Monday, December 28, 2009

I See Dead Clothing

MOI: Okay, Pirate, I’m going to make my one and only prediction for 2010. And it’s a bitch as much as it’s a prediction. Although it pains me to say it, all signs so far point to the fact that the economy in the New Year is going to suck even more verily than it did this year. Heck, y’all thought we had to tighten our belts in 2009? In 2010, we’ll have to sell them to pay the utilities.

While I’m the first person to admit I’m easily distracted by brand new shiny objects, most especially shoes, I’m also frugal and realistic. I know there’s only so far I’m going to be able to stretch my retail fashion dollar next year, and it won't be much beyond the tips of my fingers. But that's okay. We can still make lemonade out of the lemons. Here's how:

1. Reuse. These days, it's nearly impossible to score the kind of bargains that were a dime a dozen back in the Big Bad Eighties when I first started scouting vintage and thrift stores for the bulk of my wardrobe. Still, if you’re savvy and patient, you can still snag a bargain or two on occasion.

Case in point: three weeks ago, I bid on and won this mint condition vintage Norma Kamali OMO dress in the most gorgeous silk/rayon blend, with ruffles at the shoulders and fish tail hem.

Only set me back five dolla, plus a few bucks for shipping. This dress looks like it was worn maybe a handful of times before being relegated to the back of someone's closet until that someone dug it out and listed it on eBay. Now it belongs to Moi, and believe me, I will most definitely give it the attention it deserves. Perfect right now with a tissue turtleneck and lace up suede riding boots (also vintage – I’ve had them since college), and later with a pair of sky high tee strap sandals to a friend’s wedding.

2. Recycle: Last month, Pirate and I headed up to Santa Fe for the Recycled Art Festival and found among its dozens of vendors a veritable cornucopia of recycled (or upcycled, if you will) fashion – everything from jewelry to hats to handbags. I snagged this lovely piece from the Arroyo Secco-based Secco Pearl recycled clothing collective for only $20:

Last year, I apparently managed to charm, er, wear down, Santa Fe costume designer and dedicated upcycler, Julie Anderson, to the point where she let me take home one of her demented doll head clutches at a deeply discounted price.

3. Rethink. Shopping your closet and casting your old pieces of still-wearable clothing in a new light can provide the same small thrill as lifting up a sofa cushion and finding enough change to score a bag of Cheetos and a Fresca. These days, doing the vintage shop thing is as expensive as paying retail and the thrift shop thing is only fun if you have all day to comb through stacks and stacks of clothing, some of it so hideously unappealing, it's easy to get deflated by the sheer fuggliness of it all before you even start.

Instead, shop consignment. Sure, I’d kill for the financial ability to clean out Bergdorf’s in my Galliano gown, but that ain’t likely to ever happen in this lifetime. So when I'm not shopping sales or on-line discount sites, I'm headed to my favorite consignment shop, the simply smashing Two Time Couture. Clothing consignment boutiques like Two Time are not only a great place to sell unwanted shoes, boots, clothing, and handbags, they're also a great place to pick up designer clothing at discounts so deep, you need oxygen to go there. Over the years, I've scored everything from Vince cashmere sweaters to Ralph Lauren peasant blouses to DKNY pinstriped wool boyfriend blazers to Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses, at prices a fraction the cost of retail.

How about you, Pirate? Want to share some of your RRR phat loot?

PIRATE: Firstly and foremostly, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you dahling, and all my new bitchfriends out in the interwebs!

I've had a very prosperous year, lots of buckling swashes and corporate piracy has filled the treasure chests at this end. Even so, I have two little pirates and a triathlon habit to feed – so I too am feeling a pinch.

1. Re-use: Like you, I'll be spending some time this year trawling e-Pay for some bargains. I'm not great at this, but I do occasionally find things for less than I would pay retail. My issue with the re-use thing is time – as in, I have none for shopping, which is why I tend to do my shopping online. That's not always a good strategey . . .

2. Recycle: I will make more of an attempt to cull my closet and put things on e-Pay so that I can get new things. I need to model off your good habits. I also think we did a good thing last year letting you into my closet – I like giving my things up to good homes. I'm hoping that the new year will allow time for me to come peek in your closet, or you to come back to mine for more goodies. I'm sure there's something else in there you'll need.

I too had a fun time at the Santa Fe Recycled Art Thing. I feel all green and worthy, spending money on wearable art from recycled things. I had intended to do much Christmas shopping there, and although I did come away with one gift for someone else, I mostly shopped for myself. I picked up a recycled bike chain necklace,

so near and dear to my heart is this necklace. sigh . . . and so simple.

and a fabulous bracelet made from buttons,

Love it, love it, love it. Yes, now that you mention it, it does look like a tiny miniature LP on my wrist.
No, that did not occur to me when I purchased it.

and also a fabulous recycled belt buckle on a not-at-all recycled leather belt. Yes, I think we can call this Upcycled. It's a statement piece, and I had no such thing in my wardrobe previously.

