Privilege Blog

How To Dress Like An Artsy Cousin, Genus Californian And Texania

Of the High WASP Style Archetypes, Artsy Cousins vary most from region to region. Which makes sense, since Artsy Cousins prioritize individual and aesthetic expression.

When Flo spoke up recently, we heard from an East Coast Minimalist Artsy Cousin.

On the other hand, here’s a Northern California version I’d assembled before Flo sent me her portfolio. Somewhat more rustic, more eclectic, more casual, as are many Northern Californians. But the common Artsy thread shows through. Kaftan is clearly the uber-meme of the species, along with sandals of one sort or another. I suppose toes are rather Artsy, if you think about it.

Artsy Cousin, Northern California

Artsy Cousin, Northern California by AmidPrivilege featuring dangle earrings

Now take a look at Texan Artsy Cousin style, kindly sent at my request by Jill, of Stella’s Roar. Yes, Texas does allow Artsy Cousins to cross the border. In fact I’m  very fond of Texas. Houston has a great artsy culture, driven I believe by its museums, and I hear that Austin is Northern California’s spiritual cousin. But I digress.

In Texas, it’s go Maximalist Or Go Home. Some day before I resign myself to bedjackets I’d like to own a coat like that.

If a touch of Artsy Cousin makes your heart lighter in the morning, go visit Jill. She does a lot of brief posts, on clothing and house style, with pictures. For us Sturdy Gals, it’s like a secret trip to Las Vegas. Not that I’ve ever been, mind you.

What about the Artsy Cousins of Southern California? Los Angeles might seem to host an entire community. Page through any celebrity magazine and you will see page upon page of Haute Hippies, otherwise known as Boho Chic Babes. As always, when a sub-culture is appropriated by dominant culture, the original strains are difficult to trace. We’ll take a stab at it anyway, and throw in a present to boot.

LAMO Giveaway

Today we have a giveaway that’s the Add-A-Pearl of LA Artsy Cousin style, if you will. Put these shoes in your closet and you’re on your way to Sienna Miller-hood.

LAMO, makers of sheepskin boots and shoes, asked me if I’d do a review of a pair from their new line. I don’t do reviews of things I keep, unless I pay for them myself, but I love nothing better than a good giveaway. I browsed their site and these caught my eye.

Seriously. Sturdy Gals dream of dangling charms. They add a touch of whimsy to our practical gear. We love the softness perforated leather. And those charms are supposed to dangle in front. Oops. Artsy novices make those kinds of mistakes, but we sail on.

The leather is soft, the soles are comfortable, the metal a rose gold color. Rose gold is the new thing. Did you know? Now you do.

And there’s a little bit of sheepskin for padding, around and under your heel.

I asked for a size 7, so I could confirm their professed comfort. I believe they are comfortable, but can’t confirm the hypothesis 100% as these size 7s are the same kind of 7s as Crocs, i.e. more like an 8.5 in a dress shoe.

How to wear these? I imagine the truly LA Artsy among you will not hesitate for a moment. For those of us who tiptoe carefully around the Artsy clearing in our Sturdy forest, I’m thinking something denim. A jeans miniskirt, for example, if you’re of miniskirt wearing age or spirit. Otherwise, cropped skinny jeans and a cream-colored tee with a ruffle. Dangling earrings. And sand ahead, under an implacable blue sky and lambent sun.

What are clothes for but dreaming, when we have Artsy in our hearts?

If you want some Artsy Feet, please leave a comment below. If you announce the giveaway somewhere in your social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blog, leave a second comment telling me you’ve done so and I’ll throw your name in twice. I will draw and announce the winner on Tuesday of next week.

The shoes should work for someone who ordinarily wears an 8-8.5 in dress shoes, or a 7-7.5 in sandals. The jangle fits all. You might want to start rummaging around for the horn bracelets you got in Greece. Maybe the point of Artsy is to assemble an expansive, expressive identity, from as wide a set of sources as possible, yet root it in context. Those cousins are no dummies.

49 Responses

  1. Alas – too large for my feet; I wear a 5 in sandals and a 6 in dress shoes. Besides, I’ve found I can’t channel my inner Artsy Cousin, because this Sturdy Gal cringes at the thought of any of those outfits, especially a leopard print blouse. Under a floral jacket with a Chinese flair.

    Nope, no WAY I could pull that off.

  2. Love these, would love to have the problem of figuring out how to wear them.

  3. With a little of the artsy blood myself, I am just loving that FABULOUS etro coat. That is the kind of piece that mixes with and elevates any type of wardrobe!!

  4. Oh yes, animal print is a MUST for any artsy Texas type. And that coat! This artsy Texan thoroughly approves.

  5. I’m now sure I’m in the Eccentric Great Aunt category you mentioned the last time around. I hope the shoes find a happy home with one of the Artsy Cousins tho.


  6. I have never lived anywhere except the Northeast. On the other hand, I have traveled. A lot. Even to Texas. But how did I become a Texan!?

    The shoes won’t fit, but I hope they find a good home.

  7. My jewelry and scarf collection definitely edge me into Artsy Cousin territory, but I’ve never really been able to embrace the whole look. (I suspect it’s because I think I’m too short!) Maybe I can creep a little closer by adding some leopard print somewhere.

