Help Wanted


Sweater: Girl on Fire by Mary Annarella; Astral Bath Yarns Spectra DK in Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash; my notes and modifications on Scuttlebutt
Skirt: Boden wool a-line skirt, same style in cotton, similar style from The Gap, and wool pencil skirts abound at pretty much every store I looked at
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik; similar styles range from the pricey Jimmy Choo, to the moderate Pour La Victoire, to the very much on sale AK Anne Klein
Lips: Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel in Showstopper

So first can we all just agree to ignore how blurry this photo is? Mary's lovely design barely shows up, but exactly 0% of the photos I shot this morning weren't blurry and I needed to get out the door - something I will have to take a look at since I have recently switched to my prime lens so that I can get crisper shots.

I'm sure you can agree that there's something missing from this outfit. It's kind of dull. Part of that is the fault of the wearer who, rather uncreatively matched her shoes to her sweater, but part of it is also the less fleeting problem which is that the wearer can't accessorize worth poop. I know that this outfit needs a something, I just don't know what that something is. And I'll explain my thought process so that you can help me better:

The neckline is a bit unique and lovely, therefore I feel like a necklace would detract.
Ditto a scarf.
The sleeves are long which, in my mind, makes the idea of a bracelet kind of silly.
Ditto a watch, were I to a) own a watch other than this one (ok, that's crazypants. I just went to go find my watch which I admittedly received as an 18th birthday present/graduation present from my best friend, but which I was sure was timeless enough to still be in the Tiffany & Co. collection. Nope. In fact there isn't a watch within nearly $2000 of what this watch cost available at Tiffany's anymore. If you want a Tiffany watch (which I assure you, you do not, the ones on the website are kind of uniformly hideous), you are going to be out $2350 - it's a small gold rimmed circular face with a black leather band) and b) have batteries in that watch
I really don't wear earrings other than my studs.
A hat?
A boa?
A fascinator?

This is what runs through my head as I am lamenting my crappy hair and inability to evenly color within the lines of my own lips in the morning. I always feared being ungapatchka.

What's that, you say, you don't know what ungaptachka means? Let's start with pronunciation, or at least what passes for such in the telephone-like atmosphere of Jews 94 generations removed from anyone who actually spoke Yiddish: ooong-gah-potch-ka. Kind of like ooogachaka from Hooked on a Feeling. Same number of syllables too. Try getting that out of your head. Whatever ungapatchka once meant, it was transmitted to me as the condition before Coco Chanel takes off the last thing before leaving the house multiplied by 10. It's being too busy, style-wise. Like, for example, your Miami Beach grandmother who jingles when she walks because she has enough coral bangles to sink a small fishing vessel dangling off her desiccated (from tanning) arm. Ah, memories.

Now that you know a new Yiddish word, I can explain to you that I went in the entirely opposite direction when it came to accessorizing. If less was more, than none was best. Obviously this isn't actually true. But then I go and do a google image search of Angelina Jolie, whose style I both admire and covet (also her hair), and she almost never wears jewelry either, save some earrings with a slight dangle (and believe you me now I'm going to be searching for those and perhaps not wearing my studs every day). So I'll take suggestions, links, commiseration. Because I feel like I look really boring today.


  1. Great post! Always nice to wake up to a great Yiddish word!

    1. I wanted to make sure I used the "correct" spelling and was absolutely amazed when I started typing and google filled in the rest. It was the first confirmation that the word wasn't just something my dad made up!

  2. Nooooo to the necklace-y thing, that neckline really is fab. I need more necklines like that, come to think of it. And that's all I have, I'm shit at accessories. Also, I have 3 watches in my jewelry box with dead batteries and the only reason I'm wearing one now is because a 70s but new-in-box kick-ass Casio was recently gifted to me for my 5-year anniversary. (i hope the battery is not from the 70s because then I'll soon be watch-less again)

    1. I have seriously considered attempting to rock a full-length string of pearls as workwear because I do not wish to actually buy things. On the other hand, they're actual pearls so if something happened to them...
      Maybe there is a good reason people buy plastic accessories.

  3. I think you could totally do a simple necklace with this. It would draw the eye toward and therefore highlight the lace detailing on the sweater. I'm thinking a simple art deco gemstone with a bit of marcasite would do the trick, in either emerald, baguette, or square cut.

    But a fascinator would look awesome too! A fascinator is never out of place with any outfit, in my opinion. Hair up with dangly earrings would be nice too.

    Also, love that skirt. Short wool skirts are totally my jam.