It's red and it's big!

3. Rethink: Mama rarely buys a thing that isn't on sale. This is a rule that has few exceptions – like that time when I bought those khakis with the tuxedo stripe because I just knew I'd wear them every day until they had holes in them and I was worried they would sell out before I got there . . . the other exception is when it's so cheap it's hardly worth waiting for a sale.

I am sometimes a victim of impulse – I worry that if I don't get that precious thing right now, it will be gone forever and I'll never have another chance. While that's been true on a few notable occasions, most of the time, I have found that they will always make more stuff, or my precious object will eventually find its way to e-Pay where I can snap it up for more than retail (I do my homework, ladies – don't think for a second that e-Pay = cheap!). Maybe it's a byproduct of my age that I'm now more measured about my shopping. I will be rethinking how much I need that thing right now.

If I know I want That Thing, and it's something that will find an easy place in my wardrobe, I will stalk my prey and pre-shop (e.g., try it on, find out my size). Then I wait for the e-coupon to fall, and I pounce. I've scored some super deals this way – like 45% off deal on that jacket on jCrew I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for . . . and the 50% off my most favouritest over the knee boots.

Also, I need you to come over and help me re-do my outfit selections. My mother paid the Chic Expert to come and look through her things and give her ideas on how to put outfits together – and she took pictures of them. What a great idea, right? Like a style book!

MOI: Goody, more closet cleaning coming up! Ladies, if you've got girlfriends anywhere near your size, I heartily recommend doing this. In fact, Pirate, let's save this for another post. The Who What Where When and Why of Shopping Your Best Friend's Closet.

Edited as per Aunty's Request:

ePay is what Pirate calls eBay. It is Moi's Numero Uno discount fashion site. To get the most out of eBay, it is best to avoid bidding "blind", and only use it to search and bid on those items you know will fit. For instance, last year, I was searching for a simple white, heavy cotton strapless dress. Banana Republic had one for $98 as part of their spring collection. It fit me perfectly and so I waited until a certain trusted eBay B.R. discounter, who buys in bulk from distributors, put one up on her site. A couple months later, bam, I had it for $15.99. Disadvantages of eBay are that fakes abound, so check history and feedback carefully. I find that private sellers (those who aren't stores or discounters), almost always sell the real deal (they're cleaning out their closets and not buying suspect inventory from Singapore), although there are a few distributors, like JT & Company (who handles BCBG), who are dead on honest.

For discounted shoes and handbags, nothing beats Savings of up to 75%, free shipping, and a no-questions-asked, no-cost, 365-day return policy. has a tremendous selection and some good sales.

About six months ago I joined, at Aunty's invitation, one of the handful of fashion shopping sites that are invite only, (let me know if you want an invite). Sites like this and Gilt Group (to which I also belong) are becoming very popular ways of shopping high end designers at deep, and I mean DEEP discounts. Clothing, shoes, accessories, handbags, even home fashions at up to 95 percent off. I have purchased two things from Haute Look - a set of 22 Amrita Singh 24K gold bangles that normally go for $130, for $18; and a purple and black ruched jersey dress by Queue that retails for $250 for $80. Because these sites order direct from the designer, who ships to them, who in turn ships to the customer, shipping is a little slow. But I got each of my items, perfectly packed, with tracking number, within 10 days. I'll take discount over speed any day.

Another of my top favorite clothing sites is LLBean. Seriously. This is a hidden gem for fashionistas. Everything from workout clothing to French boat cut striped shirts to adorable cashmere hoodies to leather riding boots can be had at terrific prices. And with its free return policy, if something doesn't fit quite right, back it goes, no questions asked.

Pirate, if you have any faves, feel free to share!

Pirate Adds, On my e-Pay (OK, I'll call it eBay) purchases, I have but one rule: I do my research. As Moi says, counterfeits abound, as do untrustworthy sellers. Usually I know what I'm getting into because I have spent a lot of time looking at said item in person or have pined for it at length by retail. I have sometimes caught some big deals, like the time I scored those Alexander McQueen heels (normally retailing for $850, I purchased on eBay for $165 - I stalked those puppies for almost a year). I have also paid too much on e-Bay.

I totally agree with Moi - Endless is the way to go on shoes. I don't shop Zappos -- I have never seen a deal on Zappos that couldn't be beat at my local Dillards, or on Endless.

I spend a lot of my online money at JCrew and BCBG, because their clothing is consistent in sizing and quality, and they have regular online discounts. I am on both of their online mailing lists, and they sometimes offer exclusive online sales for their mailing list customers. I shop their online catalogs for ideas and mentally earmark items that I want, and then I wait. It usually isn't long before they sell their new items at a discount, or offer free shipping, or something.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

The Bitches are taking a hiatus for the holiday season to eat a lot of food and fret over outfits. We'll be back next week with a post on recycled/upcycled fashion. Until then, mucho smooches to you all, enjoy the warmth of the season with friends and family, and don't forget:


We're not kidding. We don't care if you ARE being ironic.
Don't do it.

