Saturday, May 30, 2009

Alice + Olivia Dresses

It's not summer without a new batch of Alice + Olivia dresses to lust over. Here are a few I'm thinking of buying (after I knock off an ATM or find a job, whichever happens first).

I think a peach-colored dress is the best possible way to celebrate the beginning of summer (and of summer fruits!). The Madison Dress, $444, makes me think of my favorite birthday party dresses from when I was a kid, but updated for a hot adult look. Sometimes I'm not a fan of giant bows, but I think the strapless top and voluminous silhouette gives this dress the right look for a nice big bow. I like how it kind of looks homemade, like you just wrapped some fabric around your body, grabbed a big ribbon from your craft closet, tied it all together and then went to brunch. But of course, since it's A+O, the bodice is impeccably pleated and the hem is double-layered to add some sexiness to a very sweet dress.

If that's a little too girly-girl for your taste, try the Cara Cocoon Dress, $440. From the front, it's a fairly boring colorblock dress (although I like the pockets, of course, and the white of the skirt makes it seem a little fresher than if the colors were reversed). But turn around, and helloooo Ms. Badass Babe. This takes the bandage dress to a whole other level--it's as if Herve Lager got into bondage. Incredibly sexy, but not at all trashy. Plus, when it's 90 degrees and humid in New York, you'll be the only one without beads of sweat running down your back.

Ok, I'm having a hard time deciding if I think this Draped V-Neck Dress, $165, is fantasic or if it's a mess. I know I love that color (although I'm not sure if I'm going to be wearing it as much now as I did during the winter), and I know I love that it's 50% off the original price. Soft jersey is good, deep V-necks in both front and back are good... but this might just be too much fabric, too haphazardly placed, for anyone but the most model-thin girl. And I'm worried that I would to dinner, and then go home and have to shake bread crumbs or whatever out of the folds of this dress (I'm a messy eater. Whatever, don't judge me!). I think this is the sort of dress you need to try on before making a decision, but that doesn't mean I don't want to hear your thoughts. Is this a fabric disaster or a masterwork of draping?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bike T-Shirts at Etsy

A few weeks ago, I went grocery shopping for sangria ingredients with a good friend, and within the space of two hours, she got something like six compliments on her T-shirt. At Walgreen's, at Trader Joe's, at the wine shop, on the subway--everyone loved her Decemberists bike shirt! The version she had was a great cranberry red, but the Decemberists are only selling this blue Cycle T, $20.00, is almost as nice. But why so wrinkly? Does the Decemberists merch team not have a steamer?

Anyway, a few weeks after The Bicycle Tee Compliment Fest of '09, I saw this photo of Zachary Quinto. It was then I knew that bicycle t-shirts are undoubtedly going to be the next big thing of Summer '09:
Ferris wheels will also hopefully be a big trend. (Sidenote to ONTD_StarTrek readers: Look at this ZQ motherfucker!)

When I started thinking about bike shirts, I knew there was only one place to search: Etsy. While I usually browse jewelry or purses on Etsy, I knew that the eco-conconscious, yuppie-friendly sellers of Etsy would be all over something as cute and simple as the bike t-shirt. Another note before I start: if you click on a link for a specific shirt and it says it's sold out, check out the seller's store, because they often make multiple versions of the same thing if it's popular enough.

Seller Iscreamseams has loads of fun bike-related merchandise, and my favorite is the Flying Bike tee for ladies, $15, or men, $15. The light blue color looks great against the bright red bike, and the flying birds are sweetly whimsical (and make me think of Up!, the new Pixar movie that looks pretty awesome). This seller seems to be good about customizing orders for size and color, so don't be shy about shooting them an email with the specifics on your dream bike t-shirt.

Happyfamily also has a huge selection of t-shirts and messenger bags with an illustration of a vintage Schwinn bicycle. This Old School Bike T-shirt, $16, is a little bit badass, right? You can't go wrong with white on black, and you can't go wrong with a Schwinn.

