Silk Romper, Anyone?

 

As some of you may know who have been following me, I have recently aquired a very strong taste for the indomintable Australian myestery series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which I also mentioned as the inspiration for this post, and have been shamelessly sharing screenshots on tumblr here. Well, needless to say, I am intriuged by the series, but it’s a toss up as to whether I am more bewitched by the costuming or the story lines. That is to say, the costumes are that good. Seriously, her be-turbaned, dropwaist, fur lined, silk embroidered flapper chic is everything I want all the time.

Well, in one of the first episodes of the first season, she popped out of her boudoir wearing only a silk slip romper. The screen shot opportunity was limited (as you can tell), but since then I’ve been intent on finding something similar. It seems like the perfect garment: cool and loose against the skin, while still elegantly sensual and effortless. The only problem is that it is requiring a lot of effort. Namely, I can’t find any.

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So far, I’ve only been able to find the one below (now on sale at Anthropologie) as a close second. I’ve perused etsy and found two or three vintage options on etsy, but as could be expected, anything silky and vintage from the 1940s or before is pricing in the 200 dollar range.

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Salua Chloe Silk Romper from Anthropologie.

I thought I’d now extend my search to reach out to you. Have any of you seen anything like this under 100? Or is that just an unrealistic dream? Are there any brands (small or large) who do this sort of thing? Please help!

 

 

Ode to Katharine

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I have never gone golfing. I feel like it is something I really need to do. One of my best friends golfed in college (and I’m waiting for her to take me out on the green *hint hint*) , but I have never been invited or had a chance to go golfing. Now I could say it was for the learning experience or my future networking endeavors, but I would be lying. The beginning and end of why I want to go golfing has everything to do with Katharine Hepburn and almost nothing to do with my physical prowess. No one does casual athletic elegance like Katharine Hepburn. 16203_1_1

Honestly, I see myself jaunting around in a pair of breezy pants, oxfords, and leather kid gloves, making very witty comments with a knowing grin. Basically, I would probably be terribly obnoxious and think I was a lot smarter than I actually sound. But it would be all so terribly marvelous, and who knows… I could meet the next Howard Hughes.DSC_0516

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Outfit Details: Hat: Vintage | Top: Anthropologie | Sweater: Belford | Belt: Gap | Pants: Carolina Herrera | Shoes: Bally | Gloves: Vintage

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Wednesdays for Women #8: Zenobia

In honor of the Kurdish victory in Syria over ISIS, today’s W4W will talk about one of the greatest Syrian Queens who had adept military skill of her own: Zenobia.tumblr_mbrcrsrvOR1rq5o2oo1_1280

Back in the day she ruled, she was officially ruler of the “Palmyrene Empire,” which is modern day Syria. She was the second wife of the King Septimus Odaenathus, but is better remembered for her attitude towards the Romans, which was less than friendly. “Ancient sources on her life and reign are the historian Zosimus (c. 490 CE), the Historia Augusta (c. 4th century CE), the historian Zonaras (12th century CE), and historian Al-Tabari (839-923 CE) whose account follows that of Adi ibn Zayd (6th century CE) although she is also mentioned in the Talmud and by other writers.” While these sources note her open challenge to the Roman Empire (which would shortly lend a hand in its downfall), her place in popular history is far more dramatic. Allegedly, Zenobia led an outright revolt against Rome, leading to her capture, which led her chained through the streets of Rome before she was beheaded by Aurelian.ZenobiaCaptive-222x300

