Thursday, January 31, 2008

Liquid Metal

I just saw pictures of Katherine Heigl (from 27 Dresses and Grey's Anatomy, and a new fashion icon if you will) wearing this dress to celebrate her husband's birthday:

This is Diane von Furstenberg's "Lesley Liquid Jersey" drapey dress. It is gorgeous and on sale at Saks in both silver and black. At the moment it is available in lots of sizes. So go get yourself some liquid metal...

Bargain Fashion...

I went to Target tonight in order to buy cotton balls and shampoo and look what I found in addition:
I love this short sleeve jacket for Spring. In person it feels well made, and it's only $24.99. The colors are lovely and it fits well. I'm looking forward to wearing it with jeans and a long sleeved top when it's chilly, a tank under it when it's warm.

They also have this adorable white shirt for only $17.99:

I love the empire waist detail.

fun fun!

Old News is New News at the NYT

As usual the New York Times fashion section is just a tad behind the rest of us, and Thursday's headline is "The Newly Uptight," referring to how fashion is now referencing the Kennedy era, just as I posted last week. The article says:

Recent photo shoots in fashion magazines have alternately tweaked and reinforced the corseted sensibility of the early ’60s. The current Vogue highlights a pair of sheath dresses Slim Keith might have worn to lunch at La Caravelle. One, a brush-stroke floral print by Mr. Kors, is accessorized with black-and-white polka dot opera gloves. No less recherch√© is the accompanying copy, which extols the chic of a sheath and the “smart suit.”

I LOVE sheath dresses, pencil skirts and slim suits, and I am certainly not mourning the loss of the shapeless sack dress, as I've said many times here. Some people are complaining that it isn't creative, blah blah, I think it all depends what one does with these shapes, and a classic look like these can certainly be made modern - but it takes talent like Alber Elbaz at Lanvin. Michael Kors comes through at the end of the piece with the point that :

“So many young women relish the idea of looking turned out,” Mr. Kors said. “It is the opposite of trying so hard to look undone” — an attitude that, as he argued, women in their 20s are beginning to find stale.

Revisiting the classics is also a way of dispelling the notion that fashion is disposable. Times are changing, Mr. Kors said. “These days it is a badge of honor to wear an outfit more than once.”

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Spring/Summer Bag Under $20

I don't mean to always post about really expensive items, but I do tend to get excited about splurges, however Old Navy has some fun bags for spring, like this clutch:

This is only $19.50 and comes in a bunch of colors, although I like the pattern to liven up any outfit, including just a denim pencil skirt, tank top and flat sandals - add this bag and a great pair of earrings and you are ready to go.

I wouldn't want to pay a lot for a summer clutch anyway because it gets dirty, or goes out of style - this way after a full season of wear you won't feel bad if you don't use it anymore or if the fabric is stained. This is one of the ways I think its totally OK to go cheap(and still chic)!

Clothes Off Their Backs

I just saw 27 Dresses. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie, it was really cute - and I'm obsessing over some of the outfits in it (not the bridesmaids dresses, ick) I looked at the movie website and it has a link to another site called Premiere Props, where we can buy the actual outfit worn by the actors in the movie. I wouldn't actually buy the outfits - they are ridiculously overpriced, I guess they want us to pay for the fact that the clothes were on James Marsden's and Katherine Heigl's backs but I like it because I can see what brand each of the pieces are, and try to find them myself on say, ebay. Something like this outfit:

On Premiere Props we could purchase the outfit, probably in a wee little size (it doesn't say but the actress looks tiny) for a paltry $1499.99, I might go looking for the awesome Philip Lim top elsewhere though.

But this Temperley dress:
it's gorgeous, and on Premiere Props it's priced at $899, which is probably significantly less than it would cost new. That might be a great deal if you are the right size.

It looks like such a fun site!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Have a Dream, and that dream has closets in it

In a perfect world I have a huge closet, all orderly and dust free, like one of those crazy huge rooms you see in a magazine - Kimora Lee Simmon's closet for example - the size of a normal person's apartment with a chaise lounge covered in leopard print cashmere or something ridiculous - but not ridiculous are the well-ordered hanging racks, drawers for jewelry, scarves and belts, and shelves and shelves of gorgeous shoes - including the shoes I am in love with that I posted yesterday, and these Sigerson Morrison beauties on sale at Jildor:

These ankle boots are so hot! I love them, and the heel is only 2.5 inches. Yay!

Halston Puts the Fashion World in a Tizzy

The big news in the fashion world (no, not an oxymoron) today is that Halston has figured out a way, hopefully, to beat the faux-fashion hawkers at their game. The famous 70's fashion house revived by a strange group including Rachel Zoe (the stylist to the stars who only eats raw vegetables and sends back a plate of them if there is a trace of anything else nearby and is so skinny it hurts to look at her) made a deal with the online high-fashion source Net-a-Porter to start selling two of their styles the day after the fall show.

This is big news for several reasons, the first being that high fashion generally takes months to go from runway to shop. This delay is what makes it so easy now for cheaper lines to knock off the styles and get them into stores before the real versions get there.

Read all about it in WWD.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Maybe Not the Best Idea...

Natalie Portman designed a vegan line of shoes for a New York shoe store, Te Casan. The shoes cost around $300. That is way too much to pay for plastic. Apparently New York Magazine agrees with me.

I'm In Love...

with a beautiful pair of Banfi Zambrella shoes, and they are on sale, along with a lot of other stuff at Shopbop:

And they come in metallic leather as well:

I have been watching these shoes get marked down and marked down again, from a whopping $495 all the way down to $148. The only reason I haven't ordered both pairs is the 4 inch heel, I know I won't wear them. But if any of you can give them a loving home - please do!

There are several ways to wear them, I would love to see them with dark skinny jeans and a luxurious sweater or jacket with a belt at the waist, or straight leg black pants or fun dress.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Target is in Trouble, ooooh.

