The patience and resourcefulness of Christine McConnell

My friend Jake sent me a 30-minute house tour video by someone named Christine McConnell and I was confused. Why was she waking up in a forest? Was she cosplaying Belle from Beauty & the Beast? Was this a goth parody of home tours? WHY DID SHE HAVE A SCYTHE?

via YouTube

Turns out she actually dresses like that, she actually lives there, and she’s fairly internet-famous, with a book, Netflix show, and now Patreon-funded DIY videos on YouTube.

Despite my initial confusion, I was immediately sucked in by her soothing voice and scrappy creativity. She couldn’t afford wallpaper, so she painted her own. She makes a lot of her own clothes. She woodworks (oh, to have her saw collection). Buying things new seems to be a last resort–she gets things from eBay, friends, thrift stores, even the side of the road (that’s where the chair in her vanity came from).

via YouTube

SO INSPIRING.

I consider myself a creative person, but dang. Her videos and Netflix show (which I devoured) made me realize how lazy I’ve gotten. I spend hours poring over Pinterest and lusting after beautiful things online, when I could be watching YouTube videos and teaching myself how to DIY. I’m so quick to discard things (Marie Kondo, I partially blame you) when maybe I should keep them around longer and repurpose them, or at least see if they come in handy.

You know that saying, “Fast, cheap, or good–pick two”? Christine definitely picks cheap and good, then invests a LOT of time. She seems to have endless patience: baking things, waiting for them to cool in the “chiller” (her adorable name for the fridge), decorating them painstakingly, waiting for them to chill more, etc. Not all of us have the time or desire to spend hours on a cake that looks like a house. But it made me realize I’m pretty hung up on instant gratification, or at least this idea that my life would be perfect if I could just afford XYZ. She’s like, “Whatever, I’ll figure out how to make it myself!”

via YouTube

For example, I LOOOVE arched doorways. Obsessed. But I’d resigned myself to thinking, I guess I’ll just look for a place that has arched doorways the next time I move. HELLOOOO I could make my own! Inspired by Christine, I watched some videos about how to convert a normal doorway to an arched one. I have ZERO carpentry experience and literally had to google what drywall is (not to mention owning zero equipment besides a hammer), so I don’t have a ton of faith in myself, but I love the idea of at least trying to figure things out myself instead of defaulting to “I guess I have to pay an expert hundreds of dollars to do it.”

Another bonus is you end up with things perfectly customized to your desires and that are totally unique. Soooo many home decor “influencers” (barf) have exactly the same style: white walls, bright and gold accents, stuff from Target and West Elm (with affiliate links, of course). It’s so copycat and devoid of personality and vintage flair. I won’t name names, but you probably know who I mean. Their homes look perfect and Insta-ready, rather than having some charming clutter and imperfections. Christine embraces her “weird old Grandma’s house” aesthetic with zero apologies AND I LOVE THAT.

via YouTube

Overall, I like how Christine’s videos make me FEEL. She makes me want to be a little more graceful, patient, and gentle, to slow down and savor little bits of beauty. To dial up my unique weirdness instead of being like everyone else. And once it’s safe, I’m gonna hit up ALL THE ESTATE SALES. Maybe I’ll even bake something–what a concept 😉

fashion distraction

“What’s out of fashion now is the schedule of the entire system: the shows, the showrooms, the orders.”

Anthony Vaccarello, creative director at Saint Laurent

runway pics via NYT; collages by moi

It’s probably frivolous to even be thinking about fashion right now, but for me, it’s been a welcome distraction from the depressing-as-fuck state of the world: friends losing their jobs, (more) racially motivated murders by police (and others), America’s worst president (enabled by a chickenshit social media platform), and an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness.

It’s a privilege and a luxury to be able to step back from all that for a second and look at pretty pictures. Color cheers me up, if only for a moment. And it’s a tiny consolation that COVID-19 just might be changing the fashion industry for the better.

For one thing, gender lines are continuing to blur. It’s slowly becoming more acceptable to be nonbinary, and fashion designers are starting to make more unisex clothes. So people are realizing that maaaybe it’s unnecessary to have different men’s and women’s lines, shown in different months. According to the NYT:

On Monday [May 25], Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, held a video news conference to announce that the brand will reduce the number of shows it holds each year from five to two…He also wants to do away with the distinction between men’s wear and women’s wear, and the traditional appellations of fall/winter and spring/summer.

