07 January 2008

January = Fashion In Flux

I'm finding it very odd that, despite January being the moment of highest self-awareness among everyone thinking about new resolutions, new looks, new gym memberships, etc., it is the moment of ZERO fashion excitement. Seriously, though it may be pouring buckets here in L.A., there is a serious drought of fashion fabulosity up in this piece.


In retail, January is the last month of the fiscal year. Therefore, stores mainly spend it trying their hardest to clear their shelves of stuff and raise their yearly sales numbers as much as possible. This year, retail has taken an especially hard hit, so we're seeing sales of not just 30% or 50%, but 70% off--even at established, always-profitable giants like Banana Republic. (Is anyone else sick to death of their emails? Jesus H, enough already.) They're not going to give us a drop of new merch until February; if we want to spend our Christmas cash, they want us to buy up as many clearance cashmere V-necks as possible.
And in magazines, though this phenomenon is irrelevant, I'm still feeling bored. We already started seeing Spring '08 styles on November and December runways and fashion spreads, so January issues with yet more spring florals are kinda been-there-done-that. Why can't we be supplied with gorgeous, revolutionary fashion inspirations at the same time we're all remaking ourselves (or trying) and looking for new magic in the still-unspoiled first weeks of 2008?
The solution, I think, would be to hold off on the Spring fashion spreads until January. I know the runway shows are earlier, so that kind of spoils things, but I still think that I'd like to save the shoots for later. I adore seeing Vogue's creative, frame-worthy interpretations of the runway looks, and they're really an entirely different animal than Style.com's straight runway slideshows. What if we had a month or two to digest the latest slew of looks (or to ignore them, if you're not among the more fashion-addicted) before seeing the resulting magazine eye candy as a reward for making it through New Year's, and as inspiring fuel for our renewed zeal for personal adornment?
Sure, industry folk don't want to waste time and advertising on spent-out shoppers with no spare change left after the holidays. But shouldn't they realize that the best medicine for those wallet-clutchers is a kick of new goods to convince them to open their purses yet again?
Pipe dreams, I'm sure. Until fashion news gets more captivating, I'll keep busy with those 70% off sales :)

> r r <

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02 January 2008

5C%'s '08 Resolutions

I'm sure you all have your own New Year's resolutions. Apparently the most common ones involve food and not eating it; money and not spending it; and time and not wasting it. However, clearly these are neglecting a vital element of our lives: UM HELLO FASHION ETC?!?

So RR has taken it upon herself to supply you with a handy printable list of Fashion & Lifestyle Resolutions (inspired, naturally, by her SoCal surroundings):

1. I will not wear Uggs/Cruggs/related plastic or fur shoes.
2. I will not bleach my hair to try to look younger.
3. I will not wear skinny jeans if I am a curvy lady. They may be hip, but overemphasized hips are not hip. Capiche?
4. I will not discuss my latest name-brand purchases loudly. This is totally lame. No one is impressed. It just makes you look like a sad attention whore.
5. I will not use the term "skinny bitch," since it just pins the sayer as being jealous and mean.
6. I will remember that mascara is meant to enhance my eyelashes, not weigh them down and make them look like tarantula legs.
7. I will remember that food is delicious, and that living on Diet Coke and Gummi Bears is not something to do, never mind to brag about.
8. I will also remember that trendy food is probably ridiculous, and that anything that seems remarkably expensive for its weight (see Gogi berries, Kombucha) is probably just meant for those who believe that throwing more money at one's health will compensate for drinking a lot.
9. I will not carry both a Sidekick and a cell phone. That is just dumb.
10. I will not wear leggings with shirts that are short enough to show my Lycra-clad butt, no matter how many Cardio Stripping classes I've taken.
11. I will try to remember a world before the Spears sisters.
12. I will not stop wearing/reading/listening to things that are genuinely cool just because they've gotten "too popular." I'm very guilty of this one, and it's just silly. Granted, the general public has historically terrible taste, but every once in awhile they get it right. Don't deprive yourself of The Beatles/chunky knit scarves/flat boots/Jonathan Safran Foer just because you can get them on Main St.

