3/29/2011

you have got to be the last one standing.

(image via)

Tonight is the last night that the nightmare known as Cabrini-Green will live to see the sun rise. Tomorrow morning, the last remaining building will be torn down. A sordid chapter of Chicago's history will be demolished, a literal Target put in place, to mark the site where so many lived and loved and lost their lives.

I haven't the knowledge or wherewithal to begin to write about the sorrow that the housing projects caused for many people. I have too much privilege to condescendingly describe the squalid conditions that low-income families were forced by necessity, birthright, actually!, to live in. So I won't.

Instead I want to talk about humanity. Fashion I'm discovering, exists in a sort of bubble that claps its ears around its head and plants its palms around its eyes. Folks go through their days blissfully unaware of the human suffering that millions endure each day - billions, really, if you want to get global - and instead finely hones its attention on the latest permutation of the college-tuition-costing Birkin bag. It boggles the brain to imagine, just for a second, all of the attention and time and money that is diverted (is that the right word? displaced, perhaps?) towards things that once the sand hits the coffin, don't fucking matter.

The only thing that matters is our humanity. Every kiss, every tear that is shed, every heart that is broken and put back together again and broken again and put back together once more, sometimes by the asshole who broke it in the first place. Every time you look something or someone so achingly beautiful your body responds in kind via goosebumps or a flutter in your stomach. Every single instance of pain, every moment of all-consuming love until the love inevitably runs out, every day of ambivalence that starts in your twenties and lasts for god-knows-how-long, every time you apologize for hurting someone you love even if you're disingenuous about it. This is a small glimpse of the human condition, and it's only thing that ties us all together.

All of the residents of Cabrini-Green lived through these all-too-real experiences just like you have. And that's why you should be aware of the demolition of these people's homes...because they are people. Human beings. It's so easy for those that have to ignore those that haven't got, but in the end we all up in the same six by four space and the haves become essentially quite meaningless. So while we're living our day-to-day lives (on borrowed time, I may add), I implore you all to not forget about those who are less fortunate. Charity events to pat yourself on the back and assauge some kind of guilt is not what I'm talking about. I mean, to like, look around your studio/apartment/luxury condo/house/mansion/whatever and be appreciative of the roof over your head. Be grateful every single day that you won the American lottery and weren't born into the cycle of poverty that's consumed more lives than you can possibly imagine. 

I love style because in it, I can represent my own human experience. Dressing nerdy? Well, that's a reclamation of the torment I endured as a kid because I liked school and had literally zero friends (things that haven't really changed in the progressive years). Harnesses? A small way to announce to the world that I was born with kinks. And it's why I hope I never become jaded - I cherish my humanity too much. It's really all that we have.

RIP, Cabrini-Green. Hopefully your death will bring peace to your residents and will awaken those don't care from their human slumber.

3/26/2011

anxiety always in the age of anxiety







Fell in love with this editorial immediately. It's deliberate, purposefully disassociative, and ultimately anxiety-inducing. Her coldly premeditated outfits beg the question, why is she alone in her home, dressed to the nines, seemingly with nowhere to go? It's this classic "caged woman" idea, and plays on our voyeuristic tendencies. These photos are so meticulously lit and composed, they almost feel like carefully constructed dioramas...albeit with a heavy dose of white-knuckle calculation. Reminds me a lot of the erotic work by another of my favorite photographers (and a good friend), Chas Ray Krider. His work explores the fetish of transient sex by way of motel rooms. He also primarily utilizes stiff lighting and angles, cooly aloof models, and crime scene-esque tableaus that feel just as pressure-ridden are they are sensual.








3/21/2011

every day like a hustle

What happens when our garments suffer some kind of imperfection? What happens when a seam tears, an eyelet rips, a button falls off, a strap comes undone? An item of clothing is, after all, just a physical object constructed of fabric, and its delicacies are inherent in its creation. Most garments, no matter how well-made, have lives that are finite. Should they be tossed into the trash and added to the approximately 12 million tons of textile waste that the US produces each year? Or can they be worn and loved despite their imperfections? That's the idea I've explored in last night's outfit.


Sheer blouse is from a thrift store and a couple buttons are missing. I'm wearing it upside down and with the last few remaining buttons inserted into not-corresponding holes. My pencil skirt is by Jil Sander and is also from a thrift store. The outside of the skirt is structurally intact but the inner lining is torn quite garishly, and is probably the reason it ended up in a thrift store in the first place. Shoes are Maison Martin Margiela that I bought for $1 on ebay because they have surely seen better days. I had every intention of taking them to be repaired, but eventually decided that I like the conceptual lived-in feel of the torn leather straps. It's like something Martin Margiela would have designed intentionally.


My Comme des Garcons for H&M jacket is also from ebay and "features" a broken zipper. It sticks about halfway down, so I have to keep it zipped up all the way and put it on like a pullover. This wasn't mentioned in the listing and the seller suffered the wrath of my negative feedback. When it comes to ebay, I don't fucking play. It's still wearable, however, and I especially enjoyed the way that the blouse peeks out under the jacket's deconstructed hemline.


