Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics: "The Athletic Image"

It's been a long time coming! These Olympic-inspired shenanigans:

I. "The Athletic Image"
Sports Covered: Swimming, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Beach Volleyball, Track, Soccer, Softball

[all olympic photos are Getty Images unless otherwise mentioned]

So here is my confession: I have been being a total Olympics junkie. In the first couple few days of the Opening Ceremony, I was fixated on the TV like a madwoman. At first it was just at night, then it grew to day and night. If you know me, you know this is not normal. Just as the Olympics has a long and rich history, I have a long and rich history of being uninclined towards for the monkey bars when I was a child. I have always been the girl who you'd pick last on your team in gym because I am just not as athletic and as a kid unfortunately I wasn't the most confident so I didn't reallly have the assertiveness and boldness that people need to do well in sports. I think that's the biggest factor but it also didn't help that my heart has some irregularity.

The Olympics are just infectious though. It's so strange because normally I do not watch sports games at all. It's just hard to get into (like, whoa, what's going on here) or understand or know which team to root for. Dad took us to a few baseball games as a kid, but it was just difficult to get into! It was just 'hit hit, strike strike'. But the Olympics is just for a certain period of time though so you're pretty well-covered already, and it's on a world stage. Plus you feel some connection to the players because you're of the same nationality and they're representing your own country which of course, you would like to completely dominate. =p

It's strange cause I don't consider myself even that patriotic at all.

So I've watched some of EVERYTHING. I even had a list of sports I liked and disliked watching: The ones that move a little slow for me are Badminton, Tennis, Cycling, Table Tennis, Water Polo, Equestrian (though I love horses), Diving, Rowing, and even Softball. I was addicted to Swimming, Beach Volleyball, Volleyball, Gymnastics, Track, plus a little bit of Basketball (USA vs. China).

I am so sad that the Olympics ended yesterday! But why did I watch the Olympics in the first place when it's so uncharacteristic of me? Well, the Opening Ceremony itself was a req and to die for...I watched all the countries walk by... and idk, it's just the feeling and that sense of unification and I think some of the games just really draw you in and the athletes are just phenomonal as well like 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres. Can't believe she got the silver in her individual race, beating out girls half her age, but missing the gold by 1/100th of a second. And the swimming medley relays? On the edge of my seat! Don't even talk to me about Phelps (dubbed as "magical")-- the race between him and Cavic where he won by 1/100th of a second, and the down-to-the-wire relay race to the finish with the trash-talking Alain Bernard and US anchor Jason Lezak. Unforgettable!

Anyone notice how Phelps looks 10x hotter with the cap on?

How about the Women's Gymnastics All-Around? A total nail-biter to me. Some of the scoring had been a little biased towards China in Women's Gymnastics overall (both Nastia and Shawn were gyped there in different places I'd say-- Nastia's floor excercise was completely better the 2nd time around and yet she got graded lower, how she got the same score on the uneven bars as someone whose program wasn't as good as hers...) but loved every minute of Gymnastics... and Russia's Marina Semenova? So cute and so bright-looking! Thought Russia should've gotten a medal somewhere. Also, for the record, Shawn Johnson is the most adorable 16-year-old in the world. And Bela Karolyi himself was fascinating to watch.

Usain Bolt's breaking of three world records? And that Baton race at the end with Asafa Powell? WOW. Then USA Volleyball was so edge-of-the-seat it wasn't even funny and Ogonna Nnamani was top-form. Plus, May and Walsh in Beach Volleyball---!!! I was wide-eyed in the beginning with them against Beligum, and how they ended up totally sailing over the Chinese in the gold medal finals. Just great.

Of course there's the ones that tug at you too and you feel the athlete's own disappointment like Doc Patton and Tyson Gay dropping the damn relay baton and and US women also dropping the baton on their run. And when dear dear Lolo Jones was ahead without a doubt, but then caught the edge of one of the last hurdles, and tripped, completely lost her lead, and frustrating collapse on the track.

Have I gotten those of you unmoved by the Olympics, excited yet? Or those of you as addicted pumped up again by sheer memories? Well, typically uninterested me was completely consumed! If you haven't seen any, youtube any of these specific events mentioned...they're just exhilarating!

The Olympics in general are just really inspirational, but watching all the female Olympians and how they all differed in body type-- from Shawn Johnson who's a tad stockier with thicker thighs, to Misty May-Treanor, to Jennie Finch, to Dawn Harper --but all having in common a great physique, made a really positive impression. For example, I've always been really critical of my calves, which are as wide as anything, but but watching girls like gold-medalist Shawn Johnson with a rigorous training schedule having wider but muscular calves makes me feel better and not as critical. We all have parts of our body we'd like to change, but sometimes it's just our build, and all we can do it is to put it in the best form we can like these athletes.

dawn harper is a powerhouse.

