Monday, April 30, 2012

For the bridesmaids

How bout some kind of skirt/blouse/dress combo?

Not matching, but, you know, from the same collection?

From the librarian's mailbag

(Did you all know I moonlight as "the librarian" over here? Cevd can't be bothered to answer emails from crazy people.)


to librarian:
Your widget appears on a block called “F*ck Yeah! Book Arts”  (I added the asterisk for the filters) and it really reflects badly on your brand.



to marketing know-it-all:
Are you fucking kidding me?? That blog looks fantastic.

Thank you for alerting us.



to librarian:
Well, I won’t be sharing it with my hundreds of Facebook fans and PInterest followers, because I don’t want them to think I hang with juveniles who think it’s cool to say “fuck” as many times a possible. Grow up.

Image: Alicia Martin, Contemporaries (2002) via Fuck Yeah, Book Arts!


Actually, prettyglorious found it, and I stole it right out of her Polyvore set.

I am overwhelmed at the prospect of sorting through all of your Colorado wedding ensembles and narrowing it down to just five for the vote. But. Shopbop asked me to extend the deadline...

You've got til 12pm pst on Thursday to keep shopping.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I never blogged the wedges. (er, platforms.)

These are they. I ♥ them.

Although something about the X in front makes them a little tough to wear with stripes. Am I crazy? I should just get over it. Half my wardrobe is striped.

I did go to American Rag and try on the Elizabeth and James wedges you were all so fond of. But they made me look like The Fashionista Bride of Frankenstein. CLOMP. CLOMP. CLOMP.

The Ariana Bohlings are beautifully made, and surprisingly unclompy. (Though it hurt me to spend that much money, and I bought them in desperation, I'm not regretting the decision.)

And they look excellent with my Scout and Catalogue scarf -- new sponsor over there, did you notice?

I feel like both Mondo and Keith Richards would approve. 


Attire for an outdoor wedding in Colorado? (Thursday Morning SHOPPING CONTEST!)

When I first received this query, I bubbled over with joy:

What do you wear to an outdoor wedding in September in a small mountain town in Colorado? The bride said we will likely see live elk. Tights? Fur? Boots? Chunky sweaters over a cocktail dress? Is it ok to wear a long dress?

I got as far as asking my CO and former CO pals what the weather will be like there in September (Answer: Gorgeous) and then I was stumped. It's like this question is just TOO AWESOME.

So here's the deal.

Put together an outfit for our Colorado wedding guest featuring at least one item from Shopbop. They've got a pretty terrif selection of dresses, but feel free to shop their shoes, boots, sweaters, etc, if you find a killer dress somewhere else.

Extra points if you somehow manage to work in the elk theme.

Paste as many entries as you like in the comments below (one entry per comment), and pls follow the "HOW TO MAKE FANCY LINKS" instructions on the right-hand side of the blog to make everything nice and clickable.

I'll give you until 5pm pst on Monday afternoon (4/30), and then on Tuesday I'll post my top five-ish outfits for you guys to vote on. *UPDATE: I've extended the deadline to 12pm pst on Thurs (5/3).*

A $200 Shopbop gift certificate goes to the winner. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

Stella McCartney Elk Sweatshirt via Coolspotters

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Howzabout this light grey chiffon dress (with metallic thread!) from Holly Stalder?


Happy Wedsballz!

And: Congratulations. You got out of bed!

Or am I the only one deserving congratulations for that enormous feat?


There's a new Dear ESB for you over on 100 Layer Cake.

Pls weigh in, wouldja? It's one of those questions I've gotten more than once, and it's sort of a hard one...

Another photo by Mark Borthwick

Will this look crazypants?

Dear ESB,

Deciding I wanted non-matching bridesmaid dresses that still "go" was probably a terrible idea. But whatever I'm committed now so I'm going to make it work. I have two bridesmaids and they are super chill and drama free (who are all these people whose bridesmaids secretly want to kill them?!)

Anyway after braving the mall and browsing online for hours upon hours I feel like I am drowning in dresses and not feeling anything. Why is this ten time harder than finding my wedding dress? 

Background on my wedding, we want it to be relaxed and fun, going for a kick ass garden party feeling. These are my "colours." 

