Improvised Life » apparel If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 13 Oct 2015 07:29:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Ugly Practical iPhone Holder I Can’t Live Without Wed, 19 Aug 2015 18:33:42 +0000

Sally Schneider

When I wore my iPhone stuck to a velcro forearm band to a friend's house, she said "How can you wear such an ugly thing?"; it's terrible!" Terrible? Lighten up! It is actually an amazing device. I workout hard, cook, and do chores with it and it has yet to come off. It's like a big Apple watch whose serious advantages trump its looks. As with everything I buy, I hacked it a bit, and pushed its limits.]]> 5
Girl Prison Antidote: Man Repeller + a DIY Scarf Dress Wed, 12 Aug 2015 19:42:07 +0000

Krista Anna Lewis

The other day, Improvised Life’s always-surprising assistant Mira Keras used a phrase we’d never heard before, but totally KNEW: “Girl prison“. She said it in reference to a women’s magazine she’s bought. Except for one article,  it was a Girl Prison, full of notions of “the right way to be a girl“, so fierce with implicit “shoulds” and shame as to become a”prison” in the reader’s mind.

Girl and other kinds of Prisons are so woven throughout our culture, that we are always on the lookout for sites and publications that liberate rather than imprison. Our new favorite: MAN REPELLER. (more…)

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An Inexpensive Joy-Sparking Gift for Women, Men, Kids Tue, 28 Apr 2015 18:17:04 +0000

I'm always on the lookout for gifts I can stockpile for unexpected occasions, that have a wide reach in terms of "giveability" to different kinds of people. My trove includes a number of items in our shop, from books to the great knives. Recently, I stumbled on another goody: stylish temporary tattoos.]]> 0
Fran Lebowitz’s Wise, Hilarious Views on Fashion (and Life) Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:50:54 +0000

Getty Images

We have Jason Kottke to thank for chosing the choicests bits of Elle’s hilarious interview with Fran Lebowitz about fashion. But even then, it’s worth reading every bit of her unique LOL commentary. (more…)

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Nick Cave’s Inspiring Process, Philosophy, Art Mon, 16 Feb 2015 08:33:12 +0000

(Video link HERE.) We discovered performance artist Nick Cave recently and are smitten. As one YouTube commenter wrote: “imagine a world where people wore these to work … lol that would colour up our lives a little”.

It’s not just the joy the his Sound Suits evoke; we’re inspired by how the first Sound Suit emerged unexpectedly from a pile of twigs… (more…)

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Snowboarding in LED’s Mon, 02 Feb 2015 07:31:46 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Insanely beautiful and daring. The absence of any sound except the simple piano accompaniment punches up the stark black and white imagery as Sutton carves across snowbanks and threads through barren trees trailing a roostertail of powered crystals.

May your Monday be this luminous.

—Susan Dworski

via Nowness

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Hand as Note Pad, Art Material, Tool, “Thundering Channel” Thu, 22 Jan 2015 07:49:53 +0000

Sinnae Choi

The other day at Artists and Craftsman, we noticed the cashier’s ever-ready note pad —his hand — and were reminded of the many ways we’ve used our hands. We mentioned this to Sinnae Choi, Improvised Life’s brilliant aide-de-camp, and she wrote some seriously powerful words about just what hands can do, and be. (more…)

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Embracing NOT Knowing Wed, 14 Jan 2015 07:11:00 +0000

Sally Schneider

A few weeks ago, we met an old friend for dinner who had recently lost his wife of sixty years. When we’d called to tell him we’d heard the news and to offer anything — to bring him food, come by to give him a hug, take him out to dinner — THAT’S what he said he wanted: to have a good dinner, a cocktail or two, be out in the world. Somehow he snagged a last-minute reservation at a very good restaurant at the height of Christmas season. We arrived to find him wearing a button that said “I don’t know”(more…)

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Combat Boots with Grosgrain Ribbon Laces Tue, 13 Jan 2015 18:01:46 +0000

Lately, we’ve been on the hunt for a practical pair of walking boots for our suddently-sensitive with a tender sprained tendon. “Tie shoes are best”, said the physical therapist, “for support”. Ugh.

Combat boots seem a stylish possibility but so many seem kind of tough looking. Until we stumbled on a lovely solve: grosgrain ribbon laces totally temper the rugged look in a surprising way. A 50-yard spool of 5/8-Inch grosgrain ribbon costs less than $8, and comes in a variety of colors (and widths), so can be changed easily.

Another simple fashion hack we’ll keep in mind.

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Personal Celebration: Vivid Colors for Hair, Face, Body (DIY) Wed, 24 Dec 2014 18:12:41 +0000

During dark winter, I recommend using hits of brilliant color across bare skin and hair to brighten things up a bit, especially for holiday parties.

I suppose you could call these beauty tips, but they’re also all about breaking the rules and trying out the unexpected. Unlike what maddening women’s magazines might tell you, there is NO age restriction on wearing a bright pop of color on your lids or streaking your silver hair pastel green. Surprise YOURSELF and consider these “tips” a little neon-bright gift to yourself and to everyone around you. (more…)

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Festive Holiday Beards + Little Richard’s Inspired Do Wed, 24 Dec 2014 02:13:23 +0000

Beard Baubles, tiny ornaments to festoon a holiday beard, have become such a rage, they’ve completely sold out! Who knew that beard decorations would become a sartorial expression. We’re thinking it may have been fueled by Will It Beard, a brilliant tumblr devoted to ingenious beard apparel.

We’ve found a set 30 Small Glass Mini Classic Solid Color Christmas Ball Ornaments at Amazon for less than $10, and have seen them at the Dollar Store as well, so there’s still time to get the fixings for a festive holiday beard. For a simpler approach, check out Little Richards splendid do: (more…)

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Handler’s Chic Multi-Purpose Vial for Tiny Essentials Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:00:25 +0000

Laura Handler

Once, necessary functional objects were quiet tokens of personal style. Wrist watches, cigarette lighters, address books and compacts brought glamour and pleasure to everyday rituals. But they are fading away.

To fill the void, Laura Handler designed something personal, portable and beautiful, that can’t be replaced by a cell phone or a plastic disposable.  The chic little vial started out as a luxurious pill holder for Cielo who wanted to bring pleasure and beauty to the ritual of pill taking. We’ve found that it can do WAY more than that. (more…)

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Holiday Hair Do’s Wed, 17 Dec 2014 00:05:46 +0000


Human invention and creativity applied to holiday hair-do’s. Pure wonder!

via Chris Eldredge

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Mae West’s Inspired Elevator Shoes Tue, 02 Dec 2014 22:34:35 +0000

When we saw this photo of Mae West’s shoes, our mind got boggled. Were these wild sculptures meant to be stylish OR were they a strange solution to the impossibility of walking in the lower, steeply-angled silver shoe — a less fearsome, more wearable shoe added right on top?

It turns out something of both: they were meant to be stylish and consummately-practical, for reasons we didn’t expect.

As NPR recently explained in their coverage of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibition “Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen”: (more…)

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