Buenos Aires Fashion Report 2014

Here we go!

DH and I just spent a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina! Naturally, I could not help but be curious about the differences in fashion and local style compared to Los Angeles, the USA, and the rest of the world as delivered through my Vogue and Bazaar issues. 

The large shopping centers contained some really, really beautiful things, although much of it was fairly expensive compared to the rest, where you could find $10 tops and shoes on every corner. There seemed to be a big price jump for quality workmanship and materials. The higher-end stores were showing layers, embellishment, graphics... kind of a Kate Moss-ish rock-n-roll-bohemian-grunge vibe. Their summer is just ending, so the windows look to be done up for the coming winter. 1-6 show some of my favorite window dressings. I tried on both the dress and skirt from #7, but sadly they did not have my size. You can sort of see the real-life prints in #8. 

Local Style
The locals in the streets/subways/restaurants, however, didn't seem to be wearing the items in the mall stores, or they didn't seem to be styling them in the same ways, even when compared to the S/S sale stuff rather than the F/W items in the windows. Since there is some economic turmoil in the area, I can't help but wonder if it was because locals could only afford to shop at the trendy strip malls geared toward teens, but to be fair that is only speculation and generalization. Artsy areas like Palermo Soho showed a lot more interest in the fashions displayed in shops... though curiously, it seemed like we only ended up talking to French women finishing school there, so perhaps that is where the influence comes from? 

The uniform on the streets was very casual; skinny jeans with a fitted, embellished knit top and platform/flatform sandals. Tight and/or short fits ruled - loose dresses or pants were for the tourists. No Vince or ALC-type "boyfriend brands" here. #5 shows a typical shoe window - no slim heels in sight for this walking city. Hair was almost universally long, even on older women, and matching your shoes to your outfit was common. #10 was the only street style photo I had the nerve to snap, but it shows the matchy element and typical flatforms. Her top is looser than most, though. #9 is the local artist who made my stone necklace, selling at the huge San Telmo market. Her look is on the softer, flowier side compared to the norm. The looks reminded me a little bit of some parts of Eastern LA. 

Shopping opportunities presented themselves everywhere in Buenos Aires. DH not-so-jokingly complained at times that the city was made for women, without including stores that men would be interested in. Honestly, I had to sympathize with him since we only found one lonely comic shop, and that was far away from any of the nicer shopping areas. 

For an overall shopping experience, the San Telmo market was the best! The market was situated on a street lined with Antique shops, good quality shoes, and a decent variety of clothing stores. Nothing as posh as those in the malls, but fun to pop into to get out of the sun. The market itself went on for many blocks, holding everything from beer souvenirs to fine jewelry hand-crafted by artisans. This is where I found 3 of my four souvenirs: the $10 pastel plaid jacket in 14, my leopardite necklace set, and a beer tee. ;)

The most fun for me fashion-wise was to browse at the Abasto shopping mall - the largest in BsAs (if you follow the link, click on "local," then sort by Women's Casual Clothing, and click on the store names to see photos of the storefronts). This is where DH had to leave me for an hour so that I could fly about and shop For Serious. As I said, I didn't end up finding my size in the items I liked (for the right price), but the eye candy abounded. Those of us in big US cities would find it small, but it was nice to have so much good quality in once place. Second place was Palmero Soho, the neighborhood I mentioned earlier with the French sales clerks. Similar selection and where I found my last souvenir: a jungle/tiger print sharkbite blouse. 

There were also leather shops everywhere! Shoes, bags, jackets, and general leather stores that housed all three. But I was not tempted by these items... given the huge beef industry in Argentina, most of the jackets were heavier cow leather, too warm for my climate. And all the soft, supple, thinner lamb leather jackets I found at Abasto cost $300-$500 and up even on sale... not that I need another leather jacket right now anyway. The designs of the bags and shoes simply didn't fit my style at the moment, but there were some fun florals and monster platforms.

