May 08, 2015

5 Things I Like and Musings: Ugly Shoe Edition

Ugly Shoe is in every look for much of DKNY's S/S 2015 campaign.
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The Ugly Shoe is having a major moment right now. But just because a shoe is ugly doesn't make it "Ugly Shoe". Defining characteristics of Ugly shoe are:

  • chunky
  • flat or stacked platform with no lift
  • lacks any sense of gracefulness whatsoever
  • toe can be round or square, but is always wide 
  • often borrows from athletic, slipper or clog forms
  • can take on a few different vibes/aesthetics such as sporty, minimalism/normcore, healthgoth, 70s, meanswear or loungewear
Before I show you more Ugly Shoe, here's it's opposite, by Oscar de la Renta, to provide a point of reference:

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Quite a few S/S 2015 collections and campaigns featured ugly shoe very prominently. Here are my

Top 5 Ugly Shoe S/S 2015 Moments: 

DKNY

Can't realistically see myself wearing this.
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I mean, these are some pretty hideous, athletic inspired shoes. The bright colors and geometric accents give these a retro, almost mod feeling I appreciate. 
I'd wear this.
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 Coach

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I'd love to wear these platform slipons which are clearly inspired by Dr. Scholl's sandals.
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Ok, so this mule does have a bit of a cutout and lift to the heel which is not exactly Ugly Shoe but... it is executed so clumsily as to somehow create not just a deficit of gracefulness. I actually would love to wear these paired with vintage floral dresses, especially those from the 70s for a boho vibe. 

 Burberry Prorsum

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What I most appreciate about this collection's footwear is the neon/bright colors that are very en vogue in the gym right now. As a secret gym rat (Gold's Gym, no less, the mecca of gym rattiness FYI), I'm pretty into neons (especially polish) right now so... yeah, I'd wear the sandal below for sure. 
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Peter Som

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Gosh, these shoes are just so... very ugly to the point of absurd that like surreal art, it makes sense by not making sense, amirite?!
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Circus by Sam Edelman 

Wow, Mr. Edelman 's got quite the range of both Ugly and non-ugly Shoe alike. 
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And of course I love silver shoes/anything. 
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We all recognize this shoe's reference thanks to our 3rd grade teachers. Hence, I dub this, the Teacher Shoe. Normally I despite teacher shoe, but the addition of the woven platform heels and metallic leather make this palatable.

Not Quite Ugly Shoe

Some shoes are not quite Ugly Shoe all the way, but certainly evoke the aesthetic with a certain chunkiness.
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By Chanel, this platform has a bit too much lift and curve in the platform. That plus the elegance of the straps give this shoe a hint of gracefulness which veers away from pure Ugly Shoe.

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These big wedges by Bally have rivets and wood, common features of Ugly Shoe, but again, the curved wedge and slightly tapered toe make this shoe slightly graceful. Also, they are almost too obviously borrowing from 70s disco platforms to qualify as Ugly Shoe. All that said, can I just say I simply swoon over these? 

OG Ugly Shoe

Fashion is incredibly referential so of course there are predecessors to Ugly Shoe, predominantly 90s trends. 

Dr. Scholls Sandals 

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This brand was founded in 1906 and has been a household name since at least the 1970s. But for me, these shoes most evoke the mid-90s when they were especially trendy and came in various colors. (I never had any, though, nor do I especially want any now.)

Reebok Pumps

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The Pump has been in production since 1989 and has resurged in popularity recently thanks to various fashion collaborations like atmos and Titolo. It's been endorsed by athlethes, too, but we all know the most iconic Pump moment of all time:

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Birkenstocks 



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Well, I would have assumed that living in Eugene would have made me allergic to these shoes, but strangely I do like knockoffs that are slightly less wide and not brown/tan. 

