Sunday, March 28, 2010

J. Crew, the agony and the ecstasy

Oh, J.Crew. How can you swing so wildly from "What the hell are you thinking?"....

My love for pleats is only rivaled by my hatred for jumpsuits, so I guess I'm left shaking my head, thinking, "Oh, J.Crew, I can't stay mad at you!" I also want to mention that I was in the store over the weekend, and the mannequin wearing the pleated dress was styled really well--with a studded belt in a similar shade of pink, and a woven straw tote bag. This is a fabulous dress, totally appropriate for a warm weather wedding, but J.Crew styled it for a brunch and lazy errand Sunday.

I also want to point out two more things that caught my eye in the store. First, the world's most versatile dress, the Super 120s Andre dress, $188:
It's from J.Crew's office collection, and also comes in navy, black and grey--but the bright plum could definitely be smartened up for work. But the real power of this dress is that it can become that essential go-to for "I want to feel awesome tonight." You know, that one dress that you know is insanely flattering and hides ever sin, the dress that you want to wear on your birthday and a first date and to your high school reunions (since all the popular bitches will be wearing black, to hide the fact that they've gotten fat, while you're all, "Look at me, in bright purple! Aren't you jealous of the fabulous life that I must be living in order to wear this dress?"). It's not too revealing but couldn't be dowdy if it tried. Oh, if only it were machine-washable: then it truly would be the perfect dress.
The flutter flower clutch, $122, is not versatile at all. In fact, it's sort of silly and girly and too expense for something that you'll get so little use out of. But goddamn if I didn't squeal with delight when I spied this on a J.Crew mannequin. The gold chain and clasp look exquisite against the purple silk flowers, and wearing it would make me feel like a heroine in a high-quality chick lit novel.

By the way, the reason I was in the store was to return that white cable knit sweater I bought only. The fabric was a nightmare--so itchy and completely synthetic feeling. And, it was so loose-knit that it was totally see-through. It's gone even more on sale to $19.99, but ladies: do not be tempted!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Flowers and stripes and plaid at Lulu's

Want to stop shopping. Need to stop shopping. Can't stop shopping.

But if I'm gonna keep shopping, I might as well shop for holes in my closet. And right now, I'm sensing a distinct lack of patterned dresses. I am saying no to solids for at least a few months! And I'm saying maybe to these cheap but adorable patterned dresses from Lulu's:

Lucky Break Dress, $35. I'm a big fan of solid bands to break up a pattern; it helps get the dress from getting overwhelming, while also highlighting your banging curves. And that back! It's like bondage meets garden party.

Home Sweet Home Dress, $45. Could this be any sweeter and more charming? It's like if Betty Draper weren't such a spoiled princess. But it has all these great modern details, like a gathered belt and buttoned cap sleeves. It appeals to the part of me that wishes I could just make sugar cookies all day instead of working under florescent lights in an office.

Picnic in Plaid Dress, $57. Are you sick of all the hipster-Brooklyn-type plaid? I'm not quite, but I'm still in favor of dressing outside the L Train platform in something like this. Bright colors for spring? Pleated skirt with tulle underlay? Perfect fit and flattering cut? It's way more 4/5 Uptown.

Neopolitan Sundae Dress, $31. I will admit that colorblock is not a pattern. But who wouldn't want a dress named after an underappreciated flavor of ice cream?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nike 5 Ring USA T-Shirt

Just in case I didn't already have enough Olympic spirit...
Yeah, I just bought this. I need to freeze my debit card in ice, like in Confessions of a Shopaholic (shut up, I have a major crush on Isla Fisher and am compelled to rent every romantic comedy she appears in! ). I have been doing way too much online shopping lately, but at least I can justify this one by saying that I did got the Nike 5 Ring tee for America. Plus, NBC is having a 37% off sale on a lot of their Olympic gear; the 37% comes, naturally, from the 37 medals Team USA brought home from Canada. With the discount this t-shirt is $12.60, and Nike usually does a nice job with their clothes so I think it'll be worth it. At the very least, I'll be able to wear it running, listening to my Olympic playlist (the highlights of which are "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers and "Change" by Taylor Swift), and pretending that I'm running for gold. Or at least taking a leisurely jog through the Olympic village, checking out all the hotties of the world.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Metallic Target Gladiator Sandals--back and almost as good as ever!

