I adore the star motif in Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2011 collection. I have always loved a star motif. If I were to get a tattoo, it would be some sort of star. I have a scarf purchased at Target (I believe the brand is Converse) that’s black with a white star pattern. So I really fell in love in particular with the skirt above. Despite my star love, when I saw the motif was a theme throughout the entire collection, even I might have thought they went to far if it weren’t for boyish looks with boxy jackets, suspenders and ties slated after each starry feminine look. I also love the strap-on bags; they would have been perfect for my bagless blogger experiment! Check out the entire Dolce & Gabbana collection here.
Images via Dolce & Gabbana.
On my final day of New York Fashion Week Fall 2011, I wasn’t completely bagless: there were plenty under my eyes. I was exhausted (by copious fashion shows), beaten down (by platforms), and bruised, (literally, from trying to walk through the subway turnstile when my card hadn’t registered). I was tired of being cold, so I threw on just about everything left in my suitcase: T by Alexander Wang T-shirt dress, Richard Chai blazer (thank you Shadin!) Weston Wear fur vest, Alice and Olivia leggings, Jeffrey Campbell 99 shoes, American Apparel cape over the whole shebang. I had lots of pockets in my jacket and cape. And I had just one show to attend, then I was off to visit our friend Dylan Ratigan at MSNBC, then to the airport. So while I was bagless for the first part of the day, I was reunited with all of my luggage, which we had stored at my husband’s office in Celsea, later in the day. It was liberating to have access to all of my stuff: computer, iPhone, chargers, press materials, magazines, make-up, a change of shoes, an extra sweater, all in one place. There is comfort in having all your crap with you, but there’s discomfort and a dearth of chicness in carrying it on your person. This experiment has made it clear that best of both worlds is to have the luxury of someone else keeping track of your things, a la a Paris Vogue editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt, the inspiration for this experiment. I’m imagining an assistant to keep track or your invitations and other paperwork and a car in which to stow your computer, a change of shoes, a coat and perhaps a make-up kit. Until that luxury is mine, I believe I’ll have to find a solution to chicness other than going bagless. I’m on board with Alt’s predecessor Carine Roitfeld’s comment in New York Magazine about handbags: “I do not like handbags. I do not wear handbags It is not a nice look.” But a girl without a Sherpa has to put her stuff someplace, otherwise things get lost and broken.
While perusing Jezebel recently, I found a laptop case from Topshop that I think might be a good choice for next fashion week. It’s clean, simple, functional, inexpensive, will fit my Macbook air and maybe a couple magazines, and I love the look. What do you think?
On day six of New York Fashion Week, this blagless blogger (an experiment inspired by the chicly bagless Emmanuelle Alt) was feeling a might challenged. We had lugged our luggage to a second friend’s apartment so as to not wear out our welcome at any one friend’s abode. We were still commuting from Brooklyn which was a new experience for us. We had stood in snaking lines and hustled from uptown to downtown countless times. So today I broke out my comfy (and quite man-repellent) Hayden Harnett Denmare trousers which featured large pockets. I stashed my lipstick in one and tucked my press pass in the other. I wore my somewhat reasonably-heeled Jeffrey Campbell 99s, a striped tee, and my white vintage fur (in the photo I’m back at the Red Rooster). I was feeling pretty sassy as I navigated the subway and made it to my first show, the Rachel Roy presentation, which began at 9:30 am. As I entered I saw Andre Leon Talley and Jennifer Carpenter from Dexter. I spotted her earlier chatting with Ms. Roy wearing gorgeous-looking navy-blue pants and matching top, bud couldn’t get a clear shot. By the time I sought her out again, she was on her way out and had put on her coat. I half expected her to cuss me out (a la Deb) when I asked her for a photo, but she was exceedingly nice. “I’m not wearing her clothes anymore,” she said. So I told her I was a big fan of Dexter, and she let me take a photo wearing her warm wooly coat. Love her.
After Rachel Roy, I ran over to the Badgley Mischka runway show, which was seriously and unsurprisingly beautiful. Following that, I unhappily realized I had 5 hours to kill until the Tibi show. I collected The Daily and some other periodicals and headed for the Empire Hotel and began to write this blog post on my iPhone. I wished very much that I had brought my computer. Even with my new prescription, my eyes could barely focus enough to read the iPhone, plus I had a bit of a headache from drinking champagne at our Valentine’s dinner the previous night.
It occurred to me that one potential solution was an iPad. A small, minimalist, cross-body bag that accommodated the device (which would surely be easier on the eyes) plus a magazine or two would be perfect. It wouldn’t be a statement bag, but a minimalist, utilitarian, chic — shall we call it a pocketbook? Let’s.
But until then, I remain challenged by my handbaglessness. On day six I lost one lipstick and bent one pair of glasses (the case is too large for pockets leaving said glasses defenseless). And a bit too late, I inadvertently scored another free bag from the folks at Fashion Delivers, who were giving free blowouts and spray tans next door to the Empire. As I’ve suspected, I might have a failed experiment on my hands. Can we agree to call it a learning experience?
