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  • July 2020
    M T W T F S S

The Look: Blogs to Books

Blogs are cool. Clothes are just fun. So is photography. That’s what this blog post is about.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a blog called The Sartorialist. Fashion photographer Scott Schuman sees fashion as a form of self-expression. After years of working in the fashion industry in New York, he felt there was a disconnect between runway fashion and what real people were actually wearing. He started to take photographs of people on the street – Just regular people rocking a unique look. He started the blog and began to travel the world taking photographs of REAL people of all ages, shapes, ethnicities and gender expressions. Some of his best photos are now available in a book!

the sartorialist

The Facehunter is photo fashion blog by photographer Yvan Rodic. Same idea: Real people with unique style. The blog is now also a book!


My personal philosophy is that no matter your age, ethnicity, body type, or gender/gender expession you can find a look and clothes that are unique to you. Fashion should be less about fitting in and more about standing out. Check out some of the books the library has on fashion, custom sneakers, learning photography, deconstructed t-shirts, working in the fashion industry and creating your own style.

the teen vogue handbook fashion 101 generation T beyond fashion custom kicks photography in fashion tomboy style seventeen ultimate guide to style

Happy reading!

Michael (CLP Hazelwood)

Black Friday, Every Friday

I dig.  I’m usually off on Fridays, so I dig then.  Heaps of discarded rubble and junk are, to me, familiar friends.  Other diggers are the ENEMY.  I’m talking about the battlefield that is thrift store excavation, where the competition is usually high and supply of any particular item is drastically limited and exceptionally unique.  Trust me, I’ve seen things get primal in ‘House Wares’ – we diggers are not to be denied our precious.

Luckily (and luck is the crucial element in the realm of second-hand shopping), the Pittsburgh area is blessed with a wealth of bargain-based institutions:  Goodwill(s), Red/White/Blue(s), Salvation Armies, and various independent establishments – all of which keep me well-stocked with trinkets high up on the random/bizarre spectrum and, I guess more importantly, keep me clothed.

Some favorite finds:

surgical clamp

First edition of ‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’ by Thomas De Quincey. Published in 1822. It’s a little beat-up, but the spine is intact.

iron vampire fangs

original Rubik’s Cube + box

pensive gargoyle

Black glass. The gold label reads: Glass from the Franklin Glass Factory where Lighthouse Single Parent Townhouses now stand.

So if you’ve never dug (?!) or you think you might get SARS or something (you won’t), you should definitely try unearthing some buried treasure to marvel at or to redesign into something else – I give my stamp of recommendation for a little thrift store hopping.  Come be my new enemy!



Jon : Carrick

Staring at people through history. It’s not rude if they can’t see you.

One of my favorite tumblrs (apart from the CLP Teens – Main tumblr, ahem) is Of Another Fashion. Its subtitle is: An alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color. Not only is it cool that a tumblr has a subtitle, it is also very cool that these photographs, stories, and articles are being collected and digitized to reach our eyes and brains.  It’s an offshoot of a project of Minh-Ha T. Pham, who also writes at the blog Threadbared, which talks about the politics (among other things) behind the common representations of fashion and beauty.

It’s always exciting to me to see the stories and, if possible, pictures of people who wouldn’t always get a chance to surface in the public after their personal history is over. In some cases these are people who should be mentioned in history books, and in some cases they’re just normal ladies like you and me, living their lives and having their own style.  I love those glimpses into other people’s lives. (I also check out how people have decorated their houses if their windows are illuminated at night. I’m nebby.)

For example, here’s one of the amazing librarian photos from Of Another Fashion (used via a Creative Commons License):

“Lucille Baldwin Brown was the first Black public county librarian in Tallahassee, Florida. This photograph is part of the collection at the State Library and Archives of Florida.”

It’s so easy to get lost in digital archives, like Historic Pittsburgh, the NYPL Digital Gallery and so many more. It’s really the best form of time travel I know.  All the better that tumblrs like Of Another Fashion are giving us better, fuller ways to see history and the people’s lives that may not have been documented and celebrated so publicly before.

Don’t forget about the library’s collection of books of portrait photography.

– Tessa, CLP- East Liberty

Checking out the TRENDS again: Fashion and Style

Developing Your Own Style

Start with The Book of Styling:  An Insider’s Guide to Creating Your Own Look by professional stylist Somer Flaherty.  Chapters include “Finding Your Look”, “The Elements of Style”, “Understanding Your Body Type”, “Putting Everything Together Like a Pro” and “Styling as a Career”.

Somer describes a variety of fashion types:

The Glam Girl

The Socialite

The Tomboy

The Preppy Girl

The Hipster

The Sporty Girl

The Hip-Hopper

The Country Girl

The Bohemian (or BoHo)

The Surfer Girl

The Punk

The Goth Girl

The Grunge Girl

Which fashion type do you like?

Current Fashion Trends

Checking out the trends in Nylon, Teen Vogue and In Style.

Big, bold floral prints

Bronze and gold tones

Full Skirts

Jeans in bright colors

Teen Vogue

New shades of color

Tuxedo Pants

Urban Soldier

Teen Vogue

Photograph by Hans Feurer

The Fashion and Style Bloggers

Childhood Flames –Camille Rushanaedy

The Emma Edition –Emma Orlow

Sea of Shoes –Jane Aldridge

Song of Style –Aimee Song

Sincerely Jules –Julie Sarinava

The Style Rookie –Tavi Geninson

And finally, good advice is you want to start your own fashion blog:

How to Start Your First Fashion Blog by Kelsey Nguyen.


