Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Socks and Tights

It rained today, and instead of being smart and wearing my clunky rainboots to class, I was dumb and wore my stylish but not-quite-waterproof leather boots. I got them so wet in the morning that I spent the rest of the day with damp soaks and cold toes, so the second I got home I took off my shoes and put on these socks from heaven.

Every holiday season, the Gap sells these soft sherpa socks, $9.50. Other places make similar slipper socks, but I'm loyal to the Gap for their fun Christmas-y colors and quality fabric. These socks will make your winter so much more pleasant-- I should buy like a dozen and put them in a basket by the door, so I can immediately change out of my regular socks as soon as I come inside. Last night, I couldn't fall asleep because my feet were too cold, so I got out of bed, put on these socks, and then slept like a baby. I have them in boring black, and I definitely plan on buying at least one more pair this winter, preferably a pair that makes my feet look like candy canes.

But I do need some socks to wear outside, and while this pair isn't exactly practical, it's damn cute. From Safe, these Ring Knee Highs, $15, are a sexy spin on a schoolgirl classic. You could wear them in a faux-sporty way, or in a super feminine way, like in the photo. I'm also digging the monochromatic thing, even if those platform shoes are way too much for me.

I already own a pair of argyle tights, but I bought some a size too small so I don't wear them too often. That's why I need another pair, like Simone's Argyle Tights, $25. The pair I own just has two lines of diamonds running down the inside and outside of my legs, but this all-over argyle pattern is very smart as well, and probably would be easier to match. It'll go perfectly with the "brainy but fun co-ed" thing I'm trying to rock as much as possible before graduation.

For the many (hopefully) holiday parties that are coming up, I'm tempted to splurge on Wolford's Fiesta Tights, $55. These metallic pinstripes are hot, and they'd be fun enough for a Crunksgiving party but serious enough for Christmas Eve dinner with the family. Plus, Wolford is what the Gossip Girls wear, so I'd know I really couldn't go wrong.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Some Fabulous Links for you!

Hey ladies (and gents)! I don't have time to do a full post right now, but to hold you off--and share a few goodies--here are a few of my favorite fashion/beauty blogs and websites. Have fun and click away!

Fashion under $100 -- For some reason this website won't open for me in IE, but works fine in Firefox. Ever wondered how to put together a celebrity outfit for under $100? This girl is pretty much amazing at finding deals and steals for you--and you can even make requests!

Galadarling.com -- I just found this site a few weeks ago, and I'm pretty much obsessed. With tips on how to be more charming, how to develop your own style and how to dress like a Parisian woman, I'm all over this site every day. Gala has a wonderful attitude toward life, and I find her really inspiring.

FabSugar, BellaSugar and ShopStyle -- All three are part of the same network (which includes sites on celebrity gossip, health and money). It's a huge time-suck because they constantly deliver really interesting takes on their subjects. I'm a huge fan of BellaSugar especially for teaching me the neat trick of using gold sparkles over black nail polish. Sooooo cute!

Rue la la -- I was sent an invite to this community and it is amazing!!! They have little boutique sales every week with brands like Miu Miu and Theory. They describe themselves as "Rue La La is... an exclusive, invitation-only online destination where Members discover premier-brand, private sale Boutiques, each open for just a brief window of time." If you'd like an invitation to the community, go ahead and leave your email in the comment section.

That's it from me! I'll be back soon with some delightful and pretty things soon, I promise!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Grown-Up Hoodies

I decided a few years ago that I was going to stop buying sweatshirts, particularly comfy hoodies. First, because I already own a bunch (just counting the hoodies I bought at the camp I went to as a kid and teen, I have five--three almost identical blue ones, a red one, and a grey one), and second, because they're just not the sort of thing a young woman, trying to find her adult style and build a wardrobe for the future, should be wearing. When you're wearing a hoodie, you're saying to the world, "I'm not trying, and I don't care."

