ACL 2013

It’s not a party until high schoolers yell at you, you lose your keys, sweat out all your body fluid, spend $8 for a tamale, get a blister, and there’s a massive flood and everybody gets a refund. Austin City Limits was a party.

First entry in our survival log: Heat stroke setting in.

First entry in our survival log: Heat stroke setting in.

I'm wearing a vintage sundress and my boyfriend is wearing my Albertus Swanepoel hat.

I’m wearing a vintage sundress and my boyfriend is wearing my Albertus Swanepoel hat. Thanks for the multicultural background, Rosetta Stone marketers.

Beauty note: I only managed to avoid looking wartorn by using Maybelline shine free foundation and NYC lip stain.

The dress above was much better festival wear than my Day 1 outfit. A chiffon maxi skirt with a destroyed sweater, wooden flatforms, and piles of gypsy jewelry looked chic, but it really weighed me down. I could hardly blame the majority of girls there wearing a few square inches of shorts and crop tops. I was just throwing shade because there was none.

Accessory energy level: Day 1.

Accessory energy level: Day 1. 

Accessory energy level: Day 2.

Accessory energy level: Day 2.

The cancellation of Sunday’s shows was a widespread bummer (No Divine Fits, Tame Impala, Neko Case, or The National!), but there were still a lot of great acts.

Here’s a playlist of some crowd pleasers, no poncho required:


SXSW Trends

South by Southwest was lame for me this year, especially compared to last year. This time, over 30,600 paying attendees and about one billion random people who felt like basting themselves in free booze convened to turn the city into a loud, gridlocked, wonderful and terrible week-long party. One truth holds each year: SXSW is a great place for style watching. Here are a few trends I spotted on cool girls waiting in lines and looking lost:

1. Cutouts


Nasty Gal Candy Cut dress, $58

Cutouts have long been the sexy detail of choice for dresses and tops, but they’re especially perfect for the premature swelter of spring in Texas.

2. Twee Minidresses


Pop Boutique shift dress, $42

1960s styles are enjoying a thorough replay lately, and I love it. Peter Pan collars, straight cuts and short hemlines are going strong.

3. Prints

minkpink shorts

MINKPINK shorts, $69

Usually I roll my eyes when prints are called a trend. (You know what else is in style? Clothes! And colors are having a moment!) But prints were the focal point if not the whole point of outfits. Festival goers wore them on tops, bottoms or both.

4. Open-back tops


Asos knot tank, $37

I spotted this breezy style on several girls. Give your stomach a break from crop tops and try showing a little lower back instead.

5. Embellished shorts


Rag & Bone Highclare shorts, $255

Spikes, patterns, patches, colors and fraying jazzed up the music festival staple.

Basically: Minimalism is nowhere to be found. Pile it on, mix it up, and maybe even power clash.

The Glitter in the Dark

The glitter in the dark
Tomorrow’s forecast predicts a high of 82 degrees, so I’ll have to stretch the definition of fall fashion. The bad news: my wool cape, scarves and leather gloves haven’t been pulled from the closet yet. The good news: I can keep dressing in floaty, sheer layers. Slap on some embellishments, and I do believe it’s what they call holiday dressing. Above are some confections I gravitated to immediately after watching Bat for Lashes’ video for “Laura.”  I judge musicians by how earnestly they can say “superstar” without me wincing. So, I think I’m in love.

Oh Yeah, Fall


Wow. I haven’t posted since I returned from France. (Can you blame me for finding home a  little less photogenic?) The past couple months call for a recap via photoessay. Find more fashion photos on my Instagram, which you can follow @aesthetic_etiquette.

McKinney Falls: Its natural beauty is not even diminished by people sitting on rocks with their pool noodles.

I captured and was captivated by snails. Did you know that when two snails mate, both snails get pregnant and become each other’s baby snail daddy?

I moved to a new apartment with my more conventional pets.

I attended the Austin Film Festival for the first time, and my only record of it is this photo of me juxtaposed with a stranger’s artfully decorated truck. The fest was a lot of fun. But, like SXSW, I’d only recommend shelling out for passes if you’re luxurious and have the whole week off work.


Moonrise Kingdom, 60s movie extra, Beetlejuice. I had additional silly costumes. This is how much I did Halloween.


