urban outfitters

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

Spice Up Your Life

After the repeated navys, khakis, and whites of nautical week (and it’s spill over), I thought I’d switch it up with something a bit more bold. Like yesterday’s romper outfit. This ensemble requires little work for the resulting polish. A strapless dress, espadrilles, and a big hat seem old hollywood in a way that will make you look like Grace Kelly even when you’ve just rolled out of bed. I’ll be doing a similar look later this week on the blog, so for now, I’ll just leave it at that. Make sure to turn in tomorrow (ok really almost today… later) for this Wednesday’s woman!

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DSC_0307Outfit Details: Hat: vintage | Dress: Anthropologie | Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters | Shoes: Coach | Wallet: Fossil

Bathing Cute

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Isn’t it funny to think that back in the day this is what bathing suits looked like? It’s no wonder people were afraid of getting into the water and drowning! By the time you pick this sopping mess out of the water, most likely, you’re physically spent! But I have to admit, it is super comfy to run around in. I know a lot of people (especially the tall among us) aren’t crazy about rompers (while looking the best in jumpsuits that inevitably coil around my ankles like an unsolicited set of bangles), but I think rompers are the perfect solution to trying to master ease and comfort. They take no thought- like a dress, and at the same time don’t require the constant attention and shall we say poise a dress entails. I can just bungle around wherever I please. 🙂DSC_0297

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Outfit Details: Hat: shameless souvenir from a Carnival cruise | Sunglasses: Disney | Romper: Urban Outfitters | Belt: H&M | Compass locket: gift ❤ | Watch: Target | Shoes: Stubbs and Wootton

Fireside Chat: Cultural Appropriation

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The fashion industry is routinely harangued for so-and-so designer’s latest cultural appropriation. What is cultural appropriation?  As defined by Susan Scafandi, a Fordham University law professor and author of Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law, it is the

“Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from
someone else’s culture without permission. This can include unauthorized use of another
culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols,
etc. It’s most likely to be harmful when the source community is a minority group that has been
oppressed or exploited in other ways or when the object of appropriation is particularly sensitive,
e.g. sacred objects.”

Most recently notable, Native American headdresses are sure to stir the waters (whether from H&M or Victoria Secret). Noticing the attention these stunts garner, Urban Outfitters almost bi-annually produces a controversial headline-grabbing garment of some sort, and while not all of these (*ahem* Kent State) involve cultural appropriation per se, it is certainly a tick mark on their list of tactics. However, one of the most high-profile perpetrators of cultural appropriation, is none other than Chanel designer (and superstar himself) Karl Lagerfeld (here is his headdress).

Arguably one of the most productive designers today, Mr. Lagerfeld works as creative director for Chanel, Fendi, and his eponymous line, resulting in quite a few shows when you start to tally, not to mention, the larger-than-necessary number of looks Lagerfeld usually incorporates in each. Lately, he has adopted the practice of designing Metiers D’Art shows (acting kind of like a pre-fall collection) around their upcoming locations (Dallas, Mumbai, Edinburgh, and Austria to name a few). In Dallas, we were given boots, buckles, and prairie skirts galore. Edinburgh brought kilts, puffed sleeves, and collar bibs. Mumbai sported tikkas, lots of gold flourishes, and sarong sandals (despite preparing for autumn weather). And about a month ago, we received Lagerfeld’s “take” on Austria.

The question I’d like to explore is how Lagerfeld’s “take” on different cultures co-exists with cultural appropriation (for better or worse). Further, why has there been no decriers of cultural appropriation accompanying the Salzburg release? What makes us feel (righteously) that headdresses are offensive, while the Austrian — shall we call them yodeling? — hats are just cultural appreciation? How does the majority/minority influence constitute our opinion (and from what perspective do we consider what makes a minority). Does Lagerfeld’s German ancestry provide him an out in regards to Austria?

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So why would cultural appropriation or borrowing be a problem? It would seem that fashion, that steadily evolving amalgamation, depends on borrowing as a form of transformative imagineering to survive… Yet, cultural appropriation can be interpreted as the wealthy majority robbing the disenfranchised of their only commodities (and meanwhile misrepresenting them). It’s also a bit of a power trip, since cultural appropriation serves as a reminder of those who have been in power versus those who were historically marginalized. You can read here for more information.

So what does Lagerfeld do that would make him the exception to the rule (besides his signature look)? I like to think that Chanel is such a beloved global brand that everyone feels a part of it, meaning that rather than marginalization, edification ensues. Still, let’s be honest, when I wear a tikka to go out, I am going to look culturally insensitive. If I dress in the new Salzburg line, I might seem eccentric, but not insensitive. Is it because both American and Austrian culture are predominantly “white” and historically empowered? Then again, India was dominating the power food chain way back when, and far as forming a people majority, has America beat by nearly 1 million. Given that China and India have the two largest world populations, can Americans borrow from them? Should we feel sorry for the Austrians who come in at 95th in terms of population (and never borrow from the Vatican, at 245/247)?

