If you watch The Office, you know that the employees of Dunder Mifflin are always up to no good, which is usually orchestrated by their boss, Michael. Sometimes their antics are endearing and promote team building, but mostly they're just wasting time and energy. While I'm pretty confident that no other workplace is anywhere near as ridiculous, I'm curious to know if you participate in any wild, funny, or just plain silly activities while on the clock. If so, tell us about them — it's Friday and I think we could all use a good laugh!
I present you with, the magical, the mystical, the maudlin: Obama's elf. This is not to be missed.
Mr. Bradley, lounging on a bed in his office, called what he does weird and ugly, though in fashion weird and ugly often yields eureka.
This weird segue definitely made me stop in the middle of the article: never have I thought of the equation weird + ugly = eureka when it comes to fashion. Maybe weird can sometimes = eureka, but ugly = eureka? No way. To me, fashion is a kind of art form -- why would you ever express yourself in what you viewed to be a non-attractive manner? It just doesn't click for me. Must have been the author stretching for a transition between quotes or something.
>> See, I'd have all the money in the world...plus this whole outfit by Stella McCartney (right). If only...
I love that big chunky oversized sweaters are experiencing a revitalization, but this sweater dress has just taken the cake. The thickness of the knit, the big oversized sleeves, and the turtleneck make it look so comfy. I love sweaters that have turtlenecks like that because I can nestle my head down into it -- it's so cozy, like curling up under your comforter on a cold winter's morning. Not very often is something that looks so good so comfortable at the same time. And surprisingly, the dress has great shape on the body -- I tend to have such problems with knits stretching out and losing their shape. The length is good for wearing it as a minidress, or for a warmer/more conservative look, with trousers. Overall, it's just one of those looks that is very simple and yet intensely chic.
And then there's the boots. Or hot sex on your legs, as I like to call it. The remind me very much of these true-to-the-era Victorian boots that I fell in love with at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Of course they're missing the millions of tiny little buttons, and they're a little higher (the ones I saw were mid-calf), but the slim-fitting shape and color scheme is definitely very similar. The leather just looks so beautiful and supple, and I love the tie-up detailing at the very top, reminiscent of a corset. I think that's what I like about this outfit so much -- the dress is very sixties, and the boots are very Edwardian-inspired, making the juxtaposition of the two very modern and streamlined.
So unfortunately, as much drool as I lose over that outfit, I still can't afford it. And I'm sure that most of you can't, either. But have faith -- there are other options out there. Like this oversized sweater by Catherine Malandrino. Yeah, it's not exactly the same, but it's still beautiful in its own. I love the Shakespearean sleeves -- they remind me of the big poetic shirts that Joseph Fiennes wears in Shakespeare in Love. And it still retains the most important part of oversized sweaters -- the comfy-coziness. Gotta love it.
>> What's that spell? Supercool awesomeness. Or tao, if you want to be literal, the name of my new obsession (yeah, it pretty much changes daily). Named after its creator, Tao Kurihara, a seven-year veteran of one of my favorite labels Comme des Garcons, tao is concentrated on a single theme for each season. The debut collection for this fall is inspired by lingerie, so think gorgeous knit corsets and flirty cable-knit shorts. But basically, if you ever want me to like anything, just say "corset" and I'll be hooked -- I love the feminine silhouette they give. And Kurihara has definitely not skimped on the girly -- her creations are generously adorned with crocheted rosettes, pom poms, or bows. Now that she has me drooling, I wish I could afford a piece of the beauty, but the prices are "designer," they have said. I'm not surprised, considering how exquisitely the pieces seem to be made. So if nothing else, at least she has given us the gift of something peerless to look at.
>> The States are really missing out -- Americans are way too comfortable with their bootcut jeans. With Miss Kate Moss as the reigning fashion queen supreme over there in good old Britannia, however, I was finally privy to the treat that is seeing real live skinny jeans in action. I remember at least three distinct times when I spotted them -- probably because I was so stricken with awe (in case you can't tell I'm an orthodox worshiper of the look) -- there was a girl riding around on the Tube with her friends in Sass & Bide, a very indie-type girl (emo-y glass and the whole shebang) shopping with me in Unicorn, and finally, the girl walking on King's Road (above). I couldn't resist snapping a picture of her, and clearly the guy on the very left of the picture was intrigued as well -- I'm sure he was thinking about where he could get a pair of jeans like that (well I was, anyway).
