Fresh style insights, tips and commentary by Michelle Tea, Michael Braithwaite, Leo Plass, Page McBee and Carrie Leilam Love.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Time

Finally San Francisco had a little bit of this going on!

I even took my first ever head to toe dip in the Pacific Ocean right here in SF at Baker Beach. Crazy I know. And yes freezing but luckily the current was so crazy the damn Pacific shot me right back out. Enough beach madness though, it's technically Fall now and the weather is going back to normal. Fall is probably my favorite season fashion wise. Probably because it's layered look is perfecto for San Francisco. Here's some things to get you into the season.

Just when I thought I was all Pendletoned out this happens, Pendleton meets Opening Ceremony boots. What the fuck?!

Or, maybe like me you have a dog that needs to be walked wether it rains everyday or not. I purchased these last Fall feeling a little crazy since I live in a city but, as you can see these Hunter boots got quite a lot of wear.

How about a Barbour wax cotton baseball hat.

Also, check out Hattan New York hats. Here's one example but click the link to see my favorite which I couldn't swipe a picture of.

Brooks Brothers black fleece shirts are more narrow and shorter than their others and are designed by Thom Browne.

Also, tip for little guys: Brooks Brothers sells in boys sizes. Great for guys who can't find blazers and such small enough. And cheaper too!

I don't know about you guys but, I've been getting pretty jealous of all the lady capes going around. Here's a poncho from, always a favorite brand, Woolrich Woolen Mills.

Well, that's a few of my current likes for Fall but don't worry, I'm sure there will be more to come.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back in the day when I was young/I'm not a kid anymore/But sometimes...

I was going to post dreamy diaphanous pictures of edwardian era gowns from Worth and Poiret, and I was going to talk all about the problem of Orientalism in fashion and luxury and empire and how sometimes beautiful clothes are made from the spoils of nasty and selfish pursuits and how sometimes the dischord between the means and the ends splits my mind open like a ripe fruit, making me vulnerable to monkeys and flies.

And one day I will write that post, but not today. Today I don't feel like splitting open. Today I have a mind like a drum, a mind that's making music out of being beat on.  Today I have a heart like a balloon, so  l i g h t  it floats!

To this end, in the grand tradition of my fellow Ironing Board collaborators Leo Plass and Marisa Crawford, I bring you the childhood fashion idols of Carrie Leilam Love.  Childhood is the most resiliant and lighthearted condition there is!

Here goes:

BLOSSOM!!! Easily my number one childhood fashion influence. I remember going to Mervyns with my mom and thinking, What Would Blossom Wear?!  I was a sucker for ANYthing with a giant flower on it.  Blossom was weird and funky and funny looking and I loved her.

Mayim Bialik, the actress who played Blossom, also played the young CC Bloom in Beaches. Beaches!! I don't know about everyone, but me and all the white girls I grew up with used to watch this movie at slumber parties and cry our eyes out.  And I used to own several hand-me down dance costumes one of which was purple with fringe on it and I used to dance around in it pretending to be the young CC Bloom.  I blame thank young CC for my habit of sometimes not wearing pants in public and being perfectly comfortable in costume when everyone else is just dressed.

GIBBLER!!  While best friend DJ generally stuck to whatever the popular-girl uniform of the moment was, Kimmy took fashion risks that matched her obnoxious personality.  Check out the Leopard shorts-suit @ 1:00!! I would wear that right this minute.

TLC!!!  Ok, can you imagine ANY modern girl group wearing this many clothes and selling records in today's market?!  TLCs style was so iconic and represented a kind of femininity that was really accessible for a tough chick like myself.  They didn't have to be naked to be girls, and they owned their sexuality in a BIG way.  Who can forget the condom in the glasses?! There is not a wardrobe item in this pic (save Left-Eye's crazy hat... sorry Left-Eye...) that I did not own. I had orange docs, slouch socks, oversized bright tees, suspenders, and size 40 pants.  RIP Left Eye.

Ok, Kris Kross and TLC are reminding me of this kind of amazing moment in early 90s street fashion that was totally unisex.  Boys and Girls wore baggy backwards clothes, overalls with the strap hanging down, giant t-shirts and backwards hats. Wasn't that great?  Or am I totally wrong and Jr. High is kind of unisex in general?  Because I do see boys and girls of the 2010s both wearing skinny jeans and studded belts.  And YES I wore a backwards baseball jersey a couple of times. 

