Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

What are your plans for New Years Eve 2009? Every year since college, my friends and I spend less energy planning our night out for New Years, and try to involve the least amount of traveling, money, and hoopla. My first New Years as a New York City resident was quite exciting, but the $150 tickets we all bought to spend the night in a cramped 'hot spot' with weak drinks and loud music was much overrated. This year, my husband (who has to work tomorrow) and I are having some friends over for a little champagne and hor'dourves, followed by a late group dinner in the West Village.

Regardless of the venue, the most important part of the holiday for me is choosing the perfect outfit. It's the perfect excuse to pull out the sequins, the frills, and the oversized jewelery. Since the employment fairy has still not paid me a visit, I can't afford to to what I would usually resort to- buying a new top to pair with a pair if slim pants or a skirt. This year I'm forced to shop my closet, and though this inspired another purge, I managed to find a silk tiered racer-back blouse in cream and tan. It'll go nicely with a multi-strand necklace and the David Yurman bracelet Santa was nice enough to bring this year.

Another important decision when trekking out in the City on New Years Eve is appropriate footwear. Do not count on getting a cab no matter what time you're trying (flash back to my friend Megan and I walking home barefoot from West 19th street and 8th ave to my old apartment on 47th and 3rd ave several years back). Plan on walking great distances, or roughing it on the subway (which usually requires much walking as well, especially if you have friends like mine that seem to love the West Village). I like to go with a pair of low heel ankle boots that are a few season old, so I don't freak out when a pal pours her champagne on my feet, or when I misjudge the amount of momentum I need to hop up to the curb to avoid the puddle.

Have a stylish and fabulous New Years, whatever your plans!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apple Pie

If you stop and think about fashion, like cuisine, the French and Italians come to mind first. Whether your mind goes to an haute couture gown by John Galliano for Christian Dior, or haute cuisine by Eric Ripert, the Europeans have seemingly cornered the market. But if you take a trip down memory lane to the 1980's (when I was wearing rompers and onesies) American designers really set the stage to take over a seemingly undiscovered part of the fashion market: sportswear.

One can hardly think of American fashion without conjuring up images of Ralph Lauren's ads, complete with American flags, horses, and women donning velvet trousers in cornfields. And what would 20-somethings wear if not for sportswear? This year, in the last few days before Christmas, I can't help but stare under our mini tree at the iconic navy Ralph Lauren gift box with green watch plaid bow peeking out at me. I've picked it up for weight, gently shaken it for sounds of cashmere, but I can't figure out what jewel lies beneath the preppy exterior. My closet is mostly a mix of what makes American sportswear the world staple that it is- denim, boots, pencil skirts, fine wool, cashmere, blazers galore, and touches of leather and exotic skins in the form of belts and shoes. Anything from Ralph would be a welcome addition. Michael Kors and his campaign of cruise-worthy advertising is also irresistible when dreaming of Americana. A killer wool sheath with sky-high stilettos, tortoise bracelets, and printed scarf, and you've got the Kors woman in the flesh. I think Ralph dressed me head to toe in college, and perhaps Michael has been lending a hand in the days that followed.

American sportswear has left an indelible mark on the fashion world. Just as Tom Colicchio has reconceptualized new American cuisine with his assortment of Craft restaurants, American designers have been re-carving the fashion landscape since the 80's and show no signs of slowing down for SS10.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

Since one week from today I have a 3rd round interview for a job I really really want, I have already started putting together possible outfit choices. In my quest for the perfect mix of modernity, style, edge and prep, I realize that one major piece is missing from my wardrobe-the perfect black pump. I'm as surprised as you are to hear there is actually something lacking in my closet, and I don't know how I missed such an essential staple.

The wish list pumps would require Santa's help. These iconic Louboutins are pretty much perfect. Regardless of the abundant impostors painting their soles red, there is no mistaking the trademarked Louboutin. Also a fine choice for the quintessential dress pump are these Manolos. I think owning your first pair of Blahniks is a rite of passage for a New York City gal.

The more attainable choices are still delicious. These Weitzmans have a slight platform, which in addition to being uber modern, makes them slightly more comfortable for walking. (My wedding shoes from Weitzman were very foot-friendly, even after 7 hours of walking, dancing, and very little champagne to numb the senses.) I'd also be thrilled with a pair of these Cole Haan heels, with Nike Air for supreme wearability, and a little patent detail for interest.

Since this purchase needs to be made in order to actually land the job, it will likely require a price tag south of $150. Not to fear, some scrumptious shoes hover in the of $100 range. I always like Steve Madden's more classic Steven line for mid-market selections. This pair of pumps has a more moderate heel, and slightly elongated toe for a slimming affect. Nine West is also a good go-to for affordable heels, like these, which are similar to the Cole Haan style (but not in a copy-cat way). Always have the basics in your wardrobe!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Celebrity Buisness

I may be one of the few (or many?) who dislikes the celebrity culture. It was Anna Wintour who, back in the 90's, dreamt up the idea to replace fashion cover models with celebrities as the face of Vogue. Of course all other magazines followed suit, and thus ushered in the age of the ubiquitous celebrity. You can hardly walk down the street today without spotting an of-the-moment star plastered across newsstands, vouching for the latest herbal energy drink, or announcing a new clothing line.

Where exactly is the line between film actor and omnipresent, pervasive social phenomenon? In the past decade, whatever once existed in the way of boundary seems to have evaporated. It appears that anyone of celebrity rank can become a fashion designer, and the title of 'style icon' is handed out like candy (not to mention it is in most cases the stylist behind the star who actually deserves the credit). A perfect example of the disastrous consequence of handing designer reins to an unqualified celebrity idol is Ungaro's heinous collection, created by Lindsay Lohan in October of this year. I can't remember the last time a fashion house received such overwhelmingly abominable press.

There are a few exceptions to my utter distaste for celebrities posing as designers. The Olsen twins have 2 lines, and I find Elizabeth and James to be exceptionally well executed, inspiring, and even wearable. Veteran stores such as Bloomingdales and Intermix offer a fairly large selection of items such as blazers, party dresses, and the boho chic pieces known as the twins signature look. The actress/model team of Milla Jovovich and Carmen Hawk have a sweet line called Jovovich-Hawk. I haven't seen anything for spring 2010 yet, but assuming its as romantic yet LA-edgy as their last 3 lines, I'll be a fan. In the meantime, I'll try not to trip and fall over the next celebrity disaster a I make my way around the City.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

After smacking my head against the door frame of my tiny apartment earlier today, as I ran from the kitchen to the coffee table (in an attempt to answer my phone before I missed a call from a potential employer) I haven't gotten off the couch or been able to focus my eyes until now. I'll leave you with a simple yet telling quote from Christian Dior, circa 1954:

"I hate detail. I love accents or little touches but they must always be important--not insignificant. The small detail is something very cheap and not elegant at all. Although detail has another meaning--you must be elegant in every detail of your dress from head to toe. Then detail is important."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Legally Speaking

Today, a post on law, since it's my lawyer Husband's birthday (happy 28th!) January's Harper's Bazaar breaks the usual monotony of winter fashion magazine issues. In addition to bountiful photos from London's fashion week, there is an update on the ongoing fight against counterfeiting, which Harper's valiantly supports.