Okay, okay, if you're THIS guy, you can do it. This guy, he could wear fUggs on his head, we wouldn't kick him out of the party. Although, our husbands might have something to say about that.
Stooooooopid husbands.

Friday, December 11, 2009

crickets chirping, ugly shoes, holiday blues

Yes. We know. It has been Slackerville around Fashion Bitches H.Q. lately. We have been busy with work. With holiday parties. With facing the daunting task of coming up with fabulous prezzies. For other people.

So, Pirate, what do you have to say for yourself?

PIRATE: Well, I too am suffering from a certain lack of inspiration. Malaise or Malazy? Probly both.

I did, however, get e-mail from today (God bless them). I think they like me! They are beckoning me to come buy their most popularest boots at a deep discount, so I clicky the linky 'cos, you know, a Bitch has gotta see what boots are on sale and stuff. It's Christmas, right?

Once I stopped drooling on those gorgeous rose embellished pumps (I'll note they can be obtained for a very reasonable $99), I was aghast to note the number of fUGGly boots they are selling. The variety is somewhat staggering.

We have fUggs with studs (can be found in black or brown, lord help me).

We have the ubiquitous (and not entirely unexpected, given their non-shape) fUggs with fur, in black brown or pre-dirtied white.

and perhaps the most wrongest of all, patent leather fUggs.

There are also fUggs with corset detail (I'm not sure I find these sexy)

And of course, no girl's shoe wardrobe is complete without Zebra fUggs

. . . you know, for that "wild" look.

I note that I have seen these mostly on the feet of the younger set (e.g., High Schoolers), and so I have written them off as Too Young for Mama. Thank fUgg.

Having said that, have you seen the prices for these bedroom slippers? For the price of a pair of these, you could buy a whole lot of really nice looking boot (about a yard or so of moo-leather, by my accounting). Sheesh, my most expensive pair of boots evar were not as expensive as the fUggs.

Thoughts, oh fabulous one?

MOI: Well, I just hate fUggs. First, because they are butt ass ugly – I mean, unless you are an Eskimo, why in the holy fire of heck would you want to look like someone just shot a grizzly bear and wrapped it around your lower extremities? Plus, are we the only ones who have grok'd to the irony of the fact that these things were invented and are still produced entirely in Australia, a country where, the last time I checked, Near-Nekkid Beach Volleyball was the name of the national game, not Ice Floe Hopping?

Hello? McFly?

Now, excuse-ay Moi while I log onto and purchase a pair of those flowered pumps. Just what this grown up gal needs for her New Year's Eve outfit. Which I realize may entail a cozy track suit on the sofa waiting for the ball to drop on the East Coast (where it is ten o'clock in the Land of Enchantment) instead of a wild ass party or romantic dinner. Regardless; awesome shoes must be worn.

PIRATE: Hallelujah, Amen, and pass the Credit Card!

I still cannot understand their un-ending popularity. What message do you suppose the wearers of these wish to convey? "I'm cool and hip and shop in Australia?" Or is it perhaps, "I am a fashion lemming?"

Because this boot says to me, "I have given up and I hate myself," or "I live in a mental institution and am not allowed shoelaces."

Please, oh please, let them go the way of the Dodo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

denial thy name is demi

Demi Moore turns 47 years old this week. She remains an undeniably beautiful woman, most likely through a combination of good genes, good luck, and access to the best treatments and work money can buy.

Such good work and treatments, in fact, that at first glance, she appears to give 26-year-old model Anja Rubik, who originally wore this stunning metallic body suit by Balmain on the runway this fall, a serious run for her money.

But wait. Look closer. Something is wrong.

See it?

Now, the photographer hired to shoot the photos for this cover, Anthony Citrano, has brazenly and publically called out both W and Demi on their laughable assertion that this is Demi's body. In a Tweeted statement, he lobs the ball into Demi's court: “@mrskutchner I started this, so I’ll (try to) finish it: $5k to charity if that’s really the original.”

And we thought only young women had to fight the fashion world's unrealistic expectations for body size.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

over the knee boots: the verdict

PIRATE: It's been forever since we last discussed the over-the-knee boot thing, we should probably give an update on that, n'est ce pas?

I seem to recall that the majority of opinion from our audience was that the over-knee/thigh high boot thing couldn't be done without looking like a Paid Professional. The other part of the opinion: this look should not be done by people who are height-challenged, or mass-challenged.

I was, at last writing, still debating which pair I would purchase – and was leaning toward a nice pair from Victoria's secret. When I finally dusted off the credit card, Vicky's said I wouldn't have them in my sweaty palms until mid-November, that Bitch. I had to keep shopping and obsessing and shopping, and . . .

