All the pleasures of Soho

(Below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 3/11/2017)

On Monday I had to cover for Angela. It was a very long day but I decided to go to the Balenciaga store in Soho after work to buy a black Balenciaga city bag, the one I have wanted since it came out, I think in 2002. The store is on Mercer Street so I took the subway to Canal Street and walked the rest of the way, which was still a pretty long walk but luckily I didn’t get lost. The store closed at 6pm that night so I was trying to walk quickly, since I had stayed at work until 5pm that day.

The store was quiet and a guard stood just inside the door and greeted me when I walked in. I walked down a flight of stairs because I didn’t see any handbags on the top floor. They were all downstairs and they were all so beautiful. So many Balenciaga purses in so many different shapes and sizes and colors.

I was greeted by a male salesperson and then a blonde, female one who asked if I was finding everything OK. I asked about a Balenciaga city bag that I saw on a shelf in red, but asked if they had one in black, and she went to look for it.

The saleslady was refined, calm, quiet, pristine, and confident. I never felt more rough around the edges before in my life. I had a rushed, harried air about me, and my hair was in a curly, low ponytail. I was wearing a cheap, black cross body purse, and I spoke more loudly and hurriedly than she did.

She asked if I owned any Balenciaga bags and I said no, that I have wanted one for many years. She brought out two bags with different hardware styles and I picked the one I liked the best. It was slouchier and less structured. She asked if I wanted anything to drink, like water or coffee. I thought for a moment and said no, that I was fine.

She went to see if the bag I wanted was in stock but it turned out that the display bag was the only one left. She invited me to inspect it and said she would never sell me my first Balenciaga bag if it wasn’t in excellent condition. She was so calm, cool and collected. And she brought out a little form for me to fill out and sign so that they would have my ‘profile.’ She was also very gentle when opening/handling the bags.

When the form was filled out, she invited me to sit on a black leather bench and gaze upon some very expensive shoes. She asked if I would like her to package the bag with the stuffing still inside, which I thought was kind of odd, but said yes that was fine. She told me the total of what the price came to, a little over $1,900, and I gave her my credit card.

She asked for my ID as well, which I wondered if was standard but assumed it was, and she ran my card and asked me to sign. She handed me a beautiful, pristine white shopping bag (with ‘Balenciaga’ printed on the front in black, block letters) which held my lovely, new purchase. She gave me her business card, for if I had any issues or questions, and asked if I wanted to be handed the receipt or have it placed in the bag. So much formality.

I said that in the bag was fine, and thanked her a lot before going back up the stairs where the guard held the door open for me to leave. The saleslady had also tried to sell me some $30 bag cream to rub into the leather periodically to smooth it out after it starts to show wear. But I told her I would come back for that another time.

Honestly I don’t know if I will. I kind of want the bag to look a little worn after some use so that it adds to the character of the bag’s look. And I do plan to use it daily so I assume that wear will likely happen. I bought the purse as a late Valentine’s gift to myself. Last month I didn’t really have the money for it.

The title of this post is a line from the song ‘Pleasures of Soho’ by the Soho Dolls, which I had stuck in my head while walking on the way to the store.




March 14, 2017. fashion. Leave a comment.


Prompt: Who are the people you most admire?

My Response:

-Shirley Manson
-Deborah Harry
-J.K. Rowling
-Anais Nin
-Rose McGowan
-Shannen Doherty
-Audrey Tatou
-Thandie Newton
-Allison Harvard
-Amanda Seyfried
-Sylvia Plath
-Tilda Swinton
-Stephanie LaCava
-Rachel Zoe
-Rumi Neely
-Kate Moss
-Bill Cunningham

September 29, 2013. Tags: , . fashion, writing. Leave a comment.

What Would Janice do?

(Entry below was written on December 1, 2008)

I love Janice Dickenson. Since I don’t have work tomorrow, I’m up at 3:24am watching her sell her jewelry on HSN (home shopping network). All the cocktail rings are lovely, but of course at size 5, too big for my fingers.

I adore Janice’s personality. She’s loud and obnoxious, but in a way that is fully, unapologetic-ally her. She is not afraid to be who she is. To be loud or overbearing, To be fun and stylish, sexy and fabulous no matter how old she gets. She has admirable ambition and drive and has made herself into a success in the modeling world on her own terms.

I’ve read 2 of her books- her autobiography, No lifeguard on duty which I lent to my mom who loved it too, and Everything about me is fake and I’m perfect. Her writing style is fresh and she has a natural way of telling a story that draws you in, as if you were in conversation with her. She is the epitome of strong.

I wish I could be that way. I mean so socially strong that I intimidate others with my confidence and sense of self. That others are at a loss for words when around me because I make such a secure impression on them. To be like her, not like myself- shy, always retreating, second guessing. That is my ultimate dream. To be unafraid to speak my mind. To be who I want to be and see myself to be.

