Category Archives: Art

Adventures Down Secret Stairways (or how to accessorize for cold weather wearing a sun dress)

Everyone should have at least one red lit in the dark photo portrait. Thanks, Evan.

This post was called “Winter Bohemian” but then it turned Spring. In L.A. we are still having some cool evenings so I am thinking a post about dressing warm in a sun dress is still relevant, right? I mean, this is an issue for me. I tend towards being cold unless I am doing yoga at least six days a week — when my circulation is really at top performance (ooh, such techy talk — “performance”!). Makes me feel like a baby having to be all bundled up in pants and a coat while all these people run around with nothing on their legs or shoulders, no goosebumps, sandals, hair up, looking so carefree and breezy . Another outstanding fwp.

We followed the directions.

About the secret staircase, though. I love the magical hidden among the mundane. That’s why I love magical businesses and headquarters that are right in front of your eyes, but that mere muggles do not detect. l also love The Borrowers for this reason and portals like the one Alice comes across in Through the Looking Glass…. So, that is where we went this cold and starry night. I was going to let my love go alone to China Town to check out a musical project of someone he kinda knew online, but once he showed me the instructions to get there, I HAD to accompany him. I was definitely not disappointed. Betalevel is a cool spot to check out music “projects”. It’s experimental. People sit in chairs and really listen to/watch performances. It is an intimate experience which took me back to the early 90’s when we used to go to all kinds of funky coffee houses to check out music and art.

Oooh, my hair looks so long and thick. Optical illusion I love.

Back to the outfit… to use a popular phrase which I do love, this is a cold weather dressing “hack”. So, here is a list of six things that can help you, too wear a sun dress in cold* weather.

•Long dress! Well, duh. And this one is longer in the back which gives it the illusion of being more breezy and light.

•Not cotton. This one is acrylic, but I also have a wool sundress. Seriously. It’s from the early 60’s. I don’t understand its existence, but how lucky am I? Anyway, if the sun dress is not cotton that really helps.

•Warm accessories. Like this acrylic, thick, super long scarf I made. I have also worn hats for warmth. In my opinion, if you put it together in a cool way in terms of size, color, shape, texture you can sneak warmers in!

•Boots. Obsessed. So, of course. Need I say more? The ones pictured are great because they are short clog boots so they go along with the illusion of not too wrapped up looking. I also love this socks with sandals thing that is popular right now. I tend to collect an array of colorful socks, so that style really works for me. My sandals are pretty flashy as well.

•Secretly warm sweater. A long sweater that is thick and edged with faux fur can be so cozy and not heavy looking. I was so excited to find how well this works. Make sure, though that the sweater has a tight weave so those icy winds don’t creep through.

•Layers. This is the most obvious hack, right? Everyone knows this one. But… it’s all about nice colors, shape, textures that go with the sun dress at hand. The layers compliment the dress. Here, I wear a thin, but warm long sleeve t shirt that wishes it was Patagonia. Also, tights. Gotta have those. Good, thick ones.

Back to the music… Here is some k-blamo music featuring a photo from this shoot. Yes, we have a youtube channel you can subscribe to now! Just click on “subscribe” and you will get an email whenever we (k-blamo) post a video.

*When I say cold, I mean it is lower than the 70’s. I know it’s funny, but come on. Lower than 70’s fahrenheit in the evening is not sun dress weather!

Dress label was removed (friend’s closet clean out!). Sweater by 21 up. Scarf homemade. T shirt by Uniqlo. Boots by Hanna Anderson.

