Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Pants Party

by Becky

Pants: I'm just not that into them.

I like when I wear pants to work because everyone seems to stop what they're doing to comment on my undercarriage.

"Holy crap! You're wearing pants!"

And yeah, I like to mix it up a little and occasionally wear pants.

pants parade

But honestly? Meh.

Not only are they not really comfortable (my crotch needs to BREATH, man!) but they're not the most flattering garment for my body. Nor do I think they really look that great on many women at all.

Muffin Top
I kind of love her, whoever she is.

I made this drawing because I felt mean calling out any loud and proud muffin top purveyors. But look at this lady... She'd be much foxier in a dress.

Not that I think it's imperative that we ladies conform to a certain idea of how our bodies are "supposed" to look. It just seems to me that women, many of whom are dear loved ones, have pant-related blindness. They feel like that have to wear them. That they are the easiest thing to put on in the morning. That dresses are somehow a pain.

None of these things are true.

There is nothing easier in the world than wearing a dress. It's a whole outfit in one! Just put on some shoes and go!

dress + shoes = DONE

And, it has been my experience that finding a dress that is flattering is way way easier than scouring stores for your trouser soul mate.

It's like wearing jeans but better.

I also wonder at women who fear dress-related coldness in the winter. This is the time to don your fun tights, my friends!

09-04 party
flowered stems

...And some ladies in my life complain that they can't wear dresses because of the whole leg shaving thing. I say, Eff it.

02-25 sittin
Holy hairy legs, Batman!

What do you think? Are you pro-pant? Defend yourself! heehee!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Frivolous Fridays: Sweater Vests

by Becky

Finally, a Frivolous Friday that my friends can get behind!

Sweater vest 2!
Sweater layering FTW!

Lisa K. was my sweater vest inspiration. She always wears sweater vests on Fridays and I think it's just about the most adorable idea ever. EVER.

Sweater vests!
Fashion show at lunch!

These are two of my beautiful coworkers, Ms. Emily B. and Ms. Anne Wolking. Emily was filled trepidation about mixing prints but, duh, she looks awesome. Anne always looks hot and her sweater vest merely ups her sass factor.

make up to lace up

And here's me. This is technically an antique dirndl and not really a sweater vest but it is very vest-ular and made of wool and so it counts.

Plus, this is my blog and I can make/break any rules I please!

embroidered in controversy

It's not argyle but it'll do.

Lousy pic, but seriously invested in this week's challenge.

Says Frédérik: "I had a Sweater Saturday since Friday was too warm. This item is notable for two reasons: 1) It's the only sweater vest I have; and 2) It's the only piece of clothing I have with any brown in it. Although it sometimes feels dangerously close to frump, I like it for its casual comfort and lack of pretensions."


Frédérik, here, thinking about how the goth content in my blood has been getting awfully low these days. Of course, regular booster shots of Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nephilim, Siouxie, Cinema Strange, and many other much-loved bands have been very helpful. But after spending years shedding colour from my wardrobe only to gradually veer off again, more or less, I've been feeling the call to get back to basic black.

There and black again.

And from this self-indulgence came the idea for this week's Frivolous Friday Challenge. Here it is:

the all-black ensemble

Go goth, dress for a funeral, or follow in Johnny Cash's sartorial footsteps...whatever you do, your mission is to come up with a fun, frivolous, mournful, and/or sinister Friday outfit without any colour whatsoever.

Following the usual routing, eMail me your pics before Monday, March 5th to be featured in the next Frivolous Friday post.

Friday, February 24, 2012

for a few updates more

Well, friends, as I work on some interesting interviews with more fascinating desires, I thought I'd regale you with a few updates from familiar Fashionoclast designers, beginning with snazzy and attractive new offerings from Projects Watches. Feel free to click on the images to embiggen.

The announcement describes this watch designed by award-winning Italian architect and designer Denis Guidone thusly:

Towards is characterized by a slanted case and a 55-degree shift in the position of the number twelve. The face is simple and elegant; to emphasize the re-orientation, the number twelve is printed on the glass, the crown placed below it on the case, and the date calendar at 5 o'clock.A flick of the wrist is no longer needed to balance space and time.

Also designed by Mr. Guidone is Sometimes:

Towards goes for $169, while Sometimes goes for $140. Check 'em out here.

