Posts Tagged ‘accessories’


Friday, November 18th, 2011

Long time, no post.

Over at my regular blog I’m focus-monthing and November is cleaning shit out.  This includes old bookmarks.  I had a folder full of links for a post (now terribly out of date) regarding the “nude” nail and shoe trend and how shitty it was that “nude” meant “beige.”  So I found a bunch of great nail colours that would be skin-tones for various awesome ladies, bookmarked them about a million years ago and forgot about it as I got to busy to fashion-blog.  But! Since I want to clear out my bookmarks, you get an out-dated post. Woo! But I like the idea still.  Let’s just jump in.

Grace Jones. Revlon’s uncomfortably named “Hot for Chocolate” and the J. Renee Delisa in T. Moro.

Milla Jovovich.  Zoya’s “Tasha” and the Enzo Angiolini Studded in Light Pink Leather.

Rosario Dawson. Essie’s “Very Structured” and the LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Zabrina in Polo Tan Kidskin.

Christina Ricci. Sally Hansen’s “Sheer Me Now” and the Baby Phat Chance in Taupe Patent.

There. Those bookmarks have been put to use.

Maybe soon I’ll get back into this.

Nails are totes fashion, they’re the new Thing

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I’ve been blogging for work, which is part of the ages since posting here, but I also treat most posts on ILS like essays and start to panic if I don’t have enough data backing up observations.  I hope to get over that, but until then, I figured some pretty-pretty nail nerding could be appropriate.

If you follow me elsewhere on the web, you’ll know I do my nails every week and am very into the art and craft of it.  My personal nail icon is Sophy Robson, and one of her nail icons is Sharon Stone’s Ginger in Casino.

Because I am an obsessive, I recently screencapped Ginger’s more notable nails.  And then analysed them like a nerd and replicated them best I could with what I had in my stash.


Now, I don’t know if the makeup department or costume department or who is responsible for the on-point period nails, but they did amazingly.

A hustler’s nails in a creme electric pink.  When Ginger is manoeuvring to get money, she wears a crème.

The classic French tip, interpreted all foxy with a “v”.  If you have trouble creating a French tip’s smooth arch, you’ll find the two swoops to make this tip way easier.

This one was difficult to get a good cap of, but it’s a frosty, pearlescent white. Compare the cold feeling of the nail she wears with her “old pimp boyfriend” with the next nail—

It’s also frosty and pearlescent, but in a warm gold when Ace proposes. Dare I say the frosted nail is her emotional finish?

Oh, it gets nerdier.  I’ve got twelve screencaps in all, so I’ll be a gem and put them under this cut here.


Scarves, no seriously

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

One of the beautiful things that comes out of recessions is a greater use of accessories.  With less money or inclination to expand one’s wardrobe, the well-dressed whatever turns to nails and legwear, hair and jewellery.  The current accessory toeing into the spotlight is scarves and neck accessories.

Illustrations from ‘Sewing Made Easy’, 1952

Miu Miu had its coy collars that remind me of the chapters in mid-twentieth century sewing and fashion books, where a lady is encouraged to expand her wardrobe with cheap and changeable collars and cuffs.  We’re not seeing cuffs yet, which is a pity, but even the summer looks of Resort 2011 struck a claim in that most mutable of accessories, the scarf.

Resort and menswear have been approaching the scarf cautiously, not straying too far from simple wraps and loops—though folks like Gaultier are playing with shapes that invoke the Empire/Regency cravat.  But, like any accessory, there’s an endless possibility in a scarf.  In the era of power dressing they were integral to dressing up or altering a look and taking it from office to evening.  Though it can be difficult to get a hold of classics like Scarf Tying by Judy Reiman, the great web does hold pockets of how-to’s that offer more options than a couple basic loops and twists.  Unfortunately, none share quite the perfect balance of clear instructions and priceless photography of the scarves in action (modelled by various Miss Calgaries) as Scarf Tying.

