Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cold Weather....A Perfect Excuse

Yes, cold weather is a wonderful reason to break out the silly hats. (If you're wearing one, do send a photo.) I'd put this mutt's topper up against anything Jean Paul Gaultier can throw at a Paris runway.

Cold weather is also a fine reason to shirk one's anthropological duties, stay indoors with a hot pot of tea, and rummage through the 2009 photo files. I encountered the pup you see above on a trip to the snowy fields of Alaska, where I must say, the weather was a tad warmer than the freeze forecast tonight for our sunny South. My luncheon destination was postcard-worthy Seward....
...a Palin-free zone, though I did encounter one female politician. Vanta Shafer was mayor of Seward and now owns a bookstore on Seward's main street. She used to live in Chester, South Carolina.
I was pleased to find that Vanta has preserved her Southerner's penchant for bright colours....and flair for hospitality. And I have to imagine she's better prepared for winter weather than I. Dear reader, tomorrow I will venture out. For now, however, I believe I shall toss another Duraflame on the fire.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tyrone & Anastasia....At the Party

I met these two artists at a glamorous party hosted by the stunning Harriett Green. He was wearing a shirt from Nigeria, made of cloth that was printed using a wax-resist method similar to batik. She had on a chapeau and sleek leather jacket that garnered many compliments - and one complaint. A gentleman who tried to give her a holiday kiss groused that he'd wound up with a mouth full of hat.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Stephanie....Webster Street

Adorable Stephanie warmed up the room with her smile--and her peachy wool coat. (I do appreciate a break from the basic browns, grays and blacks.) Stephanie told me she found this--and two other coats--at Burlington Coat Outlet. "I got three coats for the price of about one and a half," she said, that smile stretching a tad wider.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jean....Plum Pudding

At a pre-Christmas Day party, Jean and her husband Paul made my evening. Jean got the conversation started, politely drawing me in with a warm "you look so familiar, dear man. How do I know you?" Then Paul spoke up, and I was delighted to hear that accent: he's from England (and told me that on a recent trip back home was accused of having an American accent. Indeed!)

Though I was sorry to see the pair leave, my mood brightened when Jean donned this coat on her way out. "Why it's like 101 Dalmatians," said a young woman standing near me. Paul countered: "You know what we call that in Great Britain, don't you. We call dalmatians 'plum pudding dogs'." Next, I chimed in: "When I was a lad, we referred to our dalmatian by a name that reduces American middle school boys into a giggling heap--the spotted dick."

The young woman backed away. Jean rolled her eyes. Perhaps I should have kept that last tidbit to myself. Then Jean smiled and told me she bought the coat a few years ago, not in England but at Round Robin on Devine Street.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Feliz Navidad

My heart melted at the sight of this Honduran girl, Maria, on her way to school, Hello Kitty umbrella in hand.

Good for you old sap, you say--but what does this have to do with Columbia...or with Christmas for that matter?

My friend Hugh and a group from Shandon Presbyterian Church met this young lady while on a mission trip to Honduras. This year, in lieu of giving me cashmere socks for Christmas, Hugh has elected to make a donation in my honor, a gift of water pipes for one house in Honduras.
The Shandon group worked with a number of students, including cute Rosita, whose innate sense of style shines, uniform or no.

Hugh writes: "They live in an area called Guayabillas deep in the Olancho province. The village they live in is beautiful, a clear river running through with coffee plants and banana trees dotting the hillsides. They attend a one room schoolhouse to which Maria has to walk an hour – each way. Rosita rides to school on a burro because her mother is the teacher at the school. "

Just last year, both girls' families had running water piped to their houses. The Shandon Presbyterian group worked with Honduras Outreach, if you'd like to learn more.

As for this old sap, though I always welcome the gift of cashmere, this suits me even better. Feliz Navidad to Rosita, Maria, Hugh...and to you and yours.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ashleigh....Somewhat South of the North Pole

Perhaps I should file this under "Santa Unwrapped" or better, "Hidden Claus Revealed."

When Ashleigh first made her way through this holiday get-together, she was swathed in black; the Santa hat and red striped socks seemed an almost surly concession to the season. I was bemused, so asked to take a photo. "Okay," she said, throwing off her shroud-like wrap to reveal this snug red top with a plunging neckline--and it was as if the party had begun. To this, I say a toast! Blast the gift card; let's restore to Christmas the element of surprise. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Anne....The Shop Tart

I am a fan of The Shop Tart. Often, when she blogs about what she is wearing, I long to rush out and see it. But one must be nimble to keep up with this busy woman, who seems always to be off to her next fabu wine tasting before I can clip on my sock garters and find my keys.

So yesterday, I took a bit of a risk. On Twitter, The Shop Tart reported: "today I'm rocking my dressy college look." I boldly Tweeted back that I'd like a photo of the ensemble. And the darling woman obliged!

