Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lessteen....Hampton Street

When I saw this young woman walking so confidently along Hampton, I had to meet her. As we chatted, I noticed how her free-flowing top fluttered in the breeze. "This is lovely," I said. "Where did you find it?" She broke into a broad smile and gestured behind her, north along Main, "Oh I got this at Coral's just up the street."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Charlleta....Main Street

My friend Molly had a new camera and was anxious to give it a try. Lucky for us, this woman was willing to pause for a minute and pose. I admired the way she put this look together--the boots, the belt, the big earrings, and the radiant smile.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I first noticed this winsome lass because she was restocking Rosewood Market's shelves with my favourite tea. Then, oh my, I realized she was wearing argyle knee socks. I asked if she had a particular fondness for these intarsia knits. Yes, she answered, she has several argyle pairs. I can't decide which charmed me more--our mutual taste in legwear or her shyness about posing for my camera.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beatrix....Bundled Up

Beatrix dropped off some books on a chilly afternoon and was, coincidentally, all atwitter about her new "librarian" glasses. As we chatted about our mutual disdain for whaling novels, I noticed she was emanating the odour of cheap men's cologne (not unlike one of those bewildering plug-in air thingies). Had she been the proverbial naughty librarian, I brazenly asked. "No," Beatrix blushed, "my sweater's a recent purchase from Abercrombie & Fitch. Everything there reeks of some sort of perfume." Indeed.

She also confessed--glasses by Ogi; skirt, Piazza Sempione; boots, Banana Republic; gray wool jacket from the back of her closet (vintage 1980s, if I know my lapels).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Elektra 121....Roller Derby

I keep hearing the strong shoulder is back. I suppose they don't mean this--a mesmerizing design with wings--but rather those Krystle and Alexis suits that resemble wing chairs.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Arriving with Style....Columbia Airport

As you may have noticed, it does my antique ticker good to see well-dressed people in the airport. So I was delighted to happen upon this darling pair of sisters, Susan and Leslie, in baggage claim. Both were coming home to Columbia, as was I.

Then, I spied this soldier, who wore his uniform so handsomely that he stood out, despite the camouflage.
Makarious is a language specialist with the Army National Guard. He's visiting Fort Jackson for a few days. Born in the Sudan, Makarious speaks six languages including Eygptian, Iraqi, and Nubian. How lucky the U.S. is to have this intelligent, polite young man working on the nation's behalf.

I had, myself, been on a mission to defend and celebrate a bit of Americana.
I was returning from Denver, where I'd participated in a panel discussion entitled "The snap-front shirt in a post-velcro world". While there, I made a pilgrimmage to Rockmount Ranch Wear, the birthplace of the snap-front Western shirt.
I was also swept up in a fashion parade, something called a zombie crawl. I was so rattled by the rumpus that I forgot to take pictures. My goodness, one must concede: the nearly departed have a distinctive style. (Here's a batch of photos, if you're curious to see what I mean.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Brooks & Jennifer....Spirit Week

What had we here? A lumberjack and a lounge lizard? No, it turned out, these young ladies don't dress this way every day. They were celebrating Spirit Week at their school, Hammond. Care to guess the day's theme? (A few hints: Joan of Arc, George Sand, Boy George, Huckleberry Finn)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reid & His Shadow....Springdale Hall

I thought my chum Reid looked rather dashing in his Glen Urquhart plaid flat cap and mirrored glasses. I was very nearly as intrigued by the shadow he cast in the noonday sun.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jordan....Garners Ferry

Lovely Jordan, decked out in a brocade coat and boots, teaches high school. She instructs seniors, she told me, either adrift in a sea of flowers or, possibly, at A.C. Flora. My hearing simply cannot be trusted. The word "brocade", by the way, sprouts from the same Latin root as "broccoli" had I misunderstood this to be a broccoli coat, I wouldn't have been too far off the mark.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Who was this striking woman striding along Broad Street in Camden? To my delight, it happened that Tammy and I were destined for the same, well, destination--The Buckley School of Public Speaking. She had just arrived from Little Rock to further enhance her stage presence, I from Columbia to wangle a free lunch from my old friend.

How had her combination of black, white, and red come together, I queried. Tammy said her striped cardigan was from Ann Taylor, her blouse and necklace from Dillards. She began taking off her sweater as we talked. Oh my. Had my charisma somehow inspired her to disrobe? (Hope springs eternal, even at my advanced age!)
Well yes and no, dear reader. She thought a fashion anthropologist might want to see the pouf of her sleeves. And I did.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hoyt....Maple Street

When I saw this man sitting on his porch on an autumn evening, my first inclination was to ring up the L.L. Bean catalog and ask, "Is one of your models, perchance, on the lam?" Hoyt good-naturedly agreed to be photographed....
"Be sure you get my bedroom shoes in the photo," he said. (So, that was settled; one supposes an L.L. Bean model would not hightail it out of Maine in anything less than duck boots.) Then, Hoyt's son rounded the house and directed my attention to another autumn ensemble. Did you make these, I asked the adorable nipper.
Yes, the young gentleman nodded....and graciously, like his father, granted me permission to capture an image.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mario....Columbiana Centre

Mario has a lanky, put-together-without-trying look...but easy style is rarely as simple as it appears. More likely, it's akin to your mum's "What? This old thing?"

Mario was ambling out of the mall with three female companions (the four are students at Winthrop) when I accosted him to inquire. Before he could say much, one of the young women confirmed, "He plans his outfits." The other two nodded in unison emphatically. Mario shrugged and confessed, "If I'm going to be seen, I like to match."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rainy Day Shopping....Devine & Chatham

All day, I'd been wishing for a pair of wellies...and frankly, a bit of bourbon by the fire. Jenny had the gumboots, at least, and agreed to let me snap a photo. (And dear, I hope I'm spelling your name properly. A rather large raindrop marred my notes, so it's difficult to tell.)

