Sunday, September 28, 2008

What to wear with...Cropped Leather Jackets!

So our lovely, esteemed reader Lena recently bought a cropped leather jacket and was wondering what sort of feminine things she could wear with it. Danielle would be a better source of wisdom on this one, but she is busy breaking hearts and kicking ass all over the West Coast, so I'm going to do my best. Lena, I couldn't get that link to work, but I looked around the F21 website and found a pic of this model wearing a jacket that looked close to what you described. I hope it's not too different from the one you bought.

I started by looking up some celeb examples, such as Anne Hathaway. She looks sort of pale and sickly in this photo, but the outfit is very cute-- sort of a "ballerina with a biker boyfriend" look. This J.Crew silk chiffon Abigail dress, $89.99, would recreate it nicely.

Kate Walsh rocks her leather jacket in both casual and formal situations. You really cannot go wrong with a white shirt, jeans, leather jacket and killer heels. But I think it would be awesome to have your white tee be really girly and sweet, like this Hazel Crochet and Lace Blouse, $98, from Dilliard's. I love the vintage-like neckline, and the extra lace trim on the bottom hem.

Here's Ellen Pompeo and Kate Mara in the same combo:

While I'm usually not a fan of leopard, I like Kate's idea of wearing a bold print on her shoes. When your outfit is such a tried and true classic, you can really go wild on the accessories and wear those cherry red pumps or pink floral clutch.

As for the white dress, I like the J.Crew Eyelet Zoey dress, $99. I think the all over eyelet will contrast excellently with the leather, and the cropped shape of the jacket will accentuate your waist, which can get a little lost in shift dresses.

How adorably flirty would this dress be with a fitted leather jacket? From Jovovich-Hawk, the Emily dress, $205, has a layer of white silk over a nude slip dress (hopefully you're tan enough to prevent people mistaking the under layer for your skin). It's such a damsel dress, but the leather jacket says that you can rescue yourself, thank you very much. (Also, true story, it's been so long since I've been on that I couldn't remember the name and kept saying to myself, "I know it isn't hop stop, but it's close...")

For fall, you might try mixing the leather with a cozy knit dress. Cashmere and leather? Will make you want to die of softness. J.Crew has a wool/cashmere Kelsey Tank Dress, $89, that is begging to be toughened up with a fierce jacket.

I want you to ignore the bottom half of this girl's outfit, because I will never, ever, under any circumstances tell you to wear shiny pleather leggings. Concentrate on the top: the soft, fuzzy scarf framed by the leather jacket. So practical for when the weather gets cooler! Sidenote: this model is totally rocking the fringe bangs, and I'm impressed.

One last celebrity photo: Jessica Alba looks effortlessly cool in her Stones tee and jacket. The vintage concert tee isn't easy to pull off these days, due to Urban Outfitters and other stores that mass produce $30 shirts designed to look like you bought them for $4 at a consignment store. So if you're going to attempt this look, don't go buy one of those shirts, and don't buy a shirt for a band you don't actually listen to just because you like the logo.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fashion Week: Part Monique Lhuillier

I may not know how to pronounce her last name, but I do know that Monique Lhuillier rocked the shit out of Fashion Week and I would kill to wear any of these dresses.

I want to start out big: this gold beaded dress is exquisite. Nice classic shift shape, covered in glowing golden beads. I love how the beading swirls around a bit around the hip, making it that much more awesome.

This gold dress is slightly more subdued in color, but the skirt of cascading ruffles adds plenty of drama. This would be great on someone with really strong coloring; I think it would totally wash me out. It would also look great on Maritska Hargitay, since everything looks good on her.

Taupe is tough color, but the details of this dress totally eliminate the possible blah-ness. The crossed halter top will appear again in this post; despite my worries that wearing it would feel like being choked, it's extremely flattering (if you have great shoulders).

This printed dress is less red carpet, more "I am by far the most fashionable person in the office right now and you should make me your queen." I don't know if the belt is part of the dress, but it is the perfect accessory. Belts are great with prints, since it breaks up the pattern and keeps it from getting too busy.

Turquoise and gold? Perfect for both cocktails in Saint Tropez and bringing a burst of color to the drab streets of any city. I love how the gold neckline is looped into the top, so it's hidden for a few inches and then reappears, just as glorious as before. Also, very sexy glimpse of skin in the center of the top; nice compliment to the more modest pencil skirt.

More gold! More halter! More impeccable, wearable design! This white dress looks like a blinged-out cloud, totally weightless and comfy. It looks a bit like a bathing suit cover-up, and I'd be worried about how high cut it is in the front, but I would wear it everyday no matter.

To bring it back to earth a bit, you could wear this dress all fall (even though it's spring 2009). This grey shift dress sort of looks like it has bedazzled bra straps, but in a very chic way. The tiny belt is a serious counterpart to the shiny cap sleeves, and combined you have a great hourglass silhouette.

