Ensembles Galore

Thrilled by fall’s fashion panoply. At the poetry project the other night, I rhapsodized with Stacy and Sharon and Mel over the joys of muted tones.

I admired Stacy’s recent lushness of hair, and entreated her to keep it that way. She said, can I be on your blog, and I said, of course! The subtle combination of burgundy and army green: perfect.

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Sharon (who never looks bad either in life or in pictures: unfair) and Mel here wearing pale grays and blacks and sheer flarf charisma.

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Mel had a marvelous faux vintage necklace of I think wrapped fake jet beads that is not quite visible in this picture. Really, I should have got a photo of her shoes, something like that great futurist Umberto Boccioni sculpture. Mel rocks the 70s and 80s like no one else: more delicately, more ironically, more adorably…

I was in muted tones, too, but the OUTFIT was anything but muted. When I took off my jacket, Sharon said, “what are you wearing?”

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Taupe ruffled nylon thing bought for under $12 at a discount store (Janice’s) at the Fulton St. Mall, purple stretch miniskirt, tights striped two shades of lavender (but I ripped them, dammit, with the Velcro on my Steve Madden Frankenstein/Harajuku boots), chestnut shrug. I told Mel and Sharon and Stacy that I had learned about how to wear this sort of palette in Japan: all tones except maybe the shrug are somewhat grayed, and this color sensibility harks back to what is “shibui” (astringent, modest, subtle, austere) in that culture. Conversely, though, I find something lush in the mutedness. Such colors are hard to find in American shops, as the subtlety tends to be lost on, say, the consumers at American Apparel and Old Navy, but the fact is that these grayed tones tend to be very kind to the whole range, I think, of human skin colors.

We discussed the difficulty of mauve, how few Americans do it well, and how, despite its loveliness, it seems to call up a kind of 80s doctor’s office décor, especially when combined with gray. Well, I hope I avoided giving that effect.

As an antidote to mutedness, here’s this, a photo that Brenda Iijima posted on facebook some time ago and I asked for for this blog. Because it’s just splendid. Her caption follows.

By my side is Stephanie Hough—this photo was taken in my parent’s living room by my dad (we spent a few hours modeling Aunt Josephine’s clothing which we had to clean out of her house when she passed away. My father was the commissioned photographer). The campiness is an ode to her primadonna personality and she sure had the clothing to exquisitely don her mood and mode. I can’t remember the precise date this was taken but it was about 8-10 years ago.

A couple more recent outfits. Red seems to be dominating. Perhaps I’m trying to “build up my blood”? Look, look, how my skirt and ruffly scarf (a present from my dear mother-in-law) and hair catch the light! And the raw edges of the skirt!

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Yesterday’s outfit: a rare sojourn into pants. Cranberry Fluevogs and lace scarf. Rose sweater. I think I look like Valentine’s Day.

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Note to self: need to post on the semiotics of Frankenstein boots.

While you’re waiting, why not check out this interesting article in the NY Times?


Unlike other artists whose materials come from the wardrobe — Cindy Sherman, Leigh Bowery, Yong Soon Min or Nikki S. Lee — Ms. Hardy seems less interested in making commentary on body morphology or the tensions between mainstream and minority cultures than in teasing out the subtle emotional meanings latent in clothes. “This blanket expression that you shouldn’t judge a person by their clothes is ridiculous to me,” she said. “Every article of clothing is so loaded with signifiers, I don’t know how you can help but make up stories about people and their desires based on what they wear.”

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