Sunday, July 12, 2009

I think I'm In Love Again...

So I have been away from Grace and Grit. Mostly because I have been working like a mad woman to get my new consulting biz off the ground with the wonderful help of my business partner Zola. Things are looking up...layoffs be damned! (In case you didn't catch the memo yeah, I now get to use the ubiquitous words "laid" and "off" in reference to myself)

One would think that in all of this time I would have had no time to veg out and watch any and everything fashion related. Well, friends I am a multi-tasker and the internet is wonderful for aiding you in the pursuit of procrastinating and working at the same time.

I have fallen into yet another reality tv trap to say the least. After watching all the episodes available of the Bravo Project Runway replacement The Fashion Show I was sucked into Season 3 of Project Catwalk (UK Project Runway). The first few episodes were a bit tedious as they are with most reality tv fashion shows including PR. (Make an outfit out of your roommates' clothes, make an evening gown out of a t-shirt) But after the first few the series got interesting and I fell in love. Objects of my affection? Jasper Garvida and Ross Hancock. Jasper's designs are simultaneously couture and street. They are beautiful, creative, and full of umph. I yelled "work!!" several times at the computer while watching his clothes come down the runway. Ross reminds me of Marc Jacobs a little bit (he looks a little like him in my opinion) and a couple of his designs made my mouth water just a tad, ok more than a tad. For some reason there aren't a lot of photos from the season floating around the net but thanks to two bloggers, Penny Lane of "Penny Said" and whomever is at the helm of "Project Runway Fix", I have something to give you an idea of the fabulousness I encountered.


Courtesy of

Courtesy of

This outfit that he made for a challenge where you had to forecast the next big trend by reworking vintage items (you know I was all over that) was seriously beautiful, edgy, and yummy in all the right ways. The styling? LOVE. And if I were like one pound my body would be all up in that dress. I would wear it to death every chance I got. Coincidentally, i was flipping through the July Vogue and discover that Marc Jacobs has a jacket similar to this one in his current collection. Is Jasper now working for Marc? Dunno but the jacket he made for the show = love.


Courtesy of

My favorite Ross design was from the same challenge. I'm sad that he was not in the final 3 because I know he would have brought it. (with a capital B) The black and yellow makes me happy and I could see myself wearing that dress out for drinks with friends. The detail you can't see is the little kimono style flower applique to give it a little pretty uplift. It is absolutely funky, chic, and something I would totally wear.

I'll be posting some pics this week from my latest ambush thrifting trip. I must have seriously been channeling Michael Jackson when I went into Goodwill b/c I came out with two wonderful beaded/sequined pieces. I also was able to add to my eel skin purse collection with a stunner that reminds me of the Gucci bamboo bag. I could not believe my luck, especially when the store was closing in ten minutes when I walked in. But then again you know, the force, its got a lot of power.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Am Love Sprinklin Myself Around You...R.I.P. MJ

Ohhh Lord. My grief right now is inexplicable. Everyone who knows me knows that Michael Jackson is the soundtrack to my life. When I walk down the street in a bad ass outfit I actually sing P.Y.T. to myself. Its my theme song and MJ is my musical muse.

I have been on the phone constantly since the news broke. My best friends and I keep replaying our favorite MJ memories. The moments on the dance floor when his voice crept through the speakers and took us to another level, our obsession with him as children who coveted and worshiped every bit of memorabilia like a magical talisman that we knew made us more special, and closer to him.

I have written before on my old blog about my love of MJ despite his obvious struggles with the weight of his own celebrity and remarkable talent. I chose then not to dwell on his gray areas and right now I find that I feel the same way. Frankly, I am annoyed by the focus the media has chosen to put on his troubles in the wake of his death. The only thing I can think of is the sunshine MJ brought into our lives.