As a former English major, I harbor a love for a well-chosen quote. So much so that, in my ceramics class this past semester, I spent hours painstakingly painting a quote from Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams" onto a pair of bookends I made (my handwriting isn't great when I'm using a pencil, so the painted version is pretty messy. But readable!). So, needless to say, I'm a little bit in love with Loftymorning's Bike Quote shirt, $22. Underneath a simple drawing of an old-fashioned bicycle, it reads, "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. -John F. Kennedy." Not to taint the lovely, straightforward wisdom of JFK or anything, but: Ladies, I imagine you'd get hit on a lot when wearing this shirt, because guys would have no choice but to stare at your boobs. But hey, these would be sensitive, tree-hugging types ogling your chest!

Vital Industries does something a bit different with its bike t-shirts: it turns it on its side and blows it up big, so it looks like a bicycle is riding up your body. The Fixie shirt, $25, comes in so many great colors and styles that I had a hard time choosing a favorite, but this lime green/light blue version felt just right for spring. Doesn't it just scream, "What a beautiful day! Who wants to go to a bike ride?"

The "Way to Go" t-shirt, $20, by Deadworry, is the sort of shirt you probably shouldn't wear unless you actually ride a bike. In case you haven't figured it out, I love the way bikes look and the way attractive people look on cute, old-fashioned bikes, but I am way too chickenshit to actually get a bike and ride it in Manhattan. I haven't been on a bike for years, and I think it's very possible that I've forgotten how to ride one. I know what you're thinking, but hear me out: when I was a kid, my grandparents had these three-wheeled bikes that my sister and I would ride all over their retirement community in Florida whenever we visited. It was so easy to balance on these oversized tricycles that, when I got back home, I couldn't remember how to stay upright on a regular bike. I really can't remember if I ever picked it back up again, but I'm just saying: there's a precedent to my forgetting how to bike. But back to the shirt: it's cute, nice colors, good message.

From the same seller, there's this Bicycle Built for Two tote bag, $12. This print also comes on a t-shirt and dress, but I'm not crazy about the colors, and about having people on my body. On clothes, this old-fashioned couple might seem a little creepy, but it's just right for a playful canvas bag. And who doesn't love the romance of a giant, silly-looking bike as a date activity?

This t-shirt is specifically for Madelyn, the friend who was wearing the Decemberists bike shirt that sparked my quest. It's a robot! On a bike! In Japanese! You're welcome. From Botodesign, the Mama Bike shirt is $28.

Are you a little sick of bikes? Well, I'm going to bring this post full circle with another Decemberists t-shirt, featuring the only two-wheeled vehicle cuter than a bike: a Vespa! The Girly Vespa Tee is just $14.99, and will prove you have great taste in both indie music and motor vehicles. Who can resist that?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tahari by ASL Skirt Suit

First, thank you everyone who left a comment on the last post--so much great advice! Happily, I did end up finding a suit that doesn't make me look like Laura Bush; instead, I look like a cute, young yuppie who you'd love to hire. I went to Macy's this morning and tried on about 57 different suits, and bought one that I really like. It looks a lot like this one, by Tahari, except with short sleeves and a simpler lapel:
Yes, I decided to go with short sleeves. I know this means I'm screwed if I don't find a job before it gets cold (although, if I'm still unemployed by October I probably will not be living in New York, so it's a bit of a moot point), but it feels particularly right for late May. The skirt hits right at the knee and is conservative without being frumpy, and I feel confident that I'll be able to match it with other tops and wear it without the jacket.

