Monday, September 20, 2010

Cream of the Fashion Week Crop

There were a few years when I obsessively followed New York Fashion Week--or as obsessively as one can without any invitations. But now I find all the shows and parties and breathless celebrity coverage to be a little exhausting, so I follow the Fug Girls coverage and check out the slideshows of my favorites, and that's it. But one designer that's always worth my time? Monique Lhuillier. She may not be reinventing streetwear, but when it comes to awe-inspiring red carpet gowns, she's my goddess. Here are three dresses I'll be daydreaming about wearing to the Oscars, on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's arm:

And here's one more dress I'm swooning over, from Marc Jacobs. I'll ignore the sheer top and focus on the glorious mix of colors, perfectly complemented by the flower in the model's hair.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Boots: Greatest thing about fall since pumpkin spice lattes

Every fall, without fail, I notice the falling temperatures and get depressed--that first night when I need to grab a cardigan to go over my sundress just kills me. But then, every fall, I think about tall leather boots and I get happy again.

I'm determined that this will be the year I get the "go anywhere, matches anything" black boot, and Nine West has two great options.
The Cookin' Boot, $99, has all the makings of a classic--but is it too boring? I like the modest heel and streamlined calf, but I can't help my love for buckles and straps.
The Tierney boot, $169, is just a touch more exciting, a little more cowgirl. But I do really like that it has a half-zip on the side, as my current boots have lost their shape and slouch more than Katie Holmes in her Joey Potter days. A zipper would, I assume, help the boots keep their structure.

Then there's the side of me that says, "Screw the practical basic! I want the showstopper special occasion boots!"
Just the words "blue suede" give me shivers, so I'm just about shaking thinking about the Alexa boots, $179. I love the cuff that can be flipped up to cover the knee--it's very season 1 Serena Van der Woodson (you know, when she still wore clothes that covered her ass). But to be honest, I have no idea what I would wear with these. I don't think jeans would look right, with the blue on blue, and a skirt might compete for attention. Maybe a snug, rugby-striped sweater dress... or maybe something in a pale shade of yellow? Or grey? Or a leather jacket with studs that mimic the ones on the cuff? I'm stumped, but am dying to take on the challenge.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Best of Emmys Fashion

I'm about to get a little bit controversial right here, and I hope you can handle it.
I love this dress. I know that January Jones got fugged by a lot of people, and I can understand why; the messy hair, the lack of accessories, the bodice that looks like her boobs are covered in metallic cupcake holders, the skirt is a bit like a mullet, it's more than enough to give me pause. But here's what it comes down to: on a night where everyone seemed to be wearing the same old mermaid dress or one-shouldered gown, January Jones absolutely stood out. And it's an old truism that "the girl should wear the dress, the dress shouldn't wear the girl," but here it absolutely applies. She looks comfortable in that dramatic, poofy gown, and looking comfortable goes a long way towards looking hot. The other thing that really delights me about this dress is that it's being worn by January Jones, who is the definition of "pretty but boring." It would be so easy to coast through award shows looking like Grace Kelly, but instead she pushes the fashion limits and shows a playful side. It makes me wonder if she could actually be a fun or interesting person, worthy of Jason Sudeikis. (Just kidding--she's totally not worthy of J.Suds.)

Other favorites from the Emmys?
Heather Morris's sparkly column dress is very similar to Claire Danes's, but I think Heather did it better. The black belt makes it look extremely polished, and not like one of Taylor Swift's cast offs, and her hair manages the rare feat of evoking Old Hollywood without obscuring her youth. And it's another instance of how playing against type on the red carpet can yield great results; her character on Glee once taught us "sexy epilepsy," and here she is looking classy and glamorous. Not bad for a former back-up dancer for Beyonce.

Sally Draper is, not kidding, one of my favorite characters on Mad Men--I would absolutely watch spin-off in which she joins a cult or goes to Woodstock or whatever angsty teens did to spite their awful mothers in the 1960's. My love for the character extends to the actress, Kirnan Shipka, especially as she grows into a beautiful and poised tween. The glittery headband! The kitten heels! The bell skirt! Well done, all around.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pointy-Toed Pumps

For years, I've favored round-toed shoes. Which is why these basic black heels - sure to become a staple of my wardrobe, topping off work ensembles and peeking out of trouser jeans - seem so fresh, exciting, and even a touch naughty.

P.S. I found the vintage belt buckle I'd been dreaming about. Behold!

Monday, September 6, 2010

World-Traveling Lady Who Lunches

I've got some serious magpie tendencies. My mode de operatii is to shop somewhat manically, indiscriminately adding whatever strikes my fancy to my wardrobe. However, due to financial and time constraints, I've reigned in my coveting/hoarding habit considerably and, in its place, developed some positive new ones.

One of the most helpful techniques to avoid style schizophrenia is to 1.) decide at the beginning of each season what story I'd like to tell; 2.) collect images that inspire me and compile an online "lookbook" using iPhoto; and 3.) shop accordingly. And mindfully.

My story for autumn/winter is "world-traveling lady who lunches (filtered through a corporate lens)." I'm going for a bohemian-preppy vibe: clothes that are polished enough for work (I recently scored a job in PR and represent some major financial powerhouses, so looking professional is a must) paired with accessories that add as much personality and whimsy as I can get away with.

Some images from my lookbook (most sources woefully unknown):

Dries van Noten... the master of artful print/palette mixing.

This one I know came from the Shrimpton Couture blog. How perfect is this?! I'm eBay-ing vintage belt buckles as I write this.

Rachel Zoe: you are a pain in the ass, but you know how to dress. Obviously, this look is an exaggeration, but there is a sartorial lesson to be learned: well-constructed basics + mismatched jewelry = perfection.

Still from "The Devil Wears Prada." Seriously digging the 60s winged eyeliner. And I love that she's wearing earrings that look like one of my wardrobe MVPs.

This look is so attainable: it's a white peasant blouse and embellished skirt. Still totally work-appropriate but infinitely more exciting than your typical oxford and black pencil skirt.

More 60s inspiration. And I love the hairstyle: easy but polished.

So, now that I've developed a clear point of view of what I'm going for this season, it's time to shop! This is a surprisingly slow process, because for every one thing that unequivocally fits into my story, there are ten things that don't (and many of them are beautiful or almost fit or are out of my budget or are otherwise not quite right. But I won't be swayed!).

Here's my starting point:

Even though I'm craving peasant tops this season, I will never tire of the white button-down shirt. It's the ultimate sartorial blank canvas: it can adopt a million different incarnations, depending on what you wear with it. I've sung the praises of this one before, and I still haven't found a better basic, especially for the price. It styles perfectly bohemian-preppy when you add:

I love blue against white; I think it's the most delicious color combination. And I love that, depending on what you wear it with, this necklace could either be a statement piece (paired with, say, a black strapless dress) or another element of a cohesive outfit (peeking out of a white button-down). Plus, as a bonus perk, the stones are supposed to facilitate your accumulation of wealth. So, obviously, it's made to be worn to work...