Thursday, March 29, 2007

Aging Gracefully

This is my favorite handbag:

It's by Tusk, and it's just about perfect. I've had it for a couple of years now. It's gone to London, Paris (three times!), Dallas -- pretty much anywhere I've gone, it has too. I love this bag because it's an east/west style (which means it's wider than it is deep, so things are easy to find), has a few (but not too many) interior pockets including one full-length one that is actually a whole removable zipper pocket that snaps in & out of the bag (great for traveling -- documents & extra money can just be taken out & tossed into hotel safe), has a heavy but light-colored fabric lining (again, things are easy to find -- I despise digging around in the depths of a pitch-black bag to find my sunglasses), has nice flat handles that don't roll off my shoulder (it drives me crazy when I have to constantly hoik up a shoulder strap) and a perfect drop length (10") so that it fits under my arm without being shoved into my armpit. The hardware is solid, the zippers still work, not a single stitch has come unstitched in two years. I'm partial to structured, polished leather bags that hold their shape when you stuff things into them (although I am not a bag-stuffer, just to be clear) and this one definitely fits the bill. I love this bag and I want to continue carrying it for a while.

But it's got a little wear, and it's bothering me. I don't want to be guilty of age-ism, even in my accessories, but my darling here is beginning to droop a tiny bit. These are all purely cosmetic issues, mind you. The construction on this bag is as sound as the day I got it -- which is a real testimonial to the quality of Tusk bags, because I have put this thing through the wringer. There is nary a stray thread or frayed seam to be found. But the color is wearing off the bottom corners and the straps. Now, if the leather in question were on a pair of shoes, I'd just polish it. But polishing the straps on a handbag seems like a recipe for disaster, unless I only carry it while I'm wearing a long-sleeved black sweater for the rest of my life. So I'm thinking of having it re-dyed. I don't know how well, however, something made of polished leather will take dye. I really don't relish the idea of a wide black swath smeared across my ribs the first time I carry it.

So I'm looking for advice here. Has anyone ever had a handbag re-dyed, and how were the results? Please let me know. It pains me to see my dear one not looking her best -- she deserves better.

Photo: Style Spy

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Living in the Moment

Tucked into my bed last night reading "W" before I drifted off to fashion dream-filled sleep, I came across an article proclaiming that we are having a Mary Jane Moment.

Really? Gee, I hadn't noticed...

The first page of the article is illustrated by an artfully arranged grouping of four different styles of mary janes, three of which (the Camparis, the Iowas, and the Miu Mius) I have had on my feet in the last couple of weeks. They should hire me to write a compare & contrast survey.

The article speaks approvingly of the Miu Mius, noting how they go from "quirkily innocent" to "overtly sexy" depending on how they are worn, and illustrates this with the following:

Mandy Moore, looking very lovely and easily chic

Lindsay Lohan, hooching up & ruining the Mary Jane Moment. Seriously -- how is it that Rachel Zoe gets ANY work??

I can only assume (dear lord, I can only hope!) that Ms. Lohan (No, you know what? Miss Lohan. Until she starts behaving like an adult, she doesn't merit a "Ms.") doesn't have any plans for sitting down all evening, and heaven forfend she should drop her tightly clutched box of Marlboro Lights (so classy) while pounding back yet another Red Bull & vodka.

I don't care that she's only, what? 22? and still has great legs. If your clothing makes me wonder with alarm about your choice of undergarments, it should not be worn in public. Period.

Okay, rant over. Back to the Mary Jane Moment, which I am loving. There do seem to be variations on the mary jane them all over the place, and most of them get my wholehearted approval. There's something about the look I really adore, and I also love wearing shoes I know I'm not going to step out of. (Should impromptu swing dancing break out, I'm covered!)

(You laugh, but I'm actually a pretty darn good swing dancer. So there!)

With most styles, all but the most ornamented or kitchified, they can stand in for any pumps or classic slingbacks and give you just a little more detail and design oomph. Here's a few pairs that I love. Click the photos for links.

Perfect. Classic, yet still sexy. Great shoe.

