Monday, August 31, 2009

Cry Havoc

Last post, Pirate wrote about the importance of finding a set of pieces that work together for her as an outfit. And I responded by saying that despite my best intentions to the contrary, mostly, my style is a mish mash. What I wouldn't give to reign it in . . .

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m ADD, multiple personality disordered, or just incapable of making a decision, but more and more these days I seem to be playing an increasingly powerless Nurse Ratchet to a loony bin full of fashion icons all refusing to take their medication and clamoring to be let out into the light of day.

This one, she starts early, banging her fists loudly against the door and demanding, "WTF, dude? What do you mean someone drank all the tequila?"

While other days, she comes sidling up all fey-eyed to politely point out that why yes, of course, everything does go with diamonds, thank you very much.

Then there are the days when the twin Viking Warrior Princesses, wafting their particular mix of Dioressence and Amyl Nitrate, crash the party, break all the champagne glasses, insult the hostess, and then go screaming into the night with the college student waiter and his La Crosse playing roommate. It takes me days to wrangle them back home.

So what I'd like? Is for this girl to represent for me on a regular basis. Only not that young, that blond, or that coked up.

I have been trying to think lately where my affinity for this particular look comes from - this ever present, only slightly revolving variant on the jacket, sweater, jeans, boots, and scarf theme. Then it hit me. For some unknown reason, it screams to me of California. No, no, not the California of Haight-Ashbury with its deliberately unwashed vibe and tiresome floaty skirts, and most certainly not the California of today, with its parade of petulant Porno Fried starlets with their dismal French manicures and ass-grazing shorty shorts.

I mean more the California Before the Fall, the California with which I have always, for some reason, had a major preoccupation. The California that represents the sunlit possible, rather than the darkly decadent, already attained.

Maybe it's a California that only exists in my mind. Most things do. Then again, I DO have pop cultural evidence. Linda Ronstadt circa Heart Like a Wheel, for instance. The writer Joan Didion, assuaging waves of self doubt with a good scream down the PCH in a gleaming white Corvette Stingray, the contrails of a Pucci head scarf flickering in her wake.

It's the California of Donna Mills in Play Misty For Me, of Pam Greer in Foxy Brown, and Lily Tomlin in Moment By Moment. Of the ladies in Joni Mitchell’s canyon, the suite of Judy’s blue eyes, and the dreaming of Fleetwood Mac.

Most recently, I caught a glimpse of it in Frances McDormand's lusty, scenery chewing turn in the terrific Laurel Canyon.

It's also been oozing out of Natascha McElhone as Karen, the long suffering, long time partner of David Duchovny’s Hank Moody in Showtime’s gleefully over the top Californication. With her swath of sun streaked hair, butta soft leather car coats, roughened jeans, and ever present Frye boots, she’s the Ghost of 70’s Chic come back to luminous life.

Still, a girl cannot live on boots and jeans alone. That's what Diane von Furstenberg-esque wrap dresses are for. But I have to be careful. Because this one, give her an inch and she'll go Full On Caftan faster than my Famolare's will allow me to tackle her.
That right there? That's a Malibu beach party just waiting to go out of bounds.

So, what's your ideal fashion era and if you could spend the rest of your life in just one outfit, what would it be? I know, I know, it took me a looooonnnng ass time to get here to ask just this one simple question, but I really wanna know.


Boxer said...

Oddly, my perfect fashion era is now. Mostly because I'm finally at an age where I care less about trends and more how how I feel... I still love my jeans and when I'm at a good weight, I'm happiest in a black t-shirt, jeans and black boots. I'm currently taking positions for a good pair of jeans, so if you have any future posts planned about the hell of finding jeans, please let me know. I believe I've tried the entire inventory in Seattle on over the past 3 months. And you know that living in Seattle, we're given a big PASS on wearing real clothes because anything pretty is destroyed by the rain.

I love that picture of Frances McDormand. Oy, she makes wearing a jean shirt sexy.

LaDivaCucina said...

I like your style. to me it seems like eternal autumn with the jeans, jackets and boots.

But for me, this is complicated. Cuz it's all about what I could/want to wear, vs. what I should wear want to wear, and what, logistically, is GOOD to wear here in tropical Florida.

If I had my dithers, I'd be dressed to the nines with styles from the 40's-50's. I love the high quality of the clothes of that era, in styling, detail and fabric. Peplums, shoulder pads, huge bows, pencil skirts, red lipstick, gloves and hats! I love accessories and wore all of these and more in my 20's during my punk days in the 80's.

But now, while I still do the glamazon thang as much as possible, it just doesn't go with living in the tropics. Wool? Sheesh! It better be wash and wear these days as I can't leave the house for more than a minute without sweat trickling down my back. And, I ride my bike around the beach, even to appointments!

So for me it's stretchy short dresses with sassy flats, lotsa funky accessories, a chic haircut and waterproof makeup! At night, I don heels!

