Friday, December 24, 2010

I Spy....Animal Print

With the holiday season well upon us, I find that I've taken my fair share of photos that are difficult to explain. This one, however, gave me the opportunity to indulge in one of my favourite fantasies--that of being a dashing, clever spy. I always love it in spy flicks when the fellow wearing the dinner jacket looks at a photo, then says to the sweater-clad computer genius, "Zoom in on that. Now enhance it. Aha!"

Which is what I did with the photo above (and though I was wearing a dinner jacket had to do the zooming myself, alas)....aha!....
...I discovered this smashing looking woman, wearing a wonderful coat--and a matching pair of booties. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Laurin....Holiday Market

I bumped into this lovely young lady at a special holiday edition of the All-Local Farmers' Market. I'd gone there expressly to purchase a sack of the extraordinary fresh-roasted Indah coffee for my Christmas morning breakfast (my traditional feast, which also includes kippered herring). Laurin's ensemble struck me as perfect for shopping on a balmy evening; I particularly liked the shoes. As I eavesdropped on her conversation, I believe I heard her say she might be starting up a new blog sometime soon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lorie....Motor Supply

The best part of the holiday season, I do believe, is not the figgy pudding but the fizzy beverages one feels compelled to consume at various Christmas luncheons. I joyously imbibed, then persuaded my friend to pose in her newest ensemble: sweater, trousers, bag, and even her earrings were procured on a recent trip to Barcelona. Feliz Navidad, indeed. (I might add, she was mistaken by one onlooker for a well-known Columbia dancer. Excellent posture plus prosecco, I dare say.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jeffrey....The Ultimate Accessory

Given the gentleman's choice of belt and eyewear, you might peg him for an accessory fiend, and indeed, he confessed as much. The scion of a Manning, South Carolina, automobile dealership family, Jeffery rather naturally believes that the car is the ultimate accessory, and that the Bentley is the ultimate of ultimates. (Or should one say the ne plus plus ultra?)

I was, of course, too young and too poor to be one of the famed "Bentley Boys." But, oh, how I admired their style--especially that of the dashing and tragic Clive Dunfee, who raced cars and married the glorious actress Jane Baxter. What a brief but thrilling life was his.

Meanwhile, Manning, you may recall, is the home of a man who briefly popularized another thrilling fashion item....the family reunion t-shirt.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 December

While I waited to purchase a bag of crisps at this so-called convenience mart, I admired the palette of tan and cream sported by the young lady ahead of me in the queue. Once outdoors, I realized that the woman was my pal May. Indeed, we seem to bump into one another at locales around the country. Does she fear that I am stalking her? Or perhaps, I should dare to dream that she is stalking me!  (It's marvelous how we old gents can somehow keep our foolish hopes young and spry even as the rest of us is sagging.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Babs....Travelers Rest

Indeed, I have no idea who this woman is...but her cap reminded me of the one donned by Barbra Streisand for the role of Judy Maxwell in the charming movie "What's Up, Doc?".

It was a chilly day for travelers--and for rest stops, too. The woman above I encountered in South Carolina. And below, at a second stop in Georgia, I met this fellow....
I inquired if he happened to be on his way home from the Great White North...but shockingly, he'd only been as far north as North Carolina.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Molly....A Lucky Tag Sale

When I saw my friend's camouflage pants, I wondered if she might have taken up hunting. I was, after a fashion, correct in my hunch. She'd been on a yard sale safari (though I'm not entirely sure how the camouflage would help one blend in). Knowing my passion for collecting Hello Kitty items, she told me she'd bagged a prize I really had to see.
This Hello Kitty stuffed dolly is also a bank! And Molly purchased it for just one dollar, lucky girl. A photographer by trade, Molly was more excited about the box of picture frames she'd found for a bargain. And where was this tag sale extravaganza taking place? At Swiftwater Beads on Rosewood Drive.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

May....a Rainy Day

Who was that lithesome figure exiting Springdale Hall, a bottle of wine clutched in her hand? I decided it might be wise to follow and find out. Indeed, it was my dear friend May.
I was charmed by her rain boots with their playful black and white houndstooth pattern. I insisted she pause despite the drizzle to let me capture them.
She then tossed her umbrella aside and demanded that I examine her bold yellow rubberized wristwatch, an accessory perfectly suited to both her ensemble and the day.
A friend of hers makes these, and I've never seen a timepiece quite like it. The band unrolls out and snaps flat, rather like a roll-up metal ruler or measuring tape. I wonder what M. Patek and M. Phillipe (who made the first wristwatch in 1868) would think about that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vivid Yellow & Ginkgos....Edisto Avenue

Ah, a bit of sunshine on a dreary autumn day. Just what I was in need of dear reader, for I'm beset by an illness I'd like to think beneath me--the common cold. With my snuffles and raspings, I find that no one will allow me within ten yards, making it rather difficult to inquire about their attire. So on a short walk this past weekend, an attempt to regain my strength, I instead captured a few photos of this scintillating display of colour. It appears that Edisto Avenue has a preponderance of ginkgo trees.