But how far is too far in the fight? New methods to counteract fakes include the attachment of 'microscopic nanoparticles' and 'genetic material' which will form a unique signature (akin to DNA for purses). Don't ask me the logistics of this new tactic, but I watch enough Law and Order and CSI to know that's some heavy duty science, probably better suited for murder than fashion. The type of enforcement I can get behind is the increase in 3rd party civil suits (suing those who enable counterfeiting, as in real estate lessors, material vendors, etc). I mean, if it were up to me I'd start making citizen arrests of the misguided folks toting putrid impostor bags around town, thinking they were fooling anyone besides themselves.

A lot of fashion critics (as in those who are critical of the fashion industry, not those who critique constructively) feel the anti-counterfeit movement is fueled solely by a group of upper class prunes who are more concerned with chilling the less wealthy from infiltrating the force-fields around their social cast than they are with terminating child labor and terrorism. Some stifling stats might dissuade them. IP theft is a $600 billion a year global industry, costing legitimate U.S. businesses $250 billion annually, and costing 750,000 American jobs each year, according to the report in Harper's. And it can be not only dangerous for your style to be caught with a fake, but a threat to your health as well (reports after raids include finding bacteria and other noxious ingredients in bottles of fake perfume, such as urine. Ew.)

Though there may be some clout to the argument that many fear the lower class appearing as if they are members of the designer bag club when they in fact are not, I can't believe an entire movement is founded on such arrogant (and haughty) grounds. The true motive behind the anti-counterfeit front is probably a hybrid of self interest, elitism, and global well being. But regardless of one's intentions, IP theft is a federal crime, a crime against fashion, and a venture in self-degradation. Stay away from the fake.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

One of the best things about winter is the opportunity to wear opaque tights (that's right, tights, not leggings). It's a throw back to elementary school in a way, reminiscent of those poly-blend pairs your mom would coordinate to match your wooly sweaters and plaid skirts. But modern opaque tights are anything but juvenile, and add a fun twist to any ensemble from work days to party nights.

Like all things, even tights come with a range of wish-list to easy to obtain price tags. These by Wolford are probably at the high end of the wish-list, at $52. They come in more subtle hues and are a nice way to ease yourself into a pair of colored tights. Everyone either owns or has worn a Spanx on at least one occasion in their lives (my friend's D.C. wedding in fall 2006 when I had gained 10 pounds in my first semester of law school). The brand has really unique tights in all sorts of patterns, with that famous girdle-like suction at the waist.

For middle market luxury, Hue offers saturated and semi-sheer shades for prices in the mid $20's. The brand famous for barely there underwear, Commando, offers opaque tights that will last through many washings and wearings, and remain inconspicuous under fitted frocks.

An array of very affordable tights are offered in a variety of bright colors and interesting textures. I love Ann Taylor Loft's tights in charcoal gray, paired with black pencil skirts to lighten the overall look and keep something as professional as a pencil skirt young. Also try a ribbed or diamond pattern pair with a basic dress or skirt (they are currently offered 2 pairs for $20 in store). Hanes presently has a sale on their already cheaply priced tights, making them an irresistible $7.99. I am planning to stock up on a few pairs for Christmas Eve with the in-laws and New Years Eve at my friend's new house.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dossier of the Day

The classic plaid-lined trench is perhaps the most recognizable statement of London's ubiquitous fashion culture. The reins of Burberry could not find better hands than those of creative director Christopher Bailey. He has taken the over 150 year old house to new heights, soaring beyond iconic outerwear to create a brand that is sure to weather the economy, fickle critics, and fleeting trends.

My very first experience with the Brit brand was about 15 years ago, when my dad took me shopping for a 7th grade report card present (a Long Island phenomena). We ended up at the Americana in Manhasset, minutes from my private school, and before I knew it, I was in love with a small leather tote with the classic plaid skin and brown top handle. It was just large enough to fit my lip gloss and a pocket mirror, which was all I carried anywhere in 1995. Since then I've amassed a collection of scarves, coats, hats and belts, and with the exception of one t-shirt I caved in and spent $110 on several years ago when I had a job, no actual clothes. Too bad that now, all I want from Burberry is the clothing!

Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, who invented gabardine (a water resistant fabric) and had it patented in 1888, the brand produced mainly outerwear, and the iconic trench was the result of a commission by the War Office in 1914 to make officer's attire more suitable (the now trademarked plaid lining came in 1920). Since its conception, the check (originally the Haymarkert check) gave birth to the Novacheck (which adorns my many accessories) and in 2006, Bailey introduced the Housecheck, an even larger more modern cousin to the archetype.

Bailey closed London Fashion Week with modern updates on the classic Burberry stalwarts. The trench silhouette appeared in dresses and separates, and the nude khaki hue that is universally flattering (and everywhere for spring/summer 2010) was rampant. Bailey was named designer of the year by the British Fashion Council last week, and Burberry was named the brand of the year. My closet could definitely use an infusion of khaki accented with Housecheck for spring.....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Trials and Tribulations

Interviewing is like dating, and I am good at neither (regardless of what my Husband might say). The process for both ventures is the same- grueling, brimming with vulnerability, and often seeping with desperation.

Step 1: getting dressed to impress. You must get inside the head of someone else, and anticipate their likes and dislikes. You will probably try on at least 4-6 outfits, and summarily dismiss each before you finally land on the perfect mix of personal style, seriousness, and a touch of individuality.

Step 2: trying to get picked as 'the one'. You will try for the entire length of the rendezvous to be witty (which is exhausting). You will smile, not too much to appear like an add for BriteSmile, but just enough to show you are affable, approachable, and all around pleasant company. In the face of inquisitive questions on a range of topics (Where are you from? What are your passions? What are your flaws? How would your best friend describe you? How might your worst enemy depict you?) you'll try to strike a balance of honesty, openness, and mystery to create a sense of consternation that will keep them wanting more.

Step 3: waiting. Though the meeting may take place on Tuesday of one week, you know better than to start expectantly checking your email and phone until at least that Friday. By the following Tuesday, still with no correspondence, you will begin frantically toting your Blackberry with you everywhere you go (bathroom, gym, lunch with mom). After 2 full weeks of nothing, you will declare to friends and family that you've given up and are 'so over it', but secretly you will still furtively check for any sign of communication. After about a month, you will admit defeat to yourself, and dejectedly drag yourself to your computer to scour the sales at J.Crew, or Facebook for any status updates that might take your mind off rejection for a while.