Sweet little blue flats! (Also in other colors.)

An "homage" to the Blahnik Camparis, without the Blahnik price.

Another "homage", this time to the Miu Mius.

Some will cringe, but I don't care -- I LOVE them. Too much fun!!!!

Just beautiful, with fabulous kitten heel.

Plaid! How cute!

I am besotted with these and am drawing on all my reserves of willpower...

Wicked, wicked shoes that practically purr, "Hello, boys..."

These also come in solid colors if the floral is too much for you, but I think it's glorious.

Limited sizes (my credit card breathes a sigh of relief) because they're very on sale, but ooooooh, so beautiful.

Red patent peep toes (what's not to love?) at a fabulous price.

More red patent peep toes. Just 'cause I love 'em. (Hey, the heels are different!)

Great little suede wedge. These look so inviting to me.

So there you are. Revel in the Mary Jane Moment. Seek out the perfect pair for you. And then please write & tell me all about them!

Photos: W,,,

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Friday, March 23, 2007

My Little Nudist Colony

A reader (who just happens to be my cousin Melissa) writes:

For way too many years the mainstays of my shoe collection have been black - it goes with everything, and since I travel a lot for work, that is a huge plus. I love the look of the nude shoes, and would love to introduce something new and versatile into my closet, especially since black is not a very summery color. Do you have any recommendations?

Well, yes, since you asked, I do!

I know I've been featuring some pretty pricey shoes on here lately, so just to prove that there are good shoes out there that you don't have to sell organs to be able to afford, everything on this page is under $100. And Lissa -- almost everything on this page is available in a size 11. (My cousin is a tall drink of water, the lucky duck. Honestly, stand us next to one another and you'd have no idea we're related by blood. Genetics is a funny thing.)

Click on the photos for links to the shoes for more details & shopportunities.

What a cool little pair of flats! I like the idea of these with some loose linen trousers for summer.

Simply gorgeous. Perfect with skirts or slacks. Great mid-height heel, perfect for work.

Classic. How cute with a pair of straight-leg jeans and a boxy jacket.

Sex-ay strappy sandal. You'll wear these forever.

Yummy gold buckle -- I love me some gold hardware.

Great low heel, and a nifty variation on the t-strap. Good for skirts or pants.

I am in love with the little detail -- colored stones wrapped in netting. So special.

These cry out for cropped khakis, don't they? With fabulous sunglasses and a picnic basket.

Sling-back espadrilles -- how clever is that? They look so comfy, too.

Special occasion sparklies!

Perfect. They'll go with everything and never go out of style.

Slightly rounded toe and a sexy little v-throat for a bit of toe cleavage.

I'm sure there are more out there, but these ought to get you started. Feel free to let me know if there are some other ones you think I should know about.

By the way, if anyone ever purchases a pair of shoes recommended here, please send me a review. I'm always looking to increase the database!


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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I May Have Blacked Out in Barneys...

...and when I woke up I was wearing these:

(Miu Miu)

I wasn't just wearing them, kids, I was wearing them home. See, here's what happened...

We all know Parts One, Two and Three of my long and winding Manolo Blahnik Camparis Saga. (This is the last installment, I promise.) When last we spoke, the plan was to go to Barneys in Dallas to try on the Louboutin Iowas

in that fabulous nude patent leather in my (evidently too-enormous-for-Neiman's) size. And I did. They had them in my size and I put 'em on and gosh, they're pretty. They also hurt like the dickens. The toe box is very, very narrow on these babies -- even in the right size my toes were actually overlapping one another. And the edge of that peep toe started rubbing my big toe before I'd even made a full lap around the shoe department. No way I could wear them for any length of time without tears. This is slightly disappointing, but not actually surprising -- my feet, they are not particularly French, and I have noticed this before.

During Part One of the Saga, I had tried on these little beauties just for giggles:

My thoughts about them were that they were insanely sexy beyond my everyday needs, and that since I already have black shoes in this vein I should leave them at Saks.