STARTER JACKET!! I couldn't find a picture of Kris Kross wearing starter jackets... but they are the reason I begged and begged and beeeeeeegggggged my mom to buy me one.  She never did.  But I forgive her because they really were expensive and we really were broke.

HALLE BERRY IN BOOMERANG!!! Obvs Grace Jones looks amazing in this movie too but back then I still wanted to be a sweet-faced everybody-loves-her girl more than I wanted to be a bad-ass diety of fierceness so Halle is the one I tried to dress like.  Nowadays I get my mixed-girl on by rocking hood fashion items along with mainstream fashion and right now I'm wondering if I learned this from Halle!

In this flick she rocks the early 90s look I like to call "recovery." After the over-the-top ruffles and neon and florals and accessories of the 80s, people finally just got tired of it and and embraced a Calvin Kleinesque minimalism. Calvin Klein was HUGE in the 90s.  80s was boom-time and coke, 90s was recession and heroine. But I digress.  Halle wore simple silouhettes BUT... she punctuated them with brightly colored African inspired accessories!! 

The one picture from Boomerang I could not find is of Halle wearing a button-up collared and cuffed dress shirt with sheer sleeves -- this shirt was immediately EVERYwhere and I definitely owned one.  I have scrubbed thrift and vintage racks all over town in search of another but alas, have come up empty handed.  If you find one, cop that ish and I'll get you back!!!

Peace Out. Word to Ya Motha.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Like I Like My Style

I was looking for Love at the international rack of a newsstand in a French airport (that would be the UK fashion magazine Love) when I found I Like My Style Quarterly (#2), featuring a bespeckled young person in red leather hot pants and an Alaskan sleigh dog on a tight leash on the cover. Of course I grabbed it, and what was inside was a real revelation – a magazine that gives you all the eye-candy, fantastical pleasure of a fashion magazine, but with content that was surprisingly DIY and personal. Yes, there are editorials with models wearing Balenciaga and Rick Owens, but the models are just cute people who ran into Barney’s dressing room with a stack of clothes and did a sneaky photo shoot. There’s a lady wearing Balmain and Alexander McQueen, but they’re actually her clothes, she’s a stylist in Bangkok and the shoot happens in her house. An outgrowth of the social networking site ilikemystyle, the creators of the magazine lift the user-driven content off the web and funnel it right into the publication, which is how you get a bunch of adorable people talking about if they like their hair, or pairs of female besties talking about their clothes and their friendship. In With Compliments people write about beloved editorials in other fashion magazines -fashion fan-ficiton! Issue #2 has Lady Gaga impersonators in conversation with one another, a trip to a Russian Doll Factory, recipes for a Lebanese dinner party, a glimpse of Marina Abramovic, and tons more. I emailed Eva Munz, who publishes the magazine along with Adriano Sack, for an interview, and here it is.

IRONING BOARD COLLECTIVE: Hi, where are you right now and can you describe what you're wearing?

EVA MUNZ: I’m at home in New York. It’s extremely hot and I’m wearing a lunghi with two corners crossed in front, then tied behind my neck, so it turns into this kind of dress with the back exposed. The blue-checkered fabric is traditionally worn by men in India, it’s extremely cheap and a multi purpose item: I use it as a beach towel, bathrobe during hot summers, blanket for covering dubious beds in faraway

places or as a scarf. Adriano (my co-publisher) brought me this one from Calcutta

last year.

IBC: Can you please explain how I Like My Style happened?

EM: A couple of years ago Adriano Sack and our art director Judith Banham founded the social network with some friends. It was a complete side project for everyone. Last year print magazines seemed all went belly up, with advertisers pulling out, the economy completely out of control. Nevertheless, Adriano and I wanted to do our own thing. He suggested we invert the classic

relationship between print and online. Traditionally you have a print publication and you upload some highlights or additional stuff on a webpage. We basically go exactly the opposite direction, we upload the editorial office and distill some of the content of the website and spin it into something completely new. On you can find some very real and many totally surreal people. Judith knows the website inside out and she constantly pulls pictures of users of ilikemystyle upload and puts them in new context, they become stories. I thought that this was just so persuasively entertaining and the allure of it all to be so innocent and real was incredibly fresh. It’s a huge treasure box. We are not just a fashion magazine, we’re also a people’s magazine.

IBC: I Like My Style is presented as a total fashion magazine, but once I started reading it I got the sensation that the magazine is actually not connected to the fashion industry, that it’s is coming at it as obsessive outsiders, which is so exciting. Can you talk about the ways in which you are or aren't connected to the larger industry, and how this influences the content?