I know, I'm being harsh. Don't get me wrong-- when I get home after a really long day, one of the first things I do is change into pajamas and throw on a hoodie. Wearing a hoodie is like getting hugged all day long! And I will admit to wearing a hoodie to class twice this semester: once was to my film class (which I thought was held in some sort of freezer until I realized I was just always choosing seats underneath the air vents), and another was the morning after celebrating my roommate's 21st birthday at a place that gave you unlimited pitchers of beer with your all you can eat buffalo wings and rib tips, when I had to wake up at 7 to write a short paper before going to a 3 hour seminar at 9:30. I probably would not have made it through that day if I wasn't able to hide inside that warm, fuzzy hoodie.

Anyway, I have a point to this: when you're on the cusp of adulthood, trying to spend your money wisely, you have to walk a careful line with what comfort clothes you want to buy. Introducing the adult hoodie! Luxurious fabrics (no fleece!), more tailored fit, saturated colors and no team logos-- perfect for this fall, and next fall, and the next 7 falls (you'll have to reevaluate when you're thirty).

I'm obsessed with this cotton argyle hoodie, $49.99, from J.Crew. Argyle never really goes out of style-- it's a preppy classic, and preppies never change. The bigger diamonds in the center, changing to outlines on the side, and then solid black sleeves: it's a simplified, understated approach to argyle. And I really like that the exact same pattern runs down the back, so people walking behind you can also enjoy your awesome style. Also, three-quarter sleeves are always a cute way to show a bit of skin.

What I really want, though, is a cashmere hoodie. Cashmere is the ultimate cold weather fabric: even if you're sequestered in a classroom or office, you can rub your sleeve and feel like you're spending the weekend snuggling in front of a fire at your rustic cabin in the Colorado mountains. I love how J.Crew styled this zip-up cashmere hoodie, $188, to look a bit more dressed up than you'd expect. I mean, what a great outfit-- you could wear this to work, a date, a party, dinner with friends, shopping... the luxe but simple hoodie makes the silk cami, tweed mini, and satin clutch seem so much more versatile than they would without it. Even on its own, this zip-up hoodie is fabulous: I especially love the longer length and the side pockets. Also, J.Crew is offering it in over 20 colors, which means that by Christmas this hoodie is going to be so deeply discounted that J.Crew will practically be paying you to buy it. Oh, how I love J.Crew holiday sales.

But if you don't want to wait, Martin + Osa has a cheaper option. The cotton-cashmere hoodie is on sale right now for $59.99. It's only 5% cashmere, so it won't be as soft or as warm as the real thing, but I'm sure it'll be plenty cozy. I like the tunic length, and I absolutely love the double zippers. So fun to play with! Oh, sorry, I forgot I was trying to shop like an adult-- I meant to say, Yes, it's machine washable!

Has anyone ever shopped from Martin + Osa? They're the adult spinoff of American Eagle, which I was really into as a high schooler, but now feel too old for. Martin + Osa seems like it would be a good fit for me, but their stuff seems too boring, and I don't know if the quality justifies the higher-than-I-like prices. Also, they have such small collections, although maybe I'm just used to browsing gap.com and seeing 55 different sweaters. So to any readers that have bought something from Martin + Osa, do you recommend them?

I have to be honest and say that I don't know how much I would wear this Old Navy Shawl Collar Pullover Hoodie, $29.50, in the future, but I totally want it now. Faux-fur hoods are amazing-- pop that hood up and you feel like an adorable, snuggly Eskimo! The open shawl collar makes it a bit more sophisticated, although part of the reason I wear regular sweatshirt hoodies is because they completely cover whatever shirt you're wearing underneath, which is nice when I'm too lazy to change out of the ragged old tank top I slept in the night before.

This hoodie looks like the most comfy, toasty, cozy thing to wear on a weekend night when you just want to hang out in your apartment and watch a movie. From Splendid, this 100% cashmere hoodie is $299, which could be a month's rent if you live someplace reasonable, aka not Manhattan. It has the kangaroo pouch in front, cute drawstring on the front hem, and since it's Splendid you know it's softer than a puppy and a baby combined. And almost as cute! I love the sporty thick stripes and the deep V-- I never thought a hoodie could be sexy, but this one just about does it.