To get you started, here is an awkward quickie video tutorial for a simple option to try before playing with search terms.  Start with a larger square:

And you’ll end up with something like this:

It really pumps up a power suit
A lot of the scarves available at your local super-department like Fred Meyer or Target are of the long and loosely woven or square and fringed variety.  Thrift stores’ scarf bins—or, if you can sew, the remnant and discount bolt bins at sewing stores—have a sea of options that fulfil the classic silk-scarf style of easy drape and tighter weave.

Like Reiman says in Scarf Tying:

You too can look and feel like Cinderella at the ball without the help of a fairy godmother.  With creative scarf tying, your hands are magic wands.  A flick of the fingertips and a length of silk becomes a rose, a square of fabric appears as an evening gown.

Double take dupes

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Speaking of fast fashion, I was at our local Fred Meyer the other day an noticed a valiant effort by drugstore polish Sinful Colors to imitate the higher end OPI’s (horribly named, as usual) Spring 2010 “Hong Kong” collection:

Fast fashion in nail colour

I haven’t seen anything about this “Shanghai Collection” online, but I know for a fact that some of the colours in the display, like Ruby Ruby, existed before they decided to ride any coattails.  Overall, it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to completely copy OPI and are just attempting to package the same “feel” or “inspiration”.  Which, yes, totes copying, good for them.  I don’t like OPI’s application or price point, but I do love me some Sinful Colors.

When the first previews of the Hong Kong collection came out, All Lacquered Up showed a couple dupe possibilities, but found that there weren’t any good non-OPI options that carried the same colour qualities as this collection.  Though most of Sinful Colors Shanghai Nights is made up of their standard colours, there are some definite dupes, or attempts at them.

OPI v. Sinful Colors, 1
Sinful Colors: Rise and Shine (more turquoise)
OPI: Jade Is The New Black (more green)

OPI v. Sinful Colors, 2
Sinful Colors: Thimbleberry (slightly more coral)
OPI: Red My Fortune Cookie (more orangey)

The best dupe I went ahead and bought.  And now I have two bottles of exactly the same colour.

OPI v. Sinful Colors, 3

Sinful Colors: Big Daddy
OPI: A Good Mandarin Is Hard To Find

Under some indoor light, OPI’s shade is the barest touch more blue-red.  And Sinful Colors’ shade looked much thinner and orangey at one coat.  But after two coats they are essentially identical.  Same opacity, same colour.

Which, I am super into my nails and had to think, “does this fit what I am going for with this dumb blog?” And, I think maybe?

The search for good dupes in the nail world is interesting, because it is totally accepted. Why pay upwards of nine dollars for a bottle of polish when you can get pretty much the same thing for a dollar-fifty?  But copying a shoe or piece of clothing is a clear not cool (or is acknowledged as uncool while you are also like “Thank fucking goodness, I am not paying multiple hundreds for that”).  There are clear intellectual property issues with fashion design that do not apply for colours.  Because they’re, y’know, colours—though what goes into creating a colour, and dye vats and formulas are a clear proprietary thing.  But the science is not what you see, just the colours.

Nail polish, like other accessories (and I class it as an accessory, not makeup, because there is more freedom in how it can be used) is something that becomes more popular when folks aren’t as willing to spend money on clothes.  And those cycles fascinate me.

Then/Now: The relaxed cravat

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Left:  Portrait of Daniel la Motte of Baltimore, Tomas Sully 1812-1813. Via Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Right: Menswear, 2011.  Jean Paul Gaultier.

Review: Victoria’s Secret Miraculous™ Push-up Bra

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

On a whim, about a year ago, I bought my first bra in nearly a decade.  I’m minimally endowed enough to not require everyday harness or restraint and had fallen out of the habit of ever wearing this most feminine of foundation garments.  Since, for my frame, they’re purely decorative, I ended up buying a basic push-up number and fell in love with the lady-drag costume aspect of the whole thing.

Armed with my very own letter and number combination (and an equivalent size that is easier to find in the average department store) my bra collection grew from zero to a handful (ha, ha) over the summer.

