criticism category

Good Bad Taste vs. Bad Bad Taste

Excerpt from Rookie Mag’s interview with John Waters.

What’s the difference between good bad taste and bad bad taste?

You have to know the rules of good taste to have bad taste. With good good taste, you just know the rules. You like something not because it’s worth money, but because you know its value, and you don’t care if anyone else knows it. You pull it off seamlessly without looking down on anybody.

Good bad taste is celebrating something without thinking you’re better than it. You think it’s so amazing, and you could have never even thought it up. But the people who have [this thing] have it without irony. And so you’re stupefied by it and you have to respect it because it is so peculiar and so weird and much crazier than you could ever think, but those other people think they’re normal.

Bad bad taste is condescending, making fun of others. An old plastic pink flamingo on a lawn that two older people have had forever is just good taste. But a plastic pink flamingo on a yuppie’s front lawn is bad bad taste.
It’s not even the original—it’s mass produced, and they’re way too late on the joke.

So that’s the difference for me: if you’re celebrating something or you’re looking down on something.



We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.

-John Waters

Showdown: Urban Outfitters vs. Etsy

Ok.  I know that I post a lot of stuff from Urban Outfitters right here on this very blog.  But you also know that I love to hate them.  Today is no exception.  I am looking at their site, at the apartment section, and seeing reproductions of ceramics that my friends and I have, and thinking… you know what this is ridiculous.  Some of the vintage items they knock off are infuriating because if you spent like 10 more minutes looking on Etsy or Ebay, you could find a comparable or better deal on something that is actually vintage, and therefore something that will be more likely to retain its value.  As much as I am loathe to have more hipsters crowding out the thrift stores I go to, or snatching up cool vintage things on Etsy, I do want to prevent more crap from ending up in our landfills and I want to encourage people not to be so lazy.   Perhaps people are under the impression that vintage is more expensive, but you will see that simply isn’t true.

I am considering making this an ongoing section where I compare a selection of things that are currently available on Etsy to things that are currently available at Urban Outfitters.  In the “apartment” section in particular.   Please let me know what you think!

Anyway, here are a few from today:

Urban Outfitters– $48:


Found Vintage Style– $48:

found vintage style, drip german vases, vintage, ceramic, etsy, thelooksee

Urban Outfitters– $18:


Autumnal Always– $10:

autumn always, squirrel jar, vintage, etsy, thelooksee

Urban Outfitters– $16


Carnavore Cockatiel-$15

carnavore cockatiel, whale ashtray, vintage, etsy, thelooksee

Posted July 21st, 2009 in criticism, design, etsy, socially responsible, vintage.

Resort 2010: Marni

Dear Consuelo,

Despite the oddly styled model (who looks a lot like a younger Alanis Morisette); shants; and unreasonably high pockets, I find myself loving everything you do for Marni, including this collection.



marni, resort 2010, clothing, fashion, ready to wear, thelooksee

marni, resort 2010, clothing, fashion, ready to wear, thelooksee

marni, resort 2010, clothing, fashion, ready to wear, thelooksee

Posted July 1st, 2009 in accessories, criticism, design, fashion.

Trends I cannot get behind

Since my blog is mostly comprised of things I like, I thought I’d do a post about things I really don’t like!

Trends I can’t (and probably never will) get into:





Posted May 7th, 2009 in criticism, design, fashion.

Weekend getaway: Ace Hotel and Swim Club

Sorry for the lack of posts- the hubby and I went out of town for our 3rd anniversary this weekend.  We headed out on Friday morning and got back yesterday.  It was a leisurely weekend at the newly opened Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, mostly spent in the pool.  One day we ventured out into downtown Palm Springs, but I can’t really say that I felt there was much to report.  It’s one of those places that requires a local to show you the good stuff.   Anyway, we made good use of the Amigo Room and Kings Highway restaurant which are part of the Ace Hotel.

ace hotel, kings highway, swim club, amigo room, palm springs, the looksee

The Kings Highway Restaurant is very tasty… everything is presented in mason jars or glass bottles, which is lovely.  It has the atmosphere of old diner which has been revamped into a more cleanly-modern establishment.  My favourite meal was their ricotta pancakes with maple crunch butter.  When you order their coffee, you pay about $4 for a french press full of rich and delicious Stumptown coffee, perfect for a table of two.  Seth ordered their brisket burger and fries, which was apparently amazing.