I finally found these two dresses online and I that look like they could be flattering on both maids and fit the feeling of the day.

Will that many stripes look redic standing next to me at the alter???

Drowning in Dresses



Send photos.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Remember that new leaf I turned over?

Caffeine-induced dementia.

I've been working this….fun! really quite fun! but surprisingly exhausting day job for 6 weeks now, and I can barely manage to get out of bed in the morning and put on a reasonably cute outfit, let alone get up in time to WRITE for a fucking hour before work.

I missed the last deadline I set for myself. I've set another one, which is LOOMING. But I'm thinking maybe I should just let me off the hook for the next month until I get back to my sweet little life and my desk in the corner of the kitchen.

Beating myself up about it doesn't seem to be helping.


Thanks for listening, you guys. It always helps me to blog it out.

Angela Lindvall by Mark Borthwick for purple FASHION, Summer 1997

Digby + Iona does weddings

Aaron Ruff of Digby + Iona just debuted a few brand new pieces at catbird.


Full disclosure: My engagement ring came from Digby + Iona, so I've got a sentimental attachment to this stuff. But I am beyond excited.

Aaron told me:

I've been working on the the design end of this collection for a year and I've been squirreling away the diamonds for almost 4 years. I feel like this is a really huge step forward for the brand and that these pieces mesh extremely unique jewels with the kind of design details that digby has become known for.

The ethos of the brand has always been to create pieces that would have an instant history and become heirlooms for years to come.

Wave Band - NEW! (from $280, pictured at top) + Wave Ring with Yellow Diamond - NEW! ($1200, pictured above)

And then of course there are the Heart + Diamond Signet Rings (from $170).

These are not new, but I've been obsessed with them for some time. CAN YOU SAY MANGAGEMENT RING?

Be sure to check out Aaron's Q&A over on the catbird blog. And shop the full selection here

Sober Fun?

Dear ESB,

My Fiance and I don't drink. It isn't for religious reasons, we aren't straight edge, we aren't a part of some strange cult. We're just late 20's and don't drink. 

Our caterer doesn't even have a license to sell alcohol so having a closed bar is out of the question. They can serve if we buy beer or wine from BevMo (does that sound a little trashy?).

I don't feel like having to find a bartender with the license or shelling out a couple g's to pay for everyone to get drunk but I don't want to be a tacky kill-joy either. In a perfect world I wouldn't have alcohol at the wedding and everyone would be ok and happy with it. Do we live in a perfect world?

I also have the belief that a lot of more distant relatives go to weddings for the open bar. How do I forewarn guests of the alcohol situation?

Sober Bride


You could just write "NO BOOZE WILL BE SERVED AT THIS WEDDING" in big red letters on the invite, and then you'll save a ton of money because nobody will come!

Ilva Hetmann by Markus Pritzi for Sleek Magazine via The Libertine

Monday, April 23, 2012

Engagement Limbo?

As the queen of straight talk, maybe you can help us out. 

My brother and his girlfriend are both in university; they have been friends for years and in a serious relationship for two years, and at this point there is no doubt in either of their minds that they are going to get married. We spent their last visit strategizing about cheap wedding venues. 

My sister just went and visited him sans girlfriend (girlfriend is in Boston, brother is in Montreal) and during the visit found out that he is not planning to propose. He said they've already talked about it and she said she didn't mind if he didn't. My sister and I both think that that's just what she said, but that she would still be thrilled with a proposal and a ring (obviously, if you love someone the proposal is a formality, but it's a very special and meaningful formality, as formalities go). 

What do you think? They're not calling themselves engaged, even though they're already planning the wedding, so how do you make the transition from boyfriend/girlfriend to engaged couple if not via a proposal?


I think you should mind your own beeswax.

Photo: Arthur Elgort

Friday, April 20, 2012


My buddy Sam is going to Palm Springs in May, and he asked me for "suggestions on cool places to drink other than the Ace and that place with the purple walls."