This young fellow seemed to share my enthusiasm, his little arms stretched wide with joy as he prepares to fall face first into a ginkgo-covered embankment. (That is, indeed, a small boy wearing a red romper, is it not? I do fear my eyes may be as congested as my nasal passages, for at first I thought him to be a fire hydrant.)

The glorious fan-shaped ginkgo, you may well know, has inspired design through the ages and is part of Japanese family crests and a feature in art noveau works. I'm fond of this ginkgo fabric from Marimekko.
Ginkgos (not unlike this fashion anthropologist) are considered to be living fossils and, I understand, their leaves are useful as an herb to treat eye problems. I have cast my lot with a different cure--cold toddies--bourbon, lemon and honey well-shaken with an ample scoop of ice. (At least this once, the remedy is not worse than the disease.)

As for the large number of ginkgo trees on Edisto, does anyone happen to know if that is by coincidence or design?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paper Hats....Cafe Du Monde

A recent engagement took me to New Orleans, where I was intrigued by the uniforms of the wait staff at Cafe Du Monde--all the variations on the theme of white shirt and black bow tie, the flourish of pink at the waist (a Handi Wipe for cleaning tables, it seems) and those marvelous paper hats.

These origami-like toppers have inspired me to launch an investigation into the varieties and histories of the paper hat. Do you know of any paper-hat-wearing people in Columbia? If so, please direct me to them, in order that I might add them to my research.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shanika....Recovering Nicely

When last I saw Shanika, she was wearing a rather large knee brace. Today, I was delighted to bump into her and discover that she has replaced the knee brace with over-the-knee boots. Not only are these fringed boots a marvel, but they also indicate that the lovely woman (who had been training for a marathon, she tells me) is on the mend--and is even running again.
(After randomly swiping at keys on this baffling computer, I've somehow managed to provide you with a before and after, above.) Always eager to hear about running footwear, I asked, "My dear, by chance, do you run in these very boots?" No, she said, she's a fan of those odd little foot gloves. "I really can't run in anything else," she told me--which is something I've heard from others who are regular wearers of those "shoes." My goodness.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kat....711 Whaley

I don't know that I've ever seen plaid worn in a more adorable manner, and reader, I have seen my share of plaid. This darling young woman was eager to tell me about her plaid shirt, which is made by RVCA. She was quite enthusiastic about this company and their support of artists, saying to me with her eyes wide, "I'd like to work for them!" Indeed. For the moment, though, she's working for another lovely company, one that makes artisanal salts, sold at the All-Local Farmers' Market, The Gourmet Shop, and Finleaf.

As we parted, I glanced at her necklace and said, "your name is Kat, yes?" She blushed. "I keep forgetting I have on my Carrie necklace, sir, and it surprises me when people know my name."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lorie....Devine Street

I bumped into this delightful acquaintance at Finleaf, she shopping for a gift, I hoping (yes, I admit it) to catch a glimpse of the proprietress (for as you may know, I admire the lady and rather envy Mr. Peg). Lorie was a tad apologetic about her ensemble; she is preparing for a trip, she told me, and doesn't want to wear anything she might care to pack. "White jeans after Labor Day," she said, wrinkling up her darling nose, "but they say it's okay."

I have no idea who "they" are (those okay-ers, who rather put me in mind of the decider), but they (the white jeans) are most certainly fine by me. Though you might not be able to make them out, Lorie had on a fetching pair of boots with a bit of a Western flavour. I'd quite like to have a pair, myself--to use for fitness purposes, naturally.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Day in the Country....Serenbe

Quelle chance! I was invited for a day of fine food and wine in the countryside near Atlanta, and making the invitation even more enticing is that it was issued by Les Dames d'Escoffier. I've had a fondness for this charming group ever since they invited me to deliver my paper "Beyond the Apron: Women, Attire and the Culinary Professions." So what does one wear to the country? Hats, as you see, on this intriguing woman above...

....and on these fine gentlemen.....
In a sea of denim, greys and camels, colour was particularly a stand out....
I admired the way the woman's hair in the photo below matched the stitching on her vest. Was this by design, I found myself pondering, or a mere happy coincidence? (For the record, I once dyed my hair to match my tie, but that was in the 1980s when people did such things.)
Sweaters and boots were a common sight. Here you see two variations on that theme....
It was my pleasure to meet this attractive young woman, below. Ginger told me she owns a home in Columbia. I admired her jacket and her quite-serious camera. The jacket she got on sale; the camera, however, was priced well beyond my fixed-income budget, alas.
Though I spent the entire afternoon on the farm, I must tell you: these scrawny bovines were the only livestock that I saw. Perhaps had I spent a little less time in the wine tasting tent, I might have seen a few more goats and such. Oh well, next time!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