I've always envied the quickness and strength and well, hand-eye coordination of those more athletically-inclined. There's a certain level of toughness and coolness there in say, like the "athletic image" like in the sporty Nike or Adidas ads and well, respect there too. This tough "athletic image" isn't really taken into consideration as much when it comes to fashion...unless you're Yohji Yamamato or Stella McCartney for Adidas. I mean, sometimes there are the "sporty magazine shoots" but they doll it up or layer and prissy it up so much. The athletic woman to me is a raw thing. It's raw and commanding. And that's what you should feel when you try to attempt that feeling and that image. And to stress that--- it is a feeling... a feeling of empowerment of striving, determination, and pushing yourself and pushing your body to the best that it can be.
Mia Hamm VS Kate Moss

And of course the all-telling: Who would win in an arm wrestle? Maybe Kate would pull out her 5-inch razor-sharp Fendi heels but quick-thinking and stronger Mia would win every single time. What it boils down to is that Kate is weaker. And I'm not just picking on Kate (I mean as long as you're healthy right?), or people who are skinny, but too-skinny models really. I think in comparison- these Olympic athletes just command so much respect! They put their bodies in the best form they can for the sport they are in. But all across the board: rowing, basketball, and even gymnastics-- all these women are fit as anything. Hey, you need a lot of strength to work that balance beam or launch yourself through those uneven bars. Nastia Liukin -the all-around champion this time around- holds herself like a model, is lithe like a model, but is probably in 20x better shape than any model on the catwalk. [she's even mentioned she's interested in modeling. I think she can do better than that, but if she were to pursue modeling, she'd definitely give the industry a challenge with her athletic physique]

Where the problem comes in is that it's about being leaner and thinner in the world of fashion. What do girls want to be? They want to get thinner. Everyone wants to cut out the fat from their diet and get a little bit skinnier. Even I was like that and I had my own personal little revelation that I'm partly sharing here. You don't hear so much, "I want to be in shape and fit. I want to be stronger." Put the US Women's Soccer Team with the catwalkers. Who's more fit? In a game of survival, the catwalkers might not do so well.

So why is it that we all want to emulate the frames of catwalkers and those in high fashion spreads than that of lean and powerfully dynamic Olympians? Their bodies are so much better and fitter and probably a lot healthier. As Kors said on PR: These women are like Wonder Woman! And if we take this to the extremes: Would you rather want to be a superheroine or a stick?


When it's put that way, it's no question. The infectious Olympic spirit and determination nudged unathletic me to tackle the gym more than I would, have an immense appreciation and better understanding for sports, and spontaneously go hiking out of the blue. Now having that sort of athletic frame really is more of a goal than just "being skinny"... Plus, I mean, to be "superficial" about it, your clothes will look so much better, when you have a better frame to put them on. I Just think it's better to feel strong than to feel...thin. Some women have that idea, but some women, and young girls, don't I think. Even a few of my friends don't (don't whack me).

I think that those long thin models on the catwalk can most CERTAINLY be stronger an carry the same tall lithe frame, but there's also the issue that the industry wants lithe as in thin and bony and not necessarily as in "lean and strong". Don't give me the "They were born this way!" stuff-- it's a total copout; they could easily all go to the gym and pick up some muscle mass. Hello! There are tons of long and lithe and in-shape beauties like Maria Sharapova. She is incredibly fit, and as far FAR from beefy as you can get. Even Gisele IMO seems really fit and has that strong and healthy look.

Not to mention they're much more inspirational IMO and a really positive representative of their respective countries.

Onto the Sets!

Disclaimer: These were all rather difficult to do...since I don't really own any shiny Lycra or Spandex or Leotards or tight short shorts so you can see why it took me so long to do this. In the feel of the outfits, I tried to keep them so that they feel somewhat strong and athletic and somewhat have an aura of confidence and pride.


I'm wearing: j.crew shorts, le tigre tank, 2 belts,
AA blue tights over UO black tights, + random ribbon

I'm wearing: A/X red top, straps from H&M skirt
this one was actually kind of difficult. I ended up taking a thick red ribbon and wrapping it around my shorts so that it looked longer and more like the outfit.

(they have kneepads over their socks so I whipped out my hansel basel socks)
also a lot of my shirts aren't that decorative which is why I fiddled around with ribbons and belts and placement for all of these etc.