Those of you who know me in real life are well acquinted with my ongoing love affair with gold gladiator sandals from Target. Got them two summers ago, wore them to pieces, and have been regretting not getting multiple pairs ever since. Well, BIG NEWS. Happily for me, Target is shamelessly ripping off Isaac Mizrahi's design (he did my original sandals, and left the company a year or two ago) with the Merona Elyssa Strappy Sandals, $19.99.
They are almost exactly the same as the IM version, but the footbed is a neutral color instead of matching the straps. And, the biggest bummer, is that they come in silver, bronze and black but not gold. And I am all about gold, so I might have to get these Target sandals too, just to cover my metallic summer sandal bases:
The Xhilaration Tanya Grecian sandals, $17.99, are a fairly slight shade of gold--I'd worry about them getting noticeably dirty. But the braided top is very trendy, in a good way, and I like how it's a thong but not a flip-flop. And look at this! Target is having a buy one pair of shoes, get one off sale! This is just what I need to brighten my spirits on this uber-gloomy, rainy March day. And I'm just going to ignore the fact that I was at Target, literally yesterday, and spent a bit too much money on fruit snacks and poster frames and dvds and all the other amazingly cheap shit Target specializes in.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Whites from J.Crew

J.Crew is having a sale's-on-sale event, at least for a few more hours. I feel like J.Crew does these so often that it's no longer a big deal, and if you're shopping the sale and not getting an extra 20 or 30% off, then you need to practice some patience. Not that I'm complaining! I love the extra discount with all my heart! Especially when it lets me buy a perfect summer dress and a perfect transition sweater.

I've been wanting a little white dress for ages, and this one is pretty perfect. The Aubrey Halter Dress, $39.99, is classic but still casual enough for the beach or a ballgame. This summer, I really want to rock the white dress/turquoise jewelry look--it's a little retro but I think not dated, I don't think. Chunky bracelet with matching earrings? I already can't wait for the scorching hot weather that's necessary for this outfit. I should give credit: while I've been a fan of the white/turquoise look for a while, I was reminded of how awesome it is by this picture of Summer Glau:

Doesn't she just look exquisitely summer-y? Who knew that freaky chick from Firefly would turn out to be such a hottie?

I also got the Dolce Cable Knit sweater in ivory, $29.99. All winter, whenever I've been getting dressed in the morning and just didn't feel capable of putting forth the effort to look cute, I'd throw on a navy crewneck cabled sweater from the Gap. It's a little dowdy but super comfortable and there's literally nothing that will clash with it. But it's too thick to wear when it gets warm, hence this lighter (both in color and thickness) version of the same sweater. I'm also hoping this one will be a little more flattering, with the wide neck and loose cables. I also have this image of wearing this sweater with a navy seersucker bikini bottom while on a yacht... it's my ever-present Ralph Lauren lifestyle porn fantasy. It would also look cute and surprising with some brightly colored shorts on a chilly spring morning.

I was also really tempted to get this Contrast Pencil Skirt, $79.99. I liked it because it reminded me of this dress Emma Watson wore on Letterman or something a few years ago:
The J.Crew version is a lot less design-y, but still very chic. The back will elicit double-takes, but not in a tacky way.

This is a lot of white, off-white, and ivory, and I'm really trying to get more color into my wardrobe. So here are some things I might get when they go on sale or get further discounted.

There's a woman in my office who reminds me of Joan from Mad Men--super curvy, impeccably put together, total girl crush material. She looks like iCarly, and since she's not a redhead like the actual Joan, she often wears bright red and looks absolutely rocking. This cardigan reminded me of her--amazing color, super soft cashmere, perfect fit, probably worn over a snug grey dress. The cashmere crewneck cardigan is $99.99--I'm betting it goes down in price a bit more before selling out.