All photos by Evan Hartzell

Viva Italia

I last worked on the following post October 29, 2016. I got busy with other stuff, and then the election happened. I thought about scrapping the whole post, starting over with a different perspective. Honestly, I even thought about never doing another Clothes Story again. But, those feelings were all part of the grieving process, and now I have a renewed belief in the power of sharing our stories. I also have a renewed appreciation for stepping outside of our bubbles and for being in community. Oh, and the exploration of fantasy and illusion in the film, 8 1/2 is something that’s come up repeatedly in this post truth moment in history. So, without further ado…

One early October morning “certain parents” made the mistake of telling their teen that “Ha, ha, ha, the truth is we don’t know what we are doing!” as they dropped him off for an over night camping trip. Don’t do that. Teenagers’ hormones are trouble enough, and they don’t need their parents sharing their  existential crises – or at least displaying such a dark humor about it. They need their parents to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and smoothies and tell them everything is going to be okay.

Early Fall of 2016 I waded into a midlife crises – I’m being dramatic, of course – and in such a dramatic state I started to fantasize about remaking the film, 8 1/2.

From a female artist’s point of view.

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Back up. Midlife crises? Why now? Maybe because I had come off a summer where I did things I had previously been afraid to do. That always shakes things up, doesn’t it? I had fallen into a tiny acting role on a friend’s movie – an exhilarating experience. I had also started playing shows with k-blamo on which I do vocals. Another exhilarating experience. Oh, that golden chakra. And the turquoise one, for that matter! Fall meant “back to work”. Even though I had taught all summer, the boys going back to school meant it was time to buckle down in the studio. Buckle down? I didn’t want to buckle down. Like Guido in 8 1/2 I wanted to break out of that traffic-trapped car and float up, up, and away. Something had changed within me, and I needed to explore it further.

In Federico Fellini’s 1963 black and white film, 8 1/2, the main character is an artist as well. He is film director, Guido, just off one production and now being hounded to give his vision for his next film – a science fiction piece, no less. Guido starts out at some sort of healing spa, and ends up swimming in a sea of his own memories and dreams. Marcello Mastroianni, at the height of his cool style quotient, plays Guido.

So, here I am. A female artist wandering the west side of Los Angeles that no movie crew is really looking for. No mistress is showing up – unless she is represented by social media distractions. Instead, my co-conspirator is patiently taking filming direction from me by the bus depot. The bus depot matches my skirt.

Big Blue Bus blue.

Big Blue Bus blue.

Like Guido, the film director character in 8 1/2, I avoid my artistic project’s completion (in this case, a graphic novel that is so long it makes me want to cry) by wandering the city in a beautiful outfit and revisiting my entire life’s story. I even start my journey in my own spa – my childhood bathtub full of healing salts where I end up talking to my mother as if I was ten again, and to the moon outside the window – a window that is no longer there. Fellini talks to his dead parents in a sunny graveyard, suddenly dressed as a priest. Dream sequences, heavy symbols, Jungian imagery that 8 1/2 is known for? Check. Like Fellini, I need a note attached to the camera reminding me that this is a comedy – that life is a comedy. Eventually, Guido contemplates the idea of the “ideal woman” in an actress he wants to cast. I contemplate who I strive to be, as my own “ideal woman”.

How did I get to deciding that a piece of Italian cinema so illustrated my crises? The seed was planted with a wander into an Italian menswear shop. One thing led to another, and through a series of cappuccinos, a visit from Tuscan friends, and on-the-street filming, I ended up at 8 1/2.

Brioni

I like portals, and the Brioni store in Beverly Hills is a portal to the elegant, gorgeous Italian bespoke shops of the 1940’s and 50’s. The Artist and I wandered into this epicenter of fine fabrics and spectacular stylings of fine men’s tailoring one lovely Fall afternoon.

It was the red velvet that beckoned us initially. What is it about velvet suits that grabs us? It’s decadent, luxurious, and oh, so soft. It conjures up falcons, estates, and silver goblets. Three out of four people in my immediate family love velvet suits. My husband even contemplated a velvet suit for our wedding in 1993. One of my favorite moments from a trip to Florence, Italy in 1997 was taking a photo of a business man in a blue velvet suit, standing in a plaza chatting with his friends at lunch time. Casual. No big deal. I performed with a band in a velvet jumpsuit around the same time. Now, The Artist wears a similar, red velvet jacket to the one in the top photo. Velvet is back.

