Category: (not so) random links

(not so) random links

on the subject of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous thrift:

flaunting expense or thrift, some ponderings on same by the very smart barry over at 3stylelife

the case against thrift (from salon) and conspicuous thrift (from the la times) (both via nubby twiglet)

myself? well, i’ve always had more of a thing for showing off my thriftiness in a conspicuous way (proudly advertising my love of thrift store clothing), or at least sharing my love for new nicer things in a quieter, more mixed up way (i.e., no logos, no/or few obvious of the moment, instantly recognizable uber trendy pieces), rather than buying and wearing a lot of fancy, trendy, omg it’s “THE THING TO HAVE RIGHT NOW” stuff just so others will know how much i spent/how much i am allegedly worth.

anyway, so…the trend now is toward playing style down, away from showing off. it’s been brewing for a while, an artifact of this deepening recession (depression?), to some degree and just am equal and opposite reaction to the way things were (the reverse) not so long ago…and frankly, you know? i kind of like it.

i’m thinking, and have thought for a long while, that it might be good, on a culture-wide, world-wide level to go the other way, the opposite way from all that hyper-consumption, to scale back, step back, to be more careful, more cautious, at least when it comes to spending habits. maybe it’s a good idea, on a broad level. but maybe not. maybe just a personal level? but then again, if lots of persons do it at once it does become broad…

i don’t know, maybe i’m just really desiring a paradigm of moderation, not extremes with mass over spending or under spending.

but anyway…

are you feeling it now too? this turning away from crazy spending? were you not feeling it before, but are feeling it now?

is it, in any way, a good thing, this retraction, reaction, to the former trend of conspicuous consumption?

or will it bite us in the ass somehow?

if we stop spending altogether, will the whole capitalist ‘system’ collapse, as some fear?

any economists (or amateur economists? heh!) with a fashion bent lurking out there want to chime in on this subject?


i always had this feeling that fast fashion retailers were lurking around street fashion/fashion-sharing websites/fashion or style blogs, and pilfering ideas. my suspicions are now confirmed. see: websites feed fast fashion inspiration (via the international herald tribune)

how do YOU like being watched?

do you realize they are watching you and what you like to look at (street style blogs) in order to better sell to you? do you realize that money is being made off of you?

how does that make you feel, this being watched? are you okay with it?


quick and dirty, just like you like it:

-via incense and peppermint, in a post over in the wardrobe_remix discussion forums, comes word of a lulz blog that takes the piss out of, called it’s pretty darn funny. gotta be able to laugh at yourself and take fashion (and photographing your style and self) less seriously sometimes, i say!

-woo, a fannypack tute! (via

these DIY-ed “slide-dyed” denim jeans on finnish blog nelliinan vaateheone are pretty damn hot! the text of the blog (and the post in question) is in finnish, but the resulting jeans are so stunning, they speak for themselves. go on and replicate them! (via outsapop)

craft: has declared march to be mending month, and as such, they have been posting (and are planning to post) great little ideas for mending and making do, as they say. i particularly like this recently-posted, easy (and cute!) elbow patch how-to!

(not so) random links

-it’s official: the recession is in full swing, and people are spending less across the board…consumers and companies. boutiques and big & little retail stores appear to be offering huge discounts, advertising ginormous sales, moving their businesses to different (read: cheaper) areas of town, cutting back their opening hours, or even just plain going out of business. on that note, see this absolutely fascinating, in-depth, multi-part article about the ominous and sad shakeout that has been happening on the retail scene in new york city over the past several months (via new york magazine).

i am seeing evidence of some of these trends in the city in which i currently reside (san francisco), and have noted the following (as i stroll my baby around downtown and window shop):

*generally, most stores seem kinda empty, or at least less peopled than they once were. of course, i cannot quantify this, it’s just a feeling/obsevation. i have noticed more people lurking around discount tables and racks, however…

*department stores, major chain stores (like old navy, for instance), and even boutiques seem to be bogged down with tons of clearance items and are advertising big savings and steep discounts on top of discounts…

*h&m was handing out 20%+ off-one-item coupons this week, hoping to entice people to buy…