Happy 2008, kids!

> r r <

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24 December 2007

More Hatin' On Crocs

A website called "Fashion tips for women from a guy who knows dick about fashion" has this as its #1 tip:

Crocs look like shit and they make your feet smell.

When I see people wearing Crocs, I know immediately that we have nothing in common, and that we could never be friends or have any meaningful kind of relationship. They come in every color imaginable yet look bad with every other article of clothing ever created. The only thing that goes with Crocs is social ostracism.

To their credit though, Crocs serve as an excellent idiot barometer; you can tell a lot about people wearing them. For example, Amazon.com suggest products that other customers have purchased based on the item you're shopping for. Here are the suggestions for Crocs:

See? People who wear Crocs also buy Truck Balls. And--far FAR worse--listen to "Hey There Delilah," and even pay money for the single. Horrifying. Amazing. I love the guy who wrote this very necessary hard-truth masterpiece. And as for knowing dick about fashion, the above clearly proves he's on his way to a career on the Style Network.

I have some more Cros hatin' to do, but it may have to wait for a bit--I have cookies to bake. After all, I need all the help I can get convincing Santa to drop off Prada heels even though our fireplace is faux and there isn't even a chimney.

> r r <

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22 December 2007

Plaid Fabulous

I don't normally post about things as pure objects of my admiration, unadorned by sarcasm and mocking. This season, however, I've been so very captivated by PLAID that I am compelled to do a little homage. And after all, as I said at age 3, "People can do whatever they want."

Do you think plaid is stodgy? Preppy, boring and mainly associated with bagpipes? Think again.

Could Suzy Parker be any more fabulous? Or, really, could her coat be? I really want one just like that; sadly, I think a full-length plaid number would be a little out of place here in L.A. So instead I covet the cropped version at J.Crew:

Since even on sale it is beyond my wallet's reach, how about the decent mimic at Forever21?

Perhaps is is cheesy of me to fall for plaid at holiday-time, but that's probably the reason. Despite being a heathen half-Jew, I am totally susceptible to warm and fuzzy holiday feelings. I suddenly get domestic, plan all kinds of seasonal menus and events, and wish for matching scarf-&-mitten sets. And, apparently, plaid outerwear.

I am guilty of pining after things but never actually making up my mind to get them; I still don't have a plaid jacket, even though the one above is totally accessible. BUT I did take hours and hours basing my final project in computer fashion illustration on the fabulous plaid coat and related items. Perhaps now that I've spent at least 30 hours painstakingly digitizing plaid patterns and sketching clothes, I don't actually need the item itself. That is one problem with fashion: you immerse yourself so thoroughly that you end up sick to death of everything you once thought was lovely!

But I'm still pining a bit...and hey, Christmas is still to come. I hope Santa has us on his blogroll.

> r r <

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09 December 2007

Oh Dear, Again.

Dear Ladies,

Let Alicia Keys teach us all a valuable lesson:

Never, never, never, never, never wear drapy jersey tucked around your nether regions. It is even worse than what I had thought was the worst offender: satin stretched horizontally across the abdomen.

But mercy me, I was wrong. Thank you, Alicia, for sacrificing all personal dignity to impart such a priceless message. This image, burned forever into our horrified retinas, will not be soon forgotten.

> r r <

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05 December 2007

Oh Dear.

I try to contradict people's impression that fashion students are airheads as much as I can, but what I witnessed today can only serve to further that stereotype. There's only so much I can stand up for my peers before breaking down in awestruck disbelief at what comes out of the mouths of people who appear perfectly capable....

So I was in the textile library, snipping some lengths of ribbon to tie together my Fit Analysis terminology notebook (very cool, no?), when a girl walked up to the woman staffing the help desk. At first, when I heard her ask, "What kind of fiber is leather?", I thought I'd misheard. Obviously, leather is not made of any sort of fiber; it is leather. But no. That really was her question. The woman at the desk gave her a long, scornful eyebrow-raise and said slowly, "Well, leather is made generally from a cow. Occasionally, a goat or sheep."

The girl took this in.