But if I was really going to drop that much cash on a hoodie, it would be something from Mike & Chris. This designing duo is Mindy Kaling approved, which is something I look for whenever I make a shopping decision. She wrote, "They are the most flattering, comfortable clothes, but they make you look like this insanely cool badass girl who lives on Rivington Street or in Echo Park or something with her gorgeous, aloof boyfriend (but you secretly live in Midtown or by the Grove or something, like me)." What more could you want in a hoodie? I really like their Sutton Hoodie, $202, even though it's sort of cheating due to the fact the hood is detachable. But the covered zipper, exposed seams, and asymmetrical storm flap (confession: I don't know what that last one means, but ShopBop includes it in their product description and it sounds cool, so I'm including it in my list of pluses) add up to a tough little jacket-- I think I'd feel fearless wearing it.

But it is a tad boring, so here's a Mike & Chris hoodie that I definitely couldn't pull off, but I think would be perfect for my favorite fashion maverick, Danielle. The Floyd Hoodie, $211, has this crazy scarf/bow thing attached to the neck, something I definitely wouldn't be able to pull off. Danielle, on the other hand, could rock it. I do like the oversized buttons on the pockets and lapel, though.

But you know what? I'm not a full, mature adult yet, so I absolutely plan on buying this overpriced, horribly unflattering, not at all stylish monstrosity before I graduate. Isn't it totally creepy how they posed it to look like it's being worn by a ghost? From the NYU bookstore, this Hooded Sweatshirt is $59.95 (like I haven't spent enough on tuition).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Plaid Madness

So I know that it's pretty tacky to claim Lauren Conrad as a fashion inspiration-- her "designs" are boring and overpriced and she's certainly not breaking any new ground in her personal style. And yet, I have to admit, more often than now I see a candid photo of her and think to myself, "She looks pretty cute-- I sort of wish I was wearing her outfit right now." Lately she's been rocking these plaid/flannel shirts that I'm coveting, and she's doing it without looking like a lumberjack. Impressive!

I particularly love this Elizabeth and James Schoolboy top, which is unfortunately sold out on ShopBop but was like $250 or something ridiculous, so it's not like I was going to actually buy it. Check out the back, too: the darts keep it from being too baggy and add a fun, fashion-y twist to a staple. Also, I am lusting over her Chanel purse like a kid who was at fat camp for six weeks before escaping and finding himself outside a Chipotle on free burrito day (October 31st! I'm so excited!). The quilted black leather, the gold chain straps, the small interlocking C's-- classic perfection.

Here are a few more pics of LC rocking the plaid, first in a vibrant blue and then a more girly white and pink.

Surprisingly, Victoria's Secret has a really great selection of plaid shirts. This Classic Plaid shirt, $48, is a very Western take on plaid. I like the pearly button snaps, and I think the diagonal thick stripes are nicely slimming.

This plaid shirt, $58, has a totally boring name. Victoria's Secret isn't very good at naming their clothes-- has anyone else noticed that? Also, I get really annoyed when they have a piece in different colors, but only show you a little swatch of the other prints. Anyway, I bet the cotton flannel material of this shirt is totally cozy.

This Ruffle-Front Shirt in Plaid, $48, is a little more classy, and I love how they styled it with the high-waisted skirt. I'm a fan of the puffed sleeve with button cuff, and the small ruffles that avoid being overly prissy.

I was just informed that plaid shirts are very popular among Brooklyn hipsters-- probably too popular. I had no idea, but I should have known by the many plaid shirts on sale at Urban Outfitters. And this outfit is hipster-ness at its very worst: a shirt tucked into high-waisted shorts, over TIGHTS? I'm just glad the photo isn't full body, because this bitch is probably wearing a headband around her forehead and booties. But on its own, the BDG Flannel Button Down, $48, is a great basic plaid shirt.

This Cowboy Lovin' Flannel Shirt, $49, is very girly and sweet. I want to add that my ideal plaid shirt will definitely include snap buttons, so I can rip it open at dramatic moments (wearing a tank top underneath, of course). Like when Sex and the City went to LA and Miranda rode the mechanical bull in order to get in touch with her sexuality!

I love the tailoring on this Kimchi Blue Pintuck Plaid shirt, $58, especially the flattering empire waist. The subtle ruffles on the Victorian collar and the pintucking on the top also add some old-fashioned charm.

