Posts Tagged 'style'

double jacket weather

It seems that in the depths of freezing northeastern winter, when I am most in need of fashion advice, too many fashion blogs have traveled south leaving me to fend off the cold in clashing sweaters and multiple colored vests. The Sartorialist and Garance Dore are in Rio or Milan where highs are in the 40s which equivalent to spring in New England. For Zanita, it’s summer in Australia. Even those blogs located in cold countries like England and Denmark seem to be dressing for 50 degree weather. See below from Copenhagen Street Style.

That will keep you warm for 10 minutes max in a Copenhagen winter. There is no way I walk out in leggings or one layer pants in 20 degree weather. Please. Does being stylish mean that you have to look cold too? (via Copenhagen Street Style)

While I as still mastering the art of layering, a few people figured out a double jacket look that is badass and probably decently warm. When my friend Sarah came to visit me in Boston in November, she wore a tweed vintage Armani or Valentino fall coat (she also got this for under $40 on ebay) with a light velvet cinched at the waist jacket beneath. Her style decisions seem especially smart later in the night when I was huddling under a thin silk scarf because all I had worn beneath a down jacket was a short sleeve t-shirt.

I think it takes a certain amount of thoughtfulness and creativity to pull of the “double jacket”. It seems contrasting material and fit between the two jackets works aesthetically and is versatile because it gives two looks in one. At the same time, there are jackets that would never quite work. For example, most down jackets look so much like an outer shell that whatever you wear beneath is seen as separate outfit entirely.

While I have not found any inspiring double jacket combinations in my closet, I love idea because I can transform the things I wear in early fall/late spring/summer nights into something that has potential to keep me warm during dark Massachusetts winters. Some example below.

A bit more subtle. The inner and outer jackets drape off her body in a similar way which is nice. (via The Sartorialist)

Okay, so maybe she is not that warm, but she's not freezing either. Denim and leather is kind of obvious but it looks good. (via Stockholm Street Style)


fashion, it is irrelevant

I am putting off Chinese homework, diagramming the uses of my building, reskimming S,M,L,XL (a canonical architecture book), scanning for thesis because I just received The Sartorialist by Scott Schumann. It is the first compilation of his work as a street style photographer and it is a bible, treasure chest, a gem, an encyclopedia, a wunderkabinett of style . Too many cheesy words come to mind.

I discovered The Sartorialist the summer after freshman year in college and it has since held my absolute loyalty and respect. Within the first week of discovery, I had gone through 2 years worth of the blog’s archives. There was some inexplicable magic in Schumann’s photographs that revealed the thoughtfulness and true skill with which these people dressed, but also conveyed, somehow, that good style was easily within reach. I remember thinking “Of course, I can do this too”. Over the course of the summer, I went from being superficially interested in fashion to completely being fascinated by the details and grammar of style.

Studying the diverse range of Schumann’s photos gave me a language with which to understand style. Suddenly  I realized that a good outfit which I previously understood as a lucky, magical set of matching clothing, could be dissected into the choice of proportions, choice of fabric/texture, and choice of color (there is much more variety than you think). Schumann’s work has been and still is one of the greatest influences on my ever changing ideas about ‘good style’. The magnitude of his influence is up there with St. Andrew’s preppiness, a handful of fantastically and individualistically dressed friends and the T style magazine.

Despite my complete admiration for his work, I do have some criticism. After two years of following the blog,  I find the proportions and silhouettes he captures too repetitive  and his photos compositionally look too much the same. Ironically, someone who does these two things very well is his girlfriend, Garance Dore, who constantly shocks me with the beauty of her images. What Schumann does consistently well, and better than any other blog, is capturing the texture of clothing. It’s obvious that he is obsessed with it and if you look closely enough, his blog is an encyclopedia of matching textures, contrasting textures, unexpected textures, everything textured.

Below is a few excerpts from Schumann’s book of my favorite ‘texture’ photos. (Sorry for the terrible quality. In fact, I’m not sure you can see any texture at all. This will be fixed later.)


Giorgio Armani. To pull of monotone is all about getting the weight of the materials right.


(Right) Rubber, cotton, knit, tweed, silk, canvas. He's got it all.


(Right) This is probably my favorite. I love the lightness of the shirt dress in contrast with the kind of bag I would normally categorize as a 'winter' bag. It's perfect because the thick texture of the bag makes her shirt seem even more weightless.

A soft, fitting cotton/synthetic turtleneck with an extremely structured skirt. It's unexpected and beautiful.

(Left)A soft, fitting cotton/synthetic turtleneck with an extremely structured skirt. It's unexpected and beautiful.


(Right) A heavy jacket with smooth light + pajama looking pants.


(Right) Denim vest and tweed jacket? That is daring. And corduroy pants on top of that!

