Saturday, February 21, 2009

Classic Black Dresses

If you need a bit of a palatte cleanser after all those crazy floral, geometric, and painterly prints, I have just the thing: the Classic Black Dress. I'm not really talking about the Little Black Dress, the one you wear on first dates and clubs with $18 cocktails. I'm thinking more like the dress you wear when you want to look chic, poised, and pulled together-- not just sexy.

I'm completely enamored of this Ports 1961 Stretch Sheath Dress, $381.50. It's the sort of dress that you'll wear again and again, for decades and maybe forever. It's the sort of dress you love so much, and feel so confident in, that you politely request to be buried in it. The little cap sleeves, knee-length skirt, and demure neckline make it appropriate for more formal occasions, but there's also nothing prudish or cold about this dress. The girlish bow will emphasis, or create, a tiny waist, and add a flirty, youthful touch. This is such a ladylike dress... and did I mention that it's 50% off?

If you're not ready for Ports 1961, try Bailey 44. This Clipper Dress, $78, is a simple shift dress with some sporty details-- like if Twiggy spent summers playing tennis in Maine. The little clips under the bust are subtle but very chic, and help avoid the straight-up-and-down look that sometimes comes with wearing shift dresses. I also like the sophisticated boatneck top-- pair it with a loose chignon and some dangly earrings, and you'll be the personification of effortless grace.

This Loeffler Randall Double Stud Belt Dress, $223, has a definite edge, perfect for the girl who can go straight from a four course dinner to a dive bar. The shape brings to mind a basic t-shirt dress, but the black wool gives it an upscale twist. The double belt is fierce but not in-your-face, and takes this dress from "nice, but forgettable" to "hotter than Hades."

One of the best things about a great black dress is how instantly it conjures up Old Hollywood glamour. It'd be impossible to wear this Modcloth Wishing on a Star Dress, $157.99, and not feel like Grace Kelly reincarnated. That butter-colored sash is the perfect compliment to the slightly shiny black fabric, and the faux-knot at the hip is a nice touch. This dress is so lovely that you might only be able to wear it once, because everyone will instantly remember the last time they gushed all over your timeless style.

This dress is so on sale it's sick: originally $625, and now $187.50! You can't afford not to buy the Barron Duquette Beatrice Dress! You will never go wrong with a Grecian-inspired dress, because a trend that predates modern civilization will always come back into style. 100% silk, this dress has some incredible draping on the top and pleating on the skirt, with a slightly-contrasting band at the waist. I love how the back is draped too, but just a few inches lower than the front: so sexy. The little subtitle Shopbop gave this dress is, "Yes, we'd love to dance," which I think sums it up nicely.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Printed Dresses

The vast majority of the dresses I own are solid colors-- I have a bit of a fear of prints. But I'm trying to mix it up, maybe with some florals, geometrics, or painterly prints.

I think a good way to ease into this world of prints is with a skirt. An bold skirt is easy to play down with a solid fitted top, so you don't have to worry about looking like your Grandma's couch. I really like this Ecote Silky Watercolor Skirt, $58, from Urban Outfitters. The wide band at the waist helps disguise any possible food babies, and the circle cut of the skirt gives it a fun 50's vibe. The print, of course, is a hipper take on demure florals--the watercolor effect is very arty.

Is the sort of dress that I own 8 times over in solid shades--cap sleeve, jersey, v-neck, empire waist, mid-thigh length. Also from Urban Outfitters, the Kimchi Blue Print V-Neck Dress, $58, has all of my favorite features but also a great vintage-like print. I love the swirls and swoops of the vines.

The Sunner Vanderbilt dress, $97, reminds me of two things I like very much: Blue Crush and this Proenza Schouler for Target dress. I think the fuchsia hibiscus flowers would look sort of ridiculous in New York (especially in February), but if I lived someplace with palm trees I would definitely rock this dress. The big ruffle sleeves are a fun contrast to the very simple cut of the body of the dress, and shiny teal silk is always a fun choice.