Over dinner on Friday night conversation turned to the topic of fashion and copyrighting because Diane von Furstenberg is suing Target for copying one of her iconic wrap dresses. Clothing designs actually can't be copyrighted, but fabric can, and target was selling a copy of her dress in an identical fabric (in design, not quality I'm sure). You can read a little more about it in the WSJ.

Suits like this have become more common lately as Forever 21 and other chains become even more adept at copying designer clothes. They manage to produce the copies and get them in the stores before the high-end items make it off the runway at the fashion shows.

Personally, I hate wearing things that are obvious knockoffs, thoughts?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Only Powerful Men Ask For Help

The WSJ has another article about how hard it is for powerful women to dress properly. It's true it is harder for women than it is for men because powerful women, as noted in the post about Hillary canceling her Vogue shoot, can't look alluring, and while they should look feminine, can't look too "girly."

Sadly, apparently they don't often ask for help:

Oddly enough, several communications consultants told me it's mostly male executives who hire them for advice on grooming and attire. Women, by contrast, "don't understand that the things that shouldn't matter count as much as they do," says Dee Soder, a psychologist and founder of the executive-coaching firm CEO Perspective Group in New York.

Helpful feedback rarely reaches female executives' ears, because people are loath to discuss work attire directly with the wearer. Dr. Soder says she is often hired just to deliver a fashion message for an executive who quails from the duty. She once was hired to tell a company president that he needed new shirts, preferably with French cuffs. Another time, she was hired to tell a female advertising executive to wear less perfume.

Conference Clothes

I went to a talk at an academic conference last week. Immediately after I sat down and looked around I had my usual thought, "why God, why?" First let me say, unless you are a personal trainer or something like that, there are to be NO running shoes at work. And let's get this straight, repeat after me: conferences are work events and I need to dress accordingly.

There. Phew. But I am not done. I have been to conferences in the humanities and social sciences and it never fails, some people dress really well but most look like they were never taught that appearance matters. In my extensive experience in academia I do think that some people think it's silly, frivolous or even makes them seem less intelligent to think about their appearance. I say that is one dumb idea.

We get one chance to make a first impression, and in any work environment, appearance matters. Of course the bar is set pretty low in the academic world, so much so that wearing clean pressed clothes that match more or less can make you the best dressed in the bunch, while in other fields that bar might be (a girl can hope) set much higher.

At the conference I attended briefly last week the major problem that was repeated by grad students, professors and some professionals over and over - is wearing running shoes and a backpack with nicer business-y clothes. I don't care how comfortable they are, come to grips with the fact that you are an adult and wear real shoes and buy a plain black computer bag, those will make ALL the difference.

For both men and women my simple conference advice is this:
bring a wheeled suitcase that can be carried on, pack one basic suit (that fits you well) and enough separates to mix and match with it and then all you need is 1 or 2 prs of shoes and that computer bag and you will always look great.

the separates should be:
for men - a clean and PRESSED button down shirt for each day of the meeting, a pair of chinos (for when you aren't giving a paper) plus a couple of ties and 2 sweaters or a sweater and a sweater vest. Does that sound hard? I didn't think so.

For women the separates can be more or less the same - just remember hotels are always cold so your suit jacket and sweater will come in handy! With your suit (for women 3 pieces, a jacket, pants AND a skirt) you can pack a sweater set, and wear it as a set one day, and wear the shell (the sleeveless bottom part) as a sweater vest over a button down shirt - I love this look. Then you can wear the cardigan over a different top another day - the permutations are endless. For your one casual bottom you can bring high (or mid-) waisted wide leg jeans, they look like dress pants if in dark denim. But again - NO SNEAKERS. Bring some comfortable flats, and 1 pair of heels if you are giving a paper, they will give you a confident swagger!

And voila, it is that easy to never look like a shlub again.

hear are some suggestions-
For men:
This Jcrew vest is adorable!

Also a good look is a button-down shirt, a tie and a v-neck sweater, like this Jcrew cashmere example:

And Don't forget your Kenneth Cole computer bag from eBags:

for women:

This Ann Taylor Loft shirt would look sharp under a suit (with a bold necklace) or under this cardigan:

or this adorable sweater from Target:

The colors are really pretty and if you get it a little loose, it looks fantastic over a white button down. Just make sure if you go this route you go easy on the accessories.

You can wear those combinations with any dark wide-legged jeans (check out my previous post on these) or with your suit pants or skirt.

Now do me a favor - go to your conferences and look so good that everyone else feels compelled to do the same.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Structural Beauty

I LOVE women's clothes with structure, high waisted pencil skirts and sheath dresses, suit jackets with interesting necklines. Lucky for me this kind of style has come back in full force the past few seasons, so my one woman battle against the trapeze dress and shapeless sack can ease for now.

In D.C last week I went to the Edward Hopper exhibit at the National Gallery, and I have to say, while I am familiar with Hopper's paintings - everyone who has ever been to the Art Institute of Chicago know "Nighthawks" - I had never noticed the clothes in his paintings before.

This is "Chop Suey," the cloche, the style of hat they are wearing was popular again this past season - Marc Jacobs included them in his collection, among other designers.
This one, "Room in New York" features great clothes for both the man and woman. Many of his paintings have fantastic examples of this '30's and 40's style.

The AMC show "Mad Men" (which just won a couple golden globes, yay!) which is set in 1960 has women in gorgeous examples of this look, the head secretary always wears the sexy form-fitting pencil skirt and sweater combo - you can check them out on the show's website.

Lucky for me these styles from the 30's, 40's and 60's are back in, this week's Paris fashion shows included Elie Saab (made famous by Halle Berry when she accepted her Oscar in one of his gowns) The colors and fabric choices are modern but the shapes clearly influenced by times past. Here are some of my favorites:

These outfits are actually quite wearable and would translate well into the real world -

These gowns are dreamy:

and this:

Check out the rest on WWD.

To translate these looks for your life, check out high waisted pencil skirts like this one for spring:

Banana Republic has their own version of a dress that references these past periods:

You can find it here.