Once inside the store, the atmosphere was all mirrors, gold, and black. I felt like I was inside an Italian race car with bouquets of roses everywhere. We were greeted by Sheila, who because of our enthusiasm (and probably our outfits!) treated us like we were museum goers, and she was the knowledgeable docent.

Clothing can be art to me, especially when they are so well made. Once Sheila told me about the attention and work that went into each suit, handmade in Italy, we bonded about the scene in Valentino, the Last Emperor that shows the handful of seamstresses making one of his incredible dresses. I love that scene – the intricate craftiness of it all. I grew up starting Saturday afternoons at the fabric store with my mom and then going home, each of us with a project at hand, cutting and sewing at the machine. Now, The Artist is pretty skilled himself, manipulating suit jackets with silver thread, vintage buttons, and yes, even adding Rushmore patches like you see on his jacket above.

If the Fall was the filming of my 8 1/2, then Brioni was a trip to the wardrobe department.

Caffe 8 and Half

If there’s catering on this movie set, then for me it would be  Caffe 8 1/2 in Santa Monica which I started getting into this past Fall as well. It’s kind of hidden, but oh so good. EVERYTHING is good here. I kind of went overboard on the sugar last time (Two words: Nutella. Pie.), but I do not dissuade you from completely giving in to the whole experience. Any cafe that has a Fellini theme and a Marcello Mastroianni photo mural wins me over easy. Next time I am trying a panini, for sure. Getting ideas from Yelp at the moment where the reviews are all glowing.img_1318

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Wait, are these photos of my OUTFIT at Caffe 8 and a Half? Why, yes they are.

The owner, Gaetano makes your visit to Caffé 8 1/2 even more special.

The owner, Gaetano makes your visit to Caffé 8 1/2 even more special.

Which brings us back to Brioni because…

On the Brioni website we see some red carpet photos of people wearing their suits, and one of them is of Chiara Mastroianni (French-Italian actress and singer) who is the daughter of Marcello Mastroianni (AND Catherine Deneuve… but that’s a whole other post. Wait, I already did that one). I don’t usually get stars in my eyes, but I swoon for the European art house cinema stars of my youth – my youth of seeing the films back in college, I mean. Marcello actually wears Brioni in this film. His look created a desire for a lighter suit, a more modern, on the go presence that reached all the way across the Atlantic.

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Oh. My. Goodness.

Under a Tuscan Sun

Lastly, there was Tuscany. I had one of those rare, sleepy afternoons this Fall where I curled up with a blanket and a self-indulgent movie. The “airplane” movie was something I found on Netflix called Under the Tuscan Sun. I’m not even going to talk about this movie in the same post as I mention Fellini – but, then again there is a whole character in this film who is obsessed with her past relationship with the great director. She even acts out a scene from one of his movies. Didn’t see that coming. I just wanted an escapist hour and a half, and I am back on set! Besides the always charismatic Diane Lane, the film’s other star is the location of Cortona in the Tuscan province of Arezzo.

Now, here’s the crazy thing. Next thing you know, in the last days of October we were so happy to hook up with our friends visiting from Italy. He was originally one of our good British friends from our year in Leeds, UK. She was the wonderful Italian woman he met while camping in Spain, and lucky us, they brought along their six year old daughter who taught me a bit of Italian. And where do they live? In that same Tuscan province of Arezzo! A highlight of the visit was the little girl trying her first skateboard on the Venice boardwalk. They brought with them a bit of child like curiosity from the village which I so needed.

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Italy was everywhere, and it was guiding me through a Fall of transitions. I entered through a suit shop, took to the streets making a handful of haiku like music videos in support of a new EP, and was infused with fresh energy by our Italian visitors. The summer had already been a gateway to embracing my love of performance, as my partner and I performed music and spoken word at a couple of Los Angeles events (with plans for more!). Like Guido in 8 1/2, I realized a film crew was in fact following me. In this case, the crew turned out to be the world that constantly encourages me to produce, that promises to eat up whatever I make. So, I ordered a new business card… and splattered them all with hot pink acrylic. The circus-like ending to 8 1/2? Maybe that’s what 2017 needs. The artists, the dreamers, the lovers, the activated… dancing in the new year across what looks like a barren landscape, still hoping to make the world sing.

