Saturday, July 28, 2012

Orange Romper

Thank you Jeanne Garvey.  Jeanne Garvey is a wonderful collector of interesting bits, which she makes into intriguing shadow boxes or anything else her fertile imagination concocts.  I bought this sweet one of a vanity with an older woman's face in the mirror at ArtHop this year. 

Jeanne recently moved  from Massachusetts, where she had a barn full of stuff, to Brookland, where there are not any barns.  She has been destashing, and I have been the fortunate recipient of her largess.  One of the items I picked up was this remarkable vintage shorts romper. 

I love it.  It reminds me of a wonderfully silly time when James Bond would dress like this:

(from funniest book EVER Museum of Kitschy Stitches)
  And crafty people thought this was a good idea: 

And yet, tragically, we each need to learn from our own mistakes, and I want to wear this.  How should it be styled?  I presented the challenge to several creative women over drinks at Jackie's, and damn! if the orange romper isn't a gift that keeps on giving!  I got haikus, fanciful drawings, and fashion tips I never would have thought of.  Here are a few of the excellent tips:

"Annie Hall-esque floppy hat"

"Amy Winehouse hair and eyes" 

"nice push-up bra" &

"80's brooch-  mix it up!"

Finally, I was lucky enough to get this drawing from artist extraordinaire, Rose Jaffe :

You know I would buy those shoes if I could find them.   Thank you so much, ladies.  I love your creativity.  We'll end with one of the romper haikus and the Wallace Stevens poem it brings to mind. (And remember for great current poetry go to Lines and Stars !)

Orange Romper

Keep it as it is.
Wear high black boots with zippers
And a long necklace.

Gray Room
Although you sit in a room that is gray,
Except for the silver
Of the straw-paper,
And pick
At your pale white gown;
Or lift one of the green beads
Of your necklace,
To let it fall;
Or gaze at your green fan
Printed with the red branches of a red willow;
Or, with one finger,
Move the leaf in the bowl--
The leaf that has fallen from the branches of the forsythia
Beside you...
What is all this?
I know how furiously your heart is beating.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Beat the Heat!

I have to rave about a particular Etsy shop that features organic cotton clothing-- Grateful Threads. I bought this jumpsuit there:
White Tara Jumpsuit $165

It is probably best for people who can go braless (A/B/C-cups?), but I would be interested in hearing from people with other builds about whether they would wear this style.  I thought it was an ingeniously flattering design in a fabric that's comfy and not so thin as to show every pantyline and lump.  And it comes in loads of nice colors.  I got a teal one.  It was really well made, and has gone through the washer and dryer beautifully.  The first time I wore it, I got two spontaneous compliments on the street.  Thank you,  Grateful Threads.

Why is organic cotton good?  Traditionally-grown cotton uses a huge amount of water, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  Organically grown cotton addresses the pesticide and fertilizer problems.  For more about this visit the World Wildlife Fund's monograph on organic cotton or Google "organic cotton."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ah, neckties...

Ah, neckties-- that wonderful playground of men's fashion.  I was told that they were a derivation of the codpiece.  Look down.

This story seemed plausible because the current shape is so phallic, but this was not borne out by research.  While people have tied things around their necks for millennia,

Terracotta Warriors from Tomb of Chinese Emperor Qin Shih-Huang, 221 BC

...the European fascination with brightly colored cloth about the neck stems from the Croatian military uniform of the mid 17th century.  Courtiers of Louis XIV admired the red tie and the cravat was born. 

Because ties are colorful, durable and ubiquitous, they are also a favorite material of upcyclers.  There is, of course, the by now iconic ascot from Ginger Root Design (OK-- iconic among DC indie fashionistas) 

See more by Erin Derge and Kristen Swenson at 

Here are some other uses I've come across:  Johnnie Gins, a wonderful local textile artist sells these woven wall-hangings at Waygoose Redux in Bethesda (

She has a really lovely color-sense.

Kristina Bilonick gives new life to ties by silkscreening her own designs on them:

Woman Cyclist, Nails and Magician ties

See more at her Georgia Avenue shop and at

I came across Yanina Angelina and her many tie creations at Artomatic.  She sells her works on-line at  Here's a sample:

I, for some reason, like to burn holes in ties.

And here's an excellent T-shirt from the Performing Arts Training Studio ( that I revamped with a tie:
When your life no longer fits, change it.
 That could serve as the upcyclers motto.  Here are a few more from Etsy:
 Let me know of any more re-uses you've liked.