Category Archives: Fashion

The Bling Ring and the American Dream

A few months before its release date, I became thoroughly obsessed with The Bling Ring. You already know about this movie, right? It’s Sofia Coppola’s latest film, based on an actual story about a group of teens living in Calabasas, Calif. who decided to rob the houses of nearby celebrities. It turned out this was incredibly easy, since for some reason famous people NEVER lock their doors or turn on an alarm.

I remember hearing about the story when it happened a few years ago, but at the time I didn’t really look into it any further than any of the other celebrity gossip I read about on a daily basis. It wasn’t until I saw this video a few months ago that I realized I needed to know literally everything about the bling ring or the burglar bunch or whatever you want to call this “gang.”

That, my friends, is Alexis Neiers. When I saw this perfect, perfect video, I needed more. So I watched her short-lived 2010 reality television show, Pretty Wild in its entirety (it’s only nine episodes, so this took me a total of one evening). The show is Pretty Terrible. It’s about wannabe model Alexis, her younger sister Gabby, and Alexis’s friend/fake adopted sister/also aspiring model Tess Taylor. They’re all living with mother/former model/generally insane person Andrea Arlington-Dunne, who is ACTUALLY Amy Poehler’s character from Mean Girls (she’s not like a regular mom, she’s a cool mom) and she home schools the girls using the teachings of The Secret. Seriously.

Just a totally normal family.

Just a totally normal family (Alexis, Gabby, Tess and Andrea).

The absolute only reason why Pretty Wild is interesting is because, in the very first episode, Alexis is arrested for her involvement with the bling ring. She was preeeetty much caught on a security camera robbing Orlando Bloom’s house along with a few of the main bling ring kids. Alexis says she was black out drunk and didn’t know what was happening; the guy who told on her, Nick Prugo, says she knew exactly what was up.

After I finished watching Pretty Wild, I of course had to read the article that spurred the insane series of phone messages in the above clip. Written by Nancy Jo Sales, it’s called The Suspects Wore Louboutins, and while I already knew that Alexis speaks like an entitled valley girl, some of her quotes in the article are FASCINATING in their lack of self-awareness. My personal favourite is this gem:

“I’m a firm believer in Karma,” she said, “and I think this situation was attracted into my life because it was supposed to be a huge learning lesson for me to grow and expand as a spiritual human being. I see myself being like an Angelina Jolie,” she said, “but even stronger, pushing even harder for the universe and for peace and for the health of our planet.” She was sounding almost like a real celebrity. “God didn’t give me these talents and looks to just sit around being a model or being famous. I want to lead a huge charity organization. I want to lead a country, for all I know.”

the-bling-ring-nancy-jo-sales

I STILL felt like I needed to know more, and the movie wasn’t coming out for another month. Fortunately, Sales recently expanded on her original article and turned it into a book, which I devoured in a couple of days. Most of it is based on interviews with Nick and Alexis, and those conversations are used to expand on the backgrounds of all the kids involved, including supposed ring leader Rachel Lee.

When Nick and Rachel first met, they bonded over a shared love of fashion and celebrities. They started out committing petty crimes – stealing things from unlocked cars, shoplifting, doing drugs. Stupid things that stupid teenagers do because – have you met teenagers? They’re pretty stupid. Then things escalated. Nick and Rachel used gossip sites to find out when celebs like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Patridge were out of town. They looked up their addresses, showed up at their homes and, for the most part, walked right in through unlocked doors. They brought their friends with them, including Diana Tamayo and Courtney Ames. In addition to stealing millions of dollars worth of clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, drugs and straight up cash, they spent time hanging out in these houses, rifling through the possessions of these famous people, experiencing all the beautiful things they owned.

Rachel Lee and Nick Prugo, looking like super regular teens.

Rachel Lee and Nick Prugo, looking like super regular teens.

Obviously these crimes were completely wrong and inexcusable and, again, really, really stupid. But I think part of the reason the story is so captivating to me is because of how stupid the celebrities were, too. The bling ring members went back to Paris Hilton’s place close to 10 times – Paris had a key under her door mat, and at one point the kids took it with them; Paris had replaced it the next time they returned. She had no idea she had been robbed. Again, I realize that you cannot steal things from people, even when they have many, many things. But at the same time, there’s something absolutely fascinating about a theft where the victim has SO MUCH STUFF she doesn’t notice she’s been robbed multiple times.

