Moving On

After much consideration, I’ve decided to stop blogging from The Back of the Wardrobe. I didn’t really like the direction it was moving in, and I felt like I could do something a lot more dynamic with a different angle. From now on, I’ll be blogging at Diary of a Not It Girl, and will hopefully expand past talking about my own life and style to larger topics in fashion. I hope to see you there!


Summer and the City

I honestly don’t know how to start this one; a lot has happened in the nearly two months since I last posted. First and foremost, I moved back to New York for my second summer here, and I’ve started my internship at Vogue. I feel so fortunate to have the incredible opportunity to be at the heart of the fashion industry, if only for three months. That being said, I have made the conscious decision not to write about my job, or share information about the company or any of the people that work there. So you won’t hear much about Vogue itself; I hope thats not too disappointing.

I moved into an apartment in East Village-adjacent Stuytown on May 21st. I have four roommates (also college students), because otherwise none of us could afford to live in such a nice location. Living in Stuytown is like living in a park, its full of squirrels and trees and birds. From what I can tell, its mostly inhabited by middle-aged dog-owners and young couples with children. Its essentially a little suburban idyll in the middle of Manhattan, except I’ve never seen a suburb made out of high-rises.

This is the view from the window of the room that I share with my dear pal Charlotte. That is legitimately a fountain in my backyard, one thats surrounded by park benches. We have a freakin’ farmer’s market on Sundays! Its an NYC miracle.

This is my room from when I first moved in. None of my roommates had moved in yet, so it was pretty bare. But just look at those hardwood floors. However, beautiful as the apartment is, I’m rarely here. I’m either at work, or out with friends, or at my boyfriend’s place. As a result, after a few weeks living here, my area of the room had come to resemble a life-raft surrounded by flotsam.

This is how it looks on a good day. I even sort of made the bed, despite not having any sheets which fit this mattress. Also, you may have noticed that my bed appears to be kickin’ it footloose and bedframe-free. That is because what you are seeing is, in actuality, a memory foam pad from IKEA. Its my very own Swedish-made island in a sea of parquet and random crap that I shouldn’t have brought with me.

You can’t tell from looking at my space, but when I packed I really did make a concerted effort not to bring too much stuff. I’m flying straight from NYC to the UK at the end of the summer to visit my family, so I can’t really have anything here that can’t come on a plane with me. But despite intellectually knowing that I have to travel/pack light, I somehow keep accumulating more stuff. This is especially impressive considering that I’m flat broke, and didn’t think I would be able to afford anything more substantial than a MetroCard. However, as previously mentioned, I am in the process of dipping my toes in the fashion industry. This is a business renowned for its freebies, and access to it may prove to be my Achilles heel. I just can’t turn free stuff down, especially not when its such good stuff! Between hand-me-downs, re-gifted stuff from work, and prop left-overs, I’ve acquired at least one additional carry-on in swag.

About a week after I got to New York, my boyfriend’s stepmom very generously gave me a bunch of her designer hand-me-downs. She works in fashion, and wanted to bolster my confidence for the start of my internship with a few nice pieces that she doesn’t wear anymore. She also apparently has an uncanny ability to tell which labels I covet the most. This Allsaints leather jacket had been on my radar for a while, as something I might invest in one day down the road. Inheriting this was a total kismet moment for me; it even fits me perfectly.

I’m equally excited about this Prada jacket. Its a very lightweight, angular piece that looks particularly cute with floaty, girly summer dresses. It has the look of a motorcycle jacket, but its done in heavy linen, making it more weather appropriate.

She also gave me a variety of oversized cashmere sweaters. This teal one is from Ernest Sewn, and is long enough to wear as a dress in the winter. Or even on a chilly summer night, if this heat wave ever breaks.

This purple waffle-woven one is by White + Warren. Its very cute and comfy, more of tunic length than the green one.

This is possibly my favorite sweater of the bunch. Its a little tan cardie from Marni, and its both cozy and versatile. It works well for all seasons and goes equally well with a dress or with jeans. I’ve only had it a couple of weeks, and I’ve already gotten a lot fo use out of it.

She also gave me another Marni piece, a little sleeveless blouse in approximately the same color scheme as the cardigan. Its a bit too big for me, but it has an airy, ethereal look to it that only benefits from it being oversized. 

