The Dandy, The Rockstar & The Gentlewoman {Style Icons: Janie, Esther & Jeeyong}

17/07/2012 § 7 Comments

Janie Cai, Esther Quek and Jeeyong Kang.

Three amazing women, three distinct senses of personal style
that are heavily influenced by menswear.

Believe me when I say serious. girlcrush. (times three).

The Dandy — Janie Cai, fashion director, Esquire Singapore.

Janie is a lady who loves a good hat and a statement lapel (or accessory).  She’s eternally smiling — something of a rarity for streetstyle subjects — and her kits always feel like so much fun.  I’m especially digging her new haircut.

From Janie, take a carefree attitude and a love for nattily mixed textures…

The Rockstar — Esther Quek, fashion editor, The Rake.

Esther’s self-assured composure and amazing hair choices have me a bit intimidated, even from pictures.  But I love it.  She is a master of the necktie — and did you notice her tie bar game?  So, so good.  I love her approach to layering and pattern-mixing — and her omnipresent dark glasses?  Completely badass.

From Esther, take a sense of boldness and a love of color and contrast…

The Gentlewoman — Jeeyong Kang, fashion director, GQ Korea.

Of the three, Jeeyong’s sense of style is probably my favorite.  There is a calmness to the way she dresses — it is simple and elegant and communicates a sense of seriousness.

From Jeeyong, embrace a sense of confident simplicity.

Images via: You Just Got Spotted [1 and 2], The Sartorialist [1], All the Pretty Birds [1 ], Vanessa Jackman [1 and 2], Rock the Trend [1 and 2], STREETFSN [1 and 2], Stockholm Streetstyle [1, 2, and 3], Guerrisms [1], Streetpeeper [1], Citizen Couture [1 and 2], Tommy Ton for Style.com [1], and a few random finds courtesy of the Tumblrs and the Googles.

On Uniforms {also, Style Icon: Emmanuelle Alt}

08/03/2012 § 12 Comments

Keep Anna Dello Russo and her fruit fixation, I much prefer the style of Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt.  Mme. Alt and I have much in common: we both tend toward a slightly androgynous look, we both enjoy a smart jacket (and even more so if it has a military feel to it), we’re both near six feet tall and not afraid of a good high heel, we both employ the bro-tuck liberally, we both prefer unfussy hair.  Obviously, we should be best friends.  Obviously.

I can’t tell you how miffed I get when I see comments on pictures of her declaring her boring, or that it is nonsensical she is at the helm at Vogue Paris, because to me, Alt is the essence of Parisienne chic.  Alt knows what she feels she looks best in and has formulated a bit of a uniform around that.  She won’t try out trends simply because they are new, or seek attention by being outrageous.  Alt is style, whereas Dello Russo is fashion.

As I become more comfortable in my own style, I find myself slipping into a uniform of my own, and I’m okay with that.  While it may not be as Balmain-heavy as Mme. Alt’s, I’ve identified shapes I feel most comfortable in and am continually on the lookout for designers that hit my sweet spot, just as she has.  I no longer feel compelled to wear “the new black” or jump on “of the moment” bandwagons because these trends don’t usually represent my personal style.  Increasingly, I find I’d rather invest in pieces that I know I will love now, and years from now — not things I will want to toss out in a season or two.

How do you approach your own style? 
Do you enjoy following the trends? 
Do you have a uniform?

J’adore the Vogue Paris ladies, all wearing the Alt uniform.


Images via Streetfsn, Grazia.it, Vogue Paris and Stockholm Streetstyle.

Try on Mme. Alt’s uniform for size:

Balmain satin-trimmed wool-crepe jacket
Similar High Street alternative here (Asos)

Balmain stretch-leather skinny pants
Similar High Street alternative here (Zara)

T by Alexander Wang classic muscle T-shirt
Similar High Street alternative here (Zara)

Isabel Marant Zoro leather belt
Similar High Street alternative here (Urban Outfitters)

Jimmy Choo Abel pointed patent-leather pumps
Similar High Street alternative here (Nine West)

I’ve just got one question though:
How does she never have a purse?

Style Icon: Anjelica Huston

16/01/2012 § 3 Comments

Spirit animal.

The number of girlcrushes that fondly claim the lovely Anjelica Huston must number in the majillions.  I came to this realization after searching for images for this Style Icon post, and noticing the abundance of posts and the repetition of many well-loved photographs of Ms. Huston.  So here, I’ve tried to offer a few new images to the mix, pulled mostly from her career as a model in Vogue via youthquakers and from a collection shot by Life Magazine on the set of her first film, A Walk with Love and Death, in 1969 (she’s 18 in the photos).