The defined waist is back and hopefully here to stay, Yippee!

The New Man-Bag or 'Murse" If You Will...

Today's New York Times Style section has an article about a new style of man-bag, apparently attractive to both gay and straight, metro-sexual and not, and if that's true I'm quite impressed. The picture available on the site doesn't really show much detail, but it is supposed to be much like the bag Tom Cruise's Maverick uses in Top Gun. I'm game for any pre-couch-jumping, pre-Matt Lauer-and-psychiatric-medicine-bashing, pre-absolutely-off-his-rocker stuff from Tom Cruise so this might just work, I mean it certainly qualifies if it's from his Top Gun days, and boy those were the days.

Click on the title of the post to go directly to the Man-Bag article.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Shemergency Kit

I will admit it, I loved the movie "The Wedding Planner." J-Lo was cute and funny and was pretty good with the physical humor. In some circles I am known for always having a bag, and usually a pretty big one at that, because there are a million things I feel I need to have with me just in case. The wedding planner, however, put me to shame. I loved how she was prepared for everything - remember - FOB is MIA (father of the bride for you fools who didn't watch the movie ten times), and then she opens her vest to reveal everything anyone could possibly need in any situation like breath freshener, cotton swabs, tape, pins, thread, glue, ah a girl can dream to be that prepared. Anyway, this evening an email about this "Shemergency Survival Kit" was waiting for me and it looks somewhat promising, and better yet it's only $20 so if it doesn't answer all of your preparedness dreams, you won't feel like you got robbed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hillary Says No, Obama Says Yes

Hillary Clinton apparently pulled out of a planned interview with Vogue leaving the Editor in Chief Anna Wintour seething. If you have seen 'The Devil Wears Prada' you know not to mess with Anna Wintour (Meryl Streep's evil boss-lady was based on her). Clinton reportedly said she didn't want to appear too feminine or alluring. I'm having a hard time believing "alluring" was the problem, if I'm wrong then her ego needs more space than the white house can offer. If I'm right, I can see how feminine and concerned with fashion might not feel like the best way to sell yourself as the future Pres. Wouldn't it be great if this century we lost those foolish ideas, the ones that make us think only the wife of the pres can sell herself as feminine , and a woman actually running for president has to do the opposite, basically proving herself to be one of the boys? Maybe then a show of 'female' emotion won't even make the front page.

Meanwhile Obama is on the cover of the latest Men's Vogue. He clearly has no problem selling himself as attractive and well-dressed.

WWD (Women's Wear Daily to those of you who don't read this kind of news regularly- heathens) has Wintour's seething recorded for you. Read it.

Bluefly sale TODAY

Bluefly is one of my favorite websites for discount designer clothes, and today they marked down all of their new arrivals another 10%. If you have an event coming up or want another sweater for the remainder of winter, this is the time! Of course this also includes things like Diane Von Furstenberg bikinis as well if you have a trip to the beach approaching.

Happy shopping.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bazaar Headbands

While flipping through my copy of the February Harper's Bazaar I read their "Rules of the Season." I wouldn't call any of their rules earth-shattering, in fact I got annoyed when I saw rule #3 is "Rethink Headbands." Why exactly do we need to rethink them? Apparently the magazine thinks they haven't been around pretty consistently since, well, as long as I can remember.

I wore a pretty silk one from Jcrew today to work. And when I go home to my parents' place I use my favorite headband from when I was around 5 to keep the hair out of my face when I wash my face. It's this adorable plastic rainbow headband, and when I say rainbow i mean it looks like a rainbow, with ROYGBIV running along it (yes, I pulled out the 6th grade science on this post, roygbiv, from the light and vision lesson - I'd prefer to remember that than dissecting a sheep's eye or whatever we did)

Anyway, back to the headbands. I think they are great. Especially when you are lazy like me and don't want to wash your hair in the morning (I have curly hair, so my only options are basically wash and style it, ponytail or headband) so i put my hair back with one and I look cute and styled when really i'm lazy - I should not be giving up this secret to everyone.

I found this adorable headband on Amici Accessories, a site I really like for all kinds of pretty and inexpensive accessories:

Plus, headbands make for a great retail therapy session because they are fun and inexpensive.

Sparkly Pretty Things

I love jewelry, what can I say, my grandfather and great-grandfather were goldsmiths so I like to say it's in my blood. I never really cared about Valentine's Day, but the discounts on Jewelry are making me reconsider! Two of my favorite jewelry lines sent out promo codes good until Valentine's Day.

The lines, Robyn Rhodes and Viv&Ingrid, both make trendy wearable pieces (even more wearable with the discount) Robyn's jewelry leans towards sexy, particularly the necklaces while Viv&Ingrid's leans towards classic pieces. But you should check out the sites and judge for yourselves.

Robyn Rhodes promo code is 'LOVEME2008' for 15% off everything on the site. My faves of her pieces are the multi-layered necklaces. I also have a couple of pairs of earrings that I adore, they are big but incredibly versatile and I always get a lot of compliments when I wear them, like these 'Keira' earrings:

Viv&Ingrid's promo code is 'behappy20' for 20% off for everything on the site. I love the pailette earrings among other pieces. I have been eyeing their layered hoops for a while now:

Maybe the promo code is a good reason to get them now!

Both lines have pieces that make great bridesmaids gifts. The bridesmaids can wear them at the wedding and long after.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Perfect Shirt

I have a hard time finding button down shirts that fit properly, I also don't like to spend a lot on them because, well, I don't. When I walked into a Thomas Pink store in DC this weekend I was shocked - the sale prices were amazing and their shirts fit incredibly well.

Even though the shirts are known basically as perfection,Thomas Pink is not a store I frequent because the shirts are around $180 full price but there was a huge selection of women's shirts for $49-$79. At the D.C store the men's shirts had been picked through although some did remain.

If you need this kind of shirt for work or have any kind of interview coming up I suggest you hurry over to your nearest store, or check out the website.