But on Saturday in Barneys, what to my wondering eyes should appear but these babies in blue -- a perfect, delightful blue exactly between Wedgewood and robin's egg. (They're a teeny bit brighter than they appear in the photo above, but just a teeny bit.) I have been hunting for blue patent shoes lately. As a matter of fact I've now ordered & returned two pairs of them because they just weren't quite right.

But these are right. Oh, how right they are. My feet, evidently, are not French, they are Italian. (Good to know.) The shoes are beautiful, and believe it or not they are very comfortable. There's a hidden platform of about half an inch in the forefoot that seems to be made up entirely of padding -- they are the cushiest heels I own. I capered around on them all day Saturday and my feet were absolutely fine. Plus, the balance is perfect. They are so easy to maneuver in that I actually skipped through the shoe department to show off. I will be very interested in obtaining more Miu Miu shoes -- they appear to have the high heel thing figured out.

I had on a chocolate brown dress Saturday and the blue was just beautiful with it. (Later I accessorized with a patterned head scarf that had a few blue notes -- perfect.) Once I had them on my feet, I looked over at my friend Jody, who was shopping with me, and said plaintively, "I don't want to take them off!" And Jody, because she is a good & true friend, responded, "I don't think you should."

So I didn't. I paid for them, put my old shoes in the box, and hoofed it downstairs to buy some perfume. And I will have you know that before I had traversed the approximately 500 total feet from the shoe department down the steps to the Le Labo counter, three -- count 'em, THREE! -- people complimented me on my shoes. Three compliments in less than five minutes. Those are some good shoes.

So that's what happened. I have no regrets. It was meant to be.

Photos: Style Spy,,

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Platonic Sandal Ideal

Earlier this week I ordered these on a whim:

(Hadie by Circa Joan & David)

I am in love. I think I'm likely to buy a backup pair of these because my guess is I'm going to wear them to shreds this summer and then be very, very sad because I don't have them anymore. I've been known to do this -- buy two (or more) of something I really love to avoid the inevitable day when I have to replace it. I felt incredibly silly the first time I did it ("I have a perfectly good pair of these at home!") but that feeling evaporated the first time I finally retired a beloved pair of sandals and reached up onto the top shelf of the closet to retrieve a box containing... the exact same beloved sandals!

The shoes I really need to get a backup of at present are my Red Quasar Weitzman pumps

which I have spoken of here previously. These shoes... I love them passionately. They have a history, a provenance, which I'll spare you at present. When these become unwearable (which they will, being patent), there will be a mourning and wailing and gnashing of teeth that will make Niobe look like a four year-old girl throwing a tantrum.

(Apollo and Diana Attacking Niobe and her Children by Anicet-Charles-Gabriel Lemonnier)

But I digress...

I wasn't actually looking for sandals, I was looking for mid-heeled shoes to wear on my trip to New York this April, which cannot be sandals. I have a deep-seated revulsion about wearing open shoes in New York City. Eeeeuw. (And before you dismiss me as some paranoid, provincial mid-American bourgeoise may I remind you that I used to live in New York City and I know of what I speak.)

So, the sandals -- they're fantastic. They're comfortable, they're versatile, they're good-looking: they're pretty much everything you could want in a sandal. They even came with a nice heavy flannel dustbag -- all for under 100 bucks! So go! Getcha some! (Just please don't order the last pair of size 9s in medium brown -- those are my backups.)

Off to Dallas this morning to buy perfume for some folks and see the Matisse exhibit. (Look for me at the DMA tomorrow afternoon -- I'll be wearing my new sandals!) Back next week!

Photos:, Style Spy,

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thanks, Mom

One of the many, many wonderful things about my mother is that she sews. Very well. My mother made a lot of my clothing when I was growing up, and I was a very well-dressed kiddo. So Mom and I spent hours of my childhood and youth poring over pattern books and rubbing fabric between our fingers. I learned very early on the charm of tailor-made clothing: the dress you want in the fabric you like, all put together to fit you exactly. In time I learned to sew for myself. While I'm not the best seamstress you've ever met, I certainly sew well enough to wear my own creations in public, and often do. And I will say in all honesty that I usually get more compliments on garments I have sewed for myself than anything I buy in a store, which is reassuring and extremely satisfying.