Look- I'm not that athletic but I did try with the poses though!
I'm wearing: Stella McCartney for Adidas sneakers, Hansel Basel Socks,
sweatshorts, elastic H&M belt, skirt suspender straps, le garcon tee.




Sunday, August 17, 2008


*update* OK so I was kind of fibbing before by just blaming it on the olympics. although I do spend 24/7 on the olympics. [IM SITTING DOWN TO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW on nbc] but I kind of also lost my groove and kind of got stuck, to be truthful-- I wanted to kick off my posts by conveying a certain idea about the olympics and athleticism, but I wasn't sure quite how to do it. BUT NOW I HAVE MY GROOVE BACK. expect an olympics extravaganza w/i the next two days. Outfits inspired by your favorite olympic sports and more...(sounds corny but it IS NOT). xo ++remember girls! 11pm EST live May and Walsh beach volleyball!++

soo sorry for not updating. I hate to give excuses, but basically I finished my physics final exam more than a week ago, and then I have been totally TOTALLY consumed by the Olympic events. beach volleyball, volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, you name it- I've been watching them nonstop. So addicted. It's not an excuse, but I will try try try to do a post tommorrow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Ones that Got Away (+ a time-sensitive tip on amazing fringe boots ending < 20 hrs at the end!)

9:30 pm *post update* the fringe boots listing (see end of post) ends in 30 minutes @10 PM EST !

Regulars know how much I adore Vintage-shopping on Ebay.

#1: it's one of a kind. any similar ones may be at the bottom of a dumpster or stuffed in some old nanny's closet.

#2: if it can hold up that long, it must be pretty decent quality.

#3: it is ideally good for the environment. [rather than production production production -- carbon footprint, etc etc-- the idea is that you're buying things that have already been around for a decade or more so less energy is spent in making new things]

#4: if you buy vintage leather goods, it's a great great alternative to fueling the problematic and needlessly cruel leather industry (please welcome knowledge! see this here)

BUT...just as #1 can be a fantastic thing, it can also be a terrible thing! If you miss out on a one-of-a-kind item, it's OVER! Girls like to mourn over boys. I think boys are complicated and not worth mourning over and I would rather mourn over The Ones That Got Away...and by that I mean fabulous fabulous one-of-a-kind vintage items.

It's just, sometimes a piece really resonates with you, you know? Like you feel like it kind of represents you in a way. Kind of like part of your identity. Like if someone were to think of you, you'd want them to think of you in that outfit. A certain style of shoes or pants can really just vibe with you and represent your personality or your taste to an ace.

Wow, now I'm sounding like a hybrid of new-agey materialism. It's just that I have thought and discussed about this before with other people and I think it's really important when we think what is probably one of the core reasons of why people shop.

It's just like if you have a favorite book or band and you think it represents you really well- it kind of holds a special place and makes up your individualism and so ends up being part of what makes up or at least supports your identity. Like I love "The Little Prince" and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou... Your taste is a big part of who you are. I'm sure many can attest to that.

But it's also not like "typecasting"--like if you deem yourself "punk" then you like all "punk" things or if your style is "boho" you don't like all "hippie" things. . . or at least I hope you throw some variety in there or you might just be one of those rare stereotypic stereotypes.

Example: I used to think Sixpence None the Richer was brilliant, but at the same time I thought Ani DiFranco is amazing, and I think Common (Common the hip-hop artist) puts out incredible material. One of the best movies I thought was Bowling for Columbine but at the same time I didn't like Million Dollar Baby or Crash (both Academy Award winners). One of my all-time favorites is Pygmalion, a true classic, I thought its remake My Fair Lady paled in comparison..but then again I really liked District B-13. [look it up-- very different. slightly violent dark french action movie]

In a way most of us are all kind of "eclectic" and that's what makes us feel so individualistic.

Anyway - to get back to where I started - there are some vintage pieces that you see and stick with you for a long time...especially if you failed in procuring them! Which is where this post comes in. I'm introducing you to my past vintage Heartbreakers.

Sometimes I can't afford to procure certain items that really do resonate with me but that's okay since I know there's many copies of them...but Vintage is totally a different story...especially when it's not impossible for me to afford it but I fail in getting it! Of course, part of being a creative and individual dresser is making do with what you have and wearing it in ways that do represent you, but that's a different story.

All these pieces I'm showing I think help define "my style", and would be integral parts in something called "Gloria's Wardrobe"...but alas none of them are actually mine! This list of past vintage heartbreaks will give a window into what I think the perfect examples of my taste and style are. Sometimes I can't really show what are totally "me" and what I would really really would put together if I had the ability to get certain pieces. These are those pieces! Those are the ones you keep thinking about again and again and think, "Why Didn't I get those?!" and keep doing frantic ebay searches every once in a while cause they haunt you so.

