Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
1. My favorite look of the collection, this gray/blue dress with beaded sash will most likely make its way into my closet next year.
2. I adore champagne, and one can always wear a classy jacket or cardigan on top to soften its formality.
3. Simple and peachy, but not worth the hefty price tag.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Saks: Sale started today
Bergdorf: Sale started today
Barneys: Sale started last week
Burberry: Sale in progress
Fendi: Sale in progress
Prada: Sale starts tomorrow
Bottega Veneta: Sale starts next week
Net-a-porter: Sale started last week
And the mayhem starts...I love Bergdorf's and all (they may be my favorite department store), but their sales are somewhat maddening. Shoes are flying everywhere, women are lunging, and salespeople are obnoxious. Thankfully, I've pretty much crossed off all of the must-have items for spring, and I'm down to the maybe-if-it-goes-on-sale-and-is-spectacular gladiator flats.
The key to building a stunning wardrobe is knowing when to stop. Otherwise, you'll end up filling your closet with dross that will eventually be given away (as I've learned the hard way). Be choosy, and know when to walk away. How?
1. Make a list of what you've wanted for months now. Longing that has longevity is a sign that you really want it.
2. Make a list of what you need. I needed a new pair of white pants, and I bought them: on sale.
3. Don't endlessly peruse racks and floors. Go to the floors/stores that sell that item. Purchase. Leave.
4. Compare prices and deals. It may be wiser to buy something at a store where you get points that later turn into a gift card (Saks and Banana come to mind). Or perhaps one site may offer limited complimentary shipping.
5. Try on everything you may purchase (especially for shoes). Sizes vary, and you may be surprised by the size you actually need. (Example: Burberry Prorsum's runway line is ridiculously small. I had to go up two sizes.) Items may not fit as imagined, and sometimes all it takes is a good mirror to make the final decision.
6. However, if you are purchasing an item online, be abreast of the company's return policy. Don't buy anything online that you cannot return (especially if you haven't tried the item on in person).
Happy Sale Shopping!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
For years, I have avoided shorts like the Bubonic Plague: partly it had to do with my conservative side, partly it had to do with my not liking my legs (in retrospect, I realize I was crazy), and partly it had to do with the casual quality of the garment (believe it or not, I did not wear jeans in college). Unlike most who are under-dressed, I have often found myself over-dressed. However, recently, I've decided to indulge in a more casual summer attire, and shorts seem like a must-have on hot, sweaty days (today was an apt reminder of how humid it gets in the city).
Gladiators, wedges, or low-heeled pumps work with this look, but peep-toes, stilettoes, or ballerina flats may appear either too sexy or dowdy (ballerina flats work with short shorts or leggy girls). I'd avoid a tee-shirt and replace it with a pretty, simple cotton blouse (perhaps one from Anthropologie).
As for fabric, I'd choose cotton (breathable) or denim (durable), and avoid linen (too easily wrinkled), satin or silk (too precious), and terry (too beachy). While I don't flinch when it comes to expensive pretty dresses and skirts, I do prefer saving some pennies when it comes to shorts. We all need some cheap, durable choices for hot barbecue, picnic, beach, or amusement park days.
Monday, May 26, 2008
1. The armor-like vest reminds me of the ornate outfits on the Tudors:
2. The rich patterns are fit for an Indian princess:
Thursday, May 22, 2008
7 West 51st Street, 6th Floor, (212) 644-7400
My facialist has been all over the news lately because of her new "Geisha Facial," its magic ingredient being none other than bird poop (or nightingale droppings, to use more elegant wording). I was, of course, horrified by this news, as I had been a faithful follower of their Micro Facial, and as my husband in particular has a phobia of bird poop (which, unfortunately, always looms as a potential threat as pigeons have infested New York City ledges). The nightingale droppings, or uguisu no fun, is supposed to "brighten, heal, and retexturize the skin," but I can't help but wonder if it's called "no fun" for a reason. While strange ingredients are hardly new in the beauty and spa industry, I wonder how many women would actually go this far. As for me...I'll stick to the Micro Facial.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
1. Although I shied away from red for years, this power suit is what every woman needs to assert herself. The Victorian influence is done in an elegant, rather than rocker, manner.
2. A frosty pink that turns warmer as you continue staring.
3. The ruffles on this pale yellow suit delicately move with you.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I got around to thinking...what makes for a lasting love--that piece that you go to time and time again, that makes you gasp every time you see it, that inspires in you that same resurrection of faith in all that is beautiful in this world? Then I thought about those items in my closet that have managed to retain my affection despite the vicious passing of the seasons: my light green cut-out Zac Posen skirt, a pair of mohair-covered black Prada pumps with silver studded heels, a tweed black and white Chanel purse my husband gave me during his proposal (it was a series of surprises, this being the first), a Luca Luca white dress with silver and gold beading across the top, a red and black brocade jacket my mother used to wear. All of these items have a) the marks of superior craftsmanship; b) exceptional beauty; c) emotional value. Whether that emotional value comes from the memory associated with the purchase or if it comes from the feeling produced when wearing it, this last quality is critical. Ultimately, that item must merge with something inside of you, or else it remains a beautiful item in your closet. While we all cannot be fortunate to have a closet full of intense loves, we do need to beware of a closet full of uninspired garments that do little for us internally. Surface can only be surface if you choose that--but when surface becomes a reflection of what is internal, then life can really be lived.
