Tuesday, April 16, 2013


No, I'm not walking around without any underwear on. But I am, metaphorically speaking, taking off the fashionoclast garb and bringing this grand fashion blogging experiment to an end. It amazes me that this little blog, which I stared on March 9th, 2009, has gone on for four years. Four! Years! Alas, The Fashionoclast will be a single-term president for various reasons. Some have to do with marketing realities, but the crux is that I no longer feel motivated to write about fashion - at least, not on a regular basis.

It's become tiresome to keep walking into stores and seeing the same ol' tired - and limited - selection of men's fashion, for one thing. And men's fashions are even an afterthought for my favourite designers, however brilliant. I understand that women's fashion is where the love, and money, are (as well as the love of money), and don't begrudge the imaginative variety of options for women. Yet there's only so many time I can bang my head against the wall and bemoan that the energy and enthusiasm lavished onto women's designs is rarely exerted on behalf of men. There are only so many loafers and flip-flops, so many limited variations on the same theme of shirts and pants, that I can stand.

Of course, I understand that the industry orients itself to the market, and between society's fetish for women's feet and cultural double-standards of beauty, it's not surprising that both big and indie fashion are mostly focused with satisfying women's footwear/sartorial needs and desires. Considering that there are zillions of blogs already covering women's fashion in exhaustive details, most with the benefit of lady bloggers who can actually model the clothes and shoes, I don't feel like I have anything unique or worthwhile to contribute to the topic, even as a cheerleaders for talented folk. If I don't have something to say, I'm not the type to say it in a loud voice. And fashion blogging as a spectator sport is losing its appeal.

I could take the activist route, start a fashion company, be my own fashion designers and just stick it to the world. Damn the torpedoes! And all that.

But no. That won't work.

In any case, no more ranting. I'm sure you don't want to read frothy rants, and I sure as heck don't want to write them. So let's just say the time has come to refocus my efforts on other, more fruitful projects and endeavours, such as getting a novel published, building up my professional career brand, and so on and so forth, etc., etc., etc.. Blogging here has been, thankfully, fun more often than not, and I'm grateful for the genuinely creative people I've encountered over the years, both among readers and among the designers I've featured.

Before I sign off, I want to be sure you don't leave with empty hands. So here are fashion blogs I humbly suggest you bookmark and read regularly, in no particular order...

  • Away from the Blue: I started reading Mica's friendly and charming blog almost from the time she started it, and it's been great  fun to see how her style has changed over time. Mica has none of the pretensions that fashion bloggers are prone to, and that's refreshing. Down-to-earth and lovely.
  • Pump Up the Frump: Nobody styles vintage finds like Becky does, which is reason enough to follow her exploits. But she puns too, which is all the more endearing, and fearlessly dares where few dare to dare.
  • Blooberry Muffin: Jessica's blog lives up to its tagline of "life and everything in it - food, friends, animals, travels, musings and pretty things." It's sweetly eclectic and always a delight.
  • Stylish With A Budget: Though this be budget, yet there is style in it! And how "budget" is Isabel Marant, anyway? June is an architect, and her love of design extends to the world of fashion with ever-stylish outfit posts. Word.

And, of course, other fine blogs in the sidebar at right...

As for me, I'll still be around the ol' internet. I'd be thrilled and honoured if you followed me at my blog ink & ashes, where I just might throw in the occasional fashion morsel among the buffet of politics, culture, arts, and entertainment commentary.

Although this is the end of the line for The Fashionoclast, it's not quite so permanent as staking it through the heart. Better to say that it's going into an indefinite hiatus, with the archive of posts still available for perusal and the possibility that perhaps someday I'll revive it.

Thank you for reading. In the words of Douglas Adams, so long, and thanks for all the fish.

Monday, April 1, 2013


This lovely foot is, obviously, not mine; it’s Becky’s, and it’s on loan to us from Pump Up the Frump to model a pair of sandals that justify trotting out that clichéd fashionista adjective, “fabulous.” Eye-catching, irrepressibly fun, playful…fabulous...what’s not to love?

04-18 sandal

Says Becky:

I love these sandals more than any rational person should. I bought them years ago and they never fail to garner compliments. Perhaps even more importantly, they are that rare combination of beautiful and practical that always seems to elude me... great for going out or for spending an afternoon in a canoe. And when a single sandal can take you from creek to club, you know you're got something special.

Because of my undying adoration, I've been on the search for a replacement pair. I haven't had any luck with that so if anyone has a line on possible backup sandals, please sing out!

The adoration, I’d say, is perfectly understandable, especially given this:


Asymmetry! It's like wearing hip mismatched socks, without feeling like one's feet has been stuffed into sausage casings.