My favorite MJ memory (aside from getting to go to the BAD concert when I was 8) happened to me in college. It was about 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. My friends and I were cracked out, as we used to say, studying for finals and writing endless overdue papers. We had holed up in the Student Government office with an assortment of CD's, food, and coffee. After one of us threatened to stop writing thinking doing anything and just quitting my friend Erika presented us all with a gift. She put the "Ultimate Jackson 5 Greatest Hits" album in the CD player. We sang all the words to "I Want You Back", "Dancing Machine", and "Shake Ya Body Down To The Ground". Halfway through the CD we all felt like we could go on. I started puttin some stank on my paper about the US public school system, finding new sources, sounding more eloquent and combative than I had 30 minutes before. Then, we heard a track we weren't as familiar with. It started off with Jermaine Jackson singing to a spare piano and bass lead-in:

"The eyes of love will watch you
As you go from day to day
The hands of love will catch you
When you fall along the way
My arms will hold and be with you
Your whole life through
'Cause I am love
And I'm in love with you

I find myself in wonder
Of why I've been misused
When love brings understanding
How can it be confused
(War and poverty wasn't meant to be)
Hate is drivin' me away
'Cause I am love
And I'd love to stay"

All of us stopped typing. Then we had a moment. Michael's voice busts through on the track backed by a nasty bass lick:

"Come back lover, come back
This is where you belong
Come back lover, come back
This is where you belong
Come back lover, come back
This is where you belong
Come back lover, come back
This is where you belong
Come back lover, come back
This is where you belong
Come on back, oh yeah
Please, this is where you belong"

Somebody started to cry. We all said "now nobody can bust up in the track and change the game like Mike." That night we all decided that MJ's voice was a special instrument, indeed something that only God could make. How else could we explain how we had gone within the space of an hour from despondent, tired students to straight up scholars possessed with purpose and a drive to change the world.

"I am love
Sprinkle myself around you
I am love
Shower my warmth upon you

I'm the answer to the question
My key unlocks your heart
I'm your friend and your lover
Your sister and your brother

Let me in your mind
(Let's get together)
You're runnin' out of time
(Let's get together)
Your wish is my command
(Let's get together)
People take my hand
(Let's get together
(Love, love, love, love)
(Let's get together, let's get together)

I am love,
Sprinkle myself around you,
I am love
Shower my warmth upon you

I am love
I am love"

We talked a lot that night about Michael. How his voice always seemed to retain just the right amount of church, soul, innocence and bravado. We also decided that "I Am Love" was our new anthem simply because it conveyed how we all felt about our place in the world.

This is the part of Michael Jackson that I want to remember and cherish. A voice and a talent that could suspend, amaze, and humble. MJ you were definitely love, and we are lucky to have had you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If I Were A Print Girl/Studio 54 Anyone?

If I were a print la la la la la la

I really wish I loved prints more. I enjoy a multitude of them on other people (like my nomination for diva of the year the Glamourai) but can't seem to escape my love of "dressing with the color wheel" as my sister calls it. Which means its not matchy, but it just goes. But I can never seem to do it with prints. I guess tomorrow isn't a good day to try since I have a meeting at work and people always look at you crazy in the South when you are *ahem* inappropriate. But I do love these palazzo pants with passion though they are printed:

I want a pair of great white pants for the summer. Something I can build around and make some crazy ish. This is one of the joys of summer for me. No work (school closes!!) and I get to run around in whatever craziness I can think up.

Summer is also a time to par-tay and my dance skills are superior. Evidence:

This is me and my bff Sommer. She is a talented singer/songwriter and the aforementioned evidence is the sweat boo. Yes, we come to WORK.

This is last summer at House in the Park. That's my other BFF Ashley smiling in the front and if you look real close you can see my favorite vintage Karl Lagerfeld belt before it met its demise. You know it is summer when my flower is in my hair in every photo (an homage to Billie and my mama, call me corny if you want)Once again though sweat=work on the dance floor. Which brings me to the second point of this meandering post.

Brandon on "So You Think You Can Dance"? Exemplifies WORK in all its classic campy and yummy connotations. His partner Janette is no sleeper either and their disco routine last week made me point my finger and yell at my tv. I really think Brandon may have been conceived in Studio 54 with the way he led his partner and still managed to steal the show. The costumes were horrid, but the moves...I wish Brandon was my partner on somebody's dance floor. He would work me out and I would take it like a champ.