She also gave me this beautiful black Vera Wang dress. This is another item that is a tad roomy on me, but I’m planning on having it altered to fit me better in the near future.

This particular freebie actually came from work. My bosses get gifts from brands every now and then, way too many for them to ever use. These extras are either donated to charity, or occasionally given to an intern. This Isaac Mizrahi scarf was one such item, and I happened to be the lucky beneficiary. Its a lovely color, and a perfect weight for a summer scarf.

Last but not least are a couple of extra props from a shoot that I was on. We had tons of leftover flowers, so I claimed a big bunch of orange and red daisies, which looked gorgeous and summery for about a week. I also got this pseudo-retro phone that plugs into your iPhone. This is great, because I never would have gone to Urban Outfitters and bought one for fear of looking like a tool, but I would have always secretly wanted it.

All in all, I’ve been good about resisting the temptation to buy everything in this ridiculously expensive city. However, I haven’t been perfect, I have slipped up a couple of times and actually purchased some things. Including:

This cashmere Armani sweater, picked up at Newbury Street consignment store The Closet before I left Boston. The store specializes in second-hand designer goods, but most of the stock is still well out of my price range. I found this at the back of the store, semi-buried and priced at $33 thanks to a small hole in the shoulder. I haven’t had a real chance to wear it yet, but come winter its likely to be my go-to garment.

These exceedingly awesome yellow suede shorts. I got them at a nearby thrift store for twenty bucks, and they were worth every penny, despite being two sizes too big and their tendency to shed yellow dust everywhere. I’m making them sound heinous, but they’re actually perfect.

Here we have another twenty-dollar item, purchased at that poor girl’s paradise, Forever 21. Consider this visual evidence of me jumping on the maxi-dress trend and the red-orange trend simultaneously. Actually, I was already a pretty big fan of this particular color, as indicated by my love affair with my YSL Le Orange lipstick. But I’ve always been wary of maxi-dresses. Wear it wrong and you look pregnant or chubby or like you’re wearing a muumuu. This is particularly true if you’re short like me. But I think that this one has enough shape and natural airiness to be a safe option.

These were my most expensive and my most practical purchase of the summer. My job involves a lot of running around, and I quickly gave up on heels in favor of something more comfortable. I bought these granny shoes (meaning arch support, cushioned instep, etc) at the Memorial Day sale at DSW, for fifty bucks. In my broke world, this constitutes a real financial investment, but they were well worth it. I wear these shoes literally every day, to the point that they are starting to fall apart. But I wouldn’t trust any other shoes to bring me to a far-flung design house and back again in one piece. Prada, I’m looking at you.

I think that might be it, as far as new goodies are concerned. I’ve had a lot of other adventures over the course of the summer so far, but I’ve never been very good at the photo-journalism side of socializing. I shopped at the Greenpoint Smorgasbord flea market, saw jellyfish at the Museum of Natural History, and celebrated a west-side Fourth of July without documenting any of it. I just don’t have that many pictures of my escapades. However, I went through my phone, and tracked down a few snapshots of the summer so far.

These two shots are the view from the balcony at my boyfriend’s dad’s apartment. Top is the surprisingly pretty panorama of Jersey City across the Hudson, while the bottom photo shows the harbor, and the Statue of Liberty in the distance

This is a similar shot of Jersey City, but taken from Luke’s mom’s place, since both of his parents live in Battery Park City. From her apartment, you also get a view of the exceptionally lovely Riverside Park that stretches along the Hudson.

A couple of photos from my almost-nightly walk back to the R train. The top shot shows the  Freedom Tower in progress from the West Side highway, while the bottom photo shows City Hall from across the park in Tribeca. I’m glad that when I walk around NYC after dark, its almost exclusively in this neighborhood.

During the day however, I tend to be in a million different neighborhoods, going on errands for work. This is a photo I took on the West Side, slightly north of Chelsea, while heading to a PR firm by the river. I’m a little bit in love with the gorgeous, greenery-covered townhouses that populate this area of the city.

This is probably my favorite photo of all. It shows the harbor near the World Financial Center, in the BPC area once again. I was hanging out with my boyfriend, eating ice cream from Shake Shack and enjoying the sunny day. I think I like the photo so much because a) its a happy, relaxing memory, and b) it almost makes it look like I have some kind of skill as a photographer, rather an iPhone camera and a lucky shot.