ace hotel, kings highway, swim club, amigo room, palm springs, the looksee

ace hotel, kings highway, swim club, amigo room, palm springs, the looksee

ace hotel, kings highway, swim club, amigo room, palm springs, the looksee

Out by the pool we ordered boozy snowcones and beer.  Pretty awesome.  The Amigo Room bar had what seemed to be great drink specials on their menu like: “Whiskey Ginger”- Jameson Irish whiskey, honey, ginger juice & cinnamon tincture or “Dark and Stormy”- Appleton rum, Gosling rum, ginger beer & lime; sounds great right?  I came with the memory of my amazing Whiskey Ginger from Clyde Common in Portland (part of the Ace Hotel up there).  Unfortunately they were mixed poorly and were super sweet.  I suspect that the bartender had never actually sampled and of the drinks on their special menu.  I will cut them some slack since they just opened and are probably still training staff to make their special elixirs!

ace hotel, kings highway, swim club, amigo room, palm springs, the looksee

ace hotel, kings highway, swim club, amigo room, palm springs, the looksee

Anyway, it was a lovely place and we had a very relaxing time.  I totally recommend it if you need a little weekend away and you don’t want to do much but swim, drink, eat, and enjoy the company of your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse!

Posted March 23rd, 2009 in architecture, criticism, design, general, local (L.A.), photography.

Fall Fashion Week Looks Part 2

So of course today I’m much more optimistic about the collections for fall.  That was after seeing Doo.ri (kind of loving the sequined lace tights), Proenza Schouler, the textures at Vivienne Tam, 3.1 Philip Lim, and a few others.  I’m including Juan Carlos Obando in my pick of looks because the man is just so sweet.  When I worked in buying, JC used to call personally to try to schedule appointments and was so nice and charming.  I wish him all the success in the world.  Same for Jeff Halmos of Shipley and Halmos (formerly of Trovata) for the same reasons… total sweetie.

fall09, rtw, doo.ri, designer, fashion, thelooksee

fall09, rtw, doo.ri, designer, fashion, thelooksee

fall09, rtw, j mendel, designer, fashion, thelooksee

fall09, rtw, juan carlos obando, designer, fashion, thelooksee

fall09, rtw, proenza schouler, designer, fashion, thelooksee

fall09, rtw, vivienne tam, designer, fashion, thelooksee

fall09, rtw, 3.1 philip lim, designer, fashion, thelooksee

fall09, rtw, 3.1 philip lim, designer, fashion, thelooksee

1. & 2. Doo.ri  3. J. Mendel  4. Juan Carlos Obando  5. Proenza Schouler 6. Vivienne Tam  7. & 8. 3.1 Philip Lim

Posted February 19th, 2009 in accessories, criticism, design, fashion.

Fall Fashion Week Looks Part 1

Maybe I say this every time, but so far I haven’t been wowed by any one collection in its entirety.  I feel like I’m seeing a lot of super sleek and/or shiny designs that still manage to be boring or just unwearable (ie: Acne leggings that appear to be made of transparent raincoat plastic), and I’m seeing way too much fur.  Some collections like Marc by Marc, and Sophie Theallet were great if it weren’t for the terrible choice of footwear.  Ladies in lovely dresses with feet clad in mukluks or hiking boots?  No thanks.  Here are some looks that I’ve liked (including some Marc by Marc looks where the models are wearing less offensive footwear).  I will continue to follow the shows and post more as it comes along.






1. & 2.  Marc by Marc Jacobs 3.  Trovata 4. & 5.  United Bamboo

Posted February 18th, 2009 in accessories, criticism, design, fashion.

Michelle Obama’s choice on Tuesday

So… I am wondering what you all thought of Michelle Obama’s dress on Tuesday.  I frankly was surprised by her choice of this Narciso Rodriguez dress… I didn’t think that it was very photogenic, nor was it terribly appropriate.  She’s made great dress choices thus far, in my opinion,  but wasn’t too keen on this one.  What was your impression?

narciso rodriguez, michelle obama dress, clothing, acceptance speech, the looksee

Posted November 7th, 2008 in criticism, design, fashion.


This is what a botany book should look like.  I found this a while back… probably at a thrift store, but I don’t remember.


I don’t know if I mentioned this but at the ripe old age of 28 I decided to go back to school to finish my Associates degree, and this semester I’m taking a botany class at Pasadena City College, to fill the science lab-lecture requirement.  I was very excited about taking this class, and still am.  My teacher is Dr. Debra Fulsom, who is a research botanist for the Huntington Botanical Gardens and also apparently a published author (which I only found upon Googling her!).  It’s a fascinating subject for me, as I have been obsessed with plants since I was about 13.  Anyway, I just wanted to post this beautiful old botany book and have you compare it to this cover, which is what is on my actual schoolbook… no offense to Van Gogh, but this is inappropriate for a botany book.

Posted October 12th, 2008 in criticism, design, general, plants.