*peripherally related to fashion: i learned that a nice yarn store here in the bay area, artfibers, moved across the bay to oakland, in search of what i am sure is cheaper rent (they had a centralized location right downtown here in SF, i’m guessing they won’t have the same foot traffic in their new digs)…

so, question time, addressed to you: what’s happening on the retail scene where YOU live, as a result of the economic downturn? are stores closing, moving, or selling off big bunches of goods for little prices? are there any retail establishment whose demise you particularly lament? are any stores in your area enjoying an unlikely boon in this economically busted time in which we currently live? who’s surviving in retail, or will survive? and why? care to posit?


a whole bunch of quick and dirty (i have a backlog!):

-the amazing knit maven stephanie japel of glampyre, genius that she is, has come up with an easy triangular scarf pattern that was developed to help one use up those fun single skeins that seem to lurk around in one’s stash, looking for a good use…it’s called reclamation. LOVE THIS.

-knitter? fan of owls? check out this sweater pattern by needled that has owls encirling it’s yoke. v. cute! (via craft:)

– i just recently learned about weekend designer, a pattern drafting blog. brilliant idea! according to said blog’s about page, “most of the tutorials (posted on the blog) illustrate basic concepts in pattern-drafting or are patternless designs”.

-i LOVE this little japanese-looking “grab bag” pattern from (via craft nectar and whip up) love the idea for using said little bag for little incidentals one picks up while shopping, particularly when going to the farmer’s market, etc.

-here’s a few more bag-making links for you: fat quarter tote by cicada daydream (via craft:), rag rug handbag (via whip up)

the suburban queen passes on an inventive bit of knitting inspiration: a cardigan that isn’t a cardigan at all, but rather, a long piece of knitting, buttoned in the front! what a superb idea!

-the observer (UK) has a series of how-to’s online called make your own: designer clothes and accessories. amongst the gems on the site: viv westwood details how to make a dress and a how-to on how to recreate one of waistcoats from martin margiela’s 2009 artisanal collection…(thanks, farpitz)

-casey of elegant musings passes on some helpful links on the subject of pattern grading (sizing)…here and here. good info to have at hand to help you when you find that perfect vintage pattern in a thrift, but it’s not in your size…

ethical style passes on some super smart vintage shopping tips from judy at atlantis home/jane at sea of shoes (they are mother & daughter)…

-how to make a very haute ruffle necklace, courtesy of morgan of panda head magazine, over at brightest young things

(not so) random links

this week, some tales (and troubles) concerning thrifts, thrifting and thriftiness:

-according to the NYT, in poland, style comes used and by the pound. apparently, buying and wearing second-hand clothing was once looked down upon by the hip folk in that formerly communist eastern european nation…they allegedly once eschewed used goods with much distain, instead favoring new, designer threads that suggested wealth (when there was little to go around). nowadays young poles, living and thriving in a more burgeoning economy (at least compared to the old days) are following in the footsteps of trendy city dwellers worldwide, and are deigning to dig through the stacks and racks at their local thrift (or thrift store equivalent)…and are sporting secondhand duds with pride. funny how times and perceptions change, when it comes to matters of culture and clothing.

i’m an old gal: i just reached the ripe old age of 33 this past summer. i can remember when secondhand shopping was considered really gross and distasteful, and looked down upon by most. back in the late 80s, early 90s when i was a teen obsessed with vintage clothing, the act of wearing said “vintage” clothing was at the time considered really alternative and subversive, at least where i grew up…in the steamy, sunny, all-american suburbs of central florida. if you wore old, used things, you were considered, at best, a freak…and most people probably assumed that if you bought and wore such garments, you were poor. if you had money then, you bought brand new things, natch!: reebok high tops! guess jeans! bennetton sweaters! it wasn’t until the late 1990s, i feel, that thrifting, and vintage clothing became a more mainstream trend…it’s when i noticed the practice getting lip service in the media (magazines, television, the internet, and so forth). times are so different now than they once were.

so, i’m curious:

-anyone else of a similar or earlier vintage to myself remember when wearing old clothes here in the states was not so chic? why was this so?

