Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where have all the basics gone?

I love newness as much as the next person- I am guilty of abandoning perfectly good items because they lose their luster simply by virtue of how long they have lived in my closet. I rip the tags off as soon as I get a new article home, and plan the next day's outfit around wearing it, no matter what it is. A recently purchased plain jersey top is inherently chosen over its 9-18 month old cousin.

But I do not covet newness at the expense of basics. 'New' to me sometimes refers to cut/color/trim, but often just purchase date. I avoid pieces that show their age in terms of the aforementioned characteristics, because I am not trendy, 17, nor of unlimited means to purchase each season's it-list in toto. Right now, after post-Christmas binge shopping, I am in desperate need of a cream colored turtle neck sweater. The proud owner of last week's fabulous cobalt blue Ann pants, and now a glen plaid Jcrew pair, plus black wide leg Theory trousers with lime green pinstripes, among other winter pencil skirts, I'm craving a cream topper. But the retailers are so caught up in holiday cheer they have neglected the basics. Out I go again, one last time, in search the missing top. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bright Blue

My girlfriend Rebecca came over today for our annual clothing exchange (more of a giveaway, since it involves me handing over bags of things I no longer wear, but need to see live on with a dear, fashionable friend). The more sparse racks in my closet were calling desperately for something new. So to the stores I went.

Among more practical items, this pair of cobalt blue ankle pants from Ann are my single favorite purchase of 2011 (yes, the entire year). Though the color seems vibrant, it actually pairs with a lot of basic tops and shoes (think sumptuous grey cashmere and black platform Michael Kors pumps). Closing the year on a bold, yet responsible note (pants purchased at 50% off) sets a good stage for things to come.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Buyer's Remorse

Despite my keen eye and critical mind, I fell victim to fabulous marketing and fashion photography this past weekend. For a few months now, I have fixated on owning a cozy, over sized, tunic length winter sweater. Those chunky sweaters with dolman sleeves that drape so effortless over the lithe arm of an amazon-esqe model are rather enticing in Harpers and Vogue. So off I went, in search of the perfect cape/poncho/tunic to pair with slim jeans (still no leggings here now that all forms of pregnancy are past).

In the Miracle Mile Ann Taylor (where everything seems affordable due to its placement adjacent to Prada, Escada, and St. John) I honed in on a light grey sweater fitting all criteria- loose cut, kimono sleeve, mid-hip length. My spirits soared when I saw a small white sign announcing 40% off of the $168 price tag. I snatched it off the rack before any of those milling around me could get a hand near it. Too excited to bother with the fitting room (and rushing to get home before Tucker was due to have some organic sweet potato puree-made from scratch!) I headed straight for the register.

Since my work is technically closed for the next 2 weeks (though my particular office remains open) I can dress more casual chic than business casual. Finding this the perfect chance to don my new sweater, I happily thew it over my head this morning. Fixing my hair in the mirror I was horrified at what I saw. More akin to bag lady or potato sack than chic poncho, the sweater swallowed me and spit me out. I adjusted the shoulders, added a scarf, tried a belt, nothing helped. I thought I was being too critical- it looked so great in the magazines. I must give it a try. Off to the kitchen to prepare Tucker's breakfast. The large sleeve knocked over a filled bottled and then dragged the liquid across the counter. Tucker won't fit on my hip, which has been replaced by an expanse of wool. My coat won't fit over the chic dolman sleeve, and its too cold to go without. In my haste to tidy up, I threw out the bag and the receipt, and already clipped the tag so I am stuck with the amorphous rag. Anybody interested in a post-holiday bad decision swap?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gifting Greatness

With Black Friday and other maddening marathon sales events out of the way, more leisurely holiday shopping can ensue. The list is short this year- many friends also celebrating their first holidays with little ones in tow understand the need to cut back. The selections may change, the colors vary, but the core gift gifting tenets remain in effect.

