Leather on Leather

windblown hair and leather jacket via leather on leather | covetous creatures

leather on leather | covetous creatures

black leather jacket, allsaints leather dress, red lips & windblown hair via leather on leather | covetous creatures

leather jacket, leather dress, sneaker wedges via leather on leather | covetous creatures

leather dress, leather jacket, leather bag via leather on leather | covetous creatures
[AllSaints leather dress (similar), Pins and Needles faux leather jacket from Urban Outfitters (*very* similar), Xhilaration sneaker wedges, Nasty Gal bag]

“I thought that my life would suddenly improve if I got a leather jacket…
And I was literally 100% totally right.”

You’ve probably seen this floating around Pinterest. The artist, Séamus Gallagher, is on to something. A good leather jacket – even faux – is like social armor. Trust me, it’s my standby work week trick. Throw one on over my conservative office dress at the end of a long day, and I’m suddenly confident, in charge, and ready to go anywhere. Throw it on over a leather dress when the weekend is young, and I am unstoppable.

The dress was a miraculous AllSaints sale find, and it’s quite the statement piece. Skin tight and one-shouldered, it’s likely capable of changing a few lives on its own. While it could be a bit much for casual wear, the leather jacket tempered that and added versatility. Sneakers and ripped tights further dressed things down, and paired nicely with the red lip and perfectly mussed hair. I’m not sure the leather on leather ensemble changed the course of my weekend, but I did have an enjoyable evening out with friends.

Anyway, you know what else will make your life 100% totally better? Checking out the illustrations and witty social commentary from Séamus Gallagher on his Tumblr.*
*Side note: I’ve been seeing his images for months and it still took, like, a full 3 minutes for me to find the source – and I’m a good Googler!

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I Come From the Water

summer to fall transitional outfit in flowered shorts, knee socks and sweater

summer to fall transitional outfit in flowered shorts, knee socks and sweater

mandy coon ginny bunny bag

summer to fall transitional outfit in flowered shorts, knee socks and sweater
[Brandy Melville tank and sweater, … shorts (similar here and here) Vagabond Flax flatforms (similar), Mandy Coon bunny bag]

Seems like a dark title for such a bright post, but it was the first thing that popped into my head. (Can we talk about The Toadies for a second? Gregor and I saw them perform a few years ago, because yes, they still tour. When Possum Kingdom came on, the couple in front of us started squealing excitedly. They mouthed the words to each other like it was some sort of love song. Clearly the meaning was lost on them. But now I’m off track before I’ve even begun…)

Back to the water. For 3 years now we’ve lived within view of the Charles River and the Esplanade, but I think this summer was the first time we’ve taken full advantage. We walked, we ran (crazy, right?), we wandered. We picnicked on the docks and passed a frisbee in the grass (crazier still). We even went out on the water in pedal boats on a whim. We watched movies at the Hatch Shell on Friday nights and listened to Philharmonic performances during the week. We ate ice cream (for me) and hot dogs (for Gregor) from the newly restored cafe.

Our apartment has great big windows, but a view of neither the sky nor the ground – just glimpses into other windows. What a tease! Sometimes I get claustrophobic and a little stir crazy in here, but the proximity to the water and all it has to offer almost makes up for all that.

Today may officially be the first day of fall, and one by one the attractions on the Esplanade are closing for the season, but there are still a few good weeks left. I plan to spend as much time as possible enjoying the Charles River views before frost sets in and condemns the city to months of hibernation.

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Hair How To: With A Twist

covetous creatures 90s inspired twist hair tutorial

Recently a friend and I were discussing the current 90s revival. I’m clearly enjoying it – but, she joked, I have been into the 90s for as long as she’s known me. For a moment I had a terrifying image in my head of those people in wide collars and bad polyester suits who never quite grew out of the 70s. I made her promise to intervene if it ever came to that.

I admit I’m taking full advantage of the styles I was neither old enough nor cool enough (ok, mostly the latter) to wear the first time around, but I think I’m still in safe territory. The key is to take inspiration and make it modern.

See, for example, this hairstyle. It is equally inspired by the hair twists well-known at any high school dance in the late 90s, often accompanied by miniature butterfly clips, and by Juliette Lewis’s Oscars appearance in 1992, accompanied by Brad Pitt. This updated version uses larger, looser sections of hair for a softer, more feminine style.

The twisting technique is quick and easy compared to traditional braiding, with the same effect. And while this particular look may not be suited for your every day wear, once you get the rhythm down, you can substitute twists in a variety of french braided styles (tada!). If you follow my Instagram at all, you know this has been my go-to summer hair trick. It’s a lifesaver for growing out bangs, and about 50% of the time it works out so that I have perfectly messy waves for day two.

