Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I dropped by AnnaBelle LaRoque's atelier to peruse the bow ties. I was delighted to find things tickety-boo, her place bursting at the seams with eager shoppers. Paige spared a few minutes to model her LaRoque top. She told me she owns several other silk sashes--in fuschia, black, and cream--so can change them out to suit her mood.

Fascinating to me, as well, were her chic black shoes--which she told me she procured on the Outer Banks. These were not the sort of mules I supposed one would find near a place called Nags Head.

(I understand that Ms. AnnaBelle is busy preparing for a photo shoot with a major magazine this week--outstanding!)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Transitional Wear....Downtown

Perhaps, as I am, you've been torn: it's too far into autumn for shorts but sometimes warm enough that anything else seems onerous. What to do? Here's how one daring lady was bridging the seasons. These ventilated trousers make tropical weight wool seem rather ho-hum, no?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Eleanor....Red, White & Blue

When I spied Eleanor in Bohemian on Devine Street, I risked making myself a pest and interrupted her shopping. My apologies to this darling young lady, but I had to snap a photo. I admired the way she combined three simple elements, with the wide red belt pulling it all together.
Where did she find these pieces, I asked. She told me she was wearing a boy's t-shirt, a skirt from American Apparel, and a Betsey Johnson belt found at T.J. Maxx. Of her ensemble, she said cheerily, "It's totally recession proof."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reid....Transportation A La Mode

Had I known what I was in for, I might have brought along my duster and goggles. But then I saw that my old pal Reid wasn't even bothering with socks. So much for protective clothing. Devil take the hindmost, we were off to lunch in his stretch golf cart. I could only hope that his many-pocketed vest contained a first aid kit.
Before I could inquire, we had bolted onto the sidewalk. Take comfort, Columbians. He only drives this contraption in Camden. As for you, Camdenites, at least one happy note--you'll hear him coming because he's covered the thing with wind chimes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Checks & Angles....Sumter Street

Mother & daughter? Aunt & niece? Perfect strangers? I didn't approach them to ask, but they do make a striking pair.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

May....Broad Street

May was looking rather uptown when I bumped into her in downtown Camden yesterday. Her jacket with short sleeves was perfect for a warm, potentially rainy day. I also like the way she echoes the bronze tones in her earrings and shoes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nikki & Patrina....Columbia Canal

When I happened upon daughter and mother, I was smitten with their ensembles, Nikki in ruffles and a fresh yellow scarf, Patrina pedaling in Keds and a flowing skirt. My friend Molly then called my attention to these stylish bicycles with small wheels. Nikki's brother Ron coasted over and explained that his bike and Nikki's fold. Molly was thrilled by this tidbit; I feared she might make like a Gap employee and fold their tw0-wheelers on the spot.

Patrina, fortunately, changed the subject: she chose her Giant Revive, she told us, for the backrest (a concession to comfort that appeals to me). Soon, dad rode up on a three-wheeler he calls an adult trike. The entire scene--handsome family, blue skies, sunflowers--made me long for a leisurely ride and a picnic in the countryside. 'Tis the season for a bit of bicycling, I suppose.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Robin....Saturday Morning Ride

I noticed this woman pedaling along Devine Street and managed to flag her down for a photo. For cycling, she told me, the right clothing is more about padded shorts than a vivid colour, though hot pink (as I can attest) does make her more visible. We also chatted about helmets, the bane of my riding experience--but important for safety, I know. "A good fit makes all the difference," Robin told me.
She'd just traded in an old, ill-fitting helmet for this new one. She showed me how the vented design keeps her noggin cool. Robin mentioned that she's a grandmother, to my surprise. She was bashful when I complimented her physique: "I guess all this cycling pays off."

Friday, September 18, 2009


I return from a brief retreat with few photos, bruised palms, a ringing in my ears--and a renewed energy for my work. While living among the Dogon people, I took up drumming to be polite. I learned that while it seemed a noisy pursuit as an onlooker, from the inside it was a remarkably tranquil experience. The peacefulness of this petite couple drew me to focus on them, despite--or perhaps because of--the t-shirt clad frenzy all around. Tranquility, like Earl Grey in a proper cup, tends to lend style to whatever you are wearing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hinde....State Street

I always feel a little awkward asking "may I take your photo?" so it's a thrill when the subject immediately says "yes" and strikes a dramatic pose. I inquired which bohemian emporium had been the source for her bold, free-spirited skirt. Hinde answered, "Stein Mart".

Monday, September 14, 2009

Joe....Five Points

Joe struck me as a gentleman who delights in putting it all together, and that of course, delighted me. His shirt is from Savoy in The Vista. "Just got it and I love it," he said with a grin. His shoes are Stingray in purple lizard, the sunglasses Oakley.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rocio & Lee Ann....701 Whaley

Rocio, in the brilliant orange dress, is on sabbatical from her job with the United Nations in Colombia to study English at Agape language school. Part of her education is living in an American home. Lee Ann is Rocio's host.