For fun, 11-13 show some of the costumes on display at the Teatro Colon, a fabulous historical opera house, still running. Our guide was fantastic, and it was so interesting to hear about how Argentina rejected Spanish influence, destroyed all the colonial buildings, and instead built everything modeled after (mostly) Italian and (less so) French fashions. It really made the mass of pizza and pasta shops in the area make sense!

I hope that I didn't yammer on too long about this, but I found it very interesting to contrast the fashions here with what I saw coming out of Fashion Week! Almost the complete opposite from the runway's oversized fits and dainty shoes. I would be curious to see if the runway looks ever make it to BsAs or if the bodycon fits are more entrenched in a cultural preference. 

Stay tuned for my blue jacket's maiden voyage today!


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Fashion Games

When Angie wrote her post on goals for 2014, one of the things I put down on my own list was to entertain myself with non-shopping fashion games.

Usually, I really love the challenge of HEWI Easter-egg hunts. Except... I've gotten too good at them, and now most of my elusive items have been found. Great! But my brain just wants to keep thinking up more elusive things to hunt. So unless I want to beggar myself, I want to channel this energy into other things.

What other types of fashion games do you like to play? How do you challenge yourself? What makes you happy when you spend a day playing in your closet? 

Inquiring minds want to know!


Spinoff: What's in a Moniker?

I was inspired by froggiebecky's thread about what's in a name, as well as a couple of comments on my outfit posts that I don't look like my moniker, 00Noir. I also remember comments from the past that I did not look very UWP. So I guess the question is whether a moniker is supposed to "sum up" the look that you project - or is it more of a jumping-off point to inspire outfits and purchases? Or to put it another way: does your moniker stand for the way you want others to see you, or does it stand for the way you see yourself?

For me - for 00Noir - I keep coming back to this picture of Daniel Craig. Even though it's from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and not a Bond film, it sort of encapsulates the intersection between the slick, dressy agent and the gritty, downtrodden detective that I envision for 00Noir. She has been in a scrape or explosion or kidnapping or marathon foot pursuit through a dusty construction site or pathetic cinematic downpour, and she's looking a little rough. Not that I want to look like I was running through the desert when I walk into work - or even look like a secret agent per se! - but I do want to bring some distressing into the classic mix. 

For others, the image and story evoked by "00Noir" is probably different. Some may think immediately of immaculate suits and sparkling femme fatales - and that's okay. For me, the moniker is more some kind of ephemeral aura - something that informs but does not dictate. It's 100% okay if people look at me and don't think, "brooding detective super-spy." 

How about you? Are you bothered when you don't look like your moniker? 


A Coat for my Fantasy Life

For my fantasy life in a colder climate, where owning more than 2 wool coats would actually make sense. Just dying over the bold, Tim Burton stripes on an outerwear piece - now that is a commitment to stripes! I would wear it with denim and other blues, browns, and grays to soften and steampunk it up.

Sigh... there is one floating around in my size, too. Shopping for Real Life hurts sometimes.


White Leather Jacket With My Name On It

Literally! lol

Actually, I do like it a lot. The modified biker collar with rivets is really fun. I do not like the price, though.



Reflections on The Happiness Factor and Letting Go (verbose)

For some time now, my closet has been contracting. It probably seems like I'm shopping a whole heckofalot for someone who 1) just quit her full-time job and 2) isn't even currently working her part-time job. But as much as things have been flowing in, more has been flowing out - sometimes painfully, but more and more easily all-in-all.

It's easy for me to let go of items that came to me for $1, on a snap decision at the swap meet. But when I've invested time in product research, energy in item/outfit/capsule consideration, and a decent chunk of change? Pain! I want to hold onto the items I chose, because I don't want to admit I was wrong, or that I've changed, or that I miscalculated. I hate feeling like I've thrown money into a black hole, and I hate looking back at how pleased I was with an initial purchase and feeling a fool.