Just in case you're overloading on checks and stripes, I'll end with a plaid shirt/henley hybrid. From Free People, the We the Free Studded Henley, $118. It's perfect for people who like the look of layering, but are too lazy to buy things separately. I'm a fan.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Clodhoppers from Dylan's Candy Bar

I have some amazing news, you guys: Mindy Kaling has returned to blogging! She has a new web address and layout (which I'm disappointed in, because we picked the layout of this blog not only because it's clean and classic, but because it's exactly the same as TIBTIL), but it's the same hilarious shopping-related prose as ever. Check out the new Things I've Bought That I Love and then go buy something totally fucking dope.

In one of the last entries about sour candies on the old blog, Mindy mentioned the amazing Dylan's Candy Bar. This New York institution is perfectly located across the street from Bloomingdale's and down the block from Serendipity, and is basically the FAO Schwartz of sugar. My sister visited me this weekend, so we braved the screaming hordes of children to get some awesome candy. There were all the basics: chocolate covered raisins, all sorts of gummy worms, caramels and licorice and whatnot. And then there were clodhoppers. I've never heard of clodhoppers until this weekend, but they're now my craving of choice.

Clodhoppers are basically graham cracker clusters covered with your fudge of choice (I loved dark chocolate, my sister preferred vanilla, and I'm dying to try cookies n' cream). Sounds simple, but the combination of the two tastes and textures are practically magic. You can buy this lame painter's can of clodhoppers online for $14, but I'm dying to go back to the Upper East Side and just grabbing the big container off the wall and then eating nothing but clodhoppers for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mod Cloth gifts

I thought I had covered everything on Mod Cloth, but shortly after posting that last entry I realized that I totally skipped Mod Cloth's awesome gifts section!

I bought this "Books to Check Out" Journal, $10.99, years ago at a Borders, and it's been one of my most prized possessions ever since. I adore the old-fashioned library check-out card front, and at the beginning of each section (there's Books to Read, Favorite Books/Passages, and Books Borrowed/Lent) there are witty quotes about reading, like Groucho Marx's, "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. And inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Since 2006, I've used this journal to keep a list of every book I've read, and I also copy down passages I particularly like or titles of books I want to read in the future. I'm sort of obsessed with my book journal, and I think it'd be a perfect gift for any lover of the printed word with an obsessive list-making streak.

The home decor section also has some fun stuff. At first I was totally creeped out by this Cardboard Mounted Deer, $25.99. But now I find it sort of cute and charming! They call it "cruelty-free kitsch," and I think it would be a great conversation piece. You can also paint or collage it to give it even more personality.

I also think I would really enjoy these Eggcellent Spatulas, $14.99, since my breakfast of choice is eggs over easy on toast. When I first started making it, I kept breaking the yoke in the process of flipping, but now I've good enough to make my eggs as perfectly intact as the ones on the spatula.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Mod Cloth

Let's jump right into the cuteness with the Moroccan Trench, $89.99. I'm in love with the orange piping and high collar on this coat-- I would feel so coy and mysterious wearing it, like I was an undercover spy who must work with her ex-lover in order to infiltrate a coterie of Parisian intelligence experts. But even if I was just running errands on a crisp October day, this coat would add an extra bit of excitement to my life.

The Parisian Trench, $94.99, is a little bit less dramatic, but it has a "Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby" feel that could work for the right girl. The Peter Pan collar is fun and playful, but I'm not a fan of the cropped sleeves--they're good for rainy spring days that hover between chilly and warm, but for fall you don't need frozen forearms.

This coat is unabashedly girly, all lace and empire waist. The Baroque Brocade Coat, $74.99, is what I would wear on a first date with Prince Harry, in order to prove that I would be worthy for inclusion in the House of Windsor. Brocade is such a classic, so the traditional fabric mixed with the flirty cut results in a beautiful, feminine coat.

My final coat, the Mod Evening Stroll Coat, $114.99, has a more refined shape, but the daisy-print buttons and sleeve buckle add youthfulness. You really can't go wrong with a navy dress coat, especially one that looks like it would have been just as stylish in 1960 as it does today.

