Monday, April 28, 2008

Rich Dress, Poor Dress

I mentioned before how impressed I get at "Splurge and Save" features, because I imagine it would be hard to find two extremely similar items at two very different price points. But now I'm seeing that if you spend enough time online shopping, you're bound to stumble upon a copycat or two. I've been "researching" for an upcoming post on LWD (little white dresses), and I had a little deja vu moment.

First, the rich dress, from J.Crew: Paillette T-shirt Dress, $595:

I won't lie, I think it's fabulous. It's just a perfectly casual silhouette, but the allover palliettes catapult it into another dimension of awesomeness. Imagine wearing this to an upscale bar or a fancy summer soirée: from the second you walk in, all eyes will be on you. It's definitely too much for the daytime, I think, since there's a chance that direct sunlight on this dress will cause such a bright reflection all your admirers will be struck temporarily blind. But at night, the dress would catch a beam from a streetlight and you'd look like a modern day urban angel.

On the other hand, it's almost $600.

Enter the poor dress, from Target: Isaac Mizrahi Sequin Tunic Dress, $59.99

It's a smidge different from the J.Crew dress: sleeveless, wider neckline, maybe a bit shorter with less of an A-line flare, and made of polyester instead of silk georgette. And I'm sure the sparkle off the sequins is a little less luxurious, and you'd probably be forever noticing that a cluster on the hem is about to fall off. But it's 1/10th of the price, so suck on that, J.Crew.

Which do you guys prefer? And is there anyway to justify paying that much for a dress when you know that an almost-as-good twin is available for so much less?

Saturday, April 26, 2008


So in just a few short weeks I won't be living with Danielle anymore, putting an end to a glorious semester filled with Vogue and Lucky, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, Britney Spears and Beyonce, and almost daily sessions of, "Want to see what I bought?" "Yeah, go try it on!" It's maybe been the girliest four months of life, and I've adored it.

Just the other day I had an internship interview, and after freaking out about what I was going to wear and buying a $100 top at Anthropologie, Danielle helped me put together an outfit from clothes I already owned. I bought the top knowing that there was about a 98% I would return it; I was even willing to do the tackiest thing in the world, wear it, keep the tags on, and then return it. I've never done that, because I believe that it's one of those things that is just Not Done in polite society, like applying your makeup in public or smacking your child in front of company. Sure, you can argue that returning a top you wore once makes no difference to a mega-store like Anthropologie, but I think about how pissed I would be to find out that the top I bought, which I thought was brand new, had already been worn (and not washed) by a total stranger. Sure, there's no way I'd find that information out, but it's still the principle of the thing.

Here's the Anthropologie top I bought (and returned unworn!) in my fit of stress-induced shopping insanity. The La Rosarie tieback, $98, is certainly cute, but if I'm paying almost a hundred bucks for a shirt it better also be able to blow dry my hair for me or something. This one didn't even fit: the empire waist part hit above 3 inches too high, right across my boobs, and the bottom portion was so loose I could have been 6 months pregnant and still worn it (although, if I was 6 months pregnant my boobs definitely would not have fit). This is both the top's fault and mine, but I can at least defend myself by saying that there was a really long line for the dressing rooms and I didn't want to have to go get a different size and wait another 15 minutes to try it on.

This entry has sort of gotten off track. My point is this: in three weeks I'll no longer be able to flit around in various states of undress, because I'm going to be living with (gasp!) boys. Sure, they may not care if I want to spend an entire Sunday bumming around the apartment in the lacy slip I wore under my dress the night before (and was either too lazy or too drunk to take off and find real pajamas), but I care. And so, a certain amount of wardrobe revision is needed with this new living situation. What I've taken four paragraphs to say is, I need a robe.

I have a bathrobe that's really thick and heavy, basically a towel with sleeves. It's like 6 years old but I love it and I love putting it on after a shower so I don't have to get dressed right away. but it's so bulky that I never really want to put it on other than post-shower; if I tried to slip it on over pajamas I think the fabrics would get all twisted and uncomfortable. So what I want is a cute, light robe that I can throw on whenever I need a little extra coverage. There was one at Gap Body this summer that would have been perfect: really soft jersey material with thick stripes of navy blue and gold. I saw it and through, "This is something you would see on Greek," and I didn't even watch Greek then (do you guys watch Greek, on ABC Family? I highly recommend it, especially if you're actually in a sorority or fraternity). It just had a very collegiate vibe, which I dig. But unfortunately that robe is long gone, and Gap Body only has these rather boring short jersey robes, $39.50. I think I can do better.

