Sunday, June 29, 2008

When in Vegas, do as the Vegans do.

I'm going to Vegas!

... And I'm wearing my new, leopard print jumper.

Actually, my goal is to get mistaken for a drag queen while I'm there.

When in Rome, right?

Guaranteed to Burn Your Eyes

A few weeks ago, I went to Central Park to try and go to the free Vampire Weekend concert put on by Summer Stage. It started pouring rain as we waited in line, and then they were at capacity and we couldn't get into the venue. But this experience was not at all a total loss, because, while waiting in line, we saw the most fugly, hipster-y young people in Manhattan. And we made fun of them. There was one girl, in particular, who was standing a few people ahead of us and was wearing such atrocities that I had to take a photo.
This is not the best picture, I'll admit. But you can see, obviously, the leopard print spandex shorts, and you can just make out (on the right side) the freaking raccoon tail hanging off of her purse! Who dresses for a concert and says, "I think I'm going to match my leopard shorts with the tail of a dead animal!"? Insufferable New York hipsters, that's who.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Dark Side

Why is it that in the dead of winter, I gravitate toward brightly-colored clothing (tangerine cashmere, neon tights), but as soon as summer arrives, I start craving a darker, moodier palette? Is it that I'm homesick for Manhattan and the sexily utilitarian, no-frills style adopted by most of its inhabitants? Or is it simply that black silk looks stunning against a backdrop of bronzed skin? Either way, here are some dark pieces I'm loving right now.

Kenneth Cole Knotted Halter Top, $128
A halter top that has timeless appeal, in black silk with classic knot details. You could wear this with pearl stud earrings to the country club... one with a lax dress code, of course.

A beautifully draped, drop-waisted dress in smoky black silk. I love the sporty vibe and edgy details, like the drawstring waist and gold studs at the pockets.

Metropark Lace Racerback Tank Top, $49
...And here's a top that would not by suitable for the country club. But, kids, sometimes it pays to be a little skanky. I mean, literally pays. Do you think I actually buy my own drinks (actually, sometimes I do, but it always seems like a waste of money)? Besides, the lace femininizes an otherwise tough top and is even, dare I say, rather sweet.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Diamond Duofold Hoodie, $228
What's going on?! I normally loathe Marc Jacobs, and I normally loathe hoodies... and yet, I'm strangely drawn to this Marc by Marc hoodie. I like that it straddles the line between sportiness and femininity. And I love the sweet details, like an abundance of gold-rimmed buttons and slightly puffed elbow-length sleeves.

Jennifer Ouellette Peacock Nest Headband, $70
Old Hollywood glam meets a modern, avant garde aesthetic with this feather headband. Maybe I'll take a break from watching femmes fatales on the DVDs that have been dominating my Netflix queue, slip on this headband, and play the silver screen goddess in my own film life for a change.

Myne "Audry" Vest With Necktie, $246
I'm a big believer in the viewpoint that sometimes skimming over the curves of a woman's body can be playfully erotic and sexier than wearing something that's skintight. So, naturally, I'm drawn to clothing that flirts with the line between masculinity and femininity... like this loose-fitting silk vest.

VITA Large Snake Bracelet, $97 $67.90
VITA bracelets are great - enduringly chic and classic with just enough edge to keep them modern and youthful. And I find that it's so easy to slip mine on before walking out the door, but it adds a polished touch to whatever I'm wearing. Mine is off-white, but I really want this black one - because it'll go with not only everything I own now, but also everything I'll ever own in the future.

Jeffery Campbell "Emma" Snake Sandal, $74
I've already sung the praises of my K. Jacques sandals, which I wear almost everyday in the summer. But if I also owned these Jeffrey Campbell sandals, I think I'd wear my K. Jacques every other day. I love the unexpected punch of glam that patent snakeskin-stamped leather adds to an otherwise earthy sandal. And you know what would pair stunningly with these?