-did the bull market of recent years past encourage experimentation clothing-wise in a mainstream sense? in other words, when the economy is good, are people more willing to experiment? do people feel free to eschew expensive items when they have the luxury of choice? if we do indeed fall firmly into a recession or depression, will the wearing of old things again become something disdainful, or will the burgeoning commitment to wearing green (as a worldwide trend) keep the secondhand buying and wearing in vogue for years to come?

on a related note:

those secondhand clothing stores many of us have grown to love to pilfer paw through are sadly no longer packed with racks and racks of nice, quality old threads, ripe for the picking. these days, said stores are brimming with tons of barely worn, chintzy castoffs from discount fast fashion retailers such as primark, wal-mart, target, and the like. such clothes were little more than trash from the get-go, treated as if they were, for all intents and purposes, disposable, by the manufacturer *and* the consumer. but the trouble is, said clothes aren’t as disposable as they seem…they are in deplorable condition almost from the first wearing, and as one might guess, they hold little to no value with regard to recycling and resale.

according to the times online:

textiles have become the fastest-growing waste product in the UK. about 74 per cent of those two million tonnes of clothes we buy each year end up in landfills, rotting slowly (or not at all) in a mass of polyester, viscose and acrylic blends.

a very small percentage of said used clothing is considered sellable in the developed world…but the rest of that crappy, cheaply made clothing is baled up, sold wholesale, and then shipped by the boatload to developing nations (africa, eastern europe, etc.).

some of it gets reborn in products like those made by companies like kilakitu (they fashion fabulously stylish shirts and such out of the aforementioned castoffs that have been sent to africa)…

but what the people of those developing nations cannot or do not use, ends up in the landfills of those nations, basically rotting away (if it’s able to rot at all!). out of sight and mind, then (at least to us), eh? wear it once, ditch it, and never think about it again…on a national, and really, global, level.

makes me wonder:

-why do companies even shill that junky crap to begin with? oh yes, greed. but, why do we buy it? why has quality become a forgotten virtue when it comes to matters of clothing, pushed to the wayside by the desperate pursuit of quantity? hasn’t the notion of more over less, for less gotten old and out of favor yet? or will such persist in the face of further stretching one’s precious and rare dollars/pounds/euros/yen/etc.?

i’m pointing the finger at us all (myself included!) when i question the way it is, and the way it could be:

-why can’t we or why don’t we in the affluent west make a real effort to live with less? why can’t there be more of a widespread trend to try to wear the same thing over and over, but…in a creative way, mixing it all up in a cool way each time so’s it looks different? perhaps those who keep their closets carefully and crisply edited, and cunningly curated should be loudly lauded, in lieu of the current trend to congratulate conspicuous consumption? media (blogs included!), get on that, won’t you?

i really the sentiment behind this quote from the same article (said by a supposed supermodel here in the states):

“female celebrities need to demonstrate that it’s possible to be happy while wearing the same thing,” he says. “it’s where we were 20 years ago. lives weren’t ruined by lack of clothes. it’s a habit that we could break.

if we spent exactly double the amount of money on each garment and bought exactly half as many garments, nobody would be impoverished by that.”

see also: talk is cheap: the new thrift (via the new york times), wherein rob walker questions the “new” trend, frugality, and it’s relationship to the old and allegedly now outre trend, hyperconsumerism.


the quicke and dirtee:

-model elyse sewell is hilarious. her blog is one of my new favorite online reads, mostly because i dig her sick/black sense of humor. she now resides and works in china, and her view into daily life in that country is fascinating. i had no idea who she was until like, last week, having not ever been a viewer (or fan) of america’s next top model

-thrift town, my favorite thrift store here in SF, has a myspace page. who knew? (not me obviously…)

-for a seasonally appropriate laugh, see this round-up of fugly holiday sweaters over at list of the day. *snort* (thanks to my husband for sending that linky my way!)

-i agree with dreamecho, danish streetstyle site gademode is, as she stated recently, deliciously different than the usual suspects in said blogging category.

-an article on the phenom of street style blogging, and the alleged best of the best in that category, from the new york times.

i wanna ask: do you look at street style sites merely for the eye candy, or do you use the inspiration found within to literally inform what you wear (i.e., do you copy what you see piecemeal or wholesale)? am i alone in just liking to look but not aspiring to replicate what i see exactly, if at all? the trend (from what i see in perusing blogs) suggests most have a penchant for the former…

(not so) random links

so much to talk about, so little time. my apologies.