Victoria's Secret has the Cozy Little Things short robe, $29.50, which could be cute. I would get it in a light blue and white stripe, since that's more my style than pink polka dots. But I'm worried that it's so fuzzy that it would be hot to wear it in the summer. In the winter it's more likely I'll be wearing sweatpants and hoodies around the apartment, so there's less of a need to protect my honor.

I like this Gilligan & O'Malley Eyelet Robe, $19.99, from Target. It's pretty simple, but the eyelet details on the sleeves are very sweet and feminine. I'm a little unsure about the bright white color, though; I don't want to be wearing it while cooking breakfast and get it stained egg yellow. On the other hand, it's cotton, so it'll be super easy to wash. But on the other, other hand, it would probably be see-through. Boo.

Oh man, I'd be so into this Hearts and Skulls robe, $24.99, also from Target, if only it weren't so cartoon-y. Some seriously menacing skulls alongside some seriously sweet hearts? That'd be great. But this print reminds me of Tom and Jerry, which is not what I'm looking for.

Speaking of fun prints, I'm sort of in love with this Nick and Nora robe, $21.99, in "Summer Cocktails." I'm guessing that, living with three guys, there'll be more beer drinking than appletini (light on the 'tini) sipping, but with robe I can feel like a Cosmopolitan drinking woman anyway. The print's a little busy, though, and I don't want to look like a walking drink menu.

From the same line, there's the Strawberries robe, $21.99. The full body shot isn't wow-worthy, but the close-up of the print might be. I love the little hand, and the lips are especially whimsical. Doesn't this seem like a great girlie summer robe? Too bad it only comes in an X or XX Large on the Target website.

In searching for robes I found this Oscar de la Renta "Expressions" chemise, $66, that I sort of want. I'd feel like the prettiest ballerina at the Nutcracker Ball while I'm sleeping! See, this is the exactly the sort of thing I want to be wearing under my robe.

I like this Old Navy Lightweight robe, $24.50, and it's "ballet slipper" pink so it would fit the theme. I like the short sleeves, and the cropped length might not be overly short. Pockets are also an essential quality of my dream robe. It kind of looks like the kind of robe you get in the hospital, though, right? There's something vaguely sickly about it.

Is this satin robe too "aging housewife desperate to prove she's still got It", or is it actually pretty cute? From Jones New York, this robe, $54, looks super smooth and slinky, and while I'm not huge into florals I'd be willling to give it a shot. You can't really see it in the photo, but there's a strip of pleated blue fabric at the end of the sleeves, which is a fun detail.

Oh, man, I want a ruby red cashmere robe. But this Arlotta ruffle robe is $215.99, and thus too much for something I'll never wear outside. Plus, a dry clean only robe is dumb.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Gossip Girl Returns!

It's been so long since there's been a new Gossip Girl episode that I can hardly remember: is this the show with the fugly cast wearing full-length prairie dresses and unibrows? Or is this the show with the ridiculously hot cast wearing tights and headbands and plaid skirts?
Ah, yes. Now I remember.

So in honor of the triumphant return of Blair and Serena, I thought I'd do a post of my favorite outfits thus far. I already wrote about a bunch, so click on the Gossip Girl tag at the bottom of this post if you want to revisit Serena's leather jackets, Blair's slip, and a few more.

Let's start with Serena, the "I rolled out of bed five minutes ago and threw this on and I look amazing, but you can't hate me because you're shocked into silence by the glory of my hair" sort of girl. She always manages to make her private school uniform casual, comfortable, yet totally hot. These over-the-knee gray suede boots, which I believe are from Chinese Laundry, deftly avoid the "Pretty Woman" association and seem totally appropriate for a young woman.

I could make a "Kate Moss called, she wants her style back" joke, but that's a lame joke and Serena is rocking this sequin minidress, by Tori Burch, as hard as any supermodel. No man stands a chance against Serena in this dress.