What I drummed up from architect/illustrator/design maven Kelly Lynn Waters, is in fact an entire weekend guide:

Palm Springs, how could I have been so blind to you all those years I lived in Los Angeles? Perhaps the incessant sun in LA does not make one search out more incessant sun? I don't know but sometimes I feel like I haven't seen the sun in 10 years living here in San Francisco. Wouldn't it be great if we could mesh the two cities together or at least move them closer? (I'm also voting to move Tahoe closer if we are moving cities around. Wouldn't that be stellar? L.A., S.F., P.S., and Tahoe all within couple hours of each other?) But we aren't moving cities around we are talking about how incredible Palm Springs happens to be so...

I'll admit that I thought it was a bit one dimensional and didn't have much going for it except all that glamour from half a century or more ago but I have to tell you Palms Springs kinda blew me away. To start I always have a difficult time packing for any and all trips. I've been a long time "carry on" girl since my girlscout days when I was told to "only pack what you can carry." This always poses a bit of a problem since I'm always traveling to a city which requires at least four pairs of shoes (something for walking, going for a run, heels, and usually another pair for ensemble reasons) and I can usually only fit in 3. But somehow everything went seamlessly from my closet into my suitcase and I wore every single piece. Of course when you spend most days in your new Malia Mills bathing suit and occasional cover and big hat this makes dressing a little easier. 

Alright let's get down to brass tacks shall we?

Where to Stay:

The Ace (pictured above): Cheap and well designed. Just don't expect much in the way of service here. And if you are anything like me you'll only want to stay here during the week and not on weekends. Do I have to explain that one?

The Korakia (pictured above): An incredible place to stay for a fairly reasonable price with INCREDIBLE service. I swear every gal who works here is gorgeous AND a doll. It's in a great location and feels so private. I don't know how to explain it. It's a gem.

The Parker Palm Springs: Well hello Mister fancy pants. This place is GORGEOUS but it will cost you. But seriously incredibly designed. Book it now. And Jonathan Adler makes me so happy I'm gonna ask him and Simon to move in with me.

Hotel Lautner: And a little out of the way in Desert Hot Springs you have the refurbished hotel originally designed in 1947 by John Lautner of course. I know little more than that as I haven't had a chance to get there yet but an architect like Lautner is worth the pilgrimage.

Or if you wanted to stay out in Joshua Tree you could stay in one of these experimental properties. I lose my breath just looking at them.

Where to Eat + Drink:

Mister Parker's: If you don't stay at The Parker you must at least visit and that means dinner or cocktails.

Viceroy's Citron: While it is a hotel I loved their lunch best, out by the pool or inside to take a break from the sun.

Cheeky's: Brunch or lunch is delicious, organic and affordable.

What to do:

PS Modern Tours: Personally design is at the top of my list when traveling anywhere from the restaurants I choose to the places I stay, to the locations I venture to because what is the point of traveling if you can't view it through the eyes of those that envisioned a place better than they found it? So the first thing I would do is stop at the Albert Frey Tramway Gas Station and pick up a P.S. Modern Tours map. You can tour the area's modern gems either on your own following the map or take Robert Imber's tour. I personally chose to go it alone as I get antsy on tours especially when I usually know more than my tour guide but I have a feeling this guy really knows his stuff and I'm definitely taking the tour next time around.

Frey House II (pictured above): Bribe one of your architecture friends to get you in. It's pricey but it helps pays for the upkeep and restoration of the place. Only architects and students can visit it (but shhhh, how can they make you prove it?) The views are of all of Palm Springs since it's nestled in the mountains. And seriously people there is a damn boulder inside the house anchoring it to the hillside. If that is not reason enough to go I cannot help you.

The Tram (pictured above): Just take it and take a sweater it's colder up there and it's going to shock your used to 100+ degree ass.


Studio 111 (pictured above): I've been shopping for high end furniture since I was barely legal. I've seen so much and unfortunately at this point I'm bored easily. Everyone has the same stuff! But not these kids, they have an incredible inventory of hard to find and obscure pieces and even a few up and comers you've never heard of.

Dazzles: Holy Crap there is sooooo much in this place there is literally not one iota of free space anywhere but what you really want to take a gawk at is the jewelry. I've never in my life seen a collection of costume jewelry like this before. Dazzles is a must go on my list every single time I visit.

Flow Modern Design: This talented design couple just opened their first retail location in Palm Springs. If you take one look at their portfolio I'm sure you'll be curious to pop your head in.

