January 29, 2011

fez formula

Jnane Sbil, Fès
Jnane Sbil, Fès 
sunnies - thrifted / purple paisley scarf - vintage, thrifted / trench - H&M / jeans - H&M / shoes - Toms

This outfit may be unlikely to make sartorial history, but it's a pretty good representation of what I've been wearing every day since we arrived in Morocco. While it's pretty unlikely I'll ever pass for a local, it's been important to me to dress modestly while I'm here, and to be intentional about the message my clothes send to people around me. Unfortunately, the image of western women held by many Moroccans has been heavily influenced by the widespread popularity of American porn, so licentious comments and advances on the street are not uncommon. I've come up with a general formula for getting dressed that feels pulled together and reasonably chic without inviting a lot of unwanted attention - here's how it breaks down:

the fez formula

These are the pieces I've found myself going back to, day after day.

Pants: There are lots of garment-types that would be seen as immodest here, but fortunately for me, there's no prohibition against skinny jeans and they are as popular with younger local women as they are back home. I do like to err a bit on the safe side and opt for longer tops and jackets, and I think it's probably best to the heed the "leggings are not pants" edict.

Top: A button-down top is perfect for traveling anywhere, Morocco or otherwise - you can button it higher or lower at the collar as need be, and can always roll up the sleeves or layer it to accommodate different climates. While in Morocco, I wear mine buttoned almost all the way to the top or layered over a tee with a modest neckline.

Shoes: Flat shoes are a must in the medina, as streets are paved with rough cobbles, if at all. After our first day out walking in rainy weather, I've decided my Zara flats are exclusively 'indoor shoes' (no worries, the donkey poop and mud came right off!). Boots might really be the best choice, but since mine have been in need of repair, I've been wearing my Toms everywhere. Canvas shoes would definitely be a great option in warm weather, as they're easy on your feet and relatively easy to clean if they get dirty.

Jacket: It's a good idea to keep your chest, shoulders, and arms fairly well covered while out in public, and if you are running short on tops that work, a lightweight trenchcoat will hide a multitude of sins. My trench has also been a good choice as the winter weather can be a bit unpredictable, and I can choose to cover up in rain or roll up the sleeves when the sun comes out.

Scarf: This is probably the most useful and versatile thing I have here - a well-wrapped scarf can easily raise the neckline of most tops. If you're caught by surprise with rain, or if you find yourself feeling particularly conspicuous as a Westerner, your scarf can be refashioned into a headscarf. Done and done.

Sunglasses: It's a lot easier to avoid the unwanted attentions of men on the street and of over-eager shopkeepers if they can't catch your eye - plus, you'll look cool.

Wedding ring: This is definitely something that not everyone would be comfortable wearing, but since I am traveling with my man-friend, it has been substantially easier to just tell people we're married and leave it at that. While it's not illegal for an unwed tourist couple to stay together*, it is frowned on by many people, and it has made both us and those we've met here more comfortable to indulge this small fiction. It's also a little bit of a deterrent to would-be suitors.

While this formula doesn't always result in the most exciting outfits (it is, after all, a formula), it has kept me comfortable in a variety of weather and social conditions. It's sufficiently modest for Morocco, but really these kinds of straightforward, classic pieces could be the building blocks of a traveling wardrobe almost anywhere. I'm certainly not being mistaken for a local, but I am at least being mistaken for a French tourist instead of an American one, which is really the best sign you could ask for that you look reasonably put together. I have still gotten some comments while walking through the medina - my favorite today was, "Hello flower hello sweetie hello hottie" - but I really haven't heard anything worse than what you might hear on the subway in New York.

*That is, because we're both foreign. If either or both of us were Moroccan, it would be illegal.

January 28, 2011


One of the things I most like about writing my blog is getting to know other bloggers - this is an incredible community of smart, funny, stylish women and it is such a pleasure to share a little glimpse of my itinerant lifestyle with all of you.

With that in mind, I've decided to start participating in ModlyChic's Friend Friday. This week's topic for discussion is one we all have questions about when reading another's blog - blogger mechanics.