I’ve been seeing these awesome sandals pop up in Becky’s outfit posts for quite a while, and I finally decided to look into their makers, BC Footwear. Calling their design style “West Coast Cool,” BC footwear aims to fuse together oppositional influences such as high fashion and DIY, vintage and modern, into something “radically different, spontaneous and unpredictable.” Here are few gleeful samples from their current catalog:

Would if I Could:


Meal Ticket:

Cup of Tea:

Salt and Pepper:

Sweet Success:

I'd say they succeed in their goals...what do you think?

I'm thinking I should go behind the scenes of this whimsical brand...if you have any questions you'd like answered, eMail them to me at fsisa [at] thefrontpageonline [dot] com.

Oh..and many thanks to Becky for sharing her fabulous sandals with us...

Image disclaimer: Images of Becky's colourful and asymmetrical sandals borrowed with her kind permission. Shoe images from BC Footwear borrowed under fair use from bcfootwear.net; they will be removed at the copyright owner's request.

Monday, March 25, 2013

on the ropes

So why are these rope sandals still in the box and not, as you might expect, on my feet?

Before I answer, let me mention that these are the second pair of rope sandals I've come to own. The first were a pair of Gurkees (Neptune, if I remember correctly). They looked great, garnered many compliments, and were comfortable...except for the fact that the soles were uncushioned making it a trial to walk on hard surfaces for extended periods of time. What finally did them in, however, was the way in which the rope frayed and wore at the heel, making the sandals look cheap and ratty. So much for rope sandals.

Then came the opportunity to try rope sandals from another company, one that offered a nifty lace-up style and, best of all, could bond the rope footbed to a Vibram sole as a custom job. The result is what you see above. Unfortunately, the design is not what I envisioned or expected, which was disappointing. Still, style-wise the sandals are fine; rope gladiators with a rope to wrap around the ankle. So why isn't that a picture of me wearing the sandals? Answer: because there's something about the fit that isn't quite right. Maybe they're too big. Maybe it's just the anticlimax of it all. Whatever it is, I'm not sure when I'll feel the urge to take them out of the box.

As for the company who made them, I'm going to keep that to myself. Sometimes plans go awry even with the best of intentions, and they've certainly been nice and gracious in dealing with my disappointment. Since this blog isn't about tearing anyone down, I'll just leave it at that.

Not quite the post I was hoping to write, but there you have it. C'est la vie!

Monday, March 18, 2013

stylish elephant

Sorry, folks. I'm still trying to juggle job work and school work - therefore and alas, the blog gets neglected. But since I don't want you to leave without something to look at this week, here's a stylish elephant wearing a snood:

Monday, March 4, 2013

yvette's painted nails...a guest review of sheswai lacquers

Hello, all. This week's post comes from my friend Yvette, who had herself a bit of fun with a few samples of Sheswai lacquers...

Frederik asked me to sample a couple of new colors by Sheswai and to write up a review about it.  My response?  “Fuck Yeah!” This, incidentally, is the name of the first nail polish that I checked out.  “Fuckyeah” is kind of an electric, fuchsia color.  It goes on smoothly and has good coverage in two coats, but it dries very, very matte.  It was a bit flat for my taste as I prefer my nail polish to be a bit on the glossier side, but a coat of clear polish over it seemed to do the trick.

Rootsy” on the other hand, is a pretty caramel color that has a nice gleam to it. I love, love, LOVE this color!  It looked a little boring in the bottle but don’t let it fool you…It looks so much better on the nail.  Rootsy is an earthy, rich, and appealing hue that goes on effortlessly with just two coats.

The combination of Rootsy and Fuckyeah together is quite striking.  I used Fuckyeah on my ring fingernails and Rootsy on the others, which provided an eye-catching effect.  I received a lot of compliments on my manicure that week.

Like all of Sheswai’s polishes, Fuckyeah and Rootsy are free of formaldehyde, dbp, and toluene.  I always feel good about using Sheswai for this reason.

Friday, March 1, 2013

red pants ain't no lie

Geez, you guys.

Anyway, although frivolity has left the building, here's my featured outfit for the week (as it were). And no, I have no idea what kind of slouchy stance I'm in.

Ain't no lie...

American Apparel may dominate when it comes to bright colours, but I really dig Dickies' fire-engine red skinny pants.

Flowering skull

This shirt by Calvin Klein actually has patches of different fabric on the shoulders, although the camera angle doesn't pick it up. You can get an idea, though, by the narrow underarm side-panels. Other than the artsy floral skull, the cut of this shirt strikes me as a more relaxed yet contemporary interpretation of the usual boring and preppy polo shirt.

No challenge this week. Work to do, and more work.

Monday, February 25, 2013

the ultimate cloaking device

Forget news about ghost illusions to hide objects and episodes of Star Trek; the ultimately cloaking device is none other than...a genuine fabric cloak. As it happens, I have a velvet cloak purchased from Siren, a goth store once located in downtown Toronto, but now expired. Unfortunately, it's generally too warm to wear it here in LA. And my metaphorical skin wasn't so thick the last time I wore it on the Santa Monica 3rd street promenade one cool(ish) October evening about 10 years ago. October! Believe me when I tell you: you haven't lived until you've been called Dracula by a homeless man. Ahem.