Miyazaki Moment

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Who loves Miyazaki?? I do!!

I’m trying to remember the first time I saw a Hayao Miyazaki film. I know my boys were pretty young – at tops 5 and 8 years old – based on my memory of where we lived while we watched them. I’m pretty sure we rented a DVD (or VHS, even??) from Vidiots, and that once we watched one, we had to watch EVERY Miyazaki movie that was available at that moment. Well, not Princess Mononoke… yet. A little graphic, that one.

Previous to our discovery of Miyazaki, we had explored everything Disney. The older boy liked to pause Bambi and draw from the stills. We also loved everything Japanese. Japan’s influence was there from the beginning for me because my dad had been stationed in Japan after WWII. My husband and I had both grown up collecting Japanese stickers (how I loved Hello Kitty!) and watching Speed Racer. As parents we had made sure our boys were exposed to everything from the wonders of eel sushi in Little Tokyo to Giant Robot on Sawtelle.

Back to Miyazaki… We started with Panda! Go, Panda! (screenplay by Miyazaki), The Cat Returns (executive producer), and Porco Rosso (director and story). Next, I think we got into Kiki’s Delivery Service (director, producer, writer) and Castle in the Sky (writer and director). We didn’t have access to any more films that we knew of until years later with the American releases of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (my favorite film, period!), and Howl’s Moving Castle.

One of Howl's incarnations with Sophie, as her curse wears off.

One of Howl’s incarnations with Sophie, as her curse wears off.

I could go on FOREVER about my favorite Miyazaki characters, but this Clothes Story is about Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle who I wear so proudly on my shirt above. I’ve read on the internets that many a young girl has fallen in love with the Howl of the novel, Howl’s Moving Castle, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true about the movie character. I love this writer’s read of the movie’s metaphors, especially of seeing the moving castle as representing Howl, himself with it’s many faces, baggage, and stealing away to undisclosed locations. I have a similar character in the graphic novel I am working on. Who doesn’t love a complex, dark, love interest who hides his heart behind a shallow-seeming front? They are irresistible – especially when he is a ridiculously handsome wizard with at least three different names, secretly doing good deeds and secretly falling in love with his 90 year old cleaning lady! (Ooh! Another similarity to my project!) I love Howl because he illustrates that our higher self is always within reach, and sometimes it is witnessing another’s acts of love – in this case, Sophie’s –  to move us toward embracing that higher self.

Oh, and Morrissey, “A Heart’s a Heavy Burden” NEEDS to be the title of your next album. Hello, Morrissey? Can you hear me??

T shirt by Hot Topic. Jeans by Joe’s. Similar earrings on Etsy, here and here. Brooch is vintage. Mine are from Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. Denim trench is  vintage. Similar, here.

Photos by Evan Hartzell.

 

Thunderbird

I received a package recently, and in it was this story and a gift…

Here is a birth month story I want to tell you. Once, three days ago or three hundred years from now, there was a beautiful artist who lived in a dry land. This artist sang and wrote and painted about women who could fly, women who rode on cloud-buffalo and stepped over skyscrapers, women who could melt into their ancestors or disappear into daily life, women who could soar above circumstances as though gravity simply did not exist for them.

"Cloud-Buffalo", watercolor on panel, 8" x 8", 2011, collection of Lissa Carter

“Cloud-Buffalo” by me, watercolor on panel, 8″ x 8″, 2011, collection of Lissa Carter

This artist had a friend who had left the dry country and traveled far east, into a land of frozen winters and wet summers. This friend sat beside a fire one thundering, rainy night and watched tongues of lightning flicker through clouds. In the patterns of fire on her eyelids, she thought she saw the shape of the cloud-buffalo woman her friend had painted. Rain fell in sheets and drenched her to the bone as she ran back to her home. 