I really like this printed dress because it's not entirely printed--the solid portions work as a nice palate cleanser. It's available from Modcloth for $54.99 in a small, or Lulu's for $48 in a large. I like the Lulu's name better-- Iris Eyes Are Smiling--so I'm using their photo. I also like how the dress is made of two distinct parts, because sometimes, if a print is too overwhelming, you kind of look like a giant blob of colors.

If you're feeling really bold, try this Fred Flare Painterly Leighton dress, $64. Part eighties, part MOMA, completely fierce. The banded waist and tank top shape make it easy to wear, but be sure to keep your accessories super minimal.

This is definitely my favorite printed dress: from Corey Lynn Calter, the Tamara Pleated Tank Dress, $209, is ladylike in a completely fresh way. The paint-splattered spots are super fun, and you know I go crazy for accordian pleats. I also appreciate how the gold waist sash is included, since it's essential to dress like this. I want to wear this entire outfit on every first day I go on, from now until the end of time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Perfect T-shirt Dress

I have a weakness for dresses from the label Velvet. (And just to clarify any confusion right here, at no point in this post will I be referring to the fabric velvet, no matter how soft and kitschy it may be.) I actually wore a Velvet dress today-- brown, long-sleeved, empire waist with a tie in the back. However, I feel pretty sure that Velvet dresses cost more than they should, considering they almost exclusively sell rayon/jersey blends in solid colors and basic shapes. There's not that much difference between most Velvet dresses and stuff you can find for $19.40 at Forever 21. And yet, I find myself drawn to their rich hues, flattering cuts, and softer-than-soft fabrics.

And this Velvet Prunella Dress might just be worth $118 ($88.50 if you use the coupon code 25MORE at before Wednesday night!), because it is the perfect t-shirt dress.
Say hello to the perfect intersection between casual and chic, with some nice figure-flattering details to boot. This is just the dress for those mornings when you oversleep and don't have time to shower, let alone spend half an hour accessorizing. Throw on this dress, some comfy flats, and pull your hair into a loose bun, and you just rescued your day from hours of "God, I feel gross and ugly." I think it would be impossible not to feel cute in this dress, and that's worth $118.

It also comes in a nice scarlett red (which is unfortunately not on sale, so is $152) and an interesting steel gray, but I'm a fan of the navy. This is not a "Look at me! I'm fabulous!" sort of dress, which is what the red would be saying. It's more of a, "Oh, if you happen to look my way, you'll undoubtedly note that I look pretty damn good" sort of dress--a bit of a wallflower, but not an ugly duckling.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Winter into Spring Pieces, Under $50

It occurred to me today that I may have been featuring too many pricey items lately, due to the fact that I'm on an unofficial spending sabbatical. When I'm not actually buying anything, I feel freer to post about $600 dresses and $1200 purses. So, in order to make amends, I would like to present some of my favorite pieces that'll take you from winter into spring, all for under $50.

From C&C California, the Wool Jersey Off the Shoulder dress is on clearance for $49, originally $148. Is there anything more cozily sexy than a chunky knit that exposes your shoulders? It makes me wish I lived someplace where it was always cold. However, this dress would be perfect for those early spring nights where it's too warm for a coat when you go out to dinner at 7, but is a bit nippy when you're coming home at midnight. I also like how this sort of dress is all about the hourglass figure-- I could see Joan Holloway rocking this dress with some pumps and her gold pen necklace.

I recently saw a photo of Michelle Obama in which she wore a cardigan over another cardigan, and I was both shocked and delighted. Layering cardigans! I didn't know you could do that! I believe she also wore a belt around her waist, to counteract any bunching--very smart. I'd like to wear this J.Crew short-sleeve cardigan, $29.99, under a thicker navy cardigan in the winter, and then throw it on over a flouncy dress when it warms up. It also comes in a bunch of warm, tropical colors, but I'm a fan of this crisp winter white.