On my flight back to California I listened to an interview with Alber Elbaz(that's him to the left), the designer for French fashion house Lanvin. Lanvin is the oldest fashion house still working these days(started by Jeanne Lanvin in 1909), and after taking the helm in 2001 Elbaz has brought it back to the forefront of fashion. His designs are gorgeous, feminine and actually wearable (except for the pesky price tag). And, according to Wikipedia he was one of Time's most influential people of last year. cool. He is also Israeli (although born in Morocco) and I have noticed the past few years Israel is churning out fantastic designers.

Anyway, back to the interview; it was short (a New York Times series with or for Jet Blue I guess) but he said while he wants to make fashion relevant, it must always be beautiful, and one should never create a dress that will wear the woman. The woman should always be wearing the dress. That philosophy seems to me to separate him greatly from many of his peers.


This is from Lanvin's Spring '08 collection. The following is from the Resort '08 collection:

The bags and shoes have been getting alot of press lately as well. The ballet flats are divine, and Bagsnob loves the Lanvin tote bags.

Shopping in DC

I'm back in California and it's good to be home, but if any of you are planning a trip to DC I wanted to share some of the cute shops and restaurants I visited.

Circle Boutique, located at 1736 14th St NW (between R and S). They have interesting pieces, in both men and women's clothes. You can check out a limited selection of their merchandise on their website. They carry L.A.M.B and Mike and Chris, as well as some designers I haven't seen much of here in the Bay Area. At the moment everything is on sale. The owner was there and incredibly helpful and sweet.

The area is interesting, there are some great places to check out including the French restaurant and bar Cafe Saint-Ex, they make a mean burger with sweet potato fries! The service is infuriating (making it even more French) but the food is good. My friend that took me there said it has a basement that turns into a nightclub, it seems redundant to say, but at night. duh. Otherwise it would be a dayclub or something.

Over in Dupont Circle on Connecticut Ave there are a lot of shops including Proper Topper, which somehow manages to squeeze an incredibly large amount of things in a very small space. They have cute clothes and hats(hence the name proper topper), as well as great things for gifts - pretty notebooks and cards, baby clothes, the list could go on and on.

Georgetown though seems to have a higher concentration of cute shops. On Wisconsin Ave I went to Sugar(1633 Wisconsin Ave):
It's a cute boutique, with a nice selection of lines and styles. They have really gorgeous trendy jewelry that isn't all expensive (makes for good retail therapy), earrings by Viv and Ingrid among other lines. The woman who was working there when I went in wasn't exactly friendly, but the store smelled fantastic thanks to the yummy Grapefruit candle they were burning (they sell them too) and everything (except new resort pieces) was on sale here as well.

Just up the street are other cute shops Sassanova (shoes and other accessories) and Sherman Pickey (1647 Wisconsin Ave, NM) this shop is unbelievably preppy - think Tory Burch and the like, all of their winter clothes were half off, and then another 20% off I think. They had some beautiful coats and blazers on sale.

Across the street is Urban Chic, 1626 Wisconsin Ave:

Everything except resort is on sale at 50% off. Pretty amazing party dresses on sale, and incredibly cute baby clothes too (C+C and Splendid).

Happy shopping!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow Day

Here in DC there is a lot of snow. Or at least it seems like a lot for someone who has gone without snow for 2.5 years. My mid-western weather street cred is now all gone. darn. Actually the gross part is that the snow is melting and creating a thick layer of sludge all over the place.

So after going out and walking and taking a couple of pictures we are now in our warm comfy refuge (Thanks Liz!) and I'm dreaming of a trip to somewhere tropical. This is what I might wear:

This Tibi dress is available at Shopbop. This silk dress from Nordstrom is even more fun with all the bright colors.

I'd wear it with these Tapeet sandals, and this gold clutch.

Of course for the beach i would need this fun Miss Marc tote that has totally grown on me.

Good Jeans

I am hanging out on the East Coast this week and while visiting a friend and her new baby the other day, she (the friend, not the baby) asked about my jeans - she liked them and wondered if they come in her size - 12 or 14.

I was wearing a pair of Joe's Jeans in the 'Rocker' cut (many brands now name their styles rather than using numbers, because it makes it much easier to know which one you like), which means they are pretty straight through the hips and legs, with a low rise. The low rise is not for everyone, and for a new mother I would generally recommend a mid-rise or regular rise jean for several reasons, the first being your body is not yet back to what it was - not necessarily fat, just different, and you don't want to flash your underwear at play-dates or mom-and-tot classes every time you sit down or bend over.

Anyway, back to the jeans - a brand like Joe's Jeans comes in sizes up to 32 which is equivalent to about a 12, and they do now have high rise styles which can allow women to breathe a little easier, as do the now-popular wide-leg styles. I think what my friend really liked about the jeans, and the reason I like the style so much, is that the straight-leg jean is universally flattering. It means that from the hip to the ankle, the leg stays pretty straight which is ideal particularly for women who prefer to camouflage their hips.

Nordstrom has other brands of jeans with similar styles that also go up to a size 14, take this pair for instance:

These Christopher Blue "Lloyd - Farrah" jeans look a lot like the joe's Rockers I was wearing and they are a little cheaper ($148) and go up to 14.

There is also the brand "Not Your Daughter's Jeans," which come in this great high-rise wide-leg style:

These are $108-$118 and come in sizes up to 18.

Of course if you have a very young baby and are still losing baby weight, you might not want to spend that much on jeans that you'll only wear for a couple of months (but might want to keep them for the next time you are pregnant) The Gap and even Old-navy have mid-rise, wide-leg styles.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scientific Experiment

My boyfriend's parents "do science" with their grand-niece and nephews. I LOVE the term, so I like to say I have been "doing science" myself.

Make-up enthusiasts and various others talk about the Nars Multiple like it could change your life. I'm not really what one would call a make-up enthusiast. I used to buy the stuff and it would sit, for like years. Take, for example my Clinique almost lipsticks that I bought in the 8th grade. Even though I did use them through high school I probably never made it through half of the tube and finally threw them out when I realized I still had them (they smelled after 15 years, shocker) Good thing I cull through my closet much more frequently than my make-up stash.