China Glaze "For Audrey" Nail Polish, $6.50
Last week, on my way to a pedicure, I pulled up at a light next to a turquoise blue 50s Cadillac. The driver and I exchanged compliments on each other's cars (I was driving my dad's ebony 'Stang) before I got a green arrow and sped off. The encounter was brief but long enough to leave a lasting impression (of the car - not the driver, who was nowhere near as impressive). Minutes later, at the nail salon, I found myself eschewing my usual Old Hollywood red for... turquoise. My toes look awesome lacquered in this unconventional shade - especially peeking out of black patent peep-toe wedges.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Mindy Kaling!

Today, June 24th, is a very special day. Today is the day when Mindy Kaling, our idol, muse, and imaginary best friend, was born. I celebrated in a style that I think Mindy would appreciate (or possibly find creepy):
It's true, Martha Stewart I am not. But my sloppy decorating skills aside, this cake was delicious and everyone enjoyed it almost as much as we enjoy Mindy's blog. Also, I thought it was extremely auspicious that facebook group "Mindy Kaling fills my abyss of terrifying emptiness" reached 100 members just a few days ago, after I harangued and pressured and bribed pretty much everyone I know and a few people I didn't. If you're in the group, and you're in NY, and you have my number, there is a slice of cake with your name on it waiting for you in my apartment... wait a second. I just checked the group so I could post a link, and someone quit the group! We're back down to 99 members! Ya'll better come over quick before I eat the rest of that cake in bed while crying myself to sleep.

Anyway, back to Mindy: I already made a post on my top 10 favorite entries, so I think I'm going to top off this post with some YouTube love:

Monday, June 23, 2008

DB Essentials

This post is inspired by Julia's "JF Essentials" post, which was inspired by one on Saint Mindy's blog. What follows is a small, tightly edited list of the clothing and grooming items I find myself reaching for on a regular basis.

1. K. Jacques Valerie Metallic Thin Thong
Flip-flop fanatics, don't take offense, but I hate them. I don't know if its the unpleasant toe-wedgies or loud slapping noise they make or the way they make even the most graceful girls adopt a waddle-like walk, but I avoid flip flops at all cost. K. Jacques' metallic thongs are a more polished but just as effortless option. I bought these a few years ago, and I wear them almost everyday in the summer.
$195 at

2. James Perse Long Tank
Most tank tops I've owned stretch out and lose their shape after only a few washings. Not these ones, though. They're super-streamlined and flattering, and they stay that way - in fact, they only get softer and better fitting over time. A little pricey for a tank top, to be sure - but worth it.

3. Levi's eco Low Skinny 531 Jeans
Why these jeans are my favorite: a.) they're made of organic cotton; b.) they're $68 - a bargain, given the inflated prices of the denim market; c.) they're flattering and make my legs look a mile long, in a dark rinse with a body-conscious cut and hint of spandex; d.) people always compliment me when I wear them. Need I say more?

4. Hoop Earrings
I got my ears pierced a few months ago (Ms. York even went with me and held my hand - what a gal), and since then I've loved being able to enhance my outfits with the perfect pair of earrings. Classic but bohemian, large hoops fit the rich hippie, Ali MacGraw-inspired look I've been cultivating lately.

5. Alisha Levine Tops
I love Alisha Levine tops because they're basic (but definitely not business) in the front, party in the back - so you can look good coming but even better going.
$178 $124.60,

6. Dior Show Mascara
I'm a mascara fiend, and I probably wear too much of it. I love Maybelline's Great Lash and Benefit's Bad Gal Lash, but Dior Show is really, truly the ultimate. Plus, Giselle once said in an interview that it "makes your eyelashes look like butterflies," and who doesn't want that?