All those years of looking at patterns and fabric developed in me a few important skills. One is the ability to imagine a specific shape (say, a dress) in a specific fabric and know both whether or not it is going to look good and how it is probably going to look on the body. This is invaluable, and I've always taken it for granted until pretty recently, when I realized this isn't an automatic ability all people are born with. There are an astonishing amount of people who can't picture what a dress is going to look like with a given pair of shoes, let alone in a different color or with a different style of sleeve or neckline. Which is okay -- that's what personal shoppers and stylists are for! (At which point I hand you my business card.)

Another thing I got from learning to sew is a certain amount of, "&%$# that, I'm not paying $400 for that, I'll make it myself for 30 bucks!!" Case in point:

Edison dress by Diane von Furstenberg

I've been looking hungrily at this thing for several weeks now. It's awfully cute, isn't it? It's got that trapeze shape without being too childish -- I really liked the idea of it for spring. So I tried it on this weekend and it fit really well, except for the sleeves.

Oy, my arms are a problem. I have, as I have mentioned before, fairly meaty biceps. Some of this is extra weight, but a surprising amount is actual muscle, the results of manymany years in the bar & restaurant biz. And the sleeves, while offering plenty of room for the stick-figure modeling the dress above, barely squoze over my guns. I could get it on, but it wasn't comfortable, and it certainly didn't look pretty.

This really cheesed me. I'm a decent-sized woman but it's not like I'm ENORMOUS. I think of myself, compared to folks I see in the general population, as decidedly medium-sized. (Lots of women smaller than me, lots of women bigger than me -- ergo, medium-sized.) The size 8 in this dress fit me beautifully everywhere else. I've done a little informal polling among my girlfriends and all seem to agree that for some reason sleeves seem to be getting narrower and narrower. Maybe it's just perception, as my arms are getting wider and wider, but enough women have agreed with me that I don't think it's just me. Is it just me?

So here's where my mother once again receives credit and thanks. I took off that dress (carefully, so I didn't rip the sleeves) and thought, "%$#& this! I'll make it myself!"

I hied myself over to the brand-new ENORMOUS Jo-Ann Fabrics that has opened up not far from me here in Austin and grabbed this pattern:

(Vogue pattern 8229, click for link)

which I am going to make out of this fabric:

I'm going to do the yoke around the neck of the dress in solid black, and those sweet puffy sleeves have elastic in them -- take that, DVF! I'll post photos once I get it done and you can tell me what you think.

Photos:,, Style Spy

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

How to Scratch an Itch

Weeeeeeeell. No one (including my very own self) would ever accuse me of having an overabundance of sense. However, it looks as though some Benevolent Force of the Universe was smiling down on me Thursday night and stopped me from making a terrible mistake. Yesterday, sober as a judge, I re-visited the scene of the (almost)crime and re-tried the shoes from Thursday night.

As I suspected, they do not in fact fit.

The Camparis were just too tight in the toe box, and in the Iowas my big toes were actually overlapping their neighbors by quite a bit.

So here is what I learned from this little adventure:

many glasses of champagne
+ a few hours in 4-inch heels walking around on tiled floors
the inability to correctly judge sensation in my feet

Important little life lesson, doncha think?

The Louboutin Iowas, which I'm loving more & more every time I see them, might actually fit in a larger size, but Neiman Marcus only had them up to 39 1/2. This puzzles me. My feet are pretty reliably a size 9 in American shoes. As we know, a lot of European shoes, especially the French ones, tend to run smaller than American sizes. (I know that everything's bigger in Texas, but I really don't think that's what's going on here.) So when the SA tells you that the 39 is the same as an American 9, don't believe him. If you need a size 9, get the 39, the 39 1/2, and the 40 to try on, especially if we're talking about a narrow toe box and a high heel. (Always err on the side of a little extra space in a shoe, especially a heel, because you can then put a nice foam or gel pad inside it and fill up the difference while creating a little extra cushioning. NEVER assume a shoe will stretch. Buy shoes that fit when you buy them, or you will rue the day, my friend.)