When decide just what to get for those who seem to have everything, sometimes its best to start with what not to get (or wear, Stacy and Clinton). Regardless of how desperately a wife says the household needs a new Bissel steam cleaning vacuum, do not purchase this as a holiday gift. Utility should not be a guiding principal when choosing a gift, nor should practicality. There will be sales in January and you can buy one then. Toning footwear (Sketchers Shape-ups, Reebok Easy Tone, etc) should also be crossed right of any list for consideration. We all want to get in shape, Christmas is not the time to validate our complaints about a firmer bottom.

Classics are always in style: brightly colored leather gloves, a balanced yet spicy cologne (Burberry does everything well), anything with a monogram (like these Brooks Brothers monogrammed pajamas), an elegant Diptyque candle in Coriander. (With scented candles, keep in mind what Miranda said to Carrie when Steve's new girlfriend gave her one from a flea market, 'scented candles replace women with cats as the new saddest thing'. This can be true so stick to well heeled brands that balance their scents and wont leave your home smelling like a buffet or a taxi cab.)

Tucker will get a Brooks Brothers teddy (wearing a classic silk tie) a few wooden keepsake toys, and a lot of clothing to fit his ever growing frame. Gift giving to an infant is more for parents joy than babies anyway, but then again so is most gifting. Happy shopping!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Holiday Dressing

Though the turkeys are not yet in the oven and the mercury hovers in the 50's, the holiday invites are beginning to collage the fridge and thus the season has arrived. For the first holiday season post-baby, I knew a closet overhaul (part 2) would be in order. The size 0 go-to LBD is no longer a good, dear friend, but rather an unflattering frenemy. Bridesmaids dresses lingering in the background are ready for their next home.

With a smaller budget than the usual holiday shopping spree would be allocated (Tucker is the proud owner of many new winter treats- Ralph Lauren classic cable sweater and overalls for thanksgiving, cashmere argyle vest with fine wale cords for Christmas) I have to re-imagine the party dress. I own a cream silk tank with black lace applique, that's probably even more on target now than last fall when I bought it at Scoop. That can pair with a fitted black silk tulip skirt that was a steal from Ann Taylor at $68 (reduced from $119)! Pants can do evening (love this skinny pair from Rachel Zoe at Intermix), if they have the right heels (a re-do of the classic black peep toe from Michael Kors) to support their night out. And an LBD doesn't have to be black at all-sapphire blue, grey and even red are good options (like this under $100 score from Loft).

The silver lining to the economic tumble is the steep discounts and routine promos you can count on each week, brand-wide. I haven't enjoyed such prices since my days as a buyer (which still make it difficult to fork over $150 for a J.Crew bauble bib necklace when the industry standard 75% IMU (mark up) lingers in my mind). I'm sure the black Friday deals will be epic, but I've never had the stomach for a buffet, let alone shopping in hoards (someone booked our nanny to be at their house at 4am to watch the little ones while they take to the malls. I'd rather wear polyester in the summer). Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I shouldn't be surprised that it happened, given that 1) I was in a rush, 2) I was wearing dry-clean only Ralph Lauren light grey flannel trousers, 3) I had left all bibs and burp cloths in the kitchen and didn't pack any in Tucker's bag, and 4) I had an early meeting with a VIP. But nevertheless, one is still caught off guard by the projectile force with which pasty white Similac on its way back up catches the leg of a perfectly crafted wide-leg trouser pant.

With baby on hip, Marc Jacobs dangling from elbow, traveling coffee mug in left hand and key clenched between forefinger and mug, I lost another precious few seconds deciding how to react first. Baby can't be placed down on cement parking garage floor or roof of the car, so appendages had to go while baby was safely nestled into car seat. Luckily, I compulsively clean my car on weekends, so the backseat floor mat had to serve as both burp cloth and dry-clean device in a pinch. (Tucker of course found it all amusing, which helped buy my a few more minutes I really couldn't afford to begin with). Fellow parkers didn't miss the opportunity to stare (not offering a hand of course, we are not that far from the mean streets of Manhattan after all). The entire fiasco added 6 minutes to my clock, wear and tear to my pants, and perspiration to my face.