I was addicted to her show back when it was on the Oxygen network, The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency. I had rented the first season from Netflix and became addicted. mostly because Janice took every opportunity to showcase her best self.

She has talents for photography, modeling and is also a model agent and mentor. It was really hypnotic to watch her work.  There was a scene on her show where she encourages one of the models in her agency by telling him that growing up, “I believed you could be, just anyone you really wanted to be.” That just sums it all up, doesn’t it? She said it with a conviction that would remove any doubt. She was dead serious.

Janice came from humble beginnings and an abusive household, and still had the determination and strength to go after her dream of being a model in a time where models looked nothing like her. They were all blonde and blue-eyed. She paved her own path and became an in demand model anyway when most agencies turned her away at first

She didn’t let anything defeat her. She later decided she wanted to have a modeling agency of her own, and film the whole process for a reality show, and so it was done. Just like that. She decided to write books, so she became a best-selling author. And it’s easy to see why.

She is a distinct personality. An amazing woman who has accomplished so much. People may ridicule her but she lives her life in her own way and makes no apologies ever.  She knows exactly who she is and is unafraid to show it. and that is so stunning to me.

She makes it all look so easy and so fun because she really lives her life and makes the most of it, and encourages others to do the same in her books. So now I guess she has a jewelry line, I had no idea about it. the bracelets and rings and necklaces are very pretty too. I guess there really is no limit to what a person can do or what she can get if she really wants it.

June 19, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . fashion, writing. Leave a comment.

Freedom, Shoes, and Day Planners

(Entry below was hand written on 9/23/2012)

I love freedom. The freedom to be able to come and go as I please. The freedom of long stretches of time with nothing to do and nowhere to be. The freedom of not having anyone to answer to but myself. The freedom to read or sleep or watch movies or eat. The freedom to sit on  a train on a nice day and look out the window. The freedom to take picutres and listen to music, and to write- no matter what time it is.

My body is sore and I’m tired, but there is still so much more I want to do. Luckily, I have the whole day free tomorrow. Today I voluntarily went into the city, something I have not done in a long while. I went to the free market at Madison Square Park which was from 12pm to 3pm, but I ended up only staying about an hour.

It helps when I feel sad or alone, to go out into the world and observe people and listen to them talk or watch them just go about their lives. There’s a certain comfort in that. We are all the same. We are all just human beings, no one greater or lesser than anyone else, just trying to make our way in the world.

There were a lot of “Occupy Wall Street” people in the park, trying to spread the word about their cause and start a revolution. The actual free stuff people brough to give away wasn’t that plentiful. I picked up two books of poetry, some clear binder sleeves, and a lipstick/gloss that was unused. I was going to go back later to see if anything else was put out but was too tired after more shopping and went home.

From the free market, I walked down to East 17th Street to Barnes and Noble to look at the Nook tablet, which I really want now, and then went to DSW to find nude shoes for the dress I’m wearing to my cousin’s wedding next Friday. I found the perfect pair of shoes, plus a cute evening purse that appears to be covered in blush-colored rose petals. I also found a pair of knee-high brown boots which I have been wanting for a very long time.

I then went to staples which is about a block away from DSW, and I finally bought daily calendar/planner refills that fit into a small, binder/porrfolio thing that I’ve been holding on to since college. I always wanted to refill and reuse it for something, as a journal or a calendar because I just love the scaly feel of the outside covers.

The binder is small and black and has a pen hole attached and pockets on the inside covers which make it very convenient and nice to use. I used it as a day planner in college and now it kind of sucks that I can’t use it again until next year.

April 26, 2013. Tags: , , , . fashion, writing. Leave a comment.

The Rachel Zoe Project

Lately, I’ve been getting into that show, The Rachel Zoe Project. Mostly, it’s for the fashion. But it’s also for my fascination of the glamorous lifestyle that she lives. It can get annoying to watch, especially with her overuse and strange annunciation of the word ‘literally.’ But overall, it’s really entertaining. It’s kind of like watching Confessions of a Shopaholic without all that god-awful slapstick comedy.

Rachel Zoe really loves clothes and fashion, and is passionate about it, that you can see right away. She truly found her calling. I became entranced with her jewelry collection, which she sold on an older episode to benefit a charity for ovarian cancer research. Zoe had all kinds of amazing, one of a kind jewelry that was so beautiful, and she had close to 1,000 pieces all together.

There were gold, beaded pieces, every color, every style of bracelet, necklaces, earrings- all designer, and beautiful. She also came out with her own line of clothing, jewelry and handbags. And I bought a couple of those pieces (a handbag and a snake bracelet/cuff) as they echo her style and fashion taste.

