Frivolous Universe

Tag "August Silk"

What does one do when packing for a quick business trip to the snowy north-country? Throw random garments in an overnight bag and hit the road without giving your attire more than a fleeting thought, of course!

I arrived in McCall on Monday with a cushy 10 minutes to spare before my first of many meetings. Fortunately, I wore a fantastically comfortable hand-knit wool sweater over layered cotton tank tops, my favorite pair of jeans, and wool lined waterproof leather boots that are so cozy they may as well be slippers. By pairing these items with some key accents – raw silk scarf, Hazel Cox earrings, and turquoise Navajo pawn ring – I managed to pull off a great “business casual” look.

wool knit sweater, handmade knit sweater, raw silk scarf, skinny jeans, waterproof boots, winter fashion, Idaho fashion, McCall fashion

This feat of comfort and fashionability reaffirms my gripe that there is absolutely no excuse for people who show up to work, school, or public in general for that matter, in sweats. Shame on you public sweat pant wearers! If I wanted to see you in your jammies, I’d stop by your house at 7am. Didn’t your mother teach you common decency? Oh wait, I guess we learn our social behavior from celebrities now…

Madonna, sweatpants, Madonna candid shotShame on you, Madonna! Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you get to be a slob.

sweatpants in public, shopping in sweatpants, pants with writing on the buttHow embarrassing – these girls must have forgotten to change
out of their PJs before leaving the house! 

4 hours later, meeting #1 out of the way, and I am unpacking my things at Ma’s house. This can’t be right – I’ve only packed one blouse, a pencil skirt, a pair of jeans, a couple sweater vests, and a pair of heeled boots that look quite comical when worn in snow country…….double check. Yep, that’s it. What the hell was I thinking? Apparently I was thinking, “Gee, I’d sure love a sprained ankle and a good outfit challenge during my two full days of meetings!” Sigh……challenge it is. Here’s what I came up with:

Outfit Attempt #1

vintage Sakowitz silk blouse, blouse with a bow on the front, tie front blouse, silk blouse, Bonnie Cashin, suede purse, Abercrombie skinny jeans, waterproof leather boots, black leather, Hazel Cox, Navajo pawn ring, turquoise ring

Not only did I pack just one blouse, I happened to pack a vintage Sakowitz silk number that I’ve never worn. I’ve certainly tried, but the big, billowy neck bow has always stopped me short. The color is positively swoon-worthy, and the silk is top-quality, but that damned bow! It’s just so….bow-like.

My first attempted outfit was with a silk-cotton blended sweater vest by August Silk, a pair of grey jeans by Abercrombie, my steadfast black leather boots, and my trusty companion – the glorious brown suede Bonnie Cashin purse. Not quite feeling this one though…..let’s try again!

Outfit Attempt #2

silk blouse with tie front, wool sweater vest, wool pencil skirt, J. Crew pencil skirt, white booties, leather booties, vintage rope necklace, modern business attire, women's business fashion, business casual

I love the color palate here, but this is a mess of a getup for the winter McCall climate. The black wool pencil skirt by J. Crew is the quintessential “business attire” staple, which I’m sure is the reason why I threw it in my suitcase, and the bone-white leather booties are a fantastic modern answer to the ho-hum black leather heels that most dames wear in their business attire, but neither of these items will do in 6 feet of snow. However, the beautiful, creamy white knit wool vest with braided leather covered buttons by Sentex of Australia is getting closer……so warm, so elegant…

Side Note: I love that my Worthington tights perfectly match the warm brown of my vest buttons, the bone hue of the booties pair perfectly with the vest, my Hazel Cox earrings have a stripe of true red that matches the blouse, and the turquoise in my ring is complimentary to the blouse. And note how the knot of the silk tie mirrors the knot in my ‘20’s era beaded knot necklace, a lovely gift from Kim Philley. Details, details, details!

Outfit Attempt #3

Bonnie Cashin purse, brown suede purse, vintage leather purse, Idaho fashion, McCall fashion, thrift store fashion, wool sweater vest, Australian wool, woodpile, vintage silk blouse, red silk, August Silk

Well, here it be – the outfit I finally chose as the one to wear during day #2 of a long day of meetings. It pulls the best from both blouse explorations, and creates a look that stands out but is still understated. I wanted something unique and fashion-forward, but had to make sure I felt comfortable in what I was wearing in order to focus on my tasks rather than fretting over my attire. And as per usual, everything here was purchased at a pittance from various thrift stores.