Next up, designer of retro-inspired women's apparel Effie's Heart with a video highlighting their gorgeous and sassy Spring/Summer 2012 collection:

Effie's Heart - Spring Summer 2012 from Ana Villafane on Vimeo.

If you want a peek at the catalog, you can check out a PDF of their collection by clicking here.

Finally, you can get a look at Ugglebo's proposed Spring/Summer collection at Lindsey's blog, Every Clog Has It's Day. Click here. And if you'd like to read some feedback on the collection from Lindsey's readers, click here.

Speaking of Ugglebo, this is last call for questions to David Giese, presidence of Ugglebo Clogs. I'm sending in my questions, along with a handful of reader questions submitted to me, on Monday. If you missed the first call, here's a link to the original post introducing Ugglebo.

As always, thank you for reading. Please consider showing your support by subscribing or "following."

Note: Projects images borrowed from Jack Markuse's press release for illustrative purposes only.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Frivolous Fridays: Belts & Buckles

Greetings, me hearties. Here are the results of the Belts & Buckles challenge.

Mica, the lovely blogger at the heart of Away from Blue, checked in with an unidentified diamonte belt buckle:

Says Becky about her entry: "When you're a devout thrifter like myself, you end up collecting bizarre items. I culled this number from my embarrassingly substantial collection of western-style belt buckles. Just call me Bob."


Finally, there's me. I've learned not to wear flashy buckles with monochromatic ensembles. The fashion police gets crotchety about that sort of thing.

Shirt: Dickies 
Jeans: Levi's
Sandals: Kiwi Sandals

A closeup of the buckle, which could be used as a discus in an emergency:

And there it is.

Becky's Turn!

This Friday, I'm forecasting SWEATER VESTS.

Sweater Vests
Super-sultry sweater vests, modeled by my sister and awesome best friend

Whether rocked by the golfer, the librarian, or a particularly heinous second grade substitute teacher you were forced to endure, the sweater vest is an immortal staple for those who just don't give a damn.

Email me a photo of you rocking yours by Sunday 2/26 to be featured!

Friday, February 17, 2012

fashion and the architect: an interview with june wang

Continuing with a series of features on other fashion bloggers of note, this week I’d like to introduce you to June Wang. An architect by profession, June is quickly establishing herself as a stylist and fashionista through her blog, Stylish With A Budget.

Before going on, however, a quick word about architects; they’re an underpaid, underappreciated, and unsung bunch, despite what you might think you know based on admiring or criticizing rock stars like Frank Gehry. ( I know, because I have personal and professional connections to architecture without being an architect myself.) It’s a bit like this graphic:

(click image to embiggen)

 I could pontificate on how architecture is vital to civilization- so vital it’s easy to take for granted, but I’ll just leave this public service announcement at this: architects deserve more appreciation for the work they do.

Moving on, what currently interests us, as fashionistas, is how architecture can provide a fertile framework to support ideas and practices in other design disciplines. It’s telling, for example, that some of the most imaginative fashion designers, like my perennial favourites Annie Mohaupt of Mohop and United Nude, are trained architects who have turned their skills to footwear. June presents her architect’s perspective, and I’m looking forward to watching her blog evolve.

In the meantime, I asked June a few questions via eMail to better get her perspective on design, fashion, and style.

How does your background in architecture influence your perspective on fashion design?
I think the principles of design in both architecture and fashion design are very similar, they are about proportion, color, textures and juxtapositions of form/materials etc. I would say I have the trained eyes and that's something very valuable in terms of appreciation of art, architecture and fashion, and everything appealing to my eyes/tastes. I am very detailed orientated, when I look at architecture I like looking at the form and details of how things put together; and when I look at clothing, I look at the cutting of the clothing and look for that special detail that make the outfit stands out. It's not exactly the same but the principles are quite the same.
How would you define "good" design in the fashion industry? What kind of clothes and accessories appeal to you most?
For fashion, good design to me is the cutting (form) that hang on a body and the fabric the way it drapes. I have always been that "tall" girl when I was growing up until I came to the US for graduate school, 5'7 is not that tall for US standard but as far as my memory goes, I was always the tallest. I was very thin (98 pounds and 5'7) so finding clothes fit me was not that easy. In Hong Kong, most girls were about 5'2 and 5'4 were considered tall so 5'7 and that thin means clothes didn't fit me well, the tops were either too short or too wide and luckily pants were not a problem. Until I came to the US, all of a sudden clothes started to fit me better and I just thought may be I gained some weight and grew into a woman's shape.
 I am a late bloomer and the first time I got a taste of designer item was my first official job, I bought a pair of shoes from Barneys NY. They were Barney's brand but to me they were designer item and I got quite a few compliments when I wore them. Then I was hooked to Barneys...I started browsing the clothes in Co-op department (designer floor was out of my price range) and tried some things and bought few of them. I started to notice the difference between regular labels and designer labels (I meant more of contemporary labels instead of those high end designer labels). They are expensive for a reason but I have to say I would not necessarily think $10K Chanel  jacket is the justified retail price. 
Personally, I love minimal design (in both architecture and fashion) so I was drawn to designs like Theory, Helmut Lang and Zara. I think Zara is such a great brand that provides a lot of alternatives for fashion lovers like myself, I love the design and the whole package, they never look cheap, loud nor trashy.