Rocio tells me that while her dress may appear daring in colour, it is actually a traditional South American dress (the intricate detail around the neck is done by hand; I wish my addled old brain could remember more). Lee Ann's dress, on the other hand, strikes me as quite North American--a knit bodice and vintage floral fabric skirt.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cheerleaders....and Pom-pons

Some say the great cheerleading innovator Lawrence Herkimer was the first to call them "pom-pons" with an "n". He worried that "pom-pom" might be vulgar, or so the story goes.

My research reveals otherwise: the French have long cried "pompon" whenever they pointed to a tasseled ball of fluff on berets, draperies, or hats of the French Navy. People tend to write and say pompom because, well, who truly knows? Maychance they like the double m...or are referring to an antiaircraft weapon. I suppose waving fists full of streamers could keep airplanes away.

At any rate, I say huzzah for the Heathwood Hall team and their trim yet not immodest uniforms, pom-pons or pom-poms aside. Mr. Herkimer, inventor of the Herkie, would be proud.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Autumn's colours can wait: Melissa looked so pretty in her pastel argyle sweater that I demanded a photograph. The vest, she told me, is from Brooks Brothers. I then noticed the sunglasses atop her head. "May we see those?" I asked. She pulled them down and modeled.
'They're Christian Dior," she said, shrugging, laughing, and calling herself a brand-aholic. Actually she called herself a "brand something-that-rhymes-with-Dior". Then she added sweetly, "My poor husband, he had no idea when he married me."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day....Poolside

Like others here in my adopted country, I donned my bathing costume and dawdled poolside over the weekend, acknowledging summer's last hurrah. After her grandmother explained my work, this girl wondered if I'd like to see the array of sunglasses she carries in her canvas tote. These sparkly ones struck me as a guilt-free way to offset recession blues--only $5 she told me from a place called Rugged Wearhouse.

Then my conscience began to plague me: how could one call cheap plastic sunglasses guilt-free? Perhaps they were made in China by oppressed workers. Perhaps they are destined, once discarded, to languish in a landfill for eternity. Perhaps those sparklies will fall off and spell certain death for globally endangered birds.

All this I pondered aloud, to which the young lady said, "I don't want to offend you sir, but you really should lighten up."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Anna Katherine....The Look Book

It's always a treat to discover a young person with an interest in the work you do. Rather makes you feel for a moment as if you have created a life worth living. So it was when I chatted with Anna Katherine recently. It started with her ballet flats, which I admired--a classic.
Those, she says, she found at Target. Then, at her mother's prompting, she told me about her penchant for putting her clothes on the floor. Now mind you, this isn't the sort of willy-nilly tossing that drives a neatnik father batty nor requires a Jeeves to correct.
No, AK deliberately arranges her outfits for each season on her bedroom floor.

She takes photos of the ensembles, puts them in a notebook, and hangs all her clothes in the closet.
Then, clever girl, she can lie abed in the morning, eat her Captain Crunch, and thumb through the book to select her attire for the day. Have I stumbled upon a fashion anthropologist in the making? Or at least a potential assistant?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ashley....Saluda Avenue

Ashley works at Sid & Nancy in Five Points and is a bellydancer, the two major influences, she tells me, on her style. "All of my clothes are secondhand except my Frye boots. They're new. I just got them." Dare I say she made an excellent purchase? They appear to be the perfect complement to her striking red hair.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Keith....Assembly Street

First, to anyone at the intersection of Washington and Assembly yesterday at 1:34pm: if I nearly grazed you with a lime green VW bug, my apologies. My friend Molly abruptly handed off the wheel of her car so that she could jog down Assembly to photograph this gentleman for my files.

Keith caught our attention, dapper yet casual, his serious suit countered with a lavender shirt. His manners were as attractive as his appearance, and he insisted on strolling down the block to meet me. Over the traffic's din, I thought I understood him to say he had arrived from the Yukon, has come to Columbia to employ a quality wife, and was at the library to check out The Hobbit, Part 2.

Molly, after threatening to outfit me with an ear horn, explained that I had misheard. The young man is a graduate of UConn, has come to Columbia to enjoy our quality of life, and was downtown for a job interview.

When I asked if he frequently wore colourful shirts with his suits, he said, "Yes, I love 'em." That I did hear clearly, without a doubt.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Melinda....Sideline Cool

At a Friday night football game, I was perspiring most unattractively in my less than cushy bleacher seat when I noticed this woman who seemed much more at ease with it all.

White denim, a simple brown top with an interesting layered element, sandals with a bit of shine and that bold necklace--she's demonstrating how restraint, attention to detail, and one strong accessory can add up to cool.

Which brings me to a variation on an annual question: does Labor Day spell the end for white denim? Or does white denim spell the end of Labor Day rules?