Tuesday, October 18, 2011

INSPIRED: P.S.-I Made This

Erica Domesek by Daniella Zalcman for WSJ

"A new fashion DIY movement!" says The Wall Street Journal. Women in their 20s and 30s. No sewing machines. Projects that can be done in a day.

Read the article about Erica Domesek and her website called "P.S.-I Made This."


Ignore your perfectionistic tendencies. Go to her website.


Click "DIY Gallery." Pick one of her projects to try. The cut-out plaid cape? The beribboned haircomb? I'm thinking the polka-dot t-shirt looks tempting!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where do you store your bike?

from apartment therapy

Great post over at Chicago Apartment Therapy from 2 years ago that solicits reader answers on where they store their bike. We have a bike hoist (like one below) that's used mostly for winter and special occasions.

from amazon.com

Sunday, October 17, 2010

ElliptiGO: bike or elliptical?

from the gadgetguycolumn.com

Discovered ElliptiGO in Shape magazine's September 2010 issue. One of ElliptiGO's founders was a cyclist and Ironman triathlete who starting having hip and knee injuries and was tired of working out inside on a treadmill. So he created an elliptical bike. Read more about it on the company history page.

from ElliptiGO.com/product/photos
Suddenly, I'm having San Diego envy (where the company is based). I would love to see these in some kind of Boston, Zipcar-like rental program!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Athleta's siren song

item that started it all: swinging 60s caftee
Athleta. You siren you, based in some pretty-sounding California town called Petaluma. Acquired by the Gap in 2008, but not changed as far as I can tell (despite what some user reviews say). You've bewitched me again with your catalogs, the first I saw with real women, real muscles, in real yoga poses. My family's Caribbean trip last year made me forget all my previous returns. I started the order with one to-die-for kaftan. Which disappointed and I had to return but since exchanges have free shipping, I ordered a few other kaftans. And bathing suits. And crewnecks. And now here I am, finally returning the last round of almost-keepers.
final almost-kept kaftan: feather swirl coastal kaftan

A sweet kaftan — 68% cotton and 32% silk — until I saw a picture of me in it, which I'm too embarrassed by to post here, and realized it came to my knees. I looked like a stump. To keep it, would have to hem it and I'm not up for that.

The bathing suit. Mum's The Word Tankini (in 3 sizes, because I had no idea of their fit) and the Sunny Boy Short. My favorite colors. I was really ready for a brown suit. I could ignore the slight bunching in the double layer of fabric over the stomach near the waist. But it was the boy shorts that did it. The even-very-slight suggestion of camel toe. So sad.

And the final shirts — two long-sleeved tattoo tops from YellowMan, an unknown-to-me brand, a marketing partnership that reflects well on Athleta, bringing hipness to base layer clothing with madkool technical fabric. I was hoping for perfect layering pieces for my otherwise all-black winter wardrobe.



The YellowMan Maori black/bone Crew Neck was simply too tight. No one needs to see every belly roll.



The YellowMan Japanese Floral Tattoo Top felt a tad looser and was nice and silky. In the end, it was still tight and really not my colors.

Summary: I am considering another YellowMan-like top, the Long Sleeve Twist Top (below), in a larger size and in red, which IS my color. And if I order it with my return, I can avoid shipping charges. Until someone ties me to a mast or fills my ears with beeswax, it looks like I will be susceptible to Athleta's catalog items.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Swapaholics do Boston Fashion Week!

I read the blurb from Boston Fashion Week so I knew the basic details. Arrive at the Somerville Armory by 7:45pm, drop off your donations, pay $15, receive an official swap tote, and go to the end of the line and WAIT until the doors opened at 8pm.
Lots of waiting and wondering if it was going to rain.
But then what, was it going to be like one of the Filene's Basement bridal events, where we grab first, examine later? The answer? Yes. Exactly like that.

Fashion bloggers look down on us from above.
A few larger sizes and less stylish items left.