I think that might be all for now, but I’ll try to keep my camera more at-the-ready over the next few weeks so that I have some substance for whatever I end up writing at the end of the summer, once this is all over. However, I have a feeling that whatever I write then will have a lot more to do with my upcoming trip to England than with my apparently never-ending NYC stories.

The Back of my iPhone

At this point, it probably isn’t even worth saying something about how I never ever post. I got busy, and that’s probably not going to change, so I think I just have to be okay with only posting once or twice a month. I also haven’t had a really compelling reason to write anything. My budget is even tighter than before, so I haven’t purchased anything new/pretty. However, I still felt like whipping something together, cause its study week and blogging is a great form of procrastination. Since I don’t have anything particularly spectacular to show all of y’all, I hunted down a few photographic odds and ends that had been gathering cyber-dust on my iPhone. I have shots of outfits, accessories, cosmetics, and some of the tidier areas of my dorm room before I move out for the summer.

I have a fairly substantial little garden in my room, and this picture shows my four succulent plants. I don’t get a lot of sun in my room, so the desert natives are closest to the window. My building has incredibly depressing grey hallways, so I like having lots of life and color in my room. Its a cheerful (but messy) haven in my dark, architecturally strange dorm.

This is a shot from a day where I was having particularly strong Jean Seberg inclinations. I don’t have a Dior dress like the one she wears in Breathless, but at least I got the stripes and pouffy quality of the skirt right.

This is my very small collection of vintage rock posters. I bought them at a flea market when I was fourteen or fifteen from an aging hippie with a truckload of old vinyl and memorabilia. Now that I’m looking at this photo, I realize it would be kinda cool in chronological order, from Beatles to Janis to Queen. Incidentally alphabetical too.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with nail polish recently. This was a triangular variation on the Slim Silhouette nails I’ve been experimenting with lately. I was going for kind of an ikat thing with turquoise, coral, and silver. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’d been looking at a lot of fashion photos from Coachella at the time…

Here’s a great example of my obsession with making my room bright and cheerful, even at the risk of intense color clashing. I have a few jewel-tone pillows on my bed, and they are generally propped up against my equally vivid wall hanging. The wall hanging is a Versace-inspired printed piece of canvas from Lady Gaga’s set in Toronto from her last tour. It wasn’t designed to go on a wall, so its kind of a funny, irregularly quadrilateral shape.

Another shot of my mini-garden. These are all the non-succulent plants, relegated to my desk because they need less sunlight. They’re mostly baby spider plants, born from the mama-plant in the turquoise pot, and then transferred to various glass bottles and tin cans. The only exception is the parsley plant in the dark green pot.

When I have a lot of work, I tend to put it off by either posting here, or working on crafty projects like this one. This is a process henceforth known as procraftination, and its the classier cousin of procrasturbation. I posted here about my newfound love of detachable collars, but I was too cheap to buy one when I knew I could make it instead. I cut the collar off of a thrifted dress shirt, switched the plain white button out for a cool brass one, and added some beaded lapel accents. Voila, a detachable collar for free!

This is a bookshelf full of some of my favorite things. The top shelf is a mix of personal and academic books. This includes my personal bible, Generation T, in addition to the actual bible, which is something of a necessity for a religious studies major. In addition to loads of other fantastic books, this shelf also contains The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell, which is special for two reasons. 1) Joseph Campbell is the scholar who inspired me to become a religion major and 2) it was the first gift my boyfriend ever gave me. The bottom shelf also has a bunch of gifts from people special to me. The toast coasters are from my brother, and the mug on top is from my sister. The floral mug is from my mom, and the math mug is from that aforementioned boyfriend. The candy in the middle is more Gaga swag, from her pop-up shop at Barney’s this winter.

Last but not least, another photo of nail art. This is a not-very-inspired tripartite variation on that same Prabal Gurung design that I’ve been messing with. I actually really like the retro simplicity of it, so I might go back to this gold, turquoise, gold pattern at some point.

Anywho, thats all I’ve got today. Once my high-fashion summer starts up, I hope to have lots of great stories to share.