My poorly-done wrist tattoos are a reference to the book House of Leaves.* I had them done at a studio in Chicago (that will remain nameless) shortly after I moved here about 3.5 years ago. The tattoo artist spent much of the session trying to convince me to go out on a date with him and not enough time paying attention to my tattoos (I shot him down pretty hilariously in case you're wondering). The lines aren't straight and the colors have bled, especially on the hollow blue square. I've been meaning to get them touched up for a long time. But there is a certain beauty in imperfection and perhaps that's why I haven't yet made an appointment to have them fixed. Or maybe I'm just lazy.



*SELF-CONSCIOUS DISCLAIMER: I realize that House of Leaves is pretentious with its po-mo literary devices and borders on gimmicky drivel, but I read the book during a very critical period of my life. I hate having to justify the things that I enjoy but unfortunately people reaaaallllly like to judge others based on their harmless likes and interests. If you feel the need to judge my literary tattoos, kindly go suck a fuck.

3/14/2011

zero waste/wing

(ebay'd harputs swacket, ideeen nyc blouse, thrifted sheer oversized blouse, thrifted bag, thrifted shiny leggings, ebay'd ann d boots)

Wore this to the Zero Waste fashion exhibit at Columbia College...yes, believe it or not, Chicago can haz thought-provoking fashion shows. Zero Waste presents the idea that fashion is not about seasons! and trends!, but is rather about timeless design that needn't lose its beauty with the changing months. Thus, I chose to wear an outfit comprised almost completely of second-hand garments. The exhibit addresses some of the problems inherent with fashion today (arbitrary cyclical trends, impossible beauty standards, the idea of "fast fashion", the ways in which fashion is privileged) that it really deserves it own well thought-out post. I'll write this post as soon as I am able (life has been quite busy) because the exhibit really deserves a quiet time reflect on its meaning. Soon.

3/11/2011

she danced herself out of the womb


My beautiful, sexy, and always inspiring friend Morgan. She's always impeccably dressed, whether it's for a night of dancing, discussing sex-positive feminism while getting drunk at Club Foot, or for grabbing a quick lunch as seen here. Love you grrrl.

3/10/2011


Inspired by Meg's recent tweets about OFFICEPUPPY, I've decided to introduce you all to my bundle of joy. Meet Booboo! Named after Snooki's nickname for JWOWW, no joke ya'll. She's a year-old tiny Chihuahua and was rescued after being abandoned in an alley during one of Chicago's coldest winter nights. Had our friend not found her, she most certainly would have died in the -20 degree cold. My boyfriend and I are thrilled to give her a forever, loving home and she is the light of our lives. Booboo enjoys chewing on squeaky toys, half-sleeping in our laps, and chasing a laser pointer with more fervor than the most spastic cat.

3/05/2011

carven out a spot in my heart heyo!

I've been feeling a bit of dissonance with my style lately. I find myself gravitating more towards bookish, nerdy cuts and silhouettes, probably because I am bookish and nerdy at heart. Yet I still can't give up the monochrome draped garments in my closet that provide a sort of shield against the normality that I fiercely loathe. I've been wondering, how do I reconcile my desire to wear prints, plaid, and pleats with my go-to spooky gothy wardrobe?

Quite easily, it turns out. Carven's Fall 2011 collection bridges these subcultural gaps easily and effortlessly, in a  refined gesture towards blurring the lines of style genres. Nerdy? Check. Fashion goth? Check. Office wear? Yup, that's there too. Basically, this entire collection is exactly representational of my style (and life) - the peripheral awkward kid who sits alone at lunch, but secretly wants to hang out with the cool "alternative" bunch. It's very refreshing to know that I needn't pigeonhole myself into one style genre - I am free to explore all sides of my personality through what I wear.

Suffice it to say, I want almost every single piece in this collection.


Full skirt with deep pleats and severe jacket pockets elevate this look into aspirational nerd-girl wear.


Black and blue! Platform loafers! It's like Carven put me to sleep, went into my dreams, and extracted my style just like in Inception.
 THIS FUCKING OUTFIT. If anything was made for me, this would be it. Definitely on my must-have list for fall. For my entire life, really. The combination of the asymmetrical draped tee and the deep blue structured skirt is just TOO PERFECT. A brilliant pairing of avant-garde with avant-nerd.

A Vivienne Westwood-inspired print with a Rodarte Spring 2011 silhouette, all good things in my opinion, combine to create a standout dress.


Draped tops and simple skirts ALL AUTUMN LONG.
MAJOR COLLAR ACTION right here.

 


Cool-girl party wear that fulfills my need to go to goth bars and sway haphazardly to The Cure. Or whichever of the same 20 songs that tends to be played at such places. A typical goth bar playlist includes Blue Monday (the version by Orgy), Dominion/Mother Russia, the incredibly misogynistic This Shit Will Fuck You Up, and that awful EBM remix of Send Me an Angel.