I recently received some “hey, shop with us again!” coupons in the mail for $10 off a purchase in-store with Victoria’s Secret.  Browsing their site, I was presented with this:

Yowsa.  Now, it’s totally key to understanding my curiosity about the Miraculous™ that you recognise I never wear a bra with intent to conceal its presence.  The plainest style, by inherent structure, is so different from my everyday boobs that I tend to pair them with low-cut tops that show the top of the cups, to make it clear that I’m just genderfucking around.

Victoria’s Secret ranks the va-voomness of their padded bras by “levels.” They range from a Subtle lift and shaping at Level 1, upwards through Moderate, Dramatic and Extreme, ending at the Ultimate lift of a Level 5.  The Miraculous™ is a five.  Clearly.

At the store, a VS associate explained the science going on.  Besides your regular underboob push-up padding, these have got padding on the sides, to “create an hourglass silhouette” and heave to the breasts together.

(clicking will take you to Flickr and larger versions)

The Miraculous™ is supposed to add “up to two cup sizes.”  It does this with a cup size worth of padding under the breasts and another cup’s worth at the side.  Even this much prosthetic boobage didn’t give me proper cleavage, but a large part of that is my body type (see problems listed below).  Nonetheless, the difference on a small frame like mine is unnerving.

Two cheers for boob science! But.  There are some issues certain body types are going to have with this much padding and scaffolding.

  1. If your rack is more widely spaced, with the bulk of fatty tissue closer to your arms than your sternum, it’s going to take some gravity work (bending over and scooping the boob into place) to situate everything in place, and even then it might not stay.  The Victoria’s Secret associate who I talked to has a similar build to mine and had the same issue.  The straps can be crossed in the back, I found that this does help distribute the tension more evenly.
  2. The dainty little straps are easily cowed by neck and shoulder muscles.  Raising my arms up rolls the straps a little, which would be totes annoying during a day at work in the warehouse.
  3. Its fake as hell.  Nothing subtle about adding two cup sizes, folks.

Like with any bra, I suggest taking your time in the fitting room.  Jump around, lean over, see what it’s like with a shirt on.  Since they’re right there in the middle of everything, your boobs are in integral part of daily movement.  However, there is some adjustment available with the strap design.  The straps unhook in the back, then can be slotted into a pretty wide range of configurations and back widths.  I ended up finding a setup that reduced the strap rolling issue I had.

(clicking will take you to Flickr and larger versions)

When it comes down to it, this is the ultimate showpiece bra.  This amazing bit of boob tech is not going to be everybody’s fave daily device, its the kind of thing you pull out for company and holidays.  However—it comes in a good range of colours, a couple lace overlays and rowdy animal prints (though the seriously boss stuff isn’t available online yet).  if you have the gonads to have fun with boobs, the Victoria’s Secret Miraculous™ push-up is totally worth it.  Sizes online are available from 32AA to 38DD, so a sizeable chunk of humanity can play.

Review: Goody Spin Pin

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Innovation is rare.  It’s a common descriptor, but normally hyperbole.  So when something actually innovative comes along it’s rather a joy.   We were at a hotel on the coast and I see a commercial (we don’t have cable, so I only see commercials when we travel) for this thing called the “spin pin” that was said to do the work of twenty bobby pins.  It’s not a clip, it’s not a comb, nor is it like any regular hairpin I’ve seen.  It totally looks like science.

I mean, seriously.  So, I figured it might be worth trying out.  Bravo to Goody, by the way, for having a commercial that actually intrigues the consumer about a product.  It must be awful to think of hair product commercials, since the ‘90s were full of seen-on-TV devices that stuttered into oblivion (anyone remember the Topsy Tail?).

The problem is, the damn thing was so new I couldn’t find it at my local and had to go into the city to get it.  At about $6 for a set of two, it was a splurge.  But I am all about science.  And the temptation was strong to find a hair device that doesn’t snag, pull at or get lost in my easily mattable mane.

