Thursday, June 30, 2011

What should pasty Minnesotans do in LA? (Part 2: From the horse's mouth)

The instant I posted "What should pasty Minnesotans do in LA?" (part one) my friend M emailed me a 1900 word missive, much too long to post in the comments.

I intended to put it up immediately, but it's taken me two days to code the damn thing. That's how many bar, restaurant, museum + misc recs she had for you. M is, among other things, a professional LIVER OF LIFE.

Anyhoo, here it is:

As a former pasty Minnesotan myself....

From the "culture" standpoint, theater here will likely be a disappointment to you. Skip it. LACMA would ordinarily be something of a disappointment to you compared to the excellent MIA, but the Tim Burton exhibit is reputedly excellent. The Broad wing's collection can't compete with the Walker, but it's a good space, the Barbara Kruger elevator is fun, and there's a great view of the Hollywood sign and surrounding mountains on a clear day from the landing on the top floor. Those three things and the new Stark bar make a trip to LACMA well worth it (if you like cars, it's easy to swing by the Peterson Automotive Museum while you're there). MOCA is currently showing one of the world's first formal exhibitions of street art, "Art in the Streets," and it's gotten excellent reviews from people who've gone.

If you're downtown, it's worth taking a moment to ogle Disney Hall- whether or not you like Frank Gehry, it's a pretty spectacular anchor to the street. If you have time, the symphony as directed by Dudamel is very good, though you probably REALLY want to try to score cheap seat tix to something at the Hollywood Bowl... it's a lovely way to spend a summer evening. Note that only officially Bowl-sponsored shows (which is almost all of them) allow you the full range of self-brought food and booze options. The Greek Theatre, in Griffith Park, is a smaller, similarly pleasant amphitheater experience, but they have fewer shows than the Bowl and it's not as easy to grab a bunch of cheap seats. It's worth looking to see if the Bowl has a fireworks night while you're in town, they're always great. I assume that your wedding plans mean you won't be free on a weekend, but it's also worth looking up the Cinespia schedule- cool old movies projected in a graveyard, picnics encouraged.

From The Museum of Jurassic Technology 
(Photo by Tony Perrottet courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine)

Both Getty Centers are worth a visit- note that the Getty Villa may require a reservation, and is solely focused on Greco-Roman antiquities. The Getty Center is some of the most spectacular architecture, perched above an amazing view, around. The permanent collection isn't spectacular, but their special exhibits are always well-curated and informative. Note that neither museum charges admission, but they DO charge a hefty parking fee, and public transportation/ walking options to the museums are limited. Still, with a full car, it's worth the trip. If you're into quirky abstrusities, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is a must-do, but they can have some wonky opening hours. On the east side of things, the Huntington (museum and gardens) and Norton Simon Museum out in Pasadena are both very nice and worth visiting- the Norton Simon has the better collection, but the Huntington is incredibly pleasant and not like anything in the Twin Cities. [Editor's Note: Their CACTUS GARDEN is truly amazing.] The Huntington serves a well-priced afternoon tea, but reservations book up well in advance.

If you're in the Pasadena area, stop in for a cocktail at 1886 at the Raymond. Excellent craft cocktails in a cute converted cottage.

The 1886's Honeymoon Cocktail
(Photo by acuna-hansen via Caroline on Crack)

As for food- agreed re: Animal, but their sister restaurant, Son of a Gun, can be easier to get in to... SOAG saves half their space for walk-ins at a long communal table. Arrive at opening, and you'll be seated right away (if there's a bunch of you and it's a friday or saturday, you may want to arrive early to ensure the space). SOAG is focused on seafood and cocktails rather than Animal's meat and wine, but it's equally good. Definitely have the shrimp toast, the fried chicken sandwich, and the deconstructed chocolate cake.

