Review: The Worn Archive


I picked up a copy of the The WORN Archive: A Fashion Journal about the Art, Ideas, & History of What We Wear, on a whim while in Portland last October. I have read most of the articles in the 400+ page book which is an anthology of the first 14 issues of the Worn Fashion Journal magazine. What was so refreshing about the book and its entry into the Worn Fashion Journal is that it focuses on personal style over fashion trends. They focus on gender and body issues as well as how people create their own personal looks through thrifting, vintgae, modern and handmade items. Its more like Bust magazine with an emphasis on clothing and fashion than a Vogue magazine. Sadly, the publication is defunct now but the back issues are still available as well as the book.


The book is printed on heavyweight uncoated paper that makes it feel like an art book and is filled with great illustrations. Its also beautifully designed.


The models range in size, shape, age and color to present a diverse representation of people who care about how they dress.


All in all, its been one of my favorite book purchases of the past year. I often pick it up and flip through it to look at the wonderful photography and illustrations or to skim an article again. ITs a refreshingly different take on fashion and beauty and I wish there were more things like this in the world, especially since Worn is no more.

Here is the promo video for the Worn Archive book launch which puts some faces to the staff behind the book and publication:

And this led me to their Secondhand Prom Mash-Up video which made my Monday!

(All photos from Drawn & Quarterly)


Not-So-Vintage: Mori Girl


I’ve been meaning to write up a post about things that inspire me that might not, at first glance, appear to be vintage. The first person I thought about was Tif Fusel, AKA Dottie Angel, whose unique sense of style is a constant wonder to me. She refers to her style as “granny chic” with lots of layered prints, woolies and crocheted details.To me, she is a fashion icon of the highest order. She has found “her look” and embraced it wholeheartedly. Of course, she’s stunningly gorgeous too.

Tif incorporates vintage thrift finds like old fabrics, crocheted doilies and her own knitting, crochet and embroidery. She layers her pieces over tights, leggings or jeans and pairs the ensemble with clogs or boots which give the look a forest girl vibe.

I’ve come to find out there’s a whole fashion trend from Japan called “mori girl” which translates to “forest girl” that draws on a lot of similar elements. Mori Girl style still has a hint of the Haajuku and Lolita trends that started the whole fascination with Japanese teen street fashion but is definitely has more everyday wearable aspects.

Mori Girl style incorporates lots of neutrals and woodsy colors, woolens and even some elements that feel distinctly vintage in a rundown-British-country-home sort of way. Its inspired by Scandavian style, loose, unstructured Japanese fashion and is a little demure, innocent and fantastical.

I think bits and pieces of this style would be a great way to add some vintage-y elements while keeping the look fresh and modern.


Lots of elements from this look come from traditional, classic or vintage styles like cardigans, peter pan collars, delicate floral patterns and layering.

Tiny Owl Knits is a great source for knitting patterns that fit squarely in the Mori Girl look. There’s even a whole forum on Ravelry dedicated to the Mori Girls look and dozens upon dozens of pinboards on Pinterest featuring inspiration.

The only concern I have with trying the look myself is that, as a slightly curvy, chunky girl, I’m afraid the look would be less waifish and more circus tent-ish.


Allied Voices: Links from Around the Web


I found two different posts this week about ways to make vintage fashion look less costume-y. The first was about making vintage fashion look appropriate for any age which focuses on what I consider “classic looks” and the second article was about finding your vintage look without looking like a re-enactor (unless you want to).

Both articles focus on doing what’s right for you. If you don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself because you’re shy or just dipping your toe into vintage looks, these are super helpful. You might have a job that requires you to look “professional” and co-workers might scoff if you come to work in head-to-toe vintage. But a classic pencil skirt, crisp white blouse and a vintage pin might pass under their radar and feel totally vintage to you.