My puzzlement comes from the fact that I know a lot of women have feet the same size as me or a little bigger. So why wouldn't a store like Neiman's carry those shoes to fit us? Are we larger-footed lovelies not entitled to wonderful shoes as well? Is size-ism now extending even to feet? I sure hope not.

It's a well-worn trope (is there any other kind of trope?) that one of the reasons women love shoes is that no matter how much weight you gain, your feet stay the same size. Cruelly, this has not proven to be true in my case. My feet have actually increased in size. This is due to the fact that I had extremely high arches as a young person (my ballet teachers loved my feet), but as I've gotten older they have begun to fall a bit. Hence, my foot is getting flatter and longer. At 21, I wore a size 8. At 41, I'm up to a 9. I shudder to imagine my feet at age 80.

At any rate, next week I'll be at Barney's in Dallas and while I'm there I'll see if they have the Iowas in a larger size and try them on if they do. It's still possible I'll eventually bring home a pair of those beauties, but it's far from a sure thing.

The problem is, now I've been thinking about them for a while and have grown accustomed to the very happy idea of having some nude-colored patent leather shoes in my life. So much so that Instant Gratification Girl here went on a quest today and here's what she wound up with:

(click on the photo for a less amateurish view)

Nine West Pelli in a color called, for some reason, Paris Rose (which I must admit I like much more than "Nude.") Kinda sexy, aren't they? I am really loving this all-one-color-leg-&-foot thing, it's unbelievably flattering and at the usual viewer-to-shoe distance (i.e., not a flash camera held a few inches away from the foot) they are even closer to my actual skin tone. While these are a little higher than I was planning on going, A) wedge and B) surprising amount of padding in the ball of the foot. Very comfy shoe. Now, I am a shoe snob, I think we can all agree, but I gotta give it up for Nine West shoes. For their price point, they are extremely good quality, the customer service in their stores is always first-rate, and their design team has really been hitting it the last few years. These were just what the doctor ordered, and even better -- they were on sale! For 65 measly bucks, I got to scratch my shoe itch! Best of all -- I was stone cold sober when I bought them! Hooray! No shoe hangover for me tomorrow!!

Anyone else shoe shop this weekend? Whadja get?

Photos:, Style Spy

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Perfume Moment -- March 10

What I'm wearing:

(Le Labo Aldehyde 44)

What I feel I should be wearing with it:

(Elie Saab Couture Spring 2006)

Oh, this stuff just sparkles! It's the fizziest, champagne-iest thing I think I've ever spritzed on me. The first spritz is pure, clean, transparent aldehydes like a spray of sequins hitting your skin. And, truth be told, that's mostly how it stays -- there's almost none of the powdery drydown we associate with aldehydes usually (see: Baghari) . This is a very linear fragrance, it doesn't change very much on the skin. This is not to say it's simplistic or boring, it just doesn't undergo the metamorphoses some perfumes do. For example, when I wear Rose Ikebana (another bright, sprightly favorite of mine) it unfold itself in layers: the citrus & rhubarb, then the deeper rose, finally revealing a beautiful skin musk base that smells nothing like the first spritz. The 44 also has a lovely musk at the bottom, but it's only really apparent to me right next to my skin -- if I stick my nose ON my wrist & sniff. The other notes, the aldehydes and many different white florals, play peekaboo with each other in the sillage. Imagine plunging your hands into a large bowl of colored gemstones and moving them around. Sometimes the rubies are more apparent, sometimes the emeralds dominate, sometimes the topaz comes to the top. They're all there all the time, though, just shifting around and trading places. Le Labo names their fragrances for the dominant note and the number of other ingredients in the composition -- 44 is the highest number so far in their repertoire; it's a high number for any fragrance. It includes tuberose, jasmine, narcissus,and, well, about 40 other notes. It's a complex fragrance, just not a deeply layered one. It does deepen as I wear it, the woods warm up the fragrance as it settles into my skin, but it's always recognizable as that first, wonderful shimmer.