I won't say I learned my lesson when it comes to the pants- I own far too much cashmere, silk, wool and other washer-adverse material to forgo all such ensembles. But I won't be leaving the house without several burp cloths in the near future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Boys Play

I realize that the holidays are still quite a few weeks off, but when it comes to dressing for occasions, its never too early to prepare. I was fortunate enough to receive a few samples of one of the most irresistible children's lines around, Tom & Drew. Though 2T is the smallest size, it wont be long before Tucker is rivaling his dad for best dressed (especially given he weighs nearly 20 pounds and is 2 weeks shy of 6 months old). The company also donates a portion of proceeds to bulldog rescue, how could you resist? (Take a peek at some looks on facebook, or shop the collection at Shopbelle.)

The grey gold button blazer will probably have to wait until the pureed foods have become a thing of the past (or risk the same fate as my ill destined silk theory shirt), but it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, holiday shopping for baby and and birthday browsing for daddy is underway (and since the latter will be bidding farewell to his 20's, the perfect present is a necessity). What to get the man that (since we began dating 5 years ago) has everything (and if he gets too much more, will be encroaching into my closet)?

photo credit to Tom and Drew's Facebook page

Friday, October 14, 2011

9-5 Grind, and then Some

A typical day was ahead- up by 5, drop Tucker at daycare, at work by 7:45, 2 meetings, pick Tucker up, wait for Hubs to return from work, head back to work for Board meeting, no dinner, home by 10. The evening addition to the usual menu required an extra touch of 'professional' to the otherwise business casual ensemble.

The walk-in closet was once my best friend. But like so many 20-something girlfriends find each other, it has become more of a frenemy. Its not size (I have resigned myself to the fact that the 0-petite pants won't fit comfortably again since nearly 9 pound Tucker made his debut, so I've purged and replaced them with the next size). Dry clean only seems impractical, 3 inch Prada pumps carry fear of falling with precious baby on hip, crisp white Thomas Pink shirt wrinkles under baby's weight on shoulder, black Theory pants collect lint from carpeting while sitting and playing on activity mat with aforementioned baby in the morning. What to do? After the 5 hours of sleep I managed the night before, patience are slightly short, and sounds from the nursery signal my time to decide on an outfit is near its end. The 80% closet purge I find necessary to go on is not in the cards this month, so I'm forced to work with what I have.

Grey merino boatneck with elbow sleeves and black sateen Ann Taylor pants it is. Jcrew statement necklace thrown in purse to be put on after daycare drop-off (ever seen a 5 month old baby and an expensive piece of not-so-expensively-made costume jewelry? Not good). Sounds getting louder, rushing required. Overly practical Enzo flats will have to do. 16 hours later I'll be home to change!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wearing White

Wearing my white after labor day proudly (boyfriend cut jeans, rolled at the ankle) is a routine for me. So post baby, I wanted to adhere to my usual fall fashion habits as much as possible. Excited with my new discounted pair of Sevens (discounted because apparently, not everyone realizes you can in fact wear white jeans all year long) I found a great light weight cashmere top to pair them with.

I should mention that at 4 months old, Tucker now eats pureed veggies. It just so happens that every 'first veggie' is orange in color (sweet potatoes, carrots, squash). After a great day in my white jeans, I ran to pick the prince up from daycare and rushed home for dinner time. Organic carrots and flexible Skip Hop spoon in hand, we began our meal. Practicing his new skill of blowing bubbles with his saliva at every chance he gets, Tucker blew the contents of the spoon all over the table, and more sadly, my white jeans. Not even Tide to go could help my poor pants, for orange is an impossible color to remove from fabrics.