EM: It is in the nature of the user-generated content that makes us seem offsite. Our magazine is very much about personal style and self-expression. We’re trying to empower people who are not part of the fashion industry to show their style and sartorial choices. As an editorial team we do not produce fashion spreads. We select and curate (hate that word, but it’s fitting) the visions of the users. The dressing room piracy is really the essence of ilikemystyle, a very anarchistic way of looking at high street fashion. We established With Compliments (fashion spreads of others) because we also wanted to communicate that we absolutely love traditional fashion publications. It’s just not our approach. I’d consider us pretty

connected: our fashion editor Martin Cho is the accessories designer for Marc Jacobs, one of us usually attends Fashion Weeks in various capitals, Adriano is very much in the loop. We’re really not looking away, our way of engaging is just different.

IBC: I love reading fashion blogs, and it was so amazing to have something akin to that in my hands, but as a piece of printed matter! What made you go off the computer?

EM: I love paper. I love books, I have a subscription for the New York Times, a lot of my close friends including my business partner Adriano are writers and novelists. I spend so much time at the computer, however, that I enjoy turning away from the screen, to read print and turn pages. People are still buying magazines, but the whole industry is shifting and that is not necessarily for the worse. It’s just different. I

believe that change is harder for big publishing houses to stomach than for small publications. Are we breaking even? Are you kidding me? We’re very grassroots, but we’re not trustfund kids, everyone gets paid even if it is very little. The free magazine VICE, once belittled now a multi media powerhouse, proved that if you have a huge following which continuously generates appealing content on eye level it is just more successful than looking at your audience on the basis of a perfect pie chart, or a power point presentation, or via on outdated advertising strategies. A lot of this dinosaur professionalism and market research tools is just blabla snore. It’s pretty safe to say that we’re much faster in coming up with ideas,

fresh ways of plugging in, getting a connection to our audience than a big corporation. It’s also pretty safe to say, that we’re never safe, because you have to take huge risks to be that free. We don’t have a huge human resources department with an oak front desk. In fact we don’t have a human resources department at all.

IBC: The magazine feels very international, which is also exciting. Where are you based, do you travel around a bunch?

EM: I am based in New York since a year, and I travel a lot. Before moving here I was based in Berlin for a couple of years, but I really just used my place to store my books and change suitcases. I’ve lived a large chunk of my adult life in different places in Asia: New Delhi, Shanghai, mostly Bangkok, a little Sri Lanka. Strictly non-spiritual; the exact opposite of Eat Pray Love more like Lost in Translation. I was writing but mostly I directed TV advertising campaigns for Asian markets, which I still do from time to time. Judith Banham (the art director of Ilikemystyle) and me also worked on a literary magazine penned Der Freund in Kathmandu, kind of a German version of The Believer. Why Ilikemystyle Quarterly turned out so international lies mostly in the nature of the social network. It’s nothing we can or want to control. For the users it’s a great way of getting around. If anything, we want to remap the world of style: Ilikemystyle suggests that Manila, Warsaw, and Philadelphia are just as inspiring and cool as Paris, New York and Tokyo. The project isn’t laid out for geographical judgment.

IBC: I love that you feature people's own clothing collections, and people of different ages. How do you decide who to profile?

EM:It comes pretty naturally. People who upload more get more attention. We reach out to them, start a conversation and then a story forms. There are just so many amazing users on our site.

IBC: I really like how spontaneous and open the magazine feels - you were walking down the street and met a bunch of high schoolers who wound up on your cover! What's your sign? Do you believe in astrology?

EM:I guess you have to be extremely curious and open. The High School of Fashion kids were all discovered by Alexa Karolinski who we work with for our new division, Ilikemystyle Moving Images. She literally bumped into them. I invited them to the office. One of the kid’s moms called me and asked what kind of pictures I was planning on taking of her son. I told her that I wasn’t going to take any pictures. If anything I wanted them to produce their own fashion spread with zero involvement by us. 20 hours later they gave us something like 2,000 pictures to chose from. I’m an Aries and my rising sign is Leo. I do believe in astrology, but it took me a while. In our next issue we have French astrologer Pascale Mercier compares the astrological charts of Cristobal Balenciaga and Nicholas Ghesquiere. It’s pretty next


Monday, September 27, 2010

Big Gay Wedding

Michael von Braithwaite imbibes Champagne directly from a bottle immediately after getting hitched.

