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

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Oxford Love!

Since Jenna posted about Oxfords, I couldn't resist adding my own post. I've been having a love affair of my own with the oxford lately. While it's true that I've purchased three pairs of oxfords in the last six months, I've also got pairs dating back as far as high school. I've always been a fan of the menwear look (until Avril Lavigne ruined ties for all of us for awhile), and these compliment that pefrectly. Without further ado, I give you my oxford collection:


Clockwise from bottom: vintage brown spectators from Sophie Joe's in St. Paul, MN (bought in 2007?), Saddle shoes with red sole from awesome saddle shoe manufacturer Muffy's Enterprises (purchase this year), classic saddle shoes from Payless.com (purchased 2006), suede Hush Puppies from my high school years (1998?), Wood Street Shoes from Modcloth (this year), and vintage oxfords from Deborah Jean Vintage on Etsy (this year).







I'd like to take the opportunity here to also profess my love for saddles shoes, which appear to actually be making a small comback. For my money, though, Payless can't be beat for the simplest and cheapest saddle shoe (I think mine were around $15). I get compliments on them everywhere I go. Also check out the aforementioned Muffy's, which has every style of saddle shoe you could ever want, made with loving care.
The brown spectators featured are probably my favorites, however the sole has worn through and I need to get them fixed. I'm wary of the cobbler in my neighborhood because they told me they couldn't fix a broken zipper on a boot. Can they really be trusted with soles, then?

I think I have enough oxfords for now, but this fall I'm coveting a pair of lace-up booties with kind of a new wave flair. These from Urban Outfitters are perfect, though annoyingly expensive:

-Maura

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ogling Oxfords

I have two shoe-related confessions to make. The first is that, though I love the look of heels and own a few pairs, at the end of the day I'm really a flats kind of gal. And the second is that I just can't bring myself to buy vintage/second hand shoes! I think this has to do with the fact that my mom always told me never to wear other people's shoes... so, though I love the looks I see on many blogs (and on Maura!) I feel compelled to buy new shoes and mostly flats.

So, I've been really excited about oxfords coming into style. I spent a lot of last year searching for an alternative to ballet flats to wear to work/teaching that were still somewhat professional and oxfords seem like just what I was looking for!

Here are a bunch of oxfords I found on the web - some in my price range and some just wishful thinking. I'll have to narrow it down, or just take my chances with DSW or some such place to find a pair for myself!

- JennaFrom Steve Madden: the Tuxxedo Oxford $79.95
From BCfootwear: Thunder in Nutmeg $55From modcloth: Architect's Spectators in Stone $84.99 (Are these actually oxfords? I'm not sure, but they're really cute!)From amazon.com: Penny Loves Kenny Cloud Oxford $23.98 (What a deal!)From zappos.com: Taryn Rose Burda Oxford $253
From urban outfitters: Jeffrey Campbell Cutout Oxford $128
From urban outfitters: DRU NY Oxford $148

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Baby Blue

Today I pulled out the vintage button down shirt I bought when I was home in Rochester this weekend. I was excited about it because 1. I love the Peter Pan collar - and this one actually can button closed to create a round collar that goes all the way around and 2. because it was only $3! I also decided to wear the little bird pin that I brought back from my parent's house.


















When I bought this shirt, I thought of Maura (it seemed like something you would like!) and now this post makes me think of her post about tomboy style. But maybe it's just the vintage shirt/shorts/sneakers combination that makes me think that!

Here's the detail on the shirt!- Jenna

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home Shopping

I went home for a couple of days to visit my parents. While I was home, I did some real shopping - I revisited my favorite thrift shop from high school, the vintage shop where I got my prom dress, and Marshall's - but I also did some "shopping" in my parent's house and rediscovered some items that were sitting around in my old bedroom, abandoned for years.

First there's this pin, which I think was bought my some relative of mine at the Cincinnati Art Museum, I have no idea when! But I kind of love it.Then I found this belt, which I think I bought at a thrift shop during college, but had totally forgotten about.Last was this vintage cardigan, which I believe a high school friend of mine bought for me on a family vacation. It's funny how you can totally forget the history of clothes you have hanging around in your house (or your parent's house). Anyway, I think in high school it seemed too fancy or lavish to wear, but I think I'll find a use for it now!I'll post more about my actual purchases I made at home, but it was sort of fun to add to my wardrobe for free! Do you guys ever find items you've forgotten about when you head back home?
- Jenna

Fashion inspiration: the Duckman

In tribute to John Hughes, I purchased and watched Pretty in Pink for the umpteenth time this weekend, including all of the 20th anniversary special features. As usual, I found myself gravely disappointed by the re-shot ending in which Andie, the smart girl from the wrong side of the tracks, ends up with Blane, a rich kid with little personality, ugly pants, and a name that says "major appliance." In the original version of the film, Andie shows up to the prom with her best pal Duckie, and they celebrate their friendship and individuality by dancing to Bowie's "Heroes." How sweet would that have been?
Pretty in Pink is a fairly formulaic romantic teen movie, but one factor screws the whole thing up: Phil "Duckie" Dale. Every time I watch the movie, I find myself more taken with the uniqueness of this character. Duckie doesn't fit the stereotype of the school nerd (he's failing) or the geek (no weird obsessions except for his love for Andie), but he's also not depicted as dark and depressed. He seems to have even less money than Andie, though we only get glimpses of this, like the shot of him in his bedroom, slumped on a matress on the floor. He loves Andie, but it's not a crush from afar: he knows her better than anyone else. Oh, and he also listens to the Smiths and knows all the words to Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness."

Thus, I'll state definitively that Duckie is my favorite John Hughes character of all. (On a side note, I'm also strangely in love with Jon Cryer after hearing his hilarious and charming comments throughout the special features). One of the things I love most about Duckie is his fashion. His style is crazy and out-there, yet it doesn't define him: in fact in the film, no one even comments on it. His look combines the 80's trends of pattern and layering (vests over patterned shirts, layered striped socks) with rockabilly touches, like bolo ties, sport jackets and, of course, those white shoes. I've tried to compile some Duckie-inspired items available now, for women who didn't identity as much with Andie (and wouldn't be caught dead in that baggy pink dress).
Blazer from Urban Outfitters ($48), Bolo tie from Alan Goldin Jewelry on Etsy ($20), Flats from Urban Outfitters ($38)
Bowler hat from Urban Outfitters ($28), Polka dot suspenders from Im Your Present on Etsy ($10), Vest from Since 1985 on Etsy ($10)
Leg Warmers from Modcloth ($11.99), and White oxfords from 1ThingLeads on Etsy ($45)


Legwarmers can substitute for scrunchy socks, and cute white flats for the famous Duckie shoes. All that's left are some vintage patches for your jacket, rolled-up black pants, and an attitude, and you'll be ready to "plow." -Maura