It's hard to know what you can't have, whether it be world peace
or the perfect boots you missed out on.

Vintage Heartbreakers- all courtesy of Ebay

Heartbreak #1: One of the Original Covets of Mine... Vintage FrontFlap I. Magnins

...a classic case of missing the end of auction time. And they ended up selling for $10! [groan] I actually posted this beautiful alternative a while back in The Beef W/ Leather Post. Simple yet unique.

Heartbreak #2: Next Came- The Perfect Vintage School Blazer...

...ended up being too $$$ for me...~$170...of course it was being sold by Nasty Gal Vintage which had a lot of fans so I did expect the bid to go that high... (sigh). I have yet to find one as perfect as this. Do you see the fit? It's fantastic.

Heartbreak #3: ...and Then I missed the auction on The Best Vintage Floral Minidress in the World...which ended up selling for $35.

...And Popped Back on Ebay...but THIS time, it was all the way in AUSTRALIA...

...And Of Course I got Outbid because I did not think I could afford it due to it's rising bid price and extravagant shipping cost. [silent screaming] I mourn for this dress often. This is one of the Most Perfect Florals I've ever seen...

Heartbreak #3 1/2: The Best Vintage Tutu In the World...

...which in the end I didn't bid on since I need to save money and I convinced myself it was an impractical whimsy. [proof I am My Own Worst Enemy]

Heartbreak #4: The Most Yummy Banana Colored Boots...

Actually it was not really my fault that I couldn't have these.. I was so IN LOVE with these- but they were not my size! They were 2 sizes too large! But I still think they're gorgeous to look at...and wish I could have it in size 8.5...too bad the seller didn't list a brand name...but then again it probably wouldn't matter since it's VINTAGE, aka won't find it ever again. (Vintage is a curse and a blessing. If you get it, it's a blessing. If you don't-- it's a curse.)

Heartbreak #5: I think this is what is causing Global Warming...

...actually, I did bid on this...but OF COURSE, the reserve price was actually like $220...(I only know because I asked later on). Did I mention it's vintage Thierry Mugler? It's so bright and covetable-looking...

Now...My Latest and Greatest MAJOR Heartbreak:

The Most Marvelous One-of-a-Kind Vintage Rosy-Mauve-Taupe Boots with Tiny Gold Buttons...

...This happened just YESTERDAY. [Hence, fueling this intense post] I was fuming inside when I realized I missed the auction time. Like when I went to check the webpage and I found out I missed it, my face was expressionless. Like real, inner fury. No emotion.

What happened was I reluctantly agreed to go to grab a bite to grab a bite at McDonalds (of all things!) with someone in my lab after work but I did it anyway, and when I came back, I realized I missed the end of the auction by 15 MINUTES. McDonalds! Never Again! McDonalds!!

It also did not help that it was ending 3 hours earlier than I originally thought it would. [It's hard to do math & calculate time differences at 2 in the morning the night before when you have a physics exam the next day]

Something Entertaining: My college friends and I have a mass email thing going
on to each other this summer and after I missed out on these I sent them all my
daily email. In it I explained what happened and at the end I wrote this:
"can someone please tell me : "Everything will be fine" "You'll find another one" "There are more fish out in the sea"
To which I would respond: "No it's not! I won't find another one! That was THE ONEEEEEEE."
... for me, missing out on a one-of-a-kind object is kind of like not being able to have the boy of your affections!"

I ache over all of them, but this was the latest heartache. It's really really hard to find good vintage boots. Especially banana and perfect rosy-mauve-taupe colored ones. (wikipedia shows examples of rose-taupe & mauve-taupe color)

screenshot via Wikipedia:

The Goodie Part

You didn't think I would leave this on a sad note after I've shown you all of those past heartbreakers, would you? There's a light at the end of the tunnel...although unfortunately not for me.

I have found the latest and greatest potential heartbreaker. bad for me, maybe not for you! I know it will be a heartbreaker for me because it is not in my size. alas! I think this vintage catch is one of the cutest boots I've seen in a while. And I don't think I'd be long and leggy enough to pull it off in any case.

Anyway, maybe one of you size 5-6 girls feel like this boot needs to be a part of your life? Better hurry ends in 20 hours! Link is Here. Seller is funkinjunkievintage.

(I did ask the seller who said it's an approximate 5-6 US Womans...the measurements make it look more like a 7-7.5...but *shrug*)

Specific Measurements-

Estimated Size: Length: 9"Width: 3"Heel: 2.5"Height: 8.5"Calf/Ankle Width: 8"