Obviously there are a few holes here but that is what's so great about a place like Palm Springs, you are always going back.

Thanks for the Invite ESB.

Kelly is too classy to include any dive bars (do dive bars even exist in Palm Springs?) but PLEEZ feel free to weigh in below.

Top photo: Peter Stackpole for LIFE via Modern Design, The rest: Kelly Lynn Waters

i want an engagement ring, and i want him to be happy about getting me an engagement ring

hey there esb,

so i've got a boyfriend and he's FANTASTIC. absolutely, super amazing.
and we're talking wedding things! and we're talking WELL about them, and i'm so happy about this!

except that
we have different viewpoints on engagement rings.

"why do i have to spend 1000-2000 dollars on something that doesn't DO anything?" he keeps saying.

it DOES DO something.

but....what does it do, actually?

i already know he's committed to me. i don't need a ring to tell me that.

then what am i missing? why is it that i want an engagement ring, and i want him to be happy about getting me an engagement ring, and i want him to have these old, traditional views of it like, "i get you a ring, you be my wife." why is it so hard to ask? WHY am i doing the asking?!

i've been through some pretty bad relationships, and i sure could use someone dropping 1k on me to prove they are committed to marrying me and not going to put me through the wringer with wedding-speak and then drop me like it's hot eventually.

we talk about it
and he kisses me and says "whatever you want, we will get it,"
but I KNOW he isn't thinking about engagement rings the same way i am.

he's thinking it's just a thing, another BS tradition he has to follow suit with and i'm thinking it's an example of commitment.

any words to help us bridge the gap?

burning ring of fire


Lady, if the ring is important to you, let him buy you a ring. HE ALREADY SAID HE WOULD.

But you can't make him be all stoked about it.

Illustration by Somefield via Trendland

Thursday, April 19, 2012

most beautiful wedding skirt EVAR

Ann Demeulemeester via dirtyflaws

pickled cabbage = my new favorite placecard

Talk about a pop of color.

And p.s. I want that TABLE for the house we haven't bought yet.

Menus + Thank You Tags: SimpleSong, Flowers: Amy Merrick, Chef: Christine Buckley, Tables: Paul Sperduto of Moon River Chattel

(See more photos over at Sunday Suppers)

The Woods


I am in need of a serious perception check. I hope you can help in my quest to be calm about all of this.

My girl cousin (older than I am by several years) is getting married in the fall. This girl has gotten away with and has gotten what she wanted every single time -- for her entire life. No one has ever put a foot down and told her no. She and the fiancé are in careers in which they earn a significant income. Prominent people will be attending this event. I think that they may have lost touch with reality, but I want to know what you think. Thanks in advance...

Season of wedding: fall. Fall is great: pretty leaves in the Northeast, sweaters, outdoor fire pits, college football, and so on. However, she and her fiancé have scheduled the wedding for -- wait for it -- the weekend of my thirtieth birthday. This cousin knows that this is the weekend of my birthday and that potentially I had plans. We grew up together, and while she and I aren't particularly close, our mothers are--  we do all the holidays as a massive group of her fam and mine, and it is always loud and pretty fun.

So they had the venue, and the only time they could get it was that weekend. Then they changed the venue to a barn located off of some tiny road... in the woods. Picturesque, I get it. Her family will be staying in the cottage area by the barn while all the rest of us have to fend for ourselves. My fam was told that we had to book our own lodging, and that we were not invited to stay with the rest of them.

That's to really okay, but it is okay, however, everything close by is a bed and breakfast. B and Bs skeeze me out. The ones nearby demand a two night minimum, and it will run the BF and me about $400/450. Parents need a room. Brother and GF need a room. That cost does not include other weekend essentials like presents or attire or gas to get there. The closest less expensive place is 20 some minutes down the road. So no drinking at the reception for me. Trust me, there are no taxis there.

No one has been forthcoming about multiple things: rehearsal dinner (are we invited?), time frame (assuming evening?), attire (black tie or casual?).

I want to book a flight to somewhere warm and skip all of it. That would cause a stir, and while I'm not too sure she would care one way or the other if I were there (I have offered to help since Engagement Day 1), I don't know that I feel like dealing with never hearing the end of it at functions-- or driving that huge of a rift into things.