Hi! I got big gay married (aka Power Unioned) this weekend. I'm exhausted, but thought I'd add a few highlights. Look what happens when you don't do the usual traditional hetero-style wedding-- people step up their game and have fun with their ensembles. I wore a dress from House of Hengst (formally of San Francisco, recently moved to NYC), Seychelles, an air plant, and a mink stole from 1922 because it was windy.

Most of these photos are just snapshots from Facebook. Luckily, Leo Plass just wrote a post all about Facebook, so it's thematically in keeping.

My dad

A wide variety of lady styles

Page McBee (my person) looking happy and dapper

Matthew Rochelau making sneakers and a bow tie work incredibly well

Tyler Doran, handsome as always and somehow pulling off a denim jacket and formal wear.

More on big gay weddings next week. 

Friday, September 24, 2010


With the movie "The Social Network" coming out soon I have barely been able to pick up a magazine without it mentioning Facebook in over a month. Yesterday it was the Newsweek at my Chiropractors office. I'm not on Facebook but it's not for political reasons. It's more for sanity reasons. When I moved to California I thought that nobody was actual friends but everyone knew each other and were 'close acquaintances'. This drove me nuts. Give me 4 good buddies and hello and goodbye to the rest of you. I don't want to be invited to your Birthday party cause there's my face as you scroll through. You better really want me there in order to get me there. You know, you'll have to text me or something. I don't want to care about what you ate for dinner, who your currently fucking, or what you did for fun last weekend. If I truly know you, you can give me the good info when I see you. But with all the talk on the politics of it all I thought I'd do an experiment.

Yes, it's a creepy experiment.

Only Oprah and Joy Behar have already seen the movie as it comes out October 1st but from what I've gathered it makes Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, out to be a grade A asshole. This I have no doubt is true. What troubles me is that the a main plot line seems based around wether he stole the idea for Facebook from his friends or not. Hello, the idea already existed. Remember Friendster? Myspace? In a trailer he is talking about 'relationship status' like the thought just occured to him out of no where. So, on one hand the movie knocks him down, while on the other re-writes history to give him way more credit then is due. Maybe the movie will address this more clearly.

Tagline: Ma bois. Is it wrong of me to use perfect strangers photos this way? I honestly don't know. But people put them up to be seen did they not? To feel some sort of infamy? I honestly don't know.

Zuckerberg quoted 7 years ago: “Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard. Just ask. I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS.” Asked how, he responds: “People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They ‘trust me.’ Dumb fucks.”

It was somehow 'leaked' to the media yesterday that Zuckerberg is donating 100 million dollars to Newark public schools. It's all in stocks though. And he will be letting everyone know about this on the Oprah show. Today I think. Movie damage control for sure. But worse is that the douche has 100 MILLION DOLLARS to donate!!! Wow, what a relationship status alert can do for a kid. In the end no matter who owns your face or sells your emails the world wide web is just that. World Wide.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Dear Friends,

I will not be able to fulfill  my posting duties tomorrow, as I will be marrying fellow blogger Michael [von] Braithwaite this weekend. Do not fear! I have so much good stuff lined up in coming weeks which will maybe even include some garden party wedding outfits. Holla.

See you soon,
Page McBee

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chloe's Closet

Hi, these are Vivienne Westwood kid's shoes. They exist. They're actually Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for mini-Melissa, a collaboration between Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania line and the British jelly shoe queen Melissa's kid-line, mini Melissa. Got it? Okay. I saw a blurb about these things in a magazine months ago and have been waiting ever since for my extremely fashionable one-year-old niece, Chloe Lark Black, to have a birthday so I could buy them for her. And, voila:

Toys for your feet! Which most shoes are, of course. Melissa does make grown-up versions with stiletto heels and big crazy hearts on the toes, so if you're feeling jealous, don't. I'm tempted to show you a picture right now, but this blog is not about these shoes in particular. It's about the amazing style of my now two-year-old niece Chloe, as explained to me by my sister Kathleen, no slouch in the style department herself. She is so fashionable her husband Eric bought her a Rag & Bone bubble top for their wedding anniversary, and he is so fashionable she bought him a Rag & Bone scarf. Doesn't that have a sort of Gift of the Magi feel to it? Like, if the couple in Gift of the Magi weren't tragic and lived in Santa Monica and bought each other gifts from Rag & Bone? Anyway, my sister took a break from writing thank you cards for Chloe's birthday presents to talk to me about her daughter's impeccable style.