Here's a more formal version-- you can really tell that Lhuillier started in bridal wear, because it's so classically beautiful and elegant. The one-shoulder look was seen repeatedly during NY Fashion Week, and this is a gorgeous example. This screams Angelina Jolie, glamorous UN Ambassador and Mother Extraordinaire, to me.

Another lovely draped dress, with a gold belt, in a vivid teal. Another dress I want almost as much as I want Ryan Lochte. In unrelated news, the dvd on Michael Phelps that NBC was hawking came last week, and I'm watching the 4x200 freestyle relay (the one in which Phelps, Lochte, Berens and Vanderkaay totally destroyed both the world record and every other team) as I type this.

One final dress: a strapless column in the palest green. Love the gathered top, loose skirt, and the big statement necklace on the model.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Okay, please tell me I am the only one that can't stand Rachel Zoe's new show? I mean, the woman rocks when it comes to styling (for the most part), but every time she opens her mouth and starts spewing off "I die!!" or "loves!!" Or when she spells it out like Fergie. "D-I-E!!!" I want to light her whole wardrobe on fire and smack her adorable, precious new assistant like he's a whipping post. Really. And don't get me started on the whole zombie hands, and that weird silhouette she always seems to wear. Do you know what I'm talking about? It's an overloaded top half with a super-skinny bottom half capped off by heels that are longer than her head. It makes her look like a bird of prey. Or like a babooshka.

Okay... moving on...

The only thing that can calm me down after a bad Zoecabulary attack is something my dearest Mother and I found this summer:

I'm so obsessed with the Shampoo Fresh Hair Fragrance it's actually a little bit sad. It smells SO GOOD that I even spray it on my hair after I get out of the shower and still have that fresh-clean smell. I'll tell you what, though... this stuff is awesome for college students. Hypothetical situation here: let's just say you run to the gym, you work up a sweat, you look at your watch... and realize that you have five minutes left to get to class. Do you jump in the shower and go to class dripping wet? Do you go straight to class still festering in your own sweat? No. No, you, smart girl (or, you know, boy), spray the shit out of your hair with this product and run across campus. Sure, you are still festering in your own sweat, but no one will be able to tell over the glorious scent of your hair.

Or, in a slightly less gross example, say the hot water in your dorm goes out and you can't take a shower... you get the picture. It's also really nice for dates and snuggling and all that good stuff. Did I mention it gives your hair a nice shine, too?

I am in love with all the the Clean scents. My Mom wears the Provence scent (because we secretly wish we were glamorous French women) and it is like a small cloud of heaven floats by when she comes into the room. I mean, just read the damn description:

The soft, fresh, beautiful scent, captured for centuries by the fine
milled soaps of France, is now a very special perfume by Clean. Reminiscent of
pure soap and water, freshly laundered linens and open blue skies, Clean
Provence is infused with extracts of Provencal Lemon, Cotton Blossom, Rose
Geranium, Sweet Lime and Soft Violet Musk. Clean Provence will pamper you with a delicate, just-lathered fragrance.

That's right. Freshly laundered linens and open blue skies.

Shampoo Fresh Hair Fragrance: $39.00. You can find it at Ulta or, I'm assuming, Sephora. It's also available through their lovely website.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fashion Week: Part 2

Let the parade of dresses I will forever be too poor to wear continue!

It seems that we'll be wearing a lot of cobalt come spring, which is lucky because I look very good in all shades of blue. Doo.Ri showed this stunning, perfectly draped dress, which seems so effortlessly glamorous. It's a very sexy dress, because it almost looks like if you tugged one bit of fabric, the whole thing would just fall away. But the possible scandal is implied; there's just a swatch of skin showing on her chest, and you can't even see her knees. A very nice balance.

Carlos Miele also showed a great cobalt gown, strapless with layers of shiny and matte fabric, plus a cloud of taffeta (or something) at the bottom. I also loved this red dress he showed, although those shoes are absolutely the wrong choice.

Lela Rose showed a lot of lovely dresses, but this particular one is a great use of the goddess trend, which, really, should never go out of style. Why look like a woman when you can look like a goddess, right?

For a change of pace, here's a non-blue dress. I tend to be underwhelmed by black dresses, but this Tracy Reese dress is so ladylike and charming that I can't help but fall in love with it. It's a bit old fashioned with the poofy skirt and lace overlay, but the shorter length and fun gathered neckline keep it young.

This Zac Posen dress sort of looks like you fashioned a dress out of a yellow picnic blanket. But in a flirty, fun, awesome way.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fashion Week: Part 1

Last week was Fashion Week here in New York, so I spent way too much time on looking at the designer slideshows. In order to pretend that I was being productive by doing this, I decided to bring you a few of my favorite looks (mostly dresses, obviously) from Spring 2009.

First, Anna Sui's collection was full of weird, artsy-craftsy hippie dresses, plus these two incredibly adorable outfits on models with great hair. This orange and pink printed halter dress is so fun and floaty, and the pink shift dress with Indian-inspired details is perfectly, effortlessly cute. And I would kill for that second model's wavy hair, and I love both of their shoes.