Her son Xander took the pictures, and (one would expect no less) Anne provided the details: "sweater and tights from VanJean, skirt by Rodarte for Target, leather cuff bracelet from Hayden-Harnett, gold bangle from Carol Saunders years ago, ring is vintage, shoes are Italian brogues."
She also wrote, "including a shoe detail, because that's how I roll." And do look at these shoes, will you? Clever, I think, how she uses weighty wingtips to anchor her ballerina-esque skirt.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lorrie....Melrose Heights

Lorrie and her friends were strolling about the neighborhood caroling when I happened upon them at a four-way stop on Hagood. This young lady performed "Santa Baby" for me, there in the intersection. (Thank goodness I had taken my beta blockers.) Then the carolers invited me to follow them home for a hot buttered rum. Despite Mum's cautions throughout my boyhood to never take rum from strangers, I found I could not say no.

A chat in the kitchen revealed that Lorrie is a jazz chanteuse who has been in London these last few months. She's there studying acting at the same drama school that delivered us Larry Olivier. Along with her dazzling personality and stunning mane of red hair, I managed to note the sweater (chunky, yet not bulky) and the fur-trimmed boots (hers a saucy alternative to those ubiquitous Uggs).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Maxine....Maple Street

I met this lovely woman on her way home from a holiday drop-in. She looked positively gift wrapped herself, I thought, in this richly-coloured, sparkly jacket. And she seemed so at ease when asked by this old gent to pose for a photo. That, she tells me, is because she teaches yoga--at Sims and Arsenal Hill parks.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hilda....Knights Hill Road

Hilda had layered two marvelous sweaters, a cable knit under this eye-catching embroidered cardigan in a smashing colour. (And don't you like the shoes for a bit of a zing?)

I asked if I might take a closer photo to show the sweater's details...
"Not too close," pretty Hilda said laughing. To that I said pish posh.....

and proceeded to zoom in. Hilda says she found the cardigan at a Camden shop called The Clothes Tree.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jana....Westminster Drive

Here on her all-American stoop trimmed for the holidays, does Jana realize that she is sporting "Tory chic"? The dress with matching jacket comes from my fellow Brit, Johnnie Boden.

Friday, December 18, 2009

May, Reid & Natasha....Plaid Tidings

A reader sent me this photo, thinking I might enjoy seeing that my old pal Reid is up to his usual tricks.

I do note that all three were wearing a bit of plaid, yes, but I'm most admiring May's sumptuous suede coat and Natasha's faux leopard beret. (The beret, I'm told, is an early 1990s find from Henri Bendel. "It was the only thing in the store I could afford," Natasha emailed me.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


When I heard I'd be meeting a veteran newspaperman for lunch, I expected the worst--rumpled jacket, soup-stained tie, smelly socks, and perhaps even one of those dreadful green eyeshades. But stop press! The publisher of the Chronicle-Independent is a natty fellow in a cheery yellow sweater, blue shirt that brings out his eyes, and a well-tailored glen plaid jacket.

Over a lively lunch, he shared the good news about political cartoonist Robert Ariail, also a Camdenite, who has won the United Nations' political cartoon award. Mr. Ariail will be presented that award at the U.N. in the presence of Secretary Ban Ki-moon (not Sun Myung Moon, as I believed until Glenn gently corrected me).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fran....A Smart Coat

There really is nothing like a first-rate coat to make a winter day cheerful. No wonder darling Fran is so jolly. My attention was captured first by the shape--somewhere between a gentle A-line and a full-on swing, with a bit of a swoop to the hem in back.

Then I delighted in the details....

the high four-button placket....

and these fabulous bracelet sleeves....as you can see, the coat makes a simple white turtle neck and black pants seem rather special.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wade....Pea Coat

I'm afraid my photograph does not do this handsome young man justice. And perhaps, it is time for a bit of a confession: I am (well was, since I am now confessing) a closet viewer of The Bold and the Beautiful. (Yes, I know Aunt Dahlia, you are turning in your grave.) And Wade in his pea coat, I admit, reminded me of a character played by Jack Wagner on said soap opera...the sea captain Dominick Marone. Can you not see Captain Marone standing watch o'er his ship, cup of coffee in hand, just like this?

Alright, maybe not....but I am mad for his mother, Jacqueline (Dominick's mother, not Wade's)...so do forgive an old man his flight of fancy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Melissa....Wine on Wine

Dear reader, you should be so lucky as to share a glass of Velvet Devil with this adorable minx clad, herself, in a wine-coloured sweater and scarf. And should you be as clumsy as I, you'd also find the colour combination to be quite fortuitous. Apologies, dear Melissa. Do send me your dry cleaning bill!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sanders....All-Local Farmers' Market

For a moment, I thought it had been my good fortune to encounter a monk from the Order of the Black Knee Sock. But no, Sanders was not decked out in religious garb; he had dropped by our local Saturday morning market before heading out for a run.
This is, I take it, his basic running costume--the knee socks a regular feature but the hood up because it was a bit dreary outside. I like the red soles of his shoes; it's almost as if a red pen were used to underline him. And I like the attitude--a shopper loyal enough to venture out in the rain always makes a fashionable statement.