Thursday, August 29, 2013

Road trip look #2: South of the Border

Even though classes have started at Melina's university, Ali and I are still winding our way westward and enjoying the sights (and sites...) and foods that the southern United States has to offer us. This impromptu shoot happened last week at South of the Border, a totally insane, campy rest stop in South Carolina. Way to go, by the way, to the Wikipedia author that brought some Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown realness to this article- I'm pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, how could we not stop to take pictures with the jackolopes, burros, and dinosaurs that co-habitate at South of the Border? Fortunately I was wearing one of my cuter road trip looks- this Kensie dress that I bought with credit from a Providence consignment store called Into the Wardrobe. I was drawn to the sort of deconstructed mid-century print and 1950s silhouette that this modern piece offers, and think it works marvelously in this kitschy rest stop!

Until the next stop...

xoxo, Meg

Ali gets in on the fun with this dynamite throwing gator.

Dress: Kensie via Into the Wardrobe (summer 2013, purchased with credit from consigning)
Sandals: Target (still holding up after being worn approximately all the time since 2008)
Earrings: Adia Kibur from Pinch
Sunnies: A.J. Morgan (similar to these)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Inspired by Amber (as if!)

It was the last weekend before classes started. I needed queeraoke with friends, and I needed it now.  I wanted to wear something slightly more daring before diving into weeks & weeks of cardigans, pencil skirts & blazers.

Thanks for making my hair beautiful, as always, Thomas! Loving the new red ombre.

And so I did what any self-respecting femme would do: I summoned the sartorial savvy of the unsung heroine of fashionable mean girls, the one, true war goddess of red hair, lots of bangs, leopard prints, and crop tops—Amber of Clueless. Because, despite Cher Horowitz's sneering application of the epithet "fashion victim" to Amber's incessant array of hats, hair pieces, and loud, printed frocks, there is something just so right about her. So, so right.

Cher calls her a fashion victim in the movie, too, right? Not just in the resulting series of pre-teen chapter books? It's all a little hazy at this point, and now I'm suddenly revealing more than you ever needed to know about my early literary consumption. 

I clearly made the right style choices, because the bar was filled to the brim with magical, beautiful 90s babes, belting out rock hits from 15 years ago with utter abandon. Babes after my own heart. I still want to write a missed connection love letter to every single one of those girls. It's on my to-do list.

crop top: forever 21
skirt: thrifted
shoes: kork ease anna in nautical blue pearlized (via
lips: e.l.f. mineral lipstick in rich raspberry
nails: tillie polish beach babe & hot ticket goldfinger (see meg's post on this easy nail art here!)


Monday, August 26, 2013

Sale shorts 2 ways

During our recent mini vacation to visit friends in Boston (on our way to K's hometown in Maine), I had the opportunity to do some speed shopping at a LOFT sale rack. Let me tell you, readers. The LOFT sale rack is always good to me. We were probably in there for less than 20 minutes, and I walked out with this adorable outfit, which I then sported at the 6:00 AM launch of the local hot air balloon festival we attended at the tail end of our trip.

Really, is there anything more magical than hot air balloons? This was my first time attending the festival, which was a family tradition for K. I'm in love, and I hope to be back again next year.

But the most exciting part about this new outfit was definitely the fact that I scored SOME MAD DEALS.

The striped top was under $5 & the adorable print shorts were under $10!

exposed zipper detail

Even though I'd envisioned using these shorts in pattern mixing situations, we faced a sweltering afternoon during our return to the carnival portion of the balloon festival later that day. So I traded in the heavier striped top for this light and breezy Cat Power concert tee that I'd tucked in my bag for a more casual look. I was so comfortable in this pairing. These shorts were the clear MVP of this vacation!

shorts & striped top: ann taylor loft (sale rack)
cat power tee: concert merch, 2010 tour (I think?)
jacket: gap factory (2011)
bag: spitalfield's market (london, summer 2013)
shoes: worishofer 811


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Road trip look #1

Greetings from the Sunshine State! Also know as the place where Ali drives in the rain and I write blog posts, listen to Mindy Kaling on audiobook, and glare at Ali when she veers onto the rumble strip. The first real stop on our road trip was DC, where we hang out with Kate, our great friend and the charming writer of this Femmespiration Friday post on the gorgeous, charismatic, and well-dressed Beth Ditto.

As you'll see in the coming posts, road trip style is pretty simple. There are a ton of clothes packed into my Honda Civic (and millions more being shipped out), but I have absolutely idea what is here. If I wanted to belt something, I'd be screwed. If I hoped to find a different purse, I'd have to wait about ten days. Road trip style = working with what is at the top of the suitcase and putting on whatever earrings are in the glove compartment. Please roll with it.

On the plus side, I think this (super simple) outfit totally works. It features my super soft denim jacket (thanks Target!), a Macy's dress that I've definitely worn here before, and two new items: marshmallow-like orthopedic sandals from the Bass outlet which remind me of the old school Dr. Scholl's from the 1960s and 70s, and this red Dooney & Burke hobo bag that I got for free because, well, who doesn't like bright, soft leather goods when they're free?

