East Coast). And it didn't leave a lot of free time for shopping. For this reason I was excited that my local Anthropologie still had a bunch of the Take Action dresses in store last weekend. I never tried the Twinkle Twinkle dress (its predecessor) so I had no idea about fit. But I liked the newer color combo and loved how it looked on Becca and Anjali. I grabbed an 8 which seemed to work. Although the top fit a bit oddly, particularly underneath the bust (above the gathered waist) where it bloused. At least the bottom was a good fit. I think if I was going to buy this one I would want to wait until a second cut sale because I think I would only wear this layered with something and/or belted. This might be one of those dresses on which I pass but admire on others.

March 12, 2011

My hardest working garments

Excuse the dour face I'm making in this older photograph of me in my Old Navy leather jacket. Someone on Fashionism pointed out around the time that this piece was coveted that it is a pretty direct reference to a Mike and Chris leather hoodie. I managed to track one down on ebay after they had sold out in stores. And I've worn it to toughen up girlie dresses and skirts ever since. So despite my mixed feelings about knock offs, this leather hoodie from Old Navy makes the cut. It's a basic piece that was released in late 2006, if I remember correctly.

I wish I had bought the gray or oatmeal colored versions of this Casch Copenhagen sweater from Anthropologie. I wear my raspberry one as often as I can. It doubles as a  jacket in the spring and fall. And it makes an interesting topper when paired with jeans or skirts. On the left is a photo from October 2007. On the right I am wearing it three years later in October 2010. Hard working clothes combine versatility with longevity. I haven't lost interest in this sweater even though I bought it four years ago for my birthday!

This Levis denim jacket has been in my life for longer than Chris! I bought it from Gabriel Brothers for $9.99 when I was still an undergraduate. I estimate that it is over 10 years old. But it never goes out of style. And despite fluctuations in my weight over the years (I've never blogged about it but my weight has shifted by approximately 30 pounds), it has always managed to fit me.

I realized when I compiled this list that layering pieces dominated it! I guess that makes sense because as much as I adore my dresses, you can't wear and pair them with everything. The above work with corduroy pants and t-shirts as well as they do with dresses and skirts. The denim jacket in particular has outlasted everything else in my closet (save for a few sentimental t-shirts I've kept but not really worn). It has survived, edit after edit as I've tried to weed and reduce what I own. The most costly of the three pieces was the sweater, which was still purchased on sale. The least costly was the denim jacket.

I admit that I was surprised to be unable to rationalize the inclusion of any single dress. As dedicated as I feel to my dress collection none of them combined longevity with frequency the way these pieces did. If this was a list of my most treasured pieces my selection would be different.

What this has taught me: Hard working pieces aren't always the most glamorous or beloved. They see a lot of daylight because they're reliable, versatile, and most importantly simple enough to match many outfits and styles over time. Do you have any hard workers that go against my theory? Are any hard workers of yours are also unique and treasured? Am I wrong to assume that mostly basics will dominate the hard working lists of others? To read more about the hardest working pieces of a few fellow bloggers, go here.

March 11, 2011

Fashionable Academics Virtual Conference

Today I am among the participants in the "What a Feminist Looks Like" virtual conference at Fashionable Academics. I encourage you to read all the entries and add your own to the comments section. This was a great way to integrate Women's History Month with blogging so I want to thank the smart, stylish folks of Fashionable Academics for the wonderful opportunity to participate.

Here is what I wrote about what feminism means to me:

"Feminism has been the guiding philosophical thread of my academic career. And for me it means embodying and championing bell hooks’ notion that feminism is for everybody. Students are often reluctant to self-identify as feminists, shying away from the much-maligned word. My role is to reframe their definition of feminism, moving it away from wounds left by backlash but also refusing to dilute or disempower its potential. I begin with the concept of reflexivity. A feminist outlook includes reflexivity and gratitude in addition to the space for frustration and anger. Feminism encourages thoughtful reflections about privilege. It fosters the idea that privileges come in many forms. Feminism interrogates not only gendered privilege but class privilege, racial privilege, intellectual privilege, ethnic privilege, national privilege, able privileges, sexual identity privileges, faith/spiritually situated privileges, etc. It takes seriously the idea that class privileges do not only connect with wealth. 

Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of non-financial forms of capital couples with Patricia Hill Collins’ belief that power functions in matrices. Add Kimberle Crenshaw’s theory about intersectionality, (i.e. that is not productive to look only at one aspect of identity in isolation from others), and you can shed light on how to become more reflexive about privilege. These ideas help students understand relationships of power and the systemic marginalizations that can result.  My hope is that our conversations inspire not only gratitude and frustration, and a sense of feminist inclusion, but also I strive to cultivate a shared feeling of civic obligation. Together we should do what we can to ameliorate privilege discrepancies on local, national, and global scales. For me that is what it means to be a feminist."