This crime spree was about more than stealing things. If these kids just wanted to steal nice things, they could have committed much less high profile crimes. They were surrounded by rich people, but they didn’t target people who were rich; they targeted people who were rich and famous. And I can understand that, to some degree. For the most part, these kids were pretty well off, from reasonably affluent families, with parents who probably weren’t involved enough. Some of them had behavioural problems, or struggled at school. But there was this completely different lifestyle, a glamorous, beautiful world, and it wasn’t just in magazines or on TV, like it is for most of us. It was literally right around the corner.

There are probably still people who believe in the American Dream, or in some concept of it; the idea that you can be a good person who works hard your whole life, and you’ll be successful, you’ll be able to provide for yourself and your family. But mostly, that seems naive. Now, we’re cynical. Now we know that the economy can crash, maybe without warning, and maybe you’ll lose the things you worked for your whole life, even if you did the right things, even if you made the best choices you could.

And anyway, who wants to work hard their whole lives when there’s an easier option? Get on a reality show! Release a sex tape! Get plastic surgery! Have a baby! Marry someone famous! Get a divorce! Rinse and repeat! I’m not saying it’s actually easy to turn your entire life into some sort of brand; honestly it sounds horrendously unappealing to an introvert like me, but doesn’t it LOOK easy? If you look at someone like Paris Hilton or Audrina Patridge, it’s like, what are they actually famous for? Being rich? Being in the right place at the right time? If the kids in the bling ring had all the same stuff, if they hung out in all the same places, if they met all the same people, what was the difference between them and the celebrities they were obsessed with?

Oh, and I’m not saying the kids thought about all these things while they were committing the crimes. I’m just saying there’s a culture that created a kind of perfect storm. There’s a sense of blase entitlement that brought them together, that made them think it was OK to do the things that they did.

Emma Watson's California accent is EVERYTHING.

Emma Watson’s California accent is EVERYTHING.

The movie The Bling Ring finally came out on Friday, and I went to see it on opening night. I loved it just about as much as I thought I would. It’s a pretty accurate portrayal of the story as described in Sales’ article. Diana isn’t portrayed in it, and the characters based on Alexis and Tess play a bigger role than they likely did in real life. This is a good thing, because Emma Watson plays the Alexis character, and she was completely perfect. What I really liked about it was that Coppola uses a really detached style, not really casting judgment on the kids, but portrayed them using their own language and their own actions. I thought the film did a really good job of showing how nothing’s real for them until it’s been documented, until it’s been photographed and posted to Facebook, and how those photographs are taken repeatedly, from different angles even when nothing is really happening, and curated to create an idea of a life and a person who might not even really exist.

People who see the film without knowing the story might find it too far fetched, too ridiculous to be believed. It would be easy to dismiss the whole thing as vapid and pointless, but I think the point of the film IS that it’s vapid and pointless. That’s our culture, these are the people kids look up to, the internal lives they lead, the way they interact online, the way they’re tantalized by an unattainable lifestyle that seems so incredibly attainable.

It's actually kind of weird that EVERYONE doesn't have self-portrait pillows.

It’s actually kind of weird that EVERYONE doesn’t have self-portrait pillows.

There were also a lot of weird elements going on behind the scenes of the film. For example, one of the detectives in the bling ring case, Brett Goodkin, was involved as a technical advisor and even had a brief cameo. The problem is that he didn’t have permission from his superiors, and the court cases against most of the bling ring members were still ongoing at the time. Another weird thing is that Paris Hilton, who’s said she thinks “it’s absolutely disgusting what they did,” allowed filming for the movie to take place inside her actual house! Yep, those are her actual pillows with her face on them.

I guess my thesis is that I think the entire story of the bling ring, along with the subsequent article, book and film say a lot about this current moment and our celebrity and youth culture. These are concepts that might seem silly and unimportant, but I think they are things that are worth paying attention to. And if you look at other films released this year, trends start to appear. Actually you should just read A.O. Scott’s article on the topic, because he says it much better than I can.

And don’t forget Alexis Neiers’ chilling words – she really might lead a country some day, for all we know.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What to Wear: Power outfit

what to wear

I don’t know, guys, I’m feeling like a pretty big weirdo lately. That’s the excuse I’m going to use for this photo shoot, I guess. These weren’t even the weird ones. The weird ones involved me reenacting that scene at the beginning of The Lion King where Rafiki holds up Simba, except I was holding up an owl figurine? OK, sure. I’m not posting those ones. Maybe my POWER comes from being a giant weirdo.

