season of illusions, season of the witch

(proenza schouler dress from filene's)

I received an email the other day from a reader, inquiring why I don't write about feminism on my blog as much as I used to. That email has been sitting unanswered in my inbox for about a week.

It's a fair question, I guess. This is a feminist fashion blog. And the reader is right - I haven't been talking about feminist issues as much as I used to.

I went through a series of mixed feelings after reading it. Anger, that someone would dare tell me how to write in my own blog. Embarrassment, at being called out for being a "bad feminist". Annoyance, because, hello!, I spend 40+ hours each week working for a social service helping to house low-income families affordably but apparently that doesn't matter because that fact isn't splashed plainly across my outfit posts.

Finally, the truth became crystal clear the longer I considered it. I'm SAD (or maybe not even SAD, just actually sad?) and sometimes, being SAD means that the world around you feels less colorful. You've got less energy to devote to the things that make up your impossibly complex personality, no interest in fulfilling your heart, no desire to challenge the status quo because at the end of the day, taking a nap on the couch seems like the only thing you can reasonably handle. I've been napping a lot.

But last week, I dragged myself out of the house to go to Season of the Witch. It's a private womens-only event at Late Bar that focuses exclusively on community-building by raising women's self-esteem. There's no traditional activist component. Just women sharing their trials and tribulations in a safe space with frank discussions of relationships, women's health, professional inspiration, femininity, and hugs over tears. It was an eye-opening experience because I realized something so painfully apparent but something that the Feminist Tumblr/Twitter Oppression Olympics Community sees to forget: activism comes in many different forms. There are so many ways to be a feminist, methods that aren't limited to reblogging/retweeting the latest Outrage Porn Thing viralling all over the internet. I mean, let's be honest. Those types of things are important for educating people about the truly fucked-up shit that goes in this world. But at the end of day, it doesn't give comfort to women who are in pain. It stokes our anger but maybe doesn't inspire our love and compassion.

It's difficult to muster up the strength to rant against something when I am completely helpless to fix it. Sometimes I have that strength; right now I don't and that's totally okay because I'm an imperfect human being, just as we all are, and strength wears through us all at some point. So I think right now, while I annually struggle with SAD, I'd like to focus on positive feminism that lifts women up. Practical enduring comfort, in the real world, for real women. So while it may not look like I'm angrily feminsting on my blog, do not fear!, I'll be doing it in my real life.

xoJane.com had this perfect quote that I'm going to share.
"Women are not perfect. Even feminists live in the real world, and sometimes feel bad about our bodies or make irresponsible choices. We are products of the same society we may not always agree with."
Let's attack that society first, one woman at a time, through positive communities and strong feminist outreach. Let's come at one another from a place of love. <3

Note: This was written, of course, from the perspective of a passably-white heterosexual abled employed cisfemale. I recognize that my privilege allows me to feel this way. Take that into consideration if you will.


dress-up in zana bayne

Those of you that read this blog often (it STILL weirds me out that people actually read this thing! whut) know that I'm huge fan Zana Bayne's harnesses. It's a great way to reference sexuality in my outfits without necessarily dressing ~SeXXiE*~. I've never really been one for revealing clothes, but human sexuality is one of my interests so it's natural that I'd like to display that in what I wear!

While I was in NYC, I stopped by Zana's Brooklyn studio for a quick visit to check out her new collection. Immediately upon entering her studio, I was blasted by the scent of leather. The smell is deliriously intoxicating but she mentioned that she doesn't even notice the scent anymore! After congratulating her for the work she did with Prabal Gurung's spring/summer 2011 collection, I set about to try on some pieces from her new collection.

You're getting treated to iPhone photos because I thought I lost my camera at the Standard Hotel the night before. Luckily I found it piled under my clothes at my aunt's house in Queens...

 The Arrow Harness. Impossibly intricate and delicate, but it feels very substantial and masculine when worn.

