Cheap Chic is Back!

And it's just as good as ever. The fashion classic (first published in 1975, with an unsuccessful "update" in 1978)) went out of print sometime in the early 80s (although you could still find used copies around) and first editions were recently selling for outrageous prices online. Happily, Random House has re-issued Cheap Chic with a new forward by Tim Gunn. I was a worried they would try to "update" it again, but it is as it was back in the day.

The forward by Mr. Gunn is excellent; he hits all the high points about why the book is useful and fun:

The reasonable, often quite funny authors encourage us to ask ourselves the most important of all fashion question: 'Who am I, and how do I want the world to perceive me?'
The original introduction is prophetic, noting "we stuff our closets with masses of mistakes". And this was before clothing manufacture moved overseas and became really cheap.  Their take on the subject is firm but gentle. They take clothing seriously as self-expression, but the idea of fashion lightly ("your look should be in harmony with the way you live, who you are, and not reflect what the fashion magazines (or even we) might say").

Cheap Chic is divided into chapters that take apart a wide variety of "looks", giving you tips, essentials, and plenty of inspiration with an abundance of black-and-white illustrations, such as a Levi-Strauss illustrated ad (I still want the Engineer's Coat!), Greta Garbo in a suit, and even one of Bill Cunningham's hats.  It then offers short profiles and interviews of famous and not-so famous fabulously stylish people. Kudos to book designer Bea Feitler, who tied it all together.

My favorite chapters are Classics ("Sometimes Cheap Chic boils down to spending much more than you feel you can afford on the kind of classic, quality clothes we talk about in this chapter. We think it saves you money in the long run."),  Second-String Classics (if you really can't afford the Classics),  Antiques ("It feels good to wear expensive clothes, especially when someone else paid for them the first time out"), and Work Clothes ("Since they were never designed to be in fashion, they can never go out of style"). But there's something for everyone here.

I owned and treasured Cheap Chic in college–I clearly remember taking a deep breath to pay full price for it in 1976,  $5.95–but the lessons I learned from it have stayed with me my whole life. Can't give a better recommendation than that.  And it's only $16.00 now! Go get it and be inspired.

[Full disclosure: I was sent a promotional copy to review. Do you really think I would turn down a chance to talk about one of my favorite fashion books of all time? ]

Cross-posted at Quotidienne Blog.


Happy Holidays

and welcome to the Winter Solstice! May your year be full of light and happiness.

photo by Paul Croes, via iiiinspired


r.i.p Ryder

I am so sad to report we have lost our beautiful "tiger dog" to aggressive bone cancer, the most common cause of death for retired racing greyhounds. What makes it most difficult is that it was only about a month from the time we first noticed a limp and took him to the vet to where he was clearly suffering despite heavy pain medication. Even though he was only with us for two years, he's left a very big greyhound-shaped hole in our hearts. Our household is a much sadder place these days.


I haven't had any time at all to think about this blog, and if I did, I'd be whinging about my 3 jobs and how much I'm working/how little money I'm making/ yadda yadda yadda.

Ok, got that out of the way. Bottom line is, I'm healthy (knock wood, of course) and not bored. Lots of gratitude for that.

Ryder stole ds's childhood hat the other day:

Which reminds me just little of this:

And, thanks to the brilliant and lovely blackbird, I have an new (old) favorite:

and a new (new) favorite (but watch it at blackbird for full effect):


How have I been around so long and not known about MessyNessy ("Blogging on the offbeat, the unique, and the chic")?? I have fallen deep into a gorgeous rabbit hole of charming storefronts, tiny little backstreet shops, funky cafes... well, just take a look.

From 20 of the most charming little shopfronts:

or, 10 places to have un cafe in Paris:

I can vouch for this one, I spent a delightful afternoon here with my kids a few years ago.

I am, as they say, ensorcelled.


Some interesting links  I've found lately (I've been putting some on the Quotidienne FB page, but not everyone sees them):

✚The Spring-Autumn Project by the artist Qozop, who switched the outfits of younger/older pairs of relatives in a really lovely photo montage. There is also a nice article by Amanda Lee Koe about the exhibit.

source: qozop.com, via the improvised life

✚35 profiles of fabulous gentlewomen.

Sofie Gråbøl in The Gentlewoman.

17 Feel-Good French Films you should stream on Netflix (via French Girl in Seattle)

The Taste of Others

✚Terrific blog post by Garance Doré about women/ageing/fashion and how the problems is not one-sided. Who is imposing standards on whom? Sales go down when clothing is shown on older models. How do we get ourselves out of this particular feedback loop?

✚Everyone seems to be talking about T Magazine's essay about Phoebe Philo and "Quiet Power Dressing" (I had kind of hoped that "power dressing" was dead and buried, but apparently not).


Old Movie Love

I just couldn't resist posting this video from gizmodo about Criterion Films. They're doing such amazing work restoring movies, and this is all about one of my favorites, Hitchcock's 1940 Foreign Correspondent.

they were in the process of restoring Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 espionage thriller,Foreign Correspondent. In the video above, Kline talks about how the first step in the process is tracking down the negative, or a print, that is in decent condition. In this case, that meant going to the Library of Congress, which had the original negative of the film.


Let it slide

Sadly, I've been letting this blog slide, but I've been focusing my efforts over at the Q blog. Most of the fun/interesting things I've seen recently have been videos rather than reading, anyway. I just haven't had much extra time as I'm starting to get Fall things in, so that means unpacking boxes, checklists, styling, photographing, computer editing, marketing, etc. etc.

I'm still here, though...


Cha cha cha

Thanks to Grace Weston for the head's up on this. Cheers me no end to watch! (p.s. Go look at Grace's photography—she's a genius!)