I have always loved the versatility and originality that Anjelica embodies.  I love that she is a tall lady.  That she is darkly handsome in a non-conventional manner.  That she tends to make off-beat character choices.  That she gets even more beautiful as she gets older.  That she was involved with Jack Nicholson for over fifteen years.  That she is a third generation Oscar winner.  Ah, and her voice…

For further Anjelica love, check out Allison and Diana‘s posts.

You can also wander through the youthshakers archive.

Style Icons: The Women of the Wild Bunch

21/12/2011 § Leave a comment

Image via Tomboy Style.

Because I had a number of flights over the last couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to revisit some of my favorite films.  One of them yielded a bit of style inspiration in a roundabout manner and it has been on my mind for days now.  The film? Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Robert Redford as Sundance, Paul Newman as Butch.  If you haven’t yet seen the film, I highly recommend you make the time — it’s even on iTunes, in fact.  Loosely based on true events, the film follows real-life turn of the century bank and train robbers Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, members of the Wild Bunch and the Hole in the Wall Gang, through a series of heists and concurrent efforts to outrun the law.  Katharine Ross plays Etta Place, a woman who was companion to the Sundance Kid and traveled with both men across the country and to South America.  There are only two known pictures of the real Etta Place — in fact, it’s actually not even clear that Etta Place was her real name — and she vanished without a trace around 1909.  Quite the mystery.

The real Etta Place, with the Sundance Kid

At its heart, the film is about the relationship between Butch and Sundance and the chemistry between Newman and Redford is spot on. But I couldn’t help but be drawn to Etta Place, the school teacher who somehow became enmeshed with two of the most prolific thieves in history.  My favorite scenes are when Etta dresses a bit boyishly, but truth be told, she spends most of the film in very proper and very ladylike attire, usually complete with hats and gloves.  (Sidenote: The costumes in this film are a.MAY.zing.)

Image via The Selvedge Yard

A bit of further research led to an unexpected discovery.  While the film version of the Wild Bunch was men-only (with the tangential exception of Etta), there were in fact, a few female members of the gang.  Most notorious among these women, was Laura Bullion, “The Rose of the Wild Bunch.”

Laura Bullion’s 1901 mugshot

Far be it from me to glorify any real-life criminals, but I was taken aback by Laura’s mugshot and the scatty details of her life.  Born in 1876 to an outlaw father, she is linked romantically to Ben Kilpatrick, also a member of the Wild Bunch.  Her crimes tended toward robbery, prostitution, and forgery, for which she ended up spending almost 4 years in jail around the turn of the century.  After serving her time, she eventually moved to Memphis, where she posed as a war widow under assumed names and oddly domesticated herself, becoming a seamstress, drapery maker and interior decorator.  She died in 1961, the last living member of the Wild Bunch and last person to have actually known Etta Place.

The 1901 mugshot is arresting.  It’s almost like she dares you to look away.  Her gaze is all hardness and resolve.  For a woman at that time to choose such an unconventional lifestyle, one can only guess what her life must have been like, growing up surrounded by criminals.  Also, can we please note the bow tie?!

Interestingly, as I researched more female outlaws, I came to notice how frequently their sexual activities and partners were mentioned — distinctly different from the characterizations of their male outlaw counterparts — and how the accounts that were made at the time have a distinct impact on the accounts that are written today.  It is interesting to note that these women were frequently made out to be sexual deviants, loose women, and/or prostitutes — defined by that all too-familiar double-standard.  Not only did they break the laws of the land, but since they shirked sexual mores with abandon, society made it clear they were outsiders.  Perhaps even more so than male outlaws.

From Laura and Etta, I’m taking a sense of rebellion and adventure.
But I will leave it to them to break the laws.

Style Icon: Amelia Earhart

30/11/2011 § 8 Comments

“The best things of mankind are as useless as Amelia Earhart’s adventure.  Such persons…prove that man is no mere creature of his habits, no mere automaton, no mere cog in the collective machine but that in the dust of which he is made there is also fire, lighted now and then by great winds from the sky.”  –Walter Lippmann

“Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.”  –Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart (July 24, 1897 – disappeared in 1937) is arguably the most famous aviatrix in history.  The first woman to cross the Atlantic solo, and only the second person to do it successfully, the notoriety from Earhart’s many feats in the air were trumped only by the mystery surrounding the loss of her plane while she attempted to circumnavigate the globe in 1937.  (You can read the article about her disappearance that ran in the July 19, 1937 issue of LIFE Magazine here, it also has a great photo-log of the trip.  It’s been my goal to find this issue to add to my collection, but no such luck yet.)