Rough business!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Please Don't Launch Their Line

I'm not sure that anyone besides me has even seen an episode of Bravo's newest fashion competition show, Launch My Line, Wednesdays at 11pm (unemployment leaves me ample free time for all sorts of wasteful frolics). But if you haven't, consider yourself lucky. Though I was initially curious, and even perhaps a little delighted at the thought of watching hosts Dean and Dan Caten (the brother duo behind chic fashion line Dsquared2), my anticipation was misguided. After 2 weeks and 2 episodes, I think I've thrown in the towel.

The backdrop of the show is a bunch of people who love fashion (choreographer, journalist, music executive), but who have never touched a needle and thread in their lives, team up with design 'experts' and work to create a clothing line. The ultimate prize includes editorial coverage in Lucky, and selling their line on Rue La (which I had never heard of before the show). Each week, they create a new piece for the line, and one unlucky fashion neophyte is voted off the island by a panel of admittedly talented judges (perhaps looking to make ends meet in this bitterly chilly economy by agreeing to appear on the show).

This show is another example of why the fashion industry can sometimes get a bad rap. Showing America that anyone who loves style and clothing can be a 'designer' is simply bad business. (I love fashion and all things shiny, but do not profess to be a 'designer' waiting for my big break. I can write a legal brief better than I can create a bias draped cocktail dress.) There are copious numbers of people worldwide who can create beautiful, inspirational pieces but don't have the financial means to bring their skill to fruition. Throwing money, spotlight, and a pair of veteran sewing hands at the situation does not a designer make. One particularly nauseating scene included a wanna be designer complaining in the face of criticism, "What do you want from me? I've never done this before!" My point exactly. Step away from the mannequin.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Affordable Luxury

Nothing makes me happier than news that a high-end designer is rolling out an affordable line (except maybe news that I was getting a quilted Chanel bag for Christmas). For the ultimate high punch without the usual high pinch, several designers have collaborated with mainstream mega-stores like Target (please don't pronounce it 'Tar-jay') and Swedish giant H&M. Former success stories have hit record sales and sold out in mere hours. A few of my past favorites include Erin Fetherston for Target in 2007, Commes des Garcons also for Target in 2008, and Matthew Williamson (formerly of Pucci) this past summer at H&M.

I've always been a fan of Temperley London, and now Alice Temperley will be introducing a pocket friendly line called 'Alice' that will be available at The line will feature pieces in the $150-$350 range, chocked full of menswear stripes, edgy accents and feminine details (for a preview, see page 44 of Marie Claire's January issue). H&M debuted a fanciful collection of lingerie by Sonia Rykiel this past weekend, and though I'm not in need of anymore lingerie after my bridal shower this summer, I couldn't help sneaking a look on a precious break from CLE training in Times Square. The rain didn't hamper the enthusiasm, and the crowds were maddeningly thick. In February the chain will feature a knitwear line by the designer.

Some high to low collections to anticipate include feisty California sister duo Rodarte which will be available at Target from December 20th through January 24th, and Zac Posen's Target line beginning April 25th. (I'm also excited about Zac's new lower priced line, Z Spoke, with prices south of $100, available at Saks this spring. Hopefully I will have found a job by then, because either way, I'm buying some Zac!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Little Light Afternoon Reading

While you munch away on your carrot sticks and other healthy lunchtime snacks, here are some interesting articles from around the web on fashion, fakes, and lawsuits:

NY Magazine Trends (the comments are right on target, thank you Christine!)

Article on Piracy

Coach Lawsuit

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

This season, wrists are getting a lot of attention. My favorite adornment is a substantial, statement cuff. You can add one over a long sleeve top, or to a bare forearm poking out from underneath an elbow length sweater. When choosing a cuff, think of it as its own outfit, as you will need no other accessories to complete the look.

On my wish-list are a few stunners that are priced north of my budget for
most things. This classic David Yurman cuff is sleek and simple, with his trademarked twisted cable design enlarged for effect. Elizabeth and James (the Olsen Twins' line launched in 2007) has this really chic silver leaf cuff at Bloomingdales, and I couldn't resist trying it on during a recent trip uptown. I'm always a fan of Swarovski (they made many of the crystals that adorned the belt on my wedding dress) and this smoky quartz cuff is no exception.

Some really unique cuffs priced in the $100-$200 range look even more expensive. This abstract gold-plated item and this pearl, moonstone, and peridot cuff, both from Anthropologie, are another shining example of why I love the store for finds that are seemingly one of kind, without absurd prices. I could see either cuff over a plain white long sleeve t-shirt with jeans and heels. Delicate Raymond is a great source I stumbled upon last year for vintage and Native American inspired pieces. This monogrammed bracelet is more delicate than a cuff, but just as statement worthy.

If you want one of the season's must-haves without breaking out the plastic, these leather wrap bracelets are really cute, and have a little biker-chic appeal that, if added to a sweet ruffled dress, create a nice balance. This Banana Republic embellished cuff is south of $50 and will dress up any party outfit. As a much cheaper alternative to the Elizabeth and James cuff I swoon over, Urban Outfitters has this cute silver number. For additional affordable choices, visit the holiday shops at Bryant Park and check out Friction Jewelery, located on the 6th avenue side of the park. Each year I return for gifts for friends, and an irresistible piece for myself as well of course.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dropping the Bar

The weekend hardly seemed to have existed, as I withered away in 18 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) lectures, hosted at the same center where I took my bar exam prep course. (Passing the bar is only one of several hurdles to maintaining that sacred law license.) My insides felt like crushed tomatoes as I entered the classroom and flashed back to my summer and the endless sample questions, monotonous lectures, and anxiety ridden existence of a law school grad who must surmount the bar exam. But the mood was unmistakably lighter as I found a seat next to a few friendly faces, since we were all there because we had in fact successfully tackled the bar.

Granted it was the weekend, and registration began at the unholy hour of 8:30 am, but I was still astounded to see the vast array of fashion follies littered throughout the room of new professionals. Given that the lecturers were veteran lawyers in all areas of practice from around the country, one might consider looking as if they made it to the shower, and turned on a light when dressing to ensure that they didn't grab their sorority t-shirt instead of a fitted sweater. Aside from the many neophytes dressed as if they were headed to the college dining hall after a big night out, there were some that actually made an effort to get dressed, which I appreciated, though it was terribly misguided.

One woman I couldn't stop staring at appeared to be in her early 30's, and a size 12 (though I am admittedly bad at guessing sizes). She had a tight, short, denim mini skirt with a flowing, sheer, teal top that could have been from Contempo Casual (where Alicia Silverstone as Cher in the 90's hit Clueless shopped), paired with black, leather, military issued mid-calf boots, which made her legs look like ham hocks. I'm not sure which element of the ensemble was most mystifying, but the overall effect was one part befuddlement, one part putrid. Another young man about my age, who chose to sit front and center, sported obvious bed head (and not in the chic way Nate Archibald does it), a dandruff flaked, black, ripped long sleeve t-shirt, and a down coat circa 1995 complete with white flecks of feathers escaping from the seams. Hopefully he wasn't seeking employment guidance from any of the guest speakers.