Teva

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Teva began in Arizion in 1984 and has remained a popular outdoors brand. They've since entered the arena of high fashion with collaborations like Nasty Gal (pictured below) and Opening Ceremony. At $40 a pair, the original versions are actually pretty affordable but not for me. 
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Adilette by Adidas

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A personal favorite which I covet, the Adilette was released in 1963, the first sandal design by Adidas, a German company that goes back to 1924 and whose 1936 Olympic partnership with Jesse Owens was the first Olympic sponsorship of an African American athlete. The Adilette was originally designed for the locker room, but I also like them paired with minimal, monochrome outfits. 

Ugly Shoe within Reach

Though my examples so far have been from high end designers, there are quite a few knockoffs out there. These examples are all currently available at Target
Space shower shoes. 

Leopard is always a good look for Ugly Shoe, no?


Gotta say this shoe is the most hideous pictured here. So hideous it comes around to neutral and harmonious. 



Obviously I love silver shoes/anything. 



Farm to table is so 2014. 2015 is all about shower to street. 
Ok, not quite an ugly shoe because of the lifted heel, the front of this shoe definitely meets the Teacher Shoe profile. 

I recognize this is not a new trend nor am I the first to report on it. Ugly Shoe as I've defined it appears to have been a noted trend since at least 2013 that continued into 2014 and the present. Oh, and about Uggs: Uggs do not pass "go" the way Ugly Shoe does, where it transcends hideousness and enhances the cuteness and/or sleekness of the rest of your look. Nope, Uggs are just plain ugly shearling bags for your feet. Sorry, but not sorry, I hate them and they have no place in fashion. 

What do you think of Ugly Shoe? Would you wear it and if yes, how would you style it? Me, I'm obviously a fan or else I wouldn't have gone to the trouble of writing an entire blog post about it. I would pair this with both sporty and very feminine looks for casual occasions. I'm also a big fan of the banded-slipper style for doing stuff around the house and yard. 
heart,
--m

May 04, 2015

the Zodiac Dresser, Designer Edition: Taurus by Michael Kors

Continuing my Zodiac Dresser Designer Edition series that matches each zodiac sign with a current designer collection.
The most fitting collection for Taurus is Michael Kors Fall 2015 due to the predominance of elegant,time-tested staples executed with luxurious materials and details. Simlarly, Taurus is a practical sign that prefers the familiar (sartorial classics) to new trends while fond of luxury and wealth. 

This coat demonstrates the posh but practical nature of Taurus. Camels coats have been a versatile, elegant wardrobe staple since the 1920s, but this one is made more sumptuous with the ostentatious addition of exotic fur. 


This design takes an otherwise conservative form but uses gold lamé to create a dress that shouts "I'm a rich bitch!"


Here Kors takes on the classic Grecian goddess dress but lowers the waistline for something easier, reflective of Taurus's practical nature. 


I could see a Taurus in this dress not only because it is classic and feminine but also because the sleeves remind me of a matador's costume. (Is that a stretch?)


This dress has the classic, time-tested form mixed with stunningly luxurious material to create an overall expensive look so beloved by Taurus.

What are your reactions to the Michael Kors Fall 2015 collection? Are any of you born under this sign? Can you see a relationship between this line and the sign? Could you see yourself personally wearing any these?
heart,
--m

April 27, 2015

5 Things Only People with Unusual Last Names Can Understand

Surprise! My real last name isn't "Bee" or "B". Nope. I use those cute little abbreviations because my real last name (Bezirdjian) is usually met with blank stares and comments like "Is that from another planet or something?" Though my last name may be unique, the struggle is not. If, like me, your last name is rather unusual, here are five things you've probably experienced by the time you are an adult:

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1. Describing your ethnic background whenever you meet a new person.
More than half the time I introduce myself to someone, I'm asked about my ethnic heritage. And while I don't particularly mind sharing this information, I am willing to bet that people with last names like Jones or Smith rarely have to deal with this. 

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2. You have a phonetic spelling system for your last name memorized and you can recite it on autopilot.
"B like Bravo, E like Echo, Z as in Zebra..." and so forth. Bonus points if you learned your little spelling monologue by overhearing a parent on the phone so many times.

