A Little Fun Frivolity

Lynne Kiesling

Through my various wanderings in the past week I have come across two fun little shopping-oriented sites that I like: Little Splurge, which highlights little (and no-so-little) finds for fashion, home, travel, work, etc; and Paperclippy, focusing on office-friendly fashion finds.

These two cute sites are great examples of Internet filtering; there’s so much great stuff out there, and I wouldn’t know about most of it if it weren’t for filters and seekers like these!

Chicago Shopping Advice to Manolo: Get Out in the ‘Hoods!

Lynne Kiesling

The irrepressible Manolo is infesting Chicago and about to shop on the Mile of the Magnificence (not the Mile of the Miracles). My advice to Manolo: get out in the ‘hoods! I love Michigan Avenue and Oak Street as much as any other shopping hound, but the plenitude of capitalism means that most of the shops there are ones you’ll find in other large cities: chains and department stores.

If you want to have fun with regional shopping when you travel in the US, I firmly believe that you have to seek out neighborhood shopping areas and boutiques. For a long time the boutique-y neighborhood street in Chicago was Armitage Avenue, which is still a shopping staple combined with great late-19th-century architecture. But over the past decade other neighborhood shopping has evolved, as more people look to shop in distinctive and non-chain shops.

Such shopping neighborhoods include my own Southport (with great shops like Freesia, Red Head, Trousseau, City Soles, Krista K, and Jake), Division Street in Bucktown/Ukranian Village (including a Zen yarn store called Nina), Milwaukee/North/Damen in Bucktown/Wicker Park (where my favorites are Helen Yi, Clothes Minded, and Jade), Wells Street in Old Town (with old reliables like Handle With Care as well as lots of new shops in the past year), and Lincoln Square (Traipse for shoes, Merz for European toiletries).

This Frommer’s entry on Chicago shopping is a bit out of date, but captures the essence of my argument.

Such places are where you get the real fiber of a place, so to speak. So Manolo, high thee to the neighborhoods to get super fantastic!

Cowboy footwear as a cultural moment

Lynne Kiesling

Is there something in the water, or the air? Yesterday the Manolo, he recommended a lovely cowboy boot to a loyal reader, and had the very nice things to say about the cowboy boot.

For the past decade I’ve been threatening to buy a pair, ever since the first time I went to Montana. Being a poor assistant professor, and then saving to buy a condo, and then saving to buy and renovate a house, has always provided a ready excuse.

But NO MORE! Just last week my new pair of Tony Lama black Ol’ Buck boots arrived (bought on sale for 40% off at Sierra Trading Post). Evern since I returned from England on Tuesday they have not been off my feet, except for during sleep and shower. I am amazed at how assured and authoritative they make me feel, in addition to being much more comfortable than I expected.

I guess if the Manolo and I, we are on the same wavelength, then I am riding a fashion wave. Actually, there were lots of knock-off cowboy boots in the shops in London, to accompany the tiered skirts and other boho themes that are in fashion this spring.

I am already coveting my next pair:

THE MANOLO AND LA COQUETTE

Lynne Kiesling

Something else for which to thank the Manolo … his link to La Coquette, living la vie magnifique in the fashion industry in Paris. Quel dommage. I like living vicariously through her reports on Paris Fashion Week this week.

And I really, really like the Coco Chanel quote that one of her friends left in the comments on a recent post:

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.”
– Gabrielle (“Coco”) Chanel

I’ll remind myself of that the next time I am preparing for a very important presentation/dinner/whatever.

BTW, have I ever mentioned that the KP cat’s name is Coco? Coincidence … I think not.

COMPOSED, ELEGANT, AND AUTHORITATIVE

Lynne Kiesling

I follow in the footsteps of the super-fantastic Manolo and Ann Althouse to agree that it’s incredibly refreshing to see authoritative women like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dressing in a fashionable, complex, not-safe-and-blend-into-the-background manner.

And as a fellow knee-high boot afficionado (and athlete), I sense a kindred spirit there …

I think this is a good example of how to combine femininity and authority without being provocative, and I think we need more role models for doing so. Too many women in authoritative positions intentionally dress in “safe” ways to blend into the background, which I think is a damn shame. Your mileage may vary, but I find that walking that authoritative+feminine line makes me more effective at what I do because it makes me feel confident, assertive, and honest, because I’m not trying to hide something or be something I’m not. Honestly, I think it’s an advantage we have over the social constraints on men’s professional fashions (if it’s not blue or white it’s not a shirt, if it’s not red or blue it’s not a tie, etc.).

We should work it, ladies!

UPDATE: Thanks to John Chilton at Emirates Economist for his comment here and this post reminding us that my ruminations about the returns to “dressing for success” have some academic grounding in Dan Hamermesh’s work.

Pucci to brighten a dreary, rainy day

Lynne Kiesling

I don’t have time today for pithy, substantive analysis. Furthermore, the weather here is gloomy and making my senses dull. So instead I turn to the Manolo:

The Pucci, they are the shoes of relentless cheerfulness.

Makes me wish I had a pair of these for slogging through the puddles:

Many thanks to the Manolo for the brightening of the dreary day.

Manolo’s shoe blog

Lynne Kiesling

OK, so I’m a week behind the ChicagoBoyz, but hey! I’m the one with the bona fide shoe fetish! Manolo’s Shoe Blog is a great find, and find it I did via a Technorati cosmos crawl to see what new folks out there were linking to Knowledge Problem.

This is hilarious. And if it wasn’t for the Manolo, I would not now be coveting these Pucci pumps:

I agree with the Manolo: Puuuuuucciiiiiiiii!