Dress: Bar III, Macy's
Jacket: Target
Sandals: Bass outlet
Earrings: Malachite, Ali's

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Reader question: Building a teaching wardrobe

Hey guys. 
I've been working from home for close to three years, so my wardrobe is like jeans, shorts and t-shirts. This fall, I have to teach college so obviously I need to look profesh and not totally slops. But I'm on the tightest budget ever. WHAT DO I DO? Also, I don't even remember at all how to make my body look good in clothes. 

I think I'm a good project for you.

Dear Kate,
Major congrats on your new teaching gig and for having the opportunity to get dressed up in your profesh best! Personally, I'm looking forward to fall and school starting so I have an excuse to get dressed up daily.

Since you're on a tight budget and planning on starting from scratch, I think Melina would agree that your first stop should be your favorite local thrift store. Particularly for fall, lots of important and high quality basics are plentiful at Salvation Army, Goodwill, or my personal favorite, Saver's. Wool blazers in a variety of shapes and styles are widely available, and donning one can make almost anything appropriate for the classroom. Pay no attention to sizes, and instead scour the racks for colors that appeal to you, and quality fibers. I prefer shrunken styles, like this knit twill one from Land's End canvas and the J. Crew Factory one shown below. You may find one in a boxier cut that might fit you well in a size smaller than you typically wear, or consider rolling the sleeves for a jaunty look.

fall teaching

Lined jacket


Frye Dorado Riding

Melina here—just chiming in to say that I absolutely agree that many teaching basics can be found at your local thrift store. I have especially had luck in thrifting pencil skirts, which make up a lot of my go-to teaching looks. Look for wools in good condition, and remember that the key is to fit your natural waist. If you're feeling tired of blazers, a cardigan can often do the trick, especially a sturdy, textured one like this. You can substitute a skinny pant in for the same items you'd pair with a pencil skirt in order to add more variety/comfort. I wore ankle boots to my first day of teaching last year, and I also found that investing in a nice watch made me feel like an empowered adult capable of having authority in the front of a classroom!

fall teaching 

J.Crew slim jacket / J.Crew green pencil skirt / Joe Fresh(TM) Long-Sleeve 100% Silk Shirt / Naturalizer short leather boots / Forever 21 layered necklace / Fossil 'Townsman' Leather Strap Watch, 36mm

We hope this helps! Best of luck to you, Kate. Be sure to tell us all about your favorite teaching look this semester. 

Have a question for Meg and Melina? Send us an e-mail at femmepiricalevidence @ gmail dot com.


Meg & Melina 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Saying goodbye

This weekend Ali and I went to Melina's city for our farewell tour- Melina and K. threw us a great going away party complete with a "bye." cake (don't even ask), and lots of our gorgeous friends joined us to hang out and wish us well. As excited as I am to get on the road & start moving towards our new west coast life, I'm pretty heartbroken that this will be my last shoot with Melina in the foreseeable future & that our friendship will have to resume mega-long distance status-- this will be challenging since our friendship bears startling resemblance to this SNL skit starring Taylor Swift.

Melina is wearing another gorgeous vintage frock procured from her hometown, ie the promised land. As for me, this crazy maxi dress came to me like magic. Ali and I were having breakfast at her aunt and uncle's house, and with no prompting from me, her aunt mentioned a basket full of deadstock from a great aunt's failed venture in selling luxury lingerie on the Italian coast. I tried to be polite and not act too excited about the prospect, but Ali, being the best femme companion ever, told her aunt that we needed to see this glorious collection. This maxi dress is actually a vintage nightgown, and I have to admit that I'm obsessed.

Original tags!

Melina, I'm going to miss you so much, and am glad we were able to have one last shoot pattern mixing with one another! <3 <3

So sad to be parted.
dress: vintage (thrifted in NEPA, summer 2013)
belt: j.crew factory (summer 2013)
shoes: worishofer 811 
lips: e.l.f. studio lip stain in "fashionista"

dress: vintage nightgown
shoes: Swedish Hasbeens Ornament Clog
lips: Make Up For Ever 41
earrings: (barely shown, sorry!) Madewell

Friday, August 9, 2013

Femmespiration Friday: Shannyn Sossamon

Really it all goes back to this picture. 