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3. Having anyone about to introduce you painfully go over the pronunciation of your last name in private only to end up butchering it in public.
I normally do not care if someone mispronounces my name; I'm well aware that it is extremely rare and does not follow typical English spelling rules. That said, me and my family really could have done without my last name being totally mauled by the speaker at my college graduation. I had to get a Master's just so the name could finally be given some dignity at a commencement ceremony! Currently, I present at conferences and workshops regularly and, well, let's just say I usually begin by restating my name correctly to my poor, confused audience. 

Something strange I've noticed over the years: at some point when it's just us practicing, the speaker WILL totally pronounce my last name correctly and dismiss it as "not that tricky after all" only to end up stammering and flustered moments later at the podium. Apparently, last names like mine can give people performance anxiety?

4. Your friends feel really, really accomplished when they spell your last name correctly. 
This comes in handy when determining who is truly within your closest circle of friends and also who you can trust to forge documents on your behalf. 
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5. But you still sometimes get letters from close friends with your last name slightly misspelled or even abbreviated.
My favorite letter I ever got from a decade-long friend had nothing to do with the contents of the letter itself. Instead, what so endeared me to it was the envelope's labeling: "Melina Bez....". That I could see the hesitation between the "Z" and the ellipse still makes me chuckle from time to time. 


Well, there you have it folks: 5 things you find out when you have an odd last name. I must conclude by saying that I absolutely love my entire name. It suits me perfectly and contains 2 of my top 5 favorite letters (B, Z, M, V and X). The 10 characters that make up my last name have really informed a large part of my personal character, particularly since I went to a largely WASP high school. 

What about the rest of you out there with less common surnames? Have you experienced all the things on my list? Anything else I left out? I'm also very curious to hear whether you've enjoyed the experience of your last name or couldn't wait to change it. And for those of you with more common last names: do any of the above still happen to you?
-heart-
Melina "Bee" Bezirdjian

April 24, 2015

the Zodiac Dresser, Designer Edition: Aries by Moschino

This year, I'm taking a different approach to my Zodiac Dresser series and rather than create my own outfits inspired by each sign, I'm relating each sign to a different designer. 

Bold, brash, sporty and youthful, Aries is well represented by Moschino F/W 2015.  (photos from www.style.com)


Aries is not a subtle sign but loud, daring and completely enthused. The youngest sign in the zodiac, Aries loves chasing after novelty. Similarly, Moschino's references to 90s pop culture are not only obvious, but also incredibly trendy. 

The extremely active, sporty nature of this fire sign is also paralleled by this collection. Much of it clearly borrows sports-wear fabrics and silhouettes such as the jersey above or sweatpants below. 


Moschino's signature color is bright, primary red, just like the color associated with the fiery Aries. 

As essentially the baby of the zodiac, Aries is well-suited to Moschino's youthful aesthetic with its penchant for simple silhouettes, cartoon imagery and bright colors.

Aries also loves to buck convention and despises routine and formality. Much like Bugs Bunny, this sign gets a thrill from subverting or ignoring societal norms. The outfit above takes the standard skirt-suit form but instead of using traditional formal fabrics and accessories, it uses sweatpants material and sneakers. The resulting look, though casual, remains commanding and innovative. 


Like this overstated outfit, Aries likes to get their point across very forcefully if need be. So in case you didn't get it, not just the outfit above but every garment in it exclaims "TEDDY BEAR! TEDDY BEAR! TEDDY BEAR!". Like I said before, Aries is not subtle; in fact, this may be the least subtle sign of the entire zodiac. 

What are your reactions to the Moschino F/W 15 collection? If you could, would you wear any of these looks or pieces? I personally would love the Looney Toons pieces since I grew up watching those and still just love cartoons as well as sporty clothes. Oh, and did I mention I myself am an Aries? 

heart.
--m

PS:
Oh, and how do longtime readers feel about this new format for this series? Do be sure and check out my Instagram where from time to time I may post an outfit and describe it as "very this-or-that sign". 

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