Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Your Turn ...

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 4:50 PM

And a chance to win a copy of Valentino: The Last Emperor ...

What with the holidays and everything, Style Sessions simply can't make it to all the fabulous parties and events going on around town.

So we're looking for a few roving reporters.

Send us a picture of someone you think would be good for the Style Sessions blog and you'll be in the running to win a copy of Valentino, a documentary about the last year or so of the legendary fashion designer's career.

(Of course you can send us a picture of yourself. It's fashion! Fashion loves self-promotion.)

You (or your friend) can wear your favorite dress, your go-to black pants, something new, something old, something trendy, something retro, something formal, something casual, whatever. As long as it's a Look.

Send pictures to, as well as a short description of who the person is, what they're wearing, and anything else you want to include about their sense of style.

Each picture will result in one entry. We'll pick a winner when we get back from skiing in Gstaad for Christmas.

If you're interested in fashion, Valentino is worth watching.


The couture alone — just imagine 100 seamstresses sewing on thousands of sequins by hand — boggles the mind. But the interesting part is the relationship between Valentino and his longtime business partner Giancarlo Giammetti, and the way fashion has gone from haute couture to commodity as fashion houses have been bought by investment groups.

You can watch the trailer here.

Also, here is a picture of a pug. If you see the movie, you will see tons of pugs. And, if you are anything like me, you will pause the movie whenever the pugs come on, make your pug look at the TV, then press play just to see her reaction.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Mrs. Green Jeans

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 11:14 AM

"Everybody loves blue jeans," says photographer and Thigh High Jeans co-founder Ann Smithwick. "Putting on a pair that have already been worn in, it's comfortable. It's like putting on an old glove."

Along with her longtime friend Kerry Peeples, Smithwick recently began re-making donated jeans into one-of-a-kind pairs of pants.



Both artists, Smithwick and Peeples started with about 60 pairs of jeans donated from friends and began adding their now trademark side panels and inspirational messages (the location — thigh high — is where the name comes from). Both say they feel like they're back in art school and working on a really fun project.

"Ann is a photographer; I'm a painter. Now we're blue jean makers," says Peeples.

Each pair has a quote embroidered down the left leg (it's easier to read that side as people are walking toward you). Though Smithwick likens the surprise of the message to a fortune cookie, the quotes come from Shakespeare, Mother Teresa, Buddha, and other artists, poets, and philosophers.


"The wearer gets something out of it, but so do the people who pass them by," says Peeples. In fact, they say working with inspirational quotes every day has influenced them to dig deeper within themselves.

Both are big proponents of Memphis and, though none of the quotes are political, they recently got permission to use Memphis mayor A C Wharton's "One Memphis" slogan on their jeans.

Jeans are donated at coffee houses around the country — locally, jean receptacles have been placed at Republic, Otherlands, and Poplar Perk'n — and Smithwick and Peeples use recycled scarves, blouses, and skirts to create the insert panels. Because of the recycling, two pairs might have the same quote, but no two pairs of their jeans are alike.

Customers can buy a pair of Thigh High blue jeans off the rack or they can bring in a pair of jeans for them to customize. Fifty percent of the profit from each pair goes to one of three charities and customers can pick if they want the proceeds to go to a local, national or international non-profit.

"We're putting out a product that's funky and cool and fun, because Memphis is all that," Smithwick says. "We plug Memphis everywhere we can."

For more information, visit their website at



Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Have you ever seen the Uniform Project?

Starting last May, Sheena Matheiken decided to wear one dress every day as an exercise in sustainable fashion. She had her friend design something she thought she could wear no matter what the weather — it's short-sleeved and can be worn both frontwards, backwards, or open as a tunic — then had seven of the dresses made.

She adds various accessories: tights, jewelry, scarves, sweaters, vests, whatever, to make the dress look different every day. See?


I mention it because Christy Goodwin's outfit includes this plaid shirt dress, a piece almost as versatile as Matheiken's dress. In this incarnation, Goodwin's wearing it as a shirt over a tee and jeans, but in the past she's worn it as a dress with tights.



At the time, I commented on her little flats, and Goodwin said she never wears heels: "They hurt too much and I'm too clumsy."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Memphis Tees

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 3:41 PM

At some point in the past, someone asked me where they could get these cool Metallica-style Memphis concert tees.


