Thursday, March 31, 2011

Super top secret prep school ninja, or, Return of the Sailor Pants

Someone I adore recently referred to my style as "preppy", and I almost died. PREPPY?!? Then I looked over at my closet, and realized she was dead on. Stripes, tweed, nautical and equestrian styling, blue oxfords, neatly cuffed jeans, sheath dresses, little cardigans, silk scarves, boy's jackets...and no amount of clogs can possibly cancel out the all the riding boots and boat shoes and ballet flats. I'm not sure at what point I started gravitating to the classic staples of the American sportswear tradition, or why, but it probably had something or other to do with wanting to dress like my super chic grandparents.

Also, I think being one inch shy of being legally classified as a little person has a lot to do with it. Really! Most of the time when I shop retail or consignment, I have to buy petites. Nothing else fits. And clothing for petites tends to...err on the side of caution. Why is that? The plus size dept. is enviably full of COLOR! BOHEMIA! SELF EXPRESSION! While apparently petites are just uptight and waspy as hell. That's actually one of the reasons I gravitate so much toward vintage; it allows me a wider range of stylistic freedom and a decent fit. And sequins.

I'll be honest, this outfit stemmed entirely from the lipstick. I had just ended my quest for the perfect shade of cherry blossom pink (see header for reference), when I spotted this adorable stripey top in the window of H&M. What do you know, it was on sale for $3, which is just about what I'm willing to pay for something from H&M, so I brought it home and married it to my favorite vintage trousers. They're gonna make the cutest babies, right?

As you can see, by the time I got around to taking the lipstick shot (is it just me, or does that sound a bit scandalous?), I had added to the ensemble. This is usually how it goes. I start the day with well intentioned minimalism and end it dripping in jewels.

Striped tee, H&M, $3
Vintage sailor pants, Buffalo Exchange, $12
Cardigan, Target, $17
Resin bangle, Target, $8
JPK nylon pochette, TJ Maxx, $7
Steve Madden clogs, Ross, $20
Vintage coral necklace, gift from mum
Lipstick, Revlon Super-lustrous creme in Primrose, Target, $7

P.S. For those of you who lovingly advise me not to have my bluebells hemmed, darlings, I must! They drag on the ground, even with my very tallest shoes, and that makes them very impractical. But for reference, I'm thinking I'll hem them a bit longer than these, so just the toes of my shoes peek out. I might even have these let out a bit while I'm at it, if only for the novelty value!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The season is changing (it IS, dammit, all bleak and drizzling cloudy grey skies to the contrary....), and so its time for another inspiration post. It seems right now I'm drawn to all things light and airy and a little bit wistful. I'd love to pretend that I included all of the Japanese art out of a richer sense of social consciousness aroused by current events, but really, these photos have been sitting on my desktop for months. I do think the Hiroshima Appeals poster with the flaming butterflies is eerily appropo, though. Enjoy.

 Unknown, via Loveology, unknown, Kim Kyung Soon, via Fashionphile, unknown, Jun Takahashi, Desire to Inspire, Anne Soline, Domino, unknown (amazing, right??? let's go live in THAT world.), Stella Mc Cartney, Saeko Takagi, Michael Casker, unknown.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Porcelain and pleather

Its official. I am over the moon for blue and white. Was there ever such a crisp, fresh, cheerful, classy, restful, understated, luxurious color combination? No! Not ever! I have been not so subtly working it in to every single room in my new house. Whats really fun about working with blue and white is that you can play around with multiple shades of either color, and it just gets prettier. Also, it makes other colors POP! Look...

Bonus nerd points if you can find the Star Trek reference...
Individual teapots for black, green, oolong, and herbal! Fancy! 
This is one of my favorite things.  Its a very early piece of Blue Willow porcelain. My mother hid feathers she found in the garden inside it.

I had high hopes when I ordered this snappy little clutch from Forever 21, and I am not disappointed! The white stripes are patent leather, and the blue is such a deep pretty hyacinth shade. I love the graphic punch it adds to an otherwise very conservative work outfit. Pardon my wrinkles, it was a long, rumply sort of day.

Today I am wearing real eyeshadow! Yikes! You guys, I am NOT an eyeshadow girl. I like to play it nice and safe with a classic cat eye, and sometimes on a weekend I'll smudge a little Benefit R.S.V.P. around, slap on some mascara, and call it good, but I just could not say no to this crisp, saturated turquoise! Its so 60s ladies-who-lunch, especially with a retro updo. I have to admit, I feel pretty awesome about the whole thing...What do you think? 