The doors finally opened onto 7,000 square feet of racks and racks and racks and it was —  overwhelming. No nice neat labels for shirts over on this rack and dresses over there. Just women grabbing and stuffing clothes into totes. And TV and photography crews filming and interviewing. Like a nearsighted sheep, I stayed close to the door, picking my way methodically from rack to rack. A mere fifteen minutes later, the racks were empty. By the time I got to the "accessories" table, it was bone dry. The shoe section? A scatter of rejects including one pair I'd brought. Ouch. My pride took a hit!
Shoe rejects. Don't ask me which are mine cause I ain't telling.
I laid out my spoils, which I took home and promptly put into bedbug quarantine (being a little paranoid, I know).
Two bags of stuff, plus jacket, shirt, and skirt!
While waiting in line for some complimentary chardonnay, some new friends show me their shoes. Fun, right? For that price?
Sorry to say this, but the fashion show was anti-climactic. Suddenly the space felt too large. I realized later that the models were the same fashion bloggers who'd been partying up on the balcony while we wrangled clothes off the hangers below. There had been no interaction until then (no live blogging or tweeting on the overhead projector) and we didn't know who they were or what their connection to the event was. The personal scale was lost. At least, for me.

Liked how the heels were silhouetted by my iPhone camera.
Even so, the event felt significant, a sign of the new shopper. The Swapaholics — Amy Chase and Melissa Massello — are riding the new frugality. In one of their video interviews, Amy Chase said that because of regular swaps with friends, she can go forever without buying any clothes! Each of the Swapaholics has their own distinctive online presence, and as a team, they seem to be whizzes at finding partnerships and sponsorships. I am definitely a fan and look forward to their next Boston event.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lost shoe in JP

Last Thursday, I noticed this shoe on top of a transformer at the corner of Boylston and Lamartine. It was still there the next day. Putting on a brave front. I peeked at the label and had the sense that it had been lost before. Call me the shoe whisperer.

Its owner — let's say her name is Trudy — is the scattered type, and frequently stuffs her work shoes and lunch into a too small tote bag. In this case, when the light changed at Lamartine, Trudy rushed across Boylston and into the Stonybrook T station. She was thrilled that she made it to the office a few mintues before nine, until she went to change out of her sneakers and into her BCBG peep toes. She cursed the subway that had rumbled into the station and made her hurry. She fumbled for her back-up pair of scuffed black pumps that she stashed under her desk, and fought off despair. She had hoped to wear her BCBGs through October and maybe even November. She feared she'd never see her right shoe again. Trudy didn't have the slightest idea where she'd lost it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Simon Doonan: Age Ungraciously!

Simon Doonan, Creative Director for Barney's, has some fascinating advice, and it's not what you think. See for yourself.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Biker Chic WSJ-style!

(Bryan Derballa, for The Wall Street Journal)
The journalist, Christina Binkley, wrote an article called "The Season of Biker Chic," and she doesn't pretend to be a serious bike commuter. She tries it once, one way, for the sake of the article. Even so, I enjoy the fact that she wrote it, and that the WSJ printed it. While I am a fair-weather bike commuter — meaning only on warm days without thunderstorms, and my ride is under 5 miles one way, in Boston (and not Los Angeles) — I do think she had a few things wrong.

1) Give up trying to bike in your work clothes. Sure, you will look stylish — for maybe 15 minutes. And then the sweating starts. And well, good luck when you get to the office and sweat is running down your back into the waistband of your pants/skirt and you're in the company kitchen, lining up for coffee, trying to act cool!

2) Ignore the weight of your bike at your peril. The Dutch do not care about the weight of their bikes because Holland is flat. I've ridden there. It is wonderful. And most of my commute back and forth to work is relatively flat. But once I get there, I carry my bike up a few steps to get to the elevator. And even a light bike is made heavier when you add in the weight of your bike lock(s).

3) Ditto on the peril of ignoring padded bike shorts. This is a caution that applies to any regular commuter, biking more than two weeks in a row. A padded bike seat can't prevent chafing. And chafing is not a pretty picture. I could go on, because I learned this the hard way, but I will save us both from the details.

4) Raised handlebars on city bikes are not new. My beloved Maruishi has them. I believe hybrid bikes, by definition, combine the raised handlebars of mountain bikes with the skinnier tires of racing bikes.