For other great reviews by people far more adept at talking about perfumes than myself, try Aromascope, Bois de Jasmin (Victoria seems as besotted as I am), and Perfume Posse (thumbs-up from both March and Patty (Patty's got it bad for the stuff, bless her).

Unlikely as it sounds, this beauty is available ONLY at the Barney's in Dallas. I usually turn up my nose at exclusives based on principal, but I liked this so much I got over myself. (I had to get over myself a lot -- this stuff is spendier than the non-exclusive Le Labos.) And now, in my functions as a Perfumista and also as a personal shopper, I'm getting over myself again and going back to Dallas to procure a bottle for someone else. (Actually, I'm going to Dallas to see the dual Matisse exhibits at the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Museum of Art which sound deliriously wonderful, but there's always time for a little retailing in Style Spy's weekend!) And if I'm going to get one bottle, as I may as well get a few, so if you're interested in me purchasing and shipping you your very own bottle of Le Labo Aldehyde 44, e-mail me and I'll send you the pricing information. (Please note: I'm only purchasing full bottles, not decants, shares in a split, or samples. Full bottles only.)

Now I'm going to go make some dinner plans that include champagne. My goodness, I am suggestible, aren't I?

Photos: Style Spy,,

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Shoes and Champagne

Last night, I got to get all dressed up, drink free champagne, and shoe shop! I'm honestly not sure I've ever been happier.

I attended the Gala Grand Opening of Austin's new Neiman Marcus store. I was surrounded by folks in tuxedos and very pretty dresses, not to mention oodles of fantastic Neiman Marcus merch. The store is lovely -- nicely laid-out and very open. There was a ton of music, including one of my favorite Austin bands,
Paris 49. There were hors d'oeuvres and canapes set out among the jewelry and makeup. This was utterly perfect -- I nibbled some roasted vegetables off a plate I could set right on the counter, then when I was finished, there was a mirror right there so I could refresh my lipstick! Brilliant! There were even tissues!

I didn't see very many SAs when we first got to the event, but by the end of the evening, after the several open bars had been dispensing various alcoholic potions for a couple of hours, I started to notice quite a bit of action at the cash registers and suddenly there were a lot of very well-dressed ladies accessorizing themselves with Neiman Marcus shopping bags. It's really kind of brilliant, when you think about it -- load folks up with free booze and watch the credit cards start to fly!

At any rate, I was a good girl and didn't make any purchases. I couldn't resist a little trying-on, however. And now I have a dilemma, and I need you to help me out.

You may remember my Manolo Blahnik Campari debacle a while back. To recap, I'm in love with these:

(Manolo Blahnik Campari)

and have been for quite a while. Alas, when I tried them on not long ago, I discovered they didn't fit me.

Or so I thought.

The place where I tried them on only had the shoes up to a size that was definitely at least a half-size too small. To gauge the fit of the shoe, I tried on these:

(Manolo Blahnik Blixa)

which the SA assured me were exactly the same shoe, just without the strap across the instep. And they didn't fit. They just felt far too narrow in the toe box for me to wear them comfortably, especially since they're patent leather.

Last night browsing through the (lovely) shoe department at Neiman's, I tried on these lovelies:

(Christian Louboutin Iowa)

which I have also coveted for quite a while. While the green is quite fetching, they also come in black patent, red patent, and this really great nude color:

that I am very attracted to because A) I love when a shoe is the same color as the leg, it makes your legs look longer, B) I think a nude shoe is very sexy, and C) what color doesn't it go with? Nothing, that's what! The other great thing about the Iowas is that the heel is quite a bit lower -- they're 70 mms (not quite three inches) and so are a lot more maneuverable. My fabulous friend Anita, who'd accompanied me to the Gala, made soft, cooing noises of approval when I got those Iowas on my feet, and I must admit, they looked goooooorgeous.

But here's where the plot thickens...

On a whim, I also asked for the Camparis in my (potential) sizes, which the lovely Valerie (the SA who was helping me) promptly delivered. And ya know what?

They fit.

