Look at Those Clothes!

Musings on style and fashion

Thrifting Less, Enjoying It . . . Well, Just as Much


A few months ago, I called the Style Sisters to a family council. Depending on everyone’s mood, these meetings can be smooth sailing, with everyone doing their best to understand the others, or fractious affairs with some crying, some pinching, some yelling, and others sulking. But something had to be done, and so I drew a deep breath and took my chances. “Listen,” I told them. “Push has come finally […]

Continue Reading →

Tony Bennett’s 90th: Happy Birthday to an Elegant Gent

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Photo from en.wikipedia.org The Style Sisters and I disagree about lots of things, but we all love the classy, sophisticated jazz singers and crooners who did (or do) songs from the Great American Songbook—vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Mel Torme, and Tony Bennett. Especially Tony Bennett, who celebrated his 90th birthday on August 3. We heard Tony sing once in Columbus, Ohio, and were struck by his dignity, poise, […]

Continue Reading →

“Excuse me, but I’ve got to go change my clothes . . .”

Photo by Duboix

Guess how many times late-19th-century ladies had to change their clothes? Yes, indeed, a whole 8 times! (Or sometimes 7, depending upon the circumstances, possibly including exhaustion from the first 6 changes.) Here are the presto change-o’s that “society” demanded of wealthy ladies: Morning gown Afternoon tea gown Visiting dress Evening dress (for the theater, don’t you know) Ball gown Dinner dress Home gown (for before bed) Night gown And […]

Continue Reading →

Monkey Business

Photo by cheriedurban

  “The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveler’s cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same.” —Henry David Thoreau, from Walden, 1854 Well, I’ll be. I guess some things never really do change. In 1845, Henry David built himself a cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, so he could practice living the simple, independent life. (Yes, he carried his laundry home to Mama, but we […]

Continue Reading →

We’re supposed to be dropping off, not picking up . . .


We’d had an annoying morning, the Style Sisters and I, initiated by the headache already roaring along before we even opened our eyes. Then we looked outside and discovered that the beautiful spring-like circumstances of the previous few days—blue, blue skies; temperatures in the 60s; a landscape flooded with yellow-white light; tiny, jewel-like crocuses poking up through the tatty brown leftovers of last seasons leaves and grasses—all those refreshing signs […]

Continue Reading →

Sliding wordlessly into the night

Photo by Alvimann

In a slight bit of a poem called “Alexandr Blok,” David St. John tells of spending an evening with two scholars, one of whom is “the final word” on Blok, a Russian poet and playwright who lived from 1880 to 1921, when he died of the appropriately poetic malady of malnutrition. St. John loves Blok as much, it seems, for the dark romance of his life as for his work. […]

Continue Reading →

“I Want That Red Dress Bad”

red_apple_left _by hotblack

Kim Addonizio, in her poem “What Do Women Want,”  gets right to the sometimes gritty heart of what a seemingly simple garment can mean to us, how it can give us a way to cut loose, break free, force the world to see us in a different way, disguise our fragility, our goodness, and our innocence: I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it […]

Continue Reading →

Will your clothes miss you when you’re gone?

Photo by kakisky

They very well might in the world on the other side of the looking glass, where bread-and-butterflies flicker through marmalade skies and talking eggs wear dapper outfits. Your clothes might miss you in this world, too, if you’re one of those people whose minds easily slip into personifying—giving life and personality to objects that others see as merely inanimate bits of material. Those people are sometimes called children—or poets. And […]

Continue Reading →

Posts navigation

1 2 3 11