Oh. Heyyyyyy.

Oh. Heyyyyyy.

So that happened. I liked the idea of this week’s power outfit theme, but I have to admit I felt bad choosing one outfit over the others. Because, you know, we all anthropomorphize our clothes and worry about hurting their feelings. In the end, I had to go with my absolute favourite tights, which I have had for about three years and have never stopped loving. One time, the premier of New Brunswick asked me where I bought them. People give me the best confused looks on the street when I wear them – sometimes they ask me if my legs are tattooed. This is the exact kind of weirded out attention I want!

This dress makes me feel like a figure skater.

This dress makes me feel like a figure skater.

And this dress is just the most comfortable thing I own, and I think it’s cute. It has a visible gold zipper on the back, I can wear it with literally anything, it’s pretty much the best. The shoes are new, but I can tell we’re going to have a beautiful relationship and I will wear them until they literally fall off my feet in tatters. Anyway, I feel good about wearing all of these things, and that’s my idea of a power outfit.

DSC_0084

SHOES!

I also love this snake watch a lot.

I also love this snake watch a lot.

Dress: H&M
Tights: Modcloth
Shoes: Ruche
Watch: Modcloth
Cardigan: Envy

Head over to Nicole’s blog to check out all the other power outfits!

Tagged , , ,

What to Wear: spring dress

what to wear

I had some pretty lofty blogging ambitions this week, but clearly none of them came to pass. Maybe next week? For now I bring you the spring dress edition of What to Wear.

All of these pictures came out kind of blurry, oops.

All of these pictures came out kind of blurry, oops.

That’s supposed to be my spring is in the air pose, I guess? Anyway, I got this dress recently, and I’m kind of obsessed with it. If only it had short sleeves, it would be completely perfect. I still love it though – it’s comfortable cotton, lined, fun print, knee-length – perfect. It’s available in a bunch of patterns, and I kind of want to own them all. Seriously, look at the pattern up close, SO CUTE!

DSC_0066

Airplanes!

And here are the earrings I’m wearing that you can’t actually see as usual.

DSC_0067

Dress: Too Much Fun Dress from Modcloth
Shoes: Target
Earrings: A gift from my mom

Head over to Nicole’s blog to check out everyone else’s spring dresses!

Tagged , ,

The end of tights season

A few days ago it was warm enough to go outside with bare legs. I guess this is mostly a good thing, it’s not like I’m a giant fan of cold weather or anything, but I always miss my tights during the summer. Whatever, that is a legitimate thing to think about!

tights1

I’m just going to post pictures of tights I own now.

 

You know how there is that stereotype about women being really obsessed with shoes? I am not like that. Heels hurt my feet! I can’t wear high boots because of my cursed cankles!

One time the premier of New Brunswick asked me where I bought these!

One time the premier of New Brunswick asked me where I bought these!

Anyway, everyone wears shoes. BORING! Not everyone wears super weird tights that apparently sometimes look like tattoos according to random strangers?

tights5

<3s

Soon I’m going to have to put all of my beautiful tights away in a drawer for a few months and my only way of Expressing Myself Through Fashion will be through my nails. The good news is, my sister got me an at-home gel nail kit thing for my birthday, so now my nails can look something like this all the time:

ZEBRA!

ZEBRA!

So at least all accessory hope is not lost.

Tagged , , , ,

Pretend you’ve got it together!

I know I keep writing about how I basically do nothing on the weekend and then I temporarily feel OK because during the week I feel all rundown and crazy, but I’m gonna do it again! This past weekend I went to my parents’ cottage after promising to go for weeks and then not going. It’s actually super nice once I’m there, but for some reason it’s hard for me to get up the momentum to drive a whole hour away to St. Andrews just to hang out on a couch and play Scrabble with my parents (I beat them twice; all my online Scrabble playing has paid off). I would like to post pictures of the cottage, but my parents are crazy afraid of the internet and they won’t let me take pictures of their stuff for some reason, so I’m going to have to wait until some day when I’m there without them or they go for a long walk without me or something. I did manage to take one picture of me in a nautical-inspired outfit, and you can at least see a glimpse of my mom’s homemade seashell decor that basically covers every square inch of the place.

