Saturday, August 25, 2012

Who Needs Scott Schuman When You've Got AARP Magazine?

So, i'm housesitting for the patriarchal side of the family the other day. While in the, ahem, 'library' i'm riffling through the offerings for any new reading matter when suddenly i spy - My Girl Annie in the perfect look pour moi!  My heart grew warm as i reflected that my love of and success in translating her look was assured, as i'd already worn two takeoffs on it before spotting her version on the cover of AARP Magazine.

Photo by Rufen Afanador in AARP Magazine April/May 2012
 Back in July i'd fallen in love with the way my tiered skirt worked as a 'suit not a suit' with my animale duster. Creating these kind of  SNAS fits right in with my aspiration to repeat winning combinations, as i can stay with the 'suit' and change out tops, shoes, hats, and other accessories. I get the ease and sure fire flattery of repeating with the fun of remixing all at once. This inspired me to go searching in my closet for other undiscovered SNAS's. Turns out i had just completed one.
Photo by Rufen Afanador in AARP Magazine April/May 2012
During another house sitting soujourn i'd purchased lightweight linen on the spur of the moment to make another of these Elisita-inspired skirts. My first one is threadbare but i kept reaching for it in the heat, when my leg ached, when i wanted a dramatic silhouette. You've seen the copy already (in a tree), but it didn't take me long to see how wonderfully it pairs with this Peruvian Connection jacket from a few years ago. Bob was actually my great uncle, but style is no time to get mired in technicalities.

I've had an affinity for The Annie Hall Style since high school, and can't count how many times people have told me i put them in mind of that look. I always appreciated the compliments, however in the heyday of that style i never felt comfortable with copying the look wholesale. And not just because i'm not the type of person who copies looks wholesale. My style has never had that much of an emphasis on men's wear, i prefer a more structured and waist defining silhouette, and i liked to combine vintage with modern pieces as well as antique references (like panniers).

With the passage of time, it seems Ms. Keaton has come around. We've always both loved hats, and covering up. In the April/May 2012 AARP article David Hochman comments about Ms. Keaton's trademark black turtlenecks. He especially admires the way the one she's wearing has very long sleeves with little thumb loops so they cover part of the hands. "At my age," Ms. Keaton smiles, "I try to hide anything I can."  Ha! No one is noticing how covered up she is, they're noticing how cool those sleeves are and wondering where they can get their own and if they could carry them off!

Other elements of Ms. Keaton's looks that i love? The neutral palettes, the shorter, structured, old-fashioned jacket over a voluminous skirt, the scarf/hat/glasses trio and the rugged touches of belt and boots. How i adore any outfit which is dressed up, feminine, old fashioned yet looks like you could hike several miles in it with little trouble. Be still my heart.

Newscom photo
 This on the street shot shows a wonderful look and a canny strategy for getting dressed. You only notice the gorgeous coat, amazing belt, flats, hat and scarf - the leggings and whatever else is under there makes no difference. (In the picture she looks like she is walking her children to or from school.) For all we know she slept in those leggings and a tank, threw on the rest and she's out the door looking pulled together and chic. Smart smart smart for busy mornings.

 And smart is what i love about Ms. Keaton most. Her very unique mind. Now is where i would, in a perfect world, link you to a podcast of the talk Ms. Keaton gave to City Arts and Lectures in SF about her documentary on her mother. Ms. Keaton's mother died after a long time with Alzheimer's disease, and Ms. Keaton's talk about her in -progress film on this topic was warm, thoughtful, insightful, inspiring, and very moving. You don't hear celebrities being this open about their pedicures, much less intimate family relationships. Sadly City Arts and Lectures doesn't have the rights or resources to produce tapes, transcripts, or podcasts. And i didn't even make a bootleg!!!!