Moving on from coats, check out the Royal buttoned skirt, $34.99. I don't need to mention my love for all things nautical, so naturally I love this because it fits right in with my sailor-girl aesthetic. It reminds me of something Blair would wear on Gossip Girl, as she executes her schemes with military precision and long, long legs.

I realized after doing the John Krasinski/man cardigans post that I was totally remiss in not giving due to Pam Beesley and her adorable receptionist cardigans. Expect me to correct that oversight very soon, but in the meantime, Mod Cloth has the wittily named Winking Violet Cardigan for $49.99. This is totally a season 4 Pam cardigan, when she was wearing her hair down and glowing with Jim love, and no longer wearing drab colors and flat fabrics. The greyish beige color of this sweater is unremarkable, but it makes the violet buttons and ribbon totally pop.

Mod Cloth also has some fabulous shoes. I've never been a big fan of the Oxford heels trend, but the Literary Love Heels, $129.99, are a great spin on it. By taking the penny loafer and adding a chunky heel, Mod Cloth created a shoe that's both sexy and smart. I'd love to wear these with some dark grey tights and a pencil skirt. I just wish there was a little spot to slip a penny.

These shoes make me wish it was Valentine's Day: by Chinese Laundry, the Be Mine Peep-Toes, $43, are way romantic. The suede heart on the toe and patch on the heel are nice counters to the tougher patent leather, and the pleating on the sides brings it all together nicely. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the kitten heel; I find it harder to balance on a one-inch peg than on a three inch heel, for some reason. But the kitten heel does have a certain demure appeal that can't be denied.

These Darjeeling Express flats, $34.99, are more funky option. The pointed toe, perforated top, and big ass buckle across the toe are all fun and surprising, plus the great blue color is very eye-catching. I'd love to have these kicking around the back of my closet for those days when I'm running late for class but want to do better than my beat-up black flats.

One of my roommates always teases me for wearing belts with no purpose (although I'd argue that defining my waist in a looser dress is an essential purpose), but this belt is so faux-practical that even Alex would approve. The Hipster Holster Belt, $24.99, has two little pockets on the side to put some cash or ID or something. So much classier than stuffing those things in your bra, right?

Nothing pulls together a Saturday night outfit like a pair of dangling gold earrings. These Cascading Earrings, $12.99, are perfect for any sort of occasion when you want to seem a bit come-hither.

The Mint Condition bag, $39.99, is as simple and refreshing as a scoop of mint ice cream. The embellishments are simple: studded rivets on the side, braided straps. The color is the real star here, although I'd be terrified of setting it on the floor and getting it smudged or dirty. It's the purse equivalent of the new Cadillac your dad bought with his bonus, but then won't let anyone bring food or soda near it. That's why the name "Mint Condition" is so perfect-- the beauty of this bag is how flawless it is.

Mod Cloth dresses

I've been meaning to post about Mod Cloth ever since the lovely Emily McAdams introduced me to it over the summer, but never got around to it. In the meantime, the Banana Split heels and Central Park bag sold out, breaking my heart. But there are plenty of cute, vintage-inspired, and reasonably priced things to cheer me up.

I want to get this Cookies and Cream Dress, $49.99, and then easily become the cutest girl in the office. I like dresses that create the illusion of being two pieces, since I am really bad at tucking tops into skirts. Either the waistband of the skirt doesn't fall at the right spot, or the top gets all bunched up when I move around, but either way it doesn't work for me. But this solves the problem, and lets me concentrate on flirting by the elevators instead of sneaking into the bathroom to rearrange my clothes.

There's another faux two-piece dress I like, with a name that I love. The Holloway dress, $49, is named for Mad Men's resident office manager/goddess, Joan Holloway. To be honest, I'm not sure if this dress is fierce enough for Joan, but it'd be great for any working girl looking to inject a little 60's inspiration into her day.

The Lady in Red Dress, $64.99, however, is 100% vintage bombshell. The nipped-in waist is very ladylike, and the fitted top is guaranteed to show off your curves. I also love the deep V in the back to show off some unexpected skin.