Speaking of tops, I got two button-downs from Banana Republic and I'm still trying to decide which to wear. BR doesn't seem to have the right colors online for the Cap-Sleeve Fitted Blouse, $40. I got a light pink (more pastel than the photo) and light yellow, both of which look fantastic against the grey suit. I think the pink says, "I'm girly and fun, but still hard-working like Elle Woods," while the yellow says, "I'm sunny and have a great attitude, but am also brave because I'm a blonde wearing yellow." I'm leaning towards the yellow, but feel free to cast your vote if you see this before tomorrow morning.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Search for an Interview Suit

Despite accidentally buying shoes, the real shopping mission of this weekend has been finding an interview suit. All I want is something that doesn't make me look like I'm dressing up in my mom's clothes, which you'd think would be easy enough. But I went up and down Broadway and 5th Avenue, and have had barely any luck. My ideal interview suit would be a nice blazer with a matching skirt (I'm thinking navy or grey, because black makes you completely indistinguishable from every other applicant), and then a top in some bright, fun color that I can also match with my other work clothes. I really liked the suit Rachel Greene (Mark Greene's daughter) wore on the series finale of ER, although I can't find a full body shot of her. Her suit had pants instead of a skirt (probably smart in a hospital), but she looked very adult and competent, not at all like the spoiled brat we all wished would get crushed under an ambulance in the earlier seasons.

But every time I found a blazer that looked good, there wasn't a matching skirt, and when I found a good skirt, there wasn't a matching blazer. Do I need a blazer, really? It is late May, so it's humid as hell and I'm pretty sure my interviewer will not be wearing a jacket. And it's not like I'm applying for jobs on Wall Street; I'm trying to go into a more creative industry, although it's still one composed of huge corporations and HR departments. Also, a blazer will cover up the giant bruises I have on my left arm (I was running for the subway and the doors closed on me, twice, when I wasn't all the way inside. It hurt something fierce and now my arm looks like Rihanna's face, post-Chris Brown).

I did find a few pencil skirts I really liked, though, and I think I might bring them to Macy's tomorrow and see if I can find a jacket to match. The first skirt I bought is the Cotton High-Waist Pencil Skirt in marine, $59.50, at Express. It makes me feel like a leggy Mad Men-era secretary--someone who knows how to play up her curves, like Joan, but also has the brains to earn her own office and title, like Peggy. I like how this model added a thick belt to the skirt, although I always feel that's a bit of a gamble when the skirt doesn't have belt loops to keep it in place. I really adore this skirt, but I'm worried that it'll be impossible to find a jacket in the same color--it's just a touch more vibrant than your everyday navy. Express is totally falling asleep on the job by not making anything that matches this, by the way. What I really want to wear with this skirt is a marigold-colored top, maybe with some embroidery or beading or other fun detail along the neckline. Something in this color (this is actually a t-shirt dress for J.Crew kids, but we'll ignore that).

I bought a more basic black skirt (with some fun button details on the hips) from H&M, so that'll be my back-up if I can't find anything to wear with the navy skirt. But the skirt I wanted to buy, but didn't, is a bit more exciting (as far as work skirts go, at least). From Ann Taylor Loft, that venerable institution of grown-ups clothes, this Two-Button Denim Oxford Skirt, $54.50, is way cuter in person than in this photo. On me, it looks kicky and nautical and preppy-hot, but still very professional and mature enough for work. The buttons, in particular, add a bit of glitz to the subdued dark stretch denim fabric. And, just to be clear, it's not a jean skirt! It may be denim fabric, but it's nothing like those cut-off jean miniskirts that you wore on the boardwalk (if you grew up in Grease, that is). Oooh, and it also has pockets, which we all know is always a plus.

So I loved it when I tried it on, but I also knew that if Ann Taylor Loft didn't have a matching jacket (and I couldn't find one), then I would never find a blazer in the same fabric and with similar buttons. And it would be great on its own, but this was not a "buy any old cute skirt" shopping trip; I tried to stay focus on the Interview Suit quest. Wish me more success when I try again tomorrow!

Nine West James Heels

Remember when I swooned over the J.Crew Coralie Suede Heels? Well, I was in a J.Crew store today, and they had a few pairs on sale for $49.99--but only in size 7 and only in "daffodil" and "light eucalyptus," not the fabulous bright blue that I love. They have it online in my size and color, for $59.99, which is a pretty good mark-off from the original $198 price.

