12 December 2007

Feature sneak-peek: "I love your ____"/"Were it mine..."


Now that you all know what my pie-in-the-sky wishlist looks like, I thought I'd let you in on something else, something more real and a bit more personal.

Provided that my pre-12/25 negotiations with "the big guy" aren't again derailed by a petty fight over my exposing too much midriff when reaching for a box of Triscuits on the top shelf of the pantry (hypothetically speaking, of course), come Christmas morning, I should be the beaming new owner of a 10.9MP digital camera with CCD Shift Image Stabilization, 4/3 mounted lens and something called a 'Supersonic Wave Filter.'

I don't really know what any of those specs mean, but I do know that because of them, the retirement of grainy photographs is in ASJiNE's very near future.

Now, before you start branding me a Sartorialist/Pandahead/Project Beltway copycat, please know I haven't the slightest clue how to take a "good" photograph, and frankly, I don't really have any desire to take the time away from the already established parts of my life to learn. This blog, for me, always was and will continue to be about the writing first, the fashion second, celebrities third and Monte fourth.

That being said, I've reached a point after nearly 12 months of blogging where I need a bit more day-to-day structure to keep the creative momentum of my site moving at a pace and in a direction with which I'm satisfied.

So, once the aforementioned camera is in my possession and I return from Michigan to the District, in addition to "May-jah Friday," I will include another weekly (two-part) feature called, "I love your ____"/"Were it mine..."

Unlike the street-fashion blogs I've cited above, I won't be taking pictures of people I pass on ConnAve whose overall 'looks' strike me as stylish but rather those whose pair of high-waisted trousers, art-deco inspired pumps or pearl cocktail ring has me so mesmerized that I can't help but hunt them down, tap them on the shoulder, motion that yes, they should de-bud their ears, and tell them:

"I love your _____!"

Upon receiving permission to do so, I will then take a painfully average photograph of that one item (and that one item only) that takes neither light nor artfully-inspired background into account. I'll ask a few simple questions pertaining to where and for how much money they procured their fabulous ____, how many times per week they find themselves wearing the ____, and how, if it all, they incorporate the ____ into other outfits.

That's the first part.

The second, "Were it mine...," is just as it sounds - a breakdown of how I would wear the item were it part of my rotation.

There are plenty of people out there who snap the macro view of street fashion and who do so very, very well; I have no ambitions to compete with them. What I am interested in, however, is helping to broaden people's horizons - mine included - when it comes to individual wardrobe components and exploring how, through a few thoughtful tweaks, pieces traditionally thought to be work-only or weekend-only can actually transcend those categories to be worn in most any venue, any day of the week.

As someone who continues to advocate investing once in a high-quality piece instead of making multiple purchases of a low-grade equivalent, I feel the burden of proof is on my shoulders to help convince those of you whose lips want to and are about to drink my Kool-Aid, that it is indeed in your best interest to go ahead and tip the cup back.

In other words, gently nudge you into saving up for these instead of putting yourself in a one-season-shoe situation where you end up buying three pairs of these.

happy holiday party wishes,
Johanna

49 comments:

ataraxia said...

This sounds like a great idea -- looking forward to checking it out after the New Year!

manhattan_darling said...

really cool. can't wait to see it!

bff in chicago said...

"monte fourth" - really? how does he feel about that?

I'm impressed your "big" present is going to be something so practical. I totally thought you'd just put that purple McQueen mini dress on your list this year.

and like everything else you try, I'm sure (grumble) you'll be great at photography as well.

longtime fan said...

some structure is good, but I hope you don't change too much the rest of your original format. one of the best things about this blog is that I come here every morning having no idea what I'll encounter! I love the spontaneity of it.

Angelina said...

I like the idea of buying one great item rather than a few. It's hard, though, as you know, when you like to go shopping and you like new things. Would you consider a feature where you post the *one* must-have item of the month which is a bit of a stretch to buy, but do-able if we restrain ourselves from buying anything else. Of course, what's do-able is relative, but you could choose a price range and stick to it.

Kate said...

Today I realized that what I needed on me was a business card that simply has your website on it. Then, I could have smiled sweetly and handed it to the woman on the Metro who had gorgeous calves but had bedecked them with black pointed-toe mule heels over black ankle socks. I picture her at her desk, going to ASJiNE and realizing that, in fact, the shoes were bad enough, but wearing them with black ankle socks was hideous.

bored ny lawyer said...