On a brighter note, my friend Liz was perfectly dressed for the occasion, in a cream sweater, slim pants, boots, and topped off with her new Chanel bag (a law school graduation gift). Though she already has a job, I'd hire her even if she wasn't my friend.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Finale at the Tents

Once the holiday season has been packed away in storage bins and dreadful acrylic turtlenecks have been exchanged for oodles of sale cashmere, there will still be something to look forward to. Fall Fashion week will be upon us before you can say 'pass me my parka'. Sadly, as most of you know, the Fall 2010 fashion shows will be the very last at the famous Bryant Park tents. February 11th through the 18th promises to bring a smashing display of artistic creation on as large a scale as the economy can balance. Expect masculine knits, killer heels, volume, and punches of color, crazy hair and over the top makeup.

Future fashion weeks will trek across town to Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center. (Since my own law school graduation was held at Lincoln Center, I know it is a fabulous venue.) If you have always dreamed of attending fashion week inside the tents at Bryant Park, but, like me, are not quite fabulous enough to score an invitation, you can roll the dice and register for the event as of December 7th. I plan to throw $65 at the situation and register as an industry individual (I will have my full law license next month, so how does 'Christina V. Esq, fashion blogger and legal freelancer' sound?) Once the registration is complete, designers receive a copy, and from that list they send their invitations. Though they will likely stick to big name buyers and PR reps, perhaps they'll see my little name and send an invite my way. If not, its a small price to pay to gamble! I'll be at my computer screen December 7th with crossed fingers and my credit card handy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Legally Speaking

With trade dress suits springing up like May flowers, which seems to be the most promising way for designers to protect their recognizable creations, it feels like a good time for some legal speak. Some people may not know that currently, a bill sits with Congress that would extend copyright (different from trademark law, of which trade dress is a subset) to the fashion industry. The bill is H.R. 2196, The Design Piracy Prohibition Act (for you law nerds like me, here is the text of the bill as introduced before Congress.) As of June 12, 2009, the Bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security where it currently remains.

In a nutshell, the bill would create a species of copyright law applicable to the fashion industry. The protection would require designers to register their original designs within 6 months of introduction to the public (what constitutes 'introduction to the public’ promises to spur its own series of litigation) and limits protection to 3 years from date of registration.

While this would protect designers from having their creations copied and the resulting loss of sales or brand integrity, it also risks having an anti-competitive effect. Copyright law in its conception was designed to promote innovation by offering incentives to those who create. It could be argued that protecting designs under this bill will hinder the free competition in the industry, in terms of resources and price. Some critics of the bill argue that, since the fashion industry is thriving (aside from the economic tsunami currently ravaging the business), there is no need to raise protective force fields around creative designs. I think the limited 3 year scope of protection will not seriously encumber any competition, as might be the case if the time period was as long as that of regular copyright (which is currently the life of the author plus 70 years, after the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 was passed). I'm all for knocking off copy cats with the same force that they knock off originals. What comes of this bill is matter of being patient (just like trying to find a job!)

Happy birthday Mom! You don't look a day of 35 (thanks in part to my style mentoring).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

Today's coveted must-have: the clutch. Though they have been on the scene for decades (my mom has a raffia envelope style from the 70's that I am always trying to borrow) clutches have made an enormous entrance for themselves this season. Their small size enables them to be bling-adorned without creating a costume effect, while still allowing you to stylishly stash a night's worth of essentials.

The wish list contains several buttery soft leathers clutches that I would gladly (and necessarily) forgo multiple meals to obtain. This Gucci bag is reminiscent of the Studio 54 era, and would brighten any ensemble. I am drawn to a small bag with some kind of vibrancy to it, like this Jimmy Choo magenta number which would certainly pair with most evening looks not containing red. Even on Bluefly, this LAI python clutch must sit on the wish list and be admired from afar.

For day to night, I love this Botkier ruffle clutch, whose price tag wouldn't hurt the wallet too deeply. Always a fan of Marc Jacobs and his more affordable Marc line, his handbags are no exception. This bright cobalt messenger bag can be converted into a clutch so it serves as 2 different bags. It has a distinct 80's vibe which I usually avoid at all costs, but paired with a modern ensemble, it could work. For a little taste of vintage, this Anthropologie clutch adds sweetness to an otherwise edgy party look. Speaking of vintage, everyone is by now aware of my indelible affection for the 1920's. This J.Crew Marabou bag takes me back to flapper dresses and fedoras.

If you are opting to shop for this season's parties from your own closet, this sequin box purse that converts into a strapless clutch will spice up any frock and leave you ample funds for New York City cocktail prices. For a little more, this J.Crew distressed metallic number is just rugged enough to escape being branded as prom-wear and land itself on the list. Complete with removable wrist strap, this Steve Madden ruffled clutch will be easy to hold on to once the 80's dance tunes begin blaring (plus Zappos always offers free standard shipping). Good things come in small sizes!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Double Take

While I'm all about free competition and using existing ideas as springboards for new creation, Nine West has certainly crossed the copyright line with their version of the ruffled peep toe that Stuart Weitzman offers in an array of colors, for $200 less than the originals. Thoughts?

Shopping Online Versus Waiting In Line

I did not break a sweat once during 4 days of trying hard to resist the numerous sales that littered the malls and city blocks like pigeons. However, I have grown weary after 4 days of incessant emails from every store I was ever stupid enough to give my email address over to at check out. While I love J.Crew and Ann Taylor dearly, if I get one more email announcing a percentage off and free shipping, I may have to drown my Blackberry in a vat of leftover turkey soup.

Apparently, Friday's shopping hordes will pale in comparison to Cyber Monday's throngs. I love a good Internet search for the perfect cashmere cardigan as much as the next person, but I just can't climb aboard the online shopping bandwagon. (Granted while I was away at college in Central New York, miles away from the nearest mall, I received my fair share of packages from .com websites such that the mail room staff began to call me by name, and ask what I was buying this time.) But for those of us who live in shopping meccas, is Internet shopping really preferable to the real deal?

I think of Carrie Bradshaw in the mid 90's when Miranda was explaining the benefits of creating an email account and online shopping. Carrie declined the offer of cyber buying, explaining that shopping was her cardio. Though I frequent the gym, shopping is a sort of health-boosting activity that stimulates my imagination, my emotions, and gets my creative blood flowing. I do however, see the appeal of foregoing the streets and enjoying the buying high from the comfort of a good leather easy chair and a trusty MacBook. Between the crowds of shoppers who leave their manners at home, and the desperate sales persons thirsty for commission that smell your wallet from 100 feet away, it can be a bit much. (My Husband and I visited Bloomingdale's on 59th and Lex yesterday for a pair of leather gloves and had to leave after being assaulted by countless hungry sales persons who hadn't seen their last meal in days.)