Photo by Rufen Afanador in AARP Magazine April/May 2012

Here's a  Google search on Diane Keaton interviews. The two-parter with Oprah is charming and has some great comments on plastic surgery (she sounds just like Mr. E in both her mixed feelings and how funny she is about it). But nothing like her talking about the non-celeb stuff with an intelligent, prepared interviewer for an hour. Sigh. At the same time, it's wonderful and very refreshing to see a 'Celebrity Movie Actress' with a wattly neck and jowly jaws who doesn't obsess about it and looks beautiful and out of this world stylish.

On a personal note:
Whew! I've had nought to say the last few weeks, no ideas whatsoever. Thus no posts. My husband recently began a new job. Prior to this job, at his previous employers, he spent about two and a half years waiting to be laid off. You prepare as best you can for whatever contingencies you can think of. And then you wait.

T.'s finding a new position and getting settled in has been a huge relief. I hadn't realized the strain of always being ready to be in the proper frame of mind and emotion when the axe fell. There is also the feeling of suspended animation, which leads to hesitation to fully live, even in areas of life where that makes no sense.

Fortunately i feel both of us got over the 'suspended animation' habit. There's no need to not live your life because of major uncertainties -after all, any life can fall apart in a matter of minutes at any time.  But moving on from living always under threat brought about a deeper relaxation than i'd allowed myself in years, and for a few weeks impressions and ideas have flowed in, not out.

I also realize, once again, how fortunate i am to have a husband who i can respect so deeply for his hard work, intelligence, and willingness to do very well whatever needs to be done, no matter how it goes against his innate personality.  Selling yourself on the open market is difficult for anyone. For the shy, deeply thoughtful, absolutely honest and perfectionist person it is excruciating. None of this stopped him, which is incredibly admirable. His good lucks, Irish charm, Sicilian style, and utter hilarity are merely the icing on the cake.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Rivertown Revival: Stripes!

Round Two of Rivertown Revival pictures! (Click here for post numero uno.) I echoed the predominant vibe and wore a couple of everyday pieces. I did don some different undergarments in order to change the silhouette and make the look more vintage/festive. I wore a  bulky petticoat, small bustle, and strapless, plunge-backed corset-bra. This had the added attraction of showing lots of shoulder when my top's strap fell down. Who knows why, but baring my shoulders always feels much cooler than even adding 1/2" wide bra straps. My socks are indeed striped in white and light grey, more visible in the sock on your left. I wasn't game enough to wear them pulled up in 100F.

I took almost all of these pictures with a very wide lens pointed in the general direction of the subject. No asking 'May I?' and no posing. This increased my number of possible subjects, since i don't move fast enough to catch up with people on the go. Also, i took some pictures like this one, which catch a certain flavor of the event in an abstract and unexpected way. The awesome take on the 'Double R' logo, workboots, lace, and stripes all set against a sea of hay capture the essence of the day in the way a posed portrait does not.

This guy looks like he dug out his favorite trousers from 1969 for the occasion. See what you could be missing a couple of decades from now if you insist on regular and ruthless closet purging? His friend has gorgeous hair and a fetching smile, and created a perfect look for the day without, i dare say, spending a dime.

Stripes, corsets, and various hats popped up all over the RR. But these red patent platform lace up boots were the only glam-rock reference to Ziggy Stardust i spotted all day long.

RR has a very nice wedding garden where you can trade non-binding vows with the partner of your choice. Here you get a peek at the lovely decor, the live music, and the officiant. The wedding garden had very nice shady seating - ahhhh........

Another couple who got into the mood with a minimum of fun, using a maximum of creative thinkin'. Check out the wallet-belt, and those boots! Those fairy skirts were very popular with little girls - they were like little moving chinese lanterns or crepe decor, adding color and magic wherever they went.

These two girls were so cute! And the striped hat grounds an outfit which looks like it could float away with a strong breeze. I saw a few gal couples dressed as girl/boy. In one case the 'newspaper boy' walked a corseted steampunk bride to the wedding garden altar.

In the left background you can see the photo booth.  In the photo booth you could pose for four pictures (taken by a professional photographer). Afterwards, they posted the photos at the RR website, where you (or your mom or...) can purchase the photos online or simply gaze in awe. The booth had a few props, courtesy of Petaluma store Heebe Jeebe. (Heebe Jeebe's booth at RR was attended by the tattoo lady from last post.)