So you get up, take care of your morning ablutions, and then put on your clothes for the do you decide what to put together to make your ensemble?
I consider myself a simple person, I like simple things. So normally I have some sort of uniform that I stick to and when I shop I just stick to that uniform look and it's quite easy to put clothes together in the morning most of the time. Sometimes when it doesn't work, it really throws the whole morning off that I would be late for work (only once in a while). 
Many years ago, I was into tall boots with skirt + turtle neck sweater in the winter, and skirt + an unique top in the summer. All I needed to do was to pick a skirt and I was good to go. And later on, I was into dress with tall boots, so I just picked a dress and added a cardigan and a coat and I could leave my apartment. Summer was always a little bit more challenging during that period of time because short dresses without tights were not very work appropriate. And in these recent few years I love wearing leather pants more, and grew to mix and match with other styles than just one signature look. I was never a big fan of dress pants because I just hate the knee area got all wrinkles and the constant ironing of the pants. But I could work with pants that don't have those the skinny jeans trend has worked quite well for me. Especially those leather skinny pants, waxed pants that have the skinny legs. 
After I started blogging, I became more aware of what to buy and what to wear and I had to plan the night before of what to wear especially when I needed to do the photo shoot the next day. Most of the time I need to be true to the name of my blog "stylish with a budget" so this gives me more challenges when I shop and how I put things together. Repeating outfits can be very challenging because nobody wants to see the same thing over and over again but the fun part is to repeat it differently every time. 
I've been following other blogs and for some reason, I am not very into putting a lot of necklace or many bracelets on my wrists...I felt it's quite bothersome in the morning to put those stuff on and put them off when I get home...recently I even stopped wearing watch. But I also realized those stacking techniques were quite a big deal in the blogging world.

What are your style influences and inspirations?
My first impression was the time when I first traveled to Europe, I found the women in Europe were very stylish, especially the Italian and French ladies. I really loved the way they used scarves to compliment their outfits and it just made so much difference. That's the beginning of my love for scarves. I bought a LV leopard stole and an Alexander McQueen skull (modal) scarf because i thought they were such investment pieces...normally I wouldn't spend that much on a skirt or a dress. But scarves, that's my weak spot.
And later on, when I was studying at Columbia University, our program had a lot of international students (Europeans and Asians) and there were only 4 born and raised Americans...yes, somebody actually counted. There were a few of our classmates were very well dressed and I just paid attention to how they put things together and they always looked very stylish no matter what kind of all-nighters they just pulled. 
I think I love people watching and I just love to observe people, especially their appearance. 
In your experience - and since it's the name of your blog - what do you think is the best way to achieve a signature style on a limited budget? 
Actually this is what I have been thinking hard about. It's not easy like I said earlier that nobody wants to see repeating outfits and the critical part is how to repeat without being boring (which I am still trying). And the budget is also another hard part - I admit I love labels so it's hard to transform the budget idea with designer labels. I actually had to think quite far ahead before purchasing one item because no matter how cheap something is, it's still money that I can put towards something else. So buying from eBay and during sale became a big thing to me...which means I can only buy very few items on regular retail price. But to me quality + quantity (not just quality) are the key factors to my wardrobe and my blog, when I buy a piece of clothing, I cannot think it's cheap so I can buy a few that means I have to buy strategically...I don't need multiple black skinny jeans and I don't need multiple very similar silk dress/skirt/tops....I just need to be creative. When I stick to these few principles, I was able to not buy few things on my wish list, and I do have to practice my patience to wait for sale time. 
In terms of signature style....I would have to say I don't really have one for now. Maybe a leather bottom for now....I just love leather pants, leather shorts and leather skirts, they just add that extra chic factor to any outfits.