Also on the good-seafood-and-cocktails tip, The Hungry Cat is one of my favorites, and it's across the street from L.A.'s best (not most historic, but most pleasant) movie theater, the Arclight. Huge stadium screens, pre-assigned seats, no commercials. In that same part of Hollywood, there's a large Sunday farmers' market, which is a fun place to stroll around and snack on various local specialty items as well as all the free fruit samples. Local heros Valerie Confections have a stand selling their delicious homemade jams as well as various pastries and (usually) some of their famous chocolates stashed away in the shade.

If you like sushi, you need to get some while you're here. Depending on your budget and sense of adventure, I'd recommend one of the Ventura Blvd Katsu-yas (NOT any of the branded Katsuyas) or Sushi Zo, which was 96% as good as the 2-star Michelin sushi I had in Tokyo and about half the price. There are lots of good izakayas, etc., as well.

I also highly recommend the small plates and wine concept that's well-executed at Lou on Vine, Bar Covell, The Lazy Ox, Corkbar, and Palate (in Glendale). One of the best deals in town, if your timing is flexible and your party is small, is the prix fixe served at the amaro bar at Mario Batali's LA outpost Osteria Mozza. For $42 (formerly $35), you get a glass of wine, an appetizer, a plate of pasta, and dessert. It usually ends up being a 40-60% savings over ordering a la carte. Of course, if you just want a pizza, you can pop next door to Pizzeria Mozza, which is delicious.

Second Yuca's, but if you want more substantial Mexican food, take a trip up to La Cabanita in Montrose. The first mole that made me understand why people like it as an actual thing that one would crave, rather than just as an interesting food concept, and chiles rellenos of many varieties, all to die for. I particularly liked the one with the shrimp in the poblano cream sauce. I liked it so much, I almost didn't want to let my friends taste it.

Thai food in L.A. is excellent... one of the most famous of the Thai Town restaurants is Jitlada, but there are others that will be equally exciting- Ruen Pair is a good backup. However, Jitlada has gotten used to the attention from Chowhound devotees and their staff is very good at guiding people out of their comfort zones without going overboard.

 Jitlada's Jungle Curry (Photo by Jo Stougaard)

Indian food is by and large not that exciting here compared to what you can get in the upper midwest, but if you want to make a bit of a schlep, you can head to the San Gabriel Valley for delicious Chinese food of the variety it's hard to find outside the west coast, particularly Shanghainese soup dumplings. There are delicious hole in the walls where the staff are very friendly but speak no English, but it's easiest to join the crowds at Din Tai Fung.

Korean food is also plentiful and delicious.

Downtown L.A., though quite sketchy in places, has enjoyed a real renaissance thanks to art galleries and good bars. The best is still The Varnish in the back of Cole's, though the excellent tequila- and -mezcal- focused Las Perlas across the street can give it a run for its money. The Edison is an incredible space, and makes an interesting counterpoint to Villains, another bar that can make you feel like you're in a bizarre indie movie. Drago Centro is another good option, as they have a special perma-happy-hour menu in their spacious bar area and patio with a number of ridiculously well-priced bar snacks and a rotating list of four $5 classic cocktails to offset the cost of their more expensive marquee creations. Although I haven't yet been to either of them, I've been hearing good things about Aburiya Toranoko (from the owners of the Lazy Ox) and Spice Table, both in Little Tokyo.

The Varnish's Old Fashioned

Of course, coming from MN, one of the things you'll most want to do is enjoy the landscape, which means hiking or beaching. For the beach, skip Santa Monica and head up to Malibu... Zuma and El Matador. Parking can be tricky, but the scenery is much more spectacular. While you're in the area, you can head into the Santa Monicas for a gorgeous hike- if you time it right, you can see the sun setting over the gathering evening mist. You can also head east to the San Gabriels, where if you get to a high enough altitude, the high summer temps at ground level are mitigated. If you're sticking in the center of the city, Griffith Park has a number of pleasant trails that can offer lovely vistas of the city. Unless you're in it for the people-watching, I'd avoid Runyon Canyon, which is like going to a gym filled with poseurs and dog poop, and stick with the less-populated trails on the eastern and northern sides of the part. I like the Hogsback trail up to Mount Hollywood, above the Observatory, myself, but it can be very hot on a sunny summer day, so you're well-advised to go on the dawn or dusk end if you're sun/heat -sensitive.