New cosmetic dependencies: Organix Moroccan Argan Oil haircare and Clinique lipstick in Red-y to Wear.

Trends move in cycles. Every four years, it becomes really popular to participate in government.

As an avid thrifter, I was almost angry that I didn’t know about Austin Antique Mall until this month. The place is enormous and crammed full of amazing furniture and home decor. I refrained from buying anything but a pair of elbow-length brown leather gloves, but I’m destined to return for one of the reasonably priced fur stoles. Raise your pinkie to that!

I’m trying out a subscription with Greenling, a local produce delivery service. They drop off a mystery box of veggies at your door weekly or biweekly. I like the element of surprise, and I like knowing where I stand on specialty radishes.

Last of Paris


A 6:00 a.m. alarm and an hour-long flight got us back to Paris from Bristol. I felt exhausted, sick, and dirty, so naturally I got into a kayak. Clément, Sylvia, Hugo and I floated down a small, picturesque river framed by stone bridges and weeping willows.

The drive/walk to Le Paradis du Fruit for post-paddle refreshments felt infinite. I was so dehydrated, my body considered fainting on the sidewalk. Somehow I made it to the ice cream parlor and inhaled fresh juice and a bowl of passion fruit sorbet decorated with maybe seven types of fruit. My emotions changed so visibly after eating. I’m like a Tamagotchi or something.

The record heat wave coming over Paris could be felt everywhere. Temperatures were probably higher back in Texas, but it’s different story when there are no air conditioners or fans.

We tried to cool off with cocktails. I didn’t know that rum was particularly popular among the French, but it’s been everywhere. So has Jean-Paul Gaultier Coke:

In the evening we sat out in the garden for hours, eating a three-course hamburger dinner with the usual group, plus Hugo’s brother Tim and his girlfriend. (I couldn’t believe these fromage afficianodos  were enjoying the plasticine sheets of American cheese on their burgers.) We Skyped with Jon and Amy for a bit.

Next thing I knew, I’d slept 10 hours on hardwood floor and woke up to a melody coming from a bell tower.

My last activity in Paris was a little photo expedition.

Flea market dress, vintage Coach purse and Bass loafers


More Paris

Paris, infinite walk

The line to get into the Lourve is insane. The Pompidou museum of modern art suits my taste better, anyway. By “suits my taste” I mean, “blows my mind.” Picasso, Man Ray, Matisse, Dalí, and a whole floor of Gehrard Richter.

Asos dress, vintage belt and clutch

This is followed by some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted (vanilla and blood orange, a double scoop) and a cheesy spectacle I forgot I wanted to see. There is a bridge where lovers can write their names on a padlock, attach it to the bridge, and then throw the key into the Seine. It’s terribly romantic, but as I walk past them all, I decide it would be a more realistic symbol if a couple were to keep track of the key, taking turns being responsible for it. Anyway, it reminds me of that part in Blue Valentine when the guy says it’s disgusting when couples choose a popular song to be “their song” and have to share it with other couples.

Next it’s another stuffy subway ride, a trip to an Olympics-serious indoor pool (I had to buy a swim cap), and exhaustion.

The next morning is spent domestically. I clean up the hosts’ kitchen while Hugo installs a new faucet I bought for the bathroom. In a moment of slapstick comedy, I had broken the handle off the faucet, leaving it running full blast while I stared in amused panic at the detached part in my hand.

Then there are more cathedrals, more massive views of the massive city. There’s a 7-story Musee de l’Erotisme with a ton of creepy paintings by Saturno Buttò.

In a club called Zero Zero, I sip what Jon’s friend Rémi called the cheapest cocktail in Paris. It’s a little plastic cup of rum and pure ginger that burns in your mouth and warms you up to ideas.

France, Part One

I’ve been on vacation for nearly two weeks now, resisting online updates in order to, you know, actually experience stuff. I’ve been writing summaries and taking lots of photos, though, so prepare for the barrage.

Packing for three weeks was a challenge, especially since I’m between apartments and everything was boxed up.