"So, like, it's a natural fiber?"

Dear god.


> r r <

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03 December 2007

The Latest on Chanel Tattoo Girl

Remember that girl I have class with who has a Chanel logo tattoo behind her ear, just like in the Chanel glasses ad from spring '07? Right, her. Well, finally the other day I maneuvered my way into finding out her reasoning behind the tattoo. And folks, I was shocked. I'd gone along assuming that my classmate had swiped her tattoo from the pictures in an attempt to join their tribe of converts (chief member: Mischa Barton). But when I oh-so-casually asked, "When did you get your tattoo?", she answered..."ABOUT A YEAR AGO." Whoa. This means that she was getting inked when those ads were just a kernel of an idea in a branding expert's brain over at Lagerfeld Central. Not only that, when I said how it was cool that it was the same as in print (oh, I lie), she didn't know what I was talking about. Nope--this girl, who's decided that Chanel is so "her" that she wears its logo 24/7, apparently doesn't even read the fancy fashion magazines where her fave brand, and its advertisements, are featured.


Here, for incredulity's sake, is another Chanel-phile with the same idea:

She's a RankMyTattoo.com user named AmandaxChanel, and her caption is: "I got this tattoo because Chanel is what inspired me to be a fashion designer. I know its dumb but its what I am passionate about."


> r r <

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27 November 2007

Best Vietnamese Restaurant in L.A. is Now Plural

I just got this notice in my inbox, and since I'm running off to class to hand in a final project (on the oh-so-scintillating topic of "Departmental Analysis, Demographic & Psychographic Profile, Sales Plan, Assortment and Purchasing Plan for Lauren Jeans Co. in Macy's at the Westside Pavilion"), I don't have time to rephrase--but I'm so excited about this news I'll just post it up verbatim. Viet Soy Cafe is one of the best places to eat, period, and this new one is the perfect excuse to go, er, taste-test. I.e., eat everything on the menu.

"Sometimes it feels like you have to travel to the Far East to get a good bowl of bun chay.

Or at least trek to Atwater. That’s where the new Viet Noodle Bar is now open for lunch and dinner.

An offshoot of Viet Soy Cafe in Silver Lake, the decor is simple: white walls, two long, communal tables, and books piled high along a shelf that runs the length of the room.

The menu’s simple, too. Beverages like homemade soy milk and cleansing tonics C-shot (sugarcane, lemon, cayenne) and pennywort and apple juice have been carried over, while new Central and Northern flavors are introduced with dishes like banh nam (thin rice flour pancake with shrimp steamed in a banana leaf) and rice noodle bowls like bun ca thi la (turmeric white fish). Pho debuts next month.

That should give you enough time to find a map."

Viet Noodle Bar, 3133 Glendale Boulevard, between Glenfeliz Boulevard and Edenhurst Avenue, Atwater Village (323-906-1575).

[Psst--the brown rice with lotus seed is INSANELY good. > r r < ]

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22 November 2007

Ain't No Celery at the 5%C Thanksgiving Table

So, inspired by fabulous blogs like LAist, I'm making a list of things I'm thankful for at this very moment. I don't know why anyone cares about this type of thing, since what I'm thankful for very likely has nothing to do with you, but everyone else is doing it (even Perez, in his way), so it must be cool (right?). I will even try to make it relevant to 5%C by including fabulous foods and fashions. Not difficult. OKAY.

RR is all like "THANKS" about some stuff including these things:

  • Schizophrenic fall weather that lets you wear little skirts or big sweaters
  • The advent of holiday baking season!
  • Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown L.A. with all the old people and the weird forest dioramas
  • Beautiful old postcards
  • LOLcats
  • These Prada shoes
  • My new job
  • Our cat learning to use his scratching post
  • Mezzanine Owls' upcoming record
  • Project Runway
  • Persimmons
  • Gloves with fur trim
  • Animals with fur trim
  • Babies dressed like animals
  • Not having any babies
  • Wooly tights (Hue and DKNY make great ones for stingy girls like me)
  • Establishments that let me stay stingy: The 99 Cents Only store, taco stands, Thank You Mart
  • All the new movies I actually want to see
  • The fabulous Louise Brooks
  • The fact that I didn't succumb to the iPhone craze, since now there's a Google phone in development
  • And...I am thankful for today's being notably full of food, as I am currently starrrrving.
On that note, I'm audi (oh, & of course I am thankful, as always, for Clueless).