On day five of New York Fashion Week (Fall 2011) I broke out the Acnes again. My feet had been granted a two day rest from exceedingly high heels, and I was getting good at nabbing a seat even when my ticket said standing (No I didn’t steal someone else’s seat! It’s OK to fill in when the show is about to start. Swear.) I wore my cape, so I had plenty of pockets, which was essential for my experiment with going handbagless like Emmanuelle Alt. It was Valentine’s Day, and I wanted to wear my black lace Weston Wear dress to dinner that night (we had reservations at the Red Rooster, our friend Marcus Samuelsson‘s wonderful restaurant), which meant I had to wear it all day, which meant no additional pockets. I had shows nonstop and there was no time for trekking all the way back to Brooklyn where I was staying with friends. I left the computer at home, though I must admit not bringing it every day has hampered my productivity. Case in point, I’m writing this post from my iPhone but won’t have a photo to post with it until I get back to Brooklyn because my images are downloaded on my computer (and now, several days later, it’s finally seeing the light of day). Plus, typing on the iPhone is making me cross-eyed.
Perhaps someday I’ll achieve bagless blogger nirvana. Today is not that day. Things went fairly smoothly, but I carried around the folder provided on my seat at the Jen Kao show all day, which became a makeshift clutch. As I collected new materials I stuffed them inside it (at least it was black and kind of pretty, as folders go) until it could fit nothing else. I finally received a small pink bag at the Betsey Johnson show, into which I stuffed my wallet and whatever else would fit.
I suspect my handbag nirvana will be minimalist rather than bagless — especially if I don’t have the husband (or a driver or “people”) to rely on next fashion week, which is a fairly safe bet.
Day four of New York Fashion Week was a rough day for this blogger without a handbag (an experiment inspired by Emmanuelle Alt’s chic handbaglessness), but it was not for lack of a satchel. It was more about taking the subway from Brooklyn on a weekend when the subway was undergoing construction. We got off trains that were delayed, we got on trains going the wrong way, we waited a long time for trains going the right way, which turned into express trains and passed by our stop. In the end, We missed the two fashion shows we’d intended to attend that day.
We drowned our sorrows in Cuban food on the Upper West Side. Plantains, plus my dear husband, who again was carrying the camera (though I left the computer at home), made it all tolerable. Later we stopped by Lincoln Center to get a fashion fix, and wound up with a standing ticket to the Cynthia Steffe runway show, where I ran into the adorable Marissa Goodman (photo TK) of Google’s Boutiques.com.
My outfit this day was problematic. I wanted to wear my long black skirt, but it was made from the type of cotton that would greedily collect hairs from my white vintage fur jacket. So I was left only with my navy blue wool cape, which paired woth the long skirt made me look as if I were wearing a habit. I chose to solve the problem by wearing only my wool cropped Urban Renewal blazer and borrow my excellent friend Kate’s elbow length knit gloves. Ditching the cape reduced the number of pockets available to me and created storage problems. I stuffed lipstick in my breast pocket, carried my card holder in my hand, and hung my camera around my neck (for which I forgot the battery. The stars were not alight for me this day). Still, I was prety thrilled with the outfit when I left the house, but when I see this photo (despite the fact that I’m wearing my favorite Bob Dylan t-shirt), I feel as if I might resemble Tiny Tim’s poor, beleaguered mother. What do you think?
On my third day of New York Fashion Week sans handbag (an experiment inspired by Emmanuelle Alt’s chic handbaglessness), my feet were still throbbing after wearing my acne hybrias the entire previous day — not the smartest choice on my busiest day of the week. I have no regrets though because now I can brag that I was photographed by Elle.com, Lucky, Facehunter, and Page Six. It remains to be seen whether any of them will use my photo — obsessive vanity searches have turned up nothing — but I digress. My feet were angry and I needed flats. Happily I brought along knee-high Dr. Martens for just such occasion.
When I purchased said combat-style boots, the thought crossed my mind that they may not necessarily be age-appropriate. And I swiftly decided that I did not care. I’d been coveting over-the-knee boots that laced up the front, but trying the on realized they’re not a flattering look for my American thighs. There was entirely too much mass created above the knee. But the docs stop short of my knee in a flattering manner. Age inappropriate or not, I dug them and bought them.
Emmanuelle Alt, my inspiration for this bagless blogger series, might never wear Docs. But much like her and her ilk, on this particular day I had “people,” or a person, anyway, to act as my Sherpa. My husband, bless his heart, offered to carry my laptop along with his own, plus the camera, in his backpack. He’s a keeper, no? I was free as a bird with walkable shoes, my lipstick, cell phone and cards tucked safely in the pockets of my cape.
