Saturday, July 30, 2011

Victor Costa SATC2 dress

Victor Costa SATC2 dress, originally uploaded by retrogemkitty7.

Yes, I did it. After a year of searching eBay & Google, I've tracked down the Victor Costa dress that Charlotte wears in the second SATC movie, & I've managed to do it at a price that fits my recessionista budget.

I don't usually buy clothes I've seen in films or on celebrities. Most "it" items have little or no appeal to me & I think many celebs should have their stylists publicly flogged. There are some famous ladies whose closets I'd happily raid, including Debi Mazar, Lulu Guinness, Diane von Furstenberg, Dita von Teese, & Sarah Jessica Parker, but I don't want to be a carbon copy of anyone. I can't think of any present-day films whose wardrobe departments I'd like to ransack, unless we go back a few years to "The Devil Wears Prada." Most contemporary flicks simply do a brilliant job of illustrating why I dress retro.

This dress, however, is not just any movie dress. It's pouffy, it's strapless, & it's by Victor Costa, my go-to label for vintage special occasion frocks. When I saw Kristin Davis wearing this dress in an SATC2 promo pic, I gasped. I knew who it had been designed by & set out to find it.

Needless to say, once the film came out, eBay sellers & other vintage clothing dealers saw an opportunity to make big money on this dress. I saw several examples of it online & for a while, the going price was well over $200. I do a bit of eBay & Etsy selling myself, so I can't say I wouldn't do exactly what those other sellers did, but I also couldn't shell out that kind of change for a semi-formal summer dress. Even we don't get gussied up as often in the warmer months as we do in the winter. So, I kept searching.

Finally, about a month ago, this popped up on eBay & the seller apparently didn't know it's a "movie dress." I got it for $22 + a few bucks for alterations (it was too big in the bodice.) I wore it to the symphony last night & got tons of compliments, both from friends & complete strangers.

A very late-to-the-party note on SATC2: I enjoyed it. I went with DC-area girlfriends, did some shopping after, & treated myself to the most enormous falafel sandwich in history before driving home (yum!) The movie is incredibly silly, but a feast for the eyes. I do wish more of it had taken place in NY, but it's good fun. I never watched the TV show until it was in syndication - J & I watch almost no TV - but I love the episodes I've seen. Apparently there's an SATC prequel in the works, using younger actresses to play the girls earlier in their NY lives, & I am less than excited about the prospect. The four actresses who starred in the show & the first two films embodied their characters so beautifully that I can't imagine anyone else doing them justice. Maybe I'm just old & crotchety, or maybe the later "Star Wars" movies (I saw the first two in that series & stayed away from the third like the plague) have put me off prequels for good. I think I'll stick to catching the occasional episode of the show, perhaps seeing the films again if they pop up on TV when I'm not busy, & wearing this amazing dress whenever the right event comes along.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Betsey Johnson dress, Michael Antonio shoes, Chanel bag

Hey, look, I have a bouquet growing out of my head. Actually, I'm standing in the lobby of the Belvedere Hotel, home of The Owl Bar, one of our favorite local watering holes. It's a gorgeous old room with a storied past - apparently, during Prohibition, the Owl was a notorious speakeasy. If the owl statue's eyes were blinking, patrons could imbibe without fear of getting busted. If the owl was staring straight ahead, that meant the feds weren't far away & a "wise old owl" would "say less & hear more", to paraphrase the bar's slogan from those days. Presumably, he or she would also need to get rid of the liquid "evidence" in a hurry. If the Owl's bartenders were as generous then as they are now, the resulting speed-tippling must have led to some interesting nights, not to mention mornings after!

I've been a Betsey Johnson fan since the 80's; found this dress at Loehmann's several years ago. I still peruse her stuff online & in stores, although not all of it fits my style (or, alas, my budget) at this point. Have Betsey's designs gotten younger, or am I just reluctantly admitting to getting older? I still wear lots of strapless dresses, pouffy skirts, & the occasional ruffle, but I don't always feel comfortable combining all of those things in one item or outfit, especially if there's a micro-mini or pastel color involved. There's a fine line between "still looks good enough to wear that" & the dreaded MDAL, or "mutton dressed as lamb."

Recently, I blasted a famous fashion house (okay, Prada) on a certain Very Popular Social Networking Site for releasing a scent that not only smells like candy, it's actually named after it. I know many people love sweet fragrances, but do we really need another foodie/gourmand spritz in the world? Prada's previous perfumes have been plenty sweet IMO, so much that they turn into hideous, sticky monsters on my skin. A true shame, as I am a fan of many of Prada's clothing & accessory designs & would love to express my admiration for the brand in a way I can actually afford, maybe without even snagging it on eBay. I can't even imagine what "Candy" would smell like on me. Perhaps a cake that's been left in a Baltimore trash can for about a week, in late July? *shudders*

My remarks provoked a most unexpected reaction: I got trolled. Really. I would have been fine with someone saying my ideas about fragrance are silly & old-school - that happens all the time, yawn - but some bozo took it upon himself to click on my profile pic & attack my fashion sense as... MDAL. Them's fightin' words, dude, but I didn't diss his wardrobe in retaliation, even though that would have been ridiculously easy. Who wears "muscle" shirts in 2011...? I refrained from commenting & simply blocked him, which apparently means we can't see each others' posts, etc. from now on. That's more than fine with me. What makes the incident even weirder is that this guy apparently thought the perfume sounded icky, too; he just needed to pick on a complete stranger (preferably a female?) online. Nice.