1. What technology do you use in blogging? (computer, camera, video camera, tripod, etc...)

I use a Lenovo IdeaPad U460 laptop (in Midnight Plum), Pentax K-X camera with a Sigma 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 lens or a Pentax 50mm F/1.4 lens, Olympus E-P1 camera with a Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 lens, and boyfriend (who is not only sweet enough to take all my photos, but also just told me how to write all those fancy camera words just now).

2. What computer and online technology do you use? (blogging system, photo storage, photo editing tools, etc..)

I currently use Blogger as my blogging platform, Disqus as my commenting platform, Flickr for image hosting, and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for photo editing. I have thought some about making a switch to Wordpress from Blogger/Disqus - I really like having threaded commenting, but I've had numerous problems with Disqus lately that have yet to be resolved. However, having taken only a cursory look at the back-end of the Wordpress platform, I will admit some trepidation about making a switch - as I'm now so used to working with Blogger, I found the WP dashboard very confusing and unintuitive.

3. What is your process for taking pictures?

Our process is simple enough that it's a little hard to think of how to explain it - we just take a bunch of photos! Usually we end up taking about 30 photos, and I'll wind up using three or four. Sometimes we take photos at home and sometimes while we are out, in which case we'll often try a couple different backgrounds just to see what turns out. Generally I'll take a look at what we've got midway through on the camera, then decide if I want to take more to better show a certain detail or aspect of the outfit that's not coming through.

Once we've taken all our photos for the day, I download all the raw files and jpegs from the camera onto my laptop. I open up all the jpegs in batches of about five in Photoshop, closing the ones I definitely don't want to use and keeping open the ones that I think have some potential. I find it easiest to pick which photos to use when I've got them all open in front of me. Once I've got it narrowed down to a reasonable number and variety of images, I open one of the raw files and tweak a few settings - I generally adjust the white balance, exposure, and contrast if need be. Once I've got the settings where I like them, I save a preset that I can then apply as a starting point to the rest of my images for the day. After tweaking the raw files, I'll sometimes add an adjustment layer for levels or curves in Photoshop, then crop and resize for the web. Finally I sometimes run an unsharp mask filter to sharpen the image a tiny bit, and save jpeg files to upload to Flickr.

4. When it comes to backdrops for your photos what do you consider? Do you scout locations or shoot the same spot daily?

I can't say I have any hard and fast rules for backdrop selection, as often we take our photos while out exploring a new city and have no idea what we'll find. Since my blog is about my travels as well as my personal style, I try to choose locations that look good but also give a sense of place. When I can, I also look for backdrops that I think will highlight the colors or textures of the outfit I'm wearing. Often we end up taking photos in a certain place in order to take advantage of the (often fading) light, particularly when taking photos indoors.

5. If you could splurge and get one new piece of equipment what would you be buying?

For the time being I can't say there's much I feel I'm missing in the way of equipment - we've got two great cameras with two lenses each, and at the moment I've got an excellent photographer on hand at all times. However, once we've finished traveling I might see about investing in a tripod and remote - I think I'll always prefer having Chris take my photos, but it would be nice to be able to take some on my own at times when he's busy. I also might think at getting him a longer/faster lens for the Pentax, so we can take photos with a shorter depth of field when we're shooting in less scenic locations.

January 26, 2011


morocco riad
Totally catching up on my blogroll...

Check out our new house - in Fez! We tried to take a few outfit shots today, but I can tell it's definitely going to be tough while we're in Morocco. I definitely don't feel all that comfortable posing it up out on the streets of the medina, and immediately after Chris snapped this quick shot the sky went completely overcast and it got extremely dark everywhere in the house. Hopefully we'll have a bit better luck with the interior light over the next few days - I'd love to address some of the particular challenges (and, dare I say it, opportunities?) of dressing while traveling in a Muslim country.