I saw this woman in the ticket line as we entered the festival. I drooled over her look (Beige! Linen! Cobwebby Victoriana! Eccentric doo-dads!). Politely as i could, i told her of my admiration of her sartorial skillz and asked if i could take her picture. She fumbled and mumbled and skittered away from the camera lens, finally agreeing to a visual record of our encounter as long as i did not post the result on Facebook.

Her nervous demeanor affected my own, indeed her last line caused me to laugh inappropriately and try to convey to her my situation - she was safe as could be, as around 65% of the time i cannot even log onto my pitifully inactive facebook account. As she'd knocked me off my composure, and kept on walking, i could only catch a couple of snaps as she strode off to pilot a steampowered blimp.

And so we bid RR adieu. Here's to all of us having a happy, festive weekend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rivertown Revival

the gorgeous and dashing Mr. Eccentric - i swoon!
 A couple of weekends ago Mr. E and i attended the Rivertown Revival in Petaluma. RR is a family-friendly, local festival which takes place on a slough in the middle of the city and river of Petaluma. On the surface it's similar to lots of festivals - live music at several stages, food, art boat races, crafts and art for sale. But the Rivertown Revival is exceedingly local and community oriented, it reflects the creativity of Petaluma in such a strong way that it would be impossible to mistake Rivertown Revival for any other festival in any other town.

at the Heebe Jeebe booth
 First, they have volunteer meetings a couple of months beforehand so people can help to set up the crafts booths for the kids(i saw dijeridoos and dreamcatchers), help with signage, etc. The kid's games are small and extra fun - they had a dunk tank where you could dunk your dad, for instance. All of the food vendors were from Petaluma, as were most of the craft and art vendors. In fact, we attend many of these festivals and at least 90% of the vendors were new to me. While i appreciate seeing old favorites at craft fairs, it was a real treat to see so many new faces!

One part that was a lot of fun for me was the way people dressed for the event. Many people 'made an effort', which added to the festive atmosphere. But i saw very few elaborate, expensive costumes. Instead, it looked like most folks took a look in their closet, ran down to the Goodwill, rolled up their pants and grabbed a pair of striped socks. No big competition about who has the most expensive, historically accurate duds like you can see happening at Renaissance or Dicken's Faires. The motto here? Just get in the mood and have some fun!

When we arrived, around noon, the temperature on the local bank's sign was 100F. Fortunately the river brought in cooling winds and by late afternoon the temperature had fallen to the mid '80's. Still, sun protection was the order of the day - even guys sported parasols and hats.

I so admire the way this lady brought a vintage vibe to a very modern shape and palette - black and grey. Rompers were very popular with all ages of ladies. The tattooed lady towards the top of this post told me that the year before she'd worn a corset, bustle, long skirts - "The whole deal!". But she was so hot she decided on a romper this year and was very happy she did! She looked amazing - she wore deep violet fake eyelashes as well.

Guys got into the spirit just as much as the gals.  These two embody the vibe of the day - use what's at hand, toss on a fancy piece or two and it's all in how you wear it. I couldn't help but notice how pushing up your sleeves, rolling up your pants, combining pieces you generally wouldn't (because they're all kind of old-fashioned-y) creates such an effect.

It brought home to me that, scrumptious as individual pieces can be, what other people see us wear is outfits. Put some thought and creativity into what items you choose to wear together, and how you wear them, to make sure everything is working towards your intended effect.

What type of festivals do they have in your area, and do people dress up at all? I loved the way this festival allowed such leeway in dress, you could have fun with the vintage/old-timey vibe while at the same time using a lot from our current style palette. At some historical faires i've gotten some very disapproving looks when i dressed in the 'wrong' decade, or wasn't 'accurate' enough. It can be intimidating and kind of wrecks the fun mood. This place felt much more fun and lighthearted.

Next up - more Rivertown Revival pictures with even more stripes.