Next, there's Christian Siriano. I am super impressed that he's showing a full collection at Fashion Week just a year after winning Project Runway, and that it's both innovative and gorgeous. Personally, a lot of his designs are too foofy for me-- they're a little "I'm wearing a giant cotton ball," you know? But these two gowns are exquisite. The shades of grey shot through with yellow is so fun while still sophisticated, and the diagonal stripes are so flattering on a girl's curves. I can imagine anyone from a random starlet to Kate Winslet wearing the long version on the red carpet, and the cocktail-length dress would be a great attention-getter at some downtown event. Those shoes on the second girl, though? No. The hat on the first? Fierce. (I'm sorry, I had to.)

Oscar de la Renta is known for outfitting Ladies, both First and Who Lunch, but he also showed a few dresses that wouldn't look out of place on a Young Lady. I adore this strapless blue and white frock, and how the gathered fabric makes the print seem a little bit rowdy. I wish the hem was a bit less asymmetrical, though. This second dress looks like a tall glass of milk, very creamy and flowing. The orange piping and band at the waist keep it a bit structured, while still allowing a lot of looseness. Doesn't this dress look as comfortable as your favorite bathrobe, but about a billion times more glamorous?

Speaking of flowy, this silk column dress by Naeem Khan
is like a tall glass of something, set on fire at the bottom and sprinkled with tinsel at the top. But I love it! I think ombre gets a bad rap because it can look like you spilled something on part of your dress, but I've always believed it's a dynamic way to combine multiple colors and shades. And the sparkly bodice on this dress makes it that much more fabulous. I think we can all agree to ignore the ginormous side ponytail, though.

That's all for now; a new appreciation of cobalt and a love letter to all things Monique Lhuillier is coming up soon.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Clutch Purses

I don't remember exactly how the topic came up, but last night I had a conversation with one of my guy friends about clutch purses:

Me: "Do you know what a clutch is?"
Him: "Yeah."
Me: "What is it?"
Him: "A purse made by a designer named Clutch?"
Me: "Aw, that's cute. But no."

So in honor of that poor, ill-informed boy, here are some clutch purses I'm eyeing.

From J.Crew, the Satin Fleur Clutch, $98, is the perfect mix of impractical and adorable, which is exactly what a good clutch should be. I love the satin fabric in a vibrant azul color (it also comes in a great yellow or fuchsia), since it would really pop against a simple dress or jeans. And the soft flower in the center adds a romantic touch. The only drawback is, obviously, the price. Clutches will never be your everyday purse; you really have to remind yourself to use it, to take the time to move your wallet and keys from your overstuffed tote to a delicate little clutch. So I can't justify dropping a C-note on something I'll use, at maximum, twice a week.

Which is why Old Navy is my savior, since they have the cutest pleated clutches on sale for $4.99. You know that I have a weakness for anything preppy, and the thin blue and white stripes are perfectly nautical combined with country club. And this clutch is so understated that you could grab it both when going out to the new Thai restaurant in your neighborhood on Friday night or running out to get coffee on Saturday morning. I would even be tempted to throw it inside my regular purse, both to prevent my keys from getting lost at the tangle of hairbands and receipts at the bottom and so I could enjoy the clutches cuteness every day.

But really, clutches are better for special occasions. I'd love to bring this Merona Framed Satin Ruched Clutch, $14.99, along on the sort of night where I'm drinking overpriced cocktails, ideally paid for by someone else. Technically, the strap on this bag makes it not a clutch, but I'm including it here because A: you could probably tuck the strap inside and no one would know the difference, and B: I'm a sucker for ruching and a crimson red.

If I was feeling a bit more demure, I'd want this Isaac Mizrahi Lack Hinge Clutch, $16.99. It's actually part of his bridal collection, and you can sort of tell because it's tiny and impractical, like all good wedding accessories. But even if you're not the bride, this clutch will make you feel like a sweet and old-fashioned girl whose beau will ask her father for her hand in marriage. Aw. I also think the light pink underneath the lace prevents this from being full-on wedding wear, although there's probably a "blushing bride" reference to be made.

This Nine West Finaldi Turquoise Clutch, $19.99, is what you need to be carrying on the night you'll rock the local karaoke bar with "Heart of Glass," by Blondie. This minimalist, tough clutch is a little bit 80's, without being at all dated. Bonus: at 14 x 6 inches, you'll have enough space for the essentials plus all the eyeliner you could want.

From the LABANG store on Etsy, this Yellow Fabric Clutch, $55, screams vintage, and every girl will be wondering what consignment stores and thrift marts you've hit the jackpot at. This clutch is constructed from an upholstery sample from the 1970's, accented with a blue and white flower pin on the front. It's very Joan from Mad Men (an obsession of mine that has yet to fade), but the lining-- a fun cartoon print of frolicking lions-- is straight from the playful seventies. I love fun linings; it's like having a secret just between you and your purse, and every time you open it up, you have a reason to smile.