January 25, 2011


Plaza de España, Sevilla
Plaza de España, Sevilla
Plaza de España, Sevilla
earrings - Boston street vendor / gray drapey sweater - H&M / belt - vintage, thrifted / buffalo Larch bag - custom, valhallabrooklyn via etsy / leather wrap watch - La Mer / pink skirt - H&M / tights - H&M / gray canvas Cordones - Toms

Since I felt like the last way I wore this sweater wasn't really helping me kick the gray weather funk, I decided to try it again for our last day in Spain and see what else I could do with it. I also wanted to experiment a little with wearing my Toms in a different way. I'm always a little hesitant to wear tights with shoes that cover up more of my foot, but I always love how Amanda rocks the tights with brogues and sneakers, so I thought I'd at least give it a shot. While I'm sure it would help if I were as unfairly leggy as she is, I think the end result wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared, although I think I like each half of this outfit more than I like the whole. Something about the proportions seems a little off to me - I'd like to try the sweater-skirt combo with boots, or do the Toms-tights combo with a top tucked in to the high waist of the skirt.

Editing these photos wound up being incredibly entertaining - it was super windy in Sevilla yesterday, which resulted in a bunch of ridiculously squinty, hair-blowing-every-whichaway, goofy-ass photos. Let's have a pretty party, shall we?

pretty party
Yeah, that center photo made me laugh out loud when I opened it up.

We were a little sad to leave Spain (goodbye, cañas! goodbye, manchego! I think I'll miss you most of all, espinacas con garbanzos!), but I am of course super-psyched about our new digs. I can't wait to share more of our travels!

January 24, 2011


Rio Guadalquivir, Sevilla
Rio Guadalquivir, Sevilla
Rio Guadalquivir, Sevilla
yellow scarf - gift / navy parka - UO / red beaded necklace - childhood dress-up box / red chain necklace - vintage, Park Slope flea market / gray drapey sweater - H&M / buffalo Larch bag - custom, valhallabrooklyn via etsy / overdyed skinnies - Zara / gray canvas Cordones - Toms

I have a confession to make: I am a total fair-weather dresser. I have one freaking day of gloomy weather in Seville and I instantly go to my dark neutrals, oversized-sweater-plus-skinnies comfort zone. It's not that I think I looked especially bad, but my outfit definitely did nothing to combat the blah-ness of the weather.

I like this sweater a lot, but I think I need to find some more inventive ways to remix it - especially with Kendi's next 30 for 30 coming up. I'm determined to actually, you know, um.... finish this one, so I need to get myself in gear for some serious remixing magic. Fortunately I'll be getting a package in a few weeks, full of all the closet gems that didn't make it into the bag on the first-go round and have had me slapping my forehead ever since. (Say it with me... what was I thinking?) I also bit the bullet this morning and "retired" (i.e., shipped home, or in some cases plain threw out) a bunch of items that I haven't been getting much use out of, and I'm sure there will need to be additional edits once the 'new' stuff arrives. I'll be working with an ever-more-limited wardrobe in the meantime, but the upside is that now my back shouldn't hurt so badly on moving days.

January 23, 2011

door envy

Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville
Barrio Santa Cruz, Seville
purple paisley scarf - thrifted in high school / fox tee - Zara / cardigan - Cynthia Rowley via Marshall's / buffalo Larch bag - custom, valhallabrooklyn via etsy / gloves - vintage, thrifted / overdyed skinnies - Zara / socks - Target / boots - Steve Madden

When we arrived in Seville yesterday, our hostess informed us that it was el día más frío del año ...or, "the coldest day of the year." I think we've been spoiled by all the fair weather we had in Barcelona and Granada - it was only in the forties and I was still shivering in my warmest sweater! I managed to grab a few photos with my coat off, but there was no way I was parting with my gloves.

I haven't been a big wearer of printed t-shirts since high school, but I couldn't resist this little fox tee at Zara the other day. The print is really soft and has a lot of depth, and it doesn't show up well in photos but the fabric is made with flax, so it has a very fine overall texture to it. I think maybe I'm just so starved for cute fuzzy animals in my life that I just end up wearing them on my clothes.

Lately I am constantly gravitating to old, elaborate doors. I point them out all the time, and it seems like each door in Spain is trying to be more picturesque than the last - so much so that Chris has dubbed this phenomenon "door envy" and it's become our shorthand for pointing out a really great door. This one was just to a typical apartment building in the barrio Santa Cruz, but I loved the scalloped and punched gold kickplate at the bottom.