Also, that song they are dancing to? Classic disco by Brainstorm circa 1977, "Loving Is Really My Game". 7 minutes and 32 seconds of unadulterated dance fever. How do I love the the first few lyrics:
"I can't catch no man
Hangin' out at a discotheque
But I believe in the boogie
Oh, but the boogie don't believe in me"
Nuff said.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Styling Texts: Dress and Fashion In Literature (I need this book in my life!)

I need a hundred bucks like nobody's business to buy this book!

Covering a variety of genres and periods from medieval epic to contemporary speculative fiction, Styling Texts explores the fascinating ways in which dress performs in literature. Numerous authors have made powerful-even radical-use of clothing and its implications, and the essays collected here demonstrate how scholarly attention to literary fashioning can contribute to a deeper understanding of texts, their contexts, and their innovations. These generative and engaging discussions focus on issues such as fashion and anti-fashion; clothing reform; transvestism; sartorial economics; style and the gaze; transgressive modes; and class, gender, or race "passing." This is the first academic volume to address such an extensive range of texts, inviting consideration of how fashionable desires and concerns not only articulate the aesthetics, subjectivities, and controversies of a given culture, but also communicate across temporal and spatial divisions. Styling Texts is an essential resource for anyone interested in the artistic representations and significations of dress. -

If I had this book in my life several things would happen:
1.) Time spent reading it till my eyes hurt
2.) Outfit inspiration like a mofo!
3.) I would instantly become smarter and cooler
4.) Fascination/Theory transformed into substantive things I can quote and teach from
Need. It. Now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Take that take that take that":Ebay Revenge and Extreme Makeovers

I'm feeling a little bit like Puff Daddy circa the mid 90's. Just to be clear, I feel like I'm all up in the video, lookin at haters and waggin my finger in the air and sayin "Take that take that take that".

The purpose for this extra swagger? (I know, I hate the word too but it just fits there) I got some leads on some new contract jobs and...I got revenge on Ebay. Last week I was bidding on this fabulous Diane Von Furstenberg dress on eBay.

I am so happy to see so much new-found interest in DVF as I consider her the Doyenne of the dress. Yes, I gave her a title, but its one she has earned. Wrap dress anyone? I have been extremely lucky to find a couple of vintage DVF pieces. One is a silk sheath dress, and I cried when I found it. Actual tears all up in Value Village. It was a mystical moment.

Nevertheless I am obsessed with artistry of the DVF dress. So when I saw one on eBay about to go for a steal I swooped in like a vintage hawk. And then, and then, my eBay track record catches up with me. I NEVER win anything on eBay. Reasons: I forget to watch it, people push the prices above my budget, and I forget to watch it. I decided to combat the first and last reasons by signing up for text alerts. (Who knew you could bid from your phone?) I end up being foiled again due to not checking my phone. *sigh*

I was sad (I got beat by a penny)but I decided to let it go. Which brings me to part deux of this saga. I did an extreme makeover on my bedroom. Lately I have been feeling sad about my room which normally means its time for change. So after two trips to Ikea I arrived at a room of my own. Still in need of a desk though I popped into one of my favorite thrift stores, The Atlanta Step Up Society. I love the furniture in this place. Of course I see nothing that works in my house but I did see these little beauties hiding in the shoe section:

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the label Egon Von Furstenberg inside. Take that eBay! Egon was DVF's first husband and a real-life prince. EVF was called the "prince" of fashion and his lines (much like DVF's) were known for their elegance. He was designing before DVF and actually encouraged her to get into the business. Once again, take that eBay! (and take that take that take that)Below are more pics of the shoes and my extreme makeover. Happy Monday! (and make sure to make haters into motivators!)

P.S. Think you like those EVF's? Well they will be for sale soon in my soon-to-be Etsy store. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Then The Sky Breaks...

