Monday, December 27, 2010

Stormy Sights

Sunday evening's snow storm certainly sent suburbia into a tailspin this weekend. A mere 8 months ago I lived in Murray Hill, Manhattan, where the winter weather merely necessitates Burberry rubber boots and perhaps a hat. I realize that leaving the confines of city dwelling carries certain liberties, but all such freedoms (cars, no more subways, organic farm stands that don't require import tax) come at a price (no more strolls down Madison, owning a shovel, enduring more sweatsuits and Ugg Boots than I thought humanly possible- and I live on Long Island's North Shore, a mere 30 minute drive from Manhattan).

Yesterday morning, despite the anticipated blizzard, we went to the local market to stock up on supplies for the annual dinner party we host after Christmas for my best girlfriends and their men. The parking lot, which resembled the news reports from Black Friday where that poor Walmart worker was killed, more than an organic local market on a Sunday morning, should have deterred us off the bat. But my cravings for light spinach dip and jello pudding snacks were stronger than my anti sweatpants as daywear instincts. After fighting an oversized couple for the last shopping cart, I was already exhausted and ready to grab the goods and get going. A fight at the deli counter was about to turn physical as we sped through the store in search of the few items on our list. Granted, it was cold, it was early, and many inches of snow were in the forecast. But there was not a wildfire, flood, imminent tornado or any other natural disaster that might require one to leave the house in their pajamas in search of rescue or sustenance. Be that as it may, the sight of the people on the checkout lines rivaled the scene at BJ's the weekend after Thanksgiving. Men had plaid pants tucked partially into boots, women had everything from nightgowns over leggings to long underwear and slippers. One woman had on a robe. An actual robe, not a cute sweater coat that men like to make fun. I'm 5 months pregnant and I managed a pair of black leggings, a coordinating zip-front terry jacket and snow boots (my husband, who doesn't own a pair of sweatpants, wore corduroys I gave him for Christmas, an argyle Brooks Brothers sweater and Geox waterproof driving loafers. A match made in heaven). Life in the suburbs will certainly take some getting used to!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Perspectives from Paris

As much as I love the holiday season and all the preparations that accompany the 30 degree days, I took a breather this weekend and dove blissfully into the January issues I had backlogged since the first of the month. I enjoyed Anne Slowey's account of the spring shows, which, for the first time in her career, she had to partake in the same way us mere mortals always do- from the couch.

As I near the half way mark to delivery, the thought of dressing in head to toe white doesn't conjure pleasant images in my head (that plus Saturday night dinner at Bryant and Cooper, where I nearly finished the bread basket before my fillet mignon arrived). However, the drape and swing of summer gauze in bright hues does sound appealing right about now. The pages of Elle are littered with interesting (often odd) shapes and silhouettes that won't translate to mass market America (as is the point of many European Houses). Anne notes that, from the couch, many of the fashions traipsing down the runway look better suited for the early episodes of Project Runway than high couture shows. This is the sentiment many viewers report, and perhaps we all need tickets to Vuitton before we can truly appreciate the intricate delicacy of the hot orange, floor length gown with Star Trek-like shoulder points. I'm eager to shop in regular stores again, and the neutrals paired with citrus brights on deck for next season look good enough to eat (as do many things these days).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Cheer

This weekend was full of dining, decorating, and dancing. When I took this job over the summer, I imagined attending numerous cocktail parties and finally having someplace to wear my sheath dresses and pencil skirts, but the particular details of what I was in for were always elusive. Saturday evening's holiday party, hosted in a private residence in Matinecock, Long Island (Great Gatsby comes to mind) was one for the record books. If my trip to the Queens Mall last winter represented a low point (in terms of self worth as measured by one's loathsome surroundings and the realization that such cultural ideals exist in today's world) this party signified a height of sorts (fashion, food, and all around fabulousness).

I knew I was in for a treat when one of the hosts greeted my husband and me decked in a red plaid Brooks Brothers vest. From there I took in several sequin mini dresses, patent pumps, Essie A-List red nails, Harry Winstons, and just the right amount of velvet. (My husband tugged at my elbow and I saw his eyes light up at the sight of the 5-tier raw bar with everything from oysters to king crab legs, but I asked him not to distract me from the fashions, which, unlike raw fish, I could actually savor.) The 12 piece band played to the background of clinking ice and vodka in crystal martini shakers (another pang as I sipped my club soda), and the ice sculptures picked up the reflecting sheen of many precious stones. (A limited edition Chanel clutch circa 2008 nearly stole my breath, but if I held it in too abruptly, I risked rupturing the seam of my non-maternity size 2 cocktail dress I insisted on wearing.) Tis the season!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Shapes

As the holidays approach, my calendar at work resembles a page from Elle more than that of an ordinary, 20-something new suburbanite. Between charity events, cocktail parties and office obligations my closet is getting more of a workout than I do these days. With the added complication of an expanding waistline, I've had to up the usual amount of effort I put into the seasonal task of holiday wardrobing.

Many of my favorite go-to's won't accommodate my shape for the next 20 something weeks so I've had to branch out (luckily, Pea in the Pod and Ann Taylor's Loft diffusion line offer me some assistance). Happily sequins are still on the scene, and while slightly predictable for holiday, some things just make sense. There's nothing like a sparkling cropped cardigan over a silky, draped tank to almost make me forget I'll be drinking Pelligrino with lime instead of Cabernet all season long. (And the most pleasing moment I've had was when an older co-worker asked if she could still expect to marvel at my ensembles in the ensuing months. Of course!) Besides, the demi-waist panel is one of the most spectacular inventions of the 21st century.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Freshly Baked at Home

Much to my chagrin, making gifts yourself seems to go out of style as you exit the 6th grade. I spent many hours circa 1998 crouched over a pile of threads and old denim on my bedroom floor sewing meticulous hand bags and clutches by hand, utilizing the most random treasures I found in the house (flexible plastic straws for supportive structure, fake lillies for adronments). But perhaps crafts are not passe after all. Fashionista works with Erica Domesek (of P.S. I Made This) on fabulous DIY trinkets, and if she can do it, why not me?

It is fitting around the holiday season to explore the most cost effective (if not time saving) ways to give a trinket from the heart. While I love to give a coriander scented delicacy from Dyptique, or cashmere gloves from the counter at Bloomies, a move to the suburbs, a 2nd car, the insurance to match, and nursery furniture nibble at the funds ordinarily reserved for such gifts. I don't think my back will allow me to resume my days of bag-making on the bedroom floor, but I certainly will be perusing the knitting needles and yarn from the college days (we needed an activity apart from drinking and partying sometimes) in an effort to resurrect that DIY spirit this season. Besides, the best looking, chicest cold weather accessories look hand made and cost $400. Why pay?