After much debate, I finally settled on these from Nine West:

By the way - if you're looking for video assistance on how to get them on, I recommend you never do a search on youtoob, unless you want to watch what the Feet People like to watch. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Yes, you see fake leather and you see a very tall platform. I reasoned that this boot would be an appropriate compromise - it had everything I liked about the Alexander McQueen boot I would never be able to afford, and the Victoria's Secret boot I thought looked awesome, without looking too cheap or hookery, at a guilt-free price point.

Yes, that is a brave look to go for. I figured if I'm gonna do it, I will do it the way I want to – so I held my breath and pressed "purchase."

MOI: First of all, I have to say, never in my life have I given over so much time and attention to the purchase of a boot. Pirate and I researched until our eyes glazed over, flinging Web sites and reviews at each other from the butt crack of dawn to the launch of midnight for nearly two weeks.

In the end, for me, it came down to: do I buy something vampy along the lines of the Victoria's Secret boots above or something more in line with my BoHo sensibilities, a la the Dolce Vita Nathan Boot? After much what-to-do-ing, I decided to go for the Nathan. Something about that beautiful dove grey color and soft suede was calling to me from the depths of 1977 and when 1977 calls, Moi picks up. Even better, was offering $25 off AND free, next day shipping. Plus, no-questions-asked-no-cost returns. Let me take just a moment to say this: God Bless and everyone associated with this kick-ass run business.

PIRATE: First impressions out of the box: it's a big damned box and Nine West took their sweet time sending it to me: almost three weeks to put them in my paws. Do you hear me Nine West? That's cruelty!

My assessment on removal from the box: they do look fake, but not overtly so. Yes, they look exactly like they do in the pictures, and they are tall. Then I tried them on. It was like pulling on a pleather stocking. To my relief, they end just over my knee and not in my crotch as I feared they might. They are fairly comfortable on, the platform is a nice size (meaning these are very stable to walk in). The entire shaft is stretchy (whew!), the ankle zip means they're easy to pull over anything.

Also, the spouse really liked them. This does not bode well for me. I mean, on the one hand, it's good that he likes them, but I really was hoping to wear them outside the house.

MOI: Sure enough, they arrived next day air, nicely wrapped and protected against any and all possible mishandling by Red Bull fueled postal workers cruising for a cigarette break.

The first thing I noticed was the quality of the suede. Very nice for the price. I would have preferred a platform on the foot bed for support, but since the heel is only 3", I wasn't going to make that a sticking point.

Second thing: mah gawd, these are comfy. They fit true to size and will easily accommodate a tight or thin wool sock, which is fine. I'm not going to be wearing my hiking socks. Once pulled on, they came up to just about 3" just over my knee. Perfect.

As for getting them off, well, now I know why they are often referred to as hooker boots. It takes two, baby, to remove these puppies from la feet. Either that, or arms the length of the Pacific Coastal Highway.

PIRATE: Of course, the real test of these boots is pairing them with an outfit that looks professional without looking "professional", and then (ulp) leaving the house. If anyone will have an issue with the height/girth issue, it's me: I'm short, my legs are short, and they're, er, muscular.

First outfit: skinny jeans, navy tissue turtleneck, double breasted short sleeve ecru jacket, big girl boots in a professional setting:
There's a lot of boot there, it has to be said.

The verdict from my co-workers: silence. Not a word. Not a snarky comment, not a noise, not a peep. Deafening silence. I honestly didn't know what to make of it.

Out in public I get nothing. No feedback. Admittedly, I was tepid about where I went.

I posted the above photo on my Facebook page. The verdict from my Facebook friends: a resounding number of positive comments, both male and female, and some catcalls. Make of that what you will.

My personal take: this outfit is comfortable, the boots are fun, but all I can see are my giant thighs bulging from the tops of the boots, and it's not a look I like. I'm hoping they'll stretch more over time.

Outfit two: Frilly white blouse, black drape cardigan, charcoal leggings, big girl boots.

Note the lazy-ass spouse/photographer in the reflection; he's not feeling well the poor dear.

This outfit is much better. I look taller, thinner; more leg, less thigh. The boots have stretched a touch, and the leggings don't seem to take up as much space. Also, it's a little less contrast between boot and legging, which I prefer.

Verdict at work: still no word. I think they got used to me playing dress-up every day and have grown numb to my fashion experiments.

Personal verdict: I feel less self-conscious with this; I feel tall, and not like a "professional". Also, I got a compliment from a complete stranger when I went to lunch with Moi: "that's a nice pair of boots."

Moi says: You looked super duper hot in this outfit and now I am coveting those boots and the leggings. Poor Santa, he is getting awfully exhausted with all my requests.

MOI's OUTFITS: Please excuse the el crappo photos. I just now figured out how to turn off my flash, but not how to change the shutter speed. This was as still as I could hold the camera.

Anyhoo, I find that these boots pair best with tights and a short dress/skirt. They slouch down just slightly when I wear them with my skinny jeans, because my legs, while shapely, are, um, athletic. Add thick denim to my already 16" diameter calves, and the result is a bit of a slouch. But I have a pair of thin black denim jeans that they work perfectly with.