Sailor sweater from Petit Bateau.

IRONING BOARD COLLECTIVE: I hate asking people what their style is, but I'm curious as to how you'd sum up Chloe's style.

KATHLEEN BLACK: It’s a fair question because I’ve actually thought about this. When she was first born I had he hardest time dressing her because I thought really frilly things were unfair to her. I wound up dressing her like an Eastern European Communist block comrade. But I felt like it was a more accurate representation of her! She seemed comfortable. It seemed weird to put her in things that are so dolled-up when she just wanted to move.

Fake fur from Barney's

KB: I think her style is active, with fun – What are you doing? She hates the kazoo, she doesn’t like the sound of it. Are you okay? She just tripped! – So, now I think she’s sort of fun, active with a lot of flirty embellishments. Cotton dresses with a little bit of tulle. Like right now she’s wearing her white leggings that have a little ruffle.

IBC: When did you start dressing her more girly?

It was really once her hair started growing in. She had, for the longest time, this sort of military look, high and tight. Then her hair started growing in around a year and you could see her neck and she looked more girly. I thought it would be fun to add more girly touches. On her first birthday I dressed her in a silk, white dress with rose embroidery. After that I was okay with her dressing up a little more – What’s in your mouth? Spit it out. Oh, it’s a grape.

Crewcuts from J. Crew

KB: First things first are her J Crew things I really like. – Mama, you’re watching Chloe? – These are from Crewcuts and I think are a good example of her style. The buttons are plastic, so I’m not going to stress about them, I can wash them in the washing machine. And she has new cords, funky sort of skinny cords. Bright color is an important thing for her. Grey is a popular color, but I have to pair it with bright colors or if washes her out. I’m trying to figure out what’s her style for fall. What’ll she do for fall? It was a lot easier to dress her in the summer.

A summer look from Zara

Joe's Jeans

Dress from Naartjie

KB: One other more practical thing is Naartjie, from South Africa. They’re like the Gap of South Africa, but they never repeat an article of clothing, whatever they do they only do it once. This is classic Chloe. She wears Naartjie about every day. A lot of people don’t know about Naartjie, but they’re pretty popular here in L.A., they have a lot of stores.

Marie Chantal

KB: This is Chloe’s potential Christmas outfit. My concern about this is she’s going to wind up looking like a weird child little old lady, and it won’t be cute, it’ll be sad. But if it works it’ll be adorable. It’s very Jackie O. I think she can pull that off.

Marie Chantal

KB: This dress I love, I can’t wait for her to wear it. I hope she doesn’t outgrow it before it’s too late. She has a lot of clothing in white. I think she looks striking in it.

OUR MOTHER: Ooooh, that’s so old-fashioned. It’s like from the 1800’s.

Here is an Easter dress that I love. This is by Luli & Me. This is her second dress by these people. Look at the pin-tucking!

Luli & Me

KB: Chloe's signature style is hair bows.

KB: I don't like it. Chloe wanted it.


What happens if she wants to wear something you don't like?

KB: She can wear it. The trick for me, if I offer her an option I have to be okay with both options. I don’t want to offer her a color I don’t think will work. I try to give her options, but options I’m okay with.

I want her to be able to express herself. She loves shoes. She loves Eric’s men’s shoes and she likes my sandals. She likes flats. When we’re in the store she definitely picks out things that she likes. I imagine that’s going to turn into her saying, ‘Mom, I want this.’ I think you kind of have to compromise. I look at Michelle (me! - Ed.), and she was going to wear what she was going to wear.

OUR MOTHER: She wanted to go to school in Nana's nightgowns.

(Editorial Note: My grandmother's nightgowns were shimmery, polyester 70s nightgowns in, like, peach or lavender, and would have been a wonderful alternative to my plaid Catholic School uniform, which had an undeniable classic charm but became tedious day after day.)

KB: You can either have fights over it, or . . . a little girl came to Toddle Tunes the other day wearing a T Collection sleeveless hoodie with unmatched leggings and a powder blue polyester tutu with sequins and iridescent stitching. She looked great. If Chloe wanted to do that I’d be like, fine. It makes no sense, she looked crazy, but she wanted to wear it.

IBC: What do you like to wear?

KB: Myself? It’s, I’m a little embarrassed, I love Anthropology. That’s sort of what I love the most for myself. They have a variety of brands there but it’s all one look. It looks vintage, but I don’t look vintage.

Special thanks to My Mother for additional art directing.