This Modern Flapper dress, $84.99, is a great combination of 20's style, with the drop-waist and pleated overlay, with a very contemporary racerback top and vibrant, deep teal. Perfect for drinking gin at a speakeasy or doing the Charleston with a gentleman caller.

Mod Cloth is calling this a dress, but it seems more like a tunic. Either way, the Honeysuckle dress, $49.99, has a very fresh print and shape. From the sheer blue hem to the bouquets of muted yellow flowers, this top is perfect for a day spent outside.

But back to the classy office wear: the Carmen Sandiego Dress, $139.99, is the sort of piece that works for both cubicle dwellers and criminal masterminds. The details of this dress are so spot-on: the little belt at the waist, the cap sleeves, gathered bust, and pleated bottom--it's all great. Pair this with some kitten heels and a smooth bun and no lowly intern or incompetent henchmen will dare question your orders.

I have one final cute dress with a kick ass name: the Cocktails at Lunch dress, $143.99. This is the ideal dress for the cute librarian who has to be coerced into going out with the rest of the teachers for happy hour, but once at the bar she whips off her glasses, throws backs a martini, and burns up the dance floor with the adorable shop teacher. And the next day, she's in the teacher's lounge looking fresh as a daisy, gracefully laughing off last night's shenanigans.

I'll be back tomorrow with more Mod Cloth, including coats and a cardboard deer head!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Steals and Deals

Hello lovelies! I come to you today with a few recent deals/steals I've bought for myself now that I won my overdraft battle with my bank. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be looking for really cute, cheap stuff for you all, so every time you surf onto CNN.com and read the latest about how the baby boomers are destroying our financial future, you don't feel the need to shoot yourself in the face. You're welcome.

Most of these choices appealed to me because they have the potential to carry into a work wardrobe, while still being fun and flirty. And who doesn't love being fun and flirty??

First up: Old Navy's Organza Tank Dresses - $14.99

I was going to go for charcoal, but convinced myself not to and bought Pink Cadillac instead (I've seen all three colors in person and they're lovely). I think there is a way to carry brighter colors like pink and yellow through fall--you just need to match them with neutral colors like brown and gray. I think my new tank dress will be adorable with my flat brown riding boots, but I can also dress it up with a jacket or cardigan for work. It's currently on sale for $14.99 and going fast! I checked back in today and several of the sizes were gone.

Second steal: Merona Oxford Maye Pumps - $26.99
I absolutely HATE buying shoes online (I have such long, narrow feet that I'm never sure whether I need to get a 10 or 11), but I had to get these ASAP. I've been looking for a cheap pair of Oxfords for a while now. I have this weird-love hate relationship with Oxfords. I used to really hate them, but they're appealing to me more and more as winter approaches. They look SO cute with a dress and tights. Also, if you're worried about ordering online like I am, all Target stores take online returns, saving you shipping cost. I would have gone into our local store... but I didn't want to risk them not being there! Pray to the fashion gods that they fit me, people.

Third Find: Safari Shift Dress from Old Navy - $9.99

A simple black shift dress? For $9.99?? Be still my heart! This dress has a great construction and fit--and look! It's still available in Medium and Large. I think the Safari pattern pretty much gone, and I'm not 100% sure why they only put buttons on one shoulder, but I think this is the type of dress you can work with as a young professional. Seriously, there is nothing more classic--and think of all the fun tights you can wear it with.

Still waiting for it to come in the mail, but if it is heinous or there's something seriously wrong with it, I shall report back. Until then, do not resist. You know you can't.

And, finally: Gap's Double-Breasted Jacket -- $44.50

I have been STALKING THIS JACKET LIKE NOBODY'S BUSINESS!!! I was so excited when it went on sale that I called my mom and celebrated like it was a national holiday. I had to stop myself from hugging the post office worker when it finally came in the mail. I absolutely adore it and the way it fits. It's really comfy, and although the fabric feels like a sweater, it does have a shape. So far I've worn it to work, with a dress and heels and with jeans--and it looks really cute all three ways. I was looking for another jacket to take me from fall to winter, and this was too chic to pass up.