January 22, 2011

totally incepted

La Alhambra, Granada
La Alhambra, Granada
gold link necklace - vintage, great-grandmother's / buffalo Larch bag - custom, valhallabrooklyn via etsy / cat print blouse - Zara / leather belt - vintage, thrifted / skirt - H&M / tights - Target / boots - Steve Madden

Lately I've been feeling like I have some sort of strange psychic connection with the universe. Both Christine and Kendi wore outfits very similar to this one at almost exactly the same time (except, since I'm in a European timezone, I live in the future.... so technically I wore it first).

This sartorial synchronicity was preceded by another eerie coincidence a few days before. After thoroughly evaluating my wardrobe (both in the suitcase and the States), I made a short little shopping list to keep in my purse of the few garments I really felt I was missing as 'keystone' pieces. I then went to H&M and Zara and promptly found almost every single one - and I don't just mean I found "new skirt," I found "new tulip skirt with pockets in bright color, pref. blush pink." My list-making was incredibly specific (it even involved making a polyvore set!), and yet it was as if every store I walked into had some kind of secret access to the (significant) part of my brain devoted to thinking about clothes. The colors were perfect, the shapes were just right, and everything was magically on sale. I think maybe I've been incepted by some major international retailers.

Of the things I brought home with me, I think I'm most excited about the possibilities for this skirt. I absolutely love this shape, and I've already got a whole notebook page full of ideas for other colors to remix it with. Since we all know cats love pink, I decided to start with a simple color palette and let the skirt (and cats) do the talking. Topped with my trench, this outfit was perfect for a cool but sunny day at the Alhambra.

These shots are taken from the alcazaba - in the distance behind me is the Albayzin, the old Arab quarter of Granada. Immediately over my shoulder is the Mirador de San Nicolas, a public square and lookout point that has a spectacular view of the Alhambra - and was about two blocks from our lovely house. I'm already making plans to go back...

La Alhambra, Granada
La Alhambra, Granada 
P.S. Lately I've been having all sorts of problems with the Disqus commenting platform - for some reason my Disqus comments aren't syncing with blogger, which is why the comment counts are all wrong on the main page. I'm also having some problems leaving comments via Disqus - many comments I've tried to leave on other blogs just don't post! This latter problem seems to happen most often when I write longer comments. Anyone else having problems with Disqus?

January 20, 2011


Carrer de Ferran, 19 Enero
Carrer de Ferran, 19 Enero
necklace - UO / leather wrap watch - La Mer / black v-neck tank - UO / breton stripe cardigan - H&M / red tights - Calzedonia / cognac over-the-knee socks - H&M / boots - Steve Madden

The last of the Barcelona balcony photos! Ah, memories. On to bigger, lovelier balconies - in Granada! This one even has a lemon tree within arms´ reach.

This was my traveling outfit yesterday - I always try to wear boots when flying. That way I don´t have to pack them and it´s quicker to take my shoes off in security. This super-comfy breton-striped cardigan and the socks were new purchases at H&M the other day, and I knew as soon as I saw them that I wanted to try them out with my red tights. I love how the browns of the boots and socks mellow out the graphic black-white-red combination, and I think the height of the socks gives an oversized sweater just a little bit of sex appeal. Giving a little too much sex appeal is the shirt I chose to wear under it - I didn´t realize it was so transparent until I was brushing my teeth in front of a mirror at the end of the day!

I´m afraid our beautiful house in Granada doesn´t have internet access, so I´ll be a little slower approving and replying to comments for the next couple of days. We are moving once more on Saturday, and after that I´ll be able to get back to a more regular schedule - in the meantime, I am looking forward to taking a ton of photos in this absolutely gorgeous place!

January 18, 2011


Carrer de Ferran, 18 Enero
Carrer de Ferran, 18 Enero
earrings - random accessories store in Copenhagen / black blazer-ish cardigan - Anthropologie / black henley tank - Old Navy / belt - vintage, thrifted / blue tulip skirt - UO / black tights - Target / black studded flats - Zara

Tomorrow is moving day! The last four weeks in Barcelona have been incredible, but I am definitely excited to move on to a new locale. It feels a bit like we've been here so long, we've gotten a little lazy about getting out and doing things - it's been too easy to put things off for better weather, sometime when my feet don't hurt, a less touristy time. On the other hand, it's been nice to be able to have a little bit more of a routine, and slightly more of a home-base. I think I'm ready for the shake-up though, and I've already picked out a traveling outfit that I'm pretty psyched about.

