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.

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