7. Karoo Mark Eisen Cashmere Dress
Hands down, one of my favorite articles of clothing. Seriously, there's nothing like slipping on this cashmere dress on a chilly morning - it's so simple, yet so luxurious. And it's incredibly versatile - I wear it with a leather jacket and ankle boots for a trendy downtown look; with a plaid capelet, tights, and high-heeled booties for a classy, Park Avenue vibe; with thick ribbed stockings and riding boots for running errands; or bare-legged with heels when it's warmer out. Strangely, the model looks a little lumpy, but in real life this dress is incredibly flattering. And, hello - say "yes" to Spanx.
$352 $243,

8. MBT M. Walk Shoes
Have you heard the hype about MBTs?  They're supposed to take the stress of running and walking off your knees while toning your butt and legs.  And it's all true.  Plus, they're cute in an odd, Olsen-twin kind of way.  I bought mine on super-sale, so keep your eyes peeled - because, let's face it, a quarter-grand is a little steep for shoes you'll sweat in.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Under $100

Lucky Magazine has a great feature on its website right now: 50 items for summer, all under $100. Not only did they find a mostly great selection of reasonably priced clothes, shoes and accessories, but they do an excellent job of finding different ways to describe each piece. Since I started writing in this blog, I've gained a newfound appreciation for fashion writing-- it's so hard to find words beyond "cute" and "hot." I aspire to be as good at fashion blather as the Lucky writers are.

Anyway, here are a few things I'd like to add to Lucky's summer essentials.

J.Crew Rafina Espadrilles, $69.99: It's not summer until you're wearing brightly-colored espadrilles. I'd love to wear these with toenails painted a sunny yellow color, and perhaps a pure white dress. I really like that the top is tied in a knot, instead of a bow-- it's a badass element on a very girly shoe.

I obviously love madras, and I can see myself using this Madras Cabana bag, $29.99, every weekend this summer. The round bamboo handles are so fun and whimsical, and the roomy shape will be able to carry a swimsuit, sarong, sunglasses and gossip magazine-- everything you could possibly need.

My favorite thing about these cuffed short shorts, $10.49, from Target is that they're in a color called "lemonade." And I like that they're a little bit country, sort of a Daisy Duke feel with the cuffs at the bottoms.

The Embellished Strappy Dress, $29.99, from Urban Outfitters, has the soft and flirty look that should be mandatory for everything you wear during the summer. The teal color will make you think of a refreshing mountain lake, and the faux-Indian totem pole embroidery will make you happy to be outside and not wasting away in an Indian casino.

Old Navy has a ton of fun, cheap jewelry that you can wear to the beach and not really care if it falls out in the ocean. Like this set of three drop stone bangles, $7.50, that'll glam up any old bathing suit.

Speaking of swimsuits: I have this theory that they started selling tops and bottoms separately in order to charge more, not to "create a more customized fit" for girls who may have big boobs and small butts. But on the other hand, not having to buy a swimsuit as a set allows you to do a little mix and matching, which is never not fun. On the Fourth of July I want to be wearing this tankini top, $25.88, and essential hipster, $22.12.

And then, when I hop out of the pool to watch some fireworks, I want to be wearing this Calypso by Christiane Celle Malekai Sarong, $26.95. The red-on-white paisley print and beaded trim on the bottom add a bit of sophistication to your usual sarong. Also, the big size allows some experimentation with tying; my goal for the summer is to figure out how people tie sarongs into halter dresses.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Don't Get It: Ed Hardy Edition

Okay, when you go out of state to college, one of the things you have to resign yourself to is the fact that things are going to change while you’re gone. There will be new restaurants you’ve never heard of, new buildings that somehow were built in less than three months, and some major store location swapping in the mall (GAP just suffered a severe downgrade). I’m also used to the idea that as long as I divide my time between the desert and Dixie Land, I’m going to, essentially, have two different set of clothes. It’s like this switch in my brain goes off when I cross the Mississippi—suddenly it is NOT okay to wear Polo shirts and boat shoes, suddenly I have to convert back to wearing Rainbow Sandals year round and clothing styles that won’t cross the continent and become popular in the South until a year after the West is finished with them. It’s about adjustment, y’all.

But I will tell you now that I will never adjust to wearing Ed Hardy.