I think partially the reason people are so wary of skinny jeans is because of their "unforgiving" body-hugging shape. But I feel like they are the same as any other style of jeans -- you just have to keep trying different brands until you find a good fit. Each of the three girls I saw had entirely different body types: the first was about 5'2. petite and curvy. The second was tall (probably about 5'10), with very thin legs and a boyish straight-down figure. And the third, well, you cann see her for yourself. Basically what I'm saying here is take a chance -- there's no reason that indie rocker boys need to own the skinny jean scene. If you're still worried, get the jeans in a dark wash -- it's always slimming. In fact, my favorite pair (and one of Miss Moss') is in a gray wash -- Sass & Bide's Stove Pipe Denim (right), available at both satine boutique and net-a-porter for $230-240 when they're not sold out. If you're not yet convinced, try both a dark wash and heels, which help elongate your legs.
For more skinny jeans, take a look at the examples I've put together here. Lovely.
>> September is my favorite month of the year -- not because all the young'uns go back to school, or because autumn is coming, but rather because the fashion magazines get fat. Fat with ads and fall fashion reports, that is. The new fall ads are great for style ideas, but the fall fashion reports are a different story. After a while, they tend to say the same basic thing -- it's like you're being force-fed the big overarching trends. And it's funny, because in saying the same thing, they miss some of the smaller trends. Like tights, for example.
Black opaque tights have always been a staple item of mine, so I may be partially biased, but with Edie Sedgwick being a major influence on the runways for fall, I think they're a safe bet. I especially like this Mary Kate Olsen-influenced look that is a bit punkish (right), because it balances out a dress that might be a bit stuffy otherwise. And it so easy to do -- just drop by your nearest drug store, throw your new tights to the dog, and there you go, without even lifting a finger. Seriously though, we've all ripped our tights without meaning to, so why not take advantage of the look while it's around and recycle those old things stuffed in the back of your sock drawer?
The more classic and sophisticated look of cable-knit or crochet-- probably the style I have seen most often in ads. These tights are very versatile -- they are simple and subtle, but at the same time they definitely add some panache to an outfit. In fact, I came across some Anna Sui brown cable knit tights (left) for $25 the other day -- probably the cheapest authentic designer deal I've ever come across.
And then there's the gorgeous Swarovski crystal applique tights Zac Posen produced -- 99 pairs have been made, so it's not likely that I'll get my grubby little hands on some. But one can still appreciate the beauty of these "Imperial Legs," selling at Bergdorf Goodman for $500 -- they really are a masterpiece in their own.
And finally, for the fearless -- the opaque white hose look that has shown up on the runways of Comme des Garcons and Valentino Couture. It reminds me of, I hate to say it, a nurse's uniform. There's a fine line to be walked between sexy stilletoed nurse and frumpy podiatric-shod nurse, so clearly shoe choice is key. But I would say as well that if you're feeling daring, try to stick to a monochrome outfit.
>> So where were we? Ah, yes, steak tartare...to be or not to be. I was getting pretty serious with the whole raw beef delicacy idea (I like to be daring with my palate), when in swoops my boyfriend, fresh back from the hair molesting experience. I ask him his opinion on the uncooked delight, and before the words are out of my mouth, he retorts: "What, do you want mad cow disease?" I ponder this for a moment -- the thought never crossed my mind -- I don't want my brain to end up looking like a plate of steak tartare. So I take a second look at the menu -- I'm already mad cow enough as it is. (Note: Yes, I do realize the risk for mad cow disease is not taken away by cooking the beef, but just by my boyfriend mentioning it, it freaked me out a little).
Now I love surprises, so one of my favorite things to do in a foreign country is pick the one thing off the menu that I have no idea what it is and order it. My French menu-reading skills are pretty good, but I'm no gourmand, so I can't say the same about Italian dishes. So it was settled -- I was ordering carpaccio, ready or not. "Bon choix" (Good choice) said the waiter in response, so I figured I hadn't made too big of a mistake.
To my surprise, however, carpaccio was not what I expected. I can't say what I expected, since I really had no idea what I had ordered, but I can say that when a plate of thinly-sliced raw beef was placed in front of me, I was slightly confused. All I know is that raw beef + me = meant to be that night. I really should have just gone with the steak tartare, in retrospect, but the carpaccio was exquisite. Leave it to those Europeans with a knack for cooking to make raw meat taste good. In fact, if you asked me eat it again, I would.