The approach of moving day also means the approach of Laundry Day, thank goodness. As my supply of clean clothes have dwindled, it's become painfully obvious that there's a certain monochromaticity to my wardrobe. Looking at what's in my suitcase, of the roughly 29 garments I brought (not counting shoes or outerwear), 22 are black, blue, or gray, and a whopping 12 of those are black. I think it's pretty safe to say that these kinds of dark neutrals are definitely my comfort zone, and I would even go so far as to say that black is a bit of a sartorial crutch for me. The first thing I notice and often comment on about those whose style I love is their inventive use of color, so it was a little shocking to realize how much I've come to rely on its absence.

Black is of course famously slimming and always in style, but it really isn't a lot of fun to remix. Picking out my outfit today was like making a bread sandwich, with bread in the middle, served with a side of bread. Life-giving staple for centuries? Yes. Also, boring.

So I'm going to try and impose something of a 'blackout' on any new purchases, eschewing the 'easy' choice of black in favor of the greater sartorial rewards and challenges of colors. I got a nice little start today (more on that tomorrow!), and I have been flipping through my "color inspiration" folder to start pinpointing some new favorite hues. These little studded flats from Zara will be the last of the black for a while - so long, crutch!

(Despite my somber attire, I did have some fun taking these photos. I thought I'd share my final 'outtake' from this afternoon - taken immediately after my pathetic attempt at the iconic blogger jumping shot. Suffice to say, I am not very coordinated.)

P.S. Tania of What Would a Nerd Wear said some very nice things about my style today! I love her blog, so naturally I am uber-flattered - thanks Tania!

January 17, 2011

retirement party

 Carrer de Ferran, 17 Enero
Carrer de Ferran, 17 Enero
silk scarf - vintage, thrifted / vintage brass whistle necklace - MyMomsBasement via etsy / blue v-neck - Forever 21 / leather wrap watch - La Mer / black pants - H&M / canvas flats - UO / trench - H&M

This silk scarf is another winner from the Salvation Army in Worcester Mass. There are many thrift stores that I don't have much luck shopping in as the merchandise is all too recent and low-quality for my tastes, but I always manage to leave the SA in Worcester with at least one bag of treasure (see also this dress, this skirt). This scarf was a major mainstay for me when it came time to transition my school wardrobe into something more professional. It was both an easy way to dress up an otherwise casual outfit, and it was a lifesaver in transforming the deep-V necklines of grad school* to something a little more work appropriate. It seems a little ironic therefore that wearing it always makes me feel a little like Joan Holloway, especially over a jewel-toned top and layered with a long necklace like my whistle pendant.

Silk scarf
This outfit has actually ended up being the final send-off for my gray canvas flats. I have a particular talent for wearing down the heels of my shoes (put that on a resume!), and these guys are pretty much toast. Fortunately I found a (much more durable, and cheaper) replacement this afternoon.

I've added a new page to the blog called in the bag - I've listed every item of clothing I have with me on my trip, and I'll keep this list updated with links to posts showing how I've remixed each item. While it might be of only passing interest to you, I am hoping that keeping this list will be indispensable for me as a way to keep track of which pieces I'm getting a lot of remix mileage out of and which have turned out to be dead suitcase weight. Check it out if you're interested - it truly does all fit in a single checked bag.
Edit: I have also updated my blogroll - I have started reading many more great blogs recently and wanted to share them!

*As architecture students, we were much less expected to look 'professional' as we were expected to look 'hip.'

January 16, 2011

lost weekend

I haven't managed to take any outfit photos over the last couple of days (in part because I've only technically managed to dress myself). We've pretty much spent the weekend in jammies, playing cards, reading books, brainstorming architecture projects, and now watching a little football. We did venture outside successfully for coffee and croissants, and unsuccessfully for groceries. Tomorrow I will be forced to do a little shopping, as the heels on my boots are in desperate need of repair and I need to find a wearable replacement for my gray flats pronto. Oh, right, and we still need food. I guess that's important too.