> r r <

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18 November 2007

Food + Fashion--For Reals?

One question I get a lot is, "So, is everyone at that fashion school of yours, like, totally anorexic?" And honestly, when I first started there, I was shocked at the offerings at the café--chips, donuts, cup o' noodles, etc.--because I was picturing the girls of The Devil Wears Prada and assuming that no way in hell were fashion-school girls eating this stuff.

Well, for y'all's info, I was wrong. Sure, many of my peers at school are toothpicks in skinny jeans...but it's only the very rarest of them that brings Ziploc bags full of carrots from home to eat between classes. Quite the contrary: apparently, most of the people I see every day subsist on exactly the kind of food that Nicole Richie would die before letting pass her lips:

Yep, the real meal secret of fashionistas is salt + sugar, shaken together in a bag and served in massive quantities. Washed down, of course, with multiple Diet Cokes (the fashion girl's bottled water). Oh, and let's not be prejudiced in our reporting here; what about fashion students of the male persuasion? Those very fabulous boys prefer Subway (handily located across the street, at a Shell station. So very chic.).

We all know how models give that annoying line about eating whatever they want and never exercising and jsut having magical metabolisms...well, judging by my peers, maybe it's true after all. Fashion and logic never go together, after all. Just a little--dare I say--food for thought!

> r r <

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17 November 2007

When Fashion School & Gossip Girl Collide

How convenient that two main occupations of mine of late—digital sketching and Gossip Girl—would convene in such a, well, material fashion. (Ha! Fashion! I am hilarious.)
Interruption: the most ridiculous Sandals Jamaica ad is on TV right now. Sandals, like Michael Scott on The Office took Jan to. So this ad actually has “Time of My Life” as the background song. Who on EARTH is this targeting? Amazing.
Anyway, first, I’ll explain that a key part of fashion design is digital illustration and graphic design. You may think it’s all Project-Runway-style freakouts (speaking of which, how excited am I that P.R. is finally back? SO VERY.) and madly inspired moments but actually, design now involves a lot of painstaking work in various programs written by Adobe. For my Applied Technology class, I have to draw dresses, shoes, what have you, and then lay out pages with backgrounds and color swatches and titles and stuff…all of which has to correspond with the concept of the design. I like designing everything, but jesus it takes forever. Here’s what a finished page looks like, using a photo inspiration and then adapting it:

Second, I’ve started watching the new show Gossip Girl recently. Along with being the next O.C. (in a good way—oh, the adolescent drama! The love triangles and pentagons! The endless catty comments that we wish we’d thought of in high school!), Gossip Girl also takes The O.C.’s place as fantastic fashion spectacle. There’s Blair, preptastic princess extraordinaire, who manages to pull off headbands and ringlets, and then our heroine, Serena, who’s kind of designer bohemian and has hair that is always unbrushed yet totally perfect somehow. I’m sure her wardrobe is calculated by teams of statisticians to make us fall uncontrollably in girl-love with her, and I can’t deny it’s worked. In fact, I KNOW that the wardrobe is at least as calculated as most…because Gossip Girl, after making you covet every $400 Tory Burch striped sequin shift that Serena wears to an ill-fated party, gives you a hyperlink to its ONLINE STORE. Yep, Gossip Girl has its own boutique with links to all the stuff to let you buy our way to Upper-East-Side soap-opera stardom yourself. You can even "browse by brand, character, episode or product"! And THEN you can link to Victoria's Secret looks "inspired by" the characters.

So while I could rattle on about how interesting it is to see how the entertainment and retail industries are coming together via the all-powerful internet, instead I’ll cut to the coincidence: when I visited the Gossip Girl style file deal online (in the name of research, natch), what did I see but the very purse I’d just finished using for my class! I picked it solely because it was easy to draw, but I guess it must be chic, too. At least according to The CW’s statisticians.