Just as I prefer beautiful stationary to emails for certain communications, meeting for coffee to instant messaging (I still don't really know what Twitter is), and tactile inspection to a mere cyber image, I choose hitting the pavement in search of that perfect party dress over an Internet quest for thumbnail images of skinny girls who would look good in burlap sacks. But for those who fancy being online to waiting in line, today's .com sales will make your head spin. For extra savings and free shipping, be sure to visit Saks, Bloomingdales, Loft, Bluefly, Nine West, Banana Republic, and L'Occitane today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Keeping Friday in the Black

When I hear advertisements for Black Friday sales beginning at ungodly hours like 4 am, I cringe. There’s nothing that terrifies me more than the thought of waiting in line with avid shoppers, all jockeying to have first crack at the SpongeBob pajamas. The kind of stores I frequent do not participate in Black Friday door busters, and I like it that way.

The name given to the shopping bonanza originates from the time when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink denoted loss while black ink indicated profitability. The volume of sales the day after Thanksgiving always brought retailers out of the ‘red’ into the ‘black’. The current economic stalemate threatens to make a mockery of the nickname, as few retailers worldwide will see the elusive profits they so desperately need. I will be doing my part, as I already have plans to hit the Long Island malls with my mom in search of a few holiday treasures (dressed in sturdy boots for stomping through crowds and a stampede-proof vest.)

Though J.Crew has resisted the current deep discount trend, they are in the minority this holiday season. Ann Taylor, Loft, Banana, Gap, Bloomingdales, and Lord and Taylor are among the majority offering tantalizing deals to attract consumers into their stores, which are bursting at the seams with ripe holiday merchandise. For those adverse to the mobs of sale hungry wolves that will be out in full force Friday, many of the aforementioned brands are offering free shipping on their .com sites, several with no minimum purchase required. The Loft is already thinking ahead to the desolate post-Christmas lull and offering a 20% off coupon, good from December 28th through January 24th with any donation to St. Jude’s that you make with purchase. Get a good, tryptophan-induced night’s sleep Thursday and do your part to keep Black Friday in the Black!

(photo credit to Grace Magazine)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

From now on, by popular demand, Tuesdays will be reserved for whichever of the moment item that I myself, or those around me, are seeking. With a calendar full of holiday festivities, today's must have: the embellished party top.

No matter your age, your comfort level exposing your arms, or your desire to stick to a budget, there is a sparkly, ruffled, tiered or otherwise bedazzled top for you. To begin the catalogue are my wish-list finds. If it has sequins, chances are I want it. This J.Crew sequin, vintage inspired tank is amazing, but unfortunately, the price is not. Paired with trousers, denim, or black skinny pants, its a party all on its own. Another lustful piece is this DVF sequin tank, whose a-line shape makes it easy to wear for all sizes.

On to more foreseeable purchase options. This Alice + Olivia top is about the same price as a party dress, but more versatile since you can pair it with a multitude of bottoms for different looks. Plus the shoulder detail is reminiscent of the 1920's, my favorite fashion decade. For a more casual top with added elegance, this Project Alabama number at Anthropologie is sweet. The knit would lie nicely under a blazer or cardigan for those who don't do bare arms. For subtly, this J.Crew beaded, washed-silk taffeta tunic style top is irresistible. I've tried it on in the stores and it drapes like butter.

I am admittedly growing a tad weary of the Shakespearean ruffled collars that are persistently popping up on shelves everywhere. Though I own several myself at the moment, I need a hiatus from the look before I grab a wig and begin reciting a Midsummer Night's Dream. Ann Taylor has been showing many of these ruffled darlings, but has updated the detail for the holiday season with a less dramatic collar and more versatile silhouette, especially good for those who like a little sleeve. (Thanks in part to my weekly recommendations, AT reported profits for the 3rd quarter despite carrying light inventory and taking deep markdowns.) Before your next winter party, grab a little sparkle (or channel 90210 and go DIY with a bedazzler).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bar Wear

New York City night life never fails to delight me. This weekend at a friend's party in a familiar east village bar was no exception. Girls were dressed in cute sequin-adorned tanks, satin blouses, belted tunics, velvet blazers, skinny jeans an adorable array of heels. Unfortunately for my female companions, the men were not sporting their bar best. Rather there was a sea of nylon, mock-necks, ball caps, and the dreaded sneakers (apparently none of these guys had caught Tim Gunn on Oprah last Thursday).

Not to fear, where there is a crime against fashion (and a few cocktails) I will do my best to rectify the situation. I spotted an offensively clad guy in his late 20's/early 30's donning a full-zip hooded sweatshirt with the hopeful collar of a button down peering up from underneath. I excused myself from my friends for a moment, and approached the patron. I introduced myself, and the offender seemed shocked that I was talking to him. I politely suggested that, perhaps if he wished to meet any potential mates tonight, he might lose the sweatshirt and stick with just the button down shirt beneath. He hurried to take off his sweatshirt so quickly that he forgot about the beer he held in his hand and it was tossed nosily to the floor. Immediate improvement.

Next was this man pictured above (whose face has been blurred to protect his pitiful fashion choice). While his tan corduroys are rather pleasant, the full-zip mock neck is doing just what its names suggests- it is mocking him. The crew neck red t-shirt he chose to wear under his athletic gear would have been better suited for a game of poker in the confines of his basement. The last guy on my hit list dressed in a full nylon warm-up uniform seemed beyond hope. When I asked him about what he was wearing, he informed me that he was the Brown Football coach, and his team had suffered an embarrassing loss to Columbia today (though I may not know much about college sports, I do know that losing to a team like Columbia is a particularly brutal defeat). The coach thought this somehow explained his outfit, but my expression of confusion did not change. He too took off at least the nylon jacket. My work for the night was done!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gunn to the Rescue

While flipping through the channels yesterday afternoon, (before rolling up my sleeves to make dinner from scratch for the husband, like a good unemployed wife) I was thrilled to see that my favorite man in pinstripes was on Oprah. That's right, Tim Gunn! (This was probably only the second time in my life that I've actually sat through an episode of Oprah, but I'd do anything for Tim.)

Like me, Tim is baffled by what he aptly describes as the "slobification of America". I'm unsure of exactly when utility replaced femininity, but I'm nonetheless acutely aware that at some point the desire for comfort overtook any underlying effort at presentation. Several guests wrote in to Oprah with a myriad of complaints about their mate, friend, or relative (mullets, 80's t-shirts, baggy jeans, torn sneakers). Despite the fact that some of those felonies are actually on trend right now (the unfortunate 80's revival, and the new 'boyfriend fit' loose jean) the pool of candidates for Tim's style rescue was deep and treacherous. Gunn tells it straight, just look for the big 3: silhouette, proportion, fit.