I see all sorts of similar negativity on the 'net, of course. Some people seem to truly believe inane slogans like "it's the internet, wear a helmet." Of course, they're the same ones to post all-caps rants or leave discussion boards in a huff the moment anyone dares question the veracity or wisdom of something they've posted. To me, a bully is a bully, online or IRL. If you can't treat others, including those who disagree with you, in a respectful manner, please step away from the keyboard, and don't expect the mods of any site to give you carte blanche to violate their TOS, no matter how frequently you've posted there. I love the internet, but it has a very ugly side, one that reflects & quite possibly even contributes to the decline in IRL civility.

Whew. Rant over. Now I'm off to put on whatever I damn well feel like wearing. Haters gonna hate. Have a great Saturday, all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This kind of sums up the past week.

Along with J's job-hunting stress, financial worries,& summer cold issues (I've been fighting the nastiest warm-weather bug I can recall for over 3 weeks, & I think it's finally gone - whew) we had to deal with this mess when we got home on Thursday afternoon.

J & I are faithful recyclers. Every Thursday morning, he takes bags &/or boxes of recyclable items out to the alley behind our house & leaves them for pickup. It seems the workers responsible for carting away our recycling were in a bit of a rush this week, so when they spilled a good bit of what we'd set out, it was too much trouble to pick it up, & they left a huge mess for us to deal with. Grr. I've emailed our city council rep, who is fabulous, as well as the head of public works. I am doing my best not to be one of those Baltimore residents who bashes local government or says "What can you expect? It's the city..." every time something unpleasant affects them. This sort of thing happens everywhere; it's just very annoying when it happens to you.

There have been many negative stories about Baltimore in the news lately. Okay, there usually are. Crime grabs headlines. "If it bleeds, it leads." Don't get me started on the kinds of comments that crime-in-Baltimore stories generate online. I have to keep my reading of such nonsense to a minimum or I risk damage to my health, my computer, or both.

I'm not saying the media shouldn't keep the public informed, nor am I insensitive to the very real damage that crime does to our city & many others. Having been the victim of a violent crime myself, I know all too well how hard it is to recover, emotionally, after such an incident, & I was lucky enough not to be physically harmed. I can't imagine how horrible it must be to lose a loved one to street violence. Still, city-bashing really gets on my nerves, especially when it comes from people who have never lived here or think that Baltimore's problems (mainly crime & poverty) mean that when visiting, one can act like the trash that litters far too many of our public places. I've actually overheard suburbanites saying it's okay to get drunk & vomit all over Fell's Point, Federal Hill, etc. because "like, it's the city & like, no one CARES about the city." Uh, except those of us who call Baltimore home. Not all visitors are like this, of course, & we're glad to show our hometown off to anyone who wants to visit, provided that they treat the city with the same respect they would their own town or suburb. If you're going to come into town & act like a yahoo - destroying people's property, using the street as your bathroom, or just catcalling & making disgusting remarks to women, please stay home. J & I are skipping Artscape this weekend because we just don't want to deal with the drunken idiots who've made the event so unpleasant the past several years. Honfest seems to attract a more civil crowd, perhaps because it's a smaller event.

I used to trash-talk the suburbs on a regular basis, but as I've gotten older, I've come to see that they offer a lifestyle that suits many people. Much as J & I love it, city life isn't for everyone. We wish there were easy solutions to Baltimore's ills, but there aren't. We just do our best to stay safe & keep our little corner of the city clean.

Barbara Feinman hat, vintage maxi dress & bag, Lulu Guinness espies

There aren't a lot of holes in my wardrobe at this point, but I am a bit short on casual summer dresses. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of shorts. Most of the ones marketed to women fall into one of two categories: "Daisy Dukes" (barely enough fabric to cover the essentials - not a good look IMO even if you are 18 & a size 0, & I am neither) or "For When You've Given Up" (pleated, baggy, pouffy, & generally resembling khaki garbage bags.) Even when I see a reasonably stylish pair of Bermudas, I tend to shy away because the damn things never fit my body (just as longer pants usually don't) so I stay in my skirt-&-dress comfort zone. My office is pretty casual, but the clothes I wear to work still seem too businesslike for running errands & heading to the flea market in 90-degree heat, so I've been on the hunt for casual options that are a bit boho but don't scream "granola".

Enter this fabulous eBay find from a few weeks ago. I adore maxi dresses, but am so short that many of them overwhelm me or end up creating puddles of fabric on the floor. I also love "peasant" styles, especially anything that makes me feel like I should be singing Carmen when I wear it. This dress fits both bills & is incredibly comfortable as well.