That night, she dreamt of the artist. The artist was hovering in a night sky filled with stars, and every time she stretched her arms out, rain fell beneath her. “How are you doing that?” called her friend. The artist laughed and said, “The ground needs water so I came up here where it is!”

A few days after she had awakened from that dream, the friend was wandering through a merchant’s trove of junk and treasures. A small box filled with a spill of bright color caught her eye, the colors of rain and rivers and deserts and sunsets. Lifting it into her hands, she saw that it was a Thunderbird, the Navajo icon of rain, power, creativity, and magic. The friend thought of dry land, and art, and women who could fly. She knew this talisman belonged to her friend, the artist, in whose hands it could bring water of many kinds to the thirsty ground. Aho!                                xoxoLissa

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Hat by Roxy. Stone necklace by Nicole. Blouse by Promod. Levi’s jeans altered by me. Sunglasses by Ray Ban. Thunderbird bead necklace is gift from the goddess, Lissa.

Sartorial Sublimation: The Art of the Reframe

Hello everyone! My name is Lissa, and I am highly honored to be a Clothes Stories guest blogger. I am a student and practitioner of Expressive Arts therapy, and one of my favorite techniques in expressive arts is the reframe. Sometimes this takes the form of literally re-framing a piece of art to emphasize a new aspect of your work. Other times, it is writing out an old story from a new, and liberating, perspective. This is the Clothes Story of how I did an expressive arts reframe of my relationships through the transformation of my wedding dress.

At the age of 25, I married my kung fu instructor, and although he had many positive qualities as a kung fu instructor, they did not translate well into marriage. It all ended in a severe case of learned helplessness and a devastating three-year custody battle.

Photograph from my wedding at 25.

Even though the dress I married in was purchased for only 63 dollars in the garment district of Los Angeles, it was a rather lovely floor length confection of white lace with an empire waist and flowery straps. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it, although I felt my stomach drop every time I encountered the thing in the back of my closet.

After the divorce, I went into a downward spiral of rage, grief, and powerlessness in the face of my custody battle.

I took up with a man who was both incredibly charming and highly unstable. When I finally broke it off and moved to North Carolina to start my masters degree, this man—we’ll call him ‘Dorian’—pleaded with me to come see him, even sending me a ticket so that we could meet one last time for forgiveness and closure. I ignored the ticket. I knew how he cycled between loving attentiveness and physical/emotional abuse.

Fast forward two years, and I was happily ensconced in graduate school in the mountains of NC when my friend Briana invited me to her wedding. Briana’s pleasure group had been instrumental in my survival of the terrible divorce years, and I was thrilled that she had found such happiness. Her wedding was to be a flapper-style 1920’s era speakeasy affair, and although I loved the aesthetic and wanted to dive in, I was a single mother and a self-employed graduate student. There was no way I would be able to afford the flight to California, let alone buy new clothes for the occasion!

But I am persistent, and I am resourceful, and I REALLY wanted to be there. As I cudgeled my brain to think of a way to get to California, I remembered Dorian’s ticket to Los Angeles. I quickly called up the airline and found that it was still valid, but would  expire the day after Briana’s wedding! I took this as a sign and booked my trip.

Now the flight was taken care of, but what would I wear?

I rifled through my closet. Nothing I owned had even the vaguest 1920’s aesthetic. And then, at the far back, I encountered my wedding dress. My heart began to beat faster. What better way to reclaim that dress than by wearing it to the wedding of a woman who had helped me through my divorce?

I took it off the hanger and assessed the situation. The sleeves would need to change. It would need to be shortened and given a drop waist. The lace already had a fringe effect….this was going to work!

