Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a letter to simple shoes

Dear Simple Shoes,

I want to love you. Really, I do. I want to love you with your commitment to a 100% sustainable goal, use of materials like recycled tires, hemp, certified organic cotton and more, and vegan offerings. Water-based glue? Brilliant. It’s good to see you’re not sticking to the old ways of doing thing. (Har, har) Ethical supply chain guidelines? Bring it on.

But for all your talk of bringing a new shoetopia to men, women, and children, I have to ask you about this:

I mean, really? Flips? I know us guys aren’t exactly a sophisticated bunch when it comes to fashion, but I find it hard to believe that flip-flops are the best sandals you can come up with for men. Just look at what you’re offering women. Look! Look!

And this one:This one, too:

Oh, and now you’ve just added a new flat to the women’s collection that is just too darned neat. A flat with grommets that can be used in a plain flat, ankle-lace, or Mary Jane configuration. Now that’s what I call bringing the awesome.

Ribbons and grommets, oh my!

Meanwhile, this:


Sure, you could point me in the direction of your ecosneaks. I might even listen, if it weren’t for the fact that I typically don’t care much for wearing shoes and already have all the cooler-than-cool Converse-like sneaks I could want at the moment. When I need to replace them, I’ll come to you if you have something I like. But I’m all about sandals, baby. Ventilation. The open air. The great outdoors. Wiggling my toes, as you so quaintly put it.

Really, Simple Shoes I want to love you. Who doesn’t want to be in cahoots with a nice little shoe company? But being green isn’t enough- you’ve got to deliver the designs too. For everyone. Guys like to wear nice sandals too, you know.

Green + design = shoetopia. Yeah.


Note: Images borrowed from simpleshoes.com and Simple Shoes newsletter for illustrative purposes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

j.jill in three words: colors, summer, fantastic

by frédérik sisa

Sorry for the delay; I'm suffering from a case of the scatter-brains this week. Which means I'm going to go easy on the text and bring to your attention J. Jill's summer collection. The kind folks in J. Jill's publicity department sent me a link to a lookbook sometime ago, so I would be lacking in manners if I didn't mention here. Besides, it's a great collection and if you haven't checked it out yet, I'm putting it out there for you.

Colour is the name of the game, and we find the signature clean lines boosted by vibrant splashes. Linens keep it comfortable for summer; canvas is the material of choice for espadrilles. And layers? Oh yes, there are layers, with all the mix-and-match possibilities they promise. I'm really digging these looks, which make me wish that the weather here in LA would stop screwing around and settle on warm already.

What about you? How are you getting ready for summer?

Note: Images borrowed from jjill.com for illustrative purposes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

featured blogger: Kyla from Blue Collar Catwalk

by frédérik sisa

If there's one thing lacking here at The Fashionoclast, it's the big picture of fashion. I focus on the elements of style, yes - shoes, accessories, and so on - but rarely on the gestalt of style. In other words, I tend to pay attention to the parts of an ensemble rather than an outfit as a whole.

Part of the reason is that I'm a "there are no rules" kind of guy. Guidelines, maybe, but no rules. Another part is that I have no interest in making myself the subject of an outfit-of-the-day kind of style blog. I don't think you'd be all that interested either. Besides, the bulk of my writing experience lies in newspapers, so that influences me a great deal.

However, fashion isn't just about the details and I would be remiss if I didn't look at the bigger picture. As I work out future big picture posts, Plan B involves connecting with fun and complementary fashionistas. Hopefully, you’ll find something to inspire you in your fashionable efforts.

Unsurprisingly, there are a LOT of blogs out there featuring ladies and their wardrobes. (If there are any male equivalents, I haven't found them.) I rarely pay attention to the big-ticket, designer-oriented blogs. Give anyone enough money to shop on Rodeo, or a family connection to the fashion industry, and I can't be surprised that they have killer style. But show me people who use the resources at hand to express themselves, and I'm interested. Thrift shops, department stores, DIY projects - the possibilities seem endless in the hands of imaginative fashion iconoclasts. Which brings me to stylish Kyla of Blue Collar Catwalk, whose mix of improvisation and DIY results in wonderfully "together" outfits. As is the custom, I consulted Torquemada's book of questions, which Kyla kindly answered.

So you live in a small town and, like me, don't have a trust fund or stock portfolio to fund extravagant expenses in fashion...where do you do your shopping, and what resources do you draw on to pull your wardrobe together?
About 6 months after starting my blog, I made a huge job transition. I used to have some expendable income that I could use on shopping. Now, that income goes towards bills, and my shopping money is pretty nonexistent. In some ways, though, I prefer it that way. The lack of cash has made me so much more creative with what I already own. And it got me back into thrifting, which I have come to love more than going to mall. For one, I know I'll be able to afford anything I find, and second, I am more likely to find a unique piece that no one else will have. And since it's so inexpensive, I'm more likely to take risks, which is ultimately what sculpts personal style. In addition to my local Goodwill, I supplement my wardrobe with basics from JCPenney, Target and discount stores like Ross and TJMaxx. It's all just about working with what you've got and keeping an open mind.