But that’s clearly not what makes her worth a Wednesday, so I’ll get to the good part. After her husband’s death (or shall I say murder?), Zenobia took the throne in 267 (her son being too young to rule).  She was very well educated (allegedly educated in Greek and Latin, and fluent in Egyptian and Aramaic), and filled her court with intellectuals. At the time, Palmyra was more like a vassal state to a disintegrating Rome. However, it had the distinct advantage of being a trading stop on the Silk Road at a time where other opportunities up the road had been weakened. In other words, Palmyra was sitting on great trade opportunities a steady stream of inoming wealth in the midst of Roman disorganization. As Rome’s figurehead changed by the week, Zenobia sent her troops to Roman-owned Egypt, conquering it in the name of Palmyra. With Egypt under her belt, negotiations began, and she was able to expand her territory into then-Asia Minor right behind Rome’s back. “By 271 CE she ruled over an empire which stretched from modern-day Iraq across through Turkey and down through Egypt.” Whether she was autonomous or a Roman vassal was even more contested when she printed coins of herself, adopting the name “Augusta.”
zenobiaUnfortunately, Rome did get its act together under the authority of military man Aurelian. He began a march on Zenobia, totally destroying each town in his wake. When a few towns in he encountered the home of a philosopher he liked, he spared the city. Afterwards, Zenobia’s cities sent him their surrenders in advanceso that he was able to practically waltz into Syria. After three battles, two of which the Roman’s feigned retreat before capturing the calvary, Zenobia was captured. Her final days range in mystique from her being poisoned, escaping on a camel, going to trial, or just marrying a Roman differ on the source. Regardless, she was a great leader, known for her stamina, and the Al-Tabri records that she would march on foot with her troops long distances, could hunt as well as any man, and could out-drink anyone. We can only hope those fighters in Syria today display equal valor.

More info: here and here.

Sunlight to Grow

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“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
―A. A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

I love straw hats on sunny days. Whether worn with overalls or pencil skirts, they always fit. Straw hats and lemonade. When I travel, I miss lemonade like we have here in the South, or really America in genera. But I think when it comes down to it, there’s something about the climate mixed with  Southern lemonade that make it taste better here than when I drink it in Indiana. Sitting outside (or should I say being stifled) in clothes that can’t be cool or loose enough, gulping down lemonade. Isn’t it funny we always miss what we hate? Half the year I go on and on about how cold it is and how I wish I was back in Southern weather, but as soon as I’m here, I’m dying in the heat, gulping down lemonade. I never remember that discomfort. Later, in my mind when I think of home, I sip my lemonade outside, savoring it unconsciously through conversations. Is it that I never have what I want? Or is it there all along, winking in the sunlight?

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DSC_0363Outfit Details: Hat: Bought from Epcot at Disney | Sunglasses: Isaac Mizrahi | Earrings: Primark | Shirt: French Connection | Bracelet: Vintage | Skirt: Anthropologie | Shoes: Anthropologie

 

Sunday Brunch: Subscription Style

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I am well aware we’re in the middle (to end?) of what could only be called a subscription box craze, However,  having no need for dog foods, random nail polish colors, or study snacks that don’t include coffee, I had yet to justify the ceremonial expense of at least 20 dollars for products I could better pick myself (or find in trial size giveaways around the perfume counter). Try the World changed my mind, or at least piqued my interest. Try the World is a subscription box that can only be described as a culinary geographical capsule. Each month (or sooner), you are sent a box full of foods from a region, along with a few cultural pointers and tips. They have just come out with an Argentinian box (and my mouth waters for those condensed milk cookies), but I got Morocco and France (pictured is Morocco). I thought it might be fun to share with you and review one.

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So, my Morocco box came six items, advertised by the company to be the full size products. I am going to have to trust them (skeptically) on the size of the argan oil, which seems small compared to the way I know most people here buy olive oil. Anyway the 5 items were as follows:

  1. Couscous
  2. Sardines
  3. Baby Argan Oil
  4. Cous Cous Sauce
  5. Kefta Rub
  6. Palmiers

My overall impression (besides developing a new love for palmiers) is about a 6.5/10. Honestly, the cultural guide/ info. is nice to flip through but ultimately not that informative, and not really something I’d keep (except maybe the Moroccan movie list). I don’t think I’m super biased by having been to Marrakesh (the city the guide highlighted), because, though I gorged on kebabs, I didn’t really soak up the whole (or even most of the) culture in my 3 day stay there. Nexy wee should talk price. I bought my box subscription during a sale that gave me 2 for $40. Most of the times, they are $40 per box. That seems like a lot of money to me just to get a baby argan oil, generic box of couscous (I equate this on the cheap end of things, like sending me a box of rice from China… gee thanks), and a (well, admittedly pretty) can of sardines. The oil was good, but it all seemed like a way to keep costs down. In the France box, I felt the same way about the French salt they sent (…. really? I just paid 1/6 of $40 for some salt?).

