Archive for the 'Fashion (or not)' category

My New Obsession: @ShoesOfPrey

Aug 12 2015 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Hot weather, blazing sun, a backyard pool, and cold beverages do not promote blogging. You will, therefore, understand how amazing this new site is since it got me to write about it immediately.

Have you ever imagined a perfect pair of shoes? The heels of one but the color of another, perhaps with an accent of reptile leather or leopard calf hair? What you imagine probably does not exist in stores, even if you have the money to purchase any designer out there.

Enter Shoes of Prey. This site lets you start with one of twelve basic shoe types, from ballet flats to stiletto platforms. You then choose from hundreds of materials to make exactly the shoes you want. In addition to varying the uppers, you can change the lining as well. You can add insets and accents and straps. Every single piece on the shoe can be a different material. The base prices vary with model, but they start at $129 for the ballet flats. With enough bells and whistles you could probably get a pair up to $300, but I have not gone there yet.

Needless to say, this can be a very deep rabbit hole to explore.

Designed by Pascale

Designed by Pascale

As a public service, I decided to try out the service. I had a pair of red ballet flats with some raggedy edges. I started with a basic flat and then chose a d'Orsay cutout on the instep. I added a pieced toe but kept it all in the same soft red leather. These beauties came today, and they are lovely works of art.

The site works in European sizes, and they recommended a slightly larger size than other conversion sites. The shoes fit perfectly, so I recommend taking their advice. However, if something does not come out right, the shoes are guaranteed with a 365-day return or remake agreement.

How can you go wrong?

Below is a video explaining more about Shoes of Prey:

Better yet, click on over and start designing your new dream shoes.


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Art & Fashion, Meet Science

Feb 07 2014 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Loving this scarf.

Loving this scarf.

Are you looking for a gift for someone special? Valentines Day is next Friday, you know. If your sweetie wears scarves and loves science, you should give a sciencey scarf from Michelle Banks. Today I am wearing my latest acquisition, Portrait of a Human. Each panel on the 72 inch silk charmeuse scarf shows her rendition of a different cell from the human body.

Below is a better view of the details of the scarf; I wish this photo did justice to the vivid colors.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

What could say "Be my valentine" better than a scarf with a normal ECG, Heartbeat? Neurons and various microbes also adorn silk in this Etsy shop. What if your sweetheart is not a biology junkie? No fears; Michelle produces other wonderful designs with an astronomical flare.

Of course, not all of the world can rock a scarf like yours truly; for the less fashion minded, original watercolors of various designs and other ornaments can be had.

So buzz on over the the Artologica Etsy Shop and buy a colorful piece for Valentines Day or some other occasion. You will not regret it!

3 responses so far

Twenty-Fourteen Travel Begins

Just one week into the new year, and I am already on the road. As I write this post, I await the first leg of my trip to San Antonio for the alumnae group of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine for Women. This every-other-year get-together will give me a chance to learn new stuff, reconnect with friends and mentors, and renew my professional self. 

One topic for this meeting will be fashion and image. Since we would be focused on these issues, I felt compelled to dress the part. This meant some planning via a spreadsheet:


First I identified the key events for each day of my meeting. I then identified the most appropriate form of dress for those events. Since Friday will focus on fashion, it’s the day I want to shine in my nice suit. I do have some meetings on my travel days, but a nice pair of dark-wash jeans with a jacket or cardigan will work for these rather casual gatherings. The other two program days also require business attire, but not necessarily as polished as Friday. By planning items that coordinate with my suit and other accessories, I can maximize my wardrobe flexibility and minimize my luggage requirements. 

Spreadsheets are not just for accountants; they provide a great way to organize all sorts of data. 

By the way, for my friends in the north, San Antonio is supposed to be ~70 degrees while I am there. The deep-freeze should be well out of OKC by the time I get home as well. Not that I would taunt about that…well, actually, I would!

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Friday Fun for Fingers

May 17 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Lately I have been going gaga for nail polish. I have no qualms about how it fits, and nail art scares families less than wild make-up or clothing on their doctor. It's a lot cheaper than shoes as well.

Julep delighted me by creating their Maven program. Julep nail polish comes in 8 mL bottles (drugstore polish usually measures 15 mL), and Sephora is their only retailer in my neck of the woods. Oh, and each bottle costs $14.99,  a fairly hefty price.

To become a Maven, you first take a style quiz that assigns you to a category - Modern Beauty, Boho Glam, Bombshell, Classic with a Twist, or It Girl. I am Classic with a Twist. Each month you get an email showing you your style selections for that month. You can choose your assigned category, a box from another grouping, opt out that month, or even gift your box to someone else. Each month includes 2 or 3 full-size bottles of polish plus a bonus surprise, like nail files, glycolic hand scrub, and other products.