Guys. It works.  I’ve been wearing ‘em endlessly, the days are getting warmer and I want my hair up—and I can now do it without the half-dozen pins and hair ties normally necessary.  I’ve been showing them around the office and the keys to using the spin pin seem to be these:

  • Your hair has to be long enough to make at least a small bun.
  • Thick, heavy or slippery hair will need to use both pins.
  • It helps a lot if you can make a bun or French twist without thinking about it.

Using the Rapunzel-like hair of Chase, I’ll show you how it works. (more…)

Along with the Cheshire Cat

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

There are a couple of things, during this season of costumes, that are asked about by customers at work.  One of my favourites is “how do I get the stockings (leggings?) the Alice character wears in Resident Evil: Extinction?”

The internet is mildly clogged with answers to finding the right holsters, or you can look at images of the original costume and really, it isn’t that difficult to get info.  But there wasn’t anything I could find (at this time) specifically about the stockings, which are basically self-gartered.

Tights are, in general, a bitch to fit.  If you’re leggy, or rounded, or some combo of both, odds are the crotch of the damn things end up somewhere lower than they’re supposed to, giving you that sexy penguin waddle.  So chopping the legs off a pair of tights and tying them back on will just lose you precious length in the leg.

So, here is a simple step-by-step to get the self-garter look.

  1. Find yourself a pair of tights or leggings. Foot Traffic’s Combed Cotton in Brown, Chocolate, or Heather Mocha are all good bets for the Alice costume, and are comparable to Rit dyes I’ve worked with before, so you can match the shirt to the tights.
  2. Put the tights on, making sure the legs are straight (this is important to positioning the “garter”).  Now, using a fabric marker or pen that will wash out, mark the center-point of your thigh.  Do this at the height you want the self-garter to be.Mark Placement
  3. Take the tights off.  Laying them flat and even, make two marks to either side of the center-point you just made.  You want the total width to be about 1.5 inches.
  4. Using the marks you’ve just made as a guide, cut a shallow wedge from the sides in.  Set the pieces you’ve cut out aside.Cut Sides
  5. Almost done.
    Almost done
  6. Now, take those bits you cut out and tie them around the self-garter you just made, back and front.  Wrap them around several times, it bulks up the “knot”.  I find it’s easier to do this when they’re on, as you can judge things a little better.  Trim any extra ends.Tie off
  7. BAM. You actually get a little extra length this way, even.

Feet are deformed hands, anyway

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

I was stuck at home sick, missing over half a day of work, which I’m crazy guilty about.  So, here is a work-related fluff piece about arm and leg warmers.  Which—PS—are not just an “80’s thing” but a snappy and smart way to layer during the unpredictable weather of fall and spring.

It’s been interesting watching how the fashion world is dealing with the shifts in economy and social opinion.  Last year we saw an increase of focus on legwear (to my delight), this year I am noticing more and more attention paid to nails.  It’s these little, changeable things that can bulk out a wardrobe without shattering a budget.  Or, if you couldn’t give two shits about your seasonal attire, they’re things that extend your clothing’s ability to cover you in weather.  Fun to play with and cheap enough not to prevent you from playing.

Back to the subject at hand/foot: arm and leg warmers are one of those things.  Not quite legwear, equally hated and loved and surprisingly interchangeable.  Like, really surprisingly.

At work we’re often reminding people that leg warmers, being simple tubes, can go on the arms as well.  This is great for the monkey-armed (like me) and for those days when it is 45º in the morning and 94º at the height of the day.

Cronert Honeycomb AW or LW

They’re long enough that the look is more layered, so you don’t invoke the wrath of folks who roll eyes at the pairing of t-shirt and arm warmers.

But the point of this exercise, really, is to show the fab idea my boss has been rocking, which is arm warmers as toeless tabi leg warmers.  It probably breaks like, so many laws.  I see so many people shivering sockless in flats and sandals no matter the weather that I feel it is for the greater good (and the greater good’s amusement) that I give an example.

Harajuku Vitamin AW

It all comes back to the same thing I am always saying.  Play, experiment.  It’s just clothes.

