About 15 years ago I remember being on the subway and seeing something that shocked me: a woman got into the car at 57th Street and, affixed to each of her 10 fingernails, were highly sculpted, three-dimensional unicorns. All different. All really pronounced. At the time I just stared. What I didn’t know is that the image would continue to haunt me this long after. I wondered at the time whether this was some crazy new trend in nail art. Why yes, yes it was. Here is but the teensiest smattering of nail art paraphernalia. The first image is fascinating. Photos are from here, here, here and here.
Turns out that there is fierce competition to make the papal footwear. So many variations on a simple loafer. And then, did you ever wonder what the pope wears on those little hiking trips around the Palatine Hills? Well, look no further. All images from the mother lode of historical liturgical vestments. Please note that some of the footwear featured here is no longer in fashion. Not since Vatican II, anyway. And some others are actually cardinals’ or bishops’ shoes. But most are papal. Oh, and yes, the pope ALWAYS wears white socks.
Well here is a skill I wish I had. If only I knew how to repair that unsightly little hole in my shirt…comme ça! This linen chemise, found in a flea market by my friend Molly Meng during her annual visit to southern France, is remarkable. It’s also a reminder of how beautiful something can be when it is no longer new. Photo by Molly.
Have you ever really looked at this thing? It is UGLY. Really really ugly. At least to my eye. But in a good way…I think. We moved from Philadelphia to Maine when I was 11, and I have distinct memories of going to the original L.L. Bean store in Freeport, in the dead of night — they have always been open 24 hours, 365 days a year — to go shoe shopping. Specifically boot shopping. The Classic Bean Hunting Shoe is almost a wardrobe requirement in that state. Coming from Pennsylvania though, I had never before seen such a hideous piece of footwear. And while I never ever came around to appreciating its aesthetic merits, there was something in its utility that made me a convert. (It’s important to note that Mainers, as they refer to themselves, take great pride in their common sense and practicality.) Yes, your feet froze in winter. And they didn’t do much to save you on the ice. But they were great in the mud (of which there is an abundance) and in the rain, which is near constant at times. If your soles wore out, or the stitching gave way, all you had to do was send in your boots and they would fix them for free. The shoes pictured above are from the catalog itself. And they look a little different from the ones I grew up with. These are a reissue/redesign in honor of the boots’ 100 year anniversary. Oh, and one other thing, these are still made in Maine, one pair at a time.
In contrast to this happy couple, these two don’t look quite so cheery. However, all four of them share a love of plaid. And I really like both ladies’ footwear. Via Old Chum.
I rarely talk about fashion. Mostly because I have a lot of mixed feelings regarding the throwaway nature of a majority of the industry. This isn’t to say that I don’t like clothing or shoes, or whatever. I do. But I don’t necessarily want to be a party to their bad habits. Enter Upla, a French bag company which has been in the business since 1973. They are most famous for their “fisherman’s pouch” (besace du pêcheur, en francais), a classic messenger-style satchel. The design has remained virtually the same since its introduction. It comes in a variety of fabrics and leathers, and I guarantee that it will be one of the last bags you ever buy. This is a concept I can totally get behind. Fair warning — these aren’t cheap. In fact, they are quite pricey. Especially the leather ones. But, if you decide to spring for one, I swear it will last…forever. I have one bag that goes back to 1985, and it is still in mint condition. The only drawback is that the bags are nearly impossible to find here in the US. Although a search online yields a few used ebay options, your best bet is to pony up for the shipping, and just order from the French site.
About the size of a small loaf of bread, and surprisingly heavy, this little beauty sits on the windowsill in Pamela Mayer’s shop. It wouldn’t mean much to someone who doesn’t sew, but to Pam, an amazingly gifted clothing designer, this pin cushion is something to be treasured (maybe even guarded) and used. Every day.