I cut it off with my shears and dumped the whole thing into a vat of strong tea and mango peels to give it a vintage sepia color. With ribbon, I created a drop waist at the hip line and sewed on a large flower “given” to me by Michael’s (I found it orphaned on the floor!). Voila! The dress was utterly transformed. In the same way I had rebuilt my life with resourcefulness and creativity, this dress had gone from a generic, innocent lace gown to a sexy, original piece that felt like it had history and maturity. I felt like Cinderella. 


But the story isn’t over yet.

When I arrived at the airport, ready to visit friends and celebrate the wedding, Dorian was waiting for me. My heart dropped to my shoes. I hadn’t taken the time to consider that because he had originally paid for the ticket, my full itinerary would be emailed to him!

There followed a strange and surreal time of fear, ceremony, and closure. I was amazed to discover how much more powerful I had become as a person. I set firm boundaries and I spoke my truth. I refused to be intimidated by Dorian’s verbal abuse, and I ended things with him for once and for all.

And I made a mistake.

You see, in North Carolina, I had met someone. I had met a man who genuinely loved me, a man so full of creativity and intelligence and support and patience that I almost couldn’t believe he was real. I didn’t want him to know that I had ever been involved with someone like Dorian. So I hid that truth from him. I didn’t tell him about my years with Dorian. I didn’t tell him where my ticket to Los Angeles came from. I returned from Briana’s beautiful and soulful wedding and told my beloved all about it, but I did not tell him I had seen Dorian.

Photo “booth” at Briana’s wedding.

Well… As we all know, truth has a way of emerging into the light. And as it turned out, something in me really wanted honesty and full disclosure with the man I love.  One night, as I was sleeping, I confessed the whole story by TALKING IN MY SLEEP.  (Note to self: don’t try to keep any more secrets.)

When  I woke, he was crying. We had a long, painful and deeply vulnerable conversation, and we braved it out. We kept talking, we kept processing, we kept listening, and we kept our hearts open. He never gave up on me.  In the months that followed, he proposed.

Now we live together in the mountains of Asheville. Last week, I set up a date for us at a 1920’s style mystery theater, with my friend Briana, who has since moved to North Carolina. Full circle!

My beloved.

My beloved saw the dress laid out on the bed and quailed. He told me he still associates it with Dorian and that terrible sleep-talking conversation. But he is a brave and patient man, and after we had discussed it for a while, he asked me to wear it anyway.

We walked through the streets of downtown Asheville,  past the beautiful art-deco buildings, arm in arm and excited for the sense of history we felt. We laughed and talked and dined and were serenaded by live piano in an old saloon. And we reclaimed that dress once again–for ourselves, and for our love.

We are getting married in September. That is a whole other Clothes Story, but in the meantime, it is wonderful to know that with tea, scissors, flowers, intention, and communication, an outfit that once represented pain, difficulty, and betrayal can be transformed and reframed into a vehicle of love–not once, but twice.

Dress, unknown brand, LA garment district, tea-dyed and altered. Shoes, Chelsea Crew, vintage store find. Necklace, handmade, acquired in a handmade gift exchange in Malibu. Slip, vintage, thrift store find.

Read more about Lissa here, and enjoy her blog, True Beauty Always… it’s radiant, like her!  xoLaura

Sade in my Day

  

        So, like I said in my last post, I’ve been space clearing. I don’t mean just going through a pile of papers or one box of photos or a closet. This is a whole house. It’s all going down at my childhood home where I grew up – the only house I grew up in, the house with an attic, the house with a closet under the stairs, that once had whole bedrooms devoted to storage, with endless forgotten kitchen cabinets and the house with a deck full of tarp covered boxes.

Although it is emotionally exhausting going through your whole life history, there is a ton of benefits. For example, revisiting different chapters of your own style through photographs, letters, sketches, music and maybe even a few articles of clothing can teach us a lot about ourselves. One such chapter I revisited with enthusiasm was the Sade chapter.