If you're sticking with the ESB stomping grounds, Sunset Junction features hilariously quintessential east side people watching at famous-Chicago-coffee watering hole Intelligentsia, along with great leather goods at Dean and delicious gelato just down the block at Pazzo. If you like comic books, Secret Headquarters is possibly the most civilized comics shop in the universe, and is located next to an excellent tea and spice specialty shop. For a delicious locally-produced lunch or dinner, stop into Forage, where they don't serve booze, but everything is high-technique farm-to-table deliciousness.

In the OTHER part of Silverlake, near the reservoir, you'll find LAMill, which has very fancy coffee drinks and tasty food- it's also a quite a scene, but their blanco y negro, a kind of affogato-cum-granita, is insanely good and worth a stop on its own. Their tea drinks are also quite lovely. There are a number of cute shop-y shops in this area as well, like Yolk.

Over in Los Feliz, Skylight Books is still a thriving indie bookstore divided into adjacent storefronts, and nearby Big Bar at the Alcove serves quite good craft cocktails that you can bring out to a very pleasant patio. There's also a bit of a burgeoning restaurant row with Covell,  the famous-but-controversial Umami Burger (people generally feel it's either the best burger in town or not worth talking about), and the new "authentic Italian" pizza place Mother Dough.

In Atwater, just across the 5, you can step back to the 1940's with a stop in at the Tam O'Shanter, a faux-tudor cottage with a cozy British pub feel and a delicious cut meat sandwich station. The full restaurant is more than you probably want to pay for the kitsch experience, but the sandwiches in the bar area are affordable, delish, and a fun vibe. Across the street, the Griffin is a great place to stop during non-peak hours for a quiet glass of brown booze, of which they have a solid selection and surprisingly reasonable (for L.A.) prices. Of course, if you just want a quintessential dive bar that's fun, not scuzzy, you can head to Footsie's, on the edge of Highland Park.

Also in Atwater are Sweets for the Soul, possibly the best brownies in L.A., Proof, a bakery that serves excellent coffee but is better-lauded for its excellent French pastries, and Canele, which has one of the best brunches in town (another great brunch option is Little Dom's in Los Feliz, or Malo in Silverlake, for a Mexican twist).

L.A. is a burger town... check out the LA Weekly's recent "30 burgers in 30 days" feature, which they're now repeating with ice cream.

I could go on and on...

Photo at top of SHARKPIG (who is, in fact, from Wyoming) by Lou Mora

dragon scale-y wedding bands

How gorg are these??

By Satomi Kawakita via n &n via Melinda Josie

I basically never look at my Google Reader anymore. Everything is coming from Pinterest.


I've been a fan of the good old wife beater since way back. In fact, I was wearing one when I met H at a Playboy party in 2006 (true story).

But. In the last couple of years I've been leaning more toward the tissue-thin variety of tank tops and t-shirts, splurging every once in a while or (more often) stalking them on ebay because JEEZUS have you ever shopped Splendid or James Perse? That shit ain't cheap.

Apparently I have a lot to say about this.

My point is, I plan to get my ass to Bloomingdale's pronto to buy a few of these Leslie Fremar for Fruit of the Loom tees, which are $18 each or $40 for a three-pack.

Until September, they're only available in "larger locations." That had better include the Beverly Center. Otherwise I'll be bribing someone to shop for me in NYC.