Do I need to suck it up, go to the wedding, and practice slow breathing exercises? Or do I have a little bit of a right to be annoyed?

Considering Flights to the FL Keys


Weddings are expensive.

B+Bs are lovely.

BLAH BLAH BLAH your birthday.

You are being a brat.

Photo by Robert Harper for Playing Fashion April 2012 via Fashion Gone Rogue via Jessica Goldfond

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do I call her to tell her she's *not* my MOH?

Hey ESB,

Here's the deal. My sister and I have never had a good relationship, and it's deteriorated rapidly since I got engaged (not sure if there's causation there but I wouldn't rule it out). My question of whether or not to include her in the bridal party out of duty or tradition or whatevs has been answered by you already with (I'm pretty sure) a resounding "Fuck that shit."

[Editor's note: YEAH, LADY!]

Now my question is this: FH and I are getting ready to start actually planning our wedding, like booking a venue etc, and I will probably start assembling my maids soon. Do I call my pseudo-estranged sis and explain gently why I've decided not to ask her to be a b-maid, or do I just let it play itself out? She's certainly not above calling me to demand why she hasn't been asked to be maid of honor yet (oh yeah, she'll expect to be my MOH).

I'd appreciate the input.

-Troubs in Sister-land


I do not have a sister. The ways of sisters are utterly foreign to me.


I say DO NOT call her to explain. Wouldn't that just be rubbing it in her face? (I mean, you wouldn't want some guy to call you up and explain why he's not asking you out, amirite??)

Luke by Tio Guim Zarraluki via The Jealous Curator

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

boring-ass question about high heels


So, you being the epitome of all things stylish, I figured perhaps you and your readers could help a girl out.  I have recently entered the corporate world and I am on my FOURTH pair of black heels. I don't know what the hell I am doing but I swear I walk like a normal person. I have broken heels, scraped leather off, gotten stuck in a grate, etc.

I need some black pumps. Or heck, even nude would rock. Stylish but appropriate for the office. There is a magic spot in between hooker heels and grandma shoes where beautiful black heels exist. And apparently they need to be HARD WEARING.


I really need shoes


Office ladies, this one's for you.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand this concludes our day of do-the-shoe-shopping-for-ESB-because-she's-too-fucking-lazy.

Thanks for playing.

Photo via la vie en rose. Anybody know who took it?

Shoes for the not-wedding dress

So my wonderful, stylish grandma is throwing a fancy party in honor of my marriage (small wedding, already happened). After puzzling over what to wear as not-the-wedding-dress, I found this great vintage item (this is not me but it's the dress).

But shoes? Arg, shoes. This is my last chance for guilt-free wedding-related shopping. I request your wisdom in this situation.



Are you bored with this yet??

Dear ESB: Since you're on a shoe kick...

Since you're obviously enjoying this spring's amazing shoes, I was wondering if you have an opinion (I'm guessing yes) about what kind of shoe to wear with this Dolce and Gabbana sun dress that I will be wearing to my wedding at my mother's apartment, and then two days later at a larger party for friends and family.

I've been eyeing the Emerson Fry Pharaoh heels but not sure about the chunkiness. I can do the shopping myself, just curious what you think about shape and color. 

I've been reading you forever, trust your judge more or less without question :)



Oh because that sounds fun. I tell you what SHAPE AND COLOR and you go shopping??

How do I know until I see it????????

Chunky = good
Rose = too matchy-matchy. I'd maybe go with something nude.


Roanne Mignon Sandal by Loeffler Randall

Where can we find these $650 shoes for more like $300?

Dear ESB,

I know you get shitloads of 'please help me find shoes' emails but could you bear one more? I've been hunting for months and have come up with diddly squat. The dress is sort of a cross between a fifties starlet and a Victorian prostitute (that's how I think of it anyway).

On my head I'm going to have a teeny tiny hat thing with two-foot long feathers - natural looking ones - not bride-y white fluffy ones. Ones that look like you just pulled them out of a pheasants bum or something.

But I can't find the shoes. I was thinking maybe snakeskin - if I had the money I'd go for these - but I overspent on the dress and the feathery stuff so I can't. 

