Urban Safari and The End of an Era


Sweater: Moody by Elena Nodel; madelinetosh 80/10/10 worsted MCN in dust bowl; my notes and modifications on Safari Moods
Dress: White House Black Market fit and flare black bandage dress; similar styles at Guess, House of Fraser, and of course if you want the original, Herve Leger
Belt: Madewell leopard belt; similar styles from J. Crew and Ralph Lauren
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik; the pair I almost bought to replace them and a more budget-friendly yet still quality pair by Schutz, you'll have to wait to see the ones I did buy...
Bracelet: Silver bangle from Tiny Sparkle Studio
Lips: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in Aubergine N50 that I actually applied with my fingertip like the magazines say you should when you just want it to look like a stain - god, being a woman take a lot of effort

I was pretty positive I needed a leopard belt. The only belts I currently own are the polyurethane ones that accompany dresses I've bought and three of my mom's from the 70s. I haven't owned a belt of my own that was just a belt since high school. Don't ask me why, I don't have a good answer. So as part of The Adulting, I decided to intentionally buy a belt. And I love this belt, but it's been in the house over a month and hadn't been worn yet. Because it actually is a big deal for a gal like me to intentionally wear leopard. Also the belt was too big and didn't do that thing belts should do which is cinch the waist (the belt experienced a post-photography trip to the shoemaker and now fits). So how to style a leopard belt without going overboard? While leopard is a neutral, I firmly believe this, I thought I would start small and pair it with a simple black dress. But then I didn't feel like wearing a black blazer with my black dress, so I opened a tub of sweaters (for all interested parties, yes, I store my sweaters in huge plastic tubs from The Container Store - I've filled five of them; not the sweater boxes, the one called Jumbo Box! Nota bene: the majority of my shoes live in these same boxes, but the shoe sized ones) and decided to see if my Safari Moods sweater would do the trick.

The problem with this sweater is that I both love it AND I find it goes with nothing. It's got the big floppy, occasionally stand-up collar, the buttons that don't go all the way down, the short sleeves that are shorter than other short-sleeved things. It rarely makes it into the rotation even though I really like it (and worked on it when I personally went on safari so it's got good juju). Yet it works with this outfit. It's got a little of the leopard vibe without being over the top and the oversized collar contributes to the devil-may-care attitude of the outfit. And it's safari colored. I am a huge Out Of Africa nerd and go through phases where I want to look like original Banana Republic all the time, despite the fact that I live in a place that sees a distinct lack of impala and a distinct surfeit of ice and snow.


I am happy to give a shout out to Tiny Sparkle Studio on etsy who made the cool bangle and say it is the first, but by no means the last, purchase I make there. The bangle is light, simple, and perfectly my speed. I was really excited that it looked as good on my wrist as it did in the photo and at a really reasonable price. More bangles please!

And now the shoes.

Dear Manolo Blahnik Classic Black Pumps,

When you came into my life during the winter 2000 sale and I was so happy to have you, I never realized we would have so much time together, nor did I know how sad I would feel when it came time to retire you. Yes, I didn't treat you right all the time. I walked in rainstorms, on grass, and without hosiery; while I had you continuously reshod and heeled, I probably ought to have had you polished more than once a year. You went with everything and never objected to walking miles at a time. Though your heel could have been 1/2" higher like the camel pair that preceded you, you were the perfect black pump in a world where perfection is rare. I will admit that I asked the woman at the shoe place could she do anything for you, and I will spend the money to see what can be done, but your replacement has been purchased. At a high cost, both financially and emotionally, and we will no longer be to one another what we once were. You gave me 14 years of life, thereby justifying the idea of an investment shoe, and your successor has (dear god I can't believe I'm about to unironically say this) big shoes to fill. The new pumps are different. They're the naughty girl side of classic and I will likely wonder every time I wear them if that was the right decision, but it was time to move on, and so I shall, albeit much poorer than I was before you needed replacing. Fare thee well, oh shoes of mine, I shall not consign you to the garbage bin, but rather stick you in the top of the closet, a memorial to our collective lost youth.

With warmth and affection,



  1. I can't wait to see the replacements - what a lovely letter to the old shoes!

  2. The new pair are at the shoemaker preparing for their maiden voyage, and I spent all yesterday wondering if the old ones could have another couple of years left as alternates - I don't think I am attached to things, per se, until I start thinking about the experiences had in said things.