The cous cous sauce was better, but almost the same as buying salsa from the grocery store. To me, the kefta rub and the palmiers were the nicest items. I’m probably ridiculously biased because they palmiers were so good. They are bite size butter cookies that seem folded like a tightly packed croissant. They were especially nice with coffee, and well worth the find. I haven’t had an occasion to try the kefta rub yet, but please feel free to direct me should you have any recommendations on how to use it with food. Otherwise, it too may be a sunk cost…

So in essence, I think these boxes are super fun (I got champagne truffles), and probably worth the $20, but I just don’t think the quality is enough to solicit any more than that, though the branding is really quite something. Watch out for their email list though… I get one like every week (no, I will not extend my subscription), but on the whole this was fun to try.  DSC_0084

Picnic details: Shoes: Bally | Scarf: Liberty London | Boater hat: Vintage | Toes: OPI: I lost my czechbook.

#TBT: Nautical—Breton Stripe

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Did you know that this classic blue and white striped pattern has a name? As you probably guessed from the title, it’s the Breton stripe, and is summer’s unspoken neutral, especially next to the beach. The original shirt, worn by navy men from Brittany (France) before men from Breton adopted it. Originally, it contained 21 stripes- one for each of Napolean’s victories, but at some point, the French’s military imagination got the better of them and the stripes went haywire. Coco Chanel was instrumental in this diffusion, popularizing the stripe by adding it to her 1917 nautical line.
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But I think my favorite reincarnation of this summer staple is Jean Seberg in Godard’s Breathless, which basically makes this post as obnoxious and basic as possible. At this point, I will make my exit. tumblr_lhnavqiN1I1qhzsmeo1_500

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Outfit Details: Hat: Thrifted | Shirt: J. Crew | Sunglasses: Target | Skirt: Burberry London | Belt: H&M? | Shoes: Brighton

Wednesdays for Women: Red Emma

I began this summer obsessed with E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, a fact you may be all too familiar with given some of my recent forays into the Edwardian. But besides picking up sartorial cues, I also chanced upon today;s spotlight woman. Let me go ahead and warn you, some fact might meld with fiction.

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But if it does, it is no less because of my own rambling imagination than the general chaos that was Emma Goldman’s life. Hoover, after all, called she and her lover, “beyond doubt, two of the most dangerous anarchists in this country.”

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Born in Russia in 1869, Goldman immigrated (though never became of citizen) to the U.S. (along with so many others) in 1885 at the the age of 16. It wasn’t until 3 years later that she would make the pivotal decision that would irreconcilably change the rest of her life. In those three years, she became a seamstress in Rochester and was married. When she discovered her husband was impotent, she tried to leave the marriage on several occasions.. When she finally secured a divorce, her parents threw her out for her lacking moral values. Taking her sewing machine, she left for New York City.

Her first day in New York, she met Alexander Berkman. Whether fate or happenstance, he invited her to the meeting that was to change her life. It was an anarchist meeting, expelling the merits of “propaganda of the deed.” In other words, putting your money where your mouth is. Less talk more game. As you can imagine, this was a particularly dubious proposition when the aim is wildly anti-authoritarian like anarchy. Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.10.58 PM

After a few months, Emma found her voice on stage. Gradually she honed her ideas from those she’d inherited into a rallying cry of the oppressed lower classes. For her deed, she and her equally eccentric, communal-living, life-long, on-and-off-again companion, Berkman decided they would react the the homestead strike. The tldr of the Homestead Strike goes like this: Andrew Carnegie had striking workers, he didn’t like it. He brought in professional “Pinkerton” guards (as they were called) to beat the dissenting to a pulp (9 died). No more strike. Carnegie’s foreman was none other than the now-esteemed collector Henry Clay Frick (such a lovely house on the upper east side, such a stunning collection of European gems). Together, Goldman and Berkman decided to assassinate him and incite the lower classes. However, their ideals were upset when, despite Berkman’s dispatch of three gun shots, he was apprehended, and Frick survived unscathed.