We're getting married on a small island off the coast of Ireland. It might well rain. I'll be standing on grass so stilettos would be a bad idea. I'd like shoes I can walk in. I can bear a four-inch heel if it's got some chunk to it but not if it's a spindly little thing. 

I'm in London but the internet's a big place and postal services still seem to work so I don't really care where they come from. I reckon 300 dollars is my tip top top. Any ideas?

-A bride who wants to walk down more than the aisle


When you a say a "teeny tiny hat" I hope you mean a FASCINATOR. Because if you're planning to wear a teeny tiny fucking top hat I refuse to help you with shoes.

Let's go ahead and assume you mean a fascinator.

I actually already put out the APB on twitter --> No luck. But damn, those shoes are terrific.

Ideas? Anyone?

We don't really want knock-offs. Just something equally terrific.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Last Night's Makeup?

I always wish I had the nerve to do this, but I'm sort of anal about washing my face before bed.

Photo: Steve Hiett/Trunk Archive courtesy of The NY Times

wedding shoesies, anyone?

Dieppa Restrepo is winning a big fat gold star.

Shop Anaise (via Miss Moss)

Custom Chanel Knock-Off (The Follow-Up)

Hey ESB,

As promised, here are some photos from my wedding in January, for which I had a 1999 Chanel dress re-made for me

Sadly, it didn't turn out nearly as sexy as the original photo (psh, that's what you get for paying $150 for a dress that's probably worth thousands), but we had a fabulous day regardless. 

I did not end up wearing the "hooker shoes" that I bought, not because you shamed me, but it just wasn't very practical in the end. I wore a $3 pair of shoes my sister found at a thrift store, instead. Ha! If you haven't noticed, I'm a miserable cheapskate. 

Anyway, thanks to you and your horde of readers for advice and what not. :)


I believe this is a combo lesson in "You get what you pay for" + "Who gives a shit about the dress anyway?"

p.s. I ♥ the $3 shoes.

Where the eff are your manners, girl?!

Dear ESB,

I feel strange about this as I have never been one to expect a present, ever. Like, not even from my mom or significant other on any birthday or Christmas.

I'm a bridesmaid, surprise surprise that it has to be about this, living on the other side of the country from the wedding. The wedding was last week where I dropped an unholy amount to fly out there for the week to help, where I wore a really ugly dress that was way too much money, where I gave an "envelope" gift as they asked for no boxed gifts, where I walked the walk, talked the talk, etc. You get the point.

The Bridesmaids, who all had to travel in from either out of state or a long car ride away, who all supported her through her family bullsh*t, who all threw her a shower ($), threw her a raging bachelorette ($$), did not receive a present. Like not a one. Not even a token card or heartfelt thank you at the rehearsal.  

Now, being someone who ALWAYS writes thank you cards, this unnerved me just a tad but I feel guilty feeling so. We are all short on money and presents for 7 maids is pricey. But for me it wasn't the item, but it was the thought that wasn't there, the token of appreciation. What do you think ESB, am I out of line for feeling this way? I feel sort of stupid bringing it up to her but still, a part of me wants to call her up and say "Where the eff are your manners, girl?!"

Bridesmaid who a) subconsciously loves presents or b) just wants a damn thank you


You are not out of line. That sucks. The bride should have given you a stupid thank you gift.

But. There is NO GOOD REASON to call and tell her off.

Be the bigger person and let it go.

Viktoriya Sasonkina by Maciek Kobielski for Numero Tokyo via highlikefashion

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday morning jacket inspiration

Can I get a hell yeah?

Also: THAT BLACK BLAZER. That blazer is exactly what I need to wear to my screening tomorrow.

Melissa Stasiuk by Richard Bush for Vogue Russia April 2012 via Fashion Gone Rogue

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Poll is closed

You guys exceeded max entries in under 12 hours. Go you guys!

Your answer to the question "Is this dress too white to wear as a guest to a wedding?" was 55% Yeah to 45% Nay. 


Anon has suggested that you wear the Asos Midi Dress With Rose Print (pictured above) instead, which truthfully is a much cooler dress.

Stealing Beauty anyone?