Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fun with Converse

I decided recently to order some new sneakers, as my old Converse and PF Flyers seemed too chunky to wear with skinny jeans, their colors were faded, and I felt I just needed a change. After searching the Internet for a new brand and coming up dry, I revisited the (now Nike-owned) Converse online store to see what I could find. Maybe I'm behind on this trend, but I had no idea I could design my own shoes for the same price as purchasing a regular pair! You can choose everything: the color of the shoe, back stripe, tongue, lining, stitching, laces, toe cap, and even the stripe that goes around the shoe. I decided on an "all star light," which is just like the regular model except lower, lighter, and just plain better in my opinion. I chose a slate blue color with bright green stitching and lining, etc. Pretty conservative, but I'm happy.
This sounds like I'm shilling Converse, but I really love them! Here they are:


-Maura

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Brooklyn Flea

Today I went to the Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene. Though I didn't buy anything (there's lots of vintage stuff, artwork, etc. but it's all a little expensive), I did eat a delicious hot dog from Asia Dog - it was a hot dog with pork belly on top. SO GOOD. Then me, Matt, and our friends walked around the neighborhood a bit and ended up in Fort Greene Park, which was really lovely. Here's a pic from the park:


Today I decided to wear this dress I got on sale from Tulle. I like the dress a lot, but it reminded me how tall models are because on the Tulle website, the dress fell to about the model's mid thigh... whereas on me it goes to my knees. If only one of the girls from the cycle of ANTM were on the Tulle website, I could have seen how long the dress really would be on me! Oh well, I still like it.

I felt a little dressed up, but I liked the outfit and I love this little yellow shrug, which is from Forever 21. Here's the detail on the shrug (Blogger is driving me crazy and not letting me put the pics in the order I wanted them!) and after that the pics of the whole outfit. Happy Weekend everyone! - Jenna

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Steel City Big Pour & the Magic of Etsy

This weekend, I attended Pittsburgh's annual Steel City Big Pour, an event at which Pittsburgh food vendors and area breweries gather under one roof for a festival of sorts, serving those of us willing to fork over $45 all the food and beer we can stand for three hours. Though we were all drunk and bloated by the end, it was great fun trying all the beers and small snacks, and generally supporting Pittsburgh businesses. There was even a cheesy dad-like rock band playing Band covers, an arts and crafts booth, and an outdoor biergarten area. Favorite beer: Southern Tier Black Ale. Favorite food: beef tongue nachos from Six Penn downtown.














I also got to wear a recent purchase from the awesome Talynvintage on Etsy: a 1960's schoolgirl-style dress with orange ascot.
Shoes from Etsy, tights from J. Crew

What better way to enjoy an evening of beer and food with my boyfriend and a group of awesome friends? Robert was clad in American Apparel as usual:
-Maura

Like a Fine Wine...

When I look at my wardrobe, there are few things left that I've had nearly my whole adult life. First of all, I'm slightly larger than I used to be (as I should be), and secondly, I tend to buy not-so-expensive clothes that either wear out or go out of style. There are a few shirts, and a few dresses, however, that have managed to stick with me over the years. I'm reminded of an American Eagle plaid jumper, purchased in 1997 (when beginning 9th grade), that I still wear; a madras blouse purchased from the Gap in 1998, and this black and white sweater dress, bought for $15 at Bergner's department store circa 1999. To prove I'm not too old, I even remember the details of the transaction: my mom found the dress on the sales rack, and instantly knew (with he excellent fashion sense), that it was right up my alley. I've been loving it ever since, and even wore it to work recently:

Dress: "French Twist" via Bergner's, shoes: Etsy

Maybe it's a little 90's, but to me it seems pretty timeless.

-Maura

Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting Over It

A few weeks ago I put up a post about how I wanted a pair of Oxfords, but how I wasn't able to bring myself to by used shoes. Well, a little bit after that, I started looking at shoes on ebay, and I managed to get over my fears and bid on a few pairs. I did win one, and I tried them on yesterday with my outfit I wore to do some errands. I have to admit, though, I didn't actually end up wearing them out. They were described as being in "vintage used" condition, which means they're definitely worn in and I'm worried about them falling apart on the tough streets of New York!