Trending Trends for March

I have always followed trends. I just like to know what’s going on, what’s new, and even what’s out. Trend watching is getting easier all the time. There’s Google Trends, the Trending Now news blog on Yahoo! News, What the Trend; a HootSuite Media Company and Mashable’s Trending Stories, just a name a few trend watching sites. Flipping through magazines is another way to hunt for trends.

Let’s look at some trending trends for March in no particular order:

Lily Collins Seventeen

Mirror Mirror’s Lily Collins on the March 2012 cover of Seventeen Magazine.

Patterned Jeans as seen in USWeekly.

The colors for Spring are pastels!

Fashion magazines and web sites have the trend well covered this month.  The Fashion Bomb Daily, an urban fashion blog created by Claire Sulmer, recently highlighted this and other spring trends.  Above:  Fashion from Preen, Prada and Phillip Lin. 

Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss in the Hunger Games! 

CLPTeensburgh bloggers have posted numerous times about the Hunger Games.   This role is the biggest part of Jennifer Lawrence’s career.  In the April edition of Glamour Magazine, Jennifer talks about playing Katniss,  “I wanted to make sure I was ready for this. And I am.” People Magazine calls the role “Her Big Moment”.

-Marian, CLP-Mt. Washington

Spring (Fashion) is here!

Spring!  Bird are singing, flowers are blooming, and your wardrobe is welcoming the change from bulky sweaters to light t shirts.

To find out what’s new for this season, you can always check with the mothership, Vogue to see what’s going on.  You can also  find a local fashion voice on the Post-Gazette website.  They claim that orange will be big, as well as shiny, jewel tones.


Looking for something a little more avant-garde?  There are a ton of good, global street fashion blogs. Check out The Locals, which features street styles in Copenhagen, photographed by an Icelandic photag.  Street Peeper collects photos of amazing fashion from all over the world, from New York to Jakarta.   Style Scout is London-based, and offers up more unique (less Prada and Versace, more thrift store) fashion plates from London sidewalks.

You can always go your own way.  ReadyMade is a great place to start looking for ideas outside of the fashion box.

Or, you can try out looks online before sporting them on the street.

At Polyvore, you can sign up for a free account, and sift through thousands and thousands of clothes, jewelry, bags, and shoes.   You get a blank template to create outfits and collections.  I pieced together this little simple outfit in about 5 minutes. Of course, I’m not actually going to buy these things.  But it was fun nonetheless.

And the library has tons of fashion books to inspire you, starting with the New York Look Book.  Click on the covers below to check our catalog for these titles.




Here’s to welcoming spring with a fresh, new look!



Fall Fashions

It is always fun to check out the new fall fashions before school starts.  Flipping through fashion magazines with a glass of lemonade is like my own private fashion show.  Magazines like Seventeen and TeenVogue  and others also have  web sites.

According to STYLEBAKERYTEEN, the 3 must-have trends for back-to-school are:

  • print tops
  • detailed vests
  • plaid

To learn more about fashion terminology and how to put a wardrobe together, check out Fashion 101: A Crash Course in Clothing by Erika Stalder.  The illustrations are by Ariel Krietzman. 

If you like to make your own outfits and accessories, check out Cosmogirl! Make it Yourself:  50 Fun and Funky Projects.


I know October is all about skeletons, but this is ridiculous.


images from flickr users perpetualplum and andre-batista

I don’t know how many of you have seen the Ralph Lauren advertising images currently causing a ruckus, but you must click to believe! The models’ heads are wider than their waists.

Coverage in: Photoshop Disaster

Shine blog at Yahoo!

The New York Times’ Ethicists asks: “Should Photos Come With Warning Labels?”

Not only are the photo-illustrations laughably not images of real human bodies, one of the models has said that she was recently fired from her contract for being too fat. Blogs posting pictures of the images were sent letters of warning from Ralph Lauren’s lawyers saying they were violating copyright and not covered under Fair Use laws.

It’s a widely-accepted view that most of the images in magazines these days went through some kind of manipulation. To me, that’s what is kind of funny about Ralph Lauren’s images. Everyone more or less accepts that they’re not being shown the truth. It’s kind of working against the brand to be so obvious about it–who is really going to covet a body type that can’t physically exist without the surgical shaving of hipbones? (Besides the sadly real need for “thinspiration” among those afflicted by anorexia.) The fact that Ralph Lauren then made a fuss about criticism of the images and wanted them pulled from blogs makes it even more absurd to me!

Sure, it’s insulting that those images ever got approved as a reflection of what the public wants to buy–and advertising is very often aimed at teenagers, whose income is, in most cases, disposable and will go towards new clothes, music, video games, etc.–but I think it’s much more dangerous when the subtler works of Photoshop slip by. For every obvious retouching scandal like Kelly Clarkson’s Self Magazine cover or Andy Roddick’s new biceps on the cover of Men’s Health, what else is slipping by and making you think “maybe it is Photoshopped, but only a little… why can’t I look that good?”

This debate, like the debate on whether only models of a certain Body Mass Index should be allowed on the runway, seems poised to go on and on without end. It always provides a fascinating debate on what advertisers think people want to see, what people say they find fashionable, and how the images we see all around us affect how we see ourselves.


madeyoulookMade you look : how advertising works and why you should know by Shari Graydon: A primer on the mechanics of advertising

soyesterdaySo Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld : The author of the Uglies series tells the story of a kid who is paid by corporations because he knows what will be trendy before it is trendy. When one of his friends disappears, he tries to solve it and discovers “consumer conspiracy”.

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