She's like a fricking wood nymph goddess creature, right? This dress could be too "I sell jewelry in New Mexico," but on Serena it's the perfect choice for the girl who has to attend an Upper East Side brunch, but isn't going to like it.

Now here's a few photos of Serena and Blair together. I love seeing them side-by-side to see how perfectly each's style fits their personality. I love the cityscape on the bottom of Serena's Vena Cava dress, and Blair's Lorick (the designer behind all the fake Eleanor Waldorf clothes) dress is so classy yet fun with the navy on yellow fabric. In case you're wondering, in this photo they're pretending to be tigers. Roar.

After that photo shoot goes awry, Blair and Serena have their own with more Lorick dresses. The belts around the waist, a little higher than the back of the dress so it lies on the skin, are the exact right touch to make these (probably tough to wear) dresses work. Also, I love this scene because it really fits the Blair/Serena friendship that was shown in the books; how, when they were getting along, they were in their own little world of adventure and fun and no consequences.

I know that the degree of freedom these girls have in their school uniforms is totally unrealistic, but that doesn't mean I can't wish I went to private school so I could wear Serena's Nanette Lepore cardigan or Blair's hilarious- yet-awesome bright red tights. I know that in real life I would wear neither over-the-knee socks or tights under formal shorts, but these girls are completely pulling off their respective outfits.

Serena hears "shopping in SoHo" and thinks jeans, tank, and whatever accessories are on top of her dresser. Blair hears the same and spends 2 hours deciding which shade of black tights best matches her dress, and wondering if the white headband and oxfords would be too much (and eventually deciding that no, they're just enough). And this is why I adore Blair.

She's even fierce when she's hanging around the house in her delicates! I would kill for this lingerie set, and to be as confident as she is wearing it.

Here's another example of what Blair considers casual wear. This Stetis dress (is it a romper? It might, but I'll let it slide) is deliciously over the top for a sleepover, with the cascading ruffles tiers. And instead of going simple to let the dress hog the spotlight, Blair piles on some chunky black necklaces and makes her outfit that much more interesting.

Here's a classic Blair take on UES school girl, with the vest, button down and skirt. It's both perfectly proper and "I will fuck you up if you step out of line." Again, why I love Blair.

Back at school, Blair does argyle in a totally different way. A Lamb cardigan with a sequined argyle pattern down the front and the sleeves? I love it! It's such a funky take on what can be a staid pattern. Plus, the ruffled shirt layered underneath counteracts the glitter and makes a bit "hot librarian."

I love this outfit because I see it and think, "I could put that together and pull that off." So, no, it's not the most off-the-radar fabulous outfit Blair's ever worn, but it is very classic and I adore that plaid Fremont coat.

This might be my favorite Blair fashion moment. It's Thanksgiving, and Blair goes all out with a Marc Jacobs dress, Trina Turk capelet, and Wolford tights. She looks like the most exquisite little doll, so pretty I can barely stand it. You go, baby vamp!

Gossip Girl returns tonight on the CW at 8pm Eastern. I can't wait to tune in and see what these crazy bitches are wearing now. If I missed any of your favorite outfits, or if you want to yell at me for giving no love to Jenny, that's what the comments are for. And if you want more GG fashion, the Gossip Girl Style livejournal community and this InStyle photo gallery are good places to start. You know you love me, XOXO.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Lust List

I like coming up with themes that tie together the different lovely things I post about here. Not only does it create a sense of order that appeals to me, I can imagine fabulous girls I've never met agonizing over, "What the hell am I going to wear to Diddy's VMA party on his yacht?", serendipitously coming across this blog, and averting a potential crisis.

But sometimes my bookmark bar gets flooded with sundry, crave-worthy things that just aren't related to each other. So, instead of rounding up a bunch of other things that I have lukewarm feelings for the sake of continuity, I'm going to break the rules and post about the things that inspire bona fide, red-hot lust. You might want to crack open a window before you keep reading.