Woot!! Gucci is also launching a genderless section of its website, the NYT says in the same article. Hopefully others will follow.

Another way the fashion industry should change, IMO? Lose the snooty exclusivity and promotion of rapid consumption. (Remember “Don’t stomp your little last-season Prada shoes at me, honey!” from Legally Blonde?) It’s such an elitist, rich-person world, even without shaming people for wearing something that–gasp!–came out last month. Thankfully, the lines between seasons might blur, in addition to gender divides. InStyle predicts, “Fashion trends will slow down…Designers including Donatella Versace, Rick Owens, and Guram Gvasalia of Vetements have indicated they are looking forward to slowing down and creating seasonless clothes.” (Besides, with climate change, every season is summer! 😬)

Speaking of climate change, that’s another reason the fashion industry should reinvent itself right now. Excess is never a good look, but particularly when resources are becoming more scarce AND SO MANY PEOPLE ARE JOBLESS. Rather than using child labor and oil-based materials like acrylic and polyester, we need quality clothes that are designed to last, made ethically, and priced somewhat reasonably (like Everlane, only cuter and more colorful). CGTN thinks consumers are ready: “During the crisis, many customers have been shopping more consciously and thinking about ethical aspects of their shopping experience–a shift in consumer mindset expected to accelerated by the pandemic.”

Teen Vogue says that there’s also been an uptick in online secondhand shopping (GOOD!). Thrift stores and vintage shops are where it’s at (or, uh, they will be once they reopen, if they aren’t closed forever?! #shoplocal). Maybe fast fashion is finally losing its luster.

Who knows? Call me Pollyanna, but maybe something good will come out of our current disasters: changed consumers and fashion designers alike.

~*fall 2018 + resort 2019 runway lewkz~*

Remember when I had daily access to Photoshop AND a plausible reason to look at Womenswear Daily all day long? I miss those days. Not that job, just making fashion collages. So armed with a free online Photoshop ripoff and slightly rusty skillz, I’M BACK. Here we go (all photos via WWD):

The Valentino team realized, “OMG, women kind of look like FLOWERS! What if we, like, put blossoms on their heads?!” Gee, what a groundbreaking thought. Kaia Gerber’s gravity-defying hair was the MVP here (sorry, other lady whose name I don’t know).

WAIT stop the presses I had this image open in another tab and forgot to put it in my collage AND IT IS THE BEST ONE (sorry sorryyyyy):

I MEAN.

Is that Michelangelo meets Barney? Is it an eggplant kale turtlenecked toga?! Is it a Greek god and/or taste like Greek dressing?! Pun not intended! Moving on to L’Atelier Sonia Rykiel:

Black and white usually puts me to sleep, but the textures (feathers! yarn!) and thoughtful asymmetry really got me here. The second lady from the left is straight outta some hip MacBeth adaptation. Love these slouchy berets with embellishments! That sweater thing on the right could be hiding at your local Goodwill. YOU NEVER KNOW.

Back to your regularly scheduled mermaid unicorn vibes, courtesy of Fendi. Sheer fabrics! Faux (hopefully faux???) fur! Slightly Black Swan-esque cat eyes! Um…yeah. That’s all I got.

Calvin Klein spring 2019 was a bore except for this sensitive firefighter, who saves lives by quoting Wes Anderson:

U ready to get RILL wild? Maison Margiela is serving alien-dumpster-diving-outside-a-Crayola-factory vibes:

There were lots more that looked like the designers ran out of time and just belted the models in huge puffer coats at a lopsided angle and called it a day. Otherwise I really liked this one.

Fasten your spacebelt, Ziggy, cuz it’s time for intergalactic prom:

Wearable disco balls from Rami Kadi. Bowie would approve. And what’s more dapper than a woman in a boxy hat?

Miu Miu was hard to choose. Flowy sheer fabrics, neon florals, and fluffy sandals all really rang my bell. (Still processing the Mia Farrow-esque lady in a babydoll slip…infantilizing but not sexualized?)