I still might go for them if J.Crew does a special discount on the sale section, but in the meantime I have my own pair of blue suede shoes to wear and love. From Nine West, the James slingbacks, on sale for $48.99, are pretty much equally adorable and are shockingly comfortable! Boys assume that all four-inch heels are created equal, but a heel with a platform sole actually makes walking easier, since your foot is at slightly less extreme angle. The leather suede fabric of these shoes is super soft, and the color is that chic Tiffany blue that catches the eyes and admiration of friends and strangers alike. Now all I need is a place to wear these.

These Nine West shoes are even more similar to the J.Crew ones, and if I saw them in stores I would be very tempted to buy them. The Jacer pumps, $49.99, have a more funky color (better for colder weather) and the criss-cross straps are rather fun. Now I sort of want them, although I really don't need two pairs of blue suede shoes (especially since they're a bitch to match with your clothes).

I also some some really gorgeous suede shoes at Zara, and I want to go back with my camera just so I can share them with you. But until then, I'll just paint a little word picture: So the first pair were navy blue suede pumps, with little cut-outs all around the opening for the foot. Very ladylike but still playful. The other pair were bright purple, high heel slides, with tufts of suede flowers across the toe strap. Super fun.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Go Jane, Go!

Oh my God!  Hi, guys!  I realize I haven't posted since Christmas, but Julia has been on a roll, and I hate interrupting her awesome posts with one of my less than stellar ones.   But!  I found some cute, cheap stuff and I had to share!

So, am I the only one on the face of the earth that had never heard of Go Jane?  I'm still pretty confused by the concept of it, but I guess it's Yahoo's store for Juniors apparel?  Maybe?  I was trying to describe it to my sister the other day, and I think the words I used were "It's like Forever21, only... not."  I know, really descriptive.  Basically, I would say it's like Forever21 in that it features clothing that are the current trends out there and they have them for fairly cheap.  Unlike F21, though, the clothes and shoes seem to be of slightly better quality--and if it looks good online, it'll look just as good in person.  How often does that happen with F21?  It's l a website of lies.  You think you're getting this amazing deal and then you open the box and it looks like every man-made and unpronounceable fabric threw up in there.

Okay, rant over!  Onto the cute, cheap stuff!

I've been looking for a simple color block dress for this summer ever since I saw the one Zooey Deschanel was wearing in her Cotton commercial and realized you could actually dress it both up and down.  I realize they're probably on their way out now (or they're experiencing a resurgence, who knows?), but I've had it in my head over the past couple weeks that I really, really, REALLY wanted one.  Always dangerous, especially when I have some money to spend, but I found this one at GJ for less than $18.  I like the skirt on this one, but they also have a different, pleated skirt option right here.


The next two dresses are also considered the "color block" style, though I'm not sure I'd go that far.  They use a kind of denim lookalike, so I'm not sure what these will look like in person.  All I know is that they look super cute to me!

Elastic Stretch waistline tank dress featuring an abstract print top and denim finish skirt, $29.90

I'm also a big fan of their shoe department, but I won't list all the ones I like here (that would make for a VERY long post)!  My first introduction to GJ was through a pair of gladiator sandals I bought from them, and I'm pretty much obsessed with wearing them.  The quality is better than what you would expect for a $10-$30 shoe, and they fit pretty true to size.  I would say the shoes might run a little big and the clothes a little small.  Here's one pair I'm trying to talk myself out of buying and failing horribly.  They're only $13!!  If you aren't a fan of the bow, you might like the knot flat for $10.  My only complaint about their shoes is that they seem to run out of sizes quickly, especially the 8-10 range!

One more cute item for summer: a take on the retro Wayfarers.  I had a very cool pair of simple black Wayfarers two or three years ago that cost me maybe $30 at most.  I went in to replace them after losing them (tear), and they were $140!  So I'm sticking to the cheap stuff for now.  If you're not a fan of the traditional all plastic frame, you might dig these, which are part metal and part plastic--but only $5.  

Happy shopping!  

Don't Forget!

I think you might be limited to five pairs, but still--awesome deal!