Carson Kressley of Bravo's Queer Eye offered a few basic guidelines that even the fashion offenders worthy of Oprah's selection could effortlessly follow. Just as women must avoid 'mom jeans', so must men steer clear of 'dad jeans', those denim nemeses featuring whiskering, acid washing, intentional tearing or any other such adornment. Men should stick to straight, medium rise, classic blue jeans that meet the tops of their shoes with room to crease slightly. And as far as footwear is concerned, Carson and Tim both loath sneakers outside of the gym. No excuses. (Luckily for my husband, I was willing to overlook the fact that when I met him for the first time at a friend's party, he was wearing badly beaten gray New Balance kicks with pants that barely touched the tops of those atrocious sneakers.) Now if Bravo would just bring back Tim Gunn's Guide to Style....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Styling in Silence

For all those who think 'stylist' is a synonym for 'rail thin, Cartier-clad, dramatic TV personality' (and for my friend Rebecca for different reasons) here is an interesting article from the NY Times on the woman behind Sarah Palin's controversial wardrobe. Another shining example of the often small voices behind some of the most notable ensembles (for better or for worse), and the misconception that those who style always do so with acronyms, fur, baubles, and spotlight.

Off Broadway

Tired of the midtown scenery on a mild, sunny afternoon, I decided to take a long walk down to Soho and enjoy the up and coming holiday window displays. (For the occasion of migrating south of Houston, I found it appropriate to wear my preppy-meets-hipster black and white lace-up oxfords.) As usual, I took 3rd Ave down to 14th, then walked up to where Park Ave turns into Broadway and headed down past Astor Place, Bleecker, and finally Houston. Flustered to find an enormous amount of construction on the corner making it too hard to navigate in brand new shoes, I had to detour west of my route, just off Broadway. Who knew that some of the city's gems hid mere feet away from the main drag?

On Sullivan and Prince I found a shop that momentarily made me think I was back in upstate New York (in a good way). Purl yarn shop is perhaps the cutest store I have even come across in New York City. Though I haven't knitted since junior year of college when my roommate Hillary taught me how (and I made a mangled, lopsided hat that only a mother could love) this discovery made me want to take up the hobby all over again. Then on Greene I saw what looked like Pinkberry meets home decor, and couldn't help but go inside. What I later learned was the Alessi flagship is the perfect place to find unique gifts for anyone interested in cooking, entertaining, or just being quirky. On Spring I came across what looked like just another clothing store, until I went inside and discovered a large vintage display, full of boots, t-shirts (the original Twizzlers logo) and other fabulous accessories. Flying A has a decisive downtown feel, with splashes of lower east side edge and Tribeca glam (including the hard to find Petit Bateau that Rebecca is forever searching for).

Hunger began to rumble in my stomach, just as I turned down Broome and found Mariebelle Soho. Though this was a 'no gym' day, I couldn't resist a little treat from the chocolate bar. The hot chocolate made it impossible to ever use instant Swiss Miss again. To rediscover the city you think you know so well, just veer a little to the left.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Praise Worthy

New talent in the fashion business is like an apple picked from a tree on a crisp October day. It's fresh, juicy, and reminds us why we loved the fruit to begin with. For the past 6 years, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has partnered with Vogue and from a vast pool of fresh design talent, chosen 1 winner and 2 runners-up to receive prize money and recognition in the industry as rising stars.

Often times the winners are people whom are largely unknown at the time of the award to the larger consumer market. Past recipients of this award are Alexander Wang (2008), Rogan Gregory of Rogan (2007), Doo-Ri Chung of Doo.Ri (2006), Trovata (2005) and Proenza Schouler (2004). This year's winner, Sophie Theallet, was born in France and trained with famous designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Alaia. She launched her own brand in 2006 and her pieces can be found at high-end stores like Barney's. Sophie Theallet's designs have been called 'bohemian lux', which aptly describes her use of movement, draping and fabric choice.

While the winners are certainly a talented bunch, I personally find myself rooting for the designers who end up as runners-up. For example, 2007 runner-up Phillip Lim (of 3.1 Phillip Lim) is a well known designer with edgy, chic pieces. Both 2006 runners-up, Rodarte and Thakoon are now flourishing in the industry. This weekend I finally had the pleasure of attending the American Beauty exhibit at FIT where a red and blue Rodarte draped floor length gown caught my attention. The design had macabre inspiration (blood running through water) but regardless of the gothic notion at its conception, the end product was show stopping.

Thanks to Vogue and the CFDA, green talent can be plucked from the tree and watered with the financial nutrients and experienced mentoring it needs to grow and reach consumers everywhere.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Night in Murray Hill

It' a drizzly, damp, oddly temperate for mid-November Saturday night. My Husband and I are returning from dinner with his parents at our favorite local Greek restaurant, Ethos, located in the heart of post-college frat scene, Murray Hill. Though our reservations were at the ripe early bird hour of 6:30, we still managed to collide with the barely legals as they headed out to the vast array of bars that spans 4 long blocks of our neighborhood. While this was probably least pleasant for my poor in-laws, who are not accustomed to the drunken squeals and unsteady teetering of 22-years olds beginning their night out, it was a treat of sorts for me. Aside from the glimpse back into my college years (and unfortunately, New Years eve an embarrassingly short time ago) that this run-in provided, it also was an eyeful of fashion, and, like tequila, there was the good, the bad and the ugly.

Exhibit number 1. A skinny girl, not a day older than 21, dressed in a micro-mini skirt made of an indiscernible synthetic, reminiscent of pleather, topped off with a voluminous faux fur cropped jacket, and chrome heeled ankles booties. While this poor soul would be a Glamour Don't had I had a camera, she manages to just teeter by with a few disbelieving stares. (Faux fur is better than real fur, but in the same way that rug burn is better than a 3rd degree burn.) But there is one point that her ensemble makes, that fashion trickles down from the runway and eventually hits the streets, literally. The micro-mini is a popular silhouette. And ankle booties, as you are well aware, are hot. The volume of the girl's coat is right on track with the unfortunate 80's revival I loathe, yet still recognize.

Exhibit number 2. An average framed girl, about 23, donning skin-tight, shiny leggings tucked into Tory Burch low boots, no coat over her paper thin James Perse tank, and a coordinating Tory Burch clutch. I won't harp on the leggings (even though these were double offenders because they were shiny). The boots are cute, and Tory Burch is on fire lately, ever since her cultish Reva flats hit the shelves a few years ago. I think girls over the age of 12 should not wear thin tank tops by themselves, let alone in the rain, but this was likely the girl's intention. And like Stacy and Clinton say, your bag should not match your shoes so perfectly unless you live in the 1960's or are a cast member of Mad Men. Luckily my in-laws made it back to Grand Central for their train back to Connecticut unharmed by the atrocities of Murray Hill on a Saturday night.