Many thanks to June for taking the time to answer my questions. 

Here's that link again to her blog, Stylish With A Budget.

On an unrelated note, don’t forget to send me your pictures for this week’s Frivolous Friday belts & buckles challenge.

Also, I’m still collecting questions for my interview withUgglebo president and owner Dave Giese. I’m almost done with my own list of questions; it’ll be another week or so before I’m ready to send them over. So, do take advantage of the opportunity to ask Dave some questions about shoes, clogs, running a footwear company…whatever comes to mind.

Finally, if you enjoy what you read, please consider “following” this blog through blogger or your favourite blogroll service. Or, subscribe via eMail to get fresh Fashionoclast missives in your inbox.
Note: Images of June used with her kind permission. “Architect” images is from an unknown source; if the copyright holder wants me to remove it, I will.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Frivolous Friday: Sleepwear

by Becky

Looks like another Frivolous Friday shortfall... Sleepwear seems like another hard sell.

vintage 70s cotton nightgown from NVISION

No worries, though. I got to wear a nightgown to work. That's a success in my book.



Frédérik here, asking you to buckle up for this week's challenge:

Belts & Buckles

I want to see bling around your waist. I want to see belt buckles that enter the room a good 10 minutes before you do. I want to see belts, straps, and buckles used for good instead of evil.

I'll be pulling together an outfit by drawing from one of my staple buckles:

What will you do on Friday for this week's challenge? Email me your pics before Monday, February 20th to have the bards blog about your stylish praises.

Friday, February 10, 2012

meet Mica!

by frédérik

I don’t tend to follow many style blogs – mostly because they often seem very alike in content and presentation. But every so often, a fashion blogger catches, and keeps, my attention. And since I’m all about sharing the good stuff I find, I’m happy to share with you other worthwhile nooks and crannies of our big ol’ crazy internet. And so: allow me to introduce you to charming Mica, who blogs at Away From Blue.

The first thing to note about Away From Blue is the absence of haute couture fashion shenanigans. Anyone can look great when provided with fancy designer clothes, but it takes skill to start with a simple ensemble –  jeans and a shirt/tunic, for example  – and transmogrify (how’s that for a word?) it into a statement of style. For anyone looking for casual style inspiration that doesn’t involve shattering the pink porcelain piggy, Mica is a good example to turn to. Realistic, grounded, but ever curious about fashion and its possibilities.

For more, I chatted with Mica via eMail.
What made you decide to start fashion blogging?
A few different reasons. Away from the blue started because I was regularly posting on a forum thread on Effen Haute called "What are you wearing today?" and even if I didn't post there I still took a picture of my outfit every day. Taking pictures everyday helps me figure out what worked and what didn't, and gives me ideas for what to wear on those days when it seems like I have nothing to wear!
One of my friends started blogging regularly and I enjoyed reading it, that made me think seriously about blogging. The new year seemed like a great time to start a blog. Just posting a picture a day is quite easy, and the benefit of knowing that your picture will be posted online is that you try to branch out a little so you aren't wearing the same thing over and over. If you get into a clothes rut and you blog, people will call you out on it. If you have great readers, they will also give you ideas and inspiration for how to change things up.
ASOS wrap dress, Op Shop Belt, Velo Balencia Bag
Where do you hope to take Away From the Blue in the coming months?
Hopefully to be able to say that I have stuck to my goal and blogged once a day for at least a year! I don't have any plans for world domination - yet! ;)

How would you describe your style in a nutshell?
Overall it's casual and relaxed, almost predictable. It's definitely more comfortable than groundbreaking, but that's the way I like it.