-there’s a new book out by a guy named kelsey timmerman (see his blog here) called where am i wearing?, in which the author “picked [his] favorite items out of [his] wardrobe and traced them back to where they were assembled.” he traveled to bangladesh, honduras, cambodia, and china, and along the way, he met the garment workers who make said clothes, and saw the conditions in which they work.

in a recent post on the mental floss blog, he divulges some of the info he gleaned about the global garment industry, and it’s workers, some of which are startling (to me, anyway): 97% of our clothing is made overseas, over half of the world’s shoes are made in china, and…that “one-third of american consumers are willing to pay more for clothes produced under good working conditions”.

but…i wonder if this is really true…would the average consumer REALLY pay more for their clothing if they knew it was produced in an ethical manner? what about in these leaner times? if money is tight, does quantity supersede quality for average folks? or is the converse more likely to be true?

what about you?

do you HONESTLY care where your clothing and other accoutrements come from? would you like to know? if you knew that something was produced in an ethical manner, would you be more likely to buy it? would you be likely to NOT buy something if you knew where it came from, and who made it?

be honest: if you have less cash, are you more compelled to buy more for your money, or fewer items, that are of higher quality? i know the hip thing, the ethical (at the moment) is to say “less is more,” but is that REALLY what you, and others want to do?


the quick and dirty linkage:

whip up is always, always amazing. love this round-up of the best free knitting patterns on the web….i want to make like, all of them. starting with these jaywalker socks, from grumperina!

-some mighty interesting street fashion in tokyo, may be found on this site, drop. (via sea of shoes)

burdastyle knows our wallets are being hit hard by the (increasingly) crappy economy, so they offer up a few tips on how to save money sewing AKA how to be frugal during hard times. also on burdastyle: this terrificly cool bow tie pattern (for the boys, the girls, or whomever!). very classic, yet very now.

galadarling hits one out of the park with her dead-on, perfect post: how to cultivate your personal style. biggest point, that resonates with me and my own ethos (and the things i say here!)? that personal style is about so much more than the clothes you wear….it is also about how you live your life.

-i adore this little knitted waistcoat pattern from drops. i spotted it on mettetations.

-i usually don’t post this sort of thing, but i’m making an exception, on the off chance that some lucky new york cit-iers will be able to take advantage of low prices on high quality clothing:

my favorite NYC boutique, i heart is having a MAJOR BLOWOUT SALE. according to their latest newsletter:

“Items will be marked down from past seasons up to 85%!!!! There will be a $30 rack! It’s the best time to come and get some good deals before the holidays. Plus this season is marked up to 50% off!! It’s going to be nuts in here!!!

3 DAYS ONLY!!!!!
DEC 12-14TH”

(not so) random links

-according to the new york times, ugly is the new beautiful. evidently, a recent rash of articles, books and papers have been penned on the subject of ugliness. long a neglected subject of study and interest, pondering ugliness and at times, celebrating the less than perfect/beautiful is now de rigeur.

which got me thinking…

-can ugly be fashionable?
-or, is ugly (already) fashionable?
-in what ways is ugly now fashionable?
(i immediately think of the old/outdated/”ugly” coming back into fashion again, i.e., the ironic, hipster-favored trends of the last couple years…)

-is ugliness, like beauty, merely in the eye of the beholder?

-or, can one argue that are there specific, solid, irrefutable standards that define beauty, and it’s allegedly less attractive stepsister, ugliness?

-what does this alleged fascination with ugliness say about our culture? has something significantly shifted? or is the passing fancy with “ugly” just that, a passing fancy?


-some speculate that the long coveted size zero figure is perhaps trending towards going the way of the dodo (at least for a little while) (via the times online). a culture-wide fascination with a more voluptuous figure is now on the rise, in some fashion and fame circles, anyway. as to what is exactly meant by “curvy” to these fashion folks is up for debate, but some say the bony girls that have dominated the runways in past years have been told, by some fashion designers and editors, to take off, in order to make room for women with a “bigger” presence. how long this (“new”) obsession with curves will last is anyone’s guess, but if it’s true, it’s certainly worth noting.

my questions:

-could this new fascination with curves (and “realness”) in fashion be a reflection of the turn our culture is taking in a general sense? are people craving “realness” in aesthetics at the same time they are asking for “realness” in economics, politics, and beyond? in times of leanness, do we sometimes value that which looks even a little bit excessive? i put this idea forward in light of how the impossibly skinny reigned so long in the inflated, excessive years most recently past. i also think of how even further back in history, “rubenesque” women were celebrated in leaner times, as their shape suggested wealth and easy access to resources…

see also: even in a reeling economy, the rich spoiled brat is a fashion and cultural heroine (via the new york times)


psfk, in a recent post, posited that the DIY lifestyle will become culturally mainstream as the economy slides ever downward. i’ve suggested this many times here on bits and bobbins over the past few years (and feel like they are thus a little behind the times in suggesting this, but nonetheless)…

i wonder:

-IS the DIY lifestyle indeed becoming more mainstream? in what ways? posit, if you please.