Vintage (Style) Can Be Appropriate (via Quirky Girl Likes Vintage)

Dressing Vintage: 10 Simple Tips to Avoid Looking Costumey (via Wearing History)

And for something knitting-related, Ysolda created a beautiful photo tutuorial for doing a provisional crochet cast-on. I always forget how to do this and struggle to figure it out. She makes it look so clear and easy to understand.

Technique Thursday — crochet provisional cast on (via Ysolda)


Less Slob, More Style… especially when traveling

This weekend, I read a post on Slate entitled “Stop Dressing Like a Slob When You’re Traveling” and its stuck in my mind. Partly because my husband and I have a similar conversation almost every weekend when we venture out for lunch or a shopping trip. Sadly, the habit of “dressing like a slob” in America is no longer confined to just travel though it is so prevalent in airports as to baffle my mind.

“The weary traveler has little control over these things, but he can control his own outfit—and feeling handsome amid all the inhumanities can be powerfully heartening.” (from Slate)

Men are not the only slobs at the airport. Or, in my world, the grocery store, deli or shopping center. Women are just as likely to wear the most unfortunate, slobby outfits like sweats, plastic flip flops and a baggy worn-out t-shirt. Is this Starbucks or the set for “Orange is the New Black”? You know other people can see you, right? Do you really want people’s first impression of you to be that outfit?

“dressing decently seems to garner superior treatment from transit staff.” (from Slate)

When traveling, I often go straight from a flight to public transportation, then a hotel or even straight to a meeting and I am not going to do that in sweats with “juicy” written on my butt. What if I want to stop for lunch? Or my luggage gets lost? Do I want to get stuck in that outfit indefinitely?

I understand there are all sorts of inconveniences and discomfort involved in modern-day air travel that make me want to:

  • choose shoes that are east to remove for TSA checks
  • not bunch or bind uncomfortably while squashed in economy class
  • are easy to sit on the floor if there are no seats in the waiting area
  • are easy to get in and out of for quick restroom breaks or in the tight confines or an airplane loo

The dress looked a bit like this. And see how cute and pulled together it can look while still being comfortable and casual?

This lead me to think of my friends and our “magic traveling dress”. It was a simple denim chambray shirt dress with a tie at the waist. Jewels wore it on a trans-continental flight and then loaned it to me when I had to make the same trek. Paired with leggings and a sweater (or wrap) and flats or sandals made a nice outfit that I could wear again while on the trip and did not make me look like a complete slob. Plus, it was super comfortable. Later. the dress was then handed off to another friend who also wore it on a long-haul flight, hence making it the official “magic traveling dress”. It should be up to premier status for all the frequent flyer miles its racked up.

“When we dress well for travel (ed. note: or life for that matter), we are not only making ourselves look good; we’re also signaling that we are invested in making this shared experience pleasant for everyone around us.” (from Slate)



Clothing Swap Super Score!

Awesome zoo print skirt worn with magenta pompom scarf from work sample sale, grey cardigan from Gap and grey t-shirt of unknown origin, tights and handknit raspberry legwarmers, pattern from Tiny Owl Knits. Shoes are Dankso clogs. Bamboo squirrel pin from DecoyLab.

Awesome zoo print skirt worn with magenta pompom scarf from work sample sale, grey cardigan from Gap and grey t-shirt of unknown origin, tights and handknit raspberry legwarmers, pattern from Tiny Owl Knits. Shoes are Dankso clogs. Bamboo squirrel pin from DecoyLab.

Some of my friends organize a yearly or biennially clothing swap which happened about two months ago. We try to do it in the fall and spring but sometimes we only manage to do it once. We bring all the clothes, shoes and accessories we don’t wear, don’t like or don’t fit to someone’s house and then trade, swap and try-on lots of options we might not purchase on our own. We also bring snacks and cocktails and make it a whole afternoon of fun. I find it a great way to expand my looks since most of my friends have very different aesthetics.Its also like going out shopping with a dozen friends who all help you find items with a good shape, color or style for you.

What we don’t swap, we donate to a local charity which is often a whole truckload of clothes. Our only rules is that the first pick of items is done by lottery (draw a number) and then each person gets to pick one “choice” item before the free-for-all starts. Even though all my friends are of different sizes and heights, everyone goes home with something new. Sometimes, way more than they thought they would.

I picked up some modern looking pieces this year as well as one true treasure — a handmade skirt from what I suspect is fabric from a child’s curtains or playroom. Its a tiny bit too big for me but it is such awesome fabric that I cannot resist wearing it a lot. I really should try to take it in a bit but I can’t put it aside long enough to do the adjustments.

Another day at work in the zoo print skirt, this time with my Fly London Mes boots in petrol teal blue

Another day at work in the zoo print skirt, this time with my Fly London Mes boots in petrol teal blue

Nothing says fashion like a lame work badge! Wearing an orange t-shirt scored at the clothing swap (Banana Republic, I think) and a brown Land's End Canvas cardigan (no longer available but the Land's End Supima Cotton Cardigan is probably quite similar)

Nothing says fashion like a lame work badge! Wearing an orange t-shirt scored at the clothing swap (Banana Republic, I think) and a brown Land’s End Canvas cardigan (no longer available but the Land’s End Supima Cotton Cardigan is probably quite similar)


Oh, Dear Shoes!


I was going through my recent photos and discovered a habit I have of photographing my shoes, while wearing them. I guess I just like my shoes. Pictured above are my Fly London Yuna Wedge heels in green. I put off purchasing them for ages because they had to be shipped from England and were pricey but they were so worth it. Cute, comfortable and stylish.

I keep an old pair of Juicy plaid sneakers in my desk so that I can go for a walk at lunch — to the post office or up to the World War I memorial if the weather is nice. I didn’t think my nautical striped skirt would go with my sneakers but it actually worked.

My latest acquisition is a new pair of Dansko clogs in patent leather with metallic silver scribbles. They are a lot looser than I had expected them to be especially since they are even smaller than my old Dansko maryjanes which were abandoned in the Hong Kong airport.

I love the look of the Ugglebo (now Sandgren) Milan clogs I bought at the end of the summer but I do find the hard wooden soles a bit hard to wear more than once a week or so. It looks like since Ugglebo became/merged with Sandgren they often a “comfort clog” with a PU sole which I might try.

Hope you’re as amused at my shoe photos as I am.


Little Pieces of Me

I haven’t done a fashion-y post in awhile, mostly because its been cold and grey and I’ve had to wear layers upon layers of clothes which leads to very un-vintagey outfits. I have managed to keep a few vintage-y details though. My tweed skirt gets lots of wearing along with an endless supply of black tights and since it has not been slushy or snowy, I’ve been able to wear my cute retro shoes. And I’ve embellished my Louisa Harding knit beret with a vintage button-and-buckle brooch.

This is what I look like most mornings. Hello, hot rollers!  Thought you’d all be amused.


Anyone in there?

Is anybody in there?

“Is this thing on?” CLICK! “Ooof! (Sorry about the cleavage!)”

After many attempts to get my self-timer to work just so, I got a few tolerable photos of my work ensemble. Most mornings I am running too late or look too horrid to record my outfits for posterity but on this particular morning (sometime awhile back as I have been so bad about actually uploading and posting the photos I’ve taken) I looked presentable and I was not too late.

After many failed attempts...

I am wearing my new favorite skirt — an almost-full vintage floral skirt in purply hues with greens and pinks. OF course there’s a crini under there to fluff it up a bit. I tried to twirl a few times for the camera but it was a dismal failure.

And would you believe my purple Converse low-tops match the skirt just so! As I tend to be a bit of a coloroholic, I had to wear it with my kelly green cardi and a turquoise blue cami. I even found a purply scarf to tie in my hair. Part of the reason for being on-time this particular day was that I didn’t curl my hair, I just threw it up into a ponytail so I could go-go-go!

Note that I had forgotten to take my work badge off before shooting these pictures. Oops! Silly me!