Via n &n via COOL HUNTING

My unhelpful fiancé refuses to hire a wedding planner

Dear ESB,

I am in the middle of a crisis. I am a full-time student who works full-time and I am attempting to plan an intricate themed wedding, because my fiancé insists on having a faerie forest wedding. Strange? I know. I am fully behind it, if it is done well, and the only way I am going to be able to pull this off well is if I have some help. My fiancé has no real creativity or organization. All of my bridesmaids are out of town. I would like to hire a wedding planner, for partial planning services to give me a hand to make this event NOT A DISASTER.

Problem? My unhelpful fiancé refuses to have a planner because some random web reviews on planners gave him the impression that ALL planners are useless.

How do I get him to seriously consider this?


Is this a trick question?

Tell your fiancé that if he wants a FAERIE FUCKING FOREST WEDDING he'd better hire someone to plan it for him.

Iris Egbers by Daniel Sannwald for The Sunday Times Style via John Paul Thurlow + Trendland 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Should I have the warm + fuzzies for my wedding officiant?

March 14, 2011


I'm getting married in two months. Neither my fiance nor I are religious and have decided a JOP/judge is the way to go for our officiant.

My question is, for non-religious brides, are you supposed to feel a connection to the officiant? I've met with one very nice officiant who has a calm voice, an authoritative presence and excellent reviews from past brides (found online, not on his personal website). But I don't have much of a rapport with him. I'm sure he'll show up on time on the day of and make the ceremony feel official, special even, given his reviews online.  But I'm wondering, should I have the warm and fuzzies for him? Or is it normal, especially when having a non-religious ceremony, to feel a little more distant from the person officiating your wedding?

Any advice is much appreciated!
Confused in Chicago


May 11, 2011

Yipes, I'm late writing to you. Any updates?


May 21, 2011


Greetings from the land of newly returned honeymooners! I can't tell you how happy I am that I never have to plan a wedding again for the rest of my life. (And that includes if fate deals me a bad hand and I get divorced/widowed. Screw wedding planning. I'm eloping next time.)

So, in short, I can tell you that you absolutely should have a rapport with your officiant (although warm fuzzies are not required). I can also tell you that it will matter very little how your officiant looks or acts on your wedding day. Because you really will not notice.

In the end, I listened to my gut and called a few other judges in Chicago. The first judge I talked to wasn't available on our wedding day but was incredibly nice and friendly, and I immediately felt better just talking to him. He recommended another judge, who I talked to on the phone and was personable and professional. He was available on the day of, he didn't suggest anything about a sand ceremony, unity candle or giving roses to every important female in the room (gag me with a spoon) and once we booked with him he sent us a secular wedding template for us to consider for our ceremony. We tweaked it, edited it, added in the vows we'd already picked out, and writing our ceremony together one sunny afternoon in April is one of my favorite memories about the wedding preparation process.

I never met our officiant in person before the wedding day. Before our ceremony, he arrived early, met separately with myself and my husband, gave us pointers on where to stand, got the wedding license and his remaining payment, and headed out to the ceremony area. He did an excellent job, he had a great voice, and he even threw in a sweet addition at the beginning of the ceremony that really set the tone. But ultimately, my eyes were on my man, my future husband, the whole time. He and I just stood there grinning at each other, having the most romantic staring contest - we couldn't take our eyes off each other (see attached photo - one of my many favorites from the day). Once we were pronounced husband and wife, we ran for the nearest private space and had several quiet minutes alone. I never even said goodbye to the officiant, who slipped out after the ceremony, simply because he knew his job was done and we were fine.

So, yes, it's important to feel a rapport with your officiant. Don't book someone you don't feel comfortable talking to or that you don't like the idea of speaking to all your friends and family for 10-15 minutes. If they give you pushback on anything you really want - including a template of the ceremony - look for another person. But also don't worry about the day of - your focus will so not be on the person wearing judges robes, priest robes, etc. It'll be on the only other person in the room dressed as awesomely as you are, grinning like a fool.

Contented in Chicago


Speaking of wedding officiants... It felt like the right day to publish this one.


I started a stripey pinterest board.