She then hopped on her bicycle outside of Earth Fare, carrying in her purple bag what she described as "a ginormous pumpkin". She added with a grimace as she wheeled away, "This was a crazy idea." But she appeared to be enjoying herself, dare I say, ginormously.

PS: I've learned that Ms. J spells her name "Jenni."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Starsky....Lincoln Street

When I saw this young man crossing Gervais Street, I grabbed the first available parking space and hurried to intercept him. His bold approach to colour dazzled me, particularly his choice of orange pinwale corduroy trousers.

"I like to be different," he said. "I don't like to be average, that's for sure." The elements of this ensemble, Starsky told me, were acquired over time, with never a plan, for instance, to pair the plaid tie and madras patchwork cap. I inquired about his shoes: did he paint them himself?
No, he answered, gesturing to one of his friends, Janelle: "She did." Janelle paints shoes and other clothing and said that Starsky was her model and muse. Where can we find this work, I wanted to know. That's when I learned that Starsky and his delightful companions were here from Myrtle Beach, visiting Columbia for GospelFest. I hope they have a marvelous time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

William....Checked Shirt & Persols

What does a fashionable chronicler of barbecue joints wear? A gingham shirt and Italian shades, but of course.

I met William outside Immaculate Consumption, where he was absorbing a bit of Vitamin D between law classes. In addition to co-authoring Holy Smoke, William founded the Carolina BarBQ Society when he was a student at UNC.

He enthused not only about pork but also the book Sit! Ancestral Dog Portraits. According to the jacket blurb, this collection of half-canine/half-human portraits depicts "society gone to the dogs". Their Emma Horsley-Hackett reminds me a bit of dear Aunt Dahlia, who was indeed nephew's best friend.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tiesha....At The Library

On a gloomy Tuesday, this young lady seemed to have the sun in tow. Tiesha told me that she'd put this particular combination together, not to compensate for overcast skies, but because it had been neon day at her school, A.C. Flora.
She likes the bright pinks most, she said, though she also called my attention to the neon green flourishes on her shoes (Baby Phat) and her second pair of sunglasses. Those she graciously modeled for me here....though I must say, no day-glo hue can outshine that glorious smile.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

August....Wet Wedding

The soggy weather this last 24 hours reminded me of a wedding I attended near Caesars Head several weeks ago. It was an outdoor wedding. Perhaps you read about the flash flooding.

Through it all, August was the rare duck who managed to look put together, come what might (which come to think of it, might not be so rare for ducks but was almost impossible for those of us wearing kilts or fancy dresses). At the time of this photo, it had been raining 48 hours with no respite in sight. When I was dodging downpours in downtown Columbia yesterday, I hoped to bump into my new acquaintance; I was curious to see how beautifully August was weathering the day. If you saw the man, do let me know how he looked.

I almost forgot to mention: August writes about local theater. You can read one of his reviews here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Michael....Earlewood Park

Michael and his friends were playing something called disc golf when I flailed my way down an embankment to introduce myself. The young man seemed unsurprised to encounter a fashion anthropologist. Perhaps this sort of thing happens to him all the time.

Michael is a student at Sumter High School and said of his style, "I'm a big thrifter." Indeed, both his vest and cap are from thrift stores as, he told me, are most of his clothes. He's also a tremendous fan of the vest; he wears one nearly every day.
Michael insisted on striking a bird-watching pose for my camera before rejoining his friends. How I do love a good sport.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lorie....Five Points

Lorie helped me pass the time as we waited for tables at The Gourmet Shop. Since the place was incredibly busy and our wait rather long, I drew out my notebook, and she accounted for every element of her ensemble:
  • Jeans -- Miss Me; "You can find them on line for $90 - $110, which as you know is pretty good for jeans these days," she said.
  • Jacket -- Sigrid Olsen
  • Scarf -- "some yarn shop in Blue Hill, Maine"
  • Boots — Pella Shoes in Atlanta
  • Tank Top -- Target; "$9 -- you gotta love it."
  • Bag -- Caterina Lucchi
  • Sunglasses -- Ray Ban tortoise shell
While we were chatting, some newcomers scooped up the very table for which she'd been waiting. Lorie no avail. The nimbler party appeared to enjoy their lunch with nary a crumb of remorse.
And I recalled the words of the elegant Diane Sawyer: there is no substitute for paying attention.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Karen....Khakis & Browns

Karen, a frequent traveler, was stuffing luggage into her car's boot when I happened across her. I'm always intrigued when I see someone who manages comfort without veering into sloppy.

Me (venturing onto the porch, uninvited): May I ask, where did you find the ikat print cardigan?
Karen (wrinkles nose, confesses): Talbots.
Me: And the make-me-want-to-skip khaki lace-ups?
(As I wait for a response, my mind wanders. I imagine a conversation with Karen's husband, a doctor.....
Dr. Ted: Sir, for you the only skipping I recommend is skipping dessert.
Me: Then why go on?

Karen (bringing me back to the moment with a playful smile): My shoes? They're Keds.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Demetrius & Jonathon....Sweater Weather

Of course, I’ve spent enough time in the U.S. to know better. Nevertheless, dear reader, I did it again: I asked grown men about their jumpers.

So congenial and kind, these gentlemen promptly offered to help me start my car. I tipped my hat in thanks but somehow stopped myself from saying that all was working fine under my bonnet.

We then launched into a lively chat about sweaters, stripes, and the origins of argyle. They graciously posed for a photo. Thank you sirs!