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Friday, August 29th, 2008

In Jamie’s Shoes: Oh, the choices!

Oh the choices!!! What’s a girl to do?  With Shoefly’s 70% off sale, and an incredible selection of shoes just waiting for bare feet such as mine to adorn, how am I to choose?  Oh, it is terribly hard being a woman some days.

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Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Portland Fashion Week: Take 1

As noted in our weekend in review, which is what all of us shoe and fashion lovers look forward to at the beginning of our work week (quite possibly the only thing we look forward to come Monday morning!), October 19 marked the beginning of Portland’s answer to the haute fashion weeks in places like London, New York and Los Angeles.  Yours truly could not possibly allow a week of local brilliance pass her by without getting just a glimpse of the creativity that spawns from the amazing streets of Portland, Ore.  I searched the Portland Fashion Week site and chose wisely as to which night I wanted to attend.  With such names as A Broken Spoke, Dayna Pinkham, Kate Towers and Holly Stadler topping the list of 10 for “The Collections” night, how could I pass up such an evening of martinis, conversation and fashion?   Monday October 22 would be the night to tantalize my senses with visions of what could one day be blessing my lonely wooden hangers suspended naked behind my closed closet door.

The Scene

Although the place which would hold the week long event was more than cool, for PFW, which international magazine Book Moda boasts as “The most sustainable fashion in the whole of the U.S.A., if not the world,” it was sure hard to get there in an ecological fashion.  Public transportation didn’t even recognize the address as one that existed within Oregon!  Therefore, if you wanted to get there a car or taxi would be the only way to travel—unless of course you don’t mind riding your bike for miles from the nearest bus stop in your $700 Jimmy Choo’s and $3,000 Dolce and Gabbana dress.

The Event

I waited (with bated breath) on my folding chair perched upon a makeshift platform, pen and paper in hand.  The lights dimmed to reveal a silhouette of the first model waiting patiently to christen the catwalk for the night’s event.  The crowd fell to a hush as the music began and the lights exposed the first piece. Then came the walk; the painful, painful walk of what would have otherwise been a lovely ensemble.  This would turn out to be a sporadic paradigm throughout the showcased event.  Allow me to explain.

Maybe, maybe this is my critical mind working overtime as another performing artist of a different kind, but the models are there in fact to perform by walking down the catwalk and presenting these beautiful pieces to the audience.  Yes, it is a presentation and a performance.  There needs to be a connection made between the performer and the audience and though there were some phenomenal models on the catwalk that night, there were also some less than stellar performers which turned out to be a disservice to the exquisite ensembles they were showing.

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Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

When will clothes catch up?

Sit back and relax, because this week’s edition of "In Jamie’s Shoes" is a bit of a story. So get comfortable and poor yourself a tall glass of Sauvignon Blanc (unless of course it’s still the morning and you’re at work).  Moving on …

The story starts as a perfect Christmas in July. One hot summer afternoon I arrived home after
a long day in the frozen tundra of an air-conditioned office to find two
packages on my front porch. “Yippee! My clothes have
arrived!” I bounded joyfully into my
home and immediately began tearing into my self-provided gifts, for what was in
these packages I had searched many hours and waited several days for.

Package #1:

Summer coats are a necessity. Not only are they fun
and complete any summer outfit, they also give you comfort by calming cool
nighttime breezes to just a wisp in your hair instead of a chill on your bare
shoulders. Of course the summer coat
needs to be light in fabric, and flirtatious flattery is
summer’s theme. I had found the perfect bone-colored coat, fitted through the
torso with a low-dipping neckline revealing the bronzed summer skin
beneath. It was classic, timeless and
beautiful and I had just received the abstract online vision in my tangible
world.

Ripping into the contents I sighed as I held the coveted
coat, smelled its new clothes scent, undid the delicate buttons and
carefully slid the coat onto my body. The coat fit like a dream. It was
slim at my waist, creating curves at my hips and bosom. I raised my arms in the triumph of a satisfying online purchase when my victory stance was brought to an abrupt end. I couldn’t raise my arms above the height of
my chest. Why? Because I am an athletic girl who can carry
her own weight while walking on her hands, which in turn, has created shoulders and biceps, not usual for a petite woman. This is not to say that I have the arms and shoulders of a Chicago Bears lineman; instead, they are simply athletic. Can’t an athletic
woman be girly?

