Wobegon Days of Summer

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Garrison Keillor in his Seersucker Suit. Photo Credit: Michael Buck
I'm a voracious reader, always have been. I read anything and everything. When I was 6, I read all sides of the cereal box, every morning (It's part of a balanced breakfast). When I was eleven, I started in on my mom's nursing manuals (now I'm a hypochondriac). When I was a teenager, I read my parent's bathroom AARP magazines cover to cover (I have a Roth IRA?). I found an unlikely style icon within the pages of the AARP, sandwiched between a girdle advertisement and a Franklin Mint collector's plate ad. Garrison Keillor

Photo Credit: Stan Franzos
 You may know Garrison Keillor's sleepy baritone voice from the Saturday evening's, A Prairie Home Companion radio show. Or you may know his sarcastically wholesome writing that epitomizes the golden era of the American mid-west. Or if you are part of a younger generation or an upright citizen of another country, you may not know him at all. But believe me, there was an article with a corresponding iconic photo of him in that AARP magazine. He, the public radio icon in tortoise shell glasses, wore a seersucker suit with a red tie, red suspenders....red shoes. Keillor's ensemble stopped me in my tracks. He was a dapper Mark Twain and a Norman Rockwell illustration rolled into a 6'4" radio legend and slapped in red, white and blue for good measure. I immediately clipped out his image with my scissors (because that's what I did when I was a teenager-- I made lots and lots of esoteric collages on my highschool notebooks). My notebooks have long since gone the way of the dodo, but Keillor's sartorial imprint was permanently etched on my psyche. I wish I could dig up that picture of him for you. I tried, but the internet as we know it wasn't invented yet, but believe. He looked amazing and I've wanted to try out his signature look ever since. I couldn't think of a better time to try the seersucker/red shoe combo than the American-three-day-weekend-official-end-of-summer-holiday. Labor Day Weekend: an American Institution since 1887. 

Photo Credit: Stan Franzos
 I had a guest photographer this week, my father-in-law, Stan Franzos. We took these photos on the quaintly American main street of Charles Town, West Virginia. I'm wearing an asymmetrical top by BCBG with a J. Crew seersucker pencil skirt. For the red portion of the outfit, I'm wearing patent leather Christian Louboutin T-strap Coxinelle heels and carrying a vintage red Furla envelope clutch that I found at an estate sale for $1. I would wear this look to the Lake Wobegon County Labor Day Parade with a straw boater hat on my head and tumbler full of bourbon in my hand. 

Photo Credit: Stan Franzos

The beauty and magic of summer lies in its brevity. As the evening comes earlier and earlier, I will pine for the endless days and firefly-filled nights. I will miss sitting on the back stoop of my house with a juicy tomato in one hand and salt shaker in the other.  But such is life. Til we meet again Summer. Next year, same time. 

"I never wanted to be known for longevity, 
but rather for brilliant, tragically interupted brevity..." 
--Garrison Keillor

Photo Credit: Stan Franzos

Your Bosom Friend From Pittsburgh,

What I wore: seersucker Skirt: J. Crew, similar here. Top: BCBG, past season. Similar here. 
Heels: Christian Louboutin Coxinelle, past season. $$$ Similar here and $ here. 
Clutch: Vintage Furla. $$ Similar here and $ here. Bracelet: vintage modernist O.P. Orlandini sterling, try eBay. Watch: Gucci, past season.

Let Me See That Sarong

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Ooh dat skirt so scandalous...." Well, not really. Sarongs are worn by both men and women in many other parts of the world (and have been for centuries). Only in the western world do we think of sarongs as those 'exotic' candy-colored, sheer things women tie on to get from their hotel room to the pool without flashing their 'problem areas.' On a side note, it's no wonder the female lower body is referred to in hushed terms like 'my problem area' when there are songs out there with brilliant lyrics like,"she had dumps like a truck, truck, truck and thighs like what, what, what..." (Sisquo, you are the musician of my dystopian feminist hell). Anyway, from a mail-order lingerie and swimsuit catalog's point-of-view, the sarong's versatile ability to reveal, yet conceal makes it quite the alluring swimsuit accessory indeed. Wait. Swimsuit, accessory? This is getting much too complicated. I think I'll just wear the hotel towel to cover up my dump truck butt in the elevator....and buy a sarong-inspired skirt because it looks cool. Sigh....Do you ever long for a simpler way?

 Sir Thomas More wrote his novel, Utopia in 1516. It was about More's vision of an ideal society. Just about every writer since, from the Marquis de Sade to Lois Lowry has tried their version of Utopia on for size. Law, religion and women's roles vary drastically, but only one thing is universal. One man's utopia is another's dystopia. I'm not going to get all political because this is neither the time nor the place, but what about fashion? Have you ever considered what your fashion utopia looks like? Probably not, but I have. My fashion utopia lies in the costumes portrayed in dystopian society films. The dystopian society in Mad Max for instance; I can't get enough of the gritty, post-apocalyptic look. I think what truly appeals to me about dystopian fashion is how functional and secondary it is to the main goal, survival. But, that is not say that each article of clothing wasn't carefully chosen, because it was. Dystopian clothing is clothing with a purpose, like the color palette is designed to blend with the natural habitat...or to reflect the heat of the sun away, minimize dirt in a landscape prone to dust storms, protect the wearer from road rash or zombie bites...You know, useful stuff, but through a film production designer's lens so it also looks cool. Utopias are important to help clarify what is important to us. I think what my fashion utopia tells me is that clothing should enhance our experience and our ability to perform our jobs and hobbies so that we can truly live. That's all I really want from fashion...to look cool AND go on all kinds of scouting adventures with my photographer/cinematographer husband. 