In terms of music appreciation, there is no Sade chapter. She has been my favorite vocalist since I discovered her in the 80’s. With no other artist would I read every word of every song she wrote before putting the new vinyl on the turntable for the first time. Her lyrics are just as important to me as her delivery, her vocal sound, and the band’s musical collaboration with her. In 1987, as I completed my Tess chapter over the summer, I entered college ready to embrace the Sade chapter of style.

While the Tess chapter was a country bath full of lavender flowers that washed away all of the glitz of eighties blue eyeshadow and Wham U.K. day glow, the Sade chapter was about growing up into an artist with classic and sophisticated style that was at the same time European and embraced diversity. Sade represented a simplicity that spoke of strength and individuality. I felt like I had a lot in common with her at the time. She was born in Nigeria, grew up in England, went to art school where she studied fashion, and afterwards when she helped out some friends who needed backup vocals, found her love of writing songs. I also felt like I was bicultural growing up in Southern California with a firm grounding in all things Mexican. I got into fashion school, made a detour to an art major, where I also “helped out” some friends who needed vocals for their electronic music class. Lyrics also came to be one of my favorite parts of the music process as well.

My Sade chapter of style really took off when I decided to be her for Halloween in 1987. Of course, I doubt anyone knew who I was channeling at the time. I continued with this inspiration on and off for at least a year. Hair pulled back, red lipstick, gold hooped earrings, with a lot of denim, black and white. At one point, I even found it necessary to invest in a black bolero hat. The best word to describe what I thought of her style at that time would have to be “cool”. Just like her approach to creating and her approach to life, her style expressed integrity, brevity, a sense of being comfortable in her own skin. For a woman of color who was expanding her “languages”, it was a whole collection of qualities that could help me make this transition from girlhood to adulthood.

Pulling a black dress from the way back of my closet, which I wouldn’t normally wear these days, as I am so addicted to color, I paired it with a white shirt that was a recent thrift store find. Black and white? What was I doing? So unlike me these days. And then it hit me. The Sade style chapter was making an appearance – a result of all this unearthing of the past. The gold hoop earrings are updated. One side of my head is now pretty short as it’s pulled back. Red lipstick? That hasn’t gone anywhere. Some things just stick.

I like the idea that time is a circle. My synesthesia lets me see this moment as a spinning wheel, each spoke in the wheel a different moment – past, present, with inklings of the future. As they spin together, they become a beautiful blur, the miracle of our evolution.

Dress by Patagonia, shirt by American Eagle (boyfriend fit) – thrift store find, shoes by Dansko, earrings by Mingle, necklace by Evan Hartzell. All photos of outfit by Evan Hartzell.

Some of my favorite Sade style moments.

Some of my favorite Sade style moments.

How to Make and Use Fashion Spirit Cards

      

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The card I chose with what was written on the back.

The card I chose with what was written on the back.

My FSC's.

My FSC’s.

Okay, I’m telling you what to do again. But, why should you have to suffer if I’ve learned something that can help you? Oh, the reasoning of a Leo!

Three words:  Fashion. Spirit. Cards.

Now, I’ve done my homework, and all the fashion tarot  or fashion oracle cards I am seeing out there function as traditional tarot cards with a fashion theme. My version – which I am calling spirit cards actually tell you what to wear.

We need this. Obviously. I mean, if someone like me who spends an unusual amount of time looking at and thinking about style, has moments where I don’t know what to wear, just think about what it’s like for people who don’t. You know who you are, surgeons, administrators, people with three jobs, and parents of more than two children!

And the best part? You can easily use things you have lying around to make your own! Now, I’m going to explain how to make and use your own cards, using my three outfits above as examples. These were all based on the Georgia Okeeffe art card I drew one particular day.