Alternatively, is it okay for Lagerfeld to use these parts of culture because people trust he will do justice to their history? Or do they not feel that he is robbing them and accept that he is melding cultures? Thus, they give him the okay, and it’s not cultural appropriation. Then again, how do people give an okay, here? Just by not dissenting?

How can we positively borrow from another culture in a way that the galloping masses can digest and regurgitate it (as fashion so often does). Is there a positive way to experiment with reference to foreign sources? And if not, what entitles fashion (which is seemingly global) to unjustly ignore the customs of different groups? I am of the opinion that fashion should be a conglomeration of the palate of the world. But if it is, can only locals use it, and/or wear it?

I would love to hear your input. Clearly I haven’t solved anything here, but when I look at the Austrian feather hat, it seems to me the marginalization of a richer culture for the kitschy mass consumer (and let’s throw Sisi in there for good measure), or if it’s not, why is anything else? Thanks for reading!

Haiti Part 4- The French Caribbean

Ladies and Gentleman, I’ve saved the best of Haiti for last. Again, with an unfortunate, yet sartorial flair for the colonial, I bring you my last and favorite combo. We walked around all day, and I felt like something out of Monaco. I’ve never been to Monaco, so I don’t know if the people are really glitzy or kitschy, but you know the scene in To Catch a Thief when Cary Grant has to escape the police and drives to some resort? That was me. Eventually, he and Grace end up in Monaco with their big plan to catch the “cat.” 

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Slinking along like the “cat”…

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The scarves in this movie are so good…. almost as good as the cameos. See what Cary Grant is wearing? It almost looks like my strewn room.IMG_8046

Tres francais, n’est pas?

Hat: local gem
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters
Scarf: Estate Sale
Blazer: Talbots
Shirt: French Connection (ebay)
Purse: vintage Givenchy (ebay)
Pants: The Row (also seen here and here)
Shoes: Clarks

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Second Verse Same as the First

DSC_0073.3Happy May Day! I hope you are able to find a suitable Maypole on this most revelrous of holidays. When I was studying in Oxford, my first night out we met a real life Morris dancer! He was this huge burly guy with an very long electric orange beard. The five of us were crowded around this wisp of a table (and there couldn’t have been more than 5 tables in the pub), while this man just told us insane stories and demanded that he buy us fine Irish sipping whiskeys.

It was all rather surreal, but to commemorate the day,  I’ve decided to borrow from the British invasion for the title of this post (you can cheat and click the link if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

I really like the idea of being able to take the same basic elements and create various outfits with distinctly different feelings. Here’s my example. I’ve started with :

Black crop top (Urban Outfitters- $5.00)
Jean Skater Skirt (Urban Outfitters-$10.00- on sale now)
Pink Oversize Sunglasses (Urban Outfitters-$18.00 in stores now)
Blue Floral Tights (Thrifted-$2.00)
Pink Cut-Out Walking Shoes (Clarks UK)

I know it’s noxiously UO, but I’ve been skulking along their sales racks. You can recreate virtually the same look (give or take the cropped shirt) fairly easily and inexpensively (although I’d advise avoiding impulse buying sunglasses :P). From here it’s up to you to explore!DSC_0066 2

I wanted to start with an outfit that I thought I might could get away with before Mimi scoffed at the crop top. I added this Aztec meets Jackie O Anthropologie coat, a floral scarf as belt, and a 1950s(?) floral hat that always reminds me of synchronized swimming.

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Just when I think I’m getting better with the camera, I lose an arm…

It’s quite ironic to me that while being covered up nearly head to toe, people can be scandalized or find the skin gap indiscreet. I’m sorry, but no one is going to be turned on by my Starbucks bulge (aka white mocha (it’s even taken on the color) holder, aka stomach). Let me be and pretend that I’m in California as the weather vacillates between 40 and 70. To be honest, I was so self conscious wearing the crop top all day. I kept thinking “people will think I’m fat,” “people will think I’m promiscuous (except I used various synonyms depending on my varying histrionics).” But neither of those seemed like legitimate reasons to not try the style.

But I did cheat a little. I did not show belly button (heaven forbid!). Fun Fact- When I Dream of Jeannie first aired, the network demanded that Barbara Eden’s belly button not show in her costume, as they thought it would be far too scandalous for their viewer audience.

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The veritable bra and see-through pants though? Those were fine. So I’m with Babs here on the next one.
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This was supposed to be aiming more at a Joni Mitchell, festival-friendly (without feeling dirty) look. I added an estate sale black bag, locket watch necklace, and blue brimmed hat (charity shop in Oxford). I think the secret to festival, flowy hair looks is a broad-brimmed hat. This one is pretty small. The ideal is the love child of Indiana Jones and a floppy hat.
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Here’s a close up on accessories:
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Earrings: marketplace in India
Locket-watch necklace: Native American store- Athens, Georgia
Rings: Fossil, Notre Dame bookstore, and I found one on the ground… can you guess which is which?
Scarf: Talbots

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Happy May Day!

Shared to: Hat Attack, Three-fer Thurday