In The Doldrums

I am the everloving laziest. I just could not get it up to post last week, or the week before, or (most of) the week before that. I’m lame, man. But I’m glad to be getting back on the horse.

First things first, something exciting is happening on the summer plans front, but the internet is not the place to share. Besides, if you read this, its probably because you are one of my dear friends and I’ve already told you my news five gazillion times anyway (and you’re sick of it). Other than that fashion elephant in the room, I’m in the total doldrums, clothing-wise. I’m broke, in the manner of college students everywhere, so I’m just sticking with adaptations on my existing wardrobe, hopefully in a way that is still creative despite being in the awkward phase of the winter-to-spring transition.

In that spirit, I’m going with thematically springy layering, with some mild trend-hopping. Below, you can see a poorly-photographed progression towards my outfit for tomorrow.

I’m starting with this cute, floral sundress that I bought from the place I worked this summer (40% off employee discount, ftw!) It wasn’t on the rack, which means its probably less “vintage” than it is “fifties retro made in the eighties.” That’s cool though, its still painfully adorable.

However, I’m actually going to take a cue from my blogging idol, Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller, and layer a sweater right over an otherwise sexy sundress. This green sweater did not begin life in all of its current cropped glory; I bought it at Marshalls for ten bucks in 2009 and decided a few months ago that it needed a little bit of an update. I cut off the bottom third, and ended up with the perfect companion piece for hipster-y layers.

Last but not least are the accessories. To polish the look off I added my favorite (legitimately) vintage yellow glass necklace, ruffled ankle socks, and brown “leather” platform sandals.

When all is said and done, the trend tally here is pretty intense. I’ve got color-blocking, socks-with-sandals, neon, and a floral pattern worthy of Mary Katranzou. Maybe I’ll dial it back next time…

Other than this outfit-in-waiting, I only have two other items of news.

The first is this:

I had a fairly successful run at recreating the “Slim Silhouette” nail art from Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2012 show. Also, I’m ludicrously excited about his collaboration with Sally Hansen, definitely planning on buying some of these.

I also bought one teeny-tiny thing, despite my brokeness:

The vintage stalls at Market Monday got me again. Its a brooch, shaped like a moth! How rad is that? I don’t generally dig the butterfly thing, cause its a little dangerously Lolita for someone who already looks as young as I do. Fortunately, however, this looks more like something a grandma would wear. Plus its got pave rhinestones, which I always dig.

Alrighty, my fashion battery needs a recharge. Hopefully something exciting will happen in the next week or so, and I’ll be back for a juicy 21st post. (Jungle-juicy, because my blog will be old enough to drink? Perhaps, we’ll come back to that.)

I’m An Unreliable Poster, But Everybody Be Cool

I lied last week two weeks ago when I said I was going to post immediately after my collars post. But, you see, a) I didn’t realize it was a lie AND b) some very exciting sartorial shit went down in my life, so I was a little bit distracted. First order of business is that fashion internships exist, and I hope to have one this summer. And that vague statement is all I’m going to say about that, cause I don’t want to jinx everything by plastering it all over the internet. But it rhymes with Schmonde Schnast.

Secondly, I have been on spring break for the past two weeks, which gave me plenty of time to partake in my favorite wallet-draining pastime: shopping. I spent most of my break at home in MA, and dragged my mother (bless her willing-to-let-me mooch heart) to the really fancy mall for a couple of chic-but-professional necessities. These items are as follows:

This outrageously neon-y silk blouse from J. Crew. I’m always in the market for a vibrant blouse that I can button all the way up, preferably sheer. This blouse is indeed sheer, and exceeded all of my expectations with the glory of its acid yellow color. I still haven’t worn it, I’m saving it for the perfect moment in which to contrast it in a mind-boggling manner with my pasty, pasty skin.

I also got this darling drop-waist dress from Anthropologie, which is all adorable with its polka-dots and puffy sleeves, but refreshingly done in orange and grey. Its on the border of being too saccharine, but the color combo just about rescues it. Plus, I own several pairs of ruffly, lace socks, so I’m really in no position to make that judgment.

Because I love a good bargain, I also made a stop at Marshalls. Though Marshalls can be hit or miss, I’ve found some great stuff over the years, particularly in the shoes, accessories and home wares sections. This mission was a definite hit, especially on the shoe front.