1. I'd wear this on a slightly cooler night at an open-air market in Morocco:
2. Perfect for a refined dinner in Milan:
Monday, May 19, 2008
Connecticut, although close to NYC, is much more conservative, and it tends to have a kind of "old money" feel to it. I would choose classic shapes and colors, tasteful embellishment, and clean accessories. Here are some recommendations:
1. Vera Wang Lavender Jewelled Neck Dress, on sale for $357 (down from $595) at net-a-porter.com: Classy and formal, this dress will serve you well for years to come. I adore the jewelled neckline and the metallic color is hot.
2. Banana Republic Silk Asymmetrical Dress, $175 at bananarepublic.com and stores nationwide: This dress hits on two trends: Grecian and bold color. Choose chandelier earrings and you're set to go.
3. Tracy Reese Scalloped Dress, $310 at eluxury.com: If you prefer classic shapes and black, you can't go wrong with Tracy Reese's sweet interpretation of the LBD.
4. Rebecca Taylor Beaded Chiffon Dress, on sale for $266 (down from $355): I rarely feature too many black dresses, but this one is so sweet, so pretty, and so wearable.
For accessories, choose a simple box clutch, low kitten-heels or peep-toe pumps, and classic jewelry (pearls, diamonds, chandeliers, bangles). Avoid anything too fussy, experimental, or elaborate. Think sophisticated, subtle, and simple. Have fun!
Ah, those treacherous sales. By the time I've decided to cut back on my spending, the sale season begins, and one can hardly stand it. This particular stunner from Zac Posen would be perfect to a wedding (primarily an ex's wedding). The electric blue color, the tantalizing shape, the flirty tulle...all of it is perfection. If you own anything by Zac Posen, you know that his clothes are impeccably made and fit to impress. It's too bad I have a plethora of evening dresses in my closet, or else I'd have to rationalize yet another purchase.
Friday, May 16, 2008
HITS: When they're good, they're good.
1. My favorite look of the entire collection, this white evening charmer reflected the Art Deco roots of South Beach with all of the dazzle and none of the gaudiness.
2. The applique rosettes looked fresh, not trite, on this 3D piece.
3. A glamorous white suit, but it seemed oddly out of place in the collection (it was a little too Upper East Side and not South Beach).
2. Probably the worst look of the collection. Caged flapper meets a shredded swan. Ouch.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
June is an awkward time for fashion magazines. Most of the spring items have been exhausted (how many times must I see those Dolce and Gabbana booties?), and an over-zealous Fall spread leaves little for the many cold winter months that follow. Pre-fall items are slowly trickling in, but they don't receive the same kind of coverage as the traditional Spring and Fall runway shows. Hence, the dreaded swimsuit issue.
While I am not completely bashing the need for a swimsuit spread (after all, we do need swimsuits in the hot summer months), I am lamenting the constant bombardment of swimsuit after swimsuit. Instead of a gorgeous fashion spread, we get beach wear in all incarnations: the beachy accessories (sunglasses, the tacky nylon, canvas, or plastic beach bag, the logo towel), the swimsuit for all body types, the Glamazon cover-ups (the tunic, the sheer maxi-dress, the floppy hats). Enough! And while I do enjoy reading about politics and literature, I don't find fashion editorials about them particularly enlightening or superior to the Times or a scholarly literary journal. When I read a fashion magazine, I want fashion, pure and simple.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
While some generic fall looks appeared on the Fall Runway shows--plaid, fur, deep jewel tones--other looks reinforced what New Yorkers have come to know all too well: the blurring of the seasons has altered the fashion rules. Ever since the comforting revision that we can indeed wear white after Labor Day, fashionistas and designers alike have begun to realize that women can wear florals and pastels during the cold winter months and wear heavy plaids and fur during the supposedly warm spring and summer months. As the weather man is loathe to admit, it has become almost impossible to predict what Mother Nature will throw our way. (I was again rudely made aware of the unrelenting cold today walking home after dinner in the Big Apple, despite the momentary warmth at noon.) This further complicates our small closet space situation, as I refuse to put anything in storage (one never knows what one will need). While some may find this fashion situation confusing--after all, there will always be women who prefer the comfort of "rules"--, we can also see this as liberating--or as a confirmation of Al Gore's dire environmental prediction.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Fashion editors are predicting that lace will be HUGE this fall, and primarily because of Prada's lace-saturated show. Paradoxically enough, lace on Grandmother's doilies are considered to be Puritan and prim, but lace on lingerie is considered sexy and risque. Lace on Prada...well, that is a more difficult assessment to make. For the conservative (read: practical) woman, the lacy Prada item will be toned down with a matching black slip that diminishes the overt sex appeal while still adhering to the trend. For the obedient celebrity or gusty fashionista (read: slutty), a literal reenactment of the runway show may only garner jibes on the "Worst Dressed List" or shocked double-takes on the city streets. In other words, Prada's lace may only remain subversive on the catwalk, and not the sidewalk.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Top Row, From Left: Midnight Sun Top, $98; Florodoro Top, $78
Bottom Row, From Left: Counted Cross-Stitch Tank, $98; Ikebana Blouse, $88
In the really hot summer months, I can't be bothered with serious investment fashion (remember my previous post about 'cleaning how-tos'? I don't sweat in serious fashion when I can avoid it). All I really desire at times is to throw on a pretty blouse, white jeans or a simple skirt, and run off to Shakespeare in the Park, Free Movies at Bryant Park, or see a Met opera in Central Park. These gorgeous Anthropologie blouses offer me that combination of easy fashion and reasonable prices, and I know that I won't be grieved if something happens to them. Since I don't buy tee shirts--I acquire them somehow, nonetheless, from various functions--these lovely blouses go under my "staple" category, and I'll snatch up a few before the summer starts.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
While I do not profess to know it all (after all, I rarely quote celebrities at this particular site--this is just one woman's humble opinion), I will attempt to deconstruct this critical question.