If i'm not dressed like that, I'm in some sort of sports gear like bike shorts or swim suit (cuz I'm actually doing the sport, not to lounge in!)

I think for me the constant is to have some sort of glamour goin' on, no matter what!

Boxer said...

first, can I be LaDiva, just for a day?

second, if I TRULY could wear what I want... I think I'd always dress for dinner. It's so fun at the end of the day to spend the time to dress up in something fancy... just as LaDiva described. That was one of the nicest surprises of the Spa Trip I took with you and your peeps.... dolling up for dinner.

K9 said...

dressed and ready for the apocalypse. mad max meets desert storm with a dash of tacky snap shirt cowboy and the platform boots. slightly disheveled. hair like a blonde mop a la the early police. cotton underwear. a ruger rifle and a decent straw cowboy or panama hat. truck and dog = accessories.

moi said...

Boxer: If you haven't seen Laurel Canyon, go rent it ASAP. Worth all its flaws just to watch Frances. She is bad ass sexy!

La Diva: Summer is my season temperamentally, but if I could dress perpetually autumn, even in the hottest months, I'd be one happy camper. Gosh, I don't know what I'd do with all that humidity, but I agree with you on a bit of glam at all times :o).

Boxer: Ooooo, I like that image: "always dressing for dinner."

K9: And the sparkly gold pants to celebrate the New World Order? Yeah, buddy; I got an alter ego for that for sure.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Ya know, I could channel some of that. I could channel the kate moss lady and the frye boot lady all winter long...were it not for my own inner rock star, and the grown up lady who has to wear pearls once in awhile.

the one who really steals the show, most surprisingly, is my inner dominatrix. She's the one who nobody saw coming. She's the one who like the corsetry, and the stilettos, and the leather boots. When we go shopping, she usually wins.

(I have no inner Laura Ashley, FYI)

Aunty Belle said...

Oh, no. This be too tough.

By day, chocolate dupioni silk capri's, Channel blk/ brown ballet flats, an oversized ivory Napoli linen man tailored shirt, Serengeti (Augusto) shades, 7mm pearl stud earrings, keys to the Gulfstream V. Spare, spare, spare.

By night,

black silk sheath under a black charmeuse shawl collared jacket embroidered with ivory, watermelon,honeydew and pale blue colored vines and flowers, double strand opera length pearls, Stuart Weitzman black satin sling-back 3 inch heels with pearl & platinum clasp, antique ebony, pearl and diamond hair-sticks to hold up the tresses.

But if it's Red Dawn?
Easy, Tod's Zelia boot, J Peterman oiled duster coat over mah granny batiste nightgown and a K1 gas mask.

Play Misty for Me was one horrifying flick-o. Very California.

moi said...

Pirate: Luckily, Boot Lady and Rock Star are easy to blend. They share a similar aesthetic. I have seen your inner dominatrix and her name is Karen Millen! (P.S. I am happy to say, not a stitch of Laura Ashley has ever touched my skin.)

Aunty: Some people have photographic memories. I must have a fashion-o-graphic one, because I could picture clear as day every single one of the items in your outfits. Aunty is one stylish chica! Oooooo, the Tod's Zelia boots. Totally Red Dawn worthy.

K9 said...

keys to the G5 grrrrrrrherhhahahahahaha!!! go aunty.

Aunty Belle said...

Heh--no Laura Ashley in mah fashion past, but I sheepishly admit I did have April Cornell month--with lace up granny boots.

Laurel Canyon? It is more than a piece of L.A. real estate?

Boxer said...

who's Laura Ashley? bwahahahahahahah. I may have sunk to that low in the early 80's... it's all a blur.

I'm thinking a "Red Dawn" fashion line just might be the future of fashion.

Pam said...

Rocker chick aka Chrissy look is very similar to California casual boot look, so very easy to make that leap. Just throw on the little jacket and make the leopard tights a solid color. Voile'! The main component to the look is being stick thin. Damn I miss those days. I would lean toward that look too a bit, but these days those boots are not going over the knees. Personally, I'm leaning toward those thin layered tee-shirts of various styles from Old Navy. Lazy, I know, but the styles make me feel like I did as a teen in the 1970's. And that works for me ;)

moi said...

K9: I can picture Aunty flying the thing, too :o).

Aunty: Oh, Aunty, my eyes!

Boxer: And if we're all going to hell in a handbasket, I sure as heck hope its Bottega Veneta and not some ding dang knock off.

Pam: Whatever makes you feel like a teen in the '70s, I say, go for it! And when the boot no longer fits over the calves or knees, do the bootie!

K9 said...

i have a way cool april cornell dress. wear it with a pettycoat no less. and cowboy boots. very warm winter wear. im thinking the last fall farmers market?

moi said...

K9: About the only two gals I know of who could actually rock an April Cornell dress (for I do not believe that was her original intention!) are you and Aunty.