I'm so grateful for feminism. Without the wheels of social progression I would not be who I am or live in the world that I inhabit. Granted, that world isn't perfect... But I believe that I stand on the shoulders of women (feminist and otherwise) who came before me. And I hope I can help to make the world a more equal, just place for the next generation. 

Be sure to go check out the entry so you can see how other fashionable bloggers feel about feminism! 

Readers' Hardest Working Garments Part Three

Beth from Another Fish in the Sea wrote that among her hardest workers is also one of her most treasured bargains. She says, "This skirt from Old Navy is almost 10 years old. I can hardly believe the skirt has held up this long, but  it is in a nice heavy flannel, and it is lined. The combination of the simplicity of the grey pencil skirt, with a small amount of detailing  on the bottom make it a classic and it is always easy to through on with a blouse when I don't have anything else to wear. (Or am too lazy to find something else to wear.)"

Beth also submitted a photo of her wearing the above breezy maxi dress. She wrote, "The other item that has been a workhorse in my wardrobe over the past year is a maxi dress from AT LOFT.  I've worn it to work (with a tank underneath and a cardi), to a bridal shower, to my friend's rehearsal dinner on St. John, on lazy Saturdays, out for drinks with friends, to outdoor concerts and all around.  It is insanely comfortable and at the same time is the easiest "complete outfit" in the world to put on. I guess neither of my workhorses are very glamorous, but they certainly earn their keep."

It's so true that often our hardest working pieces aren't necessarily the most glamorous or expensive. They're those pieces we rely on for comfort and versatility, again and again.

Shakespeare's Feminine Ending from Fashionable Academics wrote about her favorite red dress. "My red Anthro/Moth short-sleeved sweater dress that's a size too big (a M) but gets a ton of wear Oct-Mar." I can see why! Not only does it appear to be a very cute dress, but the color is excellent. Unrelated, I love her book balancing act in the photo!

Lastly, Marianne of Looks Good From the Back blogged about this topic not long ago when she discussed her beloved Marc by Marc Jacobs top. Be sure to check it out! And check out part one with Sahiti and Sarah and part two with 13 and Josie .

March 10, 2011

Anthropologie Review: Amhara Skirt

I saw stacks of the Amhara Skirt on a table at my local Anthropologie. I was drawn to it because of the contrasting prints. The vibrant colors and linen finish make it perfect for a summer vacation. It is light and easy to pack. The length is good. The fit was true to size. I grabbed an 8 but the elastic panel on the back means a range of sizes could work depending on the length you want. It also sort of means the back poofs a bit. The skirt is fully lined. It retails for $60-something which is affordable for full-price Anthropologie but perhaps a little inflated for what you get. If I grab this I am still going to wait for a sale. I wouldn't be able to wear it here til like May anyway. May as well hold off.

Readers' Hardest Working Garments Part Two

13 of Thirteen Pounds is a fellow academic and she wrote about a beloved blazer from the Gap. She said, "I wear it with everything, but especially to up the ante on more casual outfits when I'm instructing or in the field.  Or, it works as a completer piece for lighter tops, as in this pic. It's about a year old but is literally my best purchase ever.'s really warm." I love how she styled it with vibrant colors. A basic jacket can be so versatile because it goes with everything!

Josie from Jojophine is a newlywed (if my calendar math from her most recent blog entry is correct!)! She chose her favorite cardigan and dress. She wrote that, "I got both of them super cheap. The dress is gap (2 years ago) and I wear it with lots of different cardigans and belts as well as blouses to turn it into a full skirt. The cardigan is from H&M (1 year ago) and I wear it all the time! It was the best $20 I've spent in a long time on an article of clothing." That dress is too cute and the cardi has such pretty, feminine sleeves!

Thank you so much, 13 and Josie! One more batch to go, plus my own roundup.

March 09, 2011

Readers' Hardest Working Garments Part One

Sahiti of Adventures in Soro said that her classic Hunter rain boots are among the hardest workers in her closet. She writes, "They've protected me from knee high snow, melting slush, disgusting icy rain, and general cold weather.  They go with everything and they are heavy enough so I won't slip and fall."

Sarah from That Damn Green Dress said that shirtdresses remain a constant in her wardrobe. This one was shown being worn two different ways, styled for two different continents! She wrote, "This old black vintage striped shirtdress is such a go-to since the tiny gold, maroon, and teal stripes can be picked out with any number of cardigan or belt colours.  When I traveled to Frankfurt and Venice last year with only a carry-on bag of clothes to get me through 2 weeks, this was the first choice to go in the bag- dressy enough and casual enough for any occasion."

I love Sarah's dress and Sahiti's boots! Both are great exemplars of the subjectivity of hard working garment selection. Practical boots that keep you dry can be worn with a variety of outfits all season long. And a staple dress can take you from day to night, place to place. But depending on the preferences of the person, specific pieces become viewed as harder working. Thank you both for participating!

There's more to come and if you missed out, feel free to discuss your hardest workers in the comments!

