Saturday, June 19, 2010

What do bikes, turtles and ropes have in common?

Last summer I was all about the bike t-shirt; a year later, I'm in love with the bike dress.

From Anthropologie, naturally, the Two-Wheeler Shirtdress,$128, is parked happily at the intersection of whimsical and appropriate. You have a very modest, business-like shirtdress silhouette, and from afar you might this is a simple navy fabric with a white circular print. But get closer and...
Penny-farthings as well as classic bicycles! Penny-farthings, if you're not up on your antiquated methods of transportation, are the bikes with the giant front wheel that the rider perches atop, with a smaller wheel behind. The Penny-farthing has been on my mind Cafe Deville, on the corner of 13th and 3rd Ave, was just replaced by a restaurant called The Penny Farthing. My first year in New York (almost five years ago!), I used to walk by Cafe Deville on my way to the gym and was also impressed by the young, attractive, interesting-looking people drinking wine at the sidewalk tables. I thought, "When I'm an attractive and interesting New Yorker, I'll drink wine at a sidewalk table at Cafe Deville." But I never ate there--if The Penny Farthing has sidewalk tables, though, maybe I can fulfill the spirit of my dream if not the letter.

Anyway, the dress--it's exactly the sort of thing Anthro does exquisitely. It reminded me of another dress that Anthro is sadly now sold out of, the Turtle-Print dress.
If you had asked me a month ago if I would ever wear a dress with turtles on it, I would say, "What do you think I am, some kind of manic pixie dream girl?" And, let's be honest, this does look like something Zooey Deschanel might wear while singing old-timey karaoke to a boy whose heart she will eventually break. But hey, it's summer: maybe I want to break some hearts while singing old torch songs at a karaoke bar (no, I definitely don't want to do the latter--I want to sing "Oops I Did It Again" in Koreatown). The dress is designed by Moulinette Soeurs, and while it may no longer be on the Anthropologie website, I will definitely be keeping an eye on Ebay to see if it pops up.

So there's a dress that I can't buy because it's too expensive and a dress that I can't buy because it's sold out. Anthropologie is all, "Ok, you've done a good job resisting thus far, but what about this?"

Also by Moulinette Soeurs (a name I'll clearly need to keep an eye out for in the future), the Know the Ropes dress is on sale for $69.95. Really, the reason I want it is because it looks like Burberry plaid--so much classier than regular hipster or lumberjack plaid. But the asymmetrical neckline is hot, especially for showing some unexpected skin in the summer. The nautical name alone is enough for me to get out my credit card, but then I realized what the "ropes" were referring to...

The "plaid" is actually coiled ropes! Man, if I ever get invited to a party on a yacht, I'm going to be prepared.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Strut like a Peacock

By now, we've all come to terms with the fact that Sex and the City 2 is not as good as we would like. Plenty of vitriol has been spewed about the writing and the setting and Sarah Jessica Parker's face (which, in my opinion, is no more unfortunate than it's always been). But besides Carrie's $50,000 outfit, there's been less talk about the fashion. My pet peeve was when Patricia Fields would dress the characters in matching outfits--in this scene, they're all wearing prints! Here they all wear maxi dresses! Now they're all in capes!

But there was one dress that made me lean over to my sister and mom and say, "I LOVE that." And, surprisingly, it wasn't a Charlotte dress! (I have a theory that Pat Fields is bored of dressing Charlotte and so doesn't put any effort into interpreting a classic style in an interesting way. Charlotte used to have jaw-droppingly gorgeous outfits that were also un-insane--remember her black dress that she wore to the wedding, and described her thought process as, "I'm usually, 'Oh, look at the bride, look at the bride!' This time I want people to look at me!")

I'm sad that this is the only photo of it I could find, because I know it doesn't do it justice. First, you're probably distracted by her hideous hair, which she is far too old to pull off. And the shoes are wacky and don't remotely match. But that dress! Delicate, glittering beading in the pattern of peacock feathers--so exquisite. It looks vintage, but if anyone knows the brand please chime in! Here's a close-up of just the dress:
I love the scalloped hem on the skirt is the only significant form detail--the rest is very basic so the beading takes center stage.

Naturally, I'm not searching for a peacock dress of my own but am finding the options lacking. Most "peacock" dresses interpret it a little less literally, like this DVF mini dress that another blog posted about in late 2009:
You can see the peacock inspiration, and this is a drop dead gorgeous dress to be sure, but why bother with peacocks if you're not going to do feathers?

See, Liberty of London has the right idea with this piggybank, part of their collection for Target:
Who would dare smash this delightful cross between a pig and a bird? Perhaps I should put money in the bank that I'm saving for my dream peacock dress, so I can know I'm destroying it for a good cause. (I know, I know, there's probably a hole on the bottom where you can get the change out without smashing it. But that's cheating and I'm going to pretend it doesn't exist.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Embracing Femininity

You know that look sported by seemingly every 20-something Hollywood starlet and cute NYC girl - slouchy top, skinny jeans/leggings, and boots/flats? I am somewhat ashamed to admit that a few weeks ago, I found myself succumbing to its lure. I mean, it seems so easy, doesn't it? Just throw on three pieces - all of which are so nondescript they'll definitely match - and you're done!

Then I made two realizations: 1.) leggings are awful; and 2.) it's just as easy to throw on a dress. And then I realized that giving myself two extra minutes to put together a thoughtful and well-constructed outfit would provide that boost of confidence I needed to carpe fucking diem. And how long does it take to fasten a pair of earrings or slip on a bracelet? Thirty seconds? These are little details that really do make a difference. And so, in the spirit of seizing the day, I'm bringing you pieces for the woman who not only wants to take over the world, she wants to do it in heels:

I love how the stretch of white silk accented by a band of black subtly evokes a tuxedo. The cut of this dress is so elegant and its color palate is so stark, it'll simply and beautifully showcase the woman wearing it.

I like dresses. I like lingerie. I like dresses that look like lingerie. Of course, since it's J. Crew, this one's summery linen fabric, conservative length, and bubble-gum color all effectively tone down its raciness. The end result? A dress you can wear at your 9-5, or sipping G&Ts in the Lower East Side, or at Sunday brunch.

First of all: the color. I love it. I'm trying to incorporate more color into my largely monochromatic wardrobe, and this bright emerald is gorgeous, especially paired with white. Second: the cut. The empire waist, cap sleeves and hip-skimming length are super-flattering and create a feminine silhouette. Third: the details. A dainty bow, exposed zipper and shirred fabric elevate this top beyond ordinary.

From the front: a standby tank in oyster-hued silk, perfect under a blazer during the workday or on its own at night. From the back?

Lovely. The better to show off your sculpted shoulders (Michelle Obama is still your fitness inspiration, right? Good, me too).

I'm definitely gravitating toward pieces that transition well from the office to the weekend, day or night, and this skirt is a prime example. The matte gold fabric is key: it's not too formal for daytime, but adding a few choice accessories and a pair of heels will glam it up when the lights go down.

I love this interpretation of the tutu. The draping and volume are spot-on; any flouncier and it'd be wavering dangerously into infantilizing territory. Wear it with a smart button-down, as suggested here by Miss Julia; wear it with your boyfriend's wifebeater; I'll wear it with my laciest bra as I pirouette around my apartment.

My foreign-born boyfriend loves watching home shopping channels; he finds them charmingly American. Just like me. Anyway, we were watching QVC the other day, and this bracelet was featured. Kenneth Jane Lane is one of my favorite jewelry designers, and this bracelet is delightfully deco. And from QVC. Who knew.

They're like little disco balls for your ears. At just 0.75" diameter, they're probably conservative enough for the office, and these babies will catch light and draw focus to your beautiful face.

These chandelier earrings are among my wardrobe MVPs. I wear them with everything: jeans and tees, sundresses, LBDs, nothing at all. They're also surprisingly lightweight.

So, what have we learned? Embracing your femininity takes just a little bit of extra effort and can make a huge difference. So consider a dress. Swap out your broken-in jeans for a metallic mini. Add some sparkle. Because you should look good while you're kicking ass.