Let’s get started!

covetous creatures | 90s inspired twist hair tutorial step 1

covetous creatures | 90s inspired twist hair tutorial step 2

covetous creatures | 90s inspired twist hair tutorial step 3

covetous creatures | 90s inspired twist hair tutorial step 4

covetous creatures | 90s inspired twist hair tutorial steps 5 and 6

covetous creatures | 90s inspired twist hair tutorial step 7

covetous creatures | 90s inspired twist hair tutorial step 8

covetous creatures | 90s inspired twist hair tutorial: voila!
[Photography by Dirk Diegel at Bradley & Diegel Salon with assistance from Maria Nieves and Greg Parker]

I like to work with my hair air-dried about 75%. (I wouldn’t typically recommend freshly washed hair for up styling, but these twists are simple and tight enough that it works.) To keep the look soft, I don’t use any styling product, but I do moisten my hands with water as I go. It makes it easier to grip the hair and keeps short ends like bangs and layers from looking overly spiky.

Step 1
Start with hair parted about 1 inch off center. Continue the part down the back of your head, and secure all hair on that side out of the way with a clip or elastic. Make another part and secure hair on the opposite side, leaving just the center mohawk section of hair to work with.

Step 2
Separate two strands from the front of this section, and begin twisting them around each other, picking up a little hair with each twist. You can hold the two sections in once hand while using the other to separate a piece and add it to the back – then twist and repeat. Keep your hands close to your scalp, but don’t worry about making it too perfect.

Step 3
Continue twisting to the center back of your head. Secure with bobby pins, pinning up and into the twists and slightly across from either side until it feels set in place.

Step 4
Now you can fine-tune the look. Pull slightly at the front to soften. Pull and tuck any uneven sections. A little water should fix any ends that are sticking out. If you loosen too much or have any major bumps and lumps, tuck hair into the twist and use bobby pins to secure and pin down.

Step 5
Separate a similarly sized section to one side, securing the rest of your hair out of the way. Repeat the technique, twisting in an upward direction (taking hair from the lower part over and around) to the center back of your head. Secure with bobby pins.

Step 6
Twist the remaining hair on that side, picking up from your hairline and continuing to the center back of your head. It’s ok to leave out a few wispy pieces around your hairline.

Step 7
Repeat Steps 5 and 6 on the opposite side.

Step 8
Pull remaining hair into a loose, messy bun. Since my ends lack the volume for a proper bun, I wrapped sections around my fingers and pinned at random. For a slightly neater look (like in the last post), tie hair into a ponytail with an elastic then wrap the length upward around fingers, forming a roll, and pin loosely into place. Tap and shake gently until any loose pieces have fallen (usually a quarter to half of the hair), then roll those downward around fingers and pin. Pull and fan hair, and secure with additional pins.

You’re done. Enjoy!

As I mentioned, perfect day two waves are possible but unreliable – if you count on them, they never come out quite right. I get the best results by removing all pins and elastics before bed but waiting until the next morning to shake out the twists. What doesn’t work on its own can usually be saved by taking a curling wand to a few strategic strands.

covetous creatures 90s inspired twist hair tutorial - full length

Special thanks to Dirk, Maria, and Gregor (of course) at Bradley & Diegel Salon for helping me shoot this!

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We Are The Weirdos, Mister

craft-inspired all black h&m outfit sitting on the sidewalk

schoolgirl goth leaning against the wall

90s twisty cornrow hairstyle and snake ear cuff

goth school girl look inspired by the craft

down and out - the craft-inspired look
[H&M cardigan and dress (available online in a print only), Vagabond Flax flatforms (on sale here and here), snake ear cuff from eBay (many similar options)]

It’s official. We are past Labor Day and transitioning toward early fall. Soon enough I’ll be embracing heavy knits and rekindling my annual infatuation with plaid, but for now the days are still warm. Until the air turns from humid to crisp, I’m hanging on to hopes of late summer.

For this between season, I’ve been drawing inspiration from The Craft – one part witchery, one part school girl, all viewed through a 90s pop culture lens. Knee socks and cardigans provide just enough warmth on cooler evenings, while deep red lips and darker accessories keep the look from being too sweet.

Then there’s the perfect little black sundress. With wedding expenses lurking, even $20 at H&M was a splurge. However, after wearing this dress every day for that first week (ok, not every day, but shamefully close), Gregor convinced me it was worth it to buy duplicates.

I predict they have at least a month left of heavy rotation, and with proper tights and sweaters, the addition of a leather jacket and slouchy cap, they might go on well into winter. Of course, the goth schoolgirl vibe will be lost under all those layers, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

There are a few weeks left of summer, and I plan to enjoy them as a 90s teenage witch – and I don’t mean that other one with the, ahem, colorful fashion taste.

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Going to the Chapel

going to the chapel insta collage
dropping fleurs
flowers and feets
playing it cool

If only I were a much cooler bride-to-be… If I were more laid back, less sentimental… If only I had been wiser to what I know now to be inexorable truths of this wedding business… It’s amazing how quickly the idea of a simple, intimate gathering of family and close friends slips through your grasp the moment you begin planning.