I might see if I can get them resoled or something, but I just love the look of them AND they were under 20 bucks (maybe for good reason)! Anyway, I'm sure I will wear them out sometime soon. They're just so cute!My outfit - the tank top is H&M, the belt and sweater are thrifted (I kind of love short sleeved cardigans. They're surprisingly useful!), the jeans are Levi's. Oh, and the orange socks are also from H&M!
- Jenna

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Modlife Appearance

They posted my fave find today on the Modcloth blog! Here's a screen capture. I just figured out today that I can do screen captures on my computer, so forgive the strangeness of the amount of screen that I actually captured...- Jenna

Labor Day (feeling wordy)

I keep getting Labor Day mixed up with Memorial Day, though the sentiments surrounding the two are quite different. They both seem to be holidays, however, whose original meaning has been lost. Memorial Day has become nothing more than a time for barbequing, drinking, and dusting off the ol' speedboat, ready to usher in a season of Kid Rock-esque cavorting with chicks in bikinis. Do we ponder about wars past or present? Do we think of who died and who is dying and why? Only enough, it seems, to don an American flag speedo or break in a new set of Confederate mudflaps.

Labor Day works in much the same way. Created as a means of showing support for the labor movement, unions, and workers, it now serves as a mere marker of the end of summer: a time for barbequing, drinking, and putting the cover back on the ol' speedboat, ready to usher in a season of paper-pushing, football, and dread. Of course with Wal Mart et al. raking in the dough, unions don't really mean much anymore. And a lot of the blue collar workers that this holiday is supposed to celebrate have to work through it.


I've gone through different attitudes toward Labor Day in my life. As a child, of course, Labor Day is an ominous holiday, a black cloud that hovers just beyond August. There it rests, disguised though it may be by the promise of back to school sales and pipe dreams of newfound popularity. We always started school before Labor Day, which made it even worse. Once I got to college, Labor Day became an exciting time: the long-overdue expiration date on my summers of stifling boredom. And now? It means little to me, apart from some vague sense of betrayal on behalf of the struggling labor movement.

So what did I do this Labor Day? Well, I went to two barbeques, of course. I drank beer. I mourned summer's end. And I watched some damn fine reruns.

And because this is sort of a fashion blog, here's what I wore to said barbeques:

Shorts: Urban Outfitters (last year), t-shirt: Forever 21 ($5), headband: Forever 21 ($1.50 for 2!), shoes: Steve Madden, belt: thrifted.

-Maura

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Word is Love

They've been playing the Beatles Anthology on VH1 Classic the past few weeks, I guess in preparation for the Beatles Rock Band that's coming out soon. I don't care about the video game at all, but I was really excited to watch the Anthology - I don't think I've seen it since I was 12 or 13 (maybe since it was on the first time?) but it totally started an obsession for me. I was Beatles Crazy from 6th to 8th grade or so.

Watching the Anthology again has been fun - it's funny to see how, even though I haven't been Beatles obsessed in oh... 12 years or so, I still feel that same interest and excitement I felt when I watched it in 1995.

Anyway, with all this anticipation of fall and cool weather, I thought this album cover was appropriate to put up here. Doesn't it make you want to hang around in a lovely park with leaves falling and four adorable British lads?And, OK I'm going to throw in this later pic too, just because I always loved Paul and, though George, John, and Ringo look a little ridiculous in their fur and brightly colored clothes, I think Paul looks so stylish and cozy in his suit here.All right, enough revisiting the obsessions of my twelve year old self...Hope everyone had a lovely long weekend!

- Jenna

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reading on the Subway

So, this is not particularly fashion-y, but I wanted to share this article I found in The New York Times this morning, which just made me smile. It's all about how people read on the subway, what they read, and how they do it despite the crowds. It made me happy to see a little slice of New York life that rings so true to me. Here's a snippet from the article:

"These days, among the tattered covers may be the occasional Kindle, but since most trains are still devoid of Internet access and cellphone reception, the subway ride remains a rare low-tech interlude in a city of inveterate multitasking workaholics. And so, we read.

Even without a seat, even while pressed with strangers into human panini, even as someone plays a keyboard harmonica and rattles a cup of change, even when stumbling home after a party."

