Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter Round-up: Street Style Favorites

As 2012 draws to a close, I want to thank all of you for making my first year as a blogger fun and rewarding. Enjoy a smattering of winter inspiration from my perennial favorites The Sartorialist, Vanessa Jackman, and!









Wishing you a memorable New Year’s Eve and a prosperous, stylish 2013!

--Love, The Femme Fatall

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DIY: White Collar Crimes

Next up in my series of so-easy-a-caveman-can-do-it DIY projects, I bring you the shirt collar necklace, shamelessly pilfered from Tiburrr.

What you’ll need:

  • scissors
  • a collared shirt large enough for you to comfortably close its top button
  • a seam ripper & needle and thread (if your shirt has a button-down collar)

Carefully cut the collar free, just below the seam that connects it to the rest of the shirt.


If yours is a button-down collar, remove the little corner buttons with a seam ripper and then sew them over their buttonholes—or wherever else on the collar you like.



Trim off any fraying threads along the collar’s bottom edge, put it on, and be instantly more dapper.


If you feel the need for a PhotOle_mustacheto go with, by all means.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Event: IndieMart, Potrero Hill

I’m all about this rash of DIY neighborhood crafts fairs, and IndieMart is among the best. I’ve said it before—seeing others making things not only helps me appreciate the breadth of creativity, it lets me meet and spotlight makers doing seriously clever things.

Like Tiburrr with her collar necklaces, tie turbans, and bowtie hair pins. I may or may not be shamelessly ripping one of these off for an upcoming project…



And Veronika of Recherche with the most badass use for your spare American flag:


Choose-your-own terrarium adventures are also turning up everywhere. Pick your plants, select your stones, add soil, and voila! Build it in the coffee pot, vase, or booze bottle of your dreams (or basement).


Not to mention the other uses you could put those bottles to…


Pour one out for the creators.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fashion: The Cashmere Mafia

It all started when my co-worker noticed a hole in the elbow of his blue cashmere sweater. I love cashmere (who doesn’t?), and it got me thinking about where he might find a replacement at a decent price if it couldn’t be repaired.

His pull-over is from Costco, but they aren’t offering that style again this season: a simple, navy Crew neck in 100% cashmere. I found myself Googling madly, and as I fell down the rabbit hole I realized that markups on high-end clothing are, if anything, even worse for men than they are for women.

Macy’s: $195

Macys Sweater copy

J Crew: $225 for their “special” blend

J Crew Sweater copy

Burberry Brit: $350 for the sweater + a dose of pretentious ad copy

Burberry Sweater copy

Margiela via Neiman Marcus: $995 for a designer name and leather elbow patches to prevent those pesky holes

Margiela Neiman Marcus Sweater copy

Needless to say, my fellow editor won’t be throwing a grand at a new jumper, but I also think $200, even for luxe fabric, is a lot to spend. I realize that retail markups are essential to cover labor, marketing, design, and other costs for clothing makers, but from the perspective of a consumer looking for a relatively basic item, an average price of $440 for a sweater sounds obscene.

A lot of guys (the ones in my life included) don’t like buying second-hand or waiting and searching for deals on new items. Fear not! Ebay, Craigslist, BlueFly, and the local Thrift Town may just save you from the menswear mob.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DIY: Easy Button Earrings

Welcome to the simplest tutorial you’ll see all day (I guarantee!).

What you’ll need:

  • a pair of small, matching buttons
  • super glue
  • flat pad earring posts with backs (I got mine here for $2)


Cover the entire round surface of one earring post with super glue. Place a button flat against the post, and hold it in place for a minute or two while the glue solidifies.

glue me

Then, prop the earring up and let it dry over night.




The Femme

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

{Vintage} Fashion: What, We Worry?

To bid a fond farewell to their blow-out exhibition “What, Me Worry? 60 Years of Mad,” the Cartoon Art Museum (CAM) here in SF hosted a MADison Avenue soiree on September 6, celebrating both the satire and cynicism of Mad Magazine and the iconic fashion of Mad Men. Megan and I met up with some of our former VIA magazine cohorts for a night of live music, MADhattans, and custom caricatures by local cartoonists.



And the 50s fashions were on full display…




The CAM did an incredible job bringing together work spanning Mad’s six decades—from black-and-white Archie comics to full-color spreads of Daniel Craig. Alfred E. Neuman graced the walls alongside the Avengers and character designs from ParaNorman. That takes mad moxie!

“The skeptical generation of kids it shaped in the 1950s is the same generation that, in the 1960s, opposed a war and didn't feel bad when the United States lost for the first time and in the 1970s helped turn out an Administration and didn't feel bad about that either...Mad's consciousness of itself, as trash, as comic book, as enemy of parents and teachers, even as money-making enterprise, thrilled kids.” –Tony Hiss & Jeff Lewis, 1977

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fashion: Modeling for a Master


My friend Lauren Kanegawa (who took the lovely Mad Men-style shots of me back in July) just finished her capstone project in photography, focusing on intimate boudoir portraiture. Lauren’s commitment to making women of all races, heights, and body types feel beautiful is what attracted me to the project and what makes her portfolio so compelling.



I was nervous at first about wearing lingerie for the shoot, but when all was said and done and I got to see the photos in print, I was speechless. She asked each of her boudoir subjects to write a few sentences about how we reacted to the pictures. I scrawled, in my elementary school cursive:

“I feel confident, beautiful, bright, timeless…This is how I want to be seen.”