Although it seems kind of mean to make grown-ass women like Chloe Sevigny slick their hair down into the most unflattering hairstyle ever and strut around with emaciated teenage models, who would make even the most fit and Botoxed celebrity look fat and saggy. I’m not being ageist–people should be allowed to be fat and saggy! It’s normal! The fact that the fashion industry’s holy grail is basically a white, 6-foot-tall, 90-pound 9th grader, and that that is for some reason what American women are judged against, is all kinds of FUUUCKED UP. /rant

OK. Two more. Let’s cheer things up. SUNNY BUBBLEGUM THYME:

Aren’t those shoes just the best thing you’ve ever seen? And I am ALL ABOUT a two-tone polo!

Here’s Christian Wijnants:

I LOVE THIS GREEN. (Grass? Avocado?) I feel like fashion designers, at least the affordable mass-market-y ones I buy, stay away from green in favor of navy, red, and neutrals. But green looks good on lots of skin tones/colorings! Thank you, designer whose name I can’t even spell and know nothing about, for making some lively patterns and bright bicep-high gloves and using this lovely green. Plus, these outfits look comfy, except for the pointy shoes.

All right, for the zero people still reading this, WE MADE IT TO THE END! Thank you for tuning into this episode of Holly’s Arbitrarily Selected Fashion Lewkz. What will you be wearing this fall? I personally am itching to buy some wacky oversized dresses from Goodwill, patterned ’80s blazers, and a long trench coat, and wear ’em all with my Docs. Which meaaaans I’ll probably just wear jeans and t-shirts. Yep. K. Bye.

How to dress like Penelope Garcia

how to dress like penelope garcia

I’m on season 3 of Criminal Minds (only a decade behind!) and in love with Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) and Dr. Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) like everyone else. Specifically: GARCIA’S STYLE. While the rest of her team looks like they’re perpetually on their way to a funeral (which…they sort of are?), Garcia wears florals, colorful glasses, and funky jewelry. Her fashion sense reflects her playful sexiness and quick wit. She’s 100% delightful (especially since Kirsten Vangsness herself is “as queer as a purple unicorn singing Madonna”).

penelope garcia fashion style

So you wanna dress like Garcia? DON’T WE ALL! Here’s how:

  • Embrace your curves. Garcia often wears wrap dresses or scoop-neck tops that show off her amazing boobs. Fit-and-flare dresses or a-line skirts, too. (Yay for non-skinny people on TV!)
  • Wear bright, summery colors. While her team wears neutrals, Garcia’s palette is warm, ~*SenSuAL*~ berry tones like red/purple/pink, as well as happy yellows/oranges and vibrant teal.
  • Add a zany cardigan or blazer to a solid-colored top, or vice versa.
  • PATTERNS! Paisley, polka dots, stars, plaid, you name it.
  • Channel ’50s pinup girl meets garden party or punk rawk.
  • Accessorize with novelty earrings, statement necklaces, and chunky bracelets. Also glitter. Glitter’s an accessory, right?
  • Wear a multicolored headband, barrettes, fake daisy, or feathers in your hair.
  • Shiny lip gloss. Heels, if u want.
  • MORE IS MORE!

penelope garcia criminal minds fashion style

Sounds cheesy, but Garcia’s aesthetic has an empowering subtext: You can be sexy and smart. You can be feminine and professional. You can be vivacious and whimsical and amazing at your job. You don’t have to sacrifice color or style or silliness to be successful. That shouldn’t be revolutionary, but pop culture loves its stereotypes (“blondes are airheads”), and thanks to sexism, women feel pressure to dress and act like men to succeed at work:

One in four women dress in a more masculine way – discarding high heels and dresses for trouser suits – acting under the belief they should look like their male colleagues to be treated seriously. A further quarter wear less makeup at work, partly to dispel the notion that all women must ‘look pretty,’ the survey of 2,000 working women showed.

To sum up:

All of the standards of appearance being pushed on employees in office environments are, essentially, strongholds of white male standards of power.

FUCK THAT. Express your personality! Stand out! Be a Garcia! (Ahem. I got excited.)