(from theoldbicycleshowroom.co.uk)

The one thing that Christina Binkley did get right, the most exciting aspect of the "resurgence" of biking (for me, anyway), is the promise of stylish and practical accessories. I for one have not seen anything worth replacing my sturdy yet ugly nylon panniers, and I include the outrageously expensive Gilles Berthoud French panniers (about $335) in one of the WSJ article photos. The GB 799 Special Small Pannier may be made of the finest heavy cotton blend and leather trim, and it may be lovingly hand-crafted, but its size alone is inadequate for toting my groceries.

New York magazine's fashion blog, the Cut, posted a great slideshow of nine cute bike accessories. Again, none of which I will run out and buy, except for maybe that reflective pin, but that red snake bike lock is definitely cute.
(from pocampo.com)

(from pylones-usa.com)

Daily Candy
included a great-looking bike basket for the front handle bars, which can carry nothing heavier than "a six-pack," and so wouldn't be useful to me. The Bent Basket: a tray made of molded plywood with adjustable nylon straps. If the designer decides to make something for the rear of the bike, I'll be interested.

(from bentbasket.com)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nutcase Bike Helmets

Bike helmets are not just for kids! Thanks to Daily Candy, I realized that there are a lot of cool helmets out there. Too bad I already have one. But if I ever have to replace it, I might go with the Swirl. Or the Dots. Or the Candy Swirl, which I actually saw on the Southwest Corridor bike path. Or there's the fierce Shark Attack!

Nutcase Swirl, $50
Nutcase Dots, S-M SOLD OUT! $50
Nutcase Candy Swirl, S-M SOLD OUT! $50
Nutcase Shark Attack, $75
Nutcase Daisy Stripe, $50
Nutcase Watermelon, SOLD OUT! $75
Nutcase X Ray Brain, $75
Nutcase Rose Hibiscus, $50

Your Shopping Personality

(from fashionlvr.com)

It seems like my bargain sensibilities are firmly in sync with the new retail world, at least according to a study about who shops: How America Shops 2010 MegaTrends Study, by WSL Strategic Retail, a retail and marketing strategy firm.

As reported by WWD EyeScoop, the study narrows down 5 shopping personalities. The personality closest to mine is the first (see below), although I have a few modifications. She should be named "Smart-shopping Sue." And while I agree that she is "OK with less," it's not that she's "given up her aspirations on big name brands." It's that she never believed they were worth their full-price value. Ever. And finally, she would substitute "Marshalls" for "Wal-Mart or even dollar stores."

Shop-a-Lot Sue. She loves to shop, and although she has limited means — a household income of $60,000 — this is “not a deal breaker,” the survey found. “Sue knows she doesn’t have much to spend, so she shops smart, which lets her buy more.” She often opts for online options or chooses mass merchants such as Wal-Mart or even dollar stores. “She’s given up her aspirations for big-name brands and is OK with less.”

The other four shopping personalities are:

Miserable Mona, who also has a household income of around $60,000. She is “so jaded by her financial situation that she finds no pleasure in shopping. Making ends meet is a constant struggle.” Although she, too, shops at discount or dollar stores, she doesn’t use online tools to help her.

I’ll Pass Patty, who is apathetic about shopping and views it as a necessity. She has an above-average household income of $90,000 but lives within her means. She often opts for online shopping to avoid having to go to stores. “To her, smart shopping is no shopping,” the survey said. “Low price is important, but not if it means having to shop around.”

Bubble Barbie, who spent the recession living in a bubble, ignoring everything and continuing to shop. Her household income averages $72,000, and she visits stores often although her debt level is high. “Bubble Barbie is the best reason to keep doing attractive displays of new products that stop her in the aisle and add more to her basket,” the survey said. “Sales and discounts are good, but not necessary for her to buy.”

— Bubble Barbie (or Bobbie, per diagram) worries me. She's the only one with debt issues. She needs help! And not from marketers.

Chic Chic Charlotte, who has a high household income, around $101,000, and loves to shop. But even she was impacted by the recession and will buy less than she had in the past. “The more affluent have developed a case of retail guilt. She is not as spendthrift as she was in the Nineties. Reassure her that you are offering her value.”

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cycle Rush Hour

From the Keen blog. Filmed in Utrecht, Netherlands. I wonder if Boston's bike traffic will ever get this high. Or this civil. Especially without bike helmets. We can only hope!