For Men: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's messenger bag from 500 Days of Summer

Last year I posted about the excellent vintage-style fashion in one of the best romantic comedies of the past year, 500 Days of Summer.  We were especially taken by the "old man chic" worn by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's lovesick character, Tom.  Since we've gotten so much interest from that post, including a ton of questions about JGL's messenger bag in the movie, I thought I'd post a follow-up to let people know where they can buy the bag, or something very similar to it:

I'm close to certain that costume designer Hope Hanafin got Tom's canvas messenger bag from a vintage store, but that doesn't mean stylish men everywhere can't get the same look for a lot less than you'd expect.  Contrary to what people were saying on Yahoo Answers, Tom's bag was NOT from Ben Sherman.  More likely it was one of these vintage styles (I especially love the simple army medic shoulder bag from the Army Navy store - so classic, so practical, and so affordable!):

Esoteric scarves from the Metropolitan Museum of Art store (on sale!)

It's not really a place you think of for high fashion, unless maybe you are someone's grandmother.  But I wandered onto the Met Museum store's website today and rifled through some of their winter sale offerings.  I was taken aback, and very pleased, to discover some really beautiful scarves in its collection, most of which are on major sale, and all of which allude to some part of the actual art collection.

What I love most about these scarves, besides that they are lovely and colorful and can be styled in so many different ways, is that they are a little bit nerdy.  It's like wearing a piece of history, for the liberal arts geeks among us.  My favorite is the Tiffany stained glass scarf (number 1 below), as the Tiffany windows were always my favorite part of visiting the Met, followed closely by the arms and armor section.

I also included a couple standouts from the jewelry sale, a cascading pearl earring and a Tiffany 'pine-bough' pendant.

Meet: Nervous System, gorgeous design for the nerdiest among us

We got this via a friend, Chi Chiu, via Fast Company via  Which means several design blogs have broken this story, but it doesn't seem like any of the fashion blogs have picked it up yet.  We hope we're one of the first!
Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, two MIT grads, started Nervous System as a side-project offshoot of their architecture projects.  They use generative processes, interactive algorithms inspired by natural phenomena and organic forms, to create jewelry that is at once beautiful and mathematical.  They believe so strongly in the fluid and infinitely customizable nature of their products that they make their open-source applets available under the creative commons license.

For those of us laypeople who have trouble understanding the esoteric language on their 'About Us' page, all we need to know is that the pieces are a unique blend of science, design, and art--made with sustainable materials and using ethical methods.  And besides the fact that they are lovely, they are also totally affordable!  I love it and will definitely be treating myself to a couple pieces this holiday season.


It's me, Jena, the rarely seen in the wild Wearability contributor!

Anyway I have a site recommendation, and here's hoping no one has heard of it yet:

If you're a window shopper, app devotee, or closet paper doll hobbyist, you might like building an ensemble on Polyvore. I spent a good thirty minutes there trying to come up with an outfit for a theoretical date to a theoretical 40's style cocktail party. A lot of the selections are expensive, but I spotted a couple mid-range items in there (Forever 21?)

Anyway it's pretty intuitive and I'm curious to see what people put together.

The slanket taught us there's lots of design left in the world of functional apparel... what's next?

Ever since Steph bought me a slanket, I haven't ever been cold at my desk. The slanket is a blanket with sleeves. You wear it like a robe. It's a blanket. It's a slanket! Somewhere along the way, some designers decided there was a lot more innovation left in this space. For instance...

Sometimes it's kind of cold and you want to do some work, but you're at the cafe and there's too much noise and distraction. Luckily, there's the Laptop Compubody Sock to the rescue.

Or sometimes its cold and you want to eat a sandwich. Voila, the sandwich eating ski mask.

What will they come up with next? More on these and other ingenious inventions over at, and detailed instructions on how to create the Compubody Sock at

It's not quite wearable. Well, not in public, anyway. But it is awesome.