Star Trek Fashion for Ladies

If I wanted to be Uhura from Star Trek for Halloween (I'm still hoping to pull off a Dolly Parton costume, but it never hurts to have back-up), this is what I would wear:From Victoria's Secret, the long v-neck tee is just $15 and comes in a bunch of colors, including a very Star Trek-ian red and yellow. And sure, it's called a shirt, but I think it's long enough to work as a dress, especially considering that the original Uhura liked to show a lot of leg. I tried to find a full-body shot of Zoe Saldana in the Uhura costume for comparison, but all the promo shots seemed to be close-ups. The best I could do was the Uhura Barbie doll, which actually looks a lot like Zoe. The Kirk and Spock dolls? Not so much.

So, to recap: next Halloween, get this VS shirt, stick a silver pin on it, put your hair in a super high ponytail, pull on some sexy black boots, and set phasers to stunning (I apologize for that awful, awful pun).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gap Chevron-Striped A-line Dress

I'm sure you all have a mental Sale Watch List: you know, the list of things that you want to buy just as soon as they go on sale. While this list often turns into a Wait, It Sold Out That Fast? List, I still refuse to buy clothes from certain stores at full-price, because I'm sure if I just wait a month or so the piece will go on sale.

Take this Chevron-Striped A-line Dress, $59.50, from the Gap. It looks a little bunch-y and ill-fitting on this model, but I tried it on in person and found it very adorable (although it does seem to run pretty large, so if you buy it online get a size down). I've always been a fan of pinstripes, and this dress does an admirable job of taking a menswear trend and making it ladylike and fun. Oh, and bonus: the straps are removable, so you can wear this to the office with a cardigan and feel perfectly appropriate, then ditch the sweater and the straps for a hot little going-for-drinks dress after 5:30 rolls around. So there are plenty of reasons to buy it, but as an unemployed young person trying to scrape by in These Trying Economic Times, there are more reasons to wait for it to go on sale. So please, Gap, mark this baby down quickly so I can wear it to movie nights at Bryant Park!

It also comes in a white and grey striped version, which may be more fitting for summer but didn't have the "wow" factor that I saw in the grey pinstripes. Your mileage may vary, of course.

I really like the sandals on both these models, but unfortunately, Gap doesn't seem to be carrying them (are they Piperlime? Probably, and Gap is missing a big cross-promotional opportunity by not linking to the shoes right on the page). But they do have some very adorable sandals of their own: these metalllic floral t-straps, $39.50, are a lot like the Miss Trish lion sandals I posted about previously, except with lightly distressed suede instead of shiny leather, and a fabric flower instead of a metal lion. These are a little more classier, and I'd almost guarantee that they'd last longer (both in terms of not falling apart and not going out of style).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Miss Trish of Capri Lion Sandals

I'm horribly disappointed that Target isn't selling anything as adorable as the Isaac Mizrahi gladiator sandals from last summer. I wore these babies everyday, never got a blister, and got plenty of compliments. Unfortunately, at $25 they weren't made to last, and while I can still wear them and feel cute, the gold is all worn off the inside bed and it won't be too long before they fall apart completely. It is my greatest regret that I didn't buy three pairs when I had the chance.

But I should look at the bright side: now I have a reason to buy a new pair of gold sandals! Right now, the frontrunner for Sandal of the Summer is the Lion Sandal, $29.99, by Miss Trish of Capri for Target. The classic t-strap shape is accented by a glamorous gold lion medallion. Up close, you can see the lion's green eyes and fierce expression; it's the level of detail that make these shoes look much more expensive than they actually are. Oh, and I also like the little half-inch heel, since it forces you to put a little bit of swing in your step and not just stomp around like you would in totally flat flip-flops.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Converse One Star at Target

You know, I could do a whole post on Chris Pine's awesome sneakers. And you know, I just might write that. But for now, here are another pair of Converses that I want:

From the Target Converse One Star line, these Perforated Oxfords, $34.99, are unlike any other Converses I've ever seen. It's hard to tell how they'd look with a foot in them, though; up close, it looks a bit like this shoe has a rare skin disease. But in a cool, sporty, hip way, right? And you know what the weird thing about these shoes are? I would want to keep them pristine white, while if I got regular white Chucks I'd try to get them dirty as soon as possible. Maybe I should get a pair of each, and have one inside pair and one outside pair. Although then I'd be about five years away from those women who have all-white homes and make their toddlers drink their juice outside.