What is your ideal ensemble?
Jeans, sandals, a loose top and a great bag. I fall back on this a lot (see the predictable comment above!) but it makes me feel comfortable and ready to face anything.
Jeanswest top, Target scarf, Sass & Bide jeans, Balenciaga sandals, Louis Vuitton bag

What do you like best and least about fashion?
Best thing about fashion would have to be the variety. You can stand in a crowd of people and see so many different looks. Different seasons, cultures and budgets can create an amazing range of styles.
The thing I like least about fashion is how much money can be wasted on it. Speaking from a personal viewpoint! You can buy into every new trend that comes along and you will end up with a wardrobe full of pieces that don't work well together at all, it's not sustainable. I'm trying to be more thoughtful with each purchase I make and get quality pieces that will last longer, but my bulging wardrobe shows that I've spent too much on the wrong things over the years. It's all too easy to fall into the "have to have it" trap, and I think that's a shame.

So there you have it. Visit Mica anytime you like by mousing to Away From Blue.

Thanks for your time Mica! Note: images from Mica's blog used with her kind permission.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Things I Wish Men Would Wear: Jeremiah Johnson Edition

by Becky

This is a reoccurring series that I just made up.

Blogging with Frédérik has made me realize how lady-centric my posting can be. That's probably because I'm a lady and I'm self-obsessed and hence the whole blogging hobby.

So I've been trying to conjure ways to speak to men's clothing.

Et voilà: This series.


I wish men dressed like Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson.

Also, I wished more men looked like Robert Redford. DREAMBOAT.


Jeremiah Johnson

My boyfriend is an outdoorsman and was once drunkenly referred to as "Robert Fredford," so he feels a special kinship with this flick.

I haven't even seen it all the way through yet but I have decided that the costumes almost outweigh the thinly veiled anti-native racism.

Jeremiah Johnson

I mean, look at these guys.

Jeremiah Johnson

No one wears a hat (or hat hair) like ol' JJ.

Jeremiah Johnson

Okay, you can skip the mukluks. And I guess the rifle is not required.

Jeremiah Johnson

But who else could make a pile of bear guts look like a Ralph Lauren runway?

Jeremiah Johnson

So, you're not Robert Redford and you can't grow a rugged beard and you're not comfortable gutting bears?

No worries. You can still dress like it.

Buy these items asap!

Lucky Henley
Lucky Brand Henley

I have to say that the henley is the epitome of casual rugged male-ness. It's so easy to wear! And so warm! Come on, dudes!

Ely Cattleman Flannel
Ely Cattleman Flannel Shirt from JC Penney

I'm not talking your Urban Outfitters flimsy hipster flannel here. I mean something substantial that you could actually wear to a bonfire (or shootout with hostile natives) and not freeze your manhood off.

Gentleman's Emporium Pants - Copy
Twill Trousers from the Gentlemen's Emporium

Um, the store that sells these is called the Gentlemen's Emporium. If that alone does not sell you on them, nothing will.

LL Bean Trench
LL Bean Wool Blanket Trench

Want to wear a blanket all day? Me too.

Alpine Accessories Beaver Boot

Okay, as an environmentalist and vegetarian, I'm not sure I can endorse these boots with a clear conscience. But I know Jeremiah would approve and they'd look great with tight gentleman's pants.

OBEY Scarf
OBEY Navajo Print Scarf

Between shooting Indians, you can bite their style.

What do you think? Is this look too bizarre for the average man to achieve in his daily life?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Frivolous Fridays: Tiki Style

Aloooooooooooha! Frédérik here with the results of our Tiki Style challenge.

Mica from Away From Blue, channeled the Island spirit with this lovely White Heart Tiger Maxi Dress by Somedays:

And for good measure, threw in a pretty flower for her hair:

Quoth the Becky: "I went to my closet and was delighted to find this 70s luau-print polyester gem that I had never worn before. Despite misgivings about its ridiculosity, it garnered many comments so it was a total success."


Lastly is yours truly, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and contemplating the absence of a mai tai in my hand:

Here again is a close-up of the pattern:

There you go. Challenge met!

Becky's turn!

This week's Frivolous Friday challenge is: Sleepwear.

Bed clothes
Bedclothes horse

So, you all know of my new-found love of the nightgown. Now, I want you to wear your gown on the town.

Bed jackets, vintage sleep accessories, slippers, night caps, and antique silk robes... What are you bringing from your bedroom?

Email me in your nighttime finery by Sunday to be included!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cuppa Conversation: Gen(d)eration X

by frédérik

In this irregular feature, best read with coffee, tea, or cocoa, I (over)indulge my philosophical inclinations to peel back pure aesthetics to consider how we create fashion and, in turn, how fashion creates us. Let's kickstart a conversation, shall we?