So, fast forward to adulthood and I do actually use a few products each day: sunscreen (spf 30 in fall and winter, spf 58 in spring and summer), under-eye concealer, mascara and blush. Oh, and of course lip-gloss and lipstick (I re-purchased a Clinique almost lipstick when they came out with cool new colors last year). I find that these few products do wonders, particularly when I'm tired and my skin looks sallow or something.

But there was always this Nars Multiple. It's supposed to work on your cheeks, eyes and lips. So what is it? blush? eye shadow? It is creamy, and it comes in a fat stick (descriptive, no?) What does a normal gal who doesn't spend much time on her make-up do with this? I decided to "do science" and find out. I started with the most popular color of the Nars products, Orgasm. It's a pink color that is supposed to work on a variety of skin tones; I figured it would work on me because of the skin tone of models and actresses make-up artists use it on.

I went to Sephora and bought it, but then I stared at it awhile, I mean again, what does one do with a stick that is supposed to do everything?

Day 1: I rubbed the sucker right on my cheeks. Bad idea, I looked like I had rosacea. clearly the wrong use.

Day 2: I used my fingers to put it on my eyes, cheeks and lips. Turns out it's not great on my lips, and because I put it on my eyes the glitter in it (a slight sheen) went all over, a friend said I looked like I was sweating under my eyes. Not good.

Day 3: With my finger I put it only on my cheeks. It didn't do much.

Day 4: After applying my normal powder blush I used my finger to put the Nars product on over it. This seemed to be the winner. It added sheen to my normal blush, was subtle but gave a nice pinky glow. Aha!

So, since then I have used it over my blush, washing my hands immediately after application so that I don't accidentally get it around my eye. I like it, but I wouldn't rave over it or tell women that they MUST own it, not at all. I also have the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick which has similar uses, but is a powder. I'd say the stick stays on longer, being that it gets rubbed in as opposed to the powder, but it's up to the woman.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Green With Envy

To add to earlier posts about bags and spring colors you must see this bag I'm in love with:

I love the color, It's great for what is left of winter against a dark coat, and it will still be a gorgeous wearable color for Spring and Summer. The bag is by L.A.M.B, a line I adore for clothes but in general I find the bags are a little too identifiable, however this one is subtle even though the color isn't.
Available at Nordstrom.

Also, if you aren't into yellow shoes but like the color, Coquette posted a selection of gorgeous yellow bags.

The Bag Obsessed Need Help (No, Not That Kind of Help)

I am not one of those women that carries one bag every day for months. I like to switch things up; the bag I use depends on where I am going, what I have to take with me and of course what I'm wearing. But the annoying part is making sure all the things i want to have with me are in there - and there are a lot of things I always want to have in my bag - ipod, cell phone, PDA, purell (yes,) lip gloss, pen, business cards, those sorts of things.

There are a couple of products that are designed to help the transition, they are basically a strip of pockets that goes into the bag to line the sides so that you can still put other things in the middle as you would normally. So you can put everything you need in the pockets, and just move the whole thing from bag to bag. Genius.

The Purseket comes in several sizes ranging from $18 to $22, and you can choose from a lot of fun fabrics.

The Joey Junior Purse Mate is very similar, and also comes in an array of fabrics. This one is priced $19.95 - $24.95.

More On The New Suit

Some other bloggers have pointed out how that ridiculous Brooks Brothers suit I linked to earlier looks like Pee Wee Herman's outfits. Ick. Like I said before - stick to your instinct and stay away from them (assuming your instinct is that one, if it isn't do yourself a favor and don't admit it)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Local Bay Area Sale

I didn't have a chance to post this earlier, but a reader tipped me off to a big sale that began yesterday at the Eileen Fisher outlet in San Leandro. Her clothes are well made and in general quite lovely, just be careful not to wear too much of it at once because they can be flowy and overwhelming, as always it depends on your body.

Spring Colors

So, the most popular colors for this winter have been jewel tones - deep purple, navy, deep magenta, ruby. I was in the Nordstrom shoes department the other day and they are clearly predicting yellow will be big for spring. I saw some great yellow shoes actually, and for me, on my feet is the only place I could wear yellow - it's not going near my face or I would look like a corpse. Bright green too, great for shoes and bags.

Me Too has flats in a great bright yellow patent, they look really fun.

I don't think yellow is the only big color, I think we can stick with the jewel tones and just add lighter and brighter to the list of appropriate colors. Not pastels though, when I say bright, i mean bright.

The New Suit

Instapundit seems to have just noticed the new (even more upscale) line at Brooks Brothers called Black Fleece designed by Thom Browne, the first guest designer. It's been in magazines for a while and every time I see it I wonder what kind of man would wear this, and to what. I mean, I once worked in an office where a woman got sent home for wearing a suit with somewhat cropped pants. The Men's capri (or the manpri)was hard enough to get into, then there is this.

According to the website he is foreshadowing a trend, I hope he is very very wrong. I do not see men going to work in cashmere suits with bermuda shorts or pedal pusher pants, I just don't. Unless they are going for the "Sound of Music" look which really only works if you are a young boy. Or perhaps never.

Then, if you take a gander at the women's suits he designed, they also don't seem to work. The shrunken jacket is cute, but I have a hard time believing any woman could make the cream suit with black windowpane print look like something other than a clown suit. Also the long shapeless jacket, definitely not made with a woman's figure in mind. That could be the ultimate test for that person you think could wear anything. We should try that, dare a woman to wear that jacket. It would be like that column in one of the women's magazines where they have a writer do crazy things in public and note peoples reactions, like wearing very low rise pants with the thong obviously showing, having a dress only partially zipped or clipping ones nails in a public place -like the subway in NYC, which I have to say is not nearly the most offensive thing i've seen on the subway - do you know how many ADULTS think its acceptable to pick their nose in public - this must be stopped, but back to the matter at hand - these suits are ugly, and it does not matter that they have the Brooks Brothers label, or how "fashion forward" they are, or how expensive and well made - stay away.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Sales

Up until now I haven't covered men's clothes, but like I said, up until now.