Banana Republic blouse, thrifted, $4
DKNY wool pencil skirt, thrifted, $4
Liz Claiborne linen jacket, Ross, $12
Franco Sarto nude pumps, TJMaxx, $34
Chevron clutch, F21, $12
Antique milk glass necklace, Ladybird's General Store, $40
Knuckle ring, F21, $8

In other news, bare legs! Wheeeeee! In case you were wondering, that was not a gosh-this-is-so-fun kind of wheeeeee, but rather, a gosh-what-was-I-thinking-this-is-unpleasantly-brisk kind of wheeeeee. Newsflash. All visual evidence to the contrary, it is not actually spring yet. Go put some pants on. Geez.

Restructure, Part Deux

What? Where are you? What is happening? Cats and kittens, do not attempt to adjust your screens. This is real. Not only have I given my blog a much overdue makeover ( feedback please!), I've also changed the blog name. I realize this is a somewhat unorthodox move, but while doing a little search optimization test drive for the new museum website I discovered that in some web browsers, when you googled Lovely Ladypants McGee, it resulted in...Hmm...Shall we say, questionable content.

And let's face it, the content of this blog is questionable enough already, eh what? Besides, I really like this name. Its a punny play on what I do, and I like to think of my life as being well curated....though anyone who's ever seen my laundry room will want to wisely keep their mouth shut.

So. It's still me. And I'm still blogging about my personal style, my dabblings in home decor, and my scintillating and glamourous life as a small museum curator* and girl about town.

Speaking of, snappy outfit post coming as soon as the rain stops long enough to take photos! We're supposed to get a big, gooey sun break right around 4:00, so, fingers crossed! I have lots of fun stuff to show you!

*I curate a small museum. But I'm also a small person. So take that as you will.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A quick note...

Yesterday I spent a bajillion hours and as many dollars at Cost Plus World Market, and when I got up to the register the cashier told me that from March 23-Sept 11, all Cost Plus stores worldwide will be donating 100% of the proceeds from any item produced in Japan to Direct Relief International, which is already on the ground providing aid to victims of the quake and tsunami in Northern Japan. I just wanted to take a moment to share, as I thought that was a brilliant move. Its a smart and easy way to help out. I'll be stocking up on soba noodles, nori, Pocky, and Kirin, for sure! Ooooh, and those amazing little gummi fruits, and real wasabi, and a dragon kite to take on picnics, and some futon cushions, and....

Also, for those of you in Portland, make sure to visit the Portland Japanese Gardens in the next few weeks,  to send some words of encouragement and make a donation to their relief fund. This is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in our city, and I can't think of a better time to enjoy it.

Photo by Elizabeth Joy Kimes.


Ok. So, before I get any further, you need to know how many times I had to try and type the title of this post before I got it right. Are you ready? SIX. Seriously. I think I lost some brain cells to the fever. But here I am, back in the saddle, still a little wobbly, but bound and determined to bring those cows home. What?

Right. Moving on. Spring is in the air. I can taste it. The forsythias on the corner are sending up plumes of chartreuse, the quince is in full glory, and the roses are setting tiny new leaves. Strange to think that after what was, in my little corner of the west, a rather bleak and sodden winter, my back porch will soon be dripping in lilacs and wisteria and honeysuckle vines. I should make sure to paint it quickly before they take over!

My little nest is finally beginning to take shape, as is my wardrobe. I've gone through yet another ruthless purge in the name of refining my style, and brought in a few key items for spring. Earliest of this crop was my new bell bottom jeans from Emerson Made, but I also ordered a pair of high-waisted ankle zip cropped skinny jeans from F21, as well as a tribal print wrap dress, a scandalously short ivory leather mini, and a creamy fringed cardigan. I was very strict to make sure everything had a place in my closet and would go with at least three other things I already own!

I want to be feminine and polished for spring, but a little bohemian, a little undone, in a very sharp, playful way. I've also acquired a couple of oversized clutches, so much more chic and kind to the spine than those giant bags we've all been carrying to death for the last decade. Take a load off, I say! And I've been stocking up on bright, pretty colors for lips and nails. I find a little polish (big three free, please!) and a polished lip makes a world of difference in how put together I look and feel. I'm 100% crazy about the new reformulated Burt's Bees tinted balm. Its prettier, more moisturizing, and smells better than my old tube of Fresh Sugar Rose. And costs about a third as much. Hey-oh!

Emerson Made Bluebells, $198
Banana Republic oxford, thrifted, $4
Embroidered net blouse, Buffalo, $9
Belt, Target, $12
Walter jacket, thrifted, $12
Christian Audigier clutch, TJ Maxx, $20
Sam Edelman oxford clogs, TJ Maxx, $5

One of the delights/issues with these jeans are that they have no stretch. Whatsoever. None. They are 100% cotton denim (The quality of the material really is exceptional! I've never felt anything like it..) I love a nice snug silhouette with denim, and I'm excited to see how these will age and mellow and soften around my curves, but at the moment they are quite stiff and sturdy, and just walking in them is a bit of a workout! Phew! Also, look, you can just see my new $5 Sam Edelman clogs. Super cute, right? Guess what? They are beastly uncomfortable, and quite wobbly. Sometimes things go on super-clearance for a reason. On a more positive note, today I am wearing my favorite blouse ever, in the world. It's just an old blue oxford I thrifted when I was still in high school, but the cut is sublime and the cotton is so soft it feels like silk, and this precise shade of blue just happens to make my heart sing.