How to Make and Use Your Own Fashion Spirit Deck of Cards

  1.  Make/Select Your Images  My FSC’s were put together by grabbing a bunch of my favorite postcards I had stacked near my closet. Some were sent to me, others I collected. You can do the same, or you can collect a bunch of images from old calendars, magazines, or print them off Pinterest. The point is that your cards have variety. For example, they can be very literal and represent sporty you, bohemian you, classic you, etc. or you can choose images like your favorite artworks or landscape photos that leave it more open to how you want to interpret the card. I prefer this last idea because I love the freedom and possibilities inherent in interpretation.  Try to have a selection of at least ten cards.
  2. Will This Card Inspire Your Day or Your Whole Week?  Good question, right? I tried fashion spirit cards on a day when I needed to pack a few days worth of outfits. So, you can use it for a day or a week or it can be a good tool when you are packing for a trip and want all the outfits to kind of go together or at least share accessories with each other.
  3. Draw a Card  Without looking, take a deep breath, and really concentrate on using your indigo chakra – yes, I said chakra. Ask yourself a question such as “Who am I on this day?” or “What do I need today?” or “What message do I want to put out there today?” It’s up to you. Clothing choice is totally spiritual. Don’t disagree; just go with it for now. Look at your card, accept it, have fun with it. If you are looking for direction in your wardrobe, now you have it.
  4. What Qualities Does that Card Represent for You?  I chose a Georgia O’keeffe card from, like I said, a stack of my favorite postcards. If your cards include more open-ended images like this, think about what the image you chose represents for you. For me, Georgia represents elegance, determination, independence, earthiness, and a connection between sight and sound. Images abound of Georgia in the 30’s through the mid 80’s and she is always dressed in a way that exudes confidence, strength, and femininity at the same time. With the Victorian like lace top I was trying to hark back to her early days where she had to assert her own voice in a culture that was not used to the idea of a happening female artist. I can imagine her taking a feminine top like that and doing something unexpected with it, like pairing it with dark jeans and silver manly shoes.
  5. Does this Card Inspire a Color Palette? If you are a color obsessed person like me, then let color by your guide. With the last outfit, the warm hues of the southwest landscape where Georgia spent most of her life definitely dictated which shirt I chose, whereas the black and white dress reminded me of her days in NYC where she starred in Steiglitz’ black and white photography. So, you might take direct inspiration by looking at the colors on the card or go deeper by making other associations. Lastly, remember that every color palette expresses emotion. Maybe the emotion you are expressing is how you feel or maybe it is how you want to feel.
  6. Power/Capabilites Are we talking Pokemon cards now? Not quite, but zero in on what you are capable of in an outfit inspired by this card. With the bottom outfit, I am definitely capable of hiking that gorgeous desert landscape with ease. Long sleeve shirts protect my arms from the sun. On the other hand, in the top outfit, I wear a dress in which I can conquer any art opening in New York City with charisma and grace.
  7. Look for Shapes In 2000, Molly Bang came out with a book called, Picture This: How Pictures Work. My children’s very artistic kindergarten teacher used this book to teach children about the power of shapes and colors in telling a story. Take a moment to study the card you drew and see how the shapes might dictate your outfit. Jagged lines in a print or pointy lapels in a jacket might express precision. Soft shapes might express dreaminess. See how fun this can be?

And with bringing it back to FUN, I remind you to not take yourself and your outfit too seriously. Try something new, experiment, think playfulness. If you are not in a position where you feel like you can take big risks with your outfit, start by taking small ones, or take them on the weekend. If you do try this, be sure to share in the comments. We’d all love to hear how it went for you. It would be so… encouraging.

Again, try something new… Fashion Spirit Cards!

Top outfit: Boots by Teva, dress by Hale Bob – similar here, rebozo worn as scarf from La Tienda at the Mexican Museum, San Francisco – similar here jacket is thrift store find, necklace from Taxco – similar here, Mexico, bag by Escama Studio.

Second from top outfit:  lace top by Marc for Marc Jacobs, jeans by Levi’s, shoes are thrift store find.

Bottom outfit:  Shirt by Patagonia, tank by American Apparel, jeans by Levi’s, jewelry vintage.

Top two outfits photographed by Evan Hartzell. Bottom outfit photographed by Aristotle Hartzell