Active Endeavors, a small Chicago area chain and very popular online store now has a lot of men's clothes on sale.

These are Loomstate's 100% organic cotton straight leg chinos, marked down from $180 to $90.

They also have a lot of cool looking t-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans and men's jewelry on sale.

Also, Bloomingdales has now marked down much of their sale inventory another 30-40%, these super sale prices are good online as well, through Sunday.

What Do Women Voters Want?

Pajamas Media tries to answer the question "What Do Women Voters Want?"

It's an interesting piece, my favorite part of course vaguely concerns criticism of Hillary's clothes:

Women bloggers aren’t sure if they want to vote for Hillary, but they absolutely don’t want anyone else to bash her. The sisterhood locks arms when nasty remarks are made about her v-neck sweaters or her black pantsuits. When New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, gender traitor that she is, makes barbed jokes about Hillary being the heroine of a Lifetime movie, then the sisterhood fires back, “There’s really not enough Shutting Up in the world to deal with that sputtered puddle of bile."

Lessons learned? If you really want women to vote for Hillary, pick on her clothes and her tears. Call her strident. Call her bitchy. But if you take gender out of the equation, then women are going to weigh her other qualities on the same scale as the guys. Hillary is like my little sister. Only I am allowed to beat her up.

Not sure it answers any questions, but it is worth a read.

Dress For The Job You Want

I try to impress upon people the importance of appropriate clothes in making a good first impression. More often that not it seems that people just don't understand what their clothing choices say to people, today the Wall Street Journal had an article about just that subject, as well general tips for dressing appropriately for job interviews. The author says:

People don't understand the messages that their clothes send," says Ms. Waldt, a recruiter with CTPartners. Women sometimes don't realize how often a tight shirt or a low neckline comes across as seductive. People who meet them are likely to assume the sexual innuendo is intentional. It's harder for men to goof, but they do -- for instance, by being sloppy with untucked or wrinkled shirts or wearing beeping sports watches to staid business events. Sagging socks, dangling earrings and obvious designer logos all send messages that register with the people on the other side of the table.

If those are the worst things she has seen this woman has not been to the bay area recently.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cashmere Mafia Again

Cashmere Mafia aired again and I'm afraid that the next time I watch it will be on mute. Maybe. Oh, let's be honest, I will watch it.

The clothes were even better than last time. The red-head character -whose name escapes me but I keep wanting to call her Miranda both because of THE Miranda on SATC, and because I think the actress is named Miranda in real life, this is the danger of being in so many magazines - her outfits were spectacular. I can't decide which I liked better, the one shoulder number or the pink halter dress. If I find pictures I will post them later.

The product placements were out of control on this one, maybe I just missed them in the first episode, but the Gucci and James Perse placements were unavoidable. Lucy Liu's trophy bag -in lieu of her fiance who dumped her for getting ahead, or as reward for her new job?- that she opened with a big flourish was the Gucci, and annoying guy Grant or whatever kept saying he was going to a James Perse sample sale - James Perse is a luxury basics line (t-shirts, etc).

I stand by my previous statement that Zoe (for some reason hers is the only name I ever remember from the show) wears fantastic office appropriate clothes. The problem I thought, was that they were trying WAY too hard to hammer home the 'difference' between the business school graduates (could they have said business school more times? I might watch it again just to count) and the stay-at-home mom. I guess they have to play up that angle to emphasize the importance of work in these women's lives, the working mom versus the available mom kind of thing, but this just made me feel icky. The evil mom was played by a woman who seems to always play the evil soapy characters (am I revealing to much to say I think she was on Days of our Lives waaaaay back when I watched it? And I mean way back. I swear. By the way - just saw an ad for that show, Marlene and John Black are still doing seriously twisted story-lines. It's like the 15 years since I watched it last never really happened except that their makeup got way heavier)

Sorry, back to the show. To review, clothes great, story-lines, not so much.

January Sales

Lately while shopping I have felt like everything is on sale. Now, that might not be true if you are looking for a bathing suit, but if clothes you can wear this season are what you are looking for, I have some sales and some sale navigating tips for you.

Now is the time to get winter clothes. Probably not a surprise, but if you feel like your coat is not holding up - now is the time to replace it. Also if you are looking for cashmere sweaters, even wool skirts and pants, now is the time. And if you get good quality and timeless pieces, you will definitely be able to wear them next winter and beyond.

When looking for a coat, think about the color for how well it will stand up to the elements in your life and be easily worked into your wardrobe, as well as the silhouette to determine whether it is timeless or not. A friend of mine was trying to decide on a coat, choosing between cream or black. It was expensive and while the cream is beautiful and trendy right now, if cost is a concern I would generally advise people to go with a darker color. The color doesn't have to be black by any means, brown, charcoal, navy, burgundy - these are all just as elegant, chic and wearable. I also asked her how often she thought she would wear it, her answer told us exactly what she should do - she couldn't imagine wearing the cream coat very often because of the light color, and unless you have the extra cash and space then a piece you wear very infrequently isn't the best investment to be making right now.

As for the silhouette or shape, the piece should fit you well and not look too trendy, otherwise next winter it will look dated already. I would advise most people to stay away from bubble coats and very skinny or very high waisted pants. Those shapes most likely won't hold up over the next few winters and can also be difficult to work into a wardrobe. While the very high waisted pant is something to avoid -some jeans and pants are called high waisted but it really means they sit at the natural waist, a good thing for several body types and anyone who doesn't want to flash their underwear every time they take a seat(important for moms who spend a lot of time on the floor). High waisted skirts are fantastic, they seem to work on many body types and create a gorgeous silhouette on a woman's body. Coats should fit well in the shoulders and have high armholes (that makes you look longer and leaner).