Monday, November 16, 2009

All Black & Blue

Though quite literally many are feeling bruised by the economy, there is also something wonderful happening in black and blue. On a shopping trip to Soho with Rebecca, we came across the color duo she has been in search of since returning from a year in France. It evokes a kind of daring sensibility that many fashion rule followers might shun. But the unexpected pairing of midnight blue and black is quite reverent, and just in time for holiday dress shopping.

There are a multitude of ways to dip your feet in the water before jumping in head first. Rather than being so bold as to do blue and black on our own, by, say, pairing a hot black cocktail number with deep cobalt suede pumps for evening, look for pieces that do the heavy lifting for you. This black Max Azria for BCBG dress adds a dash of blue at the waist. Or this dress, featured at left, by Haute Hippie (with a steeper price tag) mixes the hues more strikingly. Anthropologie, famous for its vintage-inspired apparel, has this adorable party dress in the mixed combo, with the pleasant price tag hitting south of $200. This Ali Ro frock with wide, sequin-adorned stripes of navy and black is my personal favorite of the season.

For pieces that will rock the party, but not your wallet, Urban Outfitters is a go-to destination. This embellished black and blue tank dress is only $58. Or for a more covered up option, this frock priced at just $38 costs less than a double round of Patron shots on a Friday night. Famous for their easy, wearable pieces, Banana Republic has a compelling blue and black story for evening in their Soho location, not currently available online. With prices in the mid $100 range, the collection makes diving into the black and blue ocean an easier task.

If you plan to shop your own closet to prep for holiday festivities this season, there are easy ways to don the new color combo. Pairing your allegiant little black dress with a new pair of opaque navy tights is fresh. Or purchase a pair of the above mentioned navy pumps to do the trick. This season's bib necklaces can also add the unexpected peek of Navy to a black ensemble. If I ever make it to the elusive round 3 interview, perhaps I will be enabled to purchase one of my picks to ring in the new year in new black and blue style.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Legally Speaking

Time and again in the world of fashion, I come across items that so strongly resemble something previously on the market, I literally stop in my tracks to examine the impostor. I am not talking about the bold, brazen knock offs on Canal Street which usually fall into the category of very obvious (and very illegal) trademark infringement. The murkier area is copyright infringement, and the lines are anything but decisively drawn.

Copyright is limited protection given to creators of original works of authorship that have been reduced to tangible form. Ideas that are so singular as to have only one method of expression are not worthy of protection (for example, there is only one way to boil water, so you cannot receive copyright protection for reducing this idea to writing). This concept of limited protection is known as the idea-expression dichotomy. Fashionista (my favorite blog besides my own) features a section they call 'adventures in copyright' where they display a multitude of clothing seemingly inspired by (or copied from?) another. I read it constantly and evaluate the 2 looks myself to reach my own verdict. More times than not, I find the cheaper alternative to the designer work is guilty. (Can you tell which of the above pink and blue dresses is the $24 Forever21 dress and which is the Aidan Mattox from Saks? The waters are caliginous!)

One of the hurdles designers face in protecting their creations under copyright is defining exactly just what constitutes the 'original work of authorship.' For anyone who has ever gone shopping with a significant other, and taken joy in the sight of a full tool party skirt only to have your companion curl a lip, sneer, and tell you you had to be crazy if you though that was hot, you know that style is subjective. One person may look at 2 identical black shift dresses with shoulder cut outs and see 2 totally different frocks, while another may see that clearly the Chanel on the left is a dead ringer for the Cynthia Rowley on the right. And to a certain extent, a little bit of imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isnt it? When your friend shows up to a party in a denim and leather ensemble reminiscent of the look you rocked a few weeks ago, you feel happy to have inspired others, right?

Not so much in the design world. When Marc Jacobs dreams up a floral, flouncy frock with a price tag north of $400, and Forever21 offers a strikingly similar number for around $30, its hard to say they are really competing. A prime concept in intellectual property law is the notion that consumers and 3rd parties will be confused, and mistake the Forever21 for the Marc Jacobs. Even fashion neophytes will agree that such mistake is not possible (does a Datsun look like a Mercedes because they both come in red?) But regardless of the lack of feasible consumer confusion over the 2 dresses, it is still a robbery of sorts. The creative expression of a talented designer has been outright copied for the financial gain of a low end chain retailer. We may not shed tears for the uber successful Marc, but think about when this happens to a small time designer trying to make it big. If her look is 'adapted' for mass marketing after a runway show that took her years and mountains of loans to put on, she will never make ends meet in the word in which she was so 'sincerely flattered'. A line needs to be drawn in the sand so that the designers who bring so much joy to our eager eyes each season can afford to keep doing so with integrity and inspiration.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gifts That Hit The Spot

With Thanksgiving lurking a mere 2 weeks in the distance, the inevitable holiday gift buying frenzy that follows is not far away. After a very busy summer stocked to the rafters with wedding preparations for many of my friends me, we have decided to forgo our annual gift exchange in favor of a good meal with good company. But for those who are not lucky enough to call for a gift stalemate, there are many glorious options in every price rage this season. Some websites, like J.Crew, have user friendly gift guides organized by price tag for those who really want to make this painless. But if you enjoy the thrill of the hunt as I do (even when the ultimate treasure will be turned over to another), there are some fabulous ideas I've collected from my vast array of fashion and style reading in all this free time I have on my manicured hands.

I always shop for gifts that I myself would love to receive. While this does not always work (a few years ago, I gave my friend Eileen a fashion forward powder blue vinyl clutch that she has never taken off the floor of her closet, and that created a tiff about whether or not I really did know her after our 15 years friendship) it is usually the best guide to scoring the perfect finds for others. Never underestimate the joy of the gift card. If you know where a friend or relative shops, eats, or gets their manicures, you absolutely cannot go wrong with a gift card. It's like giving them a glorious day of shopping or pampering for free! (Please get over any apprehension about placing an obvious dollar amount on the card, because, despite what you may think, when someone returns your misguided gift using the fancy 'gift receipt' that intentionally has no price, the second the cashier rings the return, the exact price appears and the mystery is aborted.)

If you insist on tangible items, think broadly about something the recipient is likely to desire, yet never anticipated to buy for themselves. (If you're getting something for me, there are few things I am unlikely to buy for myself if I have the funds, though my mother has mastered this art quite well.) Anything you can personalize is an instantly thoughtful gift. Think of beautiful stationary, a monogrammed cashmere sweater, a customizable beer pitcher and glass combo, or a set of Ridel wine glasses bearing an initial. If your recipient entertains, a stylish set of Jonathan Adler playing cards is super chic, as is a chess set which manages to serve aesthetic as well as useful purposes. As my francophile friend Rebecca would agree, gifts bearing French influence have a certain sophistication. Try a gift set from L'Occitane, or a sumptuous Diptyque candle which will burn for 60 hours and actually permeates the entire room. For a newly wed couple or a relative, a beautiful crystal ornament is timeless.

