Archive | October, 2011

Fashion, Crimes Against

27 Oct

I used to be someone else.  A subscriber to Vogue, a discerning and frequent shopper, a collector of eccentric shoes, and yes, of course, a devotee to Pat Fields via Carrie Bradshaw.  I used to carefully consider additions to my closet, viewing each new piece as a resource – tools to be carefully calibrated.  I mean, I won “Best Dressed” at my 8th grade graduation.  I also won “Best Hair.”  I used to have it going on.

At present, my wardrobe can best be described as nudity-preventing.  That is the function it has come to serve.  It contains some nice pieces from “before” – pre move-to-chicago-jobless-vagabond-pregnancy-baby.  The pieces that I have added “after” are an amalgamation of clearance rack finds from Target and Old Navy, some hastily-grabbed bad decisions from Forever 21, and a healthy collection of things-I’ll-maybe-never-wear/needs-a-few-tweeks-with-my-sewing-machine thrift store finds.   Oh, and a rainbow assortment of American Apparel tees and sweatshirts, purchased once a year as generous Christmas gifts from my parents.  I’m not looking great, guys.  My daily uniform is typically some version of jeans, tee-shirt, sweatshirt, Toms, and my signature scarf – a blue beach cover-up that I got in Mexico when I was in 5th grade.  I looked in the mirror the other day and realized that Justin Bieber, that little shit, has co-opted my look.  I realized later that he also looks better than I do.

I also notice, as I look in the mirror, that those tee-shirts just don’t quite fit like they used to.  There is an………… area of concern.  It’s right in the middle of my body and it looks like it needs a bra for support.  I’ve always been a solid gal – never one to say no to cheese or a beer, but I think this excess is child-bearing related.  I’ve made my peace with my new shape (or the augmented version of my old shape).  I get a fair amount of exercise and I eat a decently healthy diet (full disclosure – I am drinking coffee with a can of left-over reddiwip as a sidecar).  But my clothing has come to no such resolution.  As I assess my body in these clothes, it becomes clear to me that nobody is happy with the arrangement.  My clothes, stretched to capacity, are starting to abandon their posts while my body makes frantic moves for the exits.  In every direction, flesh is trying to escape – up the back of my pants, out the bottom of my shirts.  My cup runneth over.  Even my gangly wrists and ankles are struggling for freedom.  It’s time for a change.

Other catalysts include:

  • A TSA agent asking if I was going camping while searching through my luggage packed to attend a friend’s wedding
  • Frequent closet crisis’ which culminate in depressed resignation and the wearing of a sweatshirt on a date

So I’ve decided to take myself shopping.  I’ve chosen a day (friday), arranged childcare, and made a list of some must-find pieces (ex:  shirt without stain).  In preparation, I have been doing some research in the hopes of getting on board with what the kids are wearing these days.  I have made the following discoveries:

  • Anything looks pretty good if you’re thin
  • Anything looks positively chic if you’re thin and rich.
  • Anything goes together if you’ve got long hair and sunglasses
  • Men are not wearing socks anymore, women are wearing them with sandals
  • It is never winter anywhere
  • Casually roll up your pants
  • Everyone in the fashion industry wants you to have a tailored white shirt
  • No actual people wear tailored white shirts
  • I never should have thrown away all of those long flowing skirts from my high school days
  • Ditto my ruffle-y peasant blouses and silk (suppress the throw-up)shirts
  • Extreme haircuts make jean-jumpers okay
  • Advanced style is my new favorite blog
So, basically, I’m as confused as where I started.  I do have a sense of current trends in shape and color and I’ve always had a good eye for prints.  Armed with this and a week’s steady visual diet of The Sartorialist’s archives, I will board the redline on friday morning with a latte and the redeye sudoku puzzle whilst Ida spends the day with her Gigi, eating candy and making messes.  I plant to hit (in this carefully considered order):  Topshop, Zara, and H&M, with possible stops after as specific needs arise/time allows.  I am also planning to relish the opportunity to people-watch downtown.
Now I know that there are real things happening in the world right now.  As I posted on facebook soliciting recommendations for fashion blogs a couple of days ago, several friends were posting on the terrible things happening at Occupy Oakland.  I know that fashion doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.  Except that it does a little bit.  I’m not trying to say that my little shopping trip is important (I’m not even arguing that it’s entirely responsible), but I am saying that fashion is in the mix of things we think about.  We’re going to think about it at least a little bit (some of us are going to think about it a lot).  If we engage with it, it can become like anything else – like food, or architecture, or transportation – it can serve as an outlet – an opportunity – for art and joy.  It can be fun.  It can be provocative.  It can be smart.
I’m not sure about you, but I feel like I just can’t pass up another opportunity to be thoughtful and creative in my life.  I can’t pass up a chance to flourish, which is how I see this little project I’m undertaking.
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Best Wishes – Advice About Food

26 Oct

I was recently invited to participate in one of the Chicago dance community’s very coolest events, Poonie’s Cabaret.  Poonie’s is a dance and performance variety show curated by the truly hip Jyl Ferhenkamp and held at one of my favorite venues for dance, Links Hall.  As an audience member, I love Poonie’s because I get to see lots of really great artists in an evening, often showing new works, works in progress and pieces that are amazing, but that don’t fit within the rigid format of an evening-length dance concert.  I also get to see up and coming artists who might not otherwise have the resources to produce their own work.   Jyl is up-to-the-minute on top of what’s happening in the dance scene and is a really gifted curator.  And all of this is in addition to saying the word “Poonie’s” over and over again.

I have been attending Poonie’s performances since before I lived in Chicago and remember very distinctly thinking to myself “Man.  If I ever got invited to participate in Poonie’s, I’d really feel like I was part of things here (cue cloying day-dreamy look).”

Anyway, here’s what I made.  The piece is called Best Wishes – it’s improvised movement (me), improvised music (Matthew Joynt and Nathan Sandberg), and a text I wrote that is advice about food culled from my considerable musings on the subject.  All of the advice is directly related to things I have witnessed/experienced/imagined.  Nathan generously donated his time and skillz to record my god-awful voice reading the “advice” and I sometimes spoke them aloud live along with the pre-recorded audio.  I hope I get the chance to re-work this piece and perform it again sometime as I had a really great time working on it and performing it.

Hard At Work

25 Oct

This is what I decided to do while Ida was napping today.  I’d say that I’m not proud of my behavior, but that would be a lie.  Also, you’re reading Megan’s awesome reporting on Chicago Muckrakers, right?  Okay.  Just checking.

*Hint – you’re going to want to hit up the “comments” section for my special contribution to the world.