Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Shoes

For years I counseled brides that, if they are wearing a classic wedding gown, they should save on the dress and splurge on the shoes. The thinking being that, unlike the dress, the shoes can be worn over and over, so why not purchase that fabulous pair of Christian Louboutins or Manolos you always dreamed of but could never justify? If something is going to be worn once and then packed away until it sprouts black mold, I'd personally rather wear J. Crew or Anthropologie—or even something off-the-rack from David's—than drop $6K on Vera Wang. Then again, I'm not your typical bride, especially when it comes to The Dress.
   I couldn't help thinking of that advice again when I laid eyes on these ridiculously lavish Louboutin "Marie Antoinette" heels—of which just 36 pairs were made and sold at the designer's Madison Avenue boutique earlier this month, and despite the fact that  my own upcoming wedding colors are neither yellow nor purple nor red. At $6,295 a pair and so extravagant one could hardly imagine wearing them once, let alone on a regular basis (particularly in the muddy Northwest where I live), these heels are the antithesis of my advice. And yet…wouldn't it be fabulous? 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Coolest Engagement Video…

Save the Date - August 26, 2010 from t davis on Vimeo.

is ours! (If I do say so myself :)

The genius hubby-and-wife team of Lance Wagner and Trixie Lane at Seattle's Old School Pinups helped Todd and I recreate our meeting and engagement into the niftiest ever proposal/save-the-date video for the small wedding we're having late this summer and we couldn't be more thrilled. A while back we took some dress clothes to their studio (housed in an old mid-century-modern kindergarten) where Trixie brought out a spread of yummy snacks and cocktails before completely transforming me into a spitting-image version (humor me, please) of my Golden Era screen goddess idol, Myrna Loy, and then styled Todd into a retro-dapper version of himself. As you can see

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Gothic Crow

There are few women I consider greater personal icons than Patti Smith. Her music, style, writing and spirit have provided 20-plus years of inspiration, and so I rarely miss an opportunity to see and hear her when she's in town. She was in town for a reading/performance at the end of January, and as usual she charmed the socks off of every person in the auditorium (Socks sidebar: Once I saw Patti at an outdoor concert and during a guitar solo she peeled off her socks and whirled them over her head like she was going to fling them into the audience, stripper style, before collapsing into giggles. It was so cute).
One of my favorite parts from the January reading was when the interviewer, rock writer Charles Cross, asked about O Magazine naming her as a fashion icon. Patti shrugged her shoulders underneath her Ann Demeulemeester jacket, giggled and said, "It's not my fault!" She paused for the crowd to finish laughing and continued in her thick Jersey accent, "I've always loved fashion. I've just got my own way of dealin' with it."

 I've always loved Patti's timeless

Thursday, March 11, 2010

First Ladies of Skirts

A few years back when I was writing The Madcap History of the Skirt, my editor was adamant that I include a section about the fashions of America's First Ladies. I remember her saying: "People will love it, and it will SELL," words every writer wants to hear, but I was still cool on the idea. I wanted the book to be fun and cheeky and the first ladies seemed so…dry. But once I began my research I was quick to warm up to first lady fashion. I was looking at their dresses with an eye homed in on the evolution of their skirts, began reading about the inauguration dresses and was sidetracked for days. 
   So I was delighted to find this new video posted from the Smithsonian about the First Ladies exhibit at the National Museum of American History in D.C. (Best inexplicable, somewhat random cutaway line: "We're going to have to lower Barbara's purse.")

Can I just say that Lisa Kathleen Graddy and Sanae Park Evans have my dream jobs? Nearly 20 years ago I spent a summer interning in the basement of the Asian textiles department of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, cataloging and preserving antique textiles and fabrics and wishing I was riding my bike in the sunshine. Had I known that there were jobs like these—cataloging and preserving dresses like Michelle Obama's little number from Jason Wu—I might have stuck with it!
   I've seen this exhibition several times since I was a child, and I'm looking forward to seeing Obama's dress when I'm visiting in May. I wish they allowed

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Newlywed Kitchen arrived!

Today's mail held a particularly special package: My first copy of The Newlywed Kitchen, the cookbook I coauthored that strives to inspire couples to learn to love cooking together. It's wonderful to see a longtime idea come to fruition: I've often said this book is like a really long feature I always wanted to run in Seattle Bride Magazine, one that came from my dismay at learning that so many couples not only don't cook their own meals, but think of the kitchen as more of a battleground than a place of love. In fact, I remember interviewing one new bride and she said something like, "Oh, he would never let me in the kitchen. He yells at me if I chop onions wrong!"—words that broke my heart. As chef Duskie Estes, one of the many wonderful contributors to the cookbook, said so perfectly: "There are so many things to love about a person than how they chop a carrot."

Soon after I began thinking about couples and their often combative relationship in the kitchen, The New York Times ran an article about "alpha chefs," control-freak cooks who consider the kitchen their sacred ground and

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Hemline Theory is Back!

Two competing skirt lengths from Emilio Pucci FW10 collection test the hemline theory. Photo: Marcio Madeira /

I was delighted to see this article on yesterday's Wallet Pop about the history of economic upturns correlating with rising hemlines. The author, Amy Pyle, even pulled a snippet from my book:

Skirts functioning as a barometer for the economy is not a new theory. And as Seattle author Ali Basye points out in her book on the history of the skirt, it's a theory that had largely fallen from favor in the 21st Century because lengths vary so widely from woman to woman and day to day. In Chapter 4 of her book, The Long (and Short of It): the Madcap History of the Skirt, Basye points out that in the early 1970s, when "hot pants were the rage ... the advice at Dow Jones was 'Don't sell until you see the heights of their thighs!'"

Photo: Marcio Madeira /
Pyle is correct in writing that the idea of skirt lengths predicting economic upturns is more "legend" than fact. (Miniskirts, for instance, were still worn through the 1973–74 recession, and women literally protested in the streets against the coinciding introduction of maxi skirts!)