> r r <

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07 November 2007

J.Con--What The Fug?

I just have a quick question.

What the HECK is going on with Jennifer Connelly's face? Look at it for a minute.
Don't get me wrong, I've loved her ever since Labyrinth, but homegirl seems to be having some serious symmetry issues.
> r r <


23 October 2007

I would just like to note...

...that an unknown internet surfer recently clicked to this blog via Googling "swedish ta-tas."

Swedish ta-tas ==> 5%Celery.


> r r <


21 October 2007

Sunday Style Roundup

Well, hello there.
Preface: We may have fallen off the old "posting"* boat, but hey, we've been otherwise occupied. Often that means someone is in the loo, but in this case, it means that .:tt:. and >rr< have been occupied with things such as Acquiring New Jobs, being Productive Members of Society (Ending World Hunger, Ending Misuse of Terrycloth Pants, etc.). But we have not forgotten entirely about you, gentle reader (oh, Miss Manners), and to that end I've put together a list of my most favorite fashion & style resources on Ye Olde Internets. Even if you just think of these sites as procrastinatory devices rather than fascinating sociological tracts, hey, at least they're marginally more edifying than Perez. Without further ado:
The Sartorialist - The most gracious documenter of street style, in his words, "started The Sartorialist simply to share photos of people that I saw on the streets of New York that I thought looked great. When I worked in the fashion industry (15 years), I always felt that there was a disconnect between what I was selling in the showroom and what I was seeing real people (really cool people) wearing in real life." This now translates into a gorgeously simple photo blog updated daily from his travels all over, among circles high and low. He gives us thoroughly chic fashion plates and fantastic old men in hats. [see -------->]
GoFugYourself -This indispensable site is the first thing I read after I stare down my horrifying Gmail inbox. The Fug Girls knock fashion offenders neatly off their pedestals with a hearty dose of hilariousness. They're geniuses. It's addictive. I'm sure you know this already.
The New York Times Fashion & Style section - They're pretty on it in terms of mainstream fashion news, and have intelligent reporting on fashion in the real world. Their photo montages of Manhattan folk are fun too (e.g. people wearing galoshes! Or, yellow dresses! Or, white fur! I feel like New Yorkers are actually way more daring with their everyday ensembles than we Angelenos.). Plus, the Style section has articles on media, pop culture, music, blah blah, which are relatively smart. Plus, their wedding reports are unbeatable! Even my very un-cheesy stepmother reads them religiously. And let's not forget the very pretty seasonal "T" magazine they put out about fashion & style. Good times. (Hah! TIMES! I am a master of puns!)
Deeply Superficial - A graduate student of fashion theory writes this catch-all blog about "fashion theory/fashion history/fashion now." My fave combo! I'm excited to find that you can actually study fashion theory in grad school--a dream of mine--and her posts on fashion theory, recent fashion happenings and phenomena (and sample sales!) are neat.
Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture
- I received this heinously expensive Scandinavian journal for a year (thanks, Mom) and now can check the super-academic articles online (or, at least, the free previews of them).
Style.com - Duh, I know. But they have all the runway shows, neat articles spotlighting industry darlings or newcomers, and it's where I can check to see things like, oh, what kind of shirt CAN I wear with my trouser-leg jeans?
Fashion Geek - I guess this is a Citysearch blog (weird), but it's got updates on the U.S. fashion scene, snarky Fashion Week reviews, notices of random fun events and music and stuff too. Whoever writes it is amusing and it does provide a nice jumble of vaguely related posts (Marc Jacobs vs Tom Ford in a "nude-off"! Latest weird trends! Gossip from the reporter! Interviews of people on the street!). Kind of like a Gawker of fashion, I guess.

OK, enough for now. I won't admit to any more of the stuff I read regularly for fear of looking like some geek who reads about the industry all day...um...so, I'm off to brave the outside and find some sushi.
> r r < *My newest favoritest randomest blog that warms the cockles of my grammar-freak heart: the blog of unnecessary quotation marks!

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