The article goes on to talk about specific people they saw on the subway and what they were reading. My favorite was the kids coming back from a camp field trip who were required to read their books whenever they were lucky enough to get a seat on the subway. I liked that story, too because one of the little girls they mention was reading a Babysitter's Club book and boy, oh boy, was I into those when I was a kid.

Maybe because I'm going to New Jersey for the weekend, I'm thinking a little bit about NYC this morning and what I love about it. Sometimes taking the train can be awful and crowded and smelly, but sometimes it can be so relaxing and exciting to find your own little mental space to read in the midst of the crowds of strangers.

Have a great Labor Day!

- Jenna

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Retro Bridesmaid

In July, my brother announced that he's marrying his girlfriend next March in a destination wedding at Sandals resort in St. Lucia. Because it's going to be a small wedding with just family and a few close friends, we're able to avoid the cheesy traditions of buffet dinners, wedding reception DJs, and, best of all, matching bridesmaids. There's a dinner before the wedding, and otherwise it's all frolicking around a tropical locale with my family and my boyfriend. I've never really been to a tropical locale before, and the only ocean I've seen has been during trips to frigid Ireland and Maine, and a shark-interrupted Florida beach visit. I'm excited to purchase a retro swimsuit for the trip, but I haven't found the perfect high-waisted two piece yet (any suggestions??).
Though it's still early, I wanted to find a dress for the wedding before winter hit and my options narrowed considerably. While trolling Etsy during work yesterday, I landed on the perfect dress from SmallEarthVintage :

At $140, it was a little more than I would usually spend, but it is a special occasion. I'm also going to two other weddings next summer, so where's the harm in a little re-wearing? This dress has such a Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby vibe, I can't stand it! I'm so exicted for it to arrive in the mail. After a tour through many Pittsburgh department store dress sections and boutiques, I've learned vintage is pretty much always the way to go. Surely no one else will be wearing the same dress.

-Maura

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Shrugs and Loafers

Well my parents were here again this past weekend, so I haven't had much time to keep up the blog. However, I wanted to share one of my favorite work outfits from last week:

Dress: Fashion Dictionary Dress from Modcloth, Shrug: Target, Shoes: thrifted
It's been unseasonably cool here, which is partly a bummer but also an excuse to wear cute sweaters, like this orange shrug from Target. I'm a big fan of shrugs, even if they're not in style that much anymore. Like the bolero of yore, it's a way to keep warm without looking like Old Mother Hubbard.
Last week I also finally received the shoes I purchased for just $12.50 from The Lovelys vintage shop on Etsy:

I love these little Twiggy-style loafers! What a bargain! They're very comfortable, and seem to go with everything. I broke them in on Thursday, when my boyfriend, a friend and I went to the Andy Warhol Museum to see a show by noisy girl group rockers Vivian Girls. They rocked, of course, and a great band I hadn't heard of called The Beets opened. If you get a chance to see them I recommend it highly--like Half Japanese only less deranged. Anyway, here's what I wore:


Blouse: $5 at H & M, t-shirt: Up Six Vintage (St. Paul, MN), skirt: Avalon Exchange (Banana Republic)


I wore the shoes again yesterday for the first day of school, meaning I work slightly harded and have slightly different hours. It was freezeing yesterday, so I tried them with tights. Magic!

Sweater: Banana Republic, Skirt: $10 at the Limited many years ago, Tights: J. Crew sale for $3

-Maura

Monday, August 31, 2009

Little White Lie

OK, so it wasn't really a lie that I said I was going to wear that cute blouse/skirt/belt combo that I posted last week. How was I to know that it would be strangely cool today and that the thought of facing a room full of undergrads would make me run to my number one comfort item: my black skinny jeans!

So, I survived my first day of teaching and here's what I wore. The blouse is vintage and silk and much more turquoise than it looks in these pictures (I took them tonight when I got home at about 9 and the energy efficient light bulbs in my living room make things kind of yellow-y) and the bag is a new fave - a vintage American Tourister bag that I bought in at the Mall of St. Paul in Minnesota (not to be confused with the Mall of America. It's an awesome antique mall).



















I also dropped my camera on the ground while taking these pictures and it was doing a weird thing when I turned it on for a while! It seems to be OK now, though. But just so you know, I suffer for our blog!Does anyone else have an item of clothing that acts as a security blanket a la my jeans?