On this chilly morning, I questioned the genius of having left my cozy home.....until I was rewarded with the sight of lovely Peg.
As if she were not sunshine itself (at least to me, dear reader), she also happened to be sporting this cheery, quilted coat which looks perfect with her sweater and pants. What a stylish way to stay warm, indeed.
Just above, you can see how marvelous that coat is, with what appears to be hand stitching.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sam....City Roots

Rather well put together, I thought, to shop a farmers' market. I particularly liked the sweater--and the denim collar, slightly and so charmingly askew.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Leslie....For the Love of Art

Leslie tells me that she is, most days, a shy blond. But in support of a "dark and edgy" show by artist Michael Krajewski, she boldly died her hair and donned a more daring ensemble. Wouldn't every creative person benefit from such support? This week, Mr. Krajewski will be showing his work at First Thursday on Main Street. I wonder if Leslie will venture out with a new look. I do hope so!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cowgirls & Wizards & Flood Pants....Oh My

For a fashion anthropologist, yesterday was a bit of a boon. It seemed that people were dusting off their most creative ensembles, from this darling lass, with a hint of the Annie Oakley about her.... this gentleman, who sported a Lollipop Guild meets Pee Wee Herman approach to his day's attire. Brilliant!

This noble lady is wearing a magnificent Venetian mask...a Medico Della Peste. (May I inquire: Is it flu season, again, so soon?)
And of course, who does not like to see a wizard taking the dog for a walk. Was there a reason for this rash of noteworthy garb? Is October 30th a holiday unknown to me? Or was it mere coincidence? Do tell!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jai....Lincoln Street

What a treat for me to meet Jai, since I was a fan even before becoming acquainted. I've been following Jai's blog--The Fat and Skinny on Fashion. Dear reader, she crackles and pops on the (web) page and positively sparkles in person.

Her friend Najee (of infinity scarf fame) couldn't merely stand by and observe. His inner stylist leapt out and directed him to act: denim trousers shall be cuffed!

As Najee pointed out, Jai was sporting several trends--nautical, military, clogs. "I try not to be too trendy," Jai said, protesting. Indeed, I think she is perfectly adorable. Her jeans are Gap's 1969 "long and lean" cut.

Her clogs are from Charlotte Russe. And her approach to dressing herself is all common sense: "I put on what's clean, cute, and fits."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Peter....River Drive

I arrived at this transportation headquarters to inquire about a trolleybus and discovered this nattily-dressed gentleman on a similar mission. How is it that twice within one week I have encountered stylish people accomodating knee injuries? Is something afoot?

Peter's windowpane plaid suit is from Zegna, but he was quick to tell me he found it at a bargain in Manhattan. He goes there each year between Christmas and New Year's to shop the sales. He also had some amusing advice for keeping oneself in check: "Get to your ideal weight, then buy expensive clothes that fit. Once you've spent that kind of money, nobody wants to get too fat for an Armani suit."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mikelle....The Vista

As you may know, I have been studying people about Columbia for some months, looking for patterns, attempting to determine if there is a definitive local style, looking for the existence of unwritten "rules". This young man suggested there might be such. He told me he begins with a vision for his outfit, then rethinks it to create a Columbia version--one that is a little less risky, a tad more restrained. His goal is to be classic but not predictable.

For example, he began the outfit you see with a vision of wearing an aqua scarf that was twice as wide and silver chain necklaces. His toned-down version includes a narrower scarf, with bracelets and a ring, to add a little edge.

"Most people would not have worn the ring and scarf," he says.  Do you agree? And is his approach shared by others? Mikelle may be more deliberate than most. He is a stylist and fashion blogger and says, "I think of fashion as art."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shanika....A Curious Accessory

I was smitten by this pretty, saucy young lady--and that was before I noticed her fascinating legwear. I don't believe I've ever seen a knee brace worn better. Her brace, combined with the boots, brought back fond memories of the Bionic Woman, complete with dramatic sound effects.

As though a Jaime Sommers flashback were not treat enough, Shanika provided yet another delight: she is a student of anthropology! My, we had so much to discuss. She also writes a blog called "Life is Pichey".

PS: I attempted to trace the origins of the knee brace, to no avail. I did, however, discover that Earl Dickson invented the Band-Aid (reputedly to aid his accident-prone bride).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Najee....Blue Marlin

I met this charming fellow during a luncheon at Blue Marlin, hosted by Carolina Blogging. He writes Tres Frais Najee where he's documented, among other things, his recent trip to attend New York Fashion Week. He also works for a striking-looking magazine called Vent. On this day, Najee was wearing a dapper grey bow tie paired with a bold plaid shirt: "I do wear bow ties a lot," he told me.

He also introduced me to a new (to me) concept, his Infinity Scarf.

It's a giant tube of jersey that provides the wearer with near-endless possibilities. It could, for example, become a dress, a skirt, a turban....perhaps with a few bamboo poles and bungee cords added, it could even do duty as some sort of pup tent or giant slingshot. How useful! Najee's scarf (also called a circle scarf, though I find that term much less thrilling than "infinity") is from American Apparel.