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While Emma stood for anarchy. The core of her mission was less about chaos and more about educating and helping the lower classes (or perhaps I am sympathetic). She was a trained midwife and masseuse, and she regularly employed these skills to supplement her meagre anarchist budget. In economic crisis, she preached (basically) communism. Her discussion of these classes “taking things by force” didn’t go over well. Still, this Union Square speech was a historic moment, though with tragic ends. Upon the assassination of William McKinley, the killer claimed that he had been inspired by Goldman, which didn’t really do her any favors. Berkman was still in jail, and the other anarchists were unhappy about the subsequent legislation her reputation inspired. The “Anarchist Exclusion Act” (passed by Congress, and approved by Teddy, who didn’t want to be a veritable shadow of his predeccessor) made questioning immigrants and subsequently excluding them based on their political beliefs (if they were an anarchist) admissable. It was highly controversial, and secularist Emma called in Clarence Darrow to argue in front of the Supreme Court on the anarchists behalf (though the Bill of Rights was not seen to apply to immigrants, allowing the questionings). goldmanShipley

But since she was already in the U.S., besides being in and out of jail like a bird on a cuckoo clock, Emma was safe. It was at this time she published what was one of the most liberal pamphlets of the time, Mother Earth, probably the first female anarchist publication (talk about niche). She continued to agitate for anarchism, and added access to birth control, and the folly of conscription to her list of causes. She was jailed several times for her birth control speeches (the Comstock laws deemed such material obscene and lewd) and later, her “conspiracy to induce people not to register.”

Still, despite all that, it wasn’t until after WWI, with the dangers past and industrialism slowing that Emma was bested. In the Red Scare of the early 20s, she was deported back to Russia. She spent the following years across Europe, always speaking, writing her biography, gaining (and losing) followers. She was able to live among anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, which she wrote about fondly. She died shortly after WW2 at the age of 70 from a series of strokes, which left her partially paralyzed and unable (ironically) to speak.Emma_Goldman_gives_eulogy_at_Peter_Kropotkin's_funeral

In some ways, she was ahead of the time. In others, she is still ahead of the time, and in the rest, there may not be a time. But among women, regardless of her vision, there have been few such vocal visionaries in the 20th century.

For more information…

Je Ne Sais Quoi

DSC_0289 (1)When I think of one word I’d like to describe my style, I would be happy if anyone described my look as “anthropologie.” I don’t know what exactly that encompasses (a dab of granola, a handful of adventure, a pinch of cute, a wink to implied quality, maybe?). This outfit is my interpretation. An acquaintance I knew was asked the same question when she applied for a job at anthropologie, and her answer was to describe to handful of situations: “someone who goes to Morocco and leaves all her clothes, only shipping back a rug,” “spends the summer teaching at boys camp in New England,” “goes to Ireland with only the goal to see the giant’s causeway.” Feel free to add what you think contributes to the Anthro joie de vivre below…

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As for all the inspiration behind the answers I listed, they come from the fabulous adventures of my favorite photographer Evey Wilson, and if you’re in the DC area looking for photos, this girl can take a photo story, befitting of Anthropologie adventures (or any other sort you need documenting).

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Outfit Details: Hat: Thrifted (apparently from Panama) | Dress: Gap | Sunglasses: Primark | Necklace: H&M | Scarf: India! | Shoes: Urban Outfitters | Purse: Rebecca Minkoff (plus Moroccan tassel)

Boldly Go.