The super-stylish Kyla of Blue Collar Catwalk was sweet enough to include me today in her new Blue Collar Collective feature, and the lovely Ms. Wiley of wily wiley praised my new cat print obsession shirt in her post on interwebs inspiration - thank you to both of these awesome bloggers, and to new readers of the other emily, welcome!

I'm off to curl up on the couch, drifting off to the soothing sounds of color commentary on Bill Belichick's coaching strategy, but I'll leave you with some evidence that my new jetset lifestyle isn't totally perfect - here's the guy I'm missing:

Best. Grad school. Buddy. Ever.

January 15, 2011


Sant Jeroni, Montserrat
Sant Jeroni, Montserrat
sunglasses - thrifted / gold paillette necklace - Anthropologie / red print button-down - vintage, thrifted / leather wrap watch - La Mer / buffalo Larch bag - custom, valhallabrooklyn via etsy / black pants - H&M / shoes - Tom's

Yesterday was pretty amazing - Chris and I took a trip out to Montserrat (whose name literally means "jagged mountain" in Catalan) and spent the whole day hiking up and down the mountain's highest peak. It's a pretty incredible place, and although we took the first train there and the last train back, there is still so much we didn't get to explore! I suppose we'll just have to go back someday...

Sant Jeroni, Montserrat
I'm still struggling to find better ways to wear this vintage button-down, although it was pretty much the perfect thing to wear hiking. I absolutely love the color and print, and it's super soft and comfy, but I think the fit is less than ideal. It falls somewhere in between actually fitting me and being truly oversized, so the final effect is less "effortlessly oversized" and more "pajama top." I'd hoped that tucking the front in might help keep things a little more tailored, but I'm afraid it just ended up underscoring the boxiness. Next time I think I'll have to try layering it under something a bit more fitted (like I did here) and leaving it untucked.

We took about a gazillion photos of the beautiful landscape and semi-ruined 15th century buildings (the mountain is still home to a Benedictine monastery), but here are just a few of my favorites. 


January 13, 2011

meow meow

Arc de Triomf, Barcelona
gold link necklace - vintage, great-grandmother's / buffalo Larch bag - custom, valhallabrooklyn via etsy / cat print blouse - Zara / leather belt - vintage, thrifted / shorts - H&M / tights - H&M / canvas flats - UO

I'm afraid I have to keep this short and sweet, as I've got to get some sleep - tomorrow Chris and I are going on a little day-trip and we'll have to actually get up early! It's incredible how easy it was to get used to this whole not-working thing.

Fortunately for brevity's sake, almost none of our pictures turned out today, despite my overwhelming enthusiasm for this new blouse from Zara. I'd been a big fan of the miu miu-inspired cat prints that have been popping up all over during the last few months, so when I saw this sheer number on eat.sleep.wear the other day, I'd looked it up online (and it was even on sale!), put on my coat, and headed out the door before poor Chris even knew what was happening. I went to the four closest Zaras (all within a mile - this is Spain, after all), including the biggest one I have ever seen in my life, and emerged victorious.

For the meow-meow shirt's first outing, I wanted to keep the color palette and accessories pretty minimal and let the print really do the work. I'm not usually very big on buttoning my shirts all the way to the top (something about being strangled), but I really loved the combination of the prim buttoned collar with a seriously red lip.

January 12, 2011

fancy jedi

Carrer de Ferran, Barcelona
Carrer de Ferran, Barcelona
poodle(!) brooch - vintage/DIY / cardigan - Cynthia Rowley via Marshall's / leather belt - vintage, thrifted / leggings - Zara / socks - Target / boots - Steve Madden

Truth: this is not what I started out wearing today. I started out wearing something kind of bleh, something I felt guilty about not wearing on the trip (much) or on the blog (at all). I tried to dress it up with my favorite thrifted silk scarf, but it was still... bleh. A perfectly serviceable outfit. Covered everything that needed covering, stood up to the harsh demands of going out for coffee and working on the laptop. Just uninspired.

Fortunately, when we came back from coffee and a leisurely walk, the apartment smelled bad. Like, seriously funky. Apparently something we'd left in the kitchen trash overnight was displeased with being unrefrigerated. So we opened the doors to our balcony to air things out, I got chilly... and then the magic happened. I put on my cozy cashmere Snuggie cardigan, started playing around with it, and I happened upon a new way to wear it that I love. I immediately swapped out my (in all honesty, pretty stretched out) jeggings and flats for leggings and boots and - voila. Fancy Jedi.

Am I wrong? Does this not look like what the chicest residents of the ice planet Hoth will all be wearing next season? It does. But they don't have a fancy ceramic poodle brooch with which to clasp their cashmere tunics.

Rad poodle
That's right, I said, "fancy ceramic poodle brooch." What.

January 11, 2011


Port Vell, Barcelona
Port Vell, Barcelona

sunglasses - thrifted / trench - H&M / necklace - vintage, Brooklyn flea market / leather wrap watch - La Mer / buffalo Larch bag - custom, valhallabrooklyn via etsy / navy striped sweater - H&M / denim leggings - Target / shoes - Toms

Many people start getting dressed by picking out a particular item, and then building their entire look around that first item. For me, nine times out of ten that first pick is my shoes, especially during "Boot Season" (defined as any time of year sufficiently mild that I can wear boots without overflowing them with calf sweat - gross, right?). I frickin' love boots - the last time I bought a pair (ok, two pairs, but it was at a rummage sale!) Chris asked me to list for him how many pairs of boots I currently owned. I thought it was a ridiculous question, until I started counting... fourteen. I had fourteen pairs of boots. Since then I have sold some on etsy, given some to my mother, and Chris threw away one of my LLBean boots by accident, so now I'm down to a very reasonable eight (and a half) pairs, and I only brought one with me to Europe.

Which is a very long-winded way of saying that I really wanted to wear my boots (again) today, but just had to give it up as my feet have informed me that they no longer get along with my one pair of boots, particularly when combined with cobblestone streets. They have also grown weary of my (one pair of) flats, so Toms it was. These gray canvas shoes with their white laces always gave me kind of a preppy, nautical vibe, so I decided to just roll with it and throw on some navy and stripes for a day spent wandering the waterfront. I definitely would have liked this more with some boots to balance out the volume of the drapey sweater on top, but I'm sure my feet will thank me with flowers and candy later.

I did dress things up a little bit with my fanciest hair-do though:

Fancy hair

January 10, 2011


Carrer de Ferran, Barcelona
Carrer de Ferran, Barcelona
trench - H&M / necklace - vintage, Brooklyn flea market / red & white striped shirt - Lucca Couture via UO / leather belt - vintage, thrifted / leather wrap watch - La Mer / shorts - H&M / tights - Calzedonia / canvas flats - UO

I finally caved to my craving for red! Chris* and I were walking around the Barri Gotic the other night, and I spotted these bright tights through a shop window. I snatched them up in a heartbeat, and now I can tell I'm going to have to watch it or I'll wear them every day! There's nothing like bright legs to keep a limited wardrobe from feeling stale, and since they pack down so tiny, I don't have to feel too guilty about adding to the suitcase. I suspect I'll be sublimating a lot of my future shopping urges into more and more colored tights.

I definitely made an effort to keep my trench open while I was out and about today - otherwise I was worried it would look like I wasn't wearing pants! It's funny, I don't feel overexposed at all when wearing shorts with tights, but as soon as the shorts aren't visible, I feel like I look indecent! Does anyone else feel uncomfortable when their jacket is longer than their hemlines, or is that just me?

Carrer de Ferran, Barcelona
Oh, don't mind me, I'm just *cough* pretending to be tall....

This shirt is one of those weird garments that feels great when you're wearing it, and seems to flatter you in the mirror, but just does not photograph well at all. I think it's a combination of there being some truth to the old warnings about horizontal stripes, the unflattering optics of which are only emphasized in a photo, and that the stripes on this top are so narrow and close together that they can be a little dizzying.
In theory, all the ingredients are there for this to be a favorite of mine - stripes! red! boatneck! 3/4 sleeves! - but for all that, I'm not sure it was one of the better choices to pack in my oh-so-small suitcase.