Click to Enlarge the Starter Box

Click to Enlarge the Starter Box

The cost for this goody box is $19.99. You get at least $30 worth of nail polish if sold separately! As an additional bonus, at check-out you can order more bottles of polish at a steep discount. I added a sparkly bronze to my intro box for $4.99.

I like to change up my colors frequently, so I do not mind new small bottles each month. If I find a color I simply must have, I can always buy it again at a discount. So far, I do not see a downside here.

Another perk (yes, more!) are mystery boxes. Each month you can purchase a second box of mystery colors, sight unseen. That box should arrive next week for me.

You also earn points for spending on the site. 2000 Jules (their units) will pay for your $20 box. Referring a friend who signs up as a Maven gets you 1000 points; 2 friends and a month is free!

Classic with a Twist: Natalie and Debra

Classic with a Twist: Natalie and Debra

Everyone needs some fun in their life. For me, nail polish is a cheap thrill, especially at $20 per month. I just finished applying the pinky-coral Natalie (see lower image). I will let you know how it wears!


3 responses so far

Summer Shoe-fari Surprise

May 09 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Only $69.99

Only $69.99
(Click to enlarge)

I clicked on an ad recently, and I could not believe my eyes. Look at this cute sandal.

Substantial wedge with arch support...Check.

Heel height 2.5 inches, well in the range the orthopedic surgeon recommended...Check.

Reasonable price...Check.

So what's the surprise?


Someone finally noticed that traditional Croc clogs are many things, but "attractive" is not one of them. I have a couple of pairs of their flip flops that I live in during the summer. Their molded sole supports and cushions. I wore them the day we walked 11.5 miles (measured by FitBit) up and down the Vegas strip last week. I also keep a pair of Croc ballet flats in my office in case I need to dash across campus on a day when I have made a fashionable but unfortunate heel choice.

I am delighted that I can get that comfortable engineering in something that looks like a normal sandal. They have other models with leather uppers and some strappier wedges on cork soles. Click the shoe photo or this link to see more at the Croc web site. 

One response so far

End of an Era

Apr 29 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Several years ago, as a social media newbie, I received a link to a blog post written by Isis the Scientist. The post on science rang true, and I dug through her site.

How had I missed this place? There's another woman out there who does science and loves shoes?

Seriously, wedding Uggs?

Apparently, Isis has found the end of this road, if her blog can be believed.

Who will save the world from Uggs?

After tweeting that thought, I realized that those of us who remain in this bloggy world of #FWDAOTI must step up to fill her shoes, fabulous as they are. To that end, I offer my latest acquisition:

Me Too Kaden Flats (Click for DSW)

Me Too Kaden Flats
(Click for DSW)

These shoes truly go with everything, especially the ankle lengths pants that were all over the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center at Experimental Biology last week. Unlike typical ballet flats, these have a bit of padding and arch support. I picked them up at my local DSW for $49.95, and you can get them online if you click the pic.

I will miss our domestic and laboratory goddess and her bloggy hijinks. I will miss dinner challenges. I may even miss some of the fitness douchery she has promoted lately! I wish her well, and I hope she finds time to continue on twitter.

I mean, really, how long does it take to generate 140 witty characters?

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Congratulations WNTW

Feb 19 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Yesterday I watched a recent episode of What Not To Wear while doing my treadmill time. I was delighted to see Casey:

Casey is a trans woman who gave up her male identity 9 years ago. In addition to having some issues buying for her body, she expressed difficulty showing femininity yet not crossing that line into caricature (AKA Drag Queen). Once again the WNTW crew gave a woman a makeover where she ended up looking like herself, only better.

I am always happy to see fashion take on more diversity. I like to give magazines and shows a hat tip here when they do  a good job.

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Congratulations to Allure

Jan 15 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

The January issue of Allure included a series of makeovers of young women in Year Up, a program that provides job skills, classes, and internships. The magazine brought in stylists and gave these participants make up, hair, and outfits suitable for an office. This year, one of their makeovers stood out:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Sorry for the poor photo quality; I snapped that with my iPhone while reading the magazine on my iPad...

Working within the constraints of her dress code, the stylists gave this woman a great but covered look, perfectly appropriate for her banking internship! I love that they have taken on Islamic dress, something US fashion magazines generally ignore.

Bravo, Allure!

One response so far

What I Am Reading: Shoes!

Oct 02 2012 Published by under Fashion (or not), What I'm Reading

Latest object of lust

Marilyn sang about diamonds, but I firmly believe shoes are a girl's best friend. Even on a frumpy, bloated, bad-hair-day, I can still rock excellent shoes that make me feel sexy, pretty, and even powerful.