But here's where Angie's happiness factor comes in: keeping and using items I no longer feel are right doesn't make me any happier - and in fact, I now see it makes me feel even worse. I keep things to preserve my pride, yet it doesn't make me feel proud. It's punishment, stewing in an uncomfortable shoe, itchy sweater, sweaty jacket, or lifestlye-obsolete constricting pencil skirt. Just what am I trying to prove? And what good will proving it do? As someone who is generally results-focused in her bookkeeping, it's interesting that I hadn't asked myself these questions before.

I've decided to resell these three recently-acquired coats, *plus* two more rain jackets that I don't even have photos of (yes, it's been that long since I've worn them!) and have already resold a pair of Fryes bought just this summer - because, to get right down to it, it's made me UNHAPPY to wear them. I'm just done with that.

Instead of looking at it as losing X% of the original purchase prices, which could be depressing, I'm looking at it as using their trade-in value to upgrade to something better. The one pair of Fryes yielded two pairs of super-comfy Rockports, and I'm never out and about, showing off a fun outfit, thinking that I want to go home because my feet hurt. I want the same for my coats... and jeans and hats and dresses and all.

I'm not sure where this paradigm shift came from. Maybe it was the career change. Maybe it was my recent scare. Maybe the simple fact is that I'm more aware of my clothes and their strengths and weaknesses... now that I feel like I'm actually living in them. And maybe *that* makes letting go feel worth it.


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I know I'm super late to the Bond bandwagon - I hardly ever see films in first-run theaters - but I finally saw Skyfall, and I'm so in love with the menswear! Not just old 007, either, but also the groundskeeper's rust sweater vest, the villain's leather military trench... and I'm kind of in love with Q's crazy hair. Naturally I also wish I could find the female equivalent of Bond's rugged olive jacket and pea coat. :)


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Looking Backward in 2012-2013 Limbo

My 2012 retrospection has been slow and ponderous, but I think I've got it sorted. Finally. I felt a bit confused and turned about when looking back on my outfit posts, probably because I feel my style has evolved drastically since I left my office job in August. It was hard to find a common thread or see which changes were brought about by an internal shift vs. an external one. At last, I decided to mentally redact the office-wear portion of the year and focus on the outfits relevant to my current lifestyle, and it all sort of clicked into place.

First and foremost, capital-C Comfort has risen to the top of my list of style priorities. In both my occupations and my recreations, I am on my feet and active all day, so I need clothes that stretch, flow, move, breathe, cradle, support, and cushion. Conversely, this means that The Bottom Line has fallen in my list of priorities. I paid more than usual for items this year - my sapphire jacket and Rockport boots come to mind - but I've already worn those items like crazy, because they keep my body happy.

Second, I've developed a practical interest in layering, since I have to wear a uniform tee most days. Tops that can be worn under the tee are invaluable for bookending, warmth, and variety. Scarves hold an importance they never had before. Jewelry feels absolutely necessary - and jackets are suddenly not as important, since they cannot be worn on the sales floor.

Third, it has become more important to me to feel fresh and current at any given time than to feel different than yesterday. This means I need less clothes overall, and that greater turnover is okay. I don't feel bad about reselling items after a year or so, because staying current is now a part of my business model.

Finally, I've developed a whole new relationship with my hair! As I click through my WIW photos, I wonder how long it will be before I want to go long again.

And so, in this unique time when 2012 is technically over, yet my 2013 shopping is not yet begun, I have developed a few wardrobe goals for the coming year:

- No more skinny jeans! Mix up the silhouette more.
- Swap out woven minis for jersey midis.
- Continue to purge unused items.
- Look beyond short shorts for summer - you can't wear those to work!
- Acquire 1-2 S/S scarves.
- Keep an eye out for closed-toe, comfy, summery shoes.
- Keep an eye out for 3" low-grade platforms, so you can bring your bootcuts to work.
- Save up for Shoptoberfest 2013!
* Resist the urge to shop for other, unnecessary things - save up for a family vacation!