I love super-high heels, but only when they’re stable enough to support my weight. I tried on some gorgeous Vince Camuto pumps once, and I couldn’t even stand still in them without feeling like I was about to topple over. These patent pumps are around the 4″ mark, but plenty stable thanks to the chunky heel. Plus I needed a new pair of basic black pumps, and these were only $15.

These blue patent Enzo Angiolini peep-toes have an even higher heel, coming in at 4.5″, counting the platform. Though these definitely qualify as stilettos, they’re surprisingly comfortable for their height. Meaning that I can wear them for three hour (mostly seated) stretches without needing to take them off; comfort is definitely a relative concept.

I also managed to score this Cynthia Rowley trench coat. Though arguably my most utilitarian purchase, this is one chic piece of outerwear. The silhouette is gorgeous, and I love the neutral color-blocking. And it will help me in my constant struggle against NYC’s frequent flash rain-storms.

So, conclusion: I bought plenty of clothes while I was home. And then came a five-day interlude in the middle of break during which I went first to Vermont and then to NYC with my boyfriend. I know what you’re wondering. Yes, I definitely bought more stuff. I dragged him to Urban Outfitters, because I needed a couple of last minute things for Scmonde Schmast, and he came with me because he is a kind and tolerant soul. He even willingly bought himself some new clothes, despite being generally indifferent to fashion beyond his basic everyday wardrobe. While he was checking out menswear, I hunted down a couple of simple pieces with nice high-waisted silhouettes.

These blue, silky paper-bag trousers were exactly the kind of thing I wanted to add to my wardrobe. They’re cropped at the ankle, and high-waisted for optimal crop-top integration. These are THE hipster pants of the spring, and I plan to enjoy the heck out of them before they fall apart thanks to Urban Outfitter’s classic shoddy craftsmanship. More to the point, they’ll look badass with my yellow shirt, though the combo may be a little bit seizure-inducing.

In other high-waisted news, these black flat-front shorts were a staple that I badly needed to add to my collection. They go with virtually everything, and I’ve been meaning to buy something like this for at least a year and a half. What my plain black skinnies are to winter, these are to spring/summer (henceforth known as sprimmer). Ideally, I would have like three pairs of these, so that I could just rotate them out, and never have to go without on laundry day. Though I think wearing the same thing every day might ruin any style cred that I have.

Once I finished with my NYC shopping, I got to actually wear my new duds out and about in the city. In addition to my shopping trip to Soho and my adventures in Midtown, I went with my boyfriend for sushi and weird juice with celery and St. John’s wort in it. We also went to the North End Grille for dinner one night, and to Craft for the dinner the night after. My entree at the North End Grille was tasty but unremarkable, though the pot de creme caramel dessert I had was arguably the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. And Craft was generally amazing. I had pasta stuffed with beans, brussel sprouts with bacon, and passion fruit/jalapeno sorbet. All weird-sounding combinations that were insanely yummy in execution.

Sadly, the tasty and fashion-forward adventure that was spring break eventually had to end, and now I’m back at school. But luckily for me, today was Market Monday, and the vintage/consignment vendors were back in the College Center. And it was almost 80 degrees, so I had an excuse to buy some warm-weather gear!

I found this 90’s-cute floral sheath at one stall, for just $15. I’ll probably get a lot of use out of it if the weather stays like it is right now, and its definitely a versatile garment that I can wear into the winter as well. I also nabbed a sterling and carnelian ring, and the red belt featured below in my outfit for today.

This is what I had to change into after realizing that the long-sleeved-but-otherwise-identical dress that I was wearing before was way too warm for this bizarrely summery March. Conveniently, the belt went well with the rest of the look. And between the color combination and the pose, it makes me feel like the lady version of Superman. Not Wonderwoman, mind you, but specifically like a female Superman.

Hot Damn, I Have a New Favorite Trend

I plan to have a big, exciting post sometime tomorrow or the day after, but today I am here to talk to you about detachable collars. I decided I couldn’t wait, because I am really into the way this looks, and may be sporting one or two of my very own before long. This is one of the best spins on a retro accessory that I’ve ever seen, and its making quite a splash at the moment.