My story doesn’t stop here…

 

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Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Ankle wraps and the samba sense

They are fun, sassy and elegant, but why don’t they just
stay put? What is the point of having a long luxurious ribbon extending from your sandal, flat or espadrille to wrap
up your beautiful legs if the wrap just slides down, creating a bunch around
your ankle, thus allowing the shoe to move around at will? There isn’t any point, especially when the wrap
creates most of the shoes physique. Nonetheless, ankle wraps are incredibly cute. What’s an urban ballerina to do?

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Book Review: “It Chicks”

Remember “Fame”?  It was that awesome 1980s film with 1970s
sex appeal, where socio-economically diverse kids went to the most
challenging art high school in New York? As these kids were the best of the best the competition was intense; “You want
fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start payin’, in
sweat. Fame! I’m gonna live forever! I want to learn how to fly, high!”

With that catchy tune ringing in your ears, fast forward 20+ years to the present and find yourself in the middle
of Armstrong High School, diving into the first
page of Tia William’s book “It Chicks”—the first installment of Tia’s soon-to-be-published teen
series. Its contents are reminiscent of
every 30-something’s favorite classic film (mentioned above), and it’s sure to entertain adults as
well as kids.

When I first started reading “It Chicks,” I had to take a step back and remember that I am a 30-something reading a book written for a
teenager.  After adopting to
the pop writing style, I was able to delve in. From the start, Tia’s method of drawing a relationship between the reader and characters made it easy to befriend each player. Within the first few pages I immediately felt attached
to the main character, Tangie, and started pulling for her career as a dancer,
as well as her too-young-to-be-in-love confused relationship with her "almost"
man, CJ.

This is one of the books multiple strengths; though all
of the characters attend the same high school, the nature of each character is
vastly different. Everyone who reads
this book will be able to relate to one of the individual’s and
their independent journeys; their insecurities, their strengths and their strengths used
to mask their insecurities. The reader
is there as the characters struggle through the disconnect between the mind and
the heart, searching wildly for their place in the world—all while traveling
through an uncertain time in life called ‘high school.’ These kids were not only trying to find their
place in high school, but they are in a performing arts high school
where every aesthetic aspect of their body and mind is critiqued to the point
of ridicule.

Shoot, like normal high
school wasn’t hard enough!

 

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Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Local lovelies

I love shopping locally, and in my opinion Portland, Ore., is a mecca for local sprees.  I feel so good when I walk into a little boutique with adorable merchandise, and the owner, who happens to be the only  employee, greets me.  She also helps me out with my size, talks to me about my day and instantly becomes my friend. In turn, I instantly become a regular.  I sign up for her e-mail list, which is her biggest form of advertising next to word-of-mouth, and I attend every in-store event.  Stellar customer service truly is the best sales tactic, and locally owned and operated stores seem to thrive on this philosophy, exercising it every business day.

Can you tell I just had a fantabulous local experience?  Oh yes … I did indeed. It started when I walked into this barely noticeable (except for the cute clothing displayed in the window!) store front.  It was a dreary moment during the day, and we were having a typical Portland spring afternoon where Mother Nature can’t decide if she wants to be sunny or rainy.

When I thought the sky was clear and there would be a long sunshine stint, I went out for my lunch time stroll and headed to the cute little store. Lo and behold, guess who was caught in the rain without the proper rain gear.  Yep, yours truly. Into the store I ran, and was slightly perturbed with my damp Cole Haan bag and even more soggy Sam Edelman shoes—scolding myself for refusing to carry an umbrella.  What’s a girl hopelessly attached to the spring time sunshine to do?

I had been to this secret of a store prior to this drenched day, and was privy to their distinctive clothing lines (yet another reason why I love local boutiques—you can buy almost anything in the store and maybe five other people in your close to one million person town will have the same thing). 