Also from Converse One Star, this Twisted Dress, $34.99, is incredibly adorable and fresh. You can't quite tell, but the fabric has an ivory and powder blue stripe print, which makes it even more charming and summer-appropriate. I'd want to wear this dress to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden or maybe lunch at the rooftop sculpture garden at the Met.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Peasant Dresses

When I was in high school, I had a peasant top that I wore constantly--it's cute cap sleeves and gathered keyhole neckline made me feel like the hottest babe. I grew out of that top, and that trend, but I think this summer might be the time to bring it back, in dress form, of course. What better outfit could there be fore sipping sangria at a sidewalk cafe?

My favorite is the Smocked Squarefront Dress, $69, from Ann Taylor Loft. The basic navy is livened up with light blue and white print, and I like how the top half is relatively simple (so it doesn't compete with your glowing face) while the bottom has more flair. The simple shape--just an A-line dress with a square neckline--is universally flattering and classic, but still very youthful and night-out ready.

Thisi next dress might be a bit too costume-y for me; I don't want to look like an extra in West Side Story (I want to look like Maria, obviously). From Modcloth, the appropriately named Chiquita Bonita Dress, $49.99, has the same keyhole neckline, smocked waist, and fresh white color as my favorite high school shirt. It's pretty much summer personified (or dressified?), and it looks perfect for hot, sweaty days in July, when all you can to do is eat Flavor Ices and catch a breeze.

You know, as I search for dresses to fill this post out, I'm having a heart time defining just what a peasant dress is. Anything with a vaguely Latin American influence would probably fit the bill; more specifically, some sort of ethnic print or embroidery, maybe some smocking at the waist or neckline, a fun, breezy shape and bonus points for cute little ties or bows. Any other qualifications you'd like to add?

This dress is solid-colored, but I think the details on the top half qualify it as a peasant dress. From Anthropologie, the Bungalow Gables Dress, $138, is lighter than air and comes in the freshest of summer colors. I love the little ruffles on the neckline, and the gathered waist would give you a killer hourglass figure. This is also a good dress if you have Michelle Obama-worthy arms, as everyone will want to reach out and touch your shoulders.

Here's a similar dress, also from Anthro. The California Iris Dress, $148, deftly avoids the black/yellow bumblebee connotations by embroidering black flowers along the outlines of the dress, and topping it all off with some statement-making thick black straps (which criss-cross in the back for extra cuteness). This dress embodies the bohemian spirit that Anthro often does so well, even if it's out of the price range of a real bohemian.

Ah, here's a dress that undoubtedly fits in the peasant category. From Victoria's Secret, the Embroidered Dress, $85, has a boring name but a really original look. The big blocks of blue floral embroidery look especially fresh against the loose white dress, and the open neckline is nicely contrasted by the voluminous sleeves. Accessorize this dress with a nice tan and you'll be good to go.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Converse Chuck Taylors

When I saw this photo, I had three thoughts in the following order:1. Goddamn, I would let Chris Pine do terrible things to me. Terrible, illegal things, if he asked nicely.

2. I need to go see Star Trek again, in Imax this time.

3. I want a pair of white Chuck Taylors.
I mean yes, obviously Zoe Saldana's red platform t-straps are to-die-for (although so intense that they scare me a little), and you know I'm a fan of all things girly and sexy and impractical. But Chris Pine's white Chucks are adorable and comfy, and I want a pair of my own to wear while bumming around the summer this city.

From Converse, Chuck Taylor All-Stars are $45 and will never go out of style. The only problem is that once I buy them, I'll have to get them dirty immediately because bright white Chucks are totally uncool.

I also like these seersucker print Jack Purcell Converses, $65. They remind me of something you'd find at J.Crew, so of course I'm into them.