Actually, that white cardigan might look sort of amazing over this Fred Flare Blue Check Drawstring Top, $38. Especially if you pull out the drawstring and retied it over the sweater, and also maybe found some way to tuck the cardigan sleeves into the cuffs off the button-down. I love how the subtle pin-tucking in the front gives it a casual tuxedo-shirt effect, and makes it serious enough for a relaxed office.

Bangles are so chic and timeless-- you really can't go wrong with an armful of thin, shiny bangles. From Banana Republic, these stackable bangles, $29.99, feature semi-precious stones and a mix of silver and gold. I love the look of an eye-catching bracelet worn over the sleeve of a solid, dark long-sleeved sweater-- it makes even the most basic black crewneck look glamorous. And, when it gets warmer, nothing is more fun than gesturing wildly with a bare arm, adorned only with some lightly clinking bangles.

Yes! This Gap tote finally went on sale, and is down from $39.50 to $19.99! The bodega bay print is perfectly suited for spring, and I plan to be using this as my go-to errand bag as soon as the sun comes back to New York.

You know how sometimes, when you have a really great outfit on, you take on the best characteristics of your clothes and almost start playing a role? Well, if I had this Cheap Monday (faux) Leather Caroline Skirt, $49.99, I'd be the most badass, assertive, confident girl in New York. Pencil skirts are usually synonymous with prim, demure ladies, but in black leather with exposed silver zippers, the look gets very rock and roll. I'd love to wear this with a printed silk tank, tucked in, or maybe just a white tissue-thin v-neck tee.

There really isn't any way to make this shoes winter appropriate, unless you go to Ibiza in February. From Old Navy, the Metallic Braided Sandals, $19.99, are so fresh and fun that I'd be willing to sacrifice a groundhog to make winter end sooner. I love the various shades of blue, white, and silver against each other--I'd be very tempted to paint my toenails to match.

But before it gets warm enough for strappy sandals, we must endure those weird, in-between days where your wool coat is way too heavy but you can't go out in just a sweater. The spring coat has to strike a tough balance, but I feel good about this cotton-sateen ruffle-collar jacket, $29.99, from Victoria's Secret. The fabric is lightweight but not completely insubstantial, and the zippered front allows you to cover up as much as you want. Also: ruffles! Adorable!

People think that as soon as Valentine's Day is over, us ladies have no reason to put on crazy underwears that make us look like professional burlesque dancers. I disagree! Nothing compliments a flirty spring dress like a pair of over-the-top undies, especially if you're in the habit of walking over subway grates. I am certainly not advocating showing your delicates in public, but... better to expose these adorable Honeydew Intimates 'Dot & Lace Rumba' Boyshorts, $23.99, than a stretched-out thong or boring grey bikini. The tiers of black lace, chiffon, and red w/ white polka dot satin create an old-fashioned but sexy look--very Minnie Mouse becomes a pin-up girl.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Zippered Skirt and Dress

Apologies for falling off the face of the earth this past week! I got a bit slammed by homework, which left little time for fashion blogging. But the long weekend--and President's Day sales!-- should give me time to catch up both on my school reading and online shopping.

I've criticized the Sartorialist in the past, and I stand by everything I said about the people he photographs being out of reach of your regular fashion-conscious girl. This girl, for instance, is beautiful and looks great, but look at those shoes: I'd bet a lot of money that she works in the fashion business, based just on those crazy shoes. Also, the tank top/scarf combination is stupid. If it's warm enough to wear a tank, it's too warm to wear a scarf.

However, I LOVE her skirt. I think it's wickedly sexy and very innovative, and I adore how she's wearing it unzipped a just a bit (but not too much). This girl obviously doesn't have much in the way of curves, but the slope of the zipper makes her look way more shapely-- very flattering.