“well, I would say I am just drifting”

I once thought animal prints were tacky, skanky, pretenious, a simple straight-out-of-the-book faux-pas. I have since fallen in love with everything animal print from the $249 cow skin rug at Ikea to the snakeskin clutches from Prada. (Let’s forget all the politics for now). In any case, animal prints are challenging. Even though I’ve changed my mind about it, it still walks a fine line between trash and elegance.  It seems to require firstly, high quality and secondly, a good choice of fabric – some sheer is better than none.

Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate is a master at the animal print. Somehow she wears them not only elegantly one at a time, but  in combination with each other.

Here she is seducing Benjamin Bradley. He clearly finds her animal print bra irresistible

Here she is seducing Benjamin Braddock. He clearly finds her animal print bra irresistible.

Leopard + Giraffe = ??

Leopard + Giraffe = ??

"You are the most attractive of all my parents friends". That's because she's stylish.

"You are the most attractive of all my parents friends". That's because she's stylish, Ben.

Overall, The Graduate is a stunningly stylish movie, not just because of Anne Bancroft. Dustin Hoffman’s outfits are actually wonderful. They don’t over stylize his jacket and khakis ensembles and thereby maintain an element of effortless preppy (effortlessness  is the key to true preppiness, not the over slicked look a la Rugby). At the same time, they give him skinny ties and good jackets that have personality. Moreover, I find the way Hoffman is styled more interesting and intricate than the kind of outfits seen in movies like Ocean’s 11 series. This is because what Hoffman wears is a real outfit where every banal detail can have a huge impact like the striped pattern of his tie or the specific shade of  pale yellow shift matched with the shade of navy jacket.  In constrast, a costume for Brad Pitt with white jacket and white pants renders the color of his tie and the colors of his shoes to be relatively insignificant details….

The Graduate is a good lesson in style. Watch it!


adventure one: due to weather, anisha and i are rerouted from delta to alitalia on a direct flight from boston to roma then to venezia. it was more fun this way in the end i think, and no one’s luggage was lost.

at the roma airport, my first observation of italy was more than half of the men were wearing suits and the jackets and pants fit them well whatever their body shape may have been. and the fabrics! everything from heavy cotton to linen and a whole range of blacks, tans, and pale blues. they look good.

adventure two: from the airport, onto a bus to venezia – mestre where essentially all the venetians live. we find the train station using a combination of english and broken spanish. at an automated machine, we buy the ticket five minutes before our train is supposed to leave, but we have no idea what platform until we ask a girl with punkish piercings. we sprint up and down two flights of stairs getting from platform one to platform nine with two backpacks and three suitcases between the two of us to find the doors to our train closed. except for one. we run again, throw our luggage in and jump on about 10 seconds before the doors close.

adventure three: on this very hot day, we get off at monselice, an hour south-west of venezia outside of padova. we know the hostel is at the base of the hill, so we walk towards it (there are no directions from shun when we spoke with him briefly from a pay phone except “i know it’s hot, but i would like you guys to walk from the train station to the hostel). after dragging our luggage across not very smooth cobblestone for 20 minutes, we arrive near the town center and there is shun having a nice salad in the shade. and so begins the veneto experience.

the anatomy of style

collagepersonI have a theory: the single most important element of an outfit is exactly how a pair of pants or any legwear meets the shoes. It’s not completely the pants or the shoes, but that moment where they join. Yes, yes, colors, fabrics, patterns, the rest of the proportions of the rest of outfit are important, but the pant/shoe moment is far more telling than anything else. And of course, there are always exceptions.Maybe this is also an architect or designer’s way of thinking of things. “It’s all about how the materials are joined, how they meet”, says Chris Dewart’s voice in my head. But what do you think?

Consider this, when we think of stereotypical outfits we think of: tight black pants with Converses, baggy jeans with Timbs, skinny jeans with ballet flats, flared jeans with rainbows, baggy sweatpants tucked into Uggs but spilling out a little at the top, leggings fitting cleanly into calf height boots, pants rolled up mid-calf with nice sneakers for urban bikers, straight fit jeans partially tucked behind the tongue of loud sneakers a la Kanye, Thom Browne’s entire market of men’s suit pants ending above the ankle.

In other words, people dress to fairly specific looks/attitudes/trends that are not as much defined by shirts or jewelry but very much defined by the proportions of the clothes they wear and for a large part, the proportions of your outfit are dictated by the shoe/pant moment (I need to find a term for this!). I am obsessed with this detail because it seems to have so much control over how everything else in an outfit works, everything adapts to the fit the right moment between the pants and shoes. But this is still a continuing thought….

Streetstyle bloggers whether consciously or not seek out the same sort of details. Here is a catalog of shoe/pants moments mostly from street style blogs, some good and other just standard. See for yourself that variety and possibility of proportions that are out there….


[photocredits: the sartorialist. cafe mode, stil in berlin, f&art, jak & jil, stockholm street style]

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