Um, say hi to my boobs? This is the Cruxus Harness in special red leather. The collar is detachable which is pretty important because this is the kind of harness that can be under a more revealing garment, like a low-cut top or backless dress. Definitely the most tradtionally S&M piece of the bunch (did you hear that, Morgan?)

The Totem Harness in patent leather. Definitely my favorite piece of the new collection, for its resemblence to an old-timey vampire ascot. Lestat would have wept at this harness. It just begs for a collared button-down, which luckily are plentiful in my closet! The waist belt can also be unclipped so the harness becomes a long necklace. Versatility is so important "in these challenging economic times".

The Snake Harness. A fabulous alternative to a wait belt, this piece would look incredible layered over a diaphanous dress to give it poise and structure. Personally, I love wearing it with seperates because that's just the kind of girl I am! But it's worth noting that Zana's harness are designed equally well when worn with a skirt, as the length is adjustable to the skirt's waistband, which you can see here. Crucial details, ya'll.

You can purchase Zana's pieces HERE. Also I'm wearing an AA sheer mesh button down, Alexander Wang bra, and $5 leather pencil skirt from THE BEST Salvation Army in Chicago. No, I will not tell you where it is.


"you're doing the blogger pose. all of you stand like that."

So I was invited to this event at Barney's (yes, we actually have one in Chicago), lured in by the promise of free champagne. It was a signing to launch the new book The Eye Has to Travel by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, whose book chronicles the iconic career of Diana Vreeland. I really admire strong women who have a distinct point of view in their creative work, so this was really exciting! I certainly advocate for any event in which inspiring women's professional work is celebrated.

I also met Simon Doonan! Platonic love is real, I promise you, because I fell head first into it when he realized how down to earth he is. He joked that I was doing the "fashion blogger pose", or Standing With My Head Awkwardly Cocked And Shoulders Hunched Into My Temples. I probably blushed and explained it's because most fashion bloggers struggle to wear high heels in public, but really, we all know it's because we are socially awkward creatures who are terrified of humanity. WHICH IS WHY WE BLOG IN THE FIRST PLACE. Ha. It's funny because it's true.

Lisa Immordino Vreeland signing copies of her book.

Simon Doonan!

Couldn't resist sneaking a photo of these incredible Mary Katrantzou scarves...

photo courtesy of a mailbox on chicago avenue and self-timer!!! CREDIT PROPERLY OR THE MAILBOX WILL BE PISSED
...and here's my outfit. Kept it pretty casual. Topshop sweater, thrifted sheer blouse and bag, Proenza x J Brand jeans (ebay), Alexander Wang boots (ebay), Eleven Objects bracelets gifted by the brand. I never wear bracelets ("arm party"?...uh, no) but these are the only ones you'll ever see on my wrists. 

I'd been looking through thrift stores for ages for a sweater like this, but came up empty every time! You'd think that Goodwill would have a gazillion black nubby cropped sweaters like this but surprisingly, I never found a single one that I liked. Finally I had to bite the bullet and get this one from Topshop. I love the texture variance and ribbed neckline, and it has pockets!!!! My buttons, which you can't see too well are from the SlutWalk and Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses.



when the sun hits

I felt extremely humbled to receive this beautiful dress as a gift from Christine Rhee of Eleven Objects. She called it the Slowdive dress, so perhaps this dress and I were always meant to exist together on the same cosmic plane. In celebration of this wonderful gift, I decided to do something a little different with this outfit post.

Slowdive's music (like this dress) speaks softly and doesn't scream. It doesn't have to. Their technical precision was best understood with a degree of subtlety that most shoegaze bands often eschewed in favor of a certain brashness. You could never discern their intricacies if they played with a sort of punk influence the way that My Bloody Valentine did. Details like soaring vocal harmonies, deeply personal lyrics, and three guitars bathed in so much reverb it sounds as though they recorded in a cathedral. Their music is beautiful in every sense of the word - you can't listen to the chorus in "When the Sun Hits" and not stop what you're doing to allow your mind to travel someplace else.