  8. Those look so comfortable! I see wearing them with bootcut jeans and big sunglasses on the boardwalk.

  9. i have to curb my raging artsy blood as i grow older….don’t want to become the ‘crazy’ old lady. it is a art in its self to keep the edge without falling into silly. LOVE the shoes and would proudly wear them in my northern calif world.

  10. You could wear these with one of those calf length flowy knit skirts that are showing up again. That “makes you think” length is actually pretty wearable but mostly flatter defined, toned calves, which is right where they stop.

  11. Oh my…I love those shoes and the little dangle definitely goes in front and maybe I’ll add an artsy little toe ring to boot ;) Please, please, please toss my name in too.
    Thank you for all the fun!
    Miranda, SF Bay Area

  12. Alas, lovely, but too small. This Artsy Cousin has the feet of a Clydesdale. Not complaining…..who doesn’t admire those hooves when they walk into a room….?

  13. Please toss my name in to the running for the giveaway. I LOVE these shoes, especially with the the ch-ch-chains-on-shoes craze I’ve been spotting lately. I also wear 8/8.5 — how much more perfect could this get?… here’s how: I live in L.A. and I AM that artsy cousin boho hippie chic. I’d wear these all the time.

    wouldn’t everyone?

    THANK YOU! I adore your blog, as an ex-Bostonian who grew up in the ultimate WASPville.

  14. As a Texan, I laughed at the comment that Texians go maximalist or go home. I think it’s fairly true! I live in Dallas—the land of blonds, big hair, and lots of color. I am fascinated reading fashion advice from across the country. I’ve learned a lot.

  15. I like these a lot and think that they would fit. Not sure exactly what my style is but I am sure that they would add some much needed flair to my wardrobe.

  16. Not to note something essentially unrelated to the primary thrust of the post, but the retro font you found for the ‘True to Form’ style board is awesome. Really, truly, it made me smile. As did many portions of the post, although the shoes won’t work for me, I die at the company’s name. I love it.

    You rock Miss Privilege, seriously, you do.

  17. This berkeleymom appreciates the northern california one! and my size 6.5 feet can’t fit in the shoes — but they are pretty cool. My sturdy ankles would appreciate them.

  18. Lisa just my size and would adore putting them together with an artsy outfit!

    I am hosting A New very Exciting $250 Giveaway from Tracy Porter

    Art by Karena

  19. I love, love, love it.
    I would buy that long Etro coat in a blink if I had a spare US $2,340. (Yes, I even went to Net-a-Porter to check).
    But I bought something at an art fair last week — my once-a-year art splurge. And now I’m broke.
    Also, it’s going to be 90+ degrees here till about October, so maybe a long wool coat is not practical for Hong Kong. :)

  20. Love the shoes, and this:

    “Maybe the point of Artsy is to assemble an expansive, expressive identity, from as wide a set of sources as possible, yet root it in context.”


    Artsy, here I come…


  21. I love the artsy look! Those shoes are just my size and I would love to wear them all summer long. Thank you for the awesome give away.

  22. Love those shoes, Lisa – and this post confirms to me that I’m an Artsy Cousin!

  23. I’m more sturdy than artsy, but still think these are great! (and size 7!)

  24. I am surely too late for the shoes, but I would love to see an outfit put together for “Northeastern Boho Mama” using items from Nonchalant Mom. I’m thinking loose, caftan-style dress (hand-woven from a women’s collective in India) cinched at waist, one of those bead or felt ball necklaces, Matta dupatta scarf…

  25. Those do look like fun, and they’d probably fit me, but I’m not sure how much I’d end up wearing them — I’ll certainly admire them on someone else though.

  26. Those shoes are just a teensy bit beyond my comfort zone. Which could be a very good thing, I think. Especially since the sizing sounds perfect. Calling Cinderella….

  27. Those sandals sound like they are just my size! I would love a chance to channel my inner “artsy” self…thank you for the giveaway!

  28. Those are great! I live in Florida and I could wear them year round on my size 8 feet. I have a big pair of rose gold hoop earrings that would accessorize perfectly.

  29. Being a Texan I completely understand your cousin’s style. And, those shoes…I would SO wear them. Love them, in fact. And, I never win anything so this would be lovely. xx’s

  30. My lifelong swirl of creative dyslexia saw the brand name LAMO, but processed it as LMAO which [meaning no disrespect] so audibly corresponded to my first reaction to these shoes. But then I realized I recently inherited 6 grandchildren, 2 daughters-in-law along with hosting privileges of the Annual Family Halloween Birthday Costume Party and Luncheon. Ergo: what costume closet would be complete without Nefertiti house slippers? I’m in!

  31. Oh my goodness! As a youthful sturdy gal but artsy cousin in training, these are just the thing to step it up to the next level :)


    Not quite sure they’d fit, but my sister has feet just a little bit smaller so if they don’t work for me, they’ll make a lovely gift for her. Either way, I’d love to have these in the family closet. :)

  33. These might really help me decide if I am sturdy or artsy. And explain why I fit a 7 sandal but need an 8 in a dress shoe.

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