Happy Friday! Here’s a burst of color to make your day pop. I’ve been surprised that Florida is a bit more conservative than originally expected, so I’ll have to share my more ostentatious looks here, rather than stunning the office with my odes-to-Grecian-bygones shirts. I’m often scared to do the pencil skirt look, because I think unless you’re a waif, you always end up looking like you’re carrying your lunch in a front hamper. But I love my new Tabitha Simmons shoes, and they are so hard to match that I have decided to take them as inspiration and step forward boldly today (in the skirt- waif or not!). I hope in every situation you can do the same (and if not, at least look forward to the weekend..).DSC_0372

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The culprit

DSC_0370 DSC_0376 Outfit Details: Green Scarf: Liberty London | White Headscarf: Urban Outfitters | Top: Elizabeth & James | Skirt: Zara | Shoes: Tabitha Simmons | Bag: Kate Spade | Sunglasses: Thrifted

Wednesdays for Women #6: Nellie Bly/ Elizabeth Jane Cochrane Seaman

I know if I publish the post at 11:50 PM, it would more aptly be called Thursdays for Women, but I will do better in future! This week I’ve been grappling with the decision of whether to take up Krav Maga. It would be pretty cool to be able to defend myself, but I’m balancing the “cool factor” with the staggering fact that learning how to do so would basically be $320 for two months. Eep! Maybe I’ll stick with the $55/month  yoga…

But on the topic of women kicking some serious butt, let’s talk about Nellie Bly. Her life is almost as legendary as it is fantastic. Before she became a famous social reformer, she casually bested Jules Verne’s literary challenge of travelling around the world in 80 days. At the tender age of 24, she did it almost all alone and in 72 days. But this was feat only came later in her career, after she virtually invented the trade of “investigative journalism,” as we know it today.

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Later, slowpokes.

Our girl Nellie, or Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, as she was known then, was born to a mill worker turned entrepreneur. When her family moved to Pittsburgh, Nellie was aghast at a local newspaper’s column “What Women Are Good For” and wrote a head-turning letter to the editor, signing it “Little Orphan Girl.” The editor was so impressed, he ran an ad looking for this orphan, and when he found Nellie, he gave her the chance to write an article. After seeing her resulting work, he offered her a job, and she joined the newspaper and adopted the name Nellie Bly. Discontent with fashion (unlike this blogger) and gardening articles, Nellie tried to write about women factory workers, and when suppressed on that end, became a foreign correspondent in Mexico, until she was forced to leave after denouncing the local dictator as a “tyrannical czar.”

Thrown out of Mexico, she sought asylum… literally. She left her old newspaper and sought refuge with Pulitzer’s New York World, but her “refuge” was to take a funny shape, going undercover as a mad woman. She feigned insanity in a boarding house and to a number of doctors, convincing the staff at Bellevue that she should be committed (and getting a bit of media attention in the course of the matter). Once inside Blackwell’s Asylum she was surprised to discover the sordid conditions: dirty water, people roped together, rats crawling freely about the area. After 10 days, she was released at The World’s behest, and published Ten Days in a Madhouse, her account of her time inside. She concluded that the frigid water thrown on them coupled with the poor food was enough to make anyone go insane. Huge reform both for asylum entry and conditions were undertaken by a grand jury which supported her findings. An additional $850,000 was committed to the budget of the Department of Public Charities and Corrections following her findings.

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It was after the asylum venture that she travelled around the world (meeting Jules Verne along the way), and she held the world record for a month or two (not bad considering she was given two days notice of the trip). In later years, she married a millionaire (and in a most ironic turn, took the name Seaman… hold the jokes), and became president of the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co., adding to its patents dual inventions of a milk can and a stacking garbage can. When the company went bankrupt (due to employee embezzlement), she returned to journalism and reported on the Eastern Front during WWI and the rising women’s suffrage movement.

She died of pneumonia at 57, two years after women got the vote.