I feel pretty good about my goals - they are simple and few, and they require both indulgence and restraint. I hope I remember to bust out this list around June, so I can see how I've done... and also see if the new career path has evolved the old style goals any further.


Manfashion Sharsies

Just wanted to share DH's most recent fashion acquisition: a reversible Chewbacca-inspired hoodie by Marc Ecko! It is waiting at the post office now, but we can't pick it up because it's Sunday. :(

DH plans to wear it with the fur on the inside for the most part and only go full Chewie for Halloween. There is always a chance he won't like it in person, but it is great to see him having fun with fashion!


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Jacket Challenge and Purge-atory (long)

A new month is upon us! Time to reflect on the past month... since I haven't been posting new outfits, you may have already forgotten my quest to wear all my jackets, but it was there, and I feel I've learned some muy importante things about my relationship with jackets.

First things first: I'm not really the Chronic Jacket Hoarder I thought I was. As mentioned in a previous post, practical use has taught me that blazers are NOT jackets. They don't provide full chest coverage, they're thinner, and they're not really appropriate for my current job. So far, they've only been practical for DFS once it cooled down (it was far too hot to wear a blazer inside most of the month). Conclusion? My jacket collection is still practical, however I must keep a wary eye on my blazers. If they don't get used, I'll have to purge a few and keep the ones that do double duty as toppers for fancy occasions and interviews.

Just as it turns out jackets are different from blazers, it also turns out that Summer jackets are different from Fall jackets. Sounds like a big "duh," right? I blame it on our difficult-to-discern seasons - who knew we had Fall, let alone Fall jackets?? Although many of my jackets are technically warm enough for Fall, they do not fit my Fall/Winter style persona, which is more militant and less playfully tomboyish.

Finally, one of the big kickers this year has been my work uniform, which precludes indoor jacket-wearing 75% of the time. This has put a huge lifestyle emphasis on outdoor-weight items rather than decorative, indoor items. It just is what it is and, while I may one day get to dress sans uniform, I have the current reality to deal with.

After all this, I do have a few items lingering in jacket purge-atory. Note that these aren't items I'm *planning* to purge. They are jus the items that didn't get wear and, thus, pieces I will keep my big, hairy eyeball on in the future. Some of these surprised even me!

1 - Allsaints leather jacket - yes, I'm clutching my heart, too, just thinking about it. But the banded waist and not-cropped-yet-not-full length is hard to style now that I'm not wearing sheath dresses every day. I'm also suspecting that the color is not the best on me. I was much more drawn to my warm medium brown steampunk jacket and chocolate brown trench. I don't currently have tons of leather-appropriate destinations, either. I'm not rushing into things, but it could be possible I should liquidate this asset...

2 - If the last pic didn't give some YLFers a heart attack, this one will. I LOVE this jacket... but I didn't reach for it once. I need to make a concerted effort to style this in a casual way. At the very least, I'm leaning toward keeping it in hopes of a new work environment - hopefully it won't be woefully dated by then.

3 - I've mentioned this one before, and it really makes me sad just thinking about giving it up. The F21 faux shearling bought at the first annual socal YLF meetup. I still love it! But it *looks* too wintry to wear in our warm Falls, and it doesn't keep *me* warm enough to wear much in Winter, and it doesn't look that good zipped up over a tunic. But it's very sentimental!

4 - Many of you won't like this one, anyway, but I love the pseudo-gear look and triple zippers... and it was a present from DH. I still love everything about it... except for the fact that it doesn't breathe worth a damn. Seriously, I sweat like crazy in this thing. No idea if saving it for travel to cooler climes would help at all, or if it I would just end up in a frozen bubble of sweat instead.

So, dear friends, any advice for an emotionally-addled would-be purger? What would you do?


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