For sweaters I love 100% merino wool, they last much longer than many other kinds of sweaters. Cashmere is always fantastic of course. and please STAY AWAY from those terrible cocoon-like long cardigans with puffy sleeves, I've seen some women in very expensive versions of that style look homeless.

Now onto the actual sales:

Jcrew has made further reductions on their sale items, and they have a code for free shipping on orders over $175. The code is FREESHIP08, it's good until 11:59 ET on Sunday.

Banana Republic has a lot of things on sale including sweaters and wool pants.

Saks Fifth Avenue has been having a huge sale since Christmas and they still have a lot of gorgeous pieces, some are marked down 60-70%.

The gorgeous red Burberry dress to the left is marked down from $795 to $317. Saks has free shipping for orders over $150, and you can return items to the store. I know some people are scared of Saks, but their sales are incredible.

Nordstrom also has a wide variety of sale items on their website.

And last but certainly not least, Cole Haan and Piperlime have a lot of merchandise on sale. It's a great time to get a pair of boots!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How Many Kinds of Shoes Does a Woman 'Need'?

Manolo the shoe blogger linked to this list The Thoughtful Dresser made of all the kinds of shoes she has in her closet by categories such as:

Flats in different colours to match different outfits, heels in different colours to match different outfits
Heels you can walk in, and heels you can't walk in
Ankle boots, knee length boots, sheepskin boots
Flat or low-heeled ankle boots to wear with jeans,
high heeled ankle boots to wear with more formal trousers
Knee length boots with high heels and knee length boots which are flat or have low heels
High heeled boots with heels you can walk in and high heeled boots you can't walk in

The list goes on including everything, even house shoes although apparently
Possession of Crocs voids the entire shoe collection.

Very funny. And true.

The reason I wanted to write about the list is that it includes the category ugly comfortable
shoes. There are cute comfortable shoes and we should replace the ugly ones with the attractive ones. Take the brand Frye for example. Even their shoes with 2.5 inch heels are actually really comfortable, and I'm not one of those women that try to convince you that stilettos are comfortable or any other crazy talk. In fact the one time in recent memory that I clearly lost my mind and went to a wedding in a pair resembling stilettos I took them off before the ceremony was over. Thank god the bride and groom gave out one of the best exports of the groom's native Brazil - Havaiana flip flops. All of us women tore through the bin looking for our size like we were at that wedding dress sale in Friends (you know, when Monica practically knocks that woman out for a dress) not my best moment.

Recent Bag Obsession

On occasion I have been called a bag-lady (I like bags), lately i've been called Imelda more frequently (I really like shoes). Since I already covered shoes today I thought I should write about bags. My most recent bag obsession has been the Jill Stuart line. I know she has been designing for a while, I remember seeing her jeans around several years ago. Her Fall'07 ad campaign had Lindsay Lohan looking drugged out writhing on a hallway floor, not exactly a good way to get me to buy anything. But her bags are gorgeous. Take this one for example:

The Brigitte, available at shopbop for $495

There are also gorgeous smaller bags, some even on sale like the Valerie:

This bag in brown is on sale, the green is still full price ($395). There is also a silver one that I LOVE:

Photos from Shopbop

You Still Need Shoes Under That Wedding Dress

(Wait, there is good shoe advice here even if you aren't getting married, I promise)

My sister and several of my friends are getting married in the next year or so and they have been asking about the shoes they should wear. Although this subject might not be of interest to everyone (I'm reminded of a great recent New Yorker cartoon with a man and woman walking hand in hand and she says to him "I am beginning to think you don't want to talk about baby carriages all the time" or something to that effect) but this is my blog and I can do what i want to!

The thing is, every bride has different requirements for her shoes - some want gorgeous heels and others want flats or even sneakers that they can dance the night away in. I have known many brides to change from heels to sneakers for the reception because they want the height of heels for pictures and the ceremony and comfort of flats for dancing. However you want to do it there are some great shoes for it:

This is the Touch Up Gemini, available at Zappos, It does have a 3 inch heel, but it's just so pretty! I also like that it's white satin without feeling like the dyeable shoes i might have worn for my bat mitzvah or even as a bridesmaid(yes I have had to wear dyeables as a bridesmaid). They also come in silver and gold Satin, in case you want to spice things up, or for any other occasion.

Another one I like:

This is the Moda Spana Katri, and yes it's true it is not white. Many wedding dresses have metallic beading on it, so there is no reason you can't do metallic shoes. I'm also a sucker for a peep-toe.

For women interested in comfort there is also this cute flat by Me Too (I had them in gold and wore them to death):

If you aren't looking for bridal shoes and want a nice and VERY comfortable flat they are available in an obscene number of colors and fabrics at Zappos . This is one of the brands that I recommend to mothers of young children who want to wear cute shoes to run around the playground as well.

And there is always the white sneaker option if you must:

sigh. at least it will be hidden by the dress.

I forgot to mention they are all under $100.

Photos from and

Monday, January 7, 2008

Burt's Bees goes Corporate

NYT article about Clorox recently purchasing Burt's Bees for $913 million. That is crazy. The story is something like this: A bee keeper picked up a hitch hiker years ago and she moved in with him and started using the beeswax to make all kinds of things then they get very very rich, she moves on to other businesses, he still lives in a turkey or chicken coop tending to his bees. weird.

Clorox wants the acquisition to start them on a 'greening' trend, that sounds good but I still won't use Burt's Bees lip balm. What can I say, I never liked the taste; although I do think its cool that apparently one can eat the shampoo they make.

WSJ does it again

This weekend the Wall Street Journal had two great articles about bags. The 'Ask Teri' piece is about how to buy a bag that won't go out of fashion before you get it home. Teri gave great advice:

The point of today's designer handbags isn't creating classics but pushing seasonal novelties to convince women who wear them that they're on the cutting edge of fashion. While millions of fashionistas continue to buy into the hype -- and spend thousands of dollars on handbags every year -- some savvy dressers are sobering up. A $1,500 bag festooned with logos and showy geegaws -- especially if it gets knocked off to the point of ubiquity -- will look dated soon.