- Jenna

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to School Dress Up

Maura's many delightful new outfits in her Parent's Weekend post made me want to play dress up too! So I put on a few outfits today that I would possibly wear for my first day back to teaching on Monday. Of course, the truth of the matter is that 1. I was doing this in order to procrastinate on the work I should have been doing on my syllabi, course planning, etc. and 2. it's going to be hot hot on Monday, so most of these outfits (well, at least the ones involving tights and a corduroy skirt) are probably not in the running.

But hey, who doesn't love a little procrastination and a little dress up!

Dress: Modcloth, Boots: Steve Madden, Cardigan: thrifted, Belt: thrifted
Dress: Modcloth, Boots: Steve Madden, Shirt: vintageShirt: thrifted, Skirt and Belt: H&M, T Straps: AerosolesBlouse: Gap, Skirt: Old Navy, Belt: vintage, T Straps: Aerosoles

The last outfit is probably the one I'll wear, but it was fun to try on the other ones, too. I liked mixing up one piece in a few different ways and also dreaming about fall, when I can wear my clothes without sweating!

- Jenna

Modlife Appearance

I happened to meet a writer from Modcloth at a party recently, and she told me about a feature they run on the Modlife blog called "My Favorite Find." The deal is, you send in a vintage or thrifted item that you feel lucky to have found. I sent in mine, a vintage dress scored in St. Paul, MN. Today it was posted: http://blog.modcloth.com/2009-08-26-mondrian-meets-maura#comments
I love Modcloth, and since it's Pittsburgh-based, to me it feels like a local boutique. I'm happy to be on their blog!
-Maura

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Parents' Weekend Shopping Spree

My parents were visiting this past weekend, and that usually means my mom and I will spend one day at some sort of mall, shopping 'til we drop (and my dad will sit on many different benches). Because we don't see each other too often, we usually save up our collective shopping energy (and money) so we can buy outfits together. So Saturday we hit the Ross Park Mall in Pittsburgh, ogled expensive clothes in Nordstrom, and I managed to find a lot of great new work and casual clothes. Just because I'm not going back to school doesn't mean I can't go back to school shopping! Just for kicks, I tried on my new clothes and styled a bunch of new outfits:
New item #1: gray Joan Holloway-inspired dress from H & M, with seafoam green lapel flower from NY & Co. Paired with Modcloth mary janes and my mom's earrings.
New item #2: Gray high-waisted skirt with belt from H & M. Paired with Banana Republic Blouse and H & M pumps.
New item # 3: Flowly black miniskirt from H & M. Paired with H & M tank, Delia's belt and oxfords from Etsy.
New item # 4 (and my favorite): Boyfriend blazer from the Gap. Paired with H & M tank, Express Jeans and Indigo by Clarks flats.


New items #5 & #6: Ribbon-collar top from J. Crew, skinny black pants from Banana Republic. I have been looking for pants like these for years, and they are perfect! Paired with vintage pumps.
New items #7 & #8: Checked blouse and electric blue sweatervest from NY & Co. I never really liked this store, but this is a cute combo! Paired with Delia's jeans and Payless Saddle Shoes.
So there you have it. One busy Saturday, and an exciting new back to school wardrobe!
-Maura




Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thanks Bubbie!

A few years ago my bubbie (grandma, that is, for you not familiar with Yiddish) decided to clean out some things from her house and on one of my visits upstate she asked if I wanted any of her old costume jewelry. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for costume jewelry. I guess I like real jewels all right, but give me the fake stuff any day! So, of course I said, yes please! Anyway, since my outfits have been boring all week (I have just been rotating tops and wearing that same black American Apparel skirt since Monday or so...) I thought I would share some of the items my bubbie was sweet enough to give me.

For now I'll start with the bracelets. I'm not always so inclined to wear bracelets, but I still love these... I think some of them probably need some polishing, but here they are anyway. Oh! And I gained a new found respect for hand models, as I attempted to take some pictures of myself wearing these bracelets and my hand just ended up looking limp and disembodied. George Constanza really did have a special gift!
I have to say, I think this one above is my favorite. I love the little gold leaves and the light sea greeny color.
This one came with matching clip on earrings, which I don't even attempt to wear!OK, so this is just another pair of clip on's that I sort of love, but I thought I throw them in since they were lying around near the bracelets!

