OK, that title is gonna seem so awesome in a second, I swear.
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve become obsessed with a certain designer and it’s where my money’s been going the past few weeks. I want to talk about it here since it’s on my mind at the moment, but I’m going to have to do it without sharing any pictures of myself in the new clothes I’ve acquired. Bummer, but I haven’t had time to take photos yet – I will do so soon and share a few outfits in another post in the near future, I promise! Moving on.
It’s not so much a designer I’ve become enchanted by as it is a manufacturer, I think – and the manufacturer relates to a certain “look” I discovered a few weeks ago called Lagenlook, which is German for “layered look.” How I discovered it was rather random, as these things often are; my husband and I got into an HBO show called “Grace and Frankie,” which stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston. The show can be twee and sitcom-y. but come on, how often do you get to see a sitcom with awesome 70-year-old actors in the starring roles? I’ll take the twee since it comes with the awesome, and fortunately Doug agreed. We had fun binge-watching Season 1, and I became obsessed with Lily Tomlin’s attire as the hippie-dippy Frankie.
Some of her outfits were too crunchy and bizarre for me, but more often than not she was trouncing around (stoned, usually) in stuff I just loved. Then one night Frankie wore this awesome, bubble-hemmed pinafore-style linen funky number, with some baggy pants underneath it, and a blue mesh long-sleeved top underneath all that, and I finally just said to myself, that’s it. I have to find out where she’s getting all this cool stuff. I went on a Google search to find out (and yeah, I was bummed when I asked my husband which of these two women I’d be when I was in my seventies, and he said, “duh, Jane Fonda.” Which personality-wise, is totally true, because there’s no way I’d ever take peyote or smoke dope and meditate my blues away and Fonda’s character is the one that wants everything to be exactly like she wants it or she gets pissed off, so yeah. But I don’t want Grace’s wardrobe – although holy hell Fonda looks freaking AMAZING) .
Frankie’s style on the show reminded me so much of another company with clothes I used to love called CP Shades. I’m not sure how I discovered them, but soon after I did they made up my entire wardrobe. Their stuff was mostly washable linen, with some rayon thrown in here and there and velvet during the holiday season, and it was all big, loose, flowy, and very relaxed. And, it was pretty expensive. Back in the early 2000’s, when I discovered them and started wearing their stuff, $98 was a hell of a lot for a pair of pants; even though I’d still rather not pay that much for them now, it certainly isn’t as unheard of to me as it was back then. But still, I’d suck it up and pay because I loved them so freaking much, and their clothing was well-made and would last forever (and was also made in the USA at their own factory in CA). They’d have huge sales twice a year where everything in the one store that existed in Houston would be, like, twenty-five bucks, and me and everyone else in the city, it seemed, would line up outside at five in the morning and wait to rush the store as soon as the doors opened so we could all stock up.
Ads from the 90’s, I think
Now, the one little store my city had was in the richest area of town (River Oaks, you know – where they filmed Terms of Endearment, and where the notorious murderer Robert Durst lived), and it was generally a slightly older clientele than my age at the time (I’ll never forget the time I was trying things on at the same time a woman in her late 60’s was in there buying a TON of linen items, all in white, and when I asked her if she didn’t get nervous wearing all that white clothing, she responded ‘oh no, I just wear all this when I garden. That way when it gets dirty I can throw it in the wash with some bleach and I’m good to go.’ We’re talking at least five or six hundred dollars worth of clothes she was buying – to wear while she worked in the dirt in her backyard! I was duly impressed). I was in my early thirties, and I was generally about 10 years younger than most of the women spending money in that store – but I didn’t care. Well, I cared about the high price point, but about the fact that most of the women buying these clothes were a little older than me, I didn’t care about that at all. Because I was in clothing heaven. It was all so comfy, and it was all long and oversized, and it all FLOWED. Anyone who’s seen my photos knows how obsessed I am with long, flowy fabrics and fluid shapes, and CP Shades had that in spades.
Sadly though, the company, I suppose, had overextended themselves, and the downturn the economy took after 9/11 did them in. They managed to stay open until about 2004 or ’05, when they shut down all but their original stores in California and even – much to my dismay – shut down their online site where I could buy online. For the next few years I could find stuff on eBay, but eventually that dwindled down to nothing, and I did my best to forget they ever existed since it was impossible to get their stuff for quite awhile. I never did totally quit looking for them online, but over the years their styles have changed quite a bit, and their prices have gone even higher, so they’re no longer making anything I want to wear or pay for even when I do find a site online carrying their new stuff. It’s mostly plaid button-ups now, from what I’ve seen, instead of the lovely kurta tops and tunics they used to sell.
Fast-forward to Grace and Frankie. I found exactly one online interview with the costume designer for the show, and she threw out a couple of names as references for Frankie’s style. I looked those names up, and although they were all very obscure European designers with astronomical prices, somehow I eventually drilled down to a very affordable option – a store called Oh My Gauze, which specializes in, you guessed it, gauze clothing. And, the prices were really affordable. Oh joy! They even had a sale going on when I found them, and so I bought a ton of stuff for around $30 per piece, on average. I don’t think the photos on their website really do their clothing justice – they’re small and awkward and not put together to show entire outfits as much as individual pieces, which doesn’t give the right effect – but there are lots of other photos out there that show them off nicely:
I also discovered the term Lagenlook, which I’ve used to start up a Pinterest board where I’ve collected some of my favorite photos so far; as you can see, when they say it’s a “layered look,” they mean it – pants under dresses, shirts under other shirts, long-ass vests over long-ass skirts – and yeah, I know. It’s kinda crazy, and borderline weird, and possibly frumpy, and WAY too much if not done properly. When I wore this stuff back in my CP Shades days, there were some people who hated it terribly, and thought that I was dressing “old.” This is a style that is usually called “artsy,” and I guess it’s associated with women of “a certain age,” but I’ve never given a damn about that and I’m not likely to start now. I freaking love this stuff, and I’m thrilled to see and know that it’s an actual style with a name and everything. Besides, I’m probably the age now that those “older” women were back when I shopped at CP Shades anyway. Believe it or not, I actually think it’s all quite lovely. It’s definitely more common in Europe than in the states, but I was always able to pull it off fairly well, and even now I’ve gotten compliments on what I’ve worn so far. I do have to be careful not to take it to the level of costume, but I’m a pretty good self-editor when it comes to clothing, and I think for the most part I can pull it off like I did before. The dresses are my biggest love right now – which is interesting, since I generally do not wear dresses at all, and stick to straight-leg jeans or pants. But I find these dresses so unique and interesting and yes, pretty, that I can’t get enough of them right now. Even if they keep throwing pants under them in the pictures.
As I said, I just started getting my stuff in the mail, and I am still trying to figure it all out as far as how it’s best for me to wear, and what works best on my frame, but I do want to take some of my own photos eventually. And that last photo was just posted on OMG’s Facebook page a few days ago, as a new style dress they don’t even have up for sale on the site yet, and it’s called – this has to be a sign – the Planet Cynthia Dress, so yeah, More purchases are coming for me soon.