I have long been an admirer of Earhart’s adventuresome spirit, tenacity and courage — and also her wardrobe.  Her staples: a perfect pleated trouser, a crisp dress shirt, a pretty scarf, a well-worn bomber jacket and hardworking boots.  Her signature elements: a bit of tousled hair, a scrubbed-clean face, a devil-may-care attitude, and an endearingly scrunched-up Mona Lisa smile.

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”  –Amelia Earhart

Smithsonian curator Dorothy Cochrane and aircraft restorer Karl Heinzel discuss early aviation, aeronautical technology and Earhart’s Lockheed Vega, the plane she crossed the Atlantic in, which is on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Style Icon: Elly Jackson of La Roux

26/10/2011 § Leave a comment

“The thing is, I see a lot of girls with the quiff, but never with the clothes.  Ever.  I think a lot of girls just don’t want to look that much like a boy — so they don’t go there.  Even though they might admire it, they wouldn’t take it on themselves.  Just like I can admire a woman in a dress but God, I would never wear one.  But people I’ve always admired throughout my lifetime, it’s people like Prince and David Bowie, um, and Michael Jackson as well.”

Singularly obsessed with Elly this week.

Not familiar with La Roux?
You may already know this song, but also give this one a try.
I’ve got the latest album on repeat, waiting for the next…

Style Icon: Françoise Hardy

24/10/2011 § 2 Comments

“I was for a very long time passionately in love with her, as I’m sure she’s guessed. Every male in the world, and a number of females also were, and we all still are.” –David Bowie

Most frequently the pictures of Françoise that roll around the internet are from years ago, but I think the more current ones are even more alluring.  She continues to be one of the most beautiful women in the world.  I am in love with her hair.

Style Icon: Gaia Repossi

06/10/2011 § Leave a comment

I spied Gaia a few times whist meandering through all the fashion week photos, but this picture of her from the Paris YSL spring 2012 show blew my mind.  Of course, wear a suit and tie to YSL, of course, this would have sat well with Monsieur Saint Laurent… I love how Gaia frequently favors the masculin féminin, but she also seamlessly shifts — chameleon-like — to a decidedly more feminine look.

Wearing Balmain, with Karl Lagerfeld and Eugenie Niarchos in 2009.

Only twenty five years old and a member of the Repossi family , fine jewelery makers since 1920, Gaia has been the artistic director of Maison Repossi since the age of twenty and designed her first collection in 2007.

At Chanel spring 2012

At Proenza Schouler spring 2012

Perhaps it’s the mix of the two—an Italian background and a French way of life—that helped transform the rebellious Monte Carlo—raised teenager into a budding fashion icon. (She has unofficially been ordained the new face of chic, minimalist style.) Notes Altuzarra, “She mixes a kind of French nonchalance with Italian glamour and femininity.”  [Derek Blasberg for Harper’s Bazaar.]

Décris-nous ton style:
Androgyne simple et élégant. J’aime les classiques que je casse.

Tes icônes de mode?
Yves Saint Laurent pour sa vision intemporelle et son univers. Annie Hall, Verushka… [Vogue Paris: Dans le dressing de Gaia Repossi.]

How could I not adore Gaia?

Especially with a closet full of shoes like this…

To create her personal style, which she described as “strict,” she often mixes vintage and more current designer pieces, many of them menswear-inspired…”I don’t like anything too glamorous—it’s just not me”…Ms. Repossi arrived at our meeting looking like a modern Annie Hall, in baggy men’s jeans, Hermès oxfords from the 1970s and a well-cut plaid blazer by one of her favorite brands, Céline. [Rachel Dodes for WSJ.]

I love how her aesthetic is all over the Repossi 2011 campaign.
Of course, she gets extra brownie points for using Dree Hemingway

Images 1-4 via Style.com. || Image 5 via TMagazine. || Images 5 & 6 via Harper’s Bazaar. || Images 7-10 via Vogue Paris.
Image 11 via WSJ. || Images 12-19 via REPOSSI.

Style Icons: Teddy Girls

07/09/2011 § 6 Comments

With lady pompadours cropping up everywhere this fall (like the editorial I just previously posted) I have been thinking a lot about the ladies who arguably perfected the hairstyle — The Teddy Girl.  You may already be familiar with the British Teddy Boy  subculture in the 1950s and 60s of boys and young men who dressed like the dandies of the Edwardian period, but also had something of a reputation for hooliganism.  Smaller in number, less well-known and less frequently photographed, Teddy Girls pushed the boundaries of conventional 1950s style for women, with some perfectly emulating the Teddy Boys in both hair style and dress.