I think that perhaps first veggies should be a more appropriate hue, like beige. Can white potatoes make a comeback?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Grab Bag

A woman's purse is always a variable treasure trove of wonders, but on this day my bag was even more full than usual. With 4 month old baby on hip, bottles stowed in monogrammed infant lunch tote, prada makeup case tucked into outer pocket, phone safely away from water bottle in middle pouch, I was ready to go.

Daycare drop off was done in record time (which always includes at least 10 minutes where I stand smiling at Tucker and making faces while he squeals in delight in daycare worker's arms before I can rip myself away, and the mandatory taking off and putting back on of Michael Kors wedges). Next stop Starbucks for my one indulgence of the day (iced triple espresso with half and half- yes, half and half, and plenty of it). While reaching into my trusty Gucci extra large hobo for Louis Damier wallet, the first thing I retrieved was not the wallet at all, but rather dirty poop diaper packaged in a ziplock, ready to be dropped off at the doctor to test that little man is not allergic to newly introduced first foods (mmm rice cereal). The cashier did not miss the incident, as I stood there for at least 20 seconds holding the Pampers in my right hand. I smiled, tucked the diaper back into Gucci, and found sought after wallet. Adventures in parenting and working full time.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Washed Out

With all the hurricane fanfare, I decided I better at least go out and get a few things in case any of the weathermen in their slickers, yelling through gusts of wind in NC happen to be telling the truth. In the suburbs, hysteria travels faster than baby poop out of the diaper. At the local Stop and Shop, it appeared to be Armageddon. After fighting a middle aged housewife for one of the last few gallons of Poland Spring, I had had enough and returned home.

What does one really do to prepare for a hurricane when you don't live on the water, in a flood zone, or in a 100 year old building? A manicure and pedicure for sure, in case stores remain closed into next week. The baby sleeps through blaring fire alarms, uses all battery operated toys, and drinks 32 ounces of soy formula a day from pop-top, ready to feed bottles that don't require refrigeration. He's the household model of storm survival. Cabernet is best at room temperature anyway, and when that runs out, there's always the unused cases of Slimfast in the back of the pantry. I can read Elle and Harper's in the dark, and if we really need some light, we can always borrow a D battery from the Fisher Price swing and load up the old flash light.

Whatever you do to prepare, relax, have a drink, and dry your hair once last time for the weekend.

Friday, August 19, 2011


As colorful as a Fisher Price jungle gym, Missoni's pieces are fairly unmistakable (I own one such zigzag adorned tunic that I love to pull out each fall and pair with straight jeans, though I think I'll be waiting until solid food time to dare doing so this season). With a definite 70's vibe, the line's trademark patterns mesh a taste of the past with a nod toward the future (think head scarf meets cashmere).

What fabulous news to hear that on September 13th, Missoni's new wallet friendly line will be debuting at Target! I must admit, before Tucker, I had made only 2 visits ever to the world renowned giant (once to unsuccessfully score a piece from Zoc Posen's Target collection, the other in search of a beach chair during the peak of a summer season when every place under the sun was sold out). In my new life, however, Target has replaced the Loft in terms of quick impulse stops on the way home (yes, another tragedy of the suburbs). Now, in addition to cases upon cases of Similac Isomil formula, mom can stock up on a few other necessities on the next trip to the mega chain. Shopping for diapers just got a bit more fun!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Good Fight

Its that time of year again, when stores announce friends and family deals to lure in shoppers who have grown tired of sleevless hot weather wear, and offer them a tantalizing taste of fall. On a now rare trip to Loft yesterday, I arrived armed with my coupon and spotted a jersey dress that fit all new motherhood criteria (machine washable, under $100, non-constricting yet fitted enough to show hard earned pre-pregnancy figure). As the sales girl rung the purchase, I happily turned over my coupon for an additional percentage off. As if I had just given her a task of manual labor, the girl took an exasperated breath and explained I could only receive the discount if I used my store credit card. (Store credit cards are devices designed to fool husbands, diffuse large Visa bills, and increase the already numerous amount of monthly bills, so I refrain from opening any). I doubted my ability to read fine print, and sheepishly took the paper back from the salesgirl and turned to leave with my tail between my legs.