This sounds like an awesome idea, and I can't wait to see it! I wonder how many people you stop on the street with actually be readers of your blog.

ps: When I first saw the title of this post and saw a picture of Kim, I thought you'd be posting pics of celeb's body parts and describing what'd you do if you had their ___. haha.

word of caution said...

I really hope people don't buy into your bullsh*t idea that just because something costs more it's higher quality. I still have Target sweaters and TJ Maxx shoes that after several "seasons" still look just fine and serve their purpose well. $200 for shoes is outlandish, esp. for the pair you showed - Granny called and wants her church shoes back.

on J's side on this one said...

while I don't believe there is a directly proportional relationship between cost and quality, I know for a fact that my designer shoes make my feet hurt a whole lot less than my cheapie shoes do. I don't know why, probably something to do with the architecture of the shoe, but it is what it is, and I'm stickin' to it.

and those t straps are NOT grannyish at all. they're fabulous!

dc lawyer said...

ideas like this that are fun, practical and widely appealing are what will keep you innovative and ahead of your "competition". not that you really have any ;-)

dc lawyer said...

scratch "innovative and" from that comment. my bad for not proofreading before I posted!

olivia said...

I have to agree that designer shoes are more comfortable than the stuff you get at Nine West and Payless. Come on people, it just makes sense, doesn't it? Better materials make for better cushioning and design. I've also found nicer shoes are easier for my cobbler to fix than the cheaper shoes, because of their better materials.

Jo, I'm very excited about this new idea of yours!

Anonymous said...

let me get this straight, through taking a photo of a fabulous pearl cocktail ring, you're going to show me how my work clothes can be taken from daytime to weekend? Uh, thanks, sounds THRILLING.

Johanna said...

yes, anonymous 11:46, that's *exactly* what I'm planning on doing and you better believe it'll be THRILLING.

I'm not going to beat around the bush here, you didn't score so highly on the reading comp section of your SAT did you?

that's all...

kiss,
J

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait for this feature. I always wondered how you came up with your ideas day after day.

I like an earlier commenter's idea about having ASJiNE cards that you and your readers can discretely pass out to women in this city in need of style interventions. Before I started reading your blog I didn't pay much attention to my appearance or my wardrobe, so I know I would've benefitted from receiving one!

Anonymous said...

Word of Caution,

It's true that not everything that's more expensive is of better quality -- when it comes to clothing. Marc by Marc Jacobs (I can't afford "true" Marc) lasts no longer than anything from Banana or Benetton.

Where shoes are concerned, however, you'll definitely notice a difference, and it's enough of a difference to make the price worthwhile. Have you ever tried to carry a pair of Nine Wests from one year to the next? It doesn't happen. And I'm not a drinker of the "expensive = better" Kool-Aid.

It's not worth paying a lot of trendy, fun, flash-in-the-pan sort of shoes, but "good" work shoes should last for a couple years, at least.

Johanna said...

Angelina-

I'm with you, I love to shop and wear new things, so the concept of saving up for investment pieces is a difficult one for me as well. But for wardrobe staples such as pencil skirts, coats, simple pumps, go-to cocktail dresses, etc., I really can't stress enough how beneficial it is to wait for something that is not only classic in its aesthetic but durable as well. I love Zara to pieces, but out of the several dozen pieces of theirs I own, only the olive trench is a staple, and sadly, after only a few months and one trip to the dry cleaners, I've come to see it, too, turned out to be a one-season purchase.

Look, I'm not telling the college student or the recent grad school grad with mountains of student loans to pinch their pennies so they can afford Marc Jacobs, but I *am* encouraging those of you who do have disposable income to stop wasting your money on items of mid-grade quality. In the end, you lose money. And not only that, but in many cases, the items you did purchase won't look as good on you as their more expensive equivalents might. Some might not buy that argument, but I've tried on enough clothes at enough stores to say without reservation that there is a connection between price and quality. A thick-knit Theory or DvF pencil skirt is going to last longer *and* hug your body in a more flattering way than a rayon one from the junior's department at Macy's.

But enough now, I need a salad.

best,
J

brown rowergirl said...

now that's a profile picture! hawt!

I can't wait to hear all about what happens when you approach people on the street and say, "Oh no, I don't want a picture of you, just your ring - your clothes are hideous."

breanne said...

I think it's deliciously ironic that you spout office appropriate this and office appropriate that, yet look at your hair!!! It's 100% office inappropriate. you look like you should be at a SKA show back in the early 90's!!!

Anonymous said...

your "selfy" photos kind of give me the creeps. why not just ask a friend to take your photo?

Johanna said...

I do it because KimKar does it, and whatever she does, I do.

except for the urolagnia thing.