The trend harkens back to the detachable linen collars men used to have for their dress shirts, but I would argue that the revitalization started with the Man Repeller collaboration with DANNIJO to create MR DANNIJO and this piece of wonder:

Incidentally, this collar is also the cover piece for a SHEfinds article on detachable collars. If you’re a fan of Ms. Medine’s generally badassery (as I am) you’ve probably seen this collar floating around her website for about a year now. However, it has taken the rest of the fashion world a while to come up with their own adaptations of the trend, adaptations which are friendlier to this blogger, who would prefer a collar that doesn’t chafe. Or stab, for that matter.

The SHEfinds article highlights lots of cute, beribboned, modish collars by the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Marni, but my personal favorite operates, fortunately, in a much less pricy echelon. Zara is the go-to shop for all girls interested in high fashion at a low price, and it has jumped on this trend with an affordable vengeance.

Two of my favorite things–beading and metallics–coexist beautifully in this piece. I plan on stopping by Zara tomorrow, so this could be my new spring statement piece. I have high hopes for the longevity of this trend, with any luck it will just become one of those looks that gets better with age. Here’s looking at you, color-blocked pumps!

*First photo from DANNIJO website, second from Zara website

Fashion I Love: Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, Marni x H&M

I wish I had something new and exciting to talk about in my personal fashion life. But unfortunately, no new clothes, no radical new interpretations of what I already own, and no time to think about anything other than midterms. And Breaking Bad, sometimes I think about that too. So instead of sharing something cool and new in my life, I am just going to share my opinions on a few things going on in the world of fashion.

Number 1: Fashion Week. I live less than two hours from NYC, but I didn’t venture in for Fashion Week. I did, however, keep my eyes peeled for anything particularly stellar that showed up online. I usually have trouble conceptualizing fall fashion when we’re just on the brink of spring, but I am kind of loving Proenza Schouler for Fall 2012, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have outdone themselves. Too many of the silhouettes are dense and baggy and far less “pret-a-porter” than the collection would imply, but I love the preppy-meets-biker-chick vibe, the cute metallic/plastic wrap mini skirts, the collarless structured jackets, and their cool take on the sheath dress–I would spend all my money on sheath dresses if I could. And that insane, woven-basket texture was such a gorgeous effect. I love the trend toward unconventional materials that we’ve seen on the spring and fall runways; I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this to happen to fashion.

And speaking of unusual materials…
Number 2: Christopher Kane and his sheer plastic florals. I know I’m behind the times on this one, it was part of the spring collection, yadiyaddah. I don’t care, I LOVE the way these designs look, and I’ve already started trying to integrated a similar (but cheaper) effect into my spring wardrobe. Its also just so refreshing from Christopher Kane, whose clothes I tend to find a little bit trashy, generally. This is maybe a little bit kitschy, but in an adorable, wearable way. Its feels like what a hip downtown girl would wear to a garden party. Plus, I think its kind of sweet that the models are wearing old-lady comfy sandals, its so unusual to see girls on the runway who are apparently comfortably shod.
And now, to venture into a more affordable sphere…
Number 3: Marni x H&M. This collaboration is finally here, and I am thrilled. Every college student who loves fashion loves collaborations, because they’re affordable. But there hasn’t really been anything exciting since Missoni for Target. Versace x H&M was honestly kind of disappointing to me, despite the hype. For the most part, everything was gaudy and a little bit too Donatella. The only thing I really liked was a studded leather sheath dress (big surprise) which sold out in the blink of an eye. I had high hopes for Jason Wu for Target, but its looking kind of safe, not very exciting from a fashion standpoint. So that brings us to Marni. Marni is low-key, but still edgy. And it has amazing patterns. I love a diverse range of patterns that jumble together in ways that horrify my boyfriend. Also, everything in the collection sort of looks like it was taken from some piece of psychedelic 70’s upholstery, which I can definitely work with.

So many PRINTS! I’m pretty sure I could wear these three things together, and love every minute of it.

I’ll post an update if any one of these glorious pieces ever comes in to my possession, but I can tell you right now that the closest I’ll ever get to any of these things is one half of a pair of Marni earrings that I find on the ground next to the barren wasteland where all of the Marni merch was before it sold out.

*runway photos from vogue, marni photos from h&m website