Have you guys had any great vintage finds courtesy of your grandmothers?

- Jenna

Distressed Dress

When deciding what to wear to work today, I dug an old dress out of my closet that I haven't worn in probably over a year: This Pepto-Bismol and brown striped dress with appliqued flowers, a little belt, and righteous shoulder pads. The brand is Carole King, one of my favorite vintage brands. Many years ago I bought a perfect little red dress by this same label, though it has since become impossible for me to squeeze into. I've tried to figure out when these Carole King clothes are from (60s? Early 70s?), but a google search always yields far too many nostalgic musings on the album Tapestry.




Anyway, I purchased this dress at an estate sale in my hometown in 2003 for $2, I believe, though I've only worn it on select occasions. One problem is there are quite a few stains on the skirt of the dress. I have attempted to get it cleaned, but have been warned against this since it is crepe and will probably end up looking worse. While small stains wouldn't typically bother me, I felt that showing up to work in a stained dress is a level I'm not ready to sink to. Another problem with this dress that has only presented itself more recently is the sleeves. Apparently, I have gained weight in the arms since 2003 and it now cuts off the circulation. That seems like it will be easy to fix, so I might ask my sewing-literate friend to try and let them out.
I love this dress and it makes me sad to retire it, so I'll fight for its survival, even if it will never make its debut in the office.
-Maura

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Two weekends, three outfits

I haven't been wearing that many cute clothes lately, as the summer heat has been forcing me to change into my pajamas immediately upon my arrival home from work. I don't look too photogenic in my striped lady boxers from Target, but I did manage to put together a few cute outfits this past weekend and the weekend before. The weekend before last, I was slated to play a show (I'm a singer-songwriter) Morning Glory Coffeehouse in Pittsburgh. Well I got all dolled up and went down there with an army of friends, only to find that the other band's van broke down and the show was cancelled. This was actually a good thing, considering it was ungodly hot and the venue is sans AC. However, I did play a few songs in my friend's backyard on what turned out to be a lovely night. Now on to what I wore:

This isn't the clearest photo of my dress, but it's a cute flowered H & M day dress that I found recently at Avalon Exchange in Pittsburgh for quite cheap. I'm wearing it with the same oxfords from Deborah Jean Vintage on Etsy that I've featured before, and carrying my favorite leather purse from a market in Florence (also, my guitar).

This past weekend I had Friday off, and I went to see (500) Days of Summer for the second time with my friend Amy, who hadn't seen it yet. Afterward, we had outdoor cocktails and giggled like fools over celebrity crushes and gossip. On Saturday night, my friends had a party on the back patio of their new house, where we hung out, sweat, and drank beer. Here are my outfits from those excursions:












On the left is a old (from high school) tee shirt from the Gap, layered over an Urban Outfitters tank. The shorts (a few years old) are from H & M, and the shoes are my favorite oxfords from Modcloth! The bangle was purchased over 10 years ago at the Galesburg Salvation Army.
On the right is a dress from some department store (Bergner's?), thrited Ann Taylor blouse, tie from Lula vintage in St. Paul, MN, and those same damn oxfords from Deborah Jean Vintage.
I did my best to sweat in style!
-Maura

Monday, August 17, 2009

Black and White All Over

I'm basically melting in the heat today, so here's the only outfit I managed to make work. The tank top is from H&M and the skirt is from American Apparel. I attempted to accessorize - I tried earrings, necklaces, even brooches, but this outfit rejected them! It's just too darn hot for anything but total simplicity! And you can blame Matt for the weird angle of this pic... I suppose I can't blame him since he's nice enough to take pictures of my outfits whenever I ask him to! Though today is pretty low key, my Sunday was really fun - we went out to Westchester to visit some friends and went to the beach and swimming in the Long Island Sound! After being in the ocean a few weeks ago, the Sound was kind of disappointing - no waves and soooo many snails that you stepped on when you were in the water, but it was still really fun! Then we got back to the city just in time for the Mad Men season premier! (Photo from the AMC website)

- Jenna