Vintage Frank Usher Dress, $450
This Grecian-inspired dress from the 1970s, with its generous layers of slinky fabric, is the perfect thing to wear out to cocktails at a trendy bar in the West Village when you want to look polished but still be your fab, quirky-cool self. Or grocery shopping, whatever (yeah, I go grocery shopping in my silk dresses and 4-inch heels; I always get the weirdest looks, too).

Via Spiga "Osmic" Sandal, $185
Straps of gleaming pewter patent leather that hug the foot; a four-inch heel that enhances the figure. Unsurprisingly, the "Osmic" sandal is only three letters away from being "orgasmic" (yes, I had to go there).

Vintage Suarez Python Skin Clutch Bag, $415
The glammy, luxury-craving part of me loves clothing and accessories made from dead animals; the liberal, bleeding-heart part squirms at the idea of creatures having to suffer so I can wear them. The solution? Vintage python. Think of owning this bag from the 1980s as recycling.

Kiki De Montparnasse Muse Molded Bra, $250, and Demilune Thong, $150
Sexy enough to be shown off but streamlined enough to be worn under your basic button-down and pencil skirt. How much more versatile can your lingerie get?

Kimberly Baker "Amanda" Earrings, $108 (sterling silver) or $148 (18k gold vermeil)
These chain earrings strike the unlikely balance between toughness and femininity. Both delicate and substantial, they can be as easily worn with ripped jeans and a t-shirt as with your favorite LBD.

Norma Kamali Underwire Straight Dress, $325 $195
A second-skin, lingerie-inspired dress in a great lime color that you don't see too much. Throw this baby on, toss on some gold jewelry and some status shades, tie on your metallic sandals, grab your leopard-print clutch purse, and you'll be all set.

Vintage Pilot Sunglasses, $125
Can you tell I'm really into the 70s right now? These tortoiseshell sunglasses are similar to the generic Ralph Lauren/Michael Kors/Marc Jacobs type that everyone has but a little bit cooler.
In case you were wondering how to best accessorize your vintage fox fur trench and little blue dress a la Kate Hudson in Almost Famous, these sunglasses are your answer.

Elizabeth Cole "Jaguar" Earrings, $175
You aspire to someday have a jaguar in the garage; until that wonderful day arrives, settle for wearing them in your ears. These 24k-plated and crystal-encrusted earrings are fierce but not over-the-top (they're tiny at only 1/2" long) for those days when you have to tone it down a little (i.e. visiting the grandparents or attending your cousin's wedding). But don't be fooled by their diminutive size; they're still totally ferosh. Like you, right? Roar!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gladiator Snakeskin Sandals

If loving these sandals is wrong, then damn it, I don't wanna be right.

Yes, they're from Frederick's of Hollywood, which isn't exactly the most highbrow lingerie store.

Yes, they're a little Pretty Woman.

Yes, they look a little bit like elaborate S&M play gear.

But since I don't have means to finance my love for all things Agent Provocateur and Kiki DM (read: rich boyfriend), these Gladiator Snakeskin Sandals will have to suffice.

If you have the attitude to pull them off, girls will secretly envy your panache and reckless courage.

Only guys who are confident and assertive will approach you, because the ones who have questionable self esteem or are otherwise emotionally deficient will assume that a woman who wears serpentine, coiled sandals has a quick tongue and an unrestrained appetite for whatever she's craving at that moment.

They'll never go out of style because, well, they're probably a bit too subversive to be in style in the first place.

And worn with a slip of silk in a bold color and a silver bangle in an edgy shape, these fierce sandals style more sexy than slutty.

Available in black, $89, and gold (for those of you who want to glimmer like Aztec princesses), $59.99.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fruit Dresses

It's finally the time of year again when you can go to the grocery store and buy strawberries that don't cost like 7 dollars for a little carton. So in celebration of all the tasty, cheap fruit that are about to start springing up all over your local market, I found some dresses in the colors of my favorite produce.

First, the lemon Calvin Klein Illusion Bodice Dress, $178. This could be kind of a fussy dress, with the silk chiffon overlay and pintucking and silk ribbon. But the bright, fun color gives it the sort of effortlessness you want to project in the spring, and the attached slip means you can just throw it on over anything and go on your way. I have a pair of espadrilles, with a simple pink straps, that I think would go great with this for a Shake Shack run, or I could wear strappy heeled sandals at night for a classier vibe.