I am both embarrassed and proud of myself

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

I cannot feel bad for abandoning you these past weeks, as all the usual suspects are doing nicely with the shows and really, I told you this wasn’t a place to keep up to date.  I’ve had my hands full doing a very, very nerdy thing.

I am, as I’ve noted, biased.  I think legwear, be it socks or tights or legwarmers, helps complete an outfit.  With makeup and hair, it frames and finishes a look.  Most designers these past couple of weeks seem to be favouring a bare leg, the silly gits.  Or they go for the plain canvas of a semi-sheer nylon, like what you can get at Fred Meyer or Target.  The rest seem to be clothing their models in tights,  but there are some who are having comparatively more fun.  I’m going to give you a bit of a cheat-sheet rundown, but first let me supply you with the basics.

Want tights?  There’s Foot Traffic Combed Cotton and E.G. Smith Leg Therapy. The first fits better and more folks, only one seam at the rear.  The second has more, and more vivid, colours, but if you’re not fan of the butt panel, then you might steer clear (they also have a history of not always making the legs the right length, or equal lengths, don’t even get me started).  Want the sleek microfiber look?  Then you want Erika Microfiber Tights, or there are stirrup and legging options.

Okay, that taken care of, let’s dig in after the jump.  Now, I’ll be adding as more trickle in, and God knows I’ve probably missed some. I’ve looked at maybe 150 slideshows of what walked the past couple of weeks, so you’ll have to forgive me and let me know what I did miss.

And sorry, darlings, no flyovers in these links. I would have just about died.
Honestly, I'm evenly split
F2009 RTW

AlbinoTights, lightly ribbed, semi-sheer: MP Lightly Ribbed Tights (grey).

Alessandro Dell’AcquaPossible toeless anklet, ribbed, sheer: still pondering if these are socks or shoe parts.

Alexander McQueenStocking vertical stripe; leather (could be attached to shoe)Vertical Stripe Thigh Highs (orange), Opaque Vertical Stripe.

Anna SuiTights, crochet pattern, psychedelic houndstooth, bright vertical stripes, irregular sparkle: Codori Crochet tights (black), or Liliana Crochet Luxury tight (black) nearly exact match; nothing like it for the houndstooth; closest match for the vertical would be Tights Striped Lengthwise; closest match for sparkle would be Lurex Shimmery thigh highs (gold/black).

Bottega VenetaAnkle height, slightly slouched: B. Ella Meg Unconstricted Top Crew (black), Flat Knit Bell Top Anklet (black).

Charles AnastaseMix of things,woven pattern tights, heathers, solids; loose striped or solid OTK/thigh high, also semi-sheer trouser sock: Kalana Wool Crochet tights (black) or Zurich Texture tightsFoot Traffic Combed Cotton (heather graphite), E.G. Smith Heathered Tights (heather graphite); Super Stripes (black & olive); June OTKs (caviar), Super Basics (black), O Woolies (black); B.Ella Trentata Trouser sock (espresso).

Christian LacroixTights, lace printed, gold and black: Bebaroque Tattoo Me or Betty.

Comme Des GarconsMidcalves under loose, seamed, beige/nude hose: nothing like it.

Dolce & GabbanaTights, possibly thigh high, black ruffle and gold ruffle backseam: Leg Avenue Lycra Mesh Thigh High with Ruffle Back Seam, closest match, out of stock at a lot of online shops.

Dsquared2Midcalf, slouchy; plain knee high (could be same sock for both): EG Eco Comfort Top Knee High (black), Luisa Comfort Top Knee High (caviar). Note: these two do not like staying up, so they will create that fallen-down slouch quite naturally.

Emporio ArmaniTrouser socks in knee high and midcalf: B.Ella Trentata Trouser sock (any), Heather Socklings (bark, slate grey); Flat Knit Bell Top Anklet (oxford grey).

House of HollandTights, extra-bold stripes with thinner white bands: nothing like it (Except I saw a girl on Killingsworth who had vaguely similar leggings, but damn if I don’t know where they came from.  I am hunting.)