Someone had to.

If our minister is ordained online, will the wedding be legal?


I'm sorry for only ever asking you questions about officiants, but this aspect of wedding planning has been the most problematic. I'm in a bind. The wedding is just over 3 months away and I found out yesterday that I am officiant-less. My family friend who was a former pastor had qualms about performing a non-religious ceremony. I understand, I get it, but now I need an alternate. We had a possible back up plan who was okay with performing a non-religious ceremony but it turns out that since he is a Deacon, he can only marry people in a church. We are having our ceremony and reception in a bar/restaurant. It's too late to change the ceremony location.

I like the idea of having someone I know officiate the ceremony. I was considering asking a long-time friend to get ordained online but this article made me question the legality of doing that. In addition to the legality issue, my friend isn't used to public speaking, so I'm not sure how he would hold up in front of a crowd.

What do you think I should do?  Do you or your readers have any recommendations for good NYC area officiants willing to perform a non-religious ceremony? If I have to go with a stranger, I'd at least like said stranger to come highly recommended...


You're wise to be cautious. I know of two couples were "married" by friends this past year in the great state of Los Angeles and discovered weeks (or months?) later that the marriages were not in fact legal because said friends did not manage to mail the damn licenses in on time or fill in the correct zip codes.

It may not be brain surgery, but apparently it is almost as complicated as registering a vehicle with the DMV.

Anyhoo. Can anyone recommend a good NYC officiant?

Stella McCartney Resort 2012 via Tobacco & Leather

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

kiss my [BLANK]: vote!

Who will be crowned the winner of ESB's first annual #kissmyBLANK contest, sponsored by Juice Beauty??

I asked you guys to submit original photos depicting the single most annoying thing about wedding planning. Or marriage. Or life in general. Mostly you submitted photos of your pets. (ARE YOU SUCKING UP TO ME, OR WHAT?)

Anyhoo. I've narrowed it down to ten. Now it's your job to vote.....

@desertfete My mom doesn't seem to think I require a pillow. And so I'm left to make do with a wall. #kissmyBLANK

@celiasayshello Unfortunately, the cat has not managed to learn how to feed himself. #kissmyBLANK

@amy_inOC hot day & i need a pump 4 my blow up pool! #kissmyBLANK

@polaropposites so cold outside in St. John's (45ºF! on June 16th!) that the turtleneck had to come out of hiding. #kissmyBLANK

@bikebuiltfortwo not dishes but they are clean. #makingdinner #lesbianmarriedlife #kissmyBLANK

@cevd trash that never makes it to the bin in time for pickup. #kissmyBLANK

@klovescoffee I love my cat, but changing the freaking litter box... #kissmyBLANK

@hartandsolphoto Effing couch hogs. #kissmyBLANK

@ridiculousnikki what the F*CK, spider?? #kissmyBLANK

@10_4_eleanor Papparazzi-like guests at a wedding shower? (and THIS is the shot they post??) #kissmyBLANK

The WINNER will be awarded a basket of Juice Beauty products including Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer, Eye Treatment and Green Apple Peel (which, helloo, I need that).

And the four runners-up will receive Juice Beauty's Organic Kisses. You may feel free to vote for anyone you think needs organic kisses. Or not. Your choice.

p.s. Since the Juice Beauty promotion has been so popular (free full size Hydrating Mist with a minimum order of $30!) I talked them into extending it through July 8. Enter code ESB at checkout.

what should pasty Minnesotans do in LA?

May 11

Dear ESB,

I have a close-knit group of high school friends from Minnesota. Over time we've all moved away from home and live in various parts of the country, but we still keep in contact and are involved in each other's lives. We get to see each other during holidays, but that's usually a hectic time filled with family obligations. Weddings are our best chance to party together, and now one of my dear friends is getting married in L.A.! All of us are super excited about our friend's wedding. Not only is he marrying a kick ass girl, but we will be meeting up in California instead of Minnesota, which will be a fun vacation for us pasty Northerns. We are planning to stay several days for the wedding and explore the city as much as possible.