I made it half way to the door when I began to think. Had motherhood made me soft? Since when was my willingness to fight for a deal suppressed? And since when was I ever wrong about a coupon code? I took one final glance at the size 4 print at the bottom of the coupon and strode back to the counter. I interrupted the cashier in her discussion about why salads made her bloated and stuck the coupon across the counter, informing her there was no mention of needing to use the store card to get the discount. Again appearing overly taxed, she began to explain the instructions she was given. I told her how little I cared about her instructions, and that my legal eye was perfectly capable of reading fine print. She appeared to weigh for a second the implication of being scolded by her manager against standing here and arguing with me another moment. Another exhausted sigh, and she scanned the coupon, gave me my 30% off and shoved the bag across the counter to me. I smiled and left as I'm sure the girl shared some expletives with her coworker. No worries, I'll be cleaning spit-up and washing bottles after an 8 hour day of work in style tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Home Decor

After we spent so many hours (and so much of our wedding money) purchasing just the right black stained furniture and coordinating beige couch, with red and orange accent placed ever so carefully throughout the living space in 2009, all has gone to hell. The new centerpiece of the house is neither muted nor coordinated, subtle nor artistic. It is all shades of primary colors, all shapes under the stars, and lights up when activated.

The Fisher Price Bounce and Spin is hideous, obnoxious, and my favorite part of the living room. Our little prince (who is 10 weeks old, 14.5 pounds, and 25 inches) grins from ear to ear when his chubby thighs spring through the leg holes on the obtrusive device. Too short to really utilize all the jumping delights of the toy, he merely dangles and bobs his head with joy. Out the window with decor and design, in favor of anything that buys us such a smile. Perhaps one day an Hermes Birkin will evoke a similarly pleasant reaction.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The New Normal

Sleeping until 7am, using the gym first thing in the morning, and eating a meal are all a thing of the past. The day now begins at a variety of hours, all dictated by how long my precious 7 week old decides to sleep any given night. This morning for example, he awoke at 5:00 am, a very civilized time. Daycare begins at 8, so that leaves 3 hours to eat, play, dress, and leave the house. Sounds easy, no?

All outfits laid out the night before (he likes to wear collared Ralph Lauren one-sie's and always packs a coordinating bib for the day), and I must resort to things that are easily changed (should some last minute spit up find itself on my shoulder) and conducive to squatting and playing on the floor (in case the little one doesn't allow me 5 minutes to change when we get home).

The actual amount of time I will have to dress in said outfit all depends on how long the dangling owl on the activity mat (thank you Auntie Christine!) will entertain us. (This also is of course assuming that I was able to brush my teeth before hubby left for the day. If not, that eats into my precious 4-6 minutes of prep time). You never knew just how quickly you could get a dress on, brush your hair, and curl your eyelashes than when you begin to hear the first rumblings of what, if left unattended, will turn into a lung warming cry. Luckily, the owl was particularly fascinating this morning and I was even able to make a pony tail with my now shoulder length hair.

In the elevator going to the garage, an older woman remarked to her friend how early it was to be leaving the house this morning, at the ripe hour of 7:55. It felt like high noon to me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just as I was navigating my way through sleepless nights, tiring days, and endless clothing changes (myself and baby), along came a disaster to shake things up. Baby is home safely now, but there is nothing like 4 days in the pediatric ICU to give you a new perspective on things.

Dashing into the office intermittently (requiring some semblance of 'work' outfits within reach), sleeping in a chair at night, and spending hours comforting a baby (who cries less than than me) in a windowless room certainly teach one how to par down to the necessities of wardrobing and surviving.