It’s January 22nd, 2008, and I am strewn across the carpet of the Hampshire College Queer Community Alliance Center. My mascara is smeared, everyone’s is if they are wearing it, and we are speaking in hushed tones and gulping back Andre out of plastic cups. Earlier that day I received a text that Heath Ledger had been found dead in his 4th floor loft in Soho and to celebrate his life I’d assembled a few friends to watch Brokeback Mountain. The credits rolled, a few tears were shed, and I announced we were to cut my hair. After some light googling I found the picture I’d and my friend Rance set to work, transforming my shaggy shoulder length curls into something magical.
If I were to trace my femme-fashion root all the way back through time, I’d place it back in 2001 when I was in the 7th grade and sitting in a cool dark movie theater , probably wearing an Abercrombie sweater and watching “A Knight’s Tale”. Of course I’d heard about her, Shannyn Sossamon, she’d been a DJ right? Plucked from obscurity (well, a gig at Gwyneth Paltrow’s birthday party) and anointed as the latest It Girl. I read Seventeen Magazine religiously back then, and still blame my anxiety around wearing white shorts on my overexposure to pulpy teen mags. Anyhow, I’d gone for Heath, as all my girlfriends went for Heath, but I stayed for Shannyn. 

Let’s suspend reality for a minute, forget the silly and overwrought conceit that sought to marry 70s arena rock with a medieval tale of honor and jousting. Forget bad accents and naked Paul Bettany (ew), what we should remember of A Knight’s Tale is Shannyn Sossamon’s triumphant entry into my style vernacular. In A Knight’s Tale she plays a disaffected princess, her rebellion coded into her impeccably edgy, plunging necklines, and shimmering green-gold eyeshadow. Needless to say I revisit this movie whenever preparing for a big event. 

Both onscreen and on the page of magazines, Shannyn Sossamon’s style is a jumble of contradictions with sublime results, walking the line between high-femme and tomboy, quirky and practical, vintage and ultra modern. Whether this is the calculated effort of a brand or if she’s styled as she dresses in real life, I don’t really know. The cohesion of her styling from role to role is remarkable; it’s as if she herself is the character, moving from story to story. I want to discuss these early roles and their influence on the development of my style as a femme.

Please don’t watch “The Rules of Attraction”. I did it for you, so you can avoid the overwrought and quite frankly disturbing tale of  East Coast liberal arts college debauchery. Ugh. I wish I could have the hour that I spent watching it last night back. I fast-forwarded through all the non-Shannyn parts and still emerged with feeling of time lost. When I first saw the movie in 2003 I was enamoured with her outfits, flouncy jersey-knit skirts worn with chubby platform sandals or sneakers for skateboarding. She rocks cropped turtlenecks and frilly high-collared blouses with messy grown-out hair and luscious full brows and manages to look effortlessly cool. Today I still love her brows and the audacity of sneakers with a skirt.

However, I do not condone the newsboy cap. In fact, burn all newsboy caps. Thank you.

I didn’t bother re-watching “40 Days and 40 Nights” , the tale of a lothario, played by Josh Hartnett, who swears off sex for Lent and is tested when he meets a cyber nanny (don’t ask), played by Ms. Sossamon. In the film she sports her typical high-low girl Friday attire, mixing oversized hoops with a polished trench coat, a porcupine spiky updo with a simple black dress.

As a queer teenaged girl in suburban Maryland who preferred vintage dresses to cargo shorts, Shannyn Sossamon served as a style touchstone, proving that one could be a fierce, weird, and sexy femme. Despite the fact that she always played the romantic interest to a stable of Hollywood studs (Heath Ledger, James Van Der Beek, Josh Hartnett, etc.), in my mind’s eye she was always the coolest queer girl. When sneaking into my first gay club at the age of 16 I tried copied her trench and hoops look. 
And of course, the picture. I’ve chopped my hair off twice, both times inspired by this look. Of course it always turns out different; my hair’s natural texture evokes early Shirley Temple, but the inspiration still serves to turn out a cool cut. Shortly after my first foray into Sossamon shortness I was approached at a party by this girl, this fucking girl, upon whom I’d been crushing madly for months. She looked me up and down and said “I like it. I guess this is the real you.” And of course we went home together. And it was messy and she was mean, but that’s not the point. The phrase has echoed in my head for years, the idea of “the real me” and how it applies to my style. At college there was a trend, or was it a developmental milestone, when queers, upon arriving at campus, got their “Smith Haircut”. The chop usually occurred during their freshman or sophomore year, and it was widely seen as a declaration of sexual orientation. Mine certainly was. I wanted to be let into the club, seen and recognized as a queer girl on the prowl, and my hair most certainly signaled my intention. I have never gotten as much attention as I did right after the cut. 
Sossamon short in 2008 with my dear friend Azad
Of course the novelty faded, and after about a year I began the arduous growing-out process, which is another story entirely. While Shannyn Sossamon seems to thrive with awkward in-between hair, I just hid in my dorm for a semester and watched the entirety of The Wire on dvd until I had a presentable bob, which honestly felt a lot more like my natural style. 
Today I still search her on tumblr when I am late to a party and still undressed. Despite the newsboy cap that she sports in at least 2 of the 3 movies I studied, she is the one relic of early 2000s fashion that I feels fresh and relevant today. Yes, she named her baby Audio Science and no, I have no idea what she is up to today, but let’s take this Friday to muss up our hair and honor my original femmespiration, Ms. Shannyn Sossamon.