03 March 2010


A while back, I promised I'd explain my fondness for the purple/green color combination. It goes beyond the fact that in general, any two colors of a color triad look wonderful together: it has to do with a neurological condition called synesthesia.

Synesthesia is, simply, a blending of the senses. Some people associate specific shapes or colors with numbers, or have auditory reactions to visual phenomena such as movement.

I have a very mild case: I smell in color.

I get all my perfumes from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, an independent company in California. I was introduced to them when my fabulous cousin, whose sense of style exceeds my own, gave me a vial of a perfume called The Apothecary. It's an herbal blend with notes of fig, and smells - you guessed it - green and purple. I had never thought to pair those two together!

I get a lot of inspiration for color combos from my perfumes. Of course, there's a downside to it too: I can't stand to go out of the house in an outfit that clashes with my scent. If I pick the outfit first, I have to be really sure I like it before I put the perfume on.

Today's outfit is inspired by a limited-edition perfume made to commemorate a full lunar eclipse called Penumbra: its description reads, "Rich purple musk, moonflower, red sandalwood, black amber, oakmoss, copal, lavender, neroli, tobacco, and pomegranate."

It smells burgundy, purple, and black:

burgundy, blcak, pink, purple, dress, cardigan, hood, scarf as belt, sweater tights, sandals, tree pendant, dangle earrings
Dress: Ann Taylor Loft
Cardigan and scarf used as belt: depth of the closet
Sweater tights: Marshall's
Shoes: John Fluevog, Summertime family (forget the style name)
Dichroic glass tree pendant: Jenn Feldman Glass
Pink, purple and pearl drop earrings: gift from parents, bought somewhere in Europe
It's also due in part to the academichic Fashion 101: Cardigans unit that I'm auditing. I've layered this cardigan over a dress before (it feels like walking around in my bathrobe all day!), but I'd forgotten how nice a pairing it was until I saw E. do something similar. I think the soft, drapey lines of the dress and scarf are balanced nicely by the edgy platform and studs of the shoes. And yes, there's still plenty of snow on the ground and I'm wearing sandals. I love my boots, but I feel like I've been wearing the same four pairs of shoes forever

I can't wear sandals in the snow without thinking of iki. Iki is one of those complex, difficult-to-translate Japanese words: it indicates an ephemeral, transcendent aesthetic ideal, straightforward yet elegant, spontaneous and unselfconscious. Like many Japanese aesthetic concepts, it's easier, coming from a European-based culture, to understand it through poetry and visual images. One of the canonical images of iki is an elegant woman wearing geta (platform thong sandals) in the snow.  I'm not hard-core enough to wear sandals without thick, warm tights, even though today was warm and sunny... for early March.

 What non-sartorial inspirations fuel your outfits? How do you blend cultural influences in your dress? What do you think about sandals or open-toed shoes in winter, tights or no?

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