3/04/2011

#lifewithsocialanxiety

So last Thursday I attended the Cynthia Rowley trunk show at her boutique in Wicker Park. It was hosted by the ever-effervescent Amy Creyer of Chicago Streetstyle. I was really excited to be invited, because believe it or not, it was my first ~invite to anything ~kewl and ~fashion-related as a blogger. A bit of an ego boost, I guess. Unfortunately I suffer from cripping social anxiety, and when my boyfriend said he had band practice that night, I was thrust into a near-panic attack at the prospect of going alone. Schoomzing? Terrifying. People I don't know? RUN AWAY! But luckily I did not have a panic attack at the party, I managed to mingle and make small talk and do normal social things that most well-adjusted people take for granted.

Admittedly, I had never paid much attention to Cynthia Rowley's designs before this party. I assumed she made safe clothes for trixies who like khaki pants and Tory Burch and who never quite grew out of their college sorority style. Booooooy was I wrong! I saw fur, monochrome colors, avant-garde details, and imaginative prints, basically many things that would fit right at home in my closet. In fact, I even bought a gorgeous last-season dress for about 80% off, to be featured in an upcoming post. I've certainly learned my lesson against pre-judging!

The party was packed, but I only took photos of clothes. Going to the event alone without having a panic attack is enough of a breakthrough for me. I didn't need to add to my anxiety by asking to take photos of complete strangers "for my blog".




Runway pieces from her Spring collection.



 I really should have bought one of these adorable little Coraline-meets-Kidrobot keychains, but I figured that I'd lose it because that's what seems to happen to all of my cute keychains ;___; First world problems.




Here's Amy, who hosted the party and was kind enough to invite me. You should probably check out her website. Sorry this photo isn't in focus.

Here's what I wore to the party. NOT WEARING BLACK!!OMGBBQ!! The entire outfit was built around my wicked Prada eyebrow glasses which I am still in shock that I even own. I was going for a Secretary (the movie) look, straight-laced yet with a subtle BDSM undertone. Top and skirt are American Apparel, bra is Wang. My Zana Bayne harness is so useful for injecting some fetish into an everyday outfit. Most normals would never make the connection between this harness and my status as a sub, but those who are practicing fetishists would recognize it instantly. Thus, I find that when I wear it, I end up meeting people with similar interests to my own.

My new (used and eBay'd) Comme des Garcons shoes. I finally have a pair of summertime shoes. I was initially hesitant to buy them because I worried that they would make my short stubby legs look even shorter, but my friends convinced me to not give a fuck about beauty standards. It's something I preach to other women, but often have trouble practicing myself. This doesn't make me a hypocrite...it makes me human. It's a tough world in which to be a woman.

3/02/2011

unbirthday


I realized on my way home this evening that this little blog turned a year old! Last month, to be precise, but I felt that the occasion deserved a mini-celebration. I treated myself to a blue rose cupcake and lit my favorite Jesus candle in place of a birthday candle. To my readers, thanks for actually reading this thing and being nice and sweet and leaving insightful comments and generally making the internet a better place. It's been so thrilling to watch my personal style evolve and meet other creative, inspiring bloggers. Here's to a tremendous 2011 full of fashion, feminism, photos, friends, and all things that are fucking awesome! XOXOXO

3/01/2011

chicago walk for choice

This past Saturday, I attended Chicago's Walk for Choice. The issue of choice is deeply personal to me. My own mother, faced with an unplanned pregnancy at a young age to man who physically abused her, chose to keep me. She tells me all of how, while at the clinic, she decided that abortion wasn't the right choice for her. I was born in 1985. Just 12 years prior, she would not have had access to a safe clinic or counseling. But because she was able to make a choice based on her needs and advice from her doctor, I am here today.

Our mothers fought so that their daughters would never have to know the kind of painful desperation that they had to suffer through. I tell this personal story because too often anti-choicers forget that unrestricted access to abortion actually saves lives. When women have plentiful access to safe reproductive healthcare, we don't have to fatally mutilate our bodies in moments of indescribable desperation .We can choose to end a pregnancy safely, but more importantly, we can choose to keep a pregnancy. We can take contraceptives and receive anonymous, accurate advice and have our medical needs attended to make every child a wanted child.

The Walk for Choice was in direct response to the bill awaiting Senate vote in Congress to strip funding from Planned Parenthood. I marched with Jamie, Tavi, and Morgan (though I lost her shortly after the walk began ;____;), 3 badass feminist grrls who I am honored to call my friends (yes Jamie, you're on that shortlist now!).

morgz and tavz.

Shitty weather didn't stop us.


It was especially heartwarming to see so many men show up to support our rights.




 Some anti-choicers, a group comprised of about 75% dudes, were counter-protesting. They carried these silly yellow balloons to symbolize "each baby that is murdered", but in ACTUAL REALITY, no yellow balloon could ever symbolize the painful nuances of an unplanned pregnancy. I fucking dare them to give a yellow balloon to a rape victim or a woman whose pregnancy could kill her.

Jamie in the Jansport and Tavi!



Thoughtfully creative Barbara Kruger-inspired signs.


Anyone who says that the interwebz and tumblr don't really make a difference...may I direct you to these most excellent meme signs.

SERIOUSLY.



Life memories, man. The walk was beautiful and empowering and something I'll never forget.