Watching that episode about her jewelry was just so nice because it was a reminder of the fun of fashion and the way you can use it to express who you are, or a mood you are in, just for the hell of it. And its fun to think of frivolous things like that sometimes, and take a break from all the big existential questions in life. It inspired me to use my own unique pieces of jewelry in new ways, since I have so many pieces that I sometimes forget that I own.

Fashion is a nice thing to simply admire and imagine and dream about.  I also enjoyed the episode about her trip to Paris fashion week, and seeing her attend the shows of Stella Mccartney, Marc Jabobs, Luis Vuitton, Chanel, and Karl Lagerfeld. New episodes (which premiered this past Wednesday night) are forcing me to tune in via itunes, having recently cancelled most of my cable channels.

March 8, 2013. Tags: , , , . fashion, writing. Leave a comment.

“Solitude is a Victory” -Karl Lagerfeld

The documentary about Karl Lagerfeld’s life, ‘Lagerfeld Confidential’ is very interesting. In his own guarded way, he answers the film maker’s questions and gives a look into the fashion world, while somehow not keeping the focus on himself. His philosophies run deep, and you should really watch the film to catch them all as they are rather profound. I admire how detached he is. He doesn’t dwell too much on life or on himself, possessions, or on relationships because he prefers to live a fantasy life that isn’t mired in reality. It’s almost like he thinks reality is overrated. And isn’t it, in a way? Aren’t dreams better?

When asked how he feels about death, he says that maybe death is an awakening from the dream that is life. And why worry about the afterlife, when there are billions of people who have died before ever learning about religion. How can they possibly be damned to hell if they have never even learned that word? Yeah, pretty heavy for a film you think it going to be about fashion! He is a deep man, and though intimidating, doesn’t seem to believe in his own hype. He never studied and is humble enough to see how lucky he is to have built and organized a life that suits him without too much effort. Stories about his parents and upbringing are very interesting as well though we don’t get to learn how he got his start in fashion or how he became so successful and an icon in his industry.

He is very straightforward and honest and that is refreshing. Maybe it comes from being 75 years old and having spent that life in a creative field. He talks about how he needs time to be alone sometimes, and how creative people cannot be around other people all day long and still be creative, and I really related to that thought because it’s the absolute truth. He talks about reading books, and how that’s an activity that you can’t do while you have company. Solitude is important for recharging one’s batteries, as he states, and having solitude is healthy. ‘Solitude is a Victory,’ according to Lagerfeld, and that is just about the best quote I’ve heard in a movie in a long while.

November 13, 2012. Tags: , . fashion, movies. Leave a comment.

He who seeks beauty…

A few days ago I watched the documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York,’ about the 80 year old fashion photographer for the New York Times. This man simply goes out and rides around the streets of New York on his bicycle, taking pictures of people. He captures the fashion trends as they happen in real time, and he was the predecessor for all of today’s street fashion blogs.

He still shoots on 35 mm film as well, instead of digital. No reason to fix something that hasn’t been broken since the 60s! I loved this movie.  Bill Cunningham is a humble, charming, sweet and beautiful man. He lives minimally (in a studio apartment filled with filing cabinets instead of furniture), is very observant and highly intelligent, and simply knows how to live his life in a way that brings him joy and fun. He is a pure artist.

This movie is so inspiring and entertaining, it really captivates you. It made me want to go out and do something creative with myself and devote myself to self expression. It is that powerful. Bill is like a breath of fresh air to all who know him. A one of a kind spirit, he is the type of person who doesn’t apologize for who he is and is not afraid to stand out. This movie isn’t just about fashion or photography or even art, but it’s about living a life of meaning, whatever that means for you.

And the point is clearly made that riches and monetary success aren’t the only factors that can contribute to happiness. Being open to life, and discovery, and beauty on the other hand, are the things can contribute to one’s happiness. No matter who you are, where you come from or how old you are. It’s simply a matter of curiosity, hard work, and faith.

So I highly, highly recommend this documentary as something that you must see as soon as you can. Take my word for it. It will make you smile, warm your heart, but also really make you think about life, and what’s really important.

November 13, 2012. Tags: , , , . fashion, movies. Leave a comment.

Clean out that Closet!

I’m not sure how it happened. I’m just one girl, but somehow I ended up with 3 closets of clothes in my one bedroom apartment. One is technically a coat closet, and another holds mostly out of season (summer) dresses, but it still feels like things have gotten out of control. Getting dressed every morning shouldn’t be a trial, and it doesn’t have to be. All you need to do is a little spring cleaning of your wardrobe and turn a critical, editorial eye to all those garments you’ve acquired. Don’t worry, I’ll be doing it with you. We may just rediscover some hidden gems along the way. Writing this article is my motivation to finally tackle this project and stop procrastinating! I’m a firm believer in paring things down to only the essentials, but you’d never know that by glancing at my closet. Nothing is organized in any kind of logical way. It’s time to do something about it.