The trusty Juicy sweatsuit, a staple since college finals, was once again called upon to come out strong. Hopefully the next time I pull it from the closet it will be for a happier occasion, a snow day this winter perhaps.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shaken or Stirred

Despite finally being able to drink alcohol again, I have yet to really enjoy a glass of anything since arriving home from the hospital 2 weeks ago. The heat makes me long for a strong margarita in a plastic cup at the Murray Hill roof top favorite, Rio Grande, across the street from the old apartment. (Whats amazing in that one year and one week ago, we still lived in that Murray Hill studio. My how things change!) Perhaps its better off that I can't find a moment for a glass of wine, as on 3 hours of sleep a night, I'm not sure it would take very well.

Enjoy the abundant pre-summer festivities, whether you like yours in a plastic cup or with a side of Prada.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Not pregnant and not in Heels

Baby Tucker arrived on May 15th (weighing 8 pounds 9 ounces, after 36 hours of labor beginning on Friday the 13th) and for the first time in 14 days, I dried my hair, ironed it, and put on a madras skirt with matching tank for the Memorial Day weekend(the unofficial start to summer). The offers of help I once scoffed at have all been phoned in, and frantic calls to find a part time baby nurse have ensued.

Those cute seersucker onesies I was all too excited about have been sitting untouched in the baby dresser, instead the little man is donning the footed one piece pajama, 24 hours a day (and wetting through at least 3 of them in a given morning through night period). They shouldn't make such cute short sleeve, bare-leg outfits in size 0 months, because apparently, babies have to be in layers even in 75 degree weather for their first month of life. Of course people like me will drop $30 for a teeny tiny collard short sleeved polo suit that the baby will outgrow by time he has enough self temperature regulation to actually wear. So all the footed pj's I turned my nose up at have become our life staples, and my fears that my baby will be a couch potato sitting in his sweat pants all day will have to be shelved until he can at least sit up on his own.

The lack of time between 10 minute baby naps and appetite has made my maternity wardrobe a thing of the past, but I've yet to break out any of the new finds I have for the season. In due time I hope!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jeans Scene

My love for denim is no secret. In this month's Harper's I was thrilled to see a glimpse of Ralph Lauren's new line of sturdy American staples (and enjoyed reading about his son's impending nuptials to the fashionable Lauren Bush, begging the question of surnames- to alliterate, or keep one's own famous maiden name?)

Granted the only denim I've donned since mid fall has had an elastic waist band and faux-fly, but it feels like only yesterday I was sliding my favorite straight cuts over my hips. Before I indulge my delights and purchase a new pair for fall 2011, I'm going to try my best to wait until a few weeks after baby, just in case i need to add a number to my former size (doctor assures me that wont be the case but I'll believe it when I'm zipping up my old jeans).

Though Ralph's collection is called 'high end', suggesting price tags with more digits than my last Visa bill, a pair of hand-washed novelties may be in the cards this summer (available at Ralph Lauren boutiques and online only). Counting the days (18 if we are to believe we will be one of the 5% of lucky couples who actual deliver on our due date....)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Showers

I have discovered something I enjoy even more than shopping for spring clothes for myself: Shopping for baby clothes. Most people probably think little ruffles and jumpers that go along with having a girl are the most desirable for such shopping. But I have enjoyed so thoroughly putting together outfits for a preppy, classic infant boy that I can't even imagine purchasing pink.

Since, at 9 months pregnant, much of the day is spent consumed by discomfort (a stress fracture on my left rib from the baby not helping matters), special shower gifts like a sweater vest and coordinating seersucker pants from Hartstrings (sold at Saks) considerably brighten the day. Brooks Brothers Fleece (which conveniently opened 8 minutes from our home) is now as irresistible on quick trips to Starbucks as Loft on 42nd and Lex used to be on the walk home from the Subway each night.