I may have an opportunity to exchange a few things with home in the next month, so I've been working on evaluating my packing choices so far. Being so far from my (admittedly overstuffed and under-edited) closet is definitely turning into a learning experience about my style and the way I like to get dressed, so hopefully beyond the chronic sense of garment-deprivation I'll actually return with some insight into how to use my wardrobe more effectively. I'm also hoping in the next few weeks to put together a round-up post about what I brought, what I wish I had, and what in my luggage I really could do without.

*yes, he does have a name; I just asked permission to use it recently - I should have done that years ago, it would have made introducing him to my family so much easier.

January 9, 2011

fit to print

Plaça de Colón, Barcelona
Plaça de Colón, Barcelona
vintage brass whistle necklace - MyMomsBasement via etsy / vintage wrap "dress" - TimeEchoVintage via etsy / leather belt - vintage, thrifted / wood & brass bangle - vintage, thrifted / trench (below) - H&M / buffalo Larch bag - custom, valhallabrooklyn via etsy / tights - Target / boots - Steve Madden

On our third trip to the post office HQ here in Barcelona, we finally succeeded in retrieving the clothes I left behind in Madrid! And this dress was far and away the garment I'd forgotten that was most important to me. I absolutely love the colors and the crazy pseudo-tribal print, and now that it's one of the only two (two? What was I thinking??) dresses I have, I'm looking forward to dreaming up inventive new ways to wear it. It's not even really a dress, but a very large, long vest. So far I've only worn it as you see here, wrapped across itself in front and belted - although now that I see it in photos, I'm not sure the wide shoulders and blousy top are doing me too many favors, so I think I'll invest a little time in experimenting with ways to make it fit a little more closely. I think it also may be time to do something about that out-of-control fringe....

Of course, I can't help but think (as always) that the thing that's really missing here is an army jacket.... but for now I'll have to settle for the awesomeness that is the leopard lining on my trusty trench.

Undercover print-mixing

January 7, 2011

up & coming

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

sunglasses - thrifted / necklace - LES flea market / button-down - vintage, thrifted / blazer - Anthropologie / belt - vintage, thrifted / leather wrap watch - La Mer / trench - H&M / denim leggings - Target / boots - Steve Madden

We finally made it to the Sagrada Familia today - and we only had to wait in line twice! On our first try, the line was pretty long, so Boyfriend asked if I minded holding our place in the queue while he ran around and took pictures for ten minutes or so. I told him, of course not! And he promptly disappeared for over half an hour. Whoops. I got to the head of line and still saw no sign of him, so I started waving people on in front of me. Soon enough, I had let so many people go by that it wasn't clear to anyone that I'd ever been in line at all! So once he reappeared (and apologized profusely), we ended up just walking back around and queuing up all over again. Fortunately, for such a long line it did move pretty quickly, so we didn't lose too much time on the second go-around.

The cathedral itself was sort of strange for me - I'd been there once before, about five years ago, and they have done a huge amount of construction since then. The last time I came, the whole interior was unfinished and still semi-outdoor, which actually felt a little bit more spiritually inspiring to me - but then, I guess I am a little biased toward construction sites.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
We took a few quick pictures in front of the doors of the cathedral - we practically had to get in another line to take photos! There were tons of people trying to edge past one another (and us!) to get snaps in front of these great doors, but no one else had quite such a good photographer as I have.

Oh! And one other sort of cool thing happened today - check this out:

No, not the ad for a Swedish gambling site (although, by all means, check them out - but I get 10% of your winnings) - that's the "Streetstyle" category page on bloglovin.com. Keep scrolling down.

Yeah, um... keep scrolling....

There it is! My little blog is currently #10 on bloglovin's list of "Up & Coming" streetstyle blogs! It turns out I am, in fact, 'up and coming.' (Although I'm not sure why they are under-counting my followers through their own website, but whatever.) So that was a neat little surprise this afternoon - and of course, if you'd like to follow the other emily on bloglovin' and you aren't already, you can click here to subscribe.