Ed Hardy, I think, is going to go the way of Von Dutch. It’ll explode, Ashton Kutcher will wear the hats out, stores will pop up everywhere—but just as quickly, it’ll be done, and only the ever-classy Ms. Spears will still be wearing it (until someone shoots her with a clue gun). In a word, it’s trendy.

I have issues with trendy in general, without trendy involving designs that sort of look like a death-obsessed unicorn got sick and threw up all of the rainbows and cheap rhinestones that it ate for lunch. My problem with the Ed Hardy line of clothing stems largely from the fact that Ed Hardy and the other designer are former tattoo artists and all of the shirts/dresses/sunglasses/bathing suits/shoes/socks/shit have a tattoo-y look about them. (Also, because one of the original stores opened up in Tucson. TUCSON, ARIZONA. THE ONLY WAY I CAN EXPRESS MY UTTER DISBELIEF AND COMPLETE LACK OF RESPECT IS THROUGH CAPSLOCK.)

Sorry if the above offends anyone, but I’m a total priss about tattoos; they gross me out in a way that usually only salad bars are capable of doing. I love clothing with bright, vibrant colors—but why are we still on the skull and crossbones drawings? Didn’t Avril Lavigne kill that for us already? Haven’t the Emo kids moved on to that crazy ass, but well-meant, To Write Love on Her Arms thing?

The drawings and styles on the t-shirts/watches/intimates/bathing suits/scarves/sunglasses sort of alternate between Asian-influenced and El Dia de los Muertos, and let me tell you people, if I’m going to buy a shirt—A COTTON SHIRT—for $90 I expect it to be wrapped around some dead bread. And not the crappy kind that your mom made you for extra credit in Spanish class. The real stuff.

Oh, and did I mention that I see Ed Hardy everywhere in stores, but not on actual people. I’ve seen approximately three people wearing something by Ed Hardy (and one of them was Cesar Millan on The Dog Whisperer marathon I watched today), so I’m not sure that’s a good sign for those of you looking to jump on the wagon.

Well, anyway. I’m not afraid to admit that I do like some of the t-shirt designs, but I don’t think I could ever wear them. 1. Because I have self respect, 2. Because of the astonishingly high caliber of celebrities that wear it, and 3. Because I already have enough pieces of clothing that look like they lost a long, brutal war to a Bedazzler.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Minimalism Rules

I've long eschewed girly, saccharine clothing in favor of sleek, sophisticated pieces that compliment a woman's shape instead of distracting from it with superfluous ruffles and frills.  Here are some minimalist pieces that I'm loving right now:

A lovely, simple dress with a body-conscious cut and flatters-every-skin-tone color.

I love Alisha Levine tops, and this one is no exception.  It's casual but elegant, basic but definitely not ordinary.

I'd like to nominate turquoise as an honorary neutral: it flatters virtually every skin tone and goes with almost every other color.  These skinny jeans would look stunning worn with a floaty top and some earthy accessories.

I own two leather jackets and wear them constantly, with everything from the frothiest vintage dress to my most scuffed-up Levi's.  I love the details on this one: short sleeves, a swingy cut, and awesome African cotton lining.

Maxi?  Check.  Fresh, bright color?  Check.  Luxe silk?  Check.  Streamlined design?  Check.  This Alice + Olivia dress has all the elements of a perfect summer frock.

Generally, clothing that exposes more skin than it covers is considered slutty.  But a ring that exposes more skin than it covers?  There's something understatedly chic and subtly erotic about that.

Very on-trend but luxe enough to be in style forever.  I love the bright, modern fuchsia, yellow, and turquoise.

I love rompers that aren't infantilizing; with a sexy cut, gorgeous draping, slinky silk, and Studio 54 vibe, this one is undeniably sophisticated.

From far away this looks like just another tiny gold charm; from up close, it's a cutout of California.  I'd definitely wear this were I still living in Manhattan to pay homage to the only other place where I feel complete.  But since I've moved back to Orange County for the next eight months, wearing it now seems a bit redundant... sort of like wearing a band's t-shirt to their concert or hanging a photograph of Times Square in your New York apartment.