Until he's old enough to exercise volition in clothing choices, building the wardrobe of a soon-to-be baby is thrilling (and reminiscent of taking my Husband shopping back in the early days before his very first day of his very first job. Since then, he has become an enormous clothes horse who actually suggested he may need to share some space in my walk in closet. Cute.)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wedge Woods

Standing online behind 4 other people all waiting to pay gives one time to assess the pending purchases. I loved the cognac, braided leather, 3 inch heeled sandals in my hand, and at 30% off full price, I loved them even more. But in a sea of wedges, I was holding the only actual heel and it gave me pause. Heels are fabulous, but not so much for walking on grass or cobble stones, carrying children, or walking fast to keep up with a boss who likes to walk and talk (all of which lay ahead for me this summer). So reluctantly, (even perhaps a little shamefully?) I stepped out of the line and returned the box to a near by couch with an apologetic smile in the direction of the salesgirl.

Satisfied to have averted a wasteful purchase, I redirected my focus to a new pair of wedges, much more practical for my upcoming season. If price is of no concern, Chloe does 70's wedge better than most. Since I will be spending more on diapers than on duds this summer, I need to steer clear of Saks. J.Crew's collection of Italian leather wedges is hard to pass up, most prices south of $200 lessen the blow as well. I love the Marguerite and the Sevigne, both modest in height (and both flattering on the leg, if I'm to believe the well accessorised salesgirl in Walt Whitman). For a less severe look, with slightly more refinement, Loft's Frankie Wedge is a must have (especially at $79.50). No matter how many pedicures I get during the summer, my sandals seem to be gross by the seasons end and I have a hard time squeezing out an encore. While this is usually a nice excuse to shop, I am having pains parting with a particularly perfect black and tan pair from Ann purchased in spring 2010. The search goes on.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Never Say Never...

At the risk of outing myself as a fashion hypocrite, I must admit to the facts of my day. I woke up at 7:00, when I had to be at work at 7:35 for meeting. While I usually lay all elements of my outfits out the night before (including under garments), lately this has still resulted in last minute changes to the chosen attire (the silk non-maternity tops Ive been clinging to for the past 32 weeks have officially been relegated to the unwearable section of the closet, along with many other items that pull at my heart each day. And mind you at 8 months pregnant I've gained exactly 19 pounds, which I hear is fairly standard and does not qualify me for the whale category yet, but tell that to my shirts).

So this morning, when the pre-selected gray silk tank pulled angrily at my stomach after being inched down over my shoulders, I ripped it off and frantically began digging through the cotton-spandex blended maternity tops from Pea in the Pod. With an acceptable top finally pulled comfortably over my bump, I needed a different pair of pants. Trusty demi-panel black pants were finally in the laundry, green cords worn the day before, and khakis saved for the spring like day predicted Friday. I eyed the top shelf, reserved for 'around the house' apparel, and slowly eased down a pair of black ankle length leggings with two fingers. With the tunic length top and ballet flats, they had to work for the day which now began in 10 minutes.

I wont lie, I felt comfortable all day, was able to sit and stand with zero textile resistance, and didn't rush to change when I got home this afternoon at the civilized hour of 4:30. I can't say I'm choosing function over fashion everyday, but today, the leggings saved me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Expanding Shapes

The thrill of maternity clothes peaks around 20 weeks, when you can finally fit into those demi-panel Seven jeans, and super cute Pea in the Pod tops you've been eying since week 4. By 31 weeks, the novelty has worn off, and all I want is regular clothes that are not cut like burlap sacks. As a 400 person gala I spend all winter organizing is fast approaching, the non-maternity size 2 Ann Taylor jersey dress that fit me last week no longer looks so cute this week (it has no zippers, buttons or closures, and is simply one straight cut piece of spandex that expands as it needs to. Picture eating nachos, a burger, and molten chocolate cake at Chili's, and never having to unzip your pants. It feel like that). Despite the addition of a maternity Spanx and fabulous bib necklace, my mirror just doesn't think the dress works anymore.