What accessories or clothes do you think are the most versatile and give you the most bang for the buck?
Jackets. Hands down. From a moto jacket to a boyfriend blazer and everything in between, I think jackets are my most valuable wardrobe staples. Not only are they practical for all seasons (even the freezing AC in summer), but they can transform outfits in any direction. A moto jacket instantly roughs up a too sweet look and a structured blazer is the perfect counterpart to a more relaxed or funky look to add a bit of polish. I just got a great fitting black blazer fairly recently and now can't believe I lasted so long without one!

(Kyla's lovely dress-sash-as-belt inspired an idea...)

I really dig the crazy pants trend in your wardrobe. How has your style evolved and what have you learned since you started blogging?
I have become so much more open-minded and creative since I've started blogging. Some of that has come with my new thrifting addiction, too. I feel like my style used to be so much more mapped out and planned ahead. Now, it's so much more organic. I open my mind and allow myself to gravitate towards the things that appeal to me in the most intrinsic ways. I'm much more willing (and excited) to step outside of my comfort zone and away from scripted trends and fashions. Nine times out of ten, the reward is worth far more than the risk. Not only do I end up loving things I would have never tried in the past, but it also helps me to get away from constantly trying to define my style. This new perspective has made fashion so much more enjoyable!

How would you sum up your style in a nugget of advice to other folks?
I like to have fun with my style and keep it ever-changing. I've definitely allowed myself to be more influenced by high fashion pieces, but then pare them down for my life and style. My best advice would really be reiterating the previous answer a bit. Open your mind, and try, try, try new things. Never write anything off just because you don't know if you can "pull it off." If you wear it in a way that makes you feel confident and good about yourself, then you are pulling it off.

What does the future hold for Blue Collar Catwalk?
Isn't that the million dollar question. Blogging has helped me to connect with a community and a part of myself that I've been seeking for a long time. I love doing it and have no intentions of putting it down anytime soon. I would like to find a way to bridge blogging and real life. I'm still searching for that niche, but I know I'm bound to find it soon.
Thanks, Kyla! For more, visit www.bluecollarcatwalk.com.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

pants: not just for fishing

by frédérik sisa

This week, I wanted to draw your attention to Thai fisherman’s pants, which are stylish, yes, but also rather interesting in terms of construction. Designed to be very wide, the pants essentially wrap around the waist, “fasten” courtesy of built-in ties, and are secured by rolling down the fabric at the waist. With wide legs, Thai fisherman’s pants wear loosely and comfortably – good for fishermen rowing boats, yogis, beachgoers, and pregnant men and women everywhere. And, of course, they can be fashionable pieces of apparel on their own merits.

I first discovered these a few years while accompanying my wife on a Hollywood photo tour. While the gang was busy engaging in the photographic arts, I, the stalwart photo equipment caddy, merely enjoyed the company and the view. As we passed by a store whose name I just can’t remember for the life of me, I noticed a mannequin in the storefront display wearing an unusually constructed pair of pants made of a brocaded material. It looked awesome. In talking with a friend, who mentioned having a similar pair, only made of cotton, I became mighty intrigued. And thus, with the power of the web, I came to learn about Thai fisherman’s pants.

Although I never did find those fashion pants from that mystery store, there are plenty of websites selling the traditional style. Of course, I did buy myself a pair of pairs (one full-length black and one ¾ length red) from a website that isn’t nearly as anonymous as it might seem, fisherpants.com.

Unfortunately, I came across a glitch.

Don’t get me wrong: they’re great. Comfortable. Relaxed. And relaxing too. It’s hard to stress out when wearing comfy, unrestricting pants that look good and make you feel like a zennie. But the lack of pockets and a barn door (so to speak) makes these a bit of a challenge for us guys in terms of “street wear.” (I read somewhere that Thai men apparently just roll up the legs, which are wide enough to provide access. Interesting. Of course, some guys seem to completely disassemble their pants for the simplest of tasks, so the lack of a barn door may not be a problem for them. TMI? Sorry.) Ladies, of course, shouldn’t have an issue in either of these departments.

If I don’t post a picture of myself wearing the pants, it’s partly because I don’t tend to like being photographed. (Hence this not being an ensemble-of-the-day kind of blog.) Mostly it’s because of the bigger glitch. I can figure out how to carry my wallet, and the barn door issue isn’t insurmountable. But what the heck do I wear these pants with? I’ve worn them with a t-shirt “well enough,” but I’m really off t-shirts now. T-shirts are lazy apparel that have their place in the wardrobe…just not a dominant place.

So I turn to you, readers. I have a few ideas of what I can pair with the pants, but I want to know what you think? Do you wear fisher pants? What do you wear with them?

Note: image borrowed from fisherpants.com for illustrative purposes only. If you are the copyright holder of the image and would like me to take it down, please let me know and I will do so.)