Paired with BCBG dusky rose tunic dress and black tights.

Paired with black CAbi skinny jeans, layered J Crew tees, and DKNY pinstriped boyfriend blazer.

Le Verdict: I feel comfortable in both outfits and in no danger whatsoever for getting hauled away for soliciting favors from cute high school boys. For that, I bring out the Louboutins.

Pirate's notes… I noticed that the boots did not hijack your look – they emphasized you in all the right places. The boot color is faaabulous in person. Too bad we don't have the same foot size...covet...covet...covet...

OVERALL VERDICT: The over the knee boot thing can be done even if you have big legs and you're short, just take care with what you tuck into them. The trick is to not under-dress on top – if you look like a hooker from the waist up, the boots will emphasize this; if you dress like a professional, the boots can add a nice long line to legs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Good Accessories

Dear bitches, I finished.

My finishing time: 13:53. That's 13 hours, 53 minutes to take myself 140.6 miles by swimming, biking, and running. That's a personal record for me!

In my own personal tradition, I'm wearing my medal to work today. I wear it until everyone knows I finished, and then I retire it (that's about a day).

One might ask, what does one wear with a medal the size of a license plate? Well, I've opted to dress like a rockstar with my rockstar t-shirt and my skinny jeans and my military jacket. And flats.

I think it goes perfectly.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Off the Racks of Babes

So last week, my brother says to me: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take my daughter, your 16-year-old niece, shopping for some fall/winter clothing.”

"Whaddya kidding Moi?" I replied. "Shopping is my middle name!"

A few seconds of silence lapsed at the other end of the line before he said to me, “Well you know how picky she is. Are you sure you’re up for it?”

Oh, yes, I assured him. You can count on Moi. I will do a mighty fine job of steering said niece into perfectly appropriate but totally cool clothing. And what was he talking about, picky? The kid lives in flip flops and tee shirts from Hollister. Should be no problem, juhzing her up a bit.

My brother then slapped me with another couple directives. Not only should the clothing be appropriate, one of the items should include a warm, practical winter coat. Also, because he is currently on a very limited budget and my niece tends to outgrow things as fast as she can roll her eyes at adults, he asked that we limit our shopping to either Target or Wal-mart, both of which do indeed have perfectly appropriate, decently made, and stylish clothing for girls.

So this past Wednesday, off we went.

First stop, Wal-Mart, where niece immediately spotted hanging on a rack in the juniors section, a totally cool, white nylon puffy bomber style jacket:

“Aunt Mmmmwahhhhhhhh,” she squealed. “That is so cooooool!”

Not for nothing this kid is my niece, and so not for nothing the Fashionista Moi part of me was just champing at the bit to concur. Luckily, I was able to mentally smack Fashionista Moi down with the promise of cruising the new arrivals at Shop Bop later this evening if she would just keep her mouth shut and allow Practical Moi to intone with grown up, Practical Moi Seriousness: “Oh, honey, no. That thing is going to get dirty in about 2.5 seconds and you’re going to whine and cry to me about it and then I am most likely going to go broke from the dry cleaning bills, because I was the one who allowed you to buy it in the first place.”

“But Aunt Moi, can I at least try it on? It’s so cooooool!”


You just can’t fault logic like that, so yes, okay, I caved in and let her try it on, and yes, she did indeed look totally cool in it. So totally cool, in fact, that before I could stop her, Fashionista Moi came running to the fore, never mind the 5" heels, and blurted out breathlessly, “Oh. My. God. That is so cool! You look like some bored European heiress skiing Gstaad on trust fund money!"

Of course, she had no clue whatsoever what I was talking about, but that didn't matter; kid can sniff an Adult About to Give In like I can sniff out a 75 percent off sale at the Dillard's shoe department.

“So I can get it, right?” she enthused.

At which point Fashionista Moi politely begged off, pushed Practical Moi to the foreground and tip-toed away, mumbling something about having to go pour herself a drink.

The pronouncement, painful as it was, came swiftly: “No, honey. You can’t.”

Naturally, niece immediately went into Pouty McPoutster Mode and I was left holding the Bad Aunty Bag.

Then, the heavens? They parted. To magically reveal the exact same jacket, only in BLACK. I held it up enthusiastically. Still totally cool, right?

“I dunno,” said niece warily. “You don’t think I’m going to look like some biker chick in it, do you?”

This from a child who rims her eyes in jet black and has a metal arrow pierced through the left side of her lower lip? Still, she had a point.

Then the heavens, they parted a second time, this time revealing the neon-edged sign for the Miley Cyrus Max Azria Collection for Wal-Mart. Racks upon racks and stacks upon stacks of inexpensive, spot-on-trend, inexpensive, and totally cute inexpensive tee shirts and boho tops and jeans and leggings and what have you. And by the way did I mention, inexpensive?