This humble fashion feat begs for one last declaration of shame……..Hillary, WHY?? It really is completely unnecessary to wear such god-awful business attire. Please, next time you peer into your vast closet of polyester pantsuits, reconsider. The fate of our nation’s image rests largely on your ghastly clad, foam-padded shoulders, and how can anyone be taken seriously when dressed head to toe in a single and oft unflattering color? Just……please, reconsider.

Hillary Clinton, pantsuits, Hillary pantsuit


McCall tourism, McCall hiking, McCall sites, Payette River, velvet jacket, blazer, Talbots, wool skirt, layering for winter, silk scarves, vintage suede Bonnie Cashin purseTypically, when I pack for a few days stay in McCall during the winter, “fashion” doesn’t even enter my mind. What I think is – Sorel boots, 600 weight down parka, gortex pants, Smartwool everything, and skis (nordic, because I’m much too timid for the alpine variety). I was born and raised in this tiny, snow-plagued mountain town – nothing could surprise me about this place anymore. Or so I thought.

This is the warmest, driest winter on record in the central Idaho mountains in 35 years. The front yard of my childhood home is actually bare in some places, and the snow isn’t more than a foot and a half in the deepest sections. The last time McCall looked the way it does now, Jimmy Carter had just been elected to office. I wasn’t even a flicker of a thought in my Ma and Pa’s mind at that point.

velvet jacket, velvet blazer, wool skirt, silk blouse, sweater vest, silk scarves, vintage leather belt, Frye shoes, leather loafers, vintage Bonnie Cashin purse, Hazel Cox, handmade jewelry

This year, as I wander the soft, loamy banks of Payette River, in clothing usually reserved for a McCall autumn, I revel in the glorious strangeness of it. I watch the bulbous, pale bodies of the whitefish slowly sway against the low, lazy current beneath the old sheep bridge and think about all the many times my family and I wandered out onto the thick frost heaves that typically cover the banks at this time of year. We’d spend the day luring those small, tender fish to hook and line with gelatinous neon grub lures that would wiggle and dance in the current.  As I watch this year’s hatch of fish roll listlessly in the untouchable center of the river with a carnivorous eye, I wish them well….for now.

layering, how to wear layers, Talbots, Talbots wool skirt, vintage leather belt, August silk, Clifford & Wills, Idaho fashion, McCall fashion

About the outfit: The velvet blazer is one of my favorite finds at a clothing exchange years ago. The silk scarf is another clothing exchange score. The shoes are wonderfully comfy Frye loafers I bought new on Ebay ($40). The rest of the outfit was all purchased at my favorite Boise thrift store – the skirt is 100% worsted wool, made by Talbots ($2.50). The blouse is silk, made by Clifford & Wills ($2). The sweater vest is a silk-poly blend, made by August Silk ($1).

vintage suede Meyer's Bonnie Cashin purse, Bonnie Cashin Coach, Hazel Cox, handmade jewelry, antique Navajo ring, elk ivory

About the accessories: The earrings are hand-hammered bronze and steel, and the necklace is hand-hammered bronze and copper with a hand-dyed silk tassel – both made by Hazel Cox. The belt is a brass, abalone, and leather beauty purchased by my Ma in the ’70’s. The rings are gold, diamond and elk ivory, made by Glade Davies, and an antique silver and petrified wood piece purchased by my great-grandmother from Navajo traders in 1930.

vintage suede Meyer's Bonnie Cashin purse, Bonnie Cashin Coach, Hazel Cox, zebra pen, Frye, leather loafers

About the purse: I bought this beautiful brown suede purse at Antique World Mall in Boise for $20. It was designed by Bonnie Cashin, who used to design for Coach in the early ’60’s. Had my purse been designed during her Coach years, it would easily be worth around $350 – $400, but since she designed it for Meyer’s, a more obscure handbag company, it’s worth is around $100. I swoon for this purse – it’s small enough to be convenient to carry, and large enough to carry my loafers for those times when I have to don my winter boots!

And turns out Cashin was a woman after our own FU hearts – here’s a quote from her biography: “Favoring timeless shapes from the history of world clothing, her staple silhouettes included ponchos, tunics, Noh coats and kimonos, all of which allowed for ease of movement and manufacture. Cashin is also credited with introducing the concept of layering to fashion.”

McCall tourism, McCall hiking, McCall sites, Payette River So, in honor of this unseasonably warm weather and layering queen Bonnie Cashin, drape yourselves in lovely layers of velvet, wool, and silk and go for a stroll along a river, down the street, or wherever you happen to find yourself today.

Pictures of me taken by Ma, all others done by moi.