Sasha, whose sex was recently revealed by his parents. Yahoo.
Preceding the story of parents raising a genderless child and revealing the child’s sex as he starts school, I remember reading last year about a Toronto, Canada couple who decided to raise their child, named Storm, without gender so that it might evolve its own identity without the restrictions of social stereotyping. As the comments in response to the article reveal, the decision is controversial. Although some responses express support for the parents’ decision, most span disbelief, undiluted contempt, skepticism, calls to have the children removed from their custody, and, of course, religious outrage over a perceived affront to God’s intentions for men and women as distinct genders. All exert the same force: impose societal norms of gender identity.

But even before reading the comments we can see how the issue creates bafflement and confusion on the part of the article’s ostensibly open-minded author, Monica Bielanko, who struggles with cognitive dissonance. Bielanko writes:
I fully believe in supporting gender-creative children… However, I don’t know that keeping a child’s sex hidden doesn’t hinder the child more than help. 
She goes on to call in an air strike from psychologist, who says:
“ I believe that it puts restrictions on this particular baby so that in this culture this baby will be a singular person who is not being given an opportunity to find their true gender self, based on also what’s inside them.”
The issue is far from settled, however, revealing instead the crucial hidden assumptions about the entire discussion: that there is such a thing as a “true gender self” and that the world necessarily requires reducing identity to “either male or female.”  Already, we see confusion between biology and culture, a sloppy slip of language that muddies the issue from the get-go. Biologically, sex is inarguable although perhaps not as inflexible as one might think. While most people have clearly defined male or female genitals and physical characteristics, there is some variability. Nevertheless, sex, whether male, female, or transitional, is an empirical fact. Gender, on the other hand, is a construct built by placing the individual’s body within a social context that includes language, cultural customs, politics, economics, and ideology. It is the constellation of assumptions about behaviour and psychology, and it is by no means fixed between cultures throughout history. There is, in short, no such thing as gender truth; there is only gender as custom, as a habit of mind, as ideology. Allowing children to make choices for themselves without the consideration of whether it’s gender-appropriate or not seems to be the very model of children identifying themselves “based on also what’s inside them.”

 The Egyptian kilt, called a shendyt, as seen on this statue torso of General Tjahapimu from Egypt's 30th Dynasty. Kilts were a universal garment  for men throughout Ancient Egypt's long history, used by everyone including warriors and the Pharaoh. Image from Wikimedia.

Many of the commenters expressing their outrage miss this distinction between biology and culture, thus implying that Storm’s parents are actually aiming to deny their children’s physical makeup. The force of the parents’ decision to have people interact with Storm without using gender as a referent is nothing so absurd. It is, in fact, a substantial subversion of society’s conformist impulse, the very same that once plagued gender relations in both the past and, arguably, today still. The decision to remove gender from Storm’s early social development directly confronts the questionable reasoning that once saw the female gender as incapable of participating in politics and men as unsuitable for raising children (to shorten the list of stereotypes). It marks a rejection of the flawed causal logic of associating biology with social standards of identity, without the rejecting biological basis of sex.

And to the charge that these parents are using their children as social experiments, I call shenanigans: all parenting is fundamentally experimental. What religion, if any, do parents raise their children with? What hobbies and activities should parents support or discourage their kids from pursuing? At what age should parents start talking about sex? Parenting is complicated, but there are many paths through which parents can raise healthy, well-adapted children. It strikes me as prejudice and conformism that parents be expected to raise their children to meet other people’s gender expectations. Furthermore, there are many instances in which parental/societal expectations in regards to identity have traumatized children – among homosexuals, for example.

If gender is the socialized expression of an individual’s body, then fashion is a language that mediates that expression. What concerns us as fashionistas, then, is this; after biology, the use of clothes constructs the gender, just as the assumed gender influences the choice of clothes. Baby boys dressed in blue and baby girls clad in pink, both indicators of gender that, in turn, directs how people will treat the baby as he or she grows. As babies become identified with a gender, there comes an assimilation of dialects, male or female, each with a vocabulary of colours and styles that in turn reinforce that gender.  From this we can extrapolate cross-dressing as a mismatch between perceived gender and gender dialect, androgyny as an even blend of dialects that erases gender distinctions, and so on. All this, before we consider how men’s fashion easily influences women’s without the reverse being true.