    1. We got these skirts (and by we I mean me and all my girlfriends) when they went on superlastfinal sale at Boden for about $20 - a total score.

      As for a fascinator, I wore a very sedate one for my wedding and I'm sure it wouldn't look at all out of place at my office.

      I feel like I need an accessories shopper - someone who knows what things like "marcasite" are to help me - were you offering your services? :)

    2. Boden super sales seem to never have my size! Alas.

      And yes, I will totally accessory shop for you. :)

      Put a chain on this instead of a ribbon: https://www.etsy.com/listing/201020476/

      Other ideas: https://www.etsy.com/listing/200850501

      Fascinators: https://www.etsy.com/listing/96337520/

      And while not appropriate for this outfit, this is simply marvelous and I need it. And a kicky outfit to go with it: https://www.etsy.com/listing/203612385

    3. This was awesome distraction. I really like the sapphire and rhodium art-deco-esque necklace, I just wish it was long lengthwise, not widthwise. However, this is excellent food for thought and I'll be looking with a less critical eye at things that don't look like they were made in an austere German atrium.

  4. I agree that a simple necklace might be the ticket here. A small pendant on a chain (rather than, say, a string of beads) that hits just below the collar bone wouldn't detract but might add a little interest.

    Also, damn you, I want those AK shoes. But almost every time I've bought shoes online I've regretted it.

  5. I will obviously be using this as fodder for a future post wherein I show you all the things I've thought about buying and you (and everyone else) can tell me why I have horrible taste.
    Also, if there's free returns (or cheaper than a round trip subway ride returns) I say buy the shoes.

  6. I'm thinking a simple necklace and your hair pulled up to show off your collarbones.

    1. Do you know how long it took me to iron that hair??? :) I just don't really have any jewelry so I'm going to have to start looking (and for cool ways that someone with incredibly fine, frequently greasy, hair can put it up).

  7. A simple necklace will still work so long as it ends before the neckline or way after. Check out: www.lilyemmejewelry.com she has some beautiful simple pieces.


    1. That bar necklace is right up my alley. Pinned!

  8. Please post said cool hair-do's.... This person with stupid crap super fine oily hair would be very interested :)

    1. Right? I mean when will greasy hair be in style? My ponytails on a day where I did wash my hair look like my 3rd day hairstyle.

  9. First-- I have to say, Yelena, I looooove that you are blogging! And showing the shoes!! You are my Shoe Hero:-))

    Your Girl on Fire is fab-- I've had this one queued since she published it (thought about test knitting for it, but then remembered that 1, I've never actually test knit anything before and 2, was unsure whether "nigh unto eternity" would work within Mary's timeframe...)

    This outfit was a puzzle... at first I thought, "why not a short, simple chain necklace to draw the eye to the lovely neckline?", but then... no. But why? It probably would detract, as you thought. So what does it need?? Gorgeous sweater, great skirt in a beautiful color (that I want to borrow from your closet)-- lack of jewelry shouldn't be a problem. Finally, I figured this out:
    Love the sweater, love the skirt... *but not together*. I think that sweater needs Hepburned (if I may be allowed to verb a proper name). Which means, I think a pair of long, cuffed wool pants would do it. That sweater says "long lines" to me. And if you still feel that you simply must bling, wrangle the hair up and go with the small dangle earrings.

    P.S.-- Thanks for "ungapatchka". You have earned my undying affection for including an Awesome Yiddish Word in a blog post. --AmyinYokohama

    1. Thank you so much - what a nice thing to come to on a Friday! I will, at some point, model my long, cuffable pants (I own three identical pair in black, charcoal, and camel), but I warn you that I look less like a Ralph Lauren ad and more like Aunt Edna - trousers and I are not the bestest of friends as they seem to love figures that are narrower through the hip (or figures that are closer in dimension from waist to hip) and longer of waist, but I like where you're going.

      Stay tuned as it is highly likely that my favorite polysyllabic German words and a couple of Latin ones could sneak in...

      And you should definitely knit Girl On Fire, it is AWESOME!

  10. What this outfit needs is a truly excellent handbag!

  11. You rock this whether you accessorize or not, Yelena! I'm liking the idea of loosely putting your hair up and adding medium-to-largeish earrings. Silver hoops, maybe?

    Really glad to have found your blog!

    1. I love this sweater, Mary, someone rather talented must have designed it...and I also love the idea of owning other earrings even though I have always kept these in sentimentally (they are the first jewelry my husband ever bought me).