Okay, okay, I think they fit. Thing is, I'd been drinking champagne for a couple of hours at that point, so it's entirely possible the bubbly was overriding my usual sensors for these sorts of things. Dresses! Champagne! Shoes! Music! Perfume! The endorphins were flying thick & fast through my system. You could probably have cut my feet OFF and I wouldn't have noticed. Obviously, I have to go back and try on these shoes again when I am sober. I have been known to end a shoe shopping excursion on quite a natural high, but under no circs should one go into the endeavor with a buzz on. It's serious business, people! Behave accordingly!

And now to the dilemma part of the post. IF once I'm no longer booze-addled those Camparis indeed fit in the way I think they do, ought they to be mine? Here's the major reason I'm hesitating: the Camparis will only be available to me (for a combination of reasons) in black patent. But I already have these:

(Michael Kors, love 'em so, was actually wearing them last night. Not quite patent, but slick black vacchetta leather.)

and these

(Stuart Weitzman in black patent. And yes, I also have them in that cult Weitzman color, Red Quasar. That's them posing as me in my blog profile, because I believe they are the perfect expression of my personality in a shoe.)

But seriously -- do I really need black patent mary janes when I have the above shoes already? The Iowas, however, I could get in the fabulous nude patent and just wear them with everything I own, including my pajamas.

Please help! Tell me what to do!

A special shout-out to my wonderful friend Margaret, without whom my attendance at the event (and hence my dilemma and concurrent post about it) would not have been possible. Mags, you're an angel!

Photos:,, Style Spy

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Thursday, March 8, 2007

Perfume Moment -- March 8

What I'm wearing:

(Hermés Caléche)

What I feel I should be wearing with it:

(Blumarine S/S 2007)

I've seen Caléche described as an aldehyde, but for me it's a bright, green-floral chypre. There are several white floral notes in it, as well as some citrus-y notes like bergamot. Well-placed bergamot is almost a guarantee that I'll like a fragrance. There's something about it that makes a perfume so bright and sparkling and... tart. Straight-up lemon notes leave me cold, but good bergamot really makes my mouth water a little. The oakmoss is unmistakable, but it never gets the sharp edge of many less well-balanced fragrances in this family, it just gives it a woody dryness that I love. It's a chypre to try if you're not sure you can wear chypres, it's far more user-friendly than a lot of the classics. Caléche isn't moody, she doesn't sulk in her room like Mitsouko. She goes out, has lunch with her girlfriends, laughs at your jokes and makes a lot of her own. Caléche is very elegant, very sophisticated, very French, but not in the least bit aloof. She's not the Parisienne who eyes you up & down disapprovingly, she's the one who unties the Hermés scarf from her own neck and lovingly knots it around yours, making a gift of it because the colors suit you better than her. Caléche may be the one chypre you'll ever find that you'll want to wear on a sunny day. It really is beautiful.

Caléche was originally released in 1961 and created for Hermés by Guy Robert, who is no slouch as a parfumeur, having also given us Équipage (another of my favorites), Monsieur Rochas and the much-beloved Dioressence, among others. The fragrance was reformulated in 1992, and I've never smelled the original so I can't compare them. The formulation I have is the Soie de Parfum, which as far as I can tell means "EdP" in Hermésspeak. Every time I wear a perfume I love from Hermés (and there are many), I marvel at how this house sort of flies under the radar a little in the perfume world. Sure, we all get excited when the brilliant Jean-Claude Ellena (or as I like to call him, myboyfriendJean-Claude) releases a new Hermessence, but in general they don't seem to spark the same sort of admiration or slavish devotion as say, Malle or Lutens. I think this is a bit of a shame. Just about the only thing that prevents Hermés from being my top contender for Favorite House is their lack of a straight-up, ravishing amber. (Sure, I love Ambre Narguile, but it's a sweet, candied amber -- I'm talking about something down & dry & a little dirty like my beloved Ambre Sultan.) But their roster of fragrances is pretty darned impressive, and their packaging is always gorgeous -- no small thing to us hard-core perfumistas who like to look at pretty bottles full of pretty juice.

Have you tried Caléche? Let me know what you think of it!

Photos: Hermé,

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