Keep what you Love

First, I’m going to remove all the clothes I absolutely love and wear all the time, the ones that make me look and feel fabulous!  That’s the easy part. Now, what’s left in the closet is the stuff that hardly ever gets worn. And if it’s just sitting there being tolerated while it’s ill-fitting, out of style, worn out, stretched out, pilling, or just plain ugly, then it’s time for it to go. I found an old, long purple tunic, a yellow cardigan that’s too small, and a long-sleeved red shirt that’s never been flattering. What did you find?

Be Ruthless!

I know it’s difficult, but be ruthless! If it needs to be cleaned, put it in the laundry immediately or put it in a bag to be dropped off at the dry cleaner the next time you are out. These clothes are blocking your view from the great pieces that are already in your wardrobe. You need to clear the space to see the potential in the things that you have to work with right now.

Try on everything that you are unsure about and not ready to let go of yet. If there’s anything you don’t like about the item or how you look and feel in it, let it go. No girl should own anything that’s itchy, faded, or needs constant re-adjustment. These are the clothes you avoid that get in the way of having a wardrobe you truly love and enjoy. Get rid of them! And then think about new ways to wear some of the old favorites you probably forgot about. Why not experiment with layering? Or repurpose that party dress to wear to the office, dressed down by a blazer or cardigan and some boots? Don’t be afraid to play with a new look and try out new combinations. Here, I also repurposed a scarf as a belt.

Separate all of your accessories.

I’m not big on belts, I’m more of a handbag girl. Neither of those accessories are  easy to store. The best way to hold these is probably by using a clear plastic bin that you can find at places like the container store.  These bins can slip easily onto your closet shelves and hold everything from handbags, belts, scarves, heavy clothes, and shoes. I currently have one holding all my big sweaters and turtlenecks, so they don’t come tumbling down on my head or get stretched out and wrinkled on hangers.

I really love scarves, but have noticed that they’ve been scattering all over my closet lately on top of several different tops. They all need to be contained in one place, so I can remember exactly what I have and wear them! Adding a scarf can change your entire look, and elevate it to something more special and sophisticated.

After you have tried on all that remained, put back only those clothes that you truly love and make you look and feel beautiful, or those that you have found a new way to wear. It will feel so much better to know that all the clothes you have to choose from are right for you and your body now. It’s ok to keep some sentimental favorites. I can’t seem to let go of a certain pair of black skinny jeans and a beautiful (but old) yellow summer dress. But I don’t completely rule out wearing them again someday. You need to watch out for those nostalgia items and keep them under control. It’s a good idea to put these in a box and store them someplace out of the way of your everyday clothing. I have a problem hoarding miniskirts, but they are on a high shelf in my closet and therefore out of the way.

A couple of afterthoughts:

Some people color code their closets, but if you’re like me and not that disciplined, you can simply put like things together- skirts with skirts, tops with tops, separate work from party clothes, etc. This way you can easily see what you have and what you need to shop for.

I never seem to return clothes I order from catalogues that don’t fit me well. There are two solutions to that problem. One: avoid catalogue shopping or any shopping where no fitting rooms are available (hate those stores!). You may need to cool your impulse buying and online shopping habits. Two: donate the item to a thrift store, hand it down to a younger relative or give it away to a friend. They’ll be grateful for the gift and the item will stop taking up space in your closet. You’ll also release the guilt of having spent money on something that you couldn’t use. No reason to keep that item and feel bad every time you see it.

Keep the order in your wardrobe by using these basic rules:

  • Buy something new recently? Get rid of an old equivalent. Get rid of an old t-shirt if you just bought one, or toss out old shoes if just got a pair of new ones, etc.
  • Take a look at how many wear-at-home clothes you have. I realized that I had way too many sets of clothes or pajamas to wear at home and got rid of at least half easily, that frees up the dresser drawers and give your socks and undergarments space as well.
  • Look for opportunities to donate your clothing and update your wardrobe. I recently reduced the clutter in my coat closet by donating a raincoat to Haiti, along with some other household things. Keep an eye out for donation bins in your area as well.  You don’t want your cast-offs hanging around in your home and tempting you to put them back.
  • When you’re deciding whether or not to keep something, ask yourself if you would buy it if you saw it in the store today. The answer should come to you immediately.

Now, instead of gasping when you open your closets, you can breathe a sigh of relief. I hope you have learned some valuable tips when it comes to spring cleaning your wardrobe. I know I had fun, and am looking forward to creating a wardrobe full of clothes I really love!

November 13, 2012. Tags: , . fashion. Leave a comment.