My friends have let me know that I have a problem. Benign though it may be, (in my opinion) I might be addicted to clothes. Ok, we all knew that but my friends on FB probably know it first hand so of course they all laughed at my sad posts about not winning this yummy Vintage Gucci tote on eBay:

I could just see myself at the airport with this bag as my carry-on, wearing all black down to the sunglasses. This is why I normally stay away from eBay. You meet a bag, fall in love with it and it cheats on you and goes home with someone else. So unfaithful.

But never discouraged, I did comb the web for more vintage Gucci. I love the sexy glam clothes from the Tom Ford era, but the bags oh the bags will always be my weakness. The best part of my adventure? I came across some great fashion blogs in the process. Enjoy!

DIY Heaven!

Remind you of anything? :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Suite for the Single Girl - Jerry Butler (Motown, 1977)

Vintage Dressing Gown, My room (littered with apparel)


My bedroom. A month's worth of clothes is littered around the room. The details of several nights past (opened makeup, empty glasses, and shoes) have become a part of the tapestry of the room, my life even.

Strangely, I am at my best in the middle of this kind of mess. It gives me something to figure out, overcome, not care about. It is at times like these that I hold myself together and say: "Its just me".

The inspiration for the photo that comprises the banner of this blog is from an album that truly captures this place of self-acceptance and self-neglect, Jerry Butler's "Suite for the Single Girl".

I completely stumbled on this album while roaming around in DC one summer. I was in search of whatever cute clothes and shoes I could get downtown while I waited for my mom (Triple OD, more about her later) to join me on the hunt for cheap stuff. Of course I was also going through some kind of drama. Probably some kind of romantic tug of war, the endless musings of a 25 year old woman who is still figuring it out. I ducked into Kemp Mill Music and started digging through the used CD bin. I love going to old school music stores when I am home in DC. It always makes me think of being 15 or 16 and the joy I got out of taking metro, hooking up with my friends, and pretending I knew something about some Incognito or Maxwell. (*sigh*) Anyway, I picked up this CD that day and just gave a quick once over to the title but was totally mesmerized by the cover art.

Here in this image was my life. A girl with a greasy lunch bag and a designer clutch. Simultaneously hood, and yet still refined. It also helped that I'm obsessed with 1970's era Gucci and my dream is to own a collection of vintage clutches like the one in the picture. So, of course I bought it, if only for the art work.

At the time, I was just beginning my job as a full time educator, making a little more money but still nursing a mean love hangover and a lingering cloud of doubt. What if nobody else ever saw me the way I see myself? I threw the album on one day while cleaning and had to stop. When I heard Jerry sing: " This is dedicated to all the single girls, just to speak about some of the problems they have in this world. Brown paper bags and telephone pages, books on life as seen by sages, yet she can't understand, wish she could make a bigger salary or find a Mr. Right to marry, Oh lord if she can..."

The whole album sounds like a wise older man speaking directly to his neice, daughter, or even to a former young paramour (don't get it twisted). Somehow Butler, known as the "Ice Man", melds the blues, disco, and smooth northern soul into an offering that you will definitely not get unless you been there.

Favorite tracks on the album:

"Suite for the Single Girl"

"I Wanna Do It To You" - Classic 1970's quiet storm style soul. Butler's voice just has that "old man flava" though, so be careful when he gets to the bridge. Gets me every time.

"Ms. Fine" - Because the lyrics are so great, perfect for gals who like to blend beauty and brains. "She likes to dabble in, music and art, but secretly she would like to be, a model in Paris, a dancer in Spain, a fashion designer with her own private plane, a corporate lawyer who's a girl on the go..." Yeah, he described you like that. :)

"Chalk It Up" - This one is precisely for when you need a pep talk to get out of the bed and back into the world after a break-up. "Chalk it up, to experience baby, call it education..." My favorite part is the classic soul interlude at the end when Jerry talks to the single girls of the world, listen and get schooled. Oh and the beat is a perfect disco thump, replete with a funky bassline.

"You Gotta Believe Me" - What if, just what if, a man sang a love song to a woman on the verge? "You gotta believe in you, baby..." Love song meets inspirational hymn.