1. Convenience and /or comfort. Women want items that are easy to wear: skinny jeans (tucked into boots), ballerina flats (duh), and Uggs (warm) all satisfy some basic need.
2. Celebrity exposure. Let's face it: if a celebrity is seen wearing something, most of us will want it. Consider how items worn on "Gossip Girl" almost immediately sell out. And while some of us don't care to admit it, we are influenced by what we see on TV, the rags, and Access Hollywood.
3. High- and low-end versions of the thing. If a trendy item cannot translate into a low-end version for the common woman, chances are that it will not last. I rarely saw arty clothing around town because it mainly was made by high-end designers like Dolce and Gabbana. And frankly, it looks ridiculous in the hands of amateurs (my pre-adolescent days as a budding artist come to mind). And while we may be lured in by the designer jean trend, jeans are found at every price point, thanks to Old Navy and H&M.
4. Easy glam appeal. Complicated pieces do not last (I will never buy an item that takes me more than three minutes to figure out). Bangles, chandelier earrings, tall boots, scarfs: these items are easy to throw on, and yet they instantly produce a dramatic effect.
So, you ask, which of the spring trends will be likely to last? Thumbelina Fashionista's humble predictions are as follows:
Safari / Ethnic / Tribal
Color, especially jeweled tones
Booties / tall boots
Wide-leg jeans/skinny jeans
Art / Origami (too stylized; men don't like / understand it)
Oversized Bows (no one wants to look like a present)
Winged motif (even though I adore it)
Oversized clutches (frankly, most women would rather carry a handbag)
Maxi dresses (only tall women can pull this off)
Extreme ruffles (not flattering for many)
Fringes (snags on too many items)
1. Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti Painted Stitch Dress, $475 (down from $790) at eluxury.com: Lovely for day or night, this minty-fresh dress is light and airy.
2. Max Mara 'Iconico' Wrap Dress, $449 (down from $750) at nordstrom.com: Make a bold statement in this orange staple.
3. Tory Burch 'Jacques' Merino Wool Dress, $229 (down from $395) at nordstrom.com: A great day-to-night look, this dress also could be worn to the office with a jacket.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Pre-Fall items are slowly trickling in as the sale season is slowly gearing up, and this Temperley London dress is one such item that caught my attention--surprisingly so, since I usually dislike her overly-done designs. Yet this navy beauty is simple but ornate, and the gorgeous jeweled collar and pockets are done elegantly, not gaudily. Perfect for a wedding or a fancy night out, this dress would be fabulous with silver sandals and a gray crocodile clutch.
In the warmer months, women undoubtedly turn to their thin (jersey / silk) dresses that offer them the ease of movement and style. However, those same thin dresses also have a nasty tendency to reveal all that we also want to conceal: lumps, bumps, pantylines, etc. In my experience, slips are finicky: the fancy lace ones leave lumps, and not every slip is going to fit every dress. Most women believe that a thong will solve every dreaded pantyline problem, but with thin dresses, people can see your pantyline at your hip-line. And who wants to wear full-length hosiery in the summer (especially when you've just had a pedicure)?
I've turned to the power of Spanx to solve this dreaded problem. Their "Higher Power Panty" provides the support of shapewear, the coverage of a slip, and the freedom of no pantylines. Plus, they come in nude and black (nude offers the most flexibility, but black is perfect for your LBD). Best of all, it only reveals what you want to reveal: you, in that gorgeous summer dress.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
This mesmerizing piece from Amrita Singh succeeds on two levels: its ethnic look and statement quality are fashionably trendy for both spring and fall, and it is a distinctive investment piece that you will turn to time and time again for any occasion (I could wear this to the movies with jeans or to a gala with a strapless gown). And while this piece is not cheap, it is significantly less expensive than pieces from Gurhan and Reinstein Ross, two designers who also capture that rich Indian look perfectly. In my experience, once you go Indian, you can't go back to anything less ornate.