“Honey, I tell you what. You buy the black jacket instead of the white, and I’ll chip in to buy you this way cute Miley Cyrus top, which will look totally cool underneath the jacket, sort of Rocker Chick Meets Boho Babe. Whaddya say?”

The niece, she actually squinted her eyes at me. Then she slowly walked over to another rack and after a few seconds, triumphantly procured another top. “Throw this one in and you got a deal.”

So, did I mention? The collection? Tres inexpensive. Which means my niece, she gets to be totally cute for the 2.5 seconds it takes her to outgrow her stuff and I get to have money left over for the winter shoe fund. Because my feet? They’re not growing anywhere.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

seasonal essentials (or, feeding the fashion dragon)

OK, this Ironman training thing is just about eating my lunch, but there is a light at the end of the crazy tunnel.

The good news is, the build is over. Ironman "build" is that part where you do crazy training weekends where you run for like 4 hours on Saturday, and then bike for 6 hours and run for 1, on a Sunday. Yah, I know -- who does that?! Toward the end of the training cycle, Ironman training is like taking on a part-time job. Although it sounds really impressive, you just can't judge the whole Ironman training by the crazy weekends during the build thing. That's just one insane month. All the other months are well into the realm of sanity. As I say, the hard part is over. The training is in the bank.

The bad news is, the race is November 7th and I am nervous. As usual. I'm trying not to think about it.

Between training for an Ironman, raising kids, and working a full time job, I've been a very busy girl. I've barely had time to shop.

Ok, that's only kind of a lie. You know I like my online shopping. I do. Nonetheless, the fall season snuck up on me while I was busy doing my weekends of insanity, and I feel like I'm missing out. What I really really want, now that it's taper time, is to fill in my wardrobe with a few fall/winter essentials.

So - here's a partial list of stuff I feel I may not make it through fall/winter without. . .

BCBG textured tube skirt - this is the cheapest bit of Herve Leger I might ever get to own. I need to go try one on to confirm what I already suspect, which is that skirt will hide all flaws, either real or implied. Moi tells me she tried it on and it really does what it looks like it does. Oh, Mama, I needs me one of those! Plus, with the over-the-knee boots, and some tights -- can you see it? CAN YOU?? I can!

Ankle Booties - or "Shooties." Stupid name, cute shoe. I'm liking the shape of these here jCrew ones, and the suede is great for pairing with a lot of styles. Perusing the Style Bible of the jCrew Catalog, you can see they pair this shoe style with short skirts (like BCBG does, see above), cropped pants, skinny jeans, pretty much anything.

Ankle Socks. I'm loving the way jCrew is matching bright colored ankle socks up to some cute shoes and the rest of the jCrew "uniform" (which consists of jeans, cardi or jacket, vintage t-shirt). They are making the ankle sock work with heels, strappy shoes, and shooties. It may also help with my less-than-awesomely-fitting Vivs. I curse and love you, jCrew, for your stupid punch of color (tm). Socks! So simple! Just perusing the 'hosiery' page on jCrew's website I get a TON of cute ideas on what to do with socks.

A ruffley top. This can be paired with above jCrew uniform (cardi, jeans, shooties, etc.), and can be done either as a neutral or in a bright color. Are you starting to see a theme here?

Pencil cords - I have plenty of denim and plenty of black. I need some texture. I need something not denim, and not dressy. Cords are nice - they're warmer. They are making them in stretchy fabric, in the same longer leaner lines that they do denim. They're like leggings with more bite.

Speaking of, I need me some more of these:

Leggings. With sweaters, boots, shooties, whatevs - it's definitely the done look this year. I need say nothing more.

My last but not least essential piece,

A very very sheer turtleneck. The versatility of this piece is astonishing. Due to the sheer sheerness of it, there is no way on the planet it can be worn on its own...but under jackets, short sleeve sweaters, BALLGOWNS? Yes, it can (and will) be done.

One more week, and then I can get back to shopping like a normal person. Hopefully by then, everything will be on sale.

So, tell the bitches: what's on your list of essentials for this season?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If Eve Had Worn High Heels

(Clicky for super duper sized!)

And hadn't been made instead to run around barefoot and then ruin her instep by giving birth to two full grown frat brats, she might have worn these shoes.

As for myself, well, they do boast a certain juh nay say Moi: A fabulous apple green color, a snakeskiny/alligatoresque print, a 4" heel bolstered by a 1" platform, and a delicate strap around the ankle.

On the other hand: they're, well, really, really, really GREEN.

No, I did not purchase them myself. A friend of mine did, someone just as shoe obsessed as we are, proving the maxim that we are not the only gals left in the universe who let loose of our marbles at the sight of a t-strap peep toe.