I haven't found a zippered mini as hot, but this dress is a decent alternative. From Larsen Gray, the black zipper dress, $96, is the epitome of not-trying-too-hard cool. Wear it zipped all the way up with tights and flats to class, unzipped a little bit with boots and a colorful jacket on the weekends, and unzipped to the waist with an embellished tank underneath to go out. Also, if you care about this sort of thing, the cotton fabric of this dress is 100% organic and, thus, very eco-friendly.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


For some reason I was convinced that February 10th was the big day, but when I check today I saw the truth: Oh My God, Where Did You Get That was born a bouncing baby girl on February 8th, 2008-- which makes today our blogiversary. I still have the yellow legal pad on which Danielle and I brainstormed possible blog names, and some of our rejects are cracking me up. For example, the titles inspired by J.Lo (Don't Be Fooled by the Rocks That I Got) and Miley Cyrus (My Best Friend Leslie Said...) are pretty embarrassing, but also reveal a lot about what sort of music Danielle and I blasted during dance parties. I also like "Our empty, consumer-driven lives," and "We may be broke but we look fabulous." When we started ruling titles out, it came down to OMG or "The Style Section," although now I see that there is a blogspot with that name, although it hasn't been updated since January 24th, 2008. But it's probably good we didn't go with that, because the NYT Style Section has gotten increasingly annoying in the last year, with all this talk of "recessionistas" and how hard it is to live in Manhattan when you're making less than 5 million dollars.

Anyway, we posted 175 times in the last 12 months, which is about every other day. There were busy months and slow months, but thanks for coming by and checking us out anyway. We started with just a handful of readers (pretty much just the contributers, really) and now get around 200-250 people a day, which is mostly thanks to being part of J.Crew Aficionada's blogroll. This is how warm and fuzzy I feel towards J.Crew Aficionada:

J.Crew Cashmere Dog Sweater, $59.99

And here are some more random pieces that sum up how I feel about spending a full year blogging about online shopping:

Catherine Malandrino Chiffon Tank Dress, $620

Quartz Pinata in gold, $135 (I've always dreamed of adding a shiny gold pinata to my Cinco de Mayo parties)

Prada Metallic East-West Tote, $1,760

Bandolino's "Shari" Slingback Pump, $51.75, at Macy's (I love that suede flower!)

Alice + Olivia Asymmetrical Ruffle Skirt, $220

Modcloth's What a Wonderful Coat, $107.99

Hygge and West Gold Dot Ring, $25 (originally $50, on sale until 2/14)

Again, thank you to all our readers, especially those of you who make my day by leaving comments! Also, thank you to my fellow contributers: Danielle, Alex, Andrea and Emily. And thanks to Mindy Kaling, for being our inspiration.

Yoga Gear

I am not good at Polyvore. I'm going to say it right now, because you'll all be thinking it when you see this set.
Yoga - by Julia York on

Polyvore is hard.

But yoga is fun! And it's a good excuse to buy cute new workout clothes. I got a yoga mat last week, but I did it in the worst way-- the night before the class started, I went to K-Mart and got the only yoga mat they had left. It's mostly fine, but if my hands get the least bit sweaty I start sliding all over the place during downward dog. I look at the other students' brightly colored Gaiam mats, $21.95, and get horribly jealous.

So I have a mat, but no mat bag. I've been carrying it around in a giant plastic K-mart bag or just holding it under my arm, but I really want a fun bag. I'm in love with these Find Bliss brocade bags, $24.95. Sure, they cost more than my mat, and they're such a specific shape that I wouldn't really be able to use them for anything else. I think I would go to yoga class way more often, because I'd be sitting at home in my pajamas, thinking, "Ugh, I don't want to go to the gym... wait, I can use my pretty mat bag! I do want to go to the gym!" That's how I'm justifying it, anyway. Now I just need to decide which color I want... the red one would match my iPod (has there ever been a more spoiled sentence than, "This yoga bag will match my iPod"?), and the blue one will sort of match my mat, but the gold one is nice and glitzy and the aqua one reminds me of doing yoga by the ocean. I've ruled out the black one, so that's progress.

