Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the great debate; men, women, and capri pants

by frédérik sisa

I’ve written about capris before, but a post I stumbled on at tampabay.com, by the Deal Divas, made me want to tackle the strange fact that capris, like clogs, seem to be the Rodney Dangerfields of fashion.

“Are capris really as ugly as some men say?” asks the post by Deal Diva Colleen. She goes on to write:
“I've long counted capris among my go-to pieces. Until now. Looking at my reflection in a full-length mirror, a strong disliking for my once sure-bet cropped pants washed over me. The proportion seemed all wrong. I swapped my flats for heels, thinking that would add some needed lower leg definition. Nope. I still felt dumpy.”
But it’s the comments in response to the post that really caught my attention. “Regular Guy” writes, “No woman under 50 should be caught dead in a pair of these.” "Lucia" is similarly hostile: “The whole highwaters thing went out with the nerds in 10th grade who also had pocket protectors.” And how about “politically incorrect,” who writes “Ladies, take it from a man and not some female fashion critic or gay male fashion critic. Capris say one thing and one thing only-‘I don't care about my appearance’. They are especially ugly when combined with flats or really "crunchy' shoes. Either wear shorts, a skirt or pants-none of this in between garbage please.”


Of course, here at the Fashionoclast we’re all about doing your own thing and rejecting that sort of judgmental, stick-up-the-ass attitude. I won’t repeat the whole comment I left in response to Deal Diva Colleen and other commenters – you’re more than welcome to mosey on over there and come back when you’re done – but I’ll share the gist.

As with any piece of clothes, whether capris work or not depends largely on physique and tailoring. Not all pants, shirts, shoes, and the like, suit everybody because sometimes they don’t fit a body’s shape. Sometimes it’s a question of design – some clothes are designed to be loose while others designed to be form fitting, and tailoring would alter the design concept. Sometimes it’s not the overall style but the tailoring, as anyone trying to find a pair of jeans knows well.

But into all of this comes a rather important variable: expectations of beauty. In reading the comments in response to Deal Diva Colleen’s post, it seems that the prejudice that only skinny people can be “fashionable” is alive and well. How differently would we, as a culture, perceive fashion is we were less judgmental about people’s bodies? Maybe I’m rare in thinking that there are far more beautiful people then mainstream culture is willing to acknowledge.

So the Great Capri Debate is, really, a bit of a croc. It all boils down to this: wear what you want with confidence. If you like capris, wear them. If you don’t, don’t. For my part, I’m glad to see how capris have become a staple not only in women’s wardrobes but, increasingly, in men’s.

Of course, for women who like capris there’s no shortage of stores to buy them. For guys, it’s a bit more challenging. When I got it in mind to find capris for myself over 10 years ago – yes, I predate the trend – I had to recruit the services of a tailor. Now, there are a few more options, like these cargo capris from Undergear (formerly International Male) or various knickers and cropped pants from Altrec.com.

So what do I do with capris? Maybe you’ll like these or maybe they’ll make your eyes bleed, but either way, here are two looks I like a lot, both starting with pants I had custom hemmed. Please excuse the photo quality; I had to improvise.

This first, kinda tropical look (thanks to the shirt) is relaxed and neither formal nor overly casual. It’s great for going from day to evening. Given the relative loose fit of the pants and the just-past-the-knee cut, this is more in line with the pant length that seems to be common for men’s capris these days.

Shirt: Cubavera
Pants: Dickies
Sandals: Kiwis

I like to think of this as my newsboy look. The cap adds a retro flair, I think, which I like. This feels to me like a fun, comfortable and robust outfit for zipping about LA in the summer. Or selling newspapers on street corners.

Shirt: Can’t remember; it’s from Target
Jean capris: Wrangler, from way, way back (!?)
Sandals: Kiwis

So, ladies (and gentlemen), how do you like to wear capris? Leave a comment or, if you’d like to show off your snappy ensemble, eMail me a picture to feature in a future post. (eMail address is in the left sidebar.) If you don't like wearing capris, that's okay too, and I'd love for you to share your opinion too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

a discussion for the ages: to flare or not to flare

by frédérik sisa

As Hamlet stood in front of the mirror, he pondered:

To flare or not to flare: that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the pants to suffer
The trends and fads of outrageous fashion
Or to take needles against a sea of fabric
And, by sewing, mend it. To buy, to stitch
No more, and by a stitch to say we end
The heartache and the thousand unnatural quirks
That fashion is heir to.

I can understand his dilemma. Topman USA is offering these things for sale, and it does raise a few questions.

And memories. Back in university, I managed to find a pair of blue denim flared jeans. Unlike these $80 Monkee Genes Black Flares, the Levis I had didn't quite have the strong silhouette. They were a little more like these Dark Indigo Flare Jeans, but with perhaps a bit more personality.

On the one hand, that these bell-like flares are making a comeback is proving a theory I have that the 21st Century is the century of fashion iconoclasm. Suddenly, all past are inspiring, influencing, and just mushing all together in both the seasonal trends and in the way individuals create their own unique styles. So in this sense, I'm kinda glad to see these flares.

Of course, these are rather...retro?

What do you think? Instead of me blathering on, I leave it to you to continue the discussion. Do you like these? Would you wear them? Why or why not? What do these say about fashion today? I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Something to Smile About

By Aqua Catlin

I just wanted to let you know that right now, gifts to the wonderful organization, Smile Train, are worth THREE TIMES the value you give thanks to a matching fund.