Red Ruby Rose clutches

I have to give credit to Danielle for this one, since I came across this seller on Etsy when I was browsing Ms. Blanchett's favorite sellers (I was looking for the place you bought that purse with the yellow flowers-- do you remember where you got that?). Red Ruby Rose sells gorgeous silk-lined clutches covered in one-of-a-kind fabrics. I especially adore this Italian poppy and bud clutch, $65. It's simply but very striking; it'd make a great gift for the stylish friend who isn't interested in carrying the same designer purse as every other girl on the block.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flash a little back

(I wanted to make the title of this post, "Baby Got Back," but I resisted. You're welcome.)

It's summer, it's hot, you want to show some skin. Or maybe you want to stalk away dramatically from that dude who wronged you, while giving him a view that makes him think, "Oh, why did I screw this up?" Or maybe you've been walking up in the middle of the night to drink egg white milkshakes, because you're preparing to play a female boxer in an Oscar-bait movie. Or maybe you don't need a reason to wear a backless top or dress.

From Urban Outfitters, the Lux Debbie dress, $48, is seriously backless. I like that it's relatively modest in front, so the rear view is a bit more surprising. The strappy back looks great, although I worry that it's the sort of dress that ends up almost strangling every time you try and get in or out of it. But if you're going to be strangled by something, you could do worse than a soft jersey knit in a bright, saturated color.

This Kimchi & Blue Scarf Print Halter Top, $48, embodies breeziness. It's a bit hipster-ish, maybe, especially if you were wearing skinny jeans and some sort of annoying headwear. But with a denim miniskirt and some simple footwear, it'd be great for a barbeque or outdoor concert. But definitely go for simple accessories with a print like this; all you really need is smooth, glowing skin.

The beading on this Lux Ojo de Dios Tank, $48, makes it a touch more formal. I'm not crazy about the sagging fabric at the bottom, but that, plus the raw edges, gives it an appealing "Oh, this old thing I found on the bottom of my closet?" vibe. I also sort of like how the back looks like an upside-down wishbone.

Look how prim and (metaphorically) buttoned-up the front of this Rebecca Taylor open back dress, $216, is: pencil skirt, high neck, modest sleeves. It's very "secretaries should be seen and not heard," but then she turns around and is all, "Wouldn't you rather buy me a drink than ask me to type up those documents?" Plus it's silk, arguably one of the sexiest fabrics. I'm a bit concerned, though, that the ends of the long ribbon used to tie the back together would make me feel like there's an insect on my back, which is never a good feeling.

I am rarely, if ever, a fan of butt bows. Not only do they call attention to your butt in a bad way (if you thought there was no bad way to call attention to your butt, you were wrong), but they get all squished if you sit down. And yet... I sort of like the bow and cascading ruffle on this dress, no matter how much it resembles a tail. The Thayer Bree Open Back dress, $282, looks like a super basic jersey tank dress from the front, and in the back there's all this skin and flouncing fabric! Ok, I just realized that this is the mullet of dresses (business in the front, party in the back). Moving on.

This dress is way more wearable: the T-Bags Solid Open Back dress, $129.50, combines the classic sportiness of colorblock with a seriously confident splash of skin. This would be the perfect dress to throw on when you're enjoying drinks at the country club after you dominated Bitsy Von Muffling in your weekly tennis match. That old bag wishes she was as young and chic as you, and that she could return your backhand.

All these plummeting backs are very well and good, but there's an easier, more modest way to utilize this trend. Brought to you by Old Navy, of course, is the Keyhole back tee, $10. Very simple, very affordable, but comes in great colors with weird names like "Berry Chutney" and you can totally still wear a bra underneath. You could even pair it with a pencil skirt and cardigan and wear it to work, and then afterwards you can ditch the cardigan, take your hair out of the bun, and be all set for happy hour.

I was going to end this post with some high-tech, slightly scary undergarments from Victoria's Secret, for those of us who can't just go braless, but the site is down for maintenance. Sorry, ya'll are on your own.