Luckily, stores such as Nordstroms offer many acceptable options, at prices that ease the pain of the purchase (I hate buying a dress I am destined to wear only once, I always try to get at least 2 wears per buy). I also love Isabella Oliver, but price tags north of $120 for a dress that will fit for about 8 more weeks just sting too much. With the help of my friend from college (whose May 14th wedding I will be in labor and delivery during), I anxiously await the arrival of my Olian colorblock dress, pictured right (reminiscent of Reese's Oscar gown on some small level) to see me through the event in 6 short weeks.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Stripes and Stripes and Stripes

I came home from a shopping trip this weekend, hung up my new purchases immediately as usual, and had to do a double take in my new 10 foot deep walk in closet. There were now no less than 7 blue and white striped tops in the wardrobe (and this doesn't take into account the several more likely in the summer storage bags under the bed).

I had come home from Ann Taylor Loft with a hop in my step from the purchase of this super cute striped tunic (in a drapey cut that fit me now at 7.5 months pregnant, and will still look cute come summer). But my bubble was slightly deflated at the sight of so many similar tops, all in the same navy and white color combo (not to mention the above J.Crew blazer, and a few similar sweaters). I'm not sure there is ever a time that I can resist a striped top, and when given the option of several colors, I apparently stay loyal to my favorite in nautical classics. (I think they say to avoid horizontal stripes if you want to appear slimmer, and I'm not sure that at 30 weeks along, I should be donning them. But what I like, I like.)

So next time I head out and am wooed by the ubiquitous stripes that come with the season, I'll try my best to avoid a repeat impulse buy (or at least I'll attempt a different colorway, I do like red and white too).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jean Scene

I love denim as much as (if not more than) the next person. But a few head to toe looks from FW 2011 have left me cringing, no matter how 'chic' the critics may find it to be.

I'm happy to see the return of the trouser cut, which flatters most shapes, unlike the skinny jean which really doesn't look good on more than half of the people who wear it. (I'm also happy that I held on to my favorite Seven Dojo cut from college, which will likely still fit post baby, since at 7 months pregnant, I've yet to hit my early college weight).

Though jean shorts find their place on the runway, I find them best left to those under the age of 15 attending summer camp (although after watching too much of Dateline's 'To Catch a Predator', I think perhaps only pedophiles still wear them). Dsquared's version pictured left may be okay if you have those legs (and are not a 40 year old single man on the Internet).

Light weight denim and chambray have remained on the scene since the early 90's when Kelly and Brenda donned their favorites on 90210. (My favorite denim top is actually from the Gap, circa 2003. But I'll consider adding a short sleeve variety to the mix for spring '11). The hunt for the perfect wedge to add a little height to those trousers begins next.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Old is New

Like wine, cheese, and Chanel, most things getting better with age. And with fashion, this can be true as well. Designers like Kate Spade have built empires on the vintage charm of an antique lace hem and a retro circle skirt with mary-janes.

I have an aversion to goods that have actually been worn or used (something about soft fabrics and their absorbency that just creeps me out), but not to their style. Vintage is more a state of style than a fact for me (unless we're talking about my grandmother's raffia envelope clutch from 1930). The Times talked to a few women who resurrect decades past every weekend when they don their dated duds and frequent New Orleans hot spots. Their frocks may have all the charm of a 1950's Chevy, but none of the age. Many designers have hopped on the 'old is new bandwagon' and are producing lines that ooze retro rehab, yet are made from newly minted fabrics.

There may be a drop of inauthenticity to this approach, but I'm not really sure its any different that using soy instead of regular milk- you want the flavor, but not the dairy. Style is dynamic, dimensional, and steeped in scents of those who came before. It takes a little from here, some more from there, discards what doesn't work (still waiting to see leggings drop off the fashion map) and retains that which inspires. In fashion, there is little that excites me more than a polka dot shirt dress, a full skirt nipped in delