Rain Shoes

It has been raining daily in Chicago for awhile now — at least a week. I can’t leave home without an umbrella.

And It’s a pain to figure out footwear. Do I dress for the majority of my day or for the 10-20 minutes I might get caught in a downpour? Believe me, those torrential downpour can ruin a pair of shoes permanently. It’s not always convenient to carry a pair of rain boots around either, even if they are only ankle boots. They are just too bulky.

Enter this Sweet Dreams pair of shoes by Melissa. I’m thinking these might do the trick. Chic enough to wear to work or out with friends, they’d be ok to wear in the rain because they are made of PVC. They come in a pink, purple, teal, and red, but I might just stick with neutral black for the most versatility.

What do you think? How do you dress for unpredictable rain?

Avoiding the Corporate Look

So this may be an odd post to start with after more than a month of not blogging. But here goes:

I came across this faux snakeskin blazer from Zara via Girls of a Certain Age yesterday, and I’m really digging it. I always find blazers tough on my shape. They veer into the corporate direction instead of the cool I-just-threw-this-on style. But something this wild can’t possibly look too business-y, even on me, can it?

Gold Star of the Week

This little copper-alloy plated ring by Steven Shein is killing it. It wins my gold star of the week because it is so simple, so brilliant. Its two little points of diamond sparkle are located at the ends of the most unexpected appendages.

Plus both diamonds are in a bezel setting, so there are no prongs. That’s something I look for so that I don’t have to worry about snags when I’m working around historical clothing.

I’d wear the ring solo. There’s no need to add more jewelry because nothing else can compete.

white diamond pharos ring by Steven Shein, available on Of a Kind

Friday File

It’s been awhile since I put together a weekly link roundup because life has been so busy, but I couldn’t let this week’s content pass by. There was a lot of good stuff online, so let’s dive in!

Karl Lagerfeld taught a master class at a college in Paris. Oh to be in that room. That would be one interesting lecture.

So cool to see the first artifacts arrive at the Smithsonian’s still-under-construction National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Elsa Schiaparelli’s personal collection is going up for auction at Christie’s in January. I anticipate drooling over the catalog when it is released.

I can’t wait to see Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s “One Thousand Pieces” during its Winter Series in December.

Kim France, formerly editor in chief of Lucky Magazine, shared her 7 shopping rules. She says, “some stores are incredibly good at pulling you into their whole gestalt,” and recounts almost buying a pair of shoes completely at odds with her life. Has she been secretly watching me when I go into Anthropologie?

Have a really great weekend — last one before the holidays hit with their full force!

Reader File – A Gold Skirt

I’ve been wanting to try out something new on the blog — reader submitted style questions. In fact, my reader survey nudged me along when someone suggested such a thing! Friends often ask me for suggestions, so I thought it might be fun to do that here.

A couple days ago, my friend Lauren mentioned to me that she needed help with a particular skirt. I told her to send in her question for my inaugural post. So here we go for my first Reader File.

Dear Jacqueline,

About a year ago, my husband gave me this skirt as a gift. I’ve never worn it because 1) it was too tight, and 2) I don’t know what to wear it with.

While the first problem is solved, I’m still stuck on the second one. I’d love to wear it next Friday for my birthday — I’ll be at work all day, and then probably a fun restaurant for dinner, but nothing overly fancy.

While it’s no longer too tight to wear, it is very fitted, which is something to keep in mind for shirt-tucking-in purposes. (And I’d like to tuck the shirt in, because of that fabulous gold zipper!) It hits at my natural waist, and falls to about 2 inches above my knees. I’ve seen gold skirts styled with chambray shirts, but I’m looking for something a bit dressier, but still fun. I want to be able to walk to dinner, so I’m planning on these shoes, (I have them in black) if possible.

Thanks for your help!

First, happy birthday, lady! I hope it’s a great one. You are going to look awesome in that skirt.

This skirt is super versatile, even if it doesn’t seem so at first. You could choose a shirt with color blocking, a tiny-all over print, or a solid in a pale or dark color. I would avoid anything bright or loud on top. The key is to choose something that won’t compete with the skirt.

Since you want to tuck in the top in order to show off the zipper for your birthday, you should choose something made of a thin fabric. A thin silk would be nice in August. However, don’t feel constricted to do that every time you wear it. I think it would look equally nice with a sweater or a peplum top, in which the zipper isn’t the main focus.

But back to your birthday.

This first option is the Simple Lady. Your new skirt is matched to a classic rose cami and a string of faux pearls on a gold chain. For this ensemble, I went with the black wedges you already own. For work, add a black blazer or cardigan.

I’m calling the second look the Casual Walker. Your skirt is paired with a crepe racerback tank in navy, dangly earrings with coils, and textured wedges with a low heel. A navy blazer would be perfect on top for the office.

The last look kicks it up a notch for an Olive Edge. Here your skirt goes with a olive green sleeveless shirt pleated at the shoulders, hammered collar necklace, and some serious booties. Maybe wear a pair of ballet flats and a cardigan around the office, and toss them both in your bag when you get to the restaurant. You’ll look hot in these shoes, but they probably aren’t the easiest thing to walk around in on New England’s streets.

Realistically, I think most of these outfits can be mixed and matched pretty easily. And sub out whatever you’ve got in your own wardrobe that is comparable. Hope this gives you some ideas. Again, have a great birthday!

Anyone else have suggestions for Lauren?

And if you have a style question of your own, hit me up at thehourglassfiles@gmail.com.

Loeffler Randall Fall Faves

Loeffler Randall released its new fall collection today. Hello pretty shoes! My favorites have to be the Reese Kitten Heel Booties in both black nubuck and taupe watersnake/black leather.

Friday File

Happy Friday! Like everyone else, I’m flabbergasted that it’s already August. Faculty will be returning to campus in a few weeks and then the students. Too fast! I’ve been inventorying the fashion study collection during the summer break, which is very time consuming. Wish I had more time before school starts up.

I’m hoping to get a little bike riding in this weekend. Travis and I might take our bikes out to an arboretum to take in the cool summer weather. We also have a double date planned, and I’m sure there will be tasty craft beer involved. What are you up to?

Here’s a roundup of my favorite links this past week:

Colin McDowell breaks down the state of fashion criticism and lack thereof and why the industry desperately needs it.

Madewell has a new denim collection I’m pretty excited to check out.

There’s a blog about everything these days. Even though I know little about opera, I’m fascinated that there’s an opera gossip blog.

I’m learning a lot over on the blog Pattern Observer about artists who moonlighted as surface/textile designers. Check out these first two posts of the series on Henry Moore and Raoul Dufy.

And for any museum professionals, have a good laugh (while cringe) reading the satire “Museum Professionals Make Terrible Visitors.” Not that all of us do these things, but I’m sure some of this will ring true.

And don’t forget to take my blog survey by this Sunday at midnight if you want to be entered in the drawing to win the cool coffee table book Fashion Scandinavia. I’m loving learning your preferences!

Friday File – Sick Week

I’ve been sick all week. I’ve been slowly getting better, but I still have a bit of a persistent cough. Consequently, this week hasn’t been the usual, since I’ve been floating through the days hopped up on decongestant.

I haven’t been online as much as usual this week either, which means I only have two links for you. But nonetheless, I think they are both quite good. Enjoy and stay healthy!

Cathy Horyn walks us through her spring shopping agenda. Her penchant is for luxury designer garments (Celine, Marni, Dries Van Noten, Givenchy, etc.), a world of fashion I normally enjoy looking at, but have no experience shopping. It’s interesting to read her debate on current designer prices — some of which seem too high or right on target in her opinion. She peppers in her reflection with a few contemporary designer items (Opening Ceremony, alice + olivia, Rebecca Taylor). Of course pretty much all are above my pay grade, aside from the Uniqlo and H&M she mentions.

My friend Kirsty introduced the blog Empty Emptor to me this week via a post on a Net-A-Porter magazine article. First, the post itself was a brilliant breakdown of how the fashion industry uses language to convince a consumer that she’ll be happier for buying clothes. But second, where has this blog been all my life?!!!!!!!! (Yes, all those exclamation points are necessary.) The author, Jess, is a British post-doctoral cognitive neuroscientist whose blog aims to “analyse consumption, consumerism and consumer behaviour (in a very modest and inexpert way) through the lens of lifestyle, clothing, and my own wardrobe in particular.” Be still my beating heart, I think I’ve found my new favorite blog.

A Spring Shoe Trend

I’m hunting for a new pair of pumps to replace my favorite everyday pair that are running out of life. As I was trolling the online shopping sites last week, I started noticing a reoccurring detail — cutout sections filled in with thin plastic or mesh.

I vividly remember the overuse of clear plastic and cutouts in the late 90s/early 00s. In fact, my prom shoes heavily featured plastic. They were chunky and, in retrospect, not the most classy choice.

But there’s something different with these shoes. They are more feminine with a slimmer silhouette. The plastic or mesh is used subtly. These shoes are ladylike in appropriate spring colors.

Now, if only we could get some spring weather to go with these spring shoes. What do you think?

Friday File – Busy Week

This was a long and busy week for me. In the fashion study collection I manage, I had eight tours, class visitors, and requests to use garments in classes this week. I slightly underestimated how much that is, and I learned that maybe that is a tad too much to book in one week even if I love doing it. Transitioning between appointments isn’t the easiest thing to do and only goes smoothly if I have a student worker to help.

And now for my favorite things around the web this week:

When I grow up, I want to be Judith Clark. Lady is a fashion exhibition genius. That is all.

I’m pretty happy that the Smithsonian’s fashion blog, Threaded, is continuing its series on the flapper. This time, learn about the bob.

I’ve always been a bit skeptical of Fashion’s Night Out. According to Business of Fashion, the night was more of a money-sucking circus than an economy-boosting shopping event, and it is going on “hiatus” in the United States.

When I saw that Paola Antonelli of MoMA was on Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, I knew I had to watch. Paola is MoMA’s Architecture and Design senior curator. I quoted her in my masters thesis a number of times for her take on how to exhibit design in a museum. Watch and develop your own girl crush on her.