-are more people taking classes, and consulting books, the internet and other resources in order to educate themselves on ways to DI(y/themselves) instead of buy, buy, buying or employing the services of others (things they may have done in a bull market)? can (or has) this increase be(en) quantified? surely, someone has done research in this area…?


the quick and dirty stuffs:

-i am sure you street fashion fan girls (and guys) will be glad to hear that the sartorialist’s scott schuman has allegedly scored himself a book deal (via farpitz, via fashionista). a nice coffee table coup for someone who doesn’t even consider himself a street fashion photog. not my cup o’ tea (i rather loathe the guy and all he stands for), but i’m passing on the word to you anyway.

treehugger has crafted a huge, multi-part guide to greening your wardrobe, chocked full of suggestions, stats, and sources. well worth a major peruse on your part.

-word of the elder-focused street-style blog advanced style has been making the rounds…i’m mentioning it here with the intention of giving it another spin. genius idea…sartorially sassy and snazzy grandmas and grandpas duly deserve recognition and accolades.

-LOVE this idea for shredding a tee (really, it’s just knits “laddering”, but anyway!) from childhood flames. someday i’d love to give it a go.

these scarves made by spool sewing using quilt/knit master kaffe fassett‘s shot cotton fabrics are stunning…they feel utterly modern with their deconstructed looks. and oh my, the colors…luscious.

-a fab idea to fashion a few decopage decorated bangle bracelets, here, on one pearl button (via whip up)

(not so) random links

yes, it’s been a long while! i know…

and it may still be a while before i can devote the time (and mindspace) to the typical lengthy lists of deep questions/long, insightful (heh!) observations i usually pose along with the links in question in my (not so) random links posts.

why? because my newly born babe needs me! 🙂 and, honestly, it’s only been about two weeks out from her birth, and i am still recovering. it took me days and days to put this together (it used to take just a few hours, max)! oy, how times have changed.

anyway, i thought i’d share some notable stuff i’ve come across in past weeks, albeit in what i feel is a very truncated fashion (for the time being). those pesky links are piling up!!


-uk-based fabulous mag asks: so which woman has the perfect body? seems women favor a skinnier figure, whist men favor more curves. is there such a thing as an “ideal figure”? what’s YOUR idea of the “perfect figure”?


-according to WWD (who FINALLY have a nice selection of free content available online, yay!), (fashion/lifestyle) magazine circulation is down, down, down. magazines may not want to face it, but…is it possible that the increasingly fast and easy digital access to visual/design/fashion content is honestly doing print mags who specialize in similar fare in? whatever the reason, it’s clear their bottom lines are suffering…


SF indie fashion suggests 10 cheap, simple ways to up the eco-fashion ante


-remember tavi of style rookie? i mentioned her here a while back. the NY timesT magazine recently published a round-up of adolescent style bloggers you might want to take note of


-according to counterfeit chic, the UK’s house of lords has issued a “speeding ticket” to fast fashion:

“in its report on ‘waste reduction,’ the rapid production of cheap clothes involves the use of low quality materials in garments of high complexity, which makes it difficult to capture any value from the material at the end of the garments’ lives. mr alan wheeler, National liaison manager at the textile recycling association, commented that “fast fashion” items were “harder to re-use” and that there was “not much thought about how recyclable an item is at the end of its useful life.'”

more on the same from the independent


and of course, the quick and dirty:

-jamie is my friend and former neighbor from my bushwick, brooklyn loft-living days. he’s the man behind the known universe. he and his (new) wife, deborah, recently acquired a mannequin that looks suspiciously (and apparently, intentionally) like model kate moss. they are having fun dressing faux kate in deborah’s outfits. answering the pleas of some of his friends, jamie’s started a fluffy little blog called kate moss mannequin modeling deb’s outfits daily, that documents these dress-up sessions, replete with descriptions and stories about the featured threads. jamie and deborah, you guys are, uh…silly. but…it’s awesome. i’d love to see where this ends up going, if anywhere! ha.