The day got interesting when my husband began to complain that the bag was getting heavy, that he was hungry, and he did not want to discuss any of this with me. He was fatigued by his bag! Oh how the tables have turned! This seems to be evidence that carrying around a lot of crap can make us grumpy regardless of gender. And I finally learned what it was like to be on the other (a gajillion times better) side of that grumpiness.
On day two of New York Fashion Week I decided I needed to bring my laptop to Lincoln Center. Problem: To encourage my own compliance with my no handbag experiment (inspired by Emmanuelle Alt’s chic handbaglessness), I did not bring a bag with me in which to carry a laptop. I had envisioned using my phone for everything from taking photos to writing blog posts. However, typing on my iPhone was testing my patience (the spelling corrector changes NYFW to “nude,” which is kind of the opposite of fashion week, but I digress), and I wanted to upload and post photos from my big girl cameral rather than my camera phone. My only option for a stand-in laptop bag (technically not a handbag?) was my Shotwell shopping bag (there it is above looking a little worse for the wear), which I’d carried my lunch in for the cross-country flight. My laptop fit, albeit not super securely, and heck, there was even room for the camera, so I threw that in as well. The straps threatened to rip at the seems, but I told myself I had no choice. I was here for work and I needed my laptop.
Throughout the day, my Shotwell bag collected The Daily Front Row, some Tres Semme samples, water bottles, an ASOS catalog and lookbook, and various look lists from the shows I attended on day two. Hm, perhaps these are reasons why a handbag is sometimes essential? After all, even dudes carry briefcases. Is my experiment destined for failure?
I’m starting to think my husband and my earlier suspicions are correct: the handbagless life is not for for a regular woman like myself, but for a woman with a driver and “people” for schlepping their shit. Today, handbagless (and performing an experiment inspired by Emmanuelle Alt’s chic handbaglessness), I dropped my hat (luckily I located it in the lost and found), lost a lens cap, and because I wanted to collect some of the fashion periodicals on offer at Lincoln Center, have acquired the lovely yellow plastic DHL bag you see in the photo above (handily provided beside said periodicals).
So it seems that while a handbag can be a luxury item that declares one’s social ranking, not having one signals one’s elite status quietly but more emphatically. After just one day at fashion week attempting to do without a handbag, I’d recommend acquiring the status first before losing the handbag. Still, I haven’t given up! Day two, here I come.
It looks like not relying on a handbag is going to take some getting used to. Inspired by Emmanuelle Alt’s chic handbaglessness, I gave it a shot last weekend when Kate and I went to the Cat Power show. I wore my black skinny jeans, the Bob Dylan t-shirt I got by mail in 1992 for joining his fan club (all-time favorite item of clothing) and an Urban Renewal blazer I’d scored earlier that day. I’ve been uncharacteristically low key with jewelry lately and wore only my big blue Tre ring from Kirna Zabete. I was feeling smugly low-maintenance and carefree when I headed for the door and grabbed my new Hobo credit card/cell phone holder/keychain — supposedly the savior to my new, handbagless way of life. I had ignored my own advice about pockets being essential because I so wanted to wear my new blazer despite it’s lack of storage. In my mind, hanging the cards and keys from a belt loop (it has a handy hook) seemed like a perfectly good and practical option — until I actually did it and saw Schneider from One Day at a Time in the mirror. So I ran upstairs and tried to find a suitable pocketed jacket replacement, but I was too in love with my spanking new converted Sears Roebuck cropped, puffy-sleeved one. So I ran out the door, now late, with the Hobo contraption in hand. This resulted in Kate carrying it in her apparently necessary handbag all evening. Halfway through the show, when it was nice and dark, I attached it to my belt loop and was at peace for a moment with my similitude with Mr. Schneider. Rest assured it went back in Kate’s bag before the lights came up. I’m not sure how I’ll manage tomorrow, my first day navigating New York Fashion Week, without Kate or anyone else to carry my crap. But I have a college degree and a dozen years of tech and science writing under my belt. Reliance on a handbag will not break me.
With the news about Carine Roitfeld leaving Paris Vogue in January, the magazine’s fashion director, Emmanuelle Alt, has also been in the spotlight both as a possible replacement for Roitfeld and as a badass street fashion hero. The Internet is rife with photos of her coming and going from fashion shows in her trademark skinny jeans, leather pants and jackets, and killer boots. As my obsession grew, I noticed that something is always missing: a handbag. (I found a few photos of her carrying tiny bags circa 2006 — perhaps the bagless look evolved in recent years) She seems to typically carry a Blackberry with earbuds attached and an invitation. How liberating is it to imagine walking around without a bag filled with crap you don’t actually need weighing down your shoulder? It’s perhaps not a problem for someone who wears as little make up as she does, and she certainly has a car service at her disposal. But would it be possible for mere mortals who have to take the subway or park our own cars? Do you think you could? Perhaps I will try it out in February, when hopefully I’ll be emulating Emmanuelle in the above outfit during NYC’s fashion week. Note to self: purchase lottery tix tomorrow.