If you desire a truly classic handbag that will span the seasons, let your individual style guide you toward bags that are beautiful, functional and a bit more anonymous. I prefer bags with no logos, minimal hardware (such as metal rings and buckles), and snappy-looking top handles that are long enough to fit over my shoulder. I also like rich shades, such as purple, dark green and burgundy. Exotic skins such as python and crocodile are luxurious. But shun those oversized styles, which can be clunky and inhibit your stride.

The bag may not shout the designer's name, but it's far more chic to dress with a sense of mystery

Good advice to follow.

The other article was about all of the chronic health problems caused by carrying huge purses. According to the article, bags are getting even bigger this year, which is definitely a problem because we all tend to fill up the bags we carry. Not surprisingly it's better for your health to stick to smaller bags.

Cashmere Mafia finally aired, and yes, I watched it

I wouldn't call it good exactly, more like a guilty pleasure (admit it, you all have at least one whether it's Gossip Girls or a CSI) Surprise, surprise I really liked the clothes. Other than that it's nothing to write home about but I read a review of it in USA Today that I found INFURIATING. Ok, the paper is not exactly high brow, neither is the show and I will be the first to admit there is nothing nuanced about the characters or story-lines, but to say it's hard to believe that the four leads are business school graduates because they are pretty, well-dressed and talk about relationships is ridiculous. Actually so far I like the character of Zoe, the only one in a real marriage and with kids. Her life is crazy and consists of doing stupid things in order to keep her kids a priority. Plus, she wears fantastic basically work appropriate clothes as opposed to women in other shows in positions of power and authority, like Cuddy in House (I heart House)- no one in their right mind who isn't a stripper shows that kind of cleavage at work.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

WSJ gives fashion advice

The Wall Street Journal is trying to do my job for me. An article called Closet Clutter with the byline of how to streamline your wardrobe for the coming seasons looks at trends and their staying power. Looks like pretty good advice, certainly that trapeze dresses are not going to stick around and ballet flats will.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Enough of politics for now, Forbes has an interesting article about which accessories are worth splurging on, and I mean splurges - they mention a $25,000 Hermes watch. For those of us who aren't about to drop that kind of money it is still worth reading for more general advice as to what makes a classic piece and what is worth a splurge.

There is definitely at least one splurge-worthy accessory I would love:

The Cartier Tank watch is available at Neiman Marcus.

Photo from Neiman Marcus

For the Men It's Not The Clothes, It's The Belly Fat

In responding to my last post, my friend Susan(thanks feefs!) pointed me towards a Huffington Post article that essentially predicts 'Belly Watch 2008' promoting watching Al Gore's belly for signs of shrinkage, the idea being that as his waistline contracts, the probability of his entering the narrowing field of presidential hopefuls grows.

Can a fat man not get elected? I mean, male public figures are not always svelte i.e men like John Goodman, John Travolta and even Denzel Washington when promoting American Gangster, etc. One thing that is great about this is that the men's bodies are popular subjects, while the women seem to finally be off the hook, at least a little bit. The articles says:

This focus on appearance is, of course, nothing new. Ever since JFK took the country by storm, with Jackie and her glamorous Oleg Cassini wardrobe by his side, personal style has been an important component of a candidate's appeal. But the celebritization of politics has reached new heights. With Election Day 2008 a little less than a year away, we've already had breathless stories about Obama in a bathing suit and endless mentions of first female speaker Nancy Pelosi's Armani-filled wardrobe and love of Tahitian pearls. And Mitt Romney has been the object of a veritable media man crush, with Chris Matthews gushing about "the perfect chin, the perfect hair" and Politico's Roger Simon swooning over Romney's "chiseled-out-of-granite features" and "shoulders you could land a 737 on." Who says metrosexuality is only for liberals?

Read the whole thing.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Iowa Might Not Care, But I Do

Through my avid blog reading just this morning I was taken to a website I have never seen before, devoted entirely to the style of Senator Hillary Clinton. Since it's usually her aide that gets the fashion spreads (twice in recent issues of Vogue) I find this fascinating. Lately there have been some interesting discussions about how a woman can be fashionable and electable (is that a word) at once. It's like a tightrope act that women in the public eye have to perform very carefully every time they leave the house. I mean just the fact that the price of a haircut makes the front page makes this Smithie cringe, maybe it shouldn't, but it seems clear to me that a woman in the public eye should, and must look as good as she can which often means expensive suits and haircuts. I can't remember anyone criticizing the cost of a male politicians clothes -haircut, yes (we all remember Edwards' $400 cut) but not their suits.

anyway, just a quick note. Thoughts?

Addendum: Insta-pundit mentioned Obama's suit!

Rain Rain Go Away

Today is disgusting here. It's one of those days you really don't want to leave the house. Apparently the wind is so strong that some of the bridges are even closed. This calls for a good rain outfit. I watched an episode of my favorite tv stylist's new show "Fashionably Late with Stacey London" and she had audience members try on rain coats, boots and hats and put one person in a rain machine, one in a huge refrigerator and one in front of a wind machine. It was pretty freaking funny to watch, but this morning on my way out I felt like I was being subjected to all three at once. Not nice.

So here are my suggestions for beating the weather:

These are Kors by Michael Kors version of the wellie, and they are also available in orange - both are pretty great! you can find them on sale at my favorite online boutique Shopbop.

For a raincoat I love this Kenneth Cole Reaction jacket :

This jacket is great for several reasons, the first is the tie at the waist, it's actually a buckle and with the strong squared shoulder makes the waist look tiny, just what every woman wants in a coat. This is available on my favorite discount designer website Bluefly.

If you are in the parts of the country dealing with snow and much colder temps look for boots by La Canadienne, they look fantastic and they are weatherproof, they even keep your toes warm and toasty.