They say clothes make the man, and woman, and the questions becomes: to what extent does fashion control us? We see a draconian expression of this when women walk around fully shrouded in fundamentalist Muslim societies. In our Western culture, however, the control is more oblique and insidious, aligned along commercial rather than theological interests. Consider how advertising plays up sex appeal and strong gender identification in order to sell products.

There’s more to talk about, of course, but since this post’s word count is getting elevated I’ll end with a question to discuss in the comments below. How does the way you dress reinforce, or refute, your sense of femininity/masculinity/other? I’d love to read what you think…

And don't forget: today is Frivolous Friday. Get your tiki on!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Clog In

by Becky

I have spent countless hours in meditative egotism plying fashion blogs. Setting up photo shoots, speeding home to take advantage of waning daylight, conjuring puns, and photoshopping out imperfections... This has been my life for the last couple years.

And now it has all paid off.

Because I just got... FREE SHOES.

Standing on chairs is totally normal at my house.

I know Frédérik already told you that Ugglebo donated shoes to me and so this is not news.

But it is for me because, as I'm not entirely sure you've noticed, these SHOES were FREE.

You can see how sad all the old shoes in the background are.

It took me a week to stop screaming with glee. Okay, that's not true. I'm still screaming.

And now I will tell an epic romance story about how I fell in love with these Ugglebo shoes. If you're anything like my mom and my sister, you'll want to know whether or now this love story has a happy ending.

Spoiler alert: It does. These clogs and I live happily every after.

Ugglebo 1
Ribbon! Key chain! FREE SHOES!

My new Ugglebo clogs arrived in a charmingly-wrapped box with a free key chain and adorable post card that carried this friendly warning:
1. If you haven't worn clogs before your body is going to need some time to adjust to the rigidity of the wood. Keep in mind that this is how clogs are supposed to be.
I haven't worn clogs before but whatever. I've worn many shoes. I've worn wooden-soled shoes. I've worn sandals and Mary Janes and leather ankle straps. How different could it be?
2. The leather will break in. Your clogs may feel snug initially. Don't worry, this is perfectly normal. Only wear your Ugglebos a couple hours a day the first week or two, especially if this is your first pair.
Oh, boy. They were snug. I initially assumed it was because I have enormous, man-sized feet that no historic Swedish cobbler could ever have foreseen. But the card said not to worry. So I didn't.

taking their place on my placemat

After the snugness observation, the next aspect of my newborn clogs I noticed is how insanely airy light they are.

Okay, I have a lot of shoe experience, but I had never met wooden-soled shoes that were so light. I know you don't believe me. I know you're sitting at your laptop scoffing at me. But in all reality, it's striking how un-clunky these babies are.

These will become a wardrobe staple.

So, I scoped 'em out up-close. And when Ugglebo says that their work has "top-notch quality," they ain't joking. The leather is thick and soft. The soles are smooth and ergonomically shaped. The style is thoughtful. You can absolutely tell that this is a company that is benefiting from generations of experience and from a workforce that takes pride in its product.

I would like to say that I'm not just sucking up because they were free. I cannot tell a lie and I would never, ever mislead anyone when it comes to fashionable footwear. I may not have many morals but I do stand by my style snobbery ethos.

Buckle up. It's going to be a bumpy night.

Anyway. When I donned the clogs, my feet seemed to magically shrink. My humongous canoe of a foot looked three times smaller. It was so strange but wonderful.

I was obsessed. I threw caution to the wind and decided to wear them to work the next day. For 14 hours. In a row. What could go wrong?

Fact: Clogs make you 92% more coy.

And I received at least five documented compliments on my new shoes. Before lunch. Oh yeah.

Attention slut needs: Sated.

But, the wise old owl at Ugglebo was right. I should never have undertaken such a foolhardy errand. Because while, yes, they were light and airy and beautifully crafted, my massive extremity was no match for the very high-quality leather.

I hobbled home, defeated.

But there was no lasting damage or permanent pain. And I keep wearing them for small periods of time, and keep getting compliments (YES!) and they are breaking in. And I keep loving them more and more.

Sole mates!

Ugglebo clogs have a timeless style for a reason: They are built to last. Unlike the thousands of crappy, trendy shoes I buy every year, these are classics that will only grow more fabulous as they become worn.

And that, my friends, is worth any price.