IMG_20130504_153643

The best thing about the cottage is that I feel so drowsy when I’m there. I pretty much slept the entire time, so when I got home on Sunday I was feeling totally rested for the first time in a million years. It turns out that sleeping properly is a good way to feel like things are OK! I already knew that cleaning, a thing that I hate to do and will probably always hate to do, is another good way to feel like I’ve got it together. So I did that a bit when I got home. Also! Flowers!

Tulips!

Tulips!

A person who has flowers is totally stable and calm and not stressed, that is just a fact, obviously. And check out my adorable new owl vase – it was a birthday present from my friend Natalie. Love it!

Also, I cooked again. The good thing about cooking in a slow cooker is I can make a ton of food and then I have lunch for the whole week and then that’s another thing I don’t have to think about and I love not thinking about stuff! This time I made chicken meatballs using this recipe.

Yum!

Yum!

Once again I replaced turkey with chicken because I can never find turkey at the goddamn grocery store for some reason! Maybe I don’t completely have it together yet. I’ll know I’ve really made it when I successfully buy turkey, I guess.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

What to Wear: on a casual coffee date

what to wear

The theme of this week’s What to Wear is an outfit for a casual coffee date. This was way more stressful for me than it should have been! My thought process was like this: “OK, so I’m going on a coffee date, which means it’s a first date, because I don’t really like, drink coffee or hang out in coffee shops, but if I don’t know someone well, I’m a fan of meeting them in public during daylight hours to ensure he isn’t an axe murderer. So I want to be casual, but also this fictional person I’m going on this date with doesn’t really know me yet probably so I need to show my personality through my outfit (duh) so he isn’t like, ‘wait, this girl is super weird’ in like, two weeks.”

Um. Isn’t it super shocking that I’m single?

DSC_0047

Just being totally casual.

Anyway, I have actually worn this dress on a casual coffee date before because it’s cute, but also super comfortable and I wear it all the time. But of course, I need to wear patterned tights with it too. Otherwise HOW WILL ANYONE KNOW THAT I’M A QUIRKY AND SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE???

Ugh, my face looked stupid.

Ugh, my face looked stupid.

Tights & shoes.

Tights & shoes.

Dress: Pseudio
Tights: Modcloth
Cardigan: H&M
Shoes: Macy’s
Belt: Modcloth
Necklace: H&M

Wanna see what everyone else is wearing on their casual coffee dates? Head to Nicole’s blog to find out!

Tagged , , ,

Birthday suit

I have developed this really bad cold in the last two days, which is seriously impeding my ability to think or string sentences together. But my birthday was fun! I saw many of my friends and we went to one of my fave restaurants and had some drinks and went dancing. Also, I used some of my birthday money to buy a new outfit! It is not a dress; this is very unlike me.

Shirt: Envy
Jacket: Simons
Jeans: Winners
Necklace: Silver Daisy (local)
Shoes: Macy’s
Purse: Coach
Sunglasses: Modcloth

So proud of myself! It is exhausting putting together an outfit that is not a dress and a cardigan, I have no idea how people do it. Also, I now own coloured skinnies, whaaat? I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Tagged , , , ,

What to Wear: to work

what to wear

Yep, it’s that time again! This week, the theme is work outfits. To be honest, I wear pretty much the same clothes at work that I wear the rest of the time. My standard outfit in every facet of my life is a dress, tights and cardigan. Still, I try not to be too boring, even if I rarely stray from that uniform. I’m an editor, and I feel like since my job is fairly creative my penchant for bright colours and bold patterns is fairly appropriate.

Casually reading the magazine I edit.

Casually reading the magazine I edit.

I kind of really like primary colours, and I especially love weird and/or bright tights. As you can see, I demonstrated some restraint with this outfit, opting for an unusual colour without a pattern. I really feel like an outfit is successful when someone either asks me where I got my tights, or asks if my legs are tattooed. It happens more often than you might expect!

My eyes looked crazy in every picture I took, ahh!

My eyes looked crazy in every picture I took, ahh!

I generally try to avoid anything too short or super casual at work, but otherwise, I don’t really follow any particular rules. I’m lucky I have a lot of freedom to EXPRESS MY UNIQUE PERSONALITY at work, which I guess is important to me because I need everyone to know that I’m a special snowflake.

DSC_0034

Admiring my elegant ring.

These wedges are approximately as comfortable as slippers.

These wedges are approximately as comfortable as slippers.

You can't actually SEE that I'm wearing these earrings, but I promise I am.

You can’t actually SEE that I’m wearing these earrings, but I promise I am.