Oh, this is just lovely, lovely.
The Sunshine peony coccinelle dress, $138, is the kind of dress I want to be wearing 24/7. Vintage feel, not trying too hard to be cute, but still the kind of pattern that makes you think, "I HAVE to know where she got that."

And when I want to be a little more bold with my florals, there's the vintage Poppy Erica dress, $250. I love how they styled it with a slightly manly belt, like "Yeah, I thought this outfit needed something extra so I grabbed my boyfriend's belt off his floor."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Higher, Faster, Stronger, Cuter

Remember when I was writing, a few weeks ago, about the awesome Olympic hats (USA) and mittens (Canada) and how I want all of them so I can keep that Olympic magic going all winter. Well, never underestimate the power of the internet.

First, the awesome USA rings hat worn by Lindsay Vonn when she won gold; knitting pattern by Belgian Waffle Knit.

Next, the Opening Ceremonies Ralph Lauren moose/reindeer hat, courtesy of Helena Bristow.

And finally, the maple leaf mittens, by Pauline Wickens. My love for Canada was pretty diminished by the lack of Celine Dion at the Closing Ceremonies. I would even have settled for Shania Twain, but no, they give us Avril. So to symbolize my lowered opinion of our Northern neighbors, I'm only willing to knit mini Olympic mittens. Too small to wear, but perfect to put on a bulletin board or Christmas tree next year. (Sidenote: the last two knitting patterns are from Ravelry, which you need to be a member of to see more than one pattern. It's free to sign up, and really easy, and if you're into knitting patterns it's worth the 30 second hassle).

While I'm on the subject of the Olympics (and while I'm having issues with the fact that it's over), let's talk figure skating costumes! There were plenty of monstrosities, but there were a few that I wanted to have for real-life wear.

First, my #1 Olympic girl crush, the exquisitely named Tessa Virtue:
Her white, sparkly dress worn during the long program made her look like a Disney princess, and I also give her huge bonus points for not doing the flesh-tone mesh that is so rampant in figure skating costumes. It's so rare to see actual skin!

It's not every girl who can do perfect twizzles while wearing a backless dress.

There's nothing Kim Yu-Na can't do, however. She can make finger guns look sassy and sexy, not cheesy! Miracle on ice!
Her short program dress really made her stand out from all the other cheap prom dresses and cheap french prostitute costumes. Black but not boring, shiny but not tacky. Someone (probably the Fug Girls, who are the Joan Didion of fashion blogging--anything that can be said, has been said, and been said better, by the Fug Girls) compared it to a Klimt painting, and I couldn't agree more.

And, for Halloween, I want to be Miki Ando as Princess Jasmine/Cleopatra.

I couldn't find a full body picture, but you can get the general idea. But: lots of flesh tone mesh. Grody on the ice skating rink, but practical for New York in late October!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Emma Watson for People's Tree

I always think it's funny how 55 degrees in March means "Woohoo, let's play shirts versus skins basketball!" in New York, and "Holy shit, I might need to wear two hoodies" in California (or Arizona, where I grew up). I celebrated this beautiful day by wearing my cropped running pants--for the past few months, I've been layering running pants under thick sweatpants when I exercise outside. But the warm weather is making me long even more for the days of bare legs and no scarves, and of the lazy t-shirt dresses I'll wear to celebrate.

Make no mistake, I'm a proud American--America, fuck yeah and all that. But I would be very hesitant to wear the old Stars and Stripes on a dress. The Union Jack, on the other hand, looks so very cute and fresh on a plain old white t-shirt dress. It's like Ginger Spice on the weekends! This dress is from Emma Watson's line for People Tree, so not only does it have some of that Harry Potter magic, but it's organic, fair trade, and all that good stuff. The Union Jack dress is 30 pounds--someone with better knowledge of conversion rates will have to tell us how much it costs in real American dollars.

Here's another photo from Emma Watson's line:

I really like this photo because the stripe of the blanket makes it look like EW has a wand in her hand, and, well, I just like everything remotely related to Harry Potter. The cardigan is cute, too.