The other item in this set that I might actually buy are the cropped yoga pants. I blogged about So Low Fold-Over Yoga Pants before, and I got a pair for Christmas. I swear to god, they are the most comfortable things I have ever put on my body. If I could only wear one piece of clothing for the rest of my life, I might pick these pants. The fabric is ridiculously soft, the cut is snug but not binding, and the fold-over waistband is fun to play with. The only problem is that they were ridiculously, crazily long. I asked my mom to hem them and she took off five or six inches. And I'm 5'3", which isn't tall but isn't dollhouse sized! So I would recommend the regular length pants only to my lucky glamazon readers or crafty ladies who can hem their own pants. For myself, I want these jersey plaid cropped pants, originally $70 but now $21 (So Low has a sick sale section). I'm guessing that since they hit this model mid-calve, they'll hit me just around the ankles, which is fine for gym clothes.

The other things in this set are from J.Crew yoga, and I mostly added them to fill space. The double strand headband, $9.99, is pretty cute, and I like how this model has the fancy ponytail with the covered hairband. The shirt is the seamless cross-back yoga cami, $19.99, and it would be nice to have a shirt that won't fall down when your legs are above your head.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentine's Day Outfit

I promise, this won't be all Valentine's Day all the time from now until the 14th, but I can't help letting the holiday inspire me to dress more romantically. Here's a Polyvore set I made tonight:

Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day - by Julia York on

I started with the dress-- a red or pink dress, while classic, is a bit too obvious. I decided to go with a ruffley black dress (it looks like sort of washed-out slate, but the website swears it's black) from Azaleas NYC: The Aryn K Ruffled Halter Dress, $88. The back is even hotter than the front-- good luck making it to your dinner reservations on time once your guy sees the rear view. I like how it's a fairly sophisticated dress, but with a very flirty vibe.

I've become obsessed with the idea of giving Hanky Panky thongs as gifts. I don't own a pair, because I'm cheap, but they're legendary for being comfortable and sexy. And one size fits all, which is great for men shopping for their girlfriends. They're expensive, though: the pictured 3-pack gift set is $50, and they're regularly $18 each. But I just found an even better option on Bare Necessities-- dozen or half dozen Long Stem Lovin' Hanky Panky Thong bouquets! They ain't cheap ($250 for 12 or $130 for 6), but the presentation couldn't be cuter. I would so much rather get 12 sexy, brightly colored thongs than a dozen roses that'll wilt in three days.

Wearing a dress with so much going on up top (both the ruffles and the boobage), I tend to forego the necklace and wear some fun earrings. I like these simple Zad Gold Square Beaded Hoops from Lulu's, $6.

Another plus to the black dress is that it allows everything else to be really bold, like this Nanette Lepore coat. The Supreme Coat, $234, has some trench-ish styling and a very eye-catching crimson color. It's sateen, so probably not a good idea if your date is taking place in New York, or anywhere else with tortuously cold weather.

The real shoes I wanted to include with this outfit were these extraordinarily perfect Petal Sandals, $995, by Christian Louboutin. I could die from the loveliness. Innocent pink crepe petals cascading down your foot are perfectly offset by the Fuck Me Red soles. These are the sort of shoes that demand to be kissed in.

Unfortunately, I couldn't clip the photo to Polyvore because Neiman Marcus has that special Zoom thing. Annoying. I mean, helpful if I'm actually shopping, but annoying when I want to blog. Anthropologie has the same problem, so I'm always taking screen shots of their webpages.

I do like the two shoes I did end up including, though. The white and red heel is the Naughty Monkey Candyland Pump, $49.99, is a fabulous mix of red floral and red patent leather. I think it could be a nice way to mix your outfit up if the rest of your accessories are solid red. I love the little cut-outs at the toe and sides-- sort of a sexy alternative to peep-toe. The other shoes, a classic crimson pump, are $94.99 at ModCloth (but almost sold out!).