Dress and belt: Modcloth
Cardigan: Envy
Shoes: Michael Kors (I think from Macy’s?)
Tights: Target
Ring: Some random stand during the Halifax Buskers Fest
Earrings: Bejewel by Trudy Gallagher

Check out Nicole’s blog to see what everyone else is wearing to work!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Anything but clothes

When I was in university, I didn’t really go to theme parties. I didn’t go to ugly sweater parties or CEO and office hoes parties (um, gross) or whatever. I didn’t even really get into Halloween – I would always decide to go out at the last minute, buy a wig, wear all the jewelry I owned and tell everyone I was a raver.

I feel like I should have gotten more into that junk, because since university, I’ve gone to retro nights, Mad Men parties, MTV pub crawls (I dressed like Snooki, duh) and I realized I could use Halloween as an excuse to dress like all my favourite movie/TV/web comic characters (Regina George! Enid Coleslaw! The Log Lady! Anxiety Girl!). So while I was initially skeptical when my friend Megan announced her birthday party was going to have an anything but clothes theme, in the end I decided to embrace it. It helped that I recently watched an episode of Project Runway with a duct tape challenge.

My dress did not turn out quite like this.

My dress did not turn out quite like this.

Clearly I can’t like, sew, and I definitely can’t sew DUCT TAPE, but I know how to tape things to other things, goddamnit, so that’s what I did. I took a garbage bag, cut three holes in it, made little to no attempt to create a dress-like shape, then taped strips of purple zebra print duct tape all over it. It actually turned out pretty OK! It had giant ’80s sleeves, and when I threw on a belt it even had a shape. Here’s the final result:

Not bad, right?!

Not bad, right?!

Everyone actually did a pretty good job of creating wearable things. I would post a whole bunch of pictures, but I probably shouldn’t put pictures of people I don’t know super well wearing tinfoil and newspaper all over my blog I guess, so here are just a couple of my good friends, who hopefully won’t mind too much.

A lounge chair pillow + duct tape and table cloths.

A lounge chair pillow + duct tape and table cloths.

She made this elegant gown in five minutes!

She made this gown in five minutes!

Pretty good theme party. It should hold me over until Halloween, when I will probably go as either Margo Tenenbaum or Clementine Kruczynski. Big decisions, important decisions.

Tagged , , , ,

What to Wear: floral

what to wear

Well now here is an exciting thing: I’ve decided I want to start doing some outfit posts. My outfits aren’t necessarily that interesting all the time, but I very much enjoy talking/thinking/dreaming about clothes, so now this is happening and you’re just going to have to accept it. My friend Nicole has kindly allowed me to take part in her What to Wear series, which means that I’ll be posting an outfit every two weeks that follows a specific theme. I’m joining a group of lovely lady bloggers (I’m sorry, I can’t think of a better term to describe fashionable women who blog, seriously I’m so sorry) who will also be posting their take on the theme every couple of weeks.

DSC_0012

I will never be able to pose in a way that is not awkward.

This week, the theme is floral. I love patterns, I’m totally into floral, so this one was fun for me. Plus, it’s spring! Sure, we had a huge gross snowstorm yesterday in New Brunswick, but the calendar says spring, and that means it’s flower time. I came very close to selling this dress last year when I was getting ready to move, but I’m so glad I didn’t, because I’ve actually started wearing it a lot for events like getting drunk with my friends or going to a house party where I don’t know anyone. I feel like it’s just the right amount of adorable for a casual outfit. I mean, yes it’s kind of short, but I believe in the theory that nothing is too short as long as you wear tights and don’t bend over in public. Wow, I know so much about fashion!

DSC_0013

It’s still cold out, this jacket is necessary.

The other thing I know about fashion is that nothing looks cuter with a ruffly floral dress than COWBOY BOOTS. Actually, the great thing about cowboy boots is that you can wear them with literally anything ever and everyone will think you know how to use a lasso! Also, these boots fit over my cankles, which is sadly a serious thing I have to take into consideration when buying boots. I’m thinking of starting a cankle support group actually, is anyone in? No? Just me? Yep. That’s what I thought.

 DSC_0023

DSC_0017

Dress: Modcloth
Jacket: Modcloth
Boots: Gift from somewhere in Wyoming
Belt: Envy
Necklace: The Black Market (Halifax)
Bracelet: Modcloth
Tights: Macy’s

Oh! And make sure you check out everyone else who’s participating this week by reading Nicole’s blog post, here.

Tagged , ,