While I was digging in, our lovely waiter came to check on us. There was a flourish of his hands, a stream of TGV-speed French that poured out of the waiter's mouth, leaving a puzzled look plastered on my face. After a long pause of silence and dumbfounded looks, the waiter attempted the English: "I have dropped my fires in your sac." Still frozen with what must have been an embarrassingly stupid look on my face, it took me a minute to realize that the waiter had just spoken English. I cuted all over the waiter, not only for calling his matches "fires," and my purse a "sac" (the French word), but because it made me feel better about bumbling through French. It was a lovely lovely reality check, and just what I needed -- because half the time when I'm speaking French, I know what to say, but I get so flustered I forget how to say it. So it was nice to see the reciprocal in a Frenchie.
>> 'Twas the night we arrived in Paris, when all through the city, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. It was almost frightening how deserted it was -- for a second there, I was ready to write off Paris for a ghost town. My boyfriend and I were both ravenous after a day of travel, so we set off in search of a good French restaurant. I know that's kind of stupid, seeing as there's really no such thing as a "bad" French restaurant -- French chefs do commit suicide if their meal is not presentable, after all. But it turned out that the quest was harder than expected -- not because we couldn't find any good restaurants, but because they were all closed, rather (yay Parisian vacances!). Finally, after two good hours of trekking around the Marais, an oasis sprang up amidst the desert -- this adorable little cafe hidden in the Place des Vosges (left). And, even better, the cafe passed our two requirements: 1) the menus being in French; and 2) the customers were conversing in French. Because, really, why would you go to France to order from a English menu and dine with English-speaking peoples?
So, we're seated. And by this time, my stomach felt like it was about ready to jump out of me and go find a meal on its own. We are brought the menus, settle down at the thought of finally getting some good food, and then, I see it. The fine print. It always gets you. "No credit cards." (Except in that lovely flowerly language that is French). Oh gawd. Us being tourists, we weren't carrying enough cash. Why would we ever do something like that? Really.
I catch the waiter at his earliest convenience and bumble through asking him where the nearest ATM is. Of course, I don't actually know the word for ATM, because why would they ever have taught me such a useful word in six years of high school/college French? The waiter cocks his head at me like a dog does when it hears a weird noise. And then there's the awkward silence. Bumble bumble bumbling again, I finally get the point across. My boyfriend goes running off, following my pieced-together directions, and I'm left to stare at my menu.
Later, he tells me that in his rush to get the money so we can eat, he runs into a fellow patron's head with his arm. And brilliantly, instead of saying "Pardon" or "Excusez-moi" like I told him too, he says "Oh, Merci." Thank you ever so much for running your head into my arm -- how kind. I don't think I'm ever going to let him live that one down.
And what's worse -- this is just the beginning of the night's misunderstandings -- at the ATM, there was a "normal-looking" woman waiting behind him in line. She tells him: "J'aime tes cheveux." (I love your hair.) He understood, miraculously, but his French vocabulary consists of two words: oui and merci. He picks the most appropriate: "Oui." She speaks again, but this time, he only understands one word out the whole phrase: "toucher" (to touch). His response again (he's so well-versed): "Oui." Before he knows it, the woman is rubbing her hands all through his hair. Startled, he runs away, but not before a polite: "Merci."
Meanwhile, back at the cafe, I am musing over the menu and drooling. Soupe a l'oignon...gazpacho...steak frites...and their recommended special: Steak tartare (right). Yes, that's gourmet speak for raw beef. That you eat. And it's a delicacy. To be or not to be? You'll just have to wait and see... A bientot!
>> Okay, so this has got to be the quote of the century. Or at least of the decade:
Singing sensation Jessica Simpson has denied she is suffering from anorexia nervosa and insists people from Texas don't get eating disorders.
The 25-year-old credits her strict Southern upbringing with giving her a love of food and is convinced her love for herself will never outshine her love of eating.
She says, "I'm not anorexic. I'm from Texas. Are there people from Texas who are anorexic? I've never heard of one and that includes me."
Speaking of anorexia, MSNBC is reporting that Mary Kate Olsen is in talks to become the new face of Calvin Klein. That's right, the same company who launched the hugely successful career of Kate Moss. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but just wanted to throw that out there.