I don't remember who or when that was — the mind goes as you get a bit older, you see — but I figure it surely had to be one of my many fans, so instead of actually telling them, whoever they are, I'm posting it to the blog. And hoping they'll see it.

The tees are available at for $20 each. And, good news for the ladies, they now come in women's sizes.

< Check it.

Also, if AC/DC is more your style, they've got you covered.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Take a Zip

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 8:04 AM

Last Wednesday, the Flyer hosted Work It Wednesday at the Beauty Shop in Cooper-Young.

I don't mean to brag, but I have a singular talent for spotting new stuff. It's a gift. (if only I could parlay that into some sort of bankable skill ... oh, wait, maybe I have).

At any rate, I noticed Amanda Taylor's jacket — on its inaugural wearing — as soon as she walked through the door.



The zippered jacket came from The Limited, and Taylor says she kind of a "walking Limited ad."

"It's good for young professionals," she says of the store. "I like things that are classic and professional but young at the same time."

She paired her new jacket with a red shirt, gray slacks, and gray ankle booties, but The Limited also was (perhaps is?) selling a matching skirt.

I'd personally like to see the matching skirt (just to see!), but Taylor opted not to buy it because she thought that was a lot of zipper for one suit.

As for me, I'd sort of forgotten The Limited existed, but a quick jaunt through the website has me intrigued. I kind of like this accordion top on their main page.


Rules of Style

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 8:03 AM

When it gets all cold and gray and Novembery, sometimes it's hard to see people's outfits. You know, with them being covered up by coats, scarves, umbrellas, gloves, hats, and the occasional rain cloud and all.

Which is why I have devised what is now known as the "Amber McFall theorem."

This rule posits: In any winter weather, the cuteness of an outfit completely covered by winter outerwear directly correlates to the cuteness of the shoes.

Ergo, cute shoes = cute outfit. Unstylish shoes = unflattering outfit. (For those of you playing the Style Sessions drinking game, I think that is four drinks. If my calculations are correct.)

An earlier rule of thumb included the shorts to tunic length ratio. Don't worry, these will all be compiled together in a book from CMI press, due out in January 2011.

At any rate, you can see the Amber McFall theorem in action right here, right now.



When McFall walked into the Young Avenue Deli, I noticed her peep-toe heels right away, but I couldn't see the ruched Express halter or the boot-cut jeans. But the shoes definitely made me take a second look.

"This isn't my everyday attire," she says. An employee at the division of corrections, McFall generally wears slacks and a button down to work. "The stuff I wear to work, I just wear to work."

The Birds

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 8:02 AM



We spotted Hannah King dressing the window at Burke's Book Store, but it was her dress that really caught our eye.

A flea market find, the dress is flocked with birds, birds, and more birds, and is King's favorite.


"It's comfortable," she explains, "and I like the design. When I don't know what to wear, it's my 'go-to' item."

She paired the dress with a cardy from Target and Forever 21 skinny pants.

"I've been doing this forever," she says of the pants/dress combo. "I do it whenever wearing a dress wouldn't be very practical."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Make a Wish

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 9:00 AM

As the old phrase goes: Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

But that totally misses the point. I mean, what about rubies, sapphires, and emeralds?

Just kidding. But you can help yourself (or the ones you love) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South at the same time with Oak Hall's Jewelry Designers' Show today through December 5th.

Ten percent of all jewelry sales will benefit Make-A-Wish.

As part of the sale, Oak Hall will also be having a cocktail event TODAY from 4 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Lansky Way

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 8:30 AM

Part of Beale Street has been renamed in honor of one of our favorite Memphis retailers, Bernard J. Lansky.


Of course you may know him as the "clothier to the King," for his special relationship with Elvis Presley, but at 82 years old, he still works seven days a week.

I interviewed him several years ago and he was just as sweet as he could be. He told me all about Elvis wanting to buy him out and gold lame and all sorts of things.

"There were very few things he would turn down," Lansky said. "I had an idea that he would look good in pink and black. That was one of my ideas. I put him in a pink coat and a black pair of pants — he was sharp. Everyone else was wearing white and black, and I pushed that pink on him and it blew their minds. It was dynamite."

To read more from that story, click here.

The store has since relocated to the Peabody Hotel, a block away from its original location, and Lansky and his family serve as a liaison to tourists from all over the world.

(Sidenote: Bernard's granddaughter Julie is also awesome, and if you're among the younger set and you're looking for something to wear, go visit her at Lansky 126.)

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