ETA: keep updating, you guys!

-i like the catorialist better than that snooty sartorialist. *grin* (via buzzfeed)

-who knew? apparently wallace and gromit are the latest style icons…they’re featured in an ad campaign for harvey nicols (an upscale department store chain in the UK). i’m tickled, for one… (via the daily mail)

-this discussion, where do you buy bras? in the ravelry group the bust line (where it’s all about fitting and flattering the bustline you have) is FAB-U-LOUS. good go-to suggestions for gals of small and large sizes alike.

-on the subject of knitwear, the telegraph just offered up a PDF of 5 free, updated, chic vintage knitting patterns taken from lise-lotte lystrup’s new book, vintage knitwear for modern knitters. i’m particularly in love with the fine gauge zig-zag scarf pattern! but the sweater patterns on offer in said PDF are pretty darn sweet too.

how to bleach your jeans, a tutorial by that’s just my vibe. awesome. what would be even more awesome, imo? wearing your awesome bleached jeans with one of the aforementioned vintage sweaters, knit by you…

-meta knitting ala slip slip knit: knit a scarf made from i-cord. (via craft:)

-that ever-so smart and savvy nubby twiglet shows us how closet organization is done…go girl!

(not so) random links

-following a link from a post on buzzfeed (one of my fave RSS feeds, it never fails to amuse/inform me!), i recently learned about the fashion blog of a 12-year old girl named tavi: style rookie. her site follows the familiar format of many a fashion blog: it’s filled with the requisite daily outfit photos, plus photographic documentation of her style experiments and (thrift and retail) finds, and snippets of this or that from the culture at large that amuses or inspires her. said blog and it’s author could be considered precocious by some, sure…but she seems like a fairly well-versed, articulate young lady with sophisticated tastes, despite her allegedly tender age.

and of course, after perusing her journal, i got to thinking…

is there such a thing as being too young or too old to be interested in style, or too young or old to bother with style? should young (or old) people focus on other things? should aged folks leave matters style to the younger folks? or is style ageless? is one’s young adulthood (say, their 20s, or 30s) culturally the only time upon which caring deeply about fashion and style is acceptable? or is that not true at all?

in reference to tavi and her blog: when is it appropriate for a girl or young woman (or boy/young man) to wrest herself from the whims of her/his parents or guardians to express their own sense of style?

see also: minor alterations, a recent feature from the telegraph that focuses upon how a select selection of designers dress their progeny.


-check out this article from the new york times called everyone’s narcissistic, it seems.

narcissism: it’s the word du jour!

and a very misunderstood/misused word, too.

and hey, the aforementioned article is timely and related!

to what, you say?

why, the discussion i started from the other week about whether photographing yourself/your style = narcissism?

heh. hee. 🙂


-what do you think about ink?

some are of the opinion that tattoos are a regrettable trend that will fade and are a blight on otherwise beautiful skin, some feel they are a taboo that goes against the will of god, while many, MANY others find them exquisitely beautiful. (via the telegraph, and the new york times) how many? well, according to the telegraph article, 1 in 2 americans (and 1 in 5 brits) has a tat.

any way you spin it (as i see it), tattoos are a form of self-expression, a signifier of something that is of importance (or at least aesthetically pleasing) to a individual, culture, or subculture. for starters, at least…

but i ask you:

are tattoos a trend that are on their way “out”? or is the art making inroads, just now seeing greater acceptance? conversely, does their acceptance have a long way to go?

are persons who have tattoos to be taken less seriously than those who do not have them? do tattoos say anything about class or class structure? i.e., are those that have them of a lower class, or perceived to be of a lower class by society at large?

from a style/styling oneself sort of perspective: if you have tattoos, do you consider them when getting dressed? are they a part of your style, or separate from it in some manner (i.e. you don’t think about them in relation to your wardrobe/what you wear)?


as far as the quick and dirty this week, why don’t YOU comment with cool crafty/fashion related things that YOU have spotted around the internet(s) this week?

ready, steady…GO!