In any case, cloaks are the kind of practical garments that, in my opinion, should make a comeback because they also come with style, drama...I believe the best word is "panache." Until such a time as fashion culture gets bored with reviving the 70s and 80s and decides to take a look to such noteworthy garments as cloaks, there's artisenal cloak-makers CustomCloaks.com to fill in the gap. Scott Rogers kindly took the time to answer a few questions...

Let's start with a bit of historical context. At what point in time did cloaks cease to be a staple in people's wardrobes? Do you see a chance of a mainstream revival, or will cloaks remain a niche garment for the foreseeable future? 

Cloaks and Capes have been around for ages. They are long, loose outer garments designed to protect wearers from the elements. These garments fasten at the neck with one or more hook and eye type clasp (or pin), and is made from large amounts of fabric so they can be draped over various layers of clothing and close fully in front. The only difference between our Cloaks and Capes is that a Cloak has a hood, and a Cape has a collar instead. The garment is made so that one can be quickly covered when needed from any type of environment. Since cloaks provides maximum protection, many cultures include them in their history. 
They are not used as much today because we have better learned to control our environments, however still very popular in certain parts of the US and the world. They are still worn on a daily bases in parts of New England and the South as well as throughout Europe. Movies have played a part in their recent revival in the US. Movies for example like Sleepy Hollow, and Harry Potter, have reminded us of the function and grace they have always played in our societies.

Niche garment as it may be, it seems like there's nevertheless a robust demand from Ren Faire aficionados, SCA members, and others. How would you characterize your clientele? 
Cloaks and Capes do play a major role in Ren Faires, Reenactments, and SCA events. However, there are many other unrecognized uses for Cloaks and Capes today. For example we get many requests from physically challenged individuals, and older members of our society. Todays zippers and snaps on coats and jackets can be a problem. The use and ease of a clasp cannot be understated. We also receive many requests for wedding cloaks which can provide a more affordable alternative than a traditional wedding gown. (see our wedding cloaks and capes) In addition, cloaks are often worn by various members of the clergy for many different occasions from weddings to handfastings. Of course, cloaks are fun to wear too for role playing games, holiday celebrations, and simply a joy to wear in general.

How did you come to start CustomCloaks.com? 
I started making Cloaks and Capes because I found that most cloaks on the market were simply cheap halloween costumes, made for very very petite individuals or were not made in the USA and were extremely expensive. I started making a few for myself (many trials and errors) then started expanding with different fabrics and trying different patterns at other peoples requests. I finally decided to create a place for my hobby of making quality Cloaks and Capes made to last, that would be available to fit anyone.
What are your favorite stories about customers who had you make their dream cloaks? 
Not only do we LOVE making our Cloaks, we also get great JOY in helping people find the perfect cloak for themselves, even if it's not from us. This is why we encourage communication prior to ordering. Personally, I love making wedding cloaks. I feel very honored to be a part of someones' special day. It's also been extremely wonderful creating cloaks for wheelchair bound and/or physically challenged individuals who cannot easily manage todays' outerwear. 
How are the cloaks made, and how are you able to offer so many options (materials, clasps, etc.)? 
Many cloak and cape patterns are out of print and/or are simply not compatible with today's fabrics. Cloaks are made with large amounts of fabrics which need to be compatible in weight and care. This is why we will not work with costume fabrics (like acetate) and are very careful mixing outer fabric with inner linings. Our cloaks are made to last a lifetime, not just one or two wears like most "costume" cloaks on the market. We choose to make real cloaks for real life wear. Same with our choices of clasps. We found that using button or tie closures use more wear and tear on these types of garments.

Where do you hope to take CustomCloaks.com over the next few years?
Fabrics come and go with the seasons and new fabrics are always being created every year. Its always fun to learn about new fabrics and try them out as a cloak or cape. It's been a joy of mine for many years and always will be. "Dream Cloaks" can be fun indeed, but they do need to be realistic to sew and create. When thinking about your dream cloak remember to take into consideration, fabric bias, weights, and cleaning and care instructions!
Finally, what cloaks do you yourself wear, and how/where do you like to wear them? 
I have different cloaks for different seasons. For example, in the winter I wear the "Dicken's Cape" which I made from black wool, and opted for a blue cotton lining so I could wear it with jeans or dressy attire if desired. (see our Dicken's Cape) In the warmer months I wear a reversible broadcloth cape. Holidays I opt for a Panne Velvet Cloak. I wear them either mid-calf or ankle length depending on the season.

Many thanks to Scott for the interview and for providing the images for this post. For more cloaks and capes, visit CustomCloaks.com.