When I saw Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us, I knew I had to read that book. Rachelle Bergstein's book begins at the start of the 20th century with an Italian boy named Salvatore Ferragamo. It proceeds to the present day (with occasional flashbacks to European courts and Chinese women with bound feet), exploring what the shoes of each era said about women.

The Postman Always Rings Twice

The chapter on the original power pump and the femme fatale highlighted how many films about these bad girls begin with a shot that pans from their naughty shoes up to their face. Can there be any doubt of Barbara Stanwyck's intentions when she trods down those stairs in pom-pom trimmed heels in Double Indemnity? Lana Turner may be wearing virginal white, but those peep-toed pumps scream "sex." No wonder men make bad choices around her. No wonder the postman keeps ringing...

Another chapter covers boots, specifically those of Nancy Sinatra, the ones made for walking. The backstory behind the song almost makes you forget how grating it can be.

The book is not just for high fashion; it includes the story behind athletic shoes. Another chapter explores Vans, Chuck Taylors, and Doc Martens, the shoes of the grunge cool kids.

No book about shoes would be complete without referencing Sex and the City. In the show, shoes became a symbol of a woman's power: "I don't need a man to buy these for me, thank you very much. I make my own money and my own choices." Stilettos as a symbol of female empowerment? Why not?

The boys get some attention, too. Not as iconic as the white suit, Tony Manero's loafers from Saturday Night Fever still rank discussion. After all, Tony window-shops for shoes to the beat of Stayin' Alive less than a minute into the film. Maybe shoes are not just a "girl thing" after all.

If you want a fun look at women and shoes through the 20th century, this book is for you. I had difficulty putting it down, but it was time to put on my big-girl-shoes and go to work. After all, I need more money to buy shoes 😉



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What I Am Reading: Clothes, Inc.

Sep 13 2012 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Last week I trolled Amazon for something new to read. The omniscient suggestion algorithm there led me to Over-dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline. I hit the one-click button and downloaded an entertaining yet disturbing book that leaves me with few great answers.

The book starts with the dilemma many of us face each day, a large closet bursting with clothing and a feeling that we have nothing to wear. We then journey through a brief history of clothing, from the days when store-bought duds cost a significant portion of income through the middle of the twentieth century, when more expensive brands brought the promise of higher quality to those who could afford them. Over the last 20 years, mass-market clothing took the world by storm. Inexpensive off-shore labor and cheap materials allowed our clothing to become disposable. Why spend time or money mending a $7 shirt? Spending more no longer means moving up in quality, as most manufacturing has been outsourced. We are left with a two-tier system with the H&M items at one end and the high-end designer clothing at the other.

Particularly sobering were the visits to Salvation Army. There, only 1 in 20 donated garments goes on the floor for resale, and the best of these may go to resale boutiques. The rest get compressed into half-ton bundles that are sold for processing into industrial materials, like wiping rags, or shipped to third-world countries. At present, less than 1% of our cast-offs goes to landfills; however, as cheap fashion becomes available in Africa and the Asian nations that manufacture the garments, disposing of our old  attire will become more problematic.

Our addiction to cheap wardrobes brings other problems. Most inexpensive fabrics contain petroleum-based fibers which cannot be easily recycled and use nonrenewable resources in their manufacture.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer in the final chapter. The author explores small local designers who can produce more unique clothing options, as well as making our own clothing. I must confess, I sewed a lot of my own clothing through high school and even into my residency (the birth of my first child stopped this hobby). I loved being able to buy a pattern from a designer I could never afford and make it from the fabric of my choosing. By the end of this book I felt like I should start up my habit again.

Of course, I simply do not have the time to make a blazer anymore (yes, I stitched at that level), given my professional responsibilities and blogging habit. I do mend and hem  my own stuff, something many women interviewed for the book do not attempt.

I guess I am lucky because my experiences making clothes let me judge quality well. I value natural fibers like wool and cotton plus the odd smattering of rayon and silk. I try to buy most of my suiting pieces to these standards. Accessories can be high or low end; I rarely toss out jewelry or scarves. But I cannot completely avoid cheap clothes! I now feel a bit guilty about living in knit dresses from Target, the most expensive of which can be had for about $25. However, with some degree of care (washing on the hand-wash cycle and drip drying) these polyester garments have resisted major pilling and destruction for up to 3 years! I have "designer" knits that have held up less well (and there's the real problem).

Bargain by Bruno

I am now working on my shoe habit. I have often picked up cheap shoes, figuring that if they ate my feet I could pass them on to Goodwill without guilt; after all, they were less than $20! Now I try to purchase well-made ones that are worth reheeling and repairing periodically. There is no challenge in scoring cheap shoes at Target, but getting $400 Maglis for $80? Now that was something to brag about!

Just as we have begun to examine our cheap food habit, we need to explore the disposable and wasteful aspects of other purchasing habits. Over-dressed has no easy answers, but it will make you think.

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