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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sep 12 2012

The ‘Architectress,’ circa 1973

“Even the most old-fashioned practitioners—the ones guarding the “masculine cocktail party” of the drafting room against an onslaught of women wearing “close-fitting slacks” and “white sweater[s]”—could see the value of cheap talent.” —Gabrielle Esperdy, “The Incredible True Adventures of the Architectress in America” in Places

I count only four white sweaters, and innumerable sensible slacks.

Sep 7 2012

136 Ways to Get Dressed

Sales at J.C. Penney have been sagging, so it’s a good thing the store asked for help from the editors of Cosmopolitan, who had the sense to slap a giant push-up bra on the situation like one big Band-Aid.

The ailing family retailer has teamed up with the magazine to launch a line of Cosmo-branded undies, shoes, bags, and erogenous-zone coverlets. As you might expect, it’s a parade of purple, animal prints, fringe, and sparkles.

I couldn’t bring myself to post any of the really cleavage-y shots (toe or otherwise), but yeah, they’re there. Here’s a safe-for-prudes preview.

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Sep 4 2012

How to Dress Like Furniture

If I were to dress in drag, it wouldn’t be as a man, but as a couch. Yes, yes, Megan Draper’s mod-and-mini sensibilities are something to aspire to, but when I see Betty Draper, er, “Francis,” encased in upholstery fabric and looking like a fine Victorian settee, that is when the outfit envy becomes overwhelming.

It has never once occurred to me to want to look like a modern chair. But the fall/winter collection of United Nude, the architect-designed shoe line from Rem D. Koolhaas (nephew of the guy you’re thinking of), is changing all that.

As an object, this one, the Eamz Collar, is sort of fascinating:

What do you wear with it? Definitely not seersucker. Something brass? A hat made from a stuffed stag?

Also, do not bike in these.


Sep 4 2012

How to Behave in 1907 Paris

Judith Martin, a.k.a. Miss Manners, hero to all of us who would like to believe our judginess is not mean but somehow patrician and therefore affable, has some advice for behaving like an aristocrat in turn-of-the-century Paris. She dispenses it in her review of Jennie Fields’s The Age of Desire, a fictionalized treatment of Edith Wharton’s romantic foibles—namely, a volatile affair with the American expat journo Morton Fullerton, who was something of an equal-opportunity philanderer (he also drew the attentions of Henry James). As Martin tells it, society in Wharton’s time prized discretion above morality, so it was basically OK for a respectable middle-aged married woman like Wharton to have an affair so long as she was good at hiding it.

But apparently Fields missed some of the finer points of what counts as proper behavior in the period. Like a coconspirator whispering to us behind the Japanese screens at a Paris salon, Miss Manners fact-checks everything from small talk to the proper way to fiddle with your handkerchief:

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