I didn’t set out to make a wedding-related post. Gregor and I had spent an afternoon in the park with a friend before walking her to work at a nearby hotel. We arrived just as they were breaking down the ballroom from the previous night’s affair. Before a cart overflowing with floral arrangements was wheeled off to the trash, she offered us our pick. I grabbed as many as my arms could hold without so much as making a dent in the array.

It’s a funny thing… The moment I had a bouquet – even the haphazard pile of discarded flowers in my arms – the casual white dress I’d worn all day was transformed into something vaguely bridal. Our walk home felt like an awkward wedding procession. People stopped and stared as we made our way through the city, sunglasses on, buried under bundles of roses and baby’s breath, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

We filled every vase and decorative bowl in the apartment, and still had excess to play. Once I secured a branch of blossoms to the top of my head and picked up the down-sized remains of the bouquet, my look went from vaguely bridal to perfectly so – at least in a relaxed, modern sense. Had it not been a Sunday, had proper paperwork been filed, had plans not already been set in motion, and especially had I been so much cooler, we might have gone straight to City Hall. Instead we opted for a few photos.

As much as the price tags give me heart palpitations, Greg and I are enjoying this process. Maybe we won’t have our first choice in everything… Challenges will arise, and somewhere along the lines things are bound to go wrong. It’s just one night, one celebration. The next day the food will be gone, decorations taken down, flowers put out with the trash – but we will be married, facing our next big adventures together. It makes it easy to stay calm about minor details.

To be honest, I’m far more nervous about this weekend, when both sets of parents will be visiting to meet for the first time – something we’ve somehow avoided for 9 years! Wish us luck!

eauty and destruction
smelling roses and modern bridal exasperation

rmellow urban city hall bride[ASOS dress, sunglasses, bag, and shoes]

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When Shoes Speak Louder Than Words…

cheerleader skirt and crop top
white and grey outfit, bunny bag, neapolitan hairs
white and grey outfit

Let’s start with the positive. I’ve been growing out my hair for about a year (looking for a fresh start), and had been avoiding all color play because I wasn’t sure how it would look with 6-inch roots. Well, I finally caved and washed in a hint of pastel for a few days. The results were like Neapolitan ice cream, with soft strawberry ends and a mix of vanilla highlights and natural browns on top, and confirmed my theory that pink hair to any degree can make me ridiculously happy.

I’m also braving the oh-so-scary bare midriff territory – and finding it much less intimidating with barely cropped tops and higher waist bottoms. An extra layer of coverage – something as minimal as a vest – comes in handy in case my plans for the day involve sitting down or otherwise bending in unflattering ways. No one needs to see that.

In fact, I was generally quite happy with this outfit…

white and grey outfit, playing with hair
white and grey outfit, big shoes[American Apparel crop top, ASOS skater skirt, Forever 21 vest, Mandy Coon bunny bag, UNIF Hellbound boots]

The point of question is in the footwear. Now, I don’t care that people might find them vulgar, unsophisticated, or a bit cliché. I’ve already expressed my love for giant shoes. I am addicted to the sense of authority and power that comes with sauntering around at a towering 5’6″. On a day-to-day basis I put my shoes to work, and when I am walking two miles over brick and cobblestone, likely running late on top of it, I really can’t be bothered by the silly opinion that a single-soled pump would create a more streamlined look. Big shoes are my thing.

With their extra-large platform and sturdy heel, this pair has been my standby; so I’m used to smiling politely at comments from strangers and pretending not to notice the stares or entirely unsubtle attempts at sneaking pictures. On this particular day, however, things felt more hostile and aggressive – from hotel doormen who made no attempt to hide their snickering whispers, to construction workers expecting me to stop and entertain their stories of hair metal bands. When a strung-out homeless woman tried to pick a fight because it was easy to single me out from the crowd as “that bitch in those damn shoes,” it was the final straw.

I’m quiet and awkwardly shy, and the way I present myself often goes directly against this nature. I don’t mind so much if my appearance speaks more loudly than I do; but when a single piece makes such a statement that it drowns me out entirely, it deserves consideration.

No, I’m not about to retire the shoes, but the experience did bring on some reflection about who we dress for and why. How much do you let the reactions of strangers affect your fashion choices?

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black cheap monday swing
playing with my hair again
black cheap monday walk
black cheap monday yuke dress and dkny wrap sweater[Cheap Monday dress, DKNY wrap sweater (similar)]

The dreary day we’re having seems like the perfect chance to sneak in a quick post from a lapse in my lighter wear. I have a habit of dressing to mimic the weather. When the sky is all clear and bright, I want clothing that is light and airy in the palest of pale shades. As soon as it turns grey and cold, I reach for head to toe charcoals and blacks. Whatever the color, I do always have a weakness for panels of sheer fabric, silhouettes that float and move like jellyfish, and anything that wraps and drapes.

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