At the Airport: One needs an outfits that says, “Yes, I’m sleeping in public,” in that classy, business casual way…

Dress- Forever 21


Bag- Mulberry for Target 

In a Word, Pink

Pretty much pink

Erin Fetherston silk dress, £236 Alexander McQueen platform high heels, $750 Valextra envelope clutch, $1,320 Benefit cosmetic, $29 Revlon nail polish, $5.49

“I believe that there’s always going to be a group of girls who still want to look pretty and feminine. I think you can be directional and edgy and not look like you’ve been dragged through the gutter.”

-Erin Fetherston

Goodwill Hunting

The belated  recap of a 20-pound shopping trip

The place:

The irony of the Blue Hanger (aka the Goodwill outlet) is that there aren’t any hangers. There are no shopping bags or dressing rooms, either. It’s where used clothes go to die. It’s bargain hunters’ heaven, but also kinda like hell.
I love the smell of mothballs in the morning, but this place grossed me out a little. The first thing I noticed about my fellow shoppers was that several were donning latex gloves. This seemed comically snobby to me, but the phrase Maybe they know something I don’t ran through my head as I plunged my hands into the abysmal blue tubs.
A strong 30 percent of the garments were badly stained. All manner of undergarments were present. Strangers’ grungy pillowcases had to be pushed aside. And yet, everything smelled like an unfamiliar but clean home. I suspect that the stuff gets sprayed down with Febreeze the way grocery stores mist the produce with water. I concluded that unprotected thrifting is okay. Besides, I can’t shop anywhere without basically groping all the merchandise as part of my evaluation process.

Gloves are a good option for people who are all uptight about the possibility of finding a disembodied head.
Another thing to be ready for: many people will value the hunt more than your bubble of personal space. They will crowd in and reach over you like it’s a designer shoe sample sale. Thankfully, I didn’t have much competition for the styles I wanted there, unlike the  picked-over stores in hipster territory (Savers, anyone?)

The goods:
The outlet only sells clothing, house wares, and books. I have no idea why shoes and records are out of the picture. The three categories are separated for the most part, but all apparel is hopelessly mixed. At a regular Goodwill one must search through racks sorted by color instead of size ( a system I will never understand) , but here, one has to plough through about eight long rows of  bins to see all options. Although the heaps of baby clothes and unsanitary bedding get in the way, this disorganization made me open up to the possibility of  cute boys’ tees and men’s sweaters.

Personalized marriage clocks also available

Bargain books — because reading best-sellers from as recent as 15 years ago is uncool and promotes the atrophy of rainforests probably.

The pricing:

When you check out, your items are dumped into a basket on a scale built into the floor. You’re charged $1.29 per pound. It’s like a frozen yogurt shop, but with cotton. There is an exception to the rate if you buy particularly heavy things. I was charged a flat rate for my two pieces of luggage and hardback book.  I also used a (no longer available) Austin Perks $30 voucher that cost me $15.

The finds:

  • Floral minidress
  • ACDC tee so cool and worn-in that I forgot I hate ACDC
  • High waisted, holy grail Levi’s jeans
  • Short, silky slip covered in a strawberry print
  • Racerback tank with faded palm trees
  • Navy henley
  • Lee light grey dolman sleeve sweatshirt
  • Bright mosaic knee-length skirt
  • Brown leather tote bag
  • Cornflower blue round 60s hatbox/suitcase
  • Bank of Illinois deposit bag (aka new pencil bag)
  • Tie-dye tank top
  • Purple gym shorts
  • Black and white striped boat neck
  • 80s blazer
  • Punk-ass studded belt
  • Uncannily pristine white camisole
  • Lace doily
  • Basic blue jeans prime for customization
  • Hawaiian print/safari shirt…
  • Liz Clairborn maroon silk skirt
  • Taupe belt with gold closure shaped like a wishbone
  • Floral pearl snap western shirt
  • Black cropped leggings for yoga
  • Black leather backpack/rolling suitcase
  • Hunter green riding pants
  • Red crochet-back tunic (makes a very cute nightgown)
  • Thick-knit camel cardigan
  • Basic grey camisole
  • High waist denim shorts
  • Gap 1969 black skinny jeans
  • “Beauty” by Bobbi Brown (hardcover book)

Grand total: about $20. So go check it out when you find yourself with more time than money. The sky is the limit. The size of your closet is also the limit.