Said friend fixated on this pair of Vince Camuto shoes when they first showed up at Dillard's last spring. However, because she is also a Frugal Fashionista, she knew paying full retail price in this case was a major no-no (FF's don't pay retail for novelty items, as Pirate likes to call them – we only pay retail for "Oh my God, I have to have this now and if I do I'll wear it forever!" items, i.e. those in which the price-to-wear ratio comes in at around a bazillion, or whatever the proper math is in this case.) So, my friend practiced her Fashion Zen technique of NOT THINKING about the shoes for two whole months until the inevitable 75 percent off sale at Dillard's, during which time she correctly predicted that they would go on sale.

Which they did. Only not in her size. She is a 7.5, and all they had left was an 8.5. But at such a deep discount, she figured somehow, some way, she would make them work (Another tar pit trap we FFs sometimes fall into is the mistaken notion that the not-quite-perfect object of our desire will somehow miraculously become perfect by the time we get home, just because we wish it so.)

Naturally, these shoes did not somehow magically shrink down a whole size, but with the judicious use of some tissue paper and intestinal fortitude, she MacGyvered the Cavutos enough to make them fit for a one-time-only use. After which event, she realized she was off her rocker and passed them along to me, a solid 8.5.

And now, I must decide: wear 'em or sell 'em?

What think you all?

Should the Camutos stay or should they go?
Go: It ain't easy being green.
Stay: Eve would be so proud!
Unsure: I'm too busy laughing. And barfing. free polls

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


PIRATE: I think it's time we share our obsession with the whole world, don't you think?

MOI: Yes, I agree. Thigh high boots, Party People. They're a big deal.

PIRATE: The fashion internets are atwitter with giggles of derision and gasps of excitement on this whole over-the knee boot thing. The boots, it seems, are like the vegemite of fashion – they are to be loved or despised. Like the plastic shoes.

You would think, being a pirate and all, that I would already own a pair. Alas, I do not. I would have owned some circa 1990, but was neither brave enough nor lived in the right town to pull such a look off. These days it seems that all the cool kids are doing it.

OMG Anne Hathaway looks super in that getup!!

So why have I not already jumped on the bandwagon? Jumped in with both feet, taken the bull by the horns, etc. etc.?

Well, this one I approach with caution for several reasons . . .

1) I live in a place that is a leetle bit behind the curve, fashion wise. People out here don't "dress" the way they might in a big city. That's not to say that I live in a city entirely populated by fashion schlumps (I do keep company with the likes of Moi), but it's not far off. Standards out here trend to a more rural sensibility.

2) I believe one must approach a trendy fashion like this with a certain trepidation. This one can be easily overdone. Let's face it: if I go too far into the costume realm, I will get stares, I will get comments. They might not be positive. As Lubov Azria says, fashion is all about confidence. I feel I need to be very confident to carry these off.

3) These damned boots are expensive! I'm willing to go into debt a certain amount for a fashion certainty, but these are decidedly trendy.

4) The look, if not done correctly, can tip the scales into Happy Hooker territory faster than you can say Xaveira Hollander Does Europe.

MOI: In that way that Pirate and I get when we obsess on something, we literally spent the entire week researching these puppies. We flung emails back and forth to each other like heads of state staving off a rebellion. We dug into the deepest annals of fashion blogs to investigate photos, checked a gazillion review sites, and viewed with eagle eyes videos showing our beloved thigh highs in mobile action. We discussed the merits of patent versus suede, flat versus heeled, black versus dove grey and every color in between.

Some would say we are obsessive. We, on the other hand merely say we are thorough. And, ladies, we're doing it for those of you who can't or won't do it for yourselves.

Therefore, we hereby bring you, the over-the-knee boots upon which we have settled.

Le Pirate, she is narrowing in on:

Le Moi, in turn, has just ordered these babies.

Only in a soft dove grey color called "Grigio." Le sigh. I just love it when designers speak the language of love.

Laugh if you will, folks. But we intend to rock these like a hurricane (or at the very least a small dust devil) for the entire season. We will report back. Oh yes, we will.

Friday, October 9, 2009

fashion horror show


This is so bad it earns its own post. I don't even know what to say . . .

But I'll try.

Uh, ladies? Really. Do not try this at home. No matter how big you think your ass is, pants that wink at people as you walk by is not going to make it less big.

In fact, it does the opposite.


No. Nyet. Nein. Nej tack. Nee. Tla. Ndak. Mhai. Non. Nei. And, finally: hell no, not on your life, a bet, or a lifetime supply of puffy cheetos.

Monday, October 5, 2009

You Ain't No Punk, You Punk

Recently, I commented on a post on War of the Nuts about how lucky ducky I am not to have an ounce of craftiness in my body, or I'd buy one of those Ronco studding thing-a-ma-jigs and bling up everything in my closet until 1983 called and demanded its attitude back.

Seriously. I loves me some studded.

In belts:

Around the wrist:

On a handbag:

And, of course, on shoes:

But on tights?

I don't know if the look says Max Mad so much as it does Skin Rash Contracted Somewhere in Southeast Asia. Or perhaps these are something blind people might wear during S&M play. "Read my legs: The Safe Word is Rapunzel."