I certainly hope that none of you readers think you're too good for the Sex and the City movie, but if you are, I'll explain how this book relates. In the beginning, Carrie is reading a library book titled "Love Letters of Great Men," which was a prop until some marketing exec thought, "If the show could convince women to buy $400 shoes, surely the movie will convince them to buy a $20 book!" So you can buy the movie-related version on Amazon, or you can be ridiculously classy and get this $235 leather-bound copy (I have no idea how the actual contents of the two books match up, and if there's no "Ever mine, ever thine, ever ours," she'll be pissed) from Smythson. If you really want to show that you love her, you can even get it gold-stamped with her name. But you know what I think most girls would like best? Find a fairly nice blank notebook, then write your own love letters. Or if you're not good with words, fill it with the love letters of others, copied by hand. It would take forever, which, to some people, is way better than anything costing $235.

Back to the outfit: finish it off with a small fringe clutch, $24.99 at Urban Outfitters. I'm not sure if the fringe is too much with the ruffles on the dress, but I'd be willing to risk it. And if you bring one thing with you on Valentine's Day, make it Smith's Rosebud Salve, $8.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gifts for dudes who did you a favor, or boyfriends

As a perpetual singleton, I happily enjoy the lack of stress over Valentine's Day. I don't need to drop hints about jewelry, I don't have to leave reminders about dinner reservations, I don't have to buy a new outfit, I don't have to get anything waxed, and I don't have to buy some confusing guy a gift. But maybe some of you do! And I know that my lovely and gracious friend Ali owes some dude a thank you gift, so this post is doing double duty. All I know about the person Ali is beholden to is that he's 23 or 24, he likes to travel, and he's a douche. Her words, not mine.

My first idea for Ali's friend, or your gentleman caller, would be a sweet Puma messenger bag, or maybe a weekend bag. This shoulder bag, $60, is in bold but guy-friendly colors, with a classic shape and style. Or, if he works out a lot and is always leaving gross gym clothes on the floor, get him this black and silver medium bag, $21. It has a bigass silver Puma on it!

I don't want to make gross generalizations, but all 24 year old douches love to drink, and all boys love gadgets. So check out the Bar Gadget Kit from Crate and Barrel, $29.95. The disc thing has recipes for classic cocktails, there's a corkscrew, foil cutter, wine stopper, and some other things that I don't know what they do. What the hell is a jigger? Let him figure it out!

This one is not a Valentine's Day gift, but it is a classic thank you gift: baskets of food! I'm a huge fan of Hickory Farms-- for Christmas, I got a box with the beef summer sausage and smoked cheddar cheese, and I was in heaven. I wish I had jumped when they had all their gift sets on sale in January. But this Cheese Ball Combo Gift Box is a good deal at $17.50, and comes with a nice assortment of yummy foods. Also, who doesn't love popcorn tins? My family used to get one of those three-kind tins (caramel, cheese and butter!) every Christmas, but we must have had some sort of falling out with whoever gave it because my life has been Popcorn Facotry free for the last few years. I'm tempted to buy this tin myself-- it's $9.99, because the tin commerates some NHL game between the Red Wings and Blackhawks that took place on January 1st. Does this mean that this popcorn is a month old?

Or you could go with the Mindy Kaling approved option, Snookies! By the way, I totally just went through all 30 entries tagged "Food" on Things I've Bought That I Love-- what a chore. Just kidding, of course! I sort of want to sit down and reread the entire archives, like a book. An internet book on things to buy and love. Anyway, back to Snookies, which Mindy claims are the best cookies ever. You can send someone a box of 18 cookies with 1/2 gallon of milk (on ice!) for $31.45.

I've brought up boy moccasins before, but I'm telling you: they're a thing. Target has some cheap ones with a suede upper and fleece lining, for $16.99.

I always think Moleskine notebooks make good gifts, especially the city guides. Part guidebook, part notebook, but with the classic, quality Moleskine cover and paper. This gift is especially good for guys who think all of their thoughts are really deep, and should be preserved for future generations. The Washington, DC book is $16.95.

Big, glossy coffee table books are great gifts, except for people who move frequently (nobody likes packing or shipping coffee table books). I have The Travel Book, by Lonely Planet, $31.50, and it's awesome. There's a two-page spread on every single country in the world: a big, beautiful photo, plus a sidebar with fun and useful facts. It'll make you want to roam the world.