I thought maybe you and your L.A. readers, as insiders and very cool people, could suggest fun and interesting things for us to do in L.A. Or restaurants. We love food, especially strange food. The wedding is in July.

On a related note, I'm also getting married this summer, and my FH and I are going to Coronado for our honeymoon. If people in the San Diego area have any suggestions, those would also be welcome as well.

Wannabe in LA


June 13

Make a reservation at Animal (ANY RESERVATION YOU CAN GET, trust me) and await further instructions.


July approaches!

Hokay. Rather than giving you an exhaustive list of my favorite spots in LA, I thought I'd narrow it down to five or so and let everyone else chime in.

I hope you made that reservation. Be sure to order the foie gras loco moco. It's the most expensive item on the menu, but I swear to you it's one of the most amazing things I've ever eaten. The bacon chocolate crunch bar is also killer. All of it is killer.

A James Beard Award-winning taco stand. You have to get the cochinita pibil torta (slow-roasted pork sandwich), which is the specialty of the house. I can't do tortas because of the whole gluten thing -- I get the tacos -- but H always orders at least two tortas for himself.

In-N-Out Burger
You know you have to visit In-N-Out while you're here, right? There are all kinds of secret ways to order that are not listed on the menu. I order my burgers "animal style" (with pickles and grilled onions), "protein style" (on a bun made of lettuce), "with mustard instead" (mustard instead of the special sauce).

Jumbo's Clown Room
This is a super fun place to have drinks in the early evening, when it's easy to get a table and the hipster pole dancers are the most skilful. Legend has it Courtney Love once danced at Jumbo's, and David Lynch used to come here to write. Bonus: It's just a few blocks away from Thai Patio, one of our perennial faves. The food is delish and there's usually an ambiguously gendered Thai person singing very sincere covers of 80's/90's hits.

Flore Vegan
LA it up for realz and go to Silver Lake for a vegan smoothie. (I mean, you did just eat all that meat.) The raw avocado & citrus smoothie from Flore is sooooo good. Bonus: You can stop into Reform School and the Mohawk General Store while you're in the neighborhood.

Polaroid by Raymond Molinar

happy tuesday!!

there's a new one for you up on 100 layer cake.

in other news, i think this flower girl stole my dress. (can you believe her day-to-play transformation?)

photos by lillian and leonard

Monday, June 27, 2011

okay, who needs a WEDDING CLOAK?

Mid-length summer cloak in champagne silk velvet by Lindsey Thornburg at Bona Drag

speaking of big ol ballerina buns.....

This one is excellent.

Photos by James Moes via Ruffled® (with a big thank you to Kristyn!)

Watch where you use the word "ruffled," mkay? THAT SHIT IS TRADEMARKED.

stupid favors

Dear ESB:

After your perfect wisdom on guest books, I bought one and am going to set it out and not think about it again.

Here's the newest conundrum: do I do favors or say all the favors out there suck, no one really wants them, and get over it. is the little monster in me that says Aunt Proper Etiquette will freak right?

Can't my favor to everyone be that we're giving them an awesome meal, swing band and open bar? do I need to give out stupid ass tchotchkes too?

favors blow



Trust me.

Helena Bonham Carter by Juergen Teller for Marc Jacobs Fall 2011 via Fashion Gone Rogue

Friday, June 24, 2011


i'm thinking with all the new high-waisted pants, high-waisted unders may become a necessity.

(the loved one + fortnightlingerie via fieldguided)

but.... are they actually sexy? do we care??

this $170 pair by agent provocateur doesn't suck.

also: these silk-satin shorts are meant solely for lounging, but were "tap pants" originally invented to avoid panty lines when wearing a skirt? i think that's pretty genius.

woolandmisc gets the credit for this post. I had no idea how to wrap up pants week until she said "Take them off."