Thanks again Lauren for your incredible work.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rant & Rave: Never 21

This is my first and (hopefully) last virtual rant. I try not to use my blog as a soapbox, but if I’m giving shopping advice, I need to toss in some real talk.

I hate Forever 21 with a passion I usually reserve for double-parkers and people who wear acid-washed onesies. I avoid this place like the plague for two reasons. (1) Until recently, they didn’t carry “plus sizes,” which in 21 terms means anything above a large. Their “large,” by the way, is about an 8/10. (2) Forever 21 is cheap in every sense of the word (see: acid washed onesies). Yes, their merchandise is inexpensive, but that’s because it’s poorly made—mislabeled sizes, broken buckles, ripped seams, you name it.



But the other day I had a genuine shoe emergency. My sandals broke on my way home from work and I wasn’t about to get on a MUNI train barefoot. The closest store was Forever 21, so I scrounged around and came up with one of their few pairs of size 10 sandals. I waited in line, paid my $12, and went to put on the shoes and head home.

Unfortunately, whichever poor child laborer they had punching the holes in their sandal straps had fallen asleep as his post. The first three holes weren’t fully punched, so I couldn’t buckle the right shoe. I tried to push the buckle through one of the indentations, but it broke to pieces in my hand. I tried to find another pair in my size: no dice. In fact, I checked every rack on every floor of the store looking for another pair of sandals that fit. I managed to find one, but it cost twice as much.


$11.80 worth of pure bull---t

I explained the situation to the sales girl (including my dire, MUNI-in-bare feet situation). She informed me that not only could she not discount the replacement sandals, she also couldn’t void the charges for the previous pair because I’d paid with my debit card.

So, an hour later, angry and still barefoot, I took their gift card for $12 and walked to a nearby Forever 21 where I found the same pair of sandals I’d originally bought. I waited in line again and discovered another little Forever 21 quirk: they cost $2 more there than they had down the street.

Obviously, that was my last Forever 21 purchase. Don’t be tempted by their prices! You’ll get so much more than you’ve paid for.


Maxi dress designed by Foley + Corinna and its Forever 21 "version" - courtesy of

P.S.: In case the child laborer link didn’t get your attention, here’s the Business Insider expose about Forever 21’s labor practices and intellectual property violations. And a great take on the topic by SHEI Magazine. Seriously, read them.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heroine: Michelle Obama

My lefty views are no secret, but I can’t imagine how anyone could’ve watched first lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention and not been deeply moved.

“If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire, if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores, if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote, if a generation could defeat a depression and define greatness for all time, if a young preacher could lift us to the mountain top with his righteous dream, and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love, then surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American dream.”

In addition to being an eloquent speaker and champion of children’s fitness and veterans’ employment, Mrs. Obama, at 5’ 11”, is also tied with Eleanor Roosevelt for tallest first lady in U.S. history. (Barack is in a three-way tie for fifth tallest U.S. President at 6’1”.)

Though her approval rating is sky-high—66%, according to Gallup—the first lady is not immune to criticism, especially for her looks. HuffPo Style made slideshows about how Mrs. Obama and the French first lady—former model Carla Bruni-Sarkozy—often wear flats for public appearances. (Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy is 4 inches taller than her husband, who’s a mere 5’5”.)


He’s trying so hard.

The women who commented on those pieces weighed in on the first-ladies-in-flats debate. Some said good on the first ladies for choosing comfortable footwear, while others said that heels, and only heels, are appropriate with that designer frock.

Some said that the first ladies should be able to wear heels if they damn well please, without worrying about dwarfing their husbands, while others said that the women should play down their heights to avoid making their husbands appear weak on the global stage.

Tall wives just can’t win.


But one thing Michelle Obama is consistently complemented on is her healthy, toned physique. Her biceps alone have inspired a legion of fitness videos and magazine covers. In addition to being a great progressive role-model, she’s helping inspire me to eat healthier and get fit. Another success for Obamacare?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

DIY: To ∞ and Beyond!

At Unique SF back in July, Aimee of SwellMayde (one of the best DIY blogs out there) hosted a workshop in crafting wrap bracelets with cord and embroidery thread. I decided to try mayking them myself with leather and a few embellishments...

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A piece of leather cord long enough to go around your wrist twice
  • Three jump rings
  • A lobster-claw clasp
  • Masking tape
  • Embroidery thread
  • (Optional) a bead or charm for decoration

First, thread all three jump rings onto the leather cord—the first one by itself, the second one with the lobster claw clasp attached, and the third (optional) one with your bead or charm attached. Tape the ends of the cord together with masking tape.


Then, pinch the middle of the bracelet together, with the ring by itself on one side, the ring with the clasp on the other side, and the ring with the bead in the center, like so:


Cut a long piece of embroidery thread and start wrapping it around both sides of the bracelet, covering the masking tape. Be sure to leave a 3-4 inch tail of thread when you start the wrap.


When you get to the center of the masking tape, where your bead is, just keep wrapping. Don’t worry, the tape won’t show underneath. Here’s a close-up of the wrap in progress:


Once you’ve covered all the masking tape with embroidery thread, knot the end of the thread together with the tail you left on the other side, and trim off the excess. I recommend putting a dab of craft glue on the knot to keep it from coming untied.


The final shape is a figure eight, like the symbol for infinity ∞. When you wrap the bracelet around your wrist and clasp it, it should look like this:


With one of my new rings