Issey MiyakeLace printed, colour-block stripe tights/leggings: nothing like it.

Jager LondonThigh highs (possibly loose tights) neutral tones, contrast bands and foot: nothing like it.

Jean Paul GaultierTights, opaque and sheer duos; open net: Either Or Tights ; Warning Net Pantyhose.

LucellaTights, lurex: closest look would be Lurex Shimmery thigh highs (gold/black).

Marc Jacobs
Legging, fishnet: Lycra Seamless Fishnet Leggings (black).

Marc by Marc JacobsTights, wide striped; segmented bold stripe legwarmer; slouched, flat ribbed socks, possibly legwarmers:  closest match Cronert Wide Stripe OTKs (cobalt, orange); Ribbed Wool Legwarmers (black, ivory), Coco Turncuff Knee Highs (caviar), Harajuku Super Loose Socks (black, ivory, white),Cotton Slouch Socks (black, natural, white, dark red).

MarniTights, woolly or cotton patterned, plaid, offset diamondBlack and White Check Tartan tights.

Maurizio PecoraroTights or stockings, subtle flocked dot: Tabbio Polka Dot Tights, Betsey’s Flashy Dots Capri leggings , closest match.

Miu MiuTights, spangled: Nothing like it.

Paul Smith WomenTights and OTKs, heathered & fall tones: Foot Traffic Combed Cotton (heather mocha, heather graphite), E.G. Smith Heathered Tights (any), Plain Cotton Stockings (brown tweed), Lemonade Stockings (bittersweet brown).

PradaLoose, Slouched to knee thick ribbed (could be part of shoe): Harajuku Super Loose Socks (black, night grey).

Rebecca TaylorMid-calf, heathered: Heather Socklings (chambray, slate grey), EG Eco Comfort Top Crew (denim), Relaxed Top Anklet (denim), Flat Knit Bell Top Anklet (oxford grey).

RuffianTights, possible bodysuit, flocked or woven in dots: Tabbio Polka Dot Tights, Betsey’s Flashy Dots Capri leggings , closest match.

TaoAnkle socks (ruffled?) with pom-poms: Closest match (most pom pom socks currently made have pom at back) Lace Ruffle Anklets (white) or Ruffle Shorties (white) with Pom Pom sock garters (white).

Tracy ReeseThigh highs or OTKs, thick knit: O Woolies (black), Long Cuffable Scrunchables (black), Super Basics (black), OTK Tube Socks (black).

Vivenne WestwoodKnee high soccer style socks, various patterns; subtle opaque and sheer vertical stripedprinted sheer tights: no exact match on soccer socks, but Nike Centenario Game Sock, Dreamy Knee High Tube Socks; Kayla Stripe Trouser Sock (charcoal), Dobby Pinstripe Footless Tight; Tattoo Me, Betty, Roots and Smoke Print (grey).

Vivienne Westwood Red LabelKnee highs, semi-sheer trouser sock and thicker roll or comfort topsB.Ella Trentata Trouser sock (caviar, graphite); O Pastels (banana).

WunderkindTights, printed vertical & pattern block: nothing like it.

Y-3Mid-calf, black roll top: B. Ella Meg Unconstricted Top crew (black).

Zac PosenTights, large sparkle gradient in grey and red also a plain solid opaque cream, delicate fishnet and a knee high or OTK large-gague fishnet with seam in front worn over some: nothing like the sparkle gradient, maybe Zebra Lurex tights; B.Ella Refined Fishnet (any); the Fishnet Thigh Highs with Backseam which are tube-style and can worn ‘backwards’, also the Lace Up Fishnet Sock.

PF2009 (these two are important, when people want to copy legwear, 70% of the time it is these two)

Miu MiuLegwarmers, knee high, ribbed: Cronert Ribbed Arm/Leg warmers (anthracite grey), Foot Traffic Ribbed Knit legwarmers (charcoal).

PradaOTKs, ribbed, folded down: MP Ribbed Wool OTKs (black, grey).