The bride in the white dungarees (Reprise)

I posted a couple of photos of Fanny a year ago, but clearly some of you are new.

Photo by Simon Howell

It seems Anthro loved Fanny's wedding photos so much they commissioned her to do a line of handmade accessories. And she just opened her very own webshop.

we interrupt pants week to bring you....

A hair update!!

Thanks for all your advice - I went for the duh option of a big fat bun! I did try doing the SJP things with a giant bun on the top of my head but on the morning it all went pearshaped and I felt a bit like I'd have to duck down walking through doors it was so crazy high! Thankfully my super talented Mom was able to save the day!

Is it ok to still be addicted to your blog now that I'm no longer engaged?!!!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Suit shopping for a BUTCH BRIDESMAID

Dear East Side Bride,

My niece is getting married in January. We're a big Latino family and like to get way too involved in each other's lives so we're all helping her plan the details.

My niece is having her two lesbian sisters as her MOH and bridesmaid. The MOH has no problem wearing a dress, but the other older sister is a bit of a tomboy. She's more likely to dress up in slacks and a dress shirt and after some discussion and her freaking out about not even know what an 'updo' was we agreed that maybe it was best she didn't wear a dress after all. I wouldn't want to teach her to walk in heels anyhow.

I think that she'd look awesome in some sort of suit or tuxedo cut for a woman's body. What do you think? She's a tall girl and plus-size. Do you have any affordable suggestions? 



Second, I started to write: "Buy a men's suit (or a tuxedo, if the groomsmen are wearing tuxes) and have it tailored...."

But this isn't quite my area of expertise.

So I brought in Christina, who is a recovering stylist (c'mon, you never really get over that do you?) AND the wife of an incredibly hot woman who likes to wear men's clothes.

Here's what Christina had to say:

first of all. designers, take note: there is a lack of great "mens wear" out there for women. there is definitely a population of women who prefer to wear pants, suits, and the like and would greatly appreciate clothes cut for them. in the meantime, let's deal with the issue at hand.

i know many, many women, who have worn suits at weddings. here are a few great examples: {amy & ana} {corinna & julie} {julia & tracy} {sarah & nat} {tracey & angela
} {alaine & jenna}

[pictured above] wore men's pants, a dress shirt and vest, but it all definitely needed to be altered. i would suggest going to any "affordable" menswear stores and try things on. keep in mind, the clothes aren't going to fit perfectly, they will definitely need to be altered.

avoid double breasted suits--they look boxy. i'd definitely recommend the shirt/pants/ vest combo. it's a great alternative to the jacket/suit as it's much easier to alter and it's chic. see: {stori & tausha}

you're not going to be able to walk into the men's wearhouse and buy a suit off the rack. because of the extra curves, the pants might fit but the jacket that goes with it may not. also, the size pants that might fit your hips might be extra long in crotch, and the waist might need to be taken in. because of that issue, the jacket & pants might be easier to buy as separates. mix and match...get a shirt at h&m or urban outfitters or even sears, it doesn't have to be expensive. tie can jazz it up too. don't get a clip on tie...learn to tie it.

most dry cleaners have an alterations person & most are pretty savvy to the menswear on women issue, especially here in los angeles. we go to a place here in silver lake to do a fitting and they don't even bat an eyelash when patty walks in with menswear.

vintage is also another great way to go, as sometimes the men's sizes can be more forgiving, plus you can get more bang for your buck. in los angeles, there are lots of great places. wasteland {four locations, the studio city one is great!}, decades, iguana vintage, aaardvark's, squaresville, to name a few. it can't hurt to check out goodwill {hint: go to a goodwill in a nice neighborhood}. you'd be amazed what you can find. but it takes some time & patience...

the shirt and vest can match the color combo of the other bridesmaids...or you could even have something custom-made to match the other sister's dress. it's not as pricey as you'd think and you can get a great fit.

you can also try to find a women's suit that works. in the "professional" or career sections of most stores, the suits can be pretty great and don't have to be altered. they just don't usually have the same menswear fabrics, so tend to be a bit more feminine, but worth checking out because of fit. i'd try macy's, nordstrom, ross, sears, h&m...

by the way, there's a new trend of wearing casual shoes {ie converse} with a suit. patty says it's not cool. stay classy.