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Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Staple finds found deep in your purse’s confines

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Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Wedding flats—a true wedding shoe saga

“Don’t tell anyone,” she quietly whispered in my ear as she
placed the letter gently on my desk. The message was rolled up like a testament, tightly sealed with a rubber band, “this is for you only.” Butterflies came to my stomach and my
curiosity spiked: "can I read this at
work?" I thought to myself as I saw the messenger silently whisk
away, back into the office shadows. I
waited impatiently, my feet tapping on the ground, as I held the secret message in my sweaty palms. I peered at my office colleagues from the corners of my eyes, took a
deep breath and unbound the lingering surreptitious message, slowly unraveling
its secret. I was overwhelmed to find an invitation to my girl’s wedding … which, naturally, was on the same weekend as
my other girlfriend’s wedding across the nation in Wisconsin. Oh sweet wedding season (sigh).

Three weekend’s before the magical wedding day, the
secret messenger/bride-to-be had a festive, joyful BBQ at her home (don’t worry, the cheesy over-doing this whole wedding bit will not
infiltrate this entire column, or at least I hope not for your sake). Of course with every festive BBQ comes the
even more cheerful consumption of summertime beverages that never quite taste like
there are many spirits in them. After a couple, or rather a fistful
depending on who you are and where you come from (being from Wisconsin, I
learned at a young age how to throw ‘em back, definitely younger than my parents know so
please don’t tell!), you wonder: “how did I get so tipsy? I swear I didn’t drink that much.” In goes the alcohol and out come the
adventures!

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Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Old vintage, new vintage—continued . . .

From the star-studded Golden Globes to the embroidered summer
smocks on the streets, vintage has been, well, making a comeback. That just sounds odd, but it is what it is. 

Whether it’s big sunglasses covering half your face, or
rounded high necklines and A-line skirts, Jacqueline Onassis has an undeniable
presence in today’s trends. Jackie O was
a fashion icon during her time in the white house and political limelight, and
still remains fresh in our minds as a vision of beauty and femininity. This vision has been materialized by many
designers in this year’s spring collections including Fluet, Lanvin
and Stella McCartney. Michael Kors came
out with a chic Jackie Dress complete with enlarged button details and vertical
front pockets. 

Personally, I love pockets in dresses. When you see a woman in a stylish dress with
her hands hidden in the pockets, it only adds to the feminine mystique. Michael Kors can bring you from the day into
the Jackie O-so-sophisticated evening with the high-neck layered halter dress. The halter straps of this graceful dress
continue by draping down the back in a flowing fabric procession making one
look like a goddess of the wind. The
hemline of both dresses hits half way down the thigh giving “mini-me” a whole
new modern meaning. Mike Myers, eat
your heart out.

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Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Old Vintage, New Vintage – Still in Style

After researching and systematically defying many rules in my fashion microcosm starting with Pre-emptive White Pants Wednesday, there was one regulation that stuck with me: “Never follow the revival of a trend from an era that you already lived through.”  Vintage has been hip for some time though it has recently taken center stage.  Whether it is the buttercup wave hair trend from the 1920s or the bright colored mini skirt trend from the 1970s, today’s fashion eyes are relishing in the past.  Lisa Perry, Stella McCartney, Chloé, the list goes on and on.  Trends of our chic past are being revitalized with a modern twist, and it doesn’t stop with the apparel and hair! It goes into the advertisements as well.

What better place to start than the advertisements promoting such a throw back in trend?  Both Chloé’s and Marc Jacobs’, (featuring the adorable Dakota Fanning), current ads look as if they were recently developed prints, a Polaroid spit out right after the shot: point, shoot, and develop at the scene.  The ads have washed out colors with flushed white flash hot spots on the models arms and legs. Their use of a direct flash casts shadows adding to the feeling of a photography movement from back in the day; Momma don’t take my Polaroid away!  (Okay, so I borrowed a bit of Paul Simon and plugged in a different term to fit the entry.  Is that so wrong?  I mean, musicians sample James Brown’s horns all the time!).

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