From Delias: Clever Tees for Hopeful Hearts

Living in the Bay Area, and especially hanging around the Mission (i.e. hipster central), surrounded by geek-chic start-up engineers and entrepreneurs, I see more than my share of snarky T-shirts on a daily basis.  And while we all love, I sometimes get a little fatigued breathing in the self-satisfied clouds of smug all the time.

Which is why I found these darling little tees on so refreshing.  Undeniably cute, with their funny little puns and good-natured, whimsical styles, these t-shirts convey something that many others don't: optimism.  In this cynical world, their earnest sense of humor is appealing indeed.  

Save $10 when you buy two online! Here are some of my favorites.

For Men: The Skinny on Skinny Ties

Ties are normally a constricting item in the male wardrobe, sometimes further limited to formal (read: not fun) events--weddings, fancy brunches, court appearances, what have you. But they are making some headway in casual wear (on a more socially "cool" level than before...thank you Jonas Brothers, Justin Timberlake and Andre 3000).
Specifically, the skinny tie is making quite the comeback, so I'm paying a wearability homage to the trimmed down descendant of the ascot. Done right, the skinny tie adds a mod/nerd/rock-ish twist to any outfit.  Three notes before proceeding:

Number one: Skinny ties do NOT go with everything you'd wear a normal tie with.  Pay particular attention to the collar--a collar that is signficantly wider than the skinny tie makes your neck look disproportinately short and fat (and who really wants that?).  Generally, skinny ties do not work well with spread collars (e.g. a pimp's unbuttoned shirt with the flashy shiny tiger print and chest hair sprouting up top), so don't plan to wear them like this unless you enjoy being publicly labeled as a tool.   Otherwise, your run-of-the-mill dress shirt should do just fine.

Number two: A skinny tie requires a skinny knot. A full windsor just looks silly with a skinny tie.  I'm partial to the "4 in hand knot" - it's slightly asymmetrical, which goes well with a more casual look.  Don't know how to tie this knot?   Check this site out.

Number three: If you wear the skinny tie with a blazer, look at the width of the tie compared to the lapels. They should be approximately the same size, erring on the size of the lapels being slightly wider.  But if the lapels are too wide, it will make your head look like a balloon, with the skinny tie as a little string trailing underneath trying desespearately to keep your head attached to your disproportional outfit.  

With these guidelines in mind, the skinny tie is a lot of fun.  Some things to try: go for a loud shirt and a solid tie (skinny black tie is the classic), or try a subtler shirt paired with a bolder tie pattern.  Subtle Tie + Subtle Shirt = OK, if the colors have good contrast (like a white shirt and black tie or vice versa - monochrome doesn't work well with this look).   Loud Shirt + Loud Tie may result in screams from children running away from you, the Technicolor Monster.  This is not for the faint of heart; mixing patterns/colors is really a matter of personal taste so I can't be too judgmental, but it's pretty easy to mess up this combination so proceed with caution.  When you throw on a collared long sleeve shirt - throw on a skinny tie and see what it does for you.

Club Monaco has some really cool bold stripe skinny ties and your nearest Nordstrom Rack will carry some older (but more affordable and ever-so-stylish!) skinny ties from the likes of Ben Sherman and Paul Smith.  Otherwise, venture out to your nearest vintage clothing shop to score some super cheap ties - you can usually find a skinny black tie for $5.

Anyway, I had some extra time to kill this weekend so I did a mini-shoot featuring me and stuff that I have in my closet that I've mixed and matched with skinny ties.  My favorite look is the brown tie with a light blue gingham shirt and a pair of dark-ish blue jeans. I tried to cover a range of looks, from casual, to going out on the town, to business casual, to a more everyday look.

Note that while skinny ties are the "in" thing now, you can still wear regular-sized ties as well.  It's really just about adding personal flair by throwing on a tie to spice up a look - but in a good, non-TGIFridays sort of way.