Editor's Note: Dudes who aren't precisely 5'10" + 175lbs might find some of these tips helpful, too.

First Image: Marcel Castenmiller by Jonas Kesseler, styled by Emi Kameoka, via Wearing the Pants + COUTE QUE COUTE. (Okay, Marcel is a dude. But he's so pretttttttttttty.)

Second Image: Patty Schemel by Chris Strother

what is it about blondes in WHITE PANTS?

I've got a menswear for women post coming up, but in the meantime I thought I'd torment you with this photo of Corinna & Julie.

One-of-a-kind dress by Elizabeth Dye + custom suit by Duchess.

(Photo by Evrim Icoz. See more from this wedding on Rock n Roll Bride.)

Many thanks to Christina, who will be doing the heavy lifting later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And now for something completely different

Bridesmaids with KAZOOS!

Can I recommend something cool? Instead of bubbles or rice, we bought a ton of kazoos and had everyone play us out of the church. It was fun- we're both into music, so it fit. AND, it gave bored bridesmaids and groomsmen something to play with during the millions of family pictures.

The real cool part was when they collaborated and played some songs with harmony that distracted us from "Is Grandma smiling? Make sure Grandma is smiling!" kinda thing...


(Photo by McPeak Photography

wedding-worthy SHORTS

i mean. if the bride's gonna wear pants. amirite?

3. Heimstone Spencer Silk Shorts at Nitty Gritty Stockholm via Honey Kennedy

so pretty, you could even put em on the bridesmaids.

How can I make a pantsuit wedding-worthy?

Dear East Side Bride,

A month ago I was positive that I would be wearing something other than a dress to my cousin's black tie wedding. But as the date approached closer and closer, I began to realize that many retailers feature dresses as the only appropriate evening wedding attire.

Why do I need to wear a dress??! I asked myself. I've worn many dresses my whole life! I think it's time for something different.

Korean garb? Just another korean dress but itchier.
Skirt? Boo. It's a dress. But for your thighs.
Turtleneck and chain. YES but what about the bottom half of my body?

I love what YSL did for the female pantsuit! We have these great designers introducing menswear into women's fashion and it's incredibly empowering. But how can I wear pants or a pantsuit to an evening wedding without looking like I just came from work? Can it be done?

Pantalone-ly girl


A turtleneck's not gonna cut it at a black tie wedding. If the men are required to wear tuxedos, you should wear one too.

If you like, you can femme it up with a sheer blouse + black bra. Or shorts...? (Preferably not both.)

And definitely wear a kick-ass pair of heels.

Image 1: Kirsten Dunst via because im addicted via Just Jared, Image 2: Eva Herzigova via Refinery29

p.s. I wanted to tell you to skip the shirt and go jacket-only if you were feeling bold, but in order to avoid this unsightliness you'd have to skip the bra, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuxedo Pants for the Ladies

Ellen inspired me to take a look around the internets....

1. Silky-Tweed Tuxedo Pants by Lyn Devon
2. Wide-Leg Tuxedo Pants by Robert Rodriguez
3. Gucci Velvet Flare Tuxedo Pants
4. Delicate Donna Trouser from French Connection

All right, Ellen, you win.

How could I not post a photo? Those Zac Posen tuxedo pants are slammin.

Photo of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi by Lara Porzak via Bird via Jessica Hynds


Jean Paul Gaultier 2007 

(with many thanks to kidchamp, who just coined a new word)

p.s. If you're into the boho lacypants look, there are vintage lacypants to be had on etsy here and here.