These girls were awesome.

I love her ribbon/cameo necktie.  Love.

The teddy girls left school at 14 or 15, worked in factories or offices, and spent their free time buying or making their trademark clothes – pencil skirts, rolled-up jeans, flat shoes, tailored jackets with velvet collars, coolie hats and long, elegant clutch bags. It was head-turning, fastidious dressing, taken from the fashion houses of the time, which had launched haute-couture clothing lines recalling the Edwardian era. Soon the fashion had leapt across the class barrier, and young working-class men and women in London picked up the trend.

When the Girls Came Out To Play by Susannah Price for The Sunday Times

[Photographer Ken] Russell’s work offers a glimpse into the lives of a group of feisty young women who were set on creating an identity of their own. Their choice of clothes wasn’t only for aesthetic effect: these girls were collectively rejecting post-war austerity.

Among many people, male “teds” had an intimidating reputation. They were often linked in the public’s mind with violent crime. In July 1953, 17-year-old John Beckley was murdered by teddy boys near Clapham Common, and the Daily Mirror’s headline – Flick Knives, Dance Music and Edwardian Suits – made an explicit connection between clothing and criminality.

Former teddies insist that the connection between thuggery and style only applied to a small number of them. “We weren’t bad girls,” says Rose Shine, then Rose Hendon, who was 15 when she posed for Russell. “We were all right. We got slung out of the picture house for jiving up the aisles once, but we never broke the law. We weren’t drinkers. We’d go to milk bars, have a peach melba and nod to the music, but you weren’t allowed to dance. It was just showing off: ‘Look at us!’ We called the police ‘the bluebottles’ – you’d see them come round in a Black Maria to catch people playing dice on the corner. But we’d just sit on each other’s doorsteps and play music.”

When the Girls Came Out To Play by Susannah Price for The Sunday Times

Images 1 & 7 Roger Mayne via // Images 2 – 6 Ken Russell via

Style Icons: Gloria Vanderbilt and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

22/08/2011 § 8 Comments

While the Vanderbilt men are infinitely fascinating and iconic, I can’t help but to also be strongly drawn to the Vanderbilt women.  Here I present the two I am most obsessed with, Gloria Vanderbilt, and her aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: two amazing women who always seek (in the case of Gloria) and sought (in the case of Gertrude) their own path.  If you have not yet picked up The World of Gloria Vanderbilt by Wendy Goodman, I urge you to do so.  Looking at the book’s pictures of the Vanderbilts and the fabulous homes they lived in is a frequent pleasure of mine.

Gloria Vanderbilt is many things: an heiress, a painter, an actor, a muse, a designer, a model, a writer, an entrepreneur, a survivor, an icon.  She brought the Vanderbilt name out of the Gilded Age and into the Digital Age, reinventing herself over and over along the way.

From: The World of Gloria Vanderbilt by Wendy Goodman

With her mother, Gloria Morgan, and governess.  Gloria’s mother lost custody of her in 1934, after a scandalous trial.  Gloria’s paternal aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was awarded custody.

With aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and cousin Henry Payne Whitney.

With aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.
Love the trunks.
..

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney “…was a formidable , complex woman who had emerged from her own trials within the gilded cage of her family and marriage to Harry Payne Whitney…Harry Payne Whitney was the perfect, dashing millionaire match for a Vanderbilt heiress…But Gertrude discovered early on that unless she made her own life, she would suffer the same fate as so many heiress wives whose husbands found their fun and passion outside of the marriage.  Thus she cultivated a life in the arts, both as a patron and a sculptor.  She founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1931, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art turned down her offer of seven hundred American paintings from her collection in 1929.”

From: The World of Gloria Vanderbilt by Wendy Goodman

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, painted by Robert Henri, 1916

Gloria remembers Gertrude as “tall and extremely thin and [having] exquisite taste in the way she presented herself.  At Old Westbury she would wear variations of the same look — beautifully cut English slacks with tailored silk shirts, several ropes of pearls and hats (in the house) made of tweed and a jaunty feather tucked in.  It was considered eccentric in 1932 for a woman to wear pants, and the first time I met her at Old Westbury I was quite startled, never having seen a woman in pants before.”

From: The World of Gloria Vanderbilt by Wendy Goodman

Fifteen year-old Gloria appearing in Harper’s Bazaar for the first time in 1940, at the request of then fashion editor Diana Vreeland, who met Gloria at Gertrude’s home at Old Westbury.

With third husband Sidney Lumet.

With Salvador Dali.

With Lumet.

With fourth husband Wyatt Cooper.

With sons Carter and Anderson Cooper.

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