Smile Train changes the lives and smiles of children with cleft palettes and their work touches me every time I see it. Hope you can help and send a smile or 3!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kors Bores

Aqua Catlin

As a follow up on my Kors post, during second wearing, pleasing thoughts on "cute butt" in said Kors denim are replaced with shock and the tragic, "where did my bum go?!" Its bold enough it should'nt be disappearing in there or anywhere. Tried to go fancy but they're just big and shapeless and wear like a Target brand. That's money I could've spent in the Levi's store in Beverly Hills with cute guys bringing me flattering options in their own flattering jeans .... I guess that's still doable.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oye Modern: love me some bling

by frédérik sisa

This Australian retail website, Oye Modern, specializes in unique short-run jewelry designs, many featuring cool recycled materials. Used camera parts turned into eye-catching cuffs, for instance, like this $215 bad boy from re: vision.
Recycled or not, though, it's the designs that stand out.

Kristina Burke's Daisy Pendant ($241) is an attractive, elegant item:

This $307 limited edition turntable ring by Darkcloud Silver is wonderfully quirky yet stylish too, the perfect accessory for an audiophile.
And how about a quirky alternative to a bolo, courtesy of Cynics? That's right, a zipper priced at $61:
This item is pretty neat in concept: a speech balloon blackboard brooch by Zoe Brand - $105 - on which you can chalk whatever you want.
All in all, an impressive selection of unique and beautiful jewelry, with the added bonus of many unisex or male-minded items, as helpfully listed in a distinct "For Men" section. (So nice to be included!) But, did you see those prices? Almost all the comments left on Oye Modern's website about the brooch, for example, thought it was too expensive. Jenni Oye's reply is not unreasonable - these are highly crafted, short run pieces. Knowing a thing or two about art and the work that goes into it, I have to say that we are, indeed, too accustomed to buying cheap stuff at the mall or, as one commenter put it, Wal-Mart to be willing to pay a price that fairly reflects the amount of effort an artisan puts into his or her work. I will add, though, that I think the zipper idea, however cool, strikes me as a fun DIY project...

So what do you think? Is there anything at Oye you'd happily shell out some of that hard-earned green of yours for? For my part, there are quite a few pieces out there that catch my eye, and I just love to see independent designers get a forum to show their stuff. Bravo, Oye. Bravo.

Note: Images borrowed from the Oye Modern website for illustration purposes only.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I missed you.

By Aqua Catlin

I hate my new Michael Kors jeans. They're too big, I feel like I'm wearing Mum-Jeans. My butt looks kinda cute but there's some excess ease in the legs, (a miracle really), and after just an hour of wearing them, I realize I should've left the tags on. Drats.

Kors designs are so mainstream and cookie cutter, I don't know why I thought I'd like these. Never shop in a hurry. But bless you Nordstrom Rack. And DNA Clothing truly IS LA's best kept secret. Check out the latest location at Crescent Heights and Sunset, next door to The Laemmle indie Theater, PinkBerry and Trader Joes. Summer Lovin'.

Thanks for patience on my posts, I've been on a few back to back shoots and catching up on personal stuff like shopping for jeans to blog about, does have priority.

More soon!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

no post this week

My apologies, but I am simply too swamped with work to post this week. Back again next week.

: f :

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

new shoes, new shirt - new...service?

by frédérik sisa

Well, despite my misgivings I've come to the conclusion that I can't just show you my latest footwear acquisition without giving you the sartorial context. And, as it happens that I got a new shirt, the decision to go the full-ensemble was inescapable. I still don't like getting my picture taken, but for you, dear readers, I will make sacrifices.

Shirt: Calvin Klein
Jeans: Levi's 501

Shoes: Kiwi

Skull Pendant: some renn faire trinket
Sunglasses: Revo

So what we have here is, I suppose, a classic guy look: shirt and pants. For a long time, I was just about t-shirts and jeans, until I got tired of lazy dressing and decided to put some effort into it. Being a bit of minimalist and not prone to getting fussy with clothes, the trick has been to balance simplicity with style. Typically, this has meant details: shoes, jewelry, watches, even hats. For quite a while, now, this has mean picking more interesting shirts, like the Cubaveras and cowboy shirt. Lately, though, I've been revisiting the dress shirt and experimenting with the possibilities. I rarely want or need to wear ties, so the stiffly formal look is one I don't typically need to bother with. But a nice shirt with black jeans and rolled-up sleeves is in just that right place between casual and formal. Add a stylish vest and voila, a layered ensemble that looks and feels great.

For the most part, I keep the vests for occasions that require more oomph. Most days, it's just a nice shirt and pants with some spiffy accessories to pull it all together. Like the shirt I'm wearing in the picture, a great Calvin Klein number with "épaulettes" and, my favourite bit, concealed buttons. Check it out:

Shirt: Calvin Klein
Skull Pendant: some renn faire trinket

It's a streamlined, sleek shirt that rewards the observer with classy detailing. Interestingly, this is about the 4th or 5th piece of Calvin Klein apparel I have. I'm beginning to appreciate CK's design strengths, especially when it comes to offering men good quality clothes with just enough of an edge to satisfy picky guys like me.

Shoes: Kiwi
Toe rings: Barefoot Bling (also see here)

Finally, what I've been leading up to: the shoes. Kiwis, of course, which means custom fit, incredible durability, and classic styling. I love the minimal look with the toe loop and upper strap, and love how they fit like a glove. A great alternative to boxing feet into shoes.

The lesson I've been learning is that however feeble men's fashions can be in comparison to the dizzying array of women's fashions, it's always possible to find something if one looks hard enough and keeps an open mind.