This dress would be perfect, with a dark belt and cardigan, to wear to your summer internship. The "pomegranate seed" Polka-dot summer dress, $130, is perfectly ladylike in the cut with the full skirt and square neckline. Combined with the bright print, it says, "I am a dedicated career woman, yet am open to being cast as the female lead in a romantic comedy opposite Hugh Dancy." I also think there's some sort of dirty analogy to be made with having to work hard to get at the good parts of a pomegranate, but since this is Banana Republic I'll resist trying to find the low joke.

Here's a less restrained take on the brightly colored polka dots. This orange Theory Yumi Magali dress, $355, is definitely too short for any office, but would be perfect for picnics in the park or free daytime concerts. I love the product description, too: "Sunny circles play hopscotch on a full-skirted frock of cotton and silk." Yes, I love a personified pattern! And while I know Danielle is totally anti-babydoll, but I think the wide waistband and gathered bodice on this dress makes it seem youthful, not infantilizing. I also like how the pattern on the waistband doesn't line up with the pattern on the skirt or bodice, so the potential busyness of all those circles is broken up.

My grandma used to always make rhubarb pie from the fruit in her garden, and, well, I actually don't like rhubarb pie but it's an idyllic memory nonetheless. I do love this J.Crew rhubarb tie-front dress, $88, though. The crossover v-neck and waist tie make it look like a wrap dress, but the skirt is one solid piece so you don't have to worry about showing too much skin when one of those lovely warm breezes comes along and tries to expose you in front of the pizza deliveryman. This is the sort of dress you'd wear all summer long, in the color that'd make you feel as young and tan as you did at sleepaway camp.

You know, I don't really like papaya either, although I'll eat it if its part of a big fruit salad and the restaurant it too dark to pick everything apart. The J.Crew papaya Olivia dress, $175, is completely adorable and, I'm betting, amazingly soft. The row of buttons up the front make it easily convertible from "I'm the sweet kindergarten teacher all the 6 year old boys have a crush on" to "I'm your sweet girlfriend who's going to let you undo the rest of these buttons later tonight." I'm a bit in love with the necklace the model is wearing in this photo, too; I think one long/big piece of jewelry, with hair, makeup and everything else very simple, is the perfect choice.

The last J.Crew dress is the "Bright Berry" Swiss-dot Fontana dress, $140. This is a real wrap dress, but it comes with a detachable slip-- very practical. The details are really what make this dress special, like the ruffle that goes all the way around the collar (I would be sure to wear my hair up to show it off) and the little raised swiss dots on the fabric. With the sleeves and the double layer, I think this dress would be ideal for a spring day with that last hint of chilliness in the air, when you've already shoved all your sweaters into the back of your closet and but need to cover-up a little more.

I really wanted to find a dress in the shade "grape," but spring is not a good time for dark purple. We'll have to settle for this plum Lux Double Flutter dress, $48, which is more of a lilac shade but whatever. The front makes it look like an overgrown t-shirt: comfy, no doubt, but pretty simple. But check out the v in the back! When you make eye contact while passing a cute boy in a grocery store aisle and then he turns to further check you out after you've passed, he is going to be so psyched to see that hint of shoulder blades. And think about how awesome it's going to feel when you get really hot one summer day and then get to rub an ice cube on the back of your neck, without having to worry about getting your clothes wet.

This final dress is what inspired this whole post to begin with. From Lord and Taylor, the lime Calvin Klein cotton pintuck dress, $148, is simplicity at its most genius. That vibrant shade of green with the black straps and bow? I love it. No one else in the room is going to be wearing this color, I can almost guarantee it. Yes, it's not the easiest shade for all skin colors to pull off, but if you can, the rewards will be great. Within two hours of leaving your house in this dress, you'll be doing this:

Well, I can't exactly guarantee this promise. But this photo, which is from the Lord and Taylor magazine ads, pretty much hits every single point on my Biggest Dreams List: frolicking barefoot on a beach, wearing a hot baby-doll dress, with hot young boys in speedos carrying my catamaran. If there was a plate of bacon somewhere in this photo, it would perfectly depict what I imagine heaven to be like.