These are kind of sweet and interesting, but again, maybe more Lord of the Rings rather than Lord & Taylor.

Alrighty, then, Pirate. You got magpie tendencies. What do you think? Then we'll open it up to the readers to lend their 2 cent's worth.

Pirate sayeth:

There lives in me (not too deeply buried) a punk rocker chick. She likes shiny, she likes hard, and she likes all icons of bad-assery. Like safety pins in the ears. Like shredded jeans. Like leather jackets . . .


In short, I too am a stud whore. I too loves me some studs. I grew up in the Studly Period of the fashion history time line. I can remember a time when I coveted a jacket that looked not unlike this:

It's good to see that my favourite icon has come back - or did it ever really die?

I have felt that in the post-70's and 80's, many a fashion house has appropriated my motorcycle chic for use in clothing to be purchased by old ladies. Perhaps it is my inner punk who feels this is Just Wrong for the "movement." Whatever. In my dotage I'm less inclined to dis someone else's overpriced handbag, in general. I'm a peaceful punk rocker these days.

. . . and that, my dear, is where my love of studs begins and ends, for I am a stud purist. I say belts, jackets, bracelets (by Gods yes, on a bracelet!), shoes (HELLS yes) and your dog's collar. Back in the day I was known to wear a dog collar with studs, but I have grown up now, and put my studs in more tasteful places and in smaller doses. Past that, I am inclined to say Nein to studs. Especially on hosiery -- how the hell do you wash those?! Also, it looks less like bad ass and more like bad skin to me. Not attractive.

I think the last pair of hoses look more like the new trend of "tattoo" fashion. To my mind, they look nothing like a tattoo, but the idea and the pattern is meant to bring body art to mind. The asymmetry is meant to inspire the eye. Again, it feels like a mis-appropriation of something cool, somehow. As if one may see it at Wal-Mart very soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

but can you pogo in them?


So I got an e-mail from Vivienne Westwood today.

No, not Herself . . . her online store Hervia.

It seems that she has more of my favourite shoes.

Let me rewind for a moment for the benefit of our audience: I purchased a pair of the "Lady Dragon" (seen above) from the online store when I was abroad. I saw them on the feet of a well dressed lady in town and fell passionately madly in love with them.

No, your eyes do not mistake you – they are plastic shoes.

Before you say "Plastic Shoes? I ain't wearin' no Crocs!" let me assure you these are no Crocs. These are no shower shoes. These are not the jellies of Big Lebowski fame that you despised in the 80's. Non. These are by Melissa. These shoes are the wild collaboration of the fashion punk goddess herself with a Brazilian plastic shoe designer who is, herself, a Big Deal. Observe Melissa's other amazing creations here and judge for yourself.

Anyway, Moi. As I was saying. Viv has more - and my "buy" finger is itching . . . what do you think of these?
it seems if I pre-order them, they might ship by October something . . .

Moi Snarls Back:

First of all, let me get a leetle something off my chest about Vivienne Westwood. The woman started off making clothing for the Sex Pistols.

That's her on the right, circa the late '70s, with then-boyfriend, Malcolm McLauren, manager of the Sex Pistols.

Today, she's still tearing and tattering and safety pinning things together, only now, you need to rob Fort Knox to afford even one of her tee shirts. It looks like she's still punk, only she's snot.

Anyhoo, that being said, I do have to admit a bit of juh tem for these shoes. I've seen Pirate's in person and instead of being repelled, I found myself faced with an uncanny itch for a pair. Plus, get this! They're SCENTED! No kidding. Seriously. Fresh and fruity, y'all! And, they're surprisingly well made. What looks like plastic is in fact, like, industrial strength rubber. Uh-huh. So you know you'll last through the Apocalypse in these things.

(So, for that matter, will Vivienne herself. This is a woman who looks like she'll take a long, long, LONG time to expire. But there's something to be said for not going quietly.)

As for the bubble bauble on the pair o' shoes above, I'm not sure. On the one hand, I'd be afraid it would get knocked off somewhere in a New York minute. On the other, it does have that oh-so-space-age-industrial vibe that would go PERFECTLY with Pirate's Karen Millen outfit.

So, in the spirit of fashion enablers the world over and without with no designer would even sell an embroidered Kleenex, I say: Go for it.

Por Moi? My fave is the one with the bow.

Whatdya bet it smells like Wrigley's Gum?

Respondez vous les Pirate:

Oh, dude. I tried on some of Mme Westwood's threads - I gotta say, she's a fox. I tried on a jacket that made no sense and then suddenly seemed to drape indeed in a very flattering and unusual way, once I figured out which buttons matched with which. Skirts are the same - they look like a pile of fabric on the rack, but when you get it

I think it's quite appropriate that Amy Winehouse has been snapped in Westwood more than once.

I hear you on the oddness of the globe thingie...I'm not sure what I see in them, aside from they just look cool. I like cool. Also, I'm sure to be the only kid on my block with a pair.

Do you think we can get them to ship in bulk?