These photos were taken in front of the museum where I work. My little house was built to mimic the style of the original building, and is the same color scheme, a pretty buttery cream with black trim and sashing on the doors and windows, but instead of the brown porch, mine is dark grey. In the early days of the Quaker community here, your house could either be cream with white trim, or white with green trim, and you still see the old homes painted that way quite often. I love the boardwalks around the front of the museum. All the little crocuses (croci?) and bleeding hearts and grape hyacinth are just beginning to push up through the soil. We don't plant anything that wasn't found in Oregon before 1880, and by midsummer the front bed is a riot of yarrow and foxglove and anemone, and the woodshed wall behind me is dripping with baby concord grapes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Still down for the count...

Man. This whole zombie flu thing. It does not kid around. I strongly advise you to avoid kissing any charming men who show deceptively mild cold-like symptoms. Nooooot that that is how this happened. *Ahem.*

Moving on, since I am FAR from photogenic, I thought I'd address something I was struck by in my last post...Namely, the question of value. For instance, the Helmut Lang dress I'm wearing in my last post, and also here, was, until I caved in and bought the Emerson Made bluebells, the most expensive item of clothing in my wardrobe. And is still one of the most valued; most of the time I value it so much I am hesitant to wear it (I know, I know, that's just SILLY.). Whereas, since buying those jeans, I've worn them, oh, about a bajillion times. There are other items in my wardrobe I get just as much wear and pleasure out of, that cost much, much less. But I must admit that I tend to favor items in which I have invested a chunk of change.

The question then becomes; Do I value these items so highly because of their high price tag, or because they are so integral to my aesthetic that I was able to justify paying the high price to have them in my wardrobe?

Poof. That makes my poor little shrunken head hurt. How about you? What items in your wardrobe do you value most?

And, just so this post isn't a total exercise in futility, here's a really rad picture of a hairless cat in a shark sweater.

You are welcome. I bet hairless cats are one of the only animals that have to think about clothing as much as we do. And.....clearly, it is now time for my feeble brain to sleep. Sweet non-creepy hairless cat shark dreams to you all.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Zombie flu.

Excuse (again) my protracted absence. I have fallen prey to the zombie flu. Seriously. That is what it is called. For two days I couldn't eat or get out of bed, let alone think. But today I have homemade chicken soup, freshly laundered sheets, and a bag of tangerines. So I'm gonna be ok.

24 hours before I fell ill (Monday), I got  to take a peek at the Amy Sacks Eyewear collection. Their showroom is in Portland, but they do direct sales, which keeps overhead low and allows them to focus on quality materials. I'll be frank, I always think that kind of marketing talk is just so much mumbo-jumbo. But then I saw the frames. In a word, yum. The lines are very classic, but the colors are fresh and flattering, and there really is something for every face shape. They are working to develop a sustainable line made from bamboo and recycled plastics, and, wait for it....all profits go toward the Pixie Project, which I can say first hand is a worthwhile cause. I'm not in the market for a new pair of specs just yet, but when I am, I think I'll be donning these. Tres geeky, no?

Helmut Lang dress, Ladybird's General Store, $120
Sweater, Target, $17
Scarf, thrifted, $2
Belt, thrifted, $2
Coral necklace, thrifted, $20
Silver bangle, Target, $8
Ring, F21, $8
Tights, ??
Nine West shoes, thrifted, $14
Vintage mohair coat, thrifted, $10

Ok, that's about all the coherent thought I can muster for right now. I'm off to drown my sniffles in Theraflu and Hulu. Keep warm and well, little bloggy friends.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cop out.

Guess what? Tomorrow, I'm going to do an actual post! With an outfit and everything! And words! It'll be great! But in the meantime, I'm gonna be raving about Proenza Schouler. I'm sure you've already seen these. I'm equally sure that you too love them. But I have to rave anyway. Because...

Seriously. Seriously. My brain is too small to contain that much WOW. I'm drooling. I might need some kind of therapy. Tommy Ton did a fierce backstage pre-show detail post over at Jak&Jil. I'm sure you've seen that already too. Go look at it again anyway. Just for me.

I need it. Today was just hellishly busy. I am fending off a killer headache and popping 3Musketeers dark chocolate mint minis like they were aspirin over here. Time for sleepings, little blog friends.