Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My continuing conflict with footwear (alternately: A love letter to my Chacos)

As I discussed in my surprisingly detailed essay on boots, I have a complicated relationship with shoes. I love them, of course, but it's hard to find the right pair. Now that spring is nearly here (fingers crossed), I've been evaluating my shoes yet again: hashed pair of Top-Siders I wear nearly every day, aging Chacos dying to be worn again, black Keds that I can't give up, a few pairs of colorful flats. I need to change things up:
Clockwise from top right: ASOS bow flip-flops, Topshop canvas tie flats, Topshop peep toe flats, Chaco Local Ecotread, Sperry Top-Sider 2-Eye, Birkenstock Bali, Topshop straw woven sandals

I tend to wear my shoes, especially my summer shoes, to the bitter end. And I have a bizarre sense of brand loyalty once I find the right pair. You'll notice this little collage contains Top-Siders, Chacos, and Birkenstocks, all of which are brands I love and own/have owned before.

Since I bought my first pair of Chacos, you'll rarely find me in anything else during the summer. I'm anti-flip-flop, but a huge proponent of Chacs: wear them with jeans, wear them with dresses, wear them hiking... Call me granola all you want, but I love my Chacos. I've had them for nearly five years, though, and as hard as it is to say goodbye, it's time for a new pair. I'm thinking of making a change from the waterproof nylon straps to the similarly designed, but nicer leather straps. But oddly, I feel a bit weird about that: shouldn't the point be that I can rinse my Chacs off with a hose after I wear them to First Dam? Am I weirded out because the leather Chacs are more grown-up? Shouldn't the citizens of Cache Valley lobby for a more creatively-named dam system? And why do shoes always seem to bring out my more thoughtful side?

Will I buy the leather Chacos? Or will I remain comfortably strapped into my beloved college student, been-through-everything pair? Stay tuned to find out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A semi-comprehensive catalogue of clothing similar to Bridgit Mendler's in Lemonade Mouth

Someone asked me for help in finding reasonable facsimiles of Bridgit Mendler's outfits in Lemonade Mouth, a style I admired a few days ago. Always willing to help (especially after work, when all I want to do is stare at the computer screen for awhile), I perused several "cheap chic" retailers (H&M, forever21, Urban Outfitters, and Topshop) and came up with the following:

Cooperative sweetheart neckline dress
$59 -
Forever21 empire waist dress
$16 -
H m cardigan
15 GBP -
TopShop knit cardigan
$64 -
Forever21 crochet vest
$18 -
TopShop full skirt
$70 -
Forever21 stretchy bracelet
$6.80 -
Forever21 stretchy bracelet
$6.80 -
TopShop white bracelet
$25 -
Heart shaped necklace
$17 -

Hope that helps some!
xoxo, Maren

Sunday, May 1, 2011

TV Style/Review: Dresscue Me

I'm not sure how I stumbled across Dresscue Me - it's pretty deep cable (channel 286 on directv) and at first glance, it doesn't seem to fit with the other shows on Planet Green. A vintage fashion reality show on the same network as Whale Wars and various renovation shows?

But Dresscue Me establishes its place in the Planet Green ethos early on in the episode, Shareen Mitchell, owner and designer for Shareen Vintage, is doing a collection of upcycled "bat-wing tops" (a phrase that is repeated endlessly), made from those crinkly Indian-print skirts everyone wore in the 90s. To fill the order, Shareen and an assistant visit this mountain of discarded clothing:
This scene really illustrates the green aspect of vintage dressing and the finished product shows how creativity can help eliminate all that wasted clothing.
Not my style, but I know a lot of girls who would love it.
The time we spend in the shop make up the best parts of the episode. Shareen Mitchell, whose LA-ness made my eyes roll a bit, is nevertheless very talented at matching the girl to the dress. The dress try-on parts of the episode really won me over.
Shareen Vintage has its celebrity clients (Nylon tells me that Kirsten Dunst shops there) and I was so excited to see Cat Deeley on my TV! I do miss her in between SYTYCD seasons. There's a charming dress try-on sequence with lots of Cat laughing joyously and ooo-ing over the fab dresses. We even get to see her try on a dress she wore on the show last season!
The other client highlighted in the episode was a gal who was going to be in a wedding party. Shareen finds a GORGEOUS 50s seafoam-green wiggle dress that the girl loves. Shareen Vintage alters the dress and when the girl comes to pick it up, she brings her friend...who ruins everything. It's interesting to watch the girl deflate as her friend stares at the dress and dismisses it as "" She tries several other dresses that the friend dislikes and Shareen diagnoses the problem: "Do you wear vintage?" "No." And it all makes sense - to a lot of people, wearing vintage will always look either overdone or costume. Sometimes it's hard out there for a vintage-loving girl (she ended up looking cute in a tropical floral dress).
 Unfortunately, the reality show construct just can't help itself and we're treated to a few "Shareen is the fashion boss from hell" scenes before the fashion line launch party. I wish this trope would go away: everyone gets stressed at their job, especially when they have a big event or project. Just because this person's job is in fashion does not automatically make them Miranda Priestley!

Beside that nod to reality tv, Dresscue Me is an enjoyable way to spend a half hour in the afternoon. More vintage dress fashion show, please!