I'm wearing a sarong-inspired skirt by Free People in a dour-colored jersey fabric. I paired it with my favorite slubby linen t-shirt from J.Crew, some studded sandals and my favorite pair of Chanel sunnies that Mr. Franzos gave me when we were dating. The look is perfect for the Utopia of summer vacation living, and also perfect for the office (Just switch out the sandals for some ankle boots and a moto jacket to amp up the Mad Max/Road Warrior vibe). I topped this look off with a mid-century copper bracelet and my favorite NSFW necklace made from a salvaged old nudie pen (you know, where the bathing suit disappears and reveals a nude female body). I also have male nudie pen that I will use to make cheeky jewelry in a later DIY post. (I'm all about equal sexual objectification).

Speaking of cheeks, this skirt is jersey and machine washable and fabulous, but it is wont to show panty lines.... Soooo, I recommend wearing a............ummm.............. crap......
I just totally blanked. What are those called? I can't believe I can't think of it....damn. What a time to forget a word! this is so embarrassing....I mean, Sisquo wrote a grammy nominated song about it in 1999 and I can't think of it.....This is going to drive me insane!...I'm so sorry. Dear reader, if you can think of this essential undergarment that discourages panty lines, make sure you repeat it four and half times in the comments below. 

Your Bosom Friend From Pittsburgh,

What I wore: Linen T-shirt: J.Crew, Similar. Sarong: Free People, $ similar here and $$ here. Studded sandals: DSW, similar here. Sunnies: Chanel. Necklace: homemade NSFW necklace...(a DIY blog post coming soon!) Bracelet: Mid-century copper bracelet, search etsy here.

Star Wars 'On Holiday' Special

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Somewhere... beyond the sea...."

 I have fond memories of my summer vacation or as the British would call it, "summer holiday." Whenever my mind wanders back to the North Fork of Long Island, I start smiling and Bobby Darin starts crooning Beyond The Sea. Listen, if you have a Vegas lounge singer providing the internal soundtrack for your vacation flashbacks, that's when you know you did something right.

Which brings me to vacation clothing and "resort wear." Resort wear is the fashion world's version of Star Wars Holiday Special*. If you've seen it, you know what I mean. No rebroadcast. The critics were not convinced that it wasn't written and directed by a sentient bag of cocaine. Let me just back-pedal a little, I'm not judging anyone for drinking the resort wear kool-aid. I love Star Wars, I love tacky, I love vacation. Heck, I especially love cherry kool-aid. I'm just saying, festive island wear isn't for me. For a few years now, I've been going through something of a fashion-fin de siecle-existential crisis-THING. I'm trying to only purchase items I will wear, a lot. Frequently. Year-round broadcast syndication, if you will. Less IS more. I'll take machine wash and non-iron, if you got it. I live in Pittsburgh, and it's a tough little city. We don't have happy little palm trees and trendy coral reefs. We have crumbling bridges and slag heaps. In spite of my ready-to-wear dogma, I did go out and buy something specifically for my vacation. I know, Scandal! But if there is such a thing as a sartorial bucket list, then let it be known: I've always wanted to be that glamorous woman in an iconic floppy, hat. "It's not a wholesome sundress with tiny lobsters embroidered all over it, it's a hat. And a classic one. Just do it!" pleaded my internal monologue. So I did.

There were big plans ahead for the big, floppy hat. I was going to wear it sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, shopping, vineyard-ing, antique-ing, brunch-ing...It was going to be my constant companion and nose freckle preventer. At least, that was the plan. But as it turns out, the hat is a fair-weather friend and goes whichever way the wind blows. Sometimes I looked like an old prospector, Holly Hobbie, occasionally, Marilyn Monroe. A particularly large gust meant LIGHTS OUT while I tried to keep my balance on a paddleboard and navigate the jellyfish laden waters of the Peconic Bay. I was almost run over by a car when I stumbled into oncoming traffic. While shopping in Greenport, I kept saying, "Excuse me, M'am" when I bumped into clothing racks and point of sale displays. With the floppy hat, the blind spots are legion (for they are many). With great sadness, I must report that a myopic hat is really only good for two things: glamor shots and sitting by the pool like a lady. And since I don't like to be outside unless I'm scrambling up trees or poking marine wildlife with sticks....what does that leave us with? For a few fleeting moments anyway, I was the woman shrouded in mystery and intrigue in the big, floppy hat.

I'm wearing a versatile work dress, an ivory split-neck tunic (I call it my Tatooine dress) that I bought at Macy's last summer. I re-purposed it as a swimsuit cover up/nearly-get-killed-as-I-walk-about-the-village-of-Greenport-shopping-and-sight-seeing dress. I paired it with neutral sandals and some futuristic jewelry in silver and wood that British costume designer, John Mollo might have sourced for a character in Star Wars. His 70's futurism is a regular well of inspiration for my outfit decisions. I hope you like the nautical Star Wars look. May the force be with you.

 Is this hat wookie or jawa brown?

Somewhere, beyond the sea, somewhere, in a galaxy far, far away....

*Just remember, if you follow this link and watch the Star Wars Holiday Special, what has been seen cannot be unseen.

Dress: RACHEL Rachel Roy. Similar. Necklace: gift, sterling and wood. Bracelets: vintage. Similar and here. Ring: vintage square sterling ring, similar. Hat: American Apparel. Sandals: DSW Similar. Sunnies: Chanel

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Your Bosom Friend From Pittsburgh,

Proudly designed by | mlekoshiPlayground |