M Street admirer said...

anon 12:56 must be a woman, because the thought of J taking her own picture is highly UNcreepy to me.

which I'm sure sounded creepy to the rest of you...

Anonymous said...

i love J's hair. leave it alone.

gemma g. said...

I love Angelina's monthly "must have" idea. I hope you use it!

and your hair is totally office appropriate. that girl sounded more catty than anything.

Anonymous said...

I agree, c-r-e-e-p-y!

Brooke said...

Since when was it weird to take a photo of yourself. Some of us do it on a daily basis!

Teek said...

... office...inappropriate... hair?

Straws: Anon 12:56 can grasp them.

***
Quality can be found at a lot of price points. I have an Escada jacket that's aging about as well as Ann Taylor. And on the other hand, Clark's boots from an outlet mall that are currently serving me through season 4 of heavy winter use. I have a wrap dress from Forever21 that is actually more flattering than my DvF (though the craftmanship is not comparable.)

It's more important to look at materials and craftmanship and fit than labels, 100% of the time.

Johanna said...

Teek-

Agreed.

best,
J

ataraxia said...

i'm not a personal friend of johanna's and i'm not usually a troll-feeder either. but seriously...i'm really tired of the fact that all ridiculously negative/ignorant comments come 3 to 5 minutes apart.

look, johanna-hater -- if you're going to make up various alias's's/anonymous's's -- from now on at least take the time to spread them out a little more. you're really not that crafty at all.

breanne said...

I think Johanna writes half these comments herself. I'm more likely to believe "teek" and "ataraxia" are just alter-egos of hers.

Anonymous said...

the selfies detract from what you are trying to capture in your photo. for the record, this is my second comment ever, teek.

Teek said...

Not that you'll have any reason to believe me, but Jo and I have never met, and I'm certainly not she. Just a reader. But thank you for the compliment if you think I'm as sensible and well written as Jo.

Dave said...

I'm Spartacus! I'm Spartacus! I'm Spartacus!

knew you as hannie, too said...

I think the idea of you with a camera unleashed on the streets of DC is absolutely frightening. For your safety, I mean. I've always thought you'd end up block-heeled to death by some dowdy woman you stink-eyed on your way to work, but add a camera to that mix and I smell trouble.

p.s. I am not Johanna

ataraxia said...

b-dog: you are making me l-o-freakin-l. trying to see what kind of controversy you can stir up today? maybe YOU are johanna! wouldn't that put the icing on the cake!

quality said...

This might be a little off topic, but I'm looking for suggestions of a high quality purse for daily use (big enough for stuff I need for work, not as big as a briefcase though). Oh, and under $200? Santa doesn't have tons of $$ this year...

lila m. said...

I'm going to dress better everyday now that I know you'll be on the lurk with a 10.9MP camera.

C said...

Seriously, you with a camera will keep me up at night. It's bad enough that we work a few blocks apart. Do you know how tiring it is to sprint to Cosi when I've got on a bad outfit, lest I run into you?

ataraxia aka johanna's alter ego said...

quality, check out some of the sale items at BR -- http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/category.do?cid=26507 -- the satchels are probably the size you are looking for

enter BRHOLIDAY for an extra 20% off

also not Johanna said...

I can't wait for you to get the new camera if only so that I can see Monte up close and even more personal. He is just so cute. I agree with the commenter who said they were surprised you'd ask for a camera like that over new clothes. Good choice, girl, you've got enough beautiful threads!

Brooke said...

Also not Johanna-

Sorry for those of you that have seen this before but this person obviously hasn't yet:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/14585359@N00/

Monte - up close and personal. These will tide you over until Johanna posts her own Monte flickr.

st. louis lass said...

I think the new photo is beautiful. Do you ever wear lip color? You really should try, you'd look incredible in a deep red.

Suz said...

Real link, please, Brooke. I can't get anything using that.

N said...

Another off topic question - Can someone recommend a clean, not too expensive nail salon close to Dupont? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

n-
On 17th between P and Q, there's a nail salon whose door is in between Jack's and the gyro place (you'll see the neon sign for it in a window above Jack's). Go up the stairs and you're inside. Very clean, friendly, and reasonable prices - don't remember exactly but I think it's $20-25 for pedi, $12-15 for mani. See ya there!

Anonymous said...

where's my sugar daddy eye candy???

Christian fan said...

you just won the challenge on Project Runway! Congratulations!

Johanna said...

(taking a curtsy)

why, thank you!

N said...

thanks, anon 5:26. That's right around the corner from my apartment!