Looking forward to 10 more seasons of her fantastic style. Stay wonderful, tech kitten. 🦄

ETA: Check out the kind Sheila‘s real-life Garcia style here! Am I biased because she linked to me and was super-sweet? Yes. And no. Her style is awesome, and her blog will make you smile.

Featured

How to dress like Claudia Kishi

🌼updated August 2020🌼

Is any fictional character more beloved for her personal style than CLAUDIA KISHI?

claudia kishi fashion outfits wardrobe

Unquestionably the best member of The Babysitters Club books (a ’90s-child staple), Claudia was *~the artsy one~* and the most relatable (for me, at least). Claud is known for her terrible spelling, candy addiction, and FUNKY FRESH wardrobe, which author Ann M. Martin (and her ghostwriters) describe in deliciously painstaking detail in every book. While struggling with school and comparisons to her genius sister, Janine, Claudia expressed her creativity through amazing thrifted mish-mash outfits. They revolve around a few key staples:

  • Leggings
  • Vests
  • Cowboy boots
  • CRAZY PRINTS & PATTERNS!!!
  • Hoops or novelty earrings
  • Long funky necklaces
  • High ponytails with scrunchies

So much yes.

claudia kishi outfits fashion

Claud was the original hipster, but in an unpretentious way (she was cool because she was messy and had her own phone line, not because she listened to the “right” bands). She wasn’t self-obsessed. She mostly cared about babysitting, painting, reading Nancy Drew mysteries, being a good friend, and hanging out with her grandma, Mimi. She lacked the snobby narcissism of Stacey, the mousy spinelessness of Mary Anne, and the controlling type-A-ness of Kristy. (Wow, I guess I didn’t like the other characters much!)

And of any of the characters, Claudia left the biggest mark on pop culture, inspiring a comic, a fashion blog, and countless style posts (including this one!). Half Japanese, she was also a role model for Asian-American readers (although writers did focus on her “exotic”-ness and “almond-shaped eyes” too much).

So eat a doughnut, hit up your favorite thrift store, and twirl the cord of your landline around your finger! ❤ u 4ever, Claudia.

Update, August 2020! Um could the Netflix reboot of the Baby-Sitters’ Club BE any more heartwarming?! I’ve watched it twice so far and LOVE the costume design for Claud! The show inspired me to go back through the 130+ book covers in search of even more outfit inspo:

Claudia Kishi outfits style babysitters club

The show did NOT disappoint: bright colors, oversized knits, and overalls/jumpsuits to die for. I’m inspired to seek out more orange, purple, and YELLOW PLAID clothes. It’s hard to pick a fave ~lewk~ but I think this mustard-yellow jumpsuit, bomber jacket, daisy ring combo takes the cake:

Brb, gotta finish watching it for the third time 😉

some fall 2017 lewkz

*~ladeez of the canyon~*

Etro (aren’t they missing an R? har har) is delightfully Claudia-Kishi-circa-1970 this fall. Inspo: sheepskin, thrift-store scarves, bubblegum Joni Mitchell??? All the hot pink/floral/lime green/leopard print, plz.

etro-fall-2017-rtw-runway-collage

photos via WWD

Aaaa! Are your eyes overwhelmed too? Quick, look at this water:

water

PALETTE CLEANSER! Whew. OK, ready for more?

tWiSteD SISteR

How about Giamba, which one can only assume is inspired by Black Swan, grandma’s old nighties, and tarot cards:

giamba 2017

Photos via WWD

Suggested taglines: Saccharine with a side of evil. Or maybe More cookies, Skeletor? SOMEone discovered pastel goth! X-P

All right, that’s all we’ve got for Holly Pretends To Be A Fashion Person While Clearly Being Woefully Undereducated. Tune in next time for styles inspired by The Wild West meets gummi vitamins.

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hi fall high fash

loving the usual pink ‘n’ gold ‘n’ brights, with a bit of black for some pastel gothy cred. drooling pastry-flavored saliva all over these (GROSS) and imagining i have a sugar mama (or maybe just a sugar cookie?). those gold and pink prada platforms!

fall 2016 designer fashion collage

ready for fall and stomping around in boots, reading depressing books, and drinking tea again. COME AT ME, RAIN! ❤

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