Quick Hard-Working OOTD

DVF dress
Cece cardigan
Chloé flats
Anthropologie trench
Banana Republic necklace

I wore this to campus before Spring Break began. I have owned this dress for a long while. It was one of my first purchases from Shopbop. Although it isn't part of my hardest working garments list, I have brought down its cost-per-wear significantly over the years. At 70% off, it was easy to do.

Later today I will share some of the hardest workers in reader closets! 

In unrelated Pittsburgh business and ecommerce news, it was a major bummer to read that Modcloth laid off workers this week. Included in the layoffs were a few that the company very recently relocated from Pittsburgh to San Francisco. It almost makes me glad that they gave my friend the ax before she uprooted her and her husband's life late last summer. My heart goes out to those who are now looking for work.

March 08, 2011

Double Blogger OOTD

This past weekend I threw a belated birthday soirée for Chris. And my good friend, hair stylist, and fellow blogger Erin of Shoe Love was in attendance. So I asked the birthday boy to snap a duel OOTD photo for the blog(s). Erin is wearing a very cool vintage frock with some gorgeous Louboutins. I am wearing a See by Chloé dress with MBMJ maryjanes. Speck is just glad to not risk being stepped on. She kind of demands being held during parties cause the volume of people in our tiny house makes her nervous.

By the way, Happy International Women's Day! Today marks the 100th annual celebration and acknowledgment of women's achievements and contributions worldwide. To read more about it, go to the website here. And to see a list of 100 women who have moved the world go here.

March 07, 2011

Dear Creatures Fit Reviews

When I was in San Francisco I visited a boutique that carried a lot of clothing from Dear Creatures. This brand is one often carried by 80s Purple, Need Supply, Modcloth, and occasionally Anthropologie. I have always admired their simple, twee designs but never made the leap to purchase. I was glad to have the chance to see some of the pieces in person.

The scallop trim of this little shirt dress really made an otherwise boxy, boring frock something special. I am wearing a size medium but wish I had grabbed a size large for length. I didn't care for the way it draped when the waist was tied. But it needed to be belted in some way or else I just looked like a giant (albeit fashionable) toddler.

This plaid dress with bow collar was a bit too retro for my taste, and the fit was odd (wearing size large). Too short in length but too boxy up top. I often have this issue with body conscious dresses sized by letter rather than a more precise number.

I knew from the hanger that this dress teetered dangerously close to "Juniper Creek sister wife extra from Big Love" territory. But flatter-be-damned, I like drop waists, soft prints, and peter pan collars. This one (size large) had all three. And it was on second markdown. Still, I passed because the fit was ... odd. Unflattering-bad instead of what I consider to be unflattering-good.

The Dear Creatures price points seem reasonable, particularly when on sale. The quality is decent. My main issue was finding a good fit. Small/Medium/Large sizing for sac shaped dresses usually works fine when the fabrics have more give or movement.  The stiffer canvases and cottons of Dear Creatures didn't permit a lot of fudging in the size/fit department. If I lived in a place with a warmer climate and/or if I had longer, more lithe legs, I would probably own a few of their cute frocks. I passed on these because they weren't a good fit for my curvier frame.

March 06, 2011

Knock Off News and Ethics

I spotted these See by Chloé-mirrored prints at a fast fashion boutique on Haight St. in San Fransisco. Imagine the price points and stock of a mom and pop version of Forever 21. It is possible that they use similar supply chains so maybe they will end up there or at Francesca's Collections or one of the other similar spots?

Above are See by Chloé pieces featuring the prints. The poly-blend of the knock off dresses make them markedly different from silk and wool fabrications. But still. And yesterday reader Maggie May alerted me to Forever 21's Trompe L'oeil knock off of the Marc by Marc Jacobs cardigan I posted (from the Spring 2010 collection).

The Forever 21 version is on the left with MBMJ on the right.

It got me thinking again about the ethics of inspiration. I can't deny that it bums me out to find knock offs of pieces I e-stalked and bought (usually at a significant discount). On some level it makes the time I spent tracking something down feel wasteful. But I also realize it isn't simple or cut and dry. References and inspired pieces are everywhere. Keeping up on who referenced who can be daunting and time-consuming. It'd be one thing if fashion was my job, but it will always be my silly hobby.  I also don't have the finances to buy every original piece I covet. Knowing where to draw the line becomes even more challenging when so many brands create their own cheaper, "diffusion line" versions of expensive, coveted pieces (Mulberry for Target is one example). Where do you draw the line? Do you draw a line or think about knock offs?

For example, last season I almost bought the Brief Meeting Blazer from Anthropologie which was a pretty direct Elizabeth and James knock off. When I found the Elizabeth and James original in a Nordstrom Rack for about the price of the Anthro version, I passed again. When something I want is knocked off at a mass retailer it kind of kills my desire for the original (along with my desire for the cheaper version, Two Paths Trench coat notwithstanding).What are your thoughts on buying obviously inspired pieces?


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