Even on a limited budget you can be thoughtful and fashionable in your gift giving (just as you can be in your personal style).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stretchy Stuff

After yesterday's successful shopping trip (my friend went home with 2 pairs of knee high boots), I've been forced to reevaluate my blanket abhorrence for all things resembling leggings. I can divide the vile gear into 2 distinct categories, one which deserves its loathing, and another that can be quite magnetic.

First are the well know spandex, easy to spot (and easy to resist) sausage casings for legs. Regardless of your affinity for cured meats, these don't really look good on anyone. While browsing the racks yesterday, my friend and I came across a pair of denim leggings, and were both equally horrified (and my friend is a fierce defender of leggings). I first tried to give the pants the benefit of the doubt and suggested perhaps the elastic waist was suited for maternity wear, but upon further examination I could tell this was not the case. They were just ugly. Skinny jeans are hard enough to wear well, I wouldn't recommend delving into pants that are so brazen as to call themselves 'denim leggings'.

The second variety of spandex leg wear that I find less offensive, and even adorable, are the equestrian inspired camp. On this week's 'to do' list is picking up a pair of these from J.Crew. Several elements make these pants different from the former, vile sausage casings. First of all, they are called 'skinny pants', not leggings. (Any lawyer will tell you word choice is everything.) Secondly, they have a back zipper, kind of like a reverse fly. This makes them more akin to actual pants than leggings. Additionally, the ankle hem does not hug the leg within an inch of its life, but rather stands breathing distance away from the skin. The inner leg patch detail, reminiscent of equestrian jodphers, seals the deal.

So while my bottom line has not changed, I have opened my mind to another previously unknown category of spandex. Just another reminder of why fashion is so fabulous, you never know what you may find.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mid-Week Shopping Spree

In anticipation of my shopping trip with my fashionable friend from college tonight, I've been scouting the best boots for fall-winter'09. Though my former roommate's focus is on the knee-high variety, I can't help but stumble across many ankle booties as well (which have become my season favorite). As always, I tried to cover an array of price points to satisfy my cravings, while at the same time placating my Husband (and recognizing that we still share a studio apartment).

For those fashion gurus who need not look at price tags, these knee highs from Chloe are irresistible. These Burberry equestrian boots are reminiscent of the pair I spent every weekend wearing during my horse back riding career, and I can never get enough of those images. Though I can't get on board with the whole over-the-knee boot, these by Modern Vintage are the least offensive of the variety that I've come across. No one does elegance with edge quite like Christian Louboutin. Those trademarked red soles never fail to deliver effortless chic. These round toe ankle booties are no exception. My friend loves Giuseppe Zanotti (she wore a super hot pair to my wedding) so she may like these knee-highs, though they cost a months rent. Some sacrifies are worth it.

For the price conscious, yet not too restricted, I love these Tory Birch ankle booties. The rounded toe is fresh, the heel is high, and they go day to night seamlessly. No one does equestrian better than Ralph Lauren, and these field boots are very well priced. If you must buy over-the-knee, these Dolce Vitas are well priced and cute, if you fold down the upper portion of leather.

For those who have yet to land a job in this economy, share a studio apartment with their significant other, or spent all their money on the new Louis bag and have none left, there are some very well priced options for a little indulgence. The new low cowboy booty reminds again of those barn days, and I love this affordable pair by Lucky. These knee-highs by Marc Fisher are super cute (and even cuter because of the price). For an edgy little pair of booties, these Kennith Cole's are south of $100 and can be worn with skirts or pants.

And no matter how plump or paltry your wallet is, everyone needs rain boots for those wet, damp city commutes that inevitably engulf the months of January and February. My very favorite are the classic Burberry rubber boots, which I've had since college. If you want to wear a Burberry raincoat, don't want to look like a giant plaid pillow and , these Michael Kors boots hardly look like they're built for the weather. If you really want to camouflage your rain boots, these London Fogs are ridiculously cute, and 100% waterproof. (I'm just not that into hot pink rain boots with critters on them. But as always, wear what you like!) Counting the hours til shopping time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just call me Esquire

Breaking news in my inbox today:

"The New York State Board of Law Examiners congratulates you on passing the New York State bar examination held on July 28-29, 2009. An official certification notice will be emailed to the email address currently on file with the Board. The email will include an attachment with your official bar exam results, which will be in Adobe pdf. A copy of the Notice of Certification must be filed with the Appellate Division as part of your application for admission."

This is not only vindication after 3 years of torture, but also proof that torn sweatpants, Teva sandals and Hanes undershirts do not make one more apt to pass the bar than a cute, cotton blend dress and coordinating gladiator sandals. It is possible to be stylish and successful. A law license is certainly a timeless new accessory, it goes with everything in my closet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beware of Rushing in Heels

Tired of always 'saving' my best shoes for some illusive special occasion, I decided it was time to wear a new pair to run mundane errands. Since my fall '09 obsession is clearly ankle booties, I whipped out my brand new 4 inch set and headed out.

I had at least 2 hours before I needed to be somewhere, so I began my romp leisurely. When booties are new, the portion of leather just below the outer ankle bone is often stiff, as it has yet to be broken in by shopping trips or walks up and the corporate hallways. Not to worry, I rubbed a bit of Band-Aid Blister Block below my ankle to ease any friction this new booty might create. All was well 90 minutes and 40 blocks worth of errands later, when I spotted a Duane Reade and remembered I needed new shampoo. Thanks to the prime cost of retail space in Manhattan, half of this particular Duane Reade is located downstairs. Of course the escalator was not in service so I was forced onto the stairs (ok, I could use the additional calorie burn of a few steps anyway). I placed one foot delicately in front of the other to descend the staircase, and made it to the bottom with a few angry sighs encouraging me to use more speed at my back. After scouring the ransacked shelves for my brand (Pantene, just like Stacy London) I headed back for the ascent to ground level.

I knew my 2 hours were nearly up, and wanted to avoid the bitter lashes from other shoppers clearly in a hurry to leave Duane Reade. As I made my way up the stairs, I increased my pace one notch above normal. I underestimated the great amount of care it took to stabilize one leg at a time on a teetering 4 inch heel, and as I reached the top 5 steps where the outdoor light of safety greeted me like a helping hand, I missed its grasp and came crashing down onto first a knee, and then finally a thigh and partial butt cheek. Those angry sighs turned to shocked gasps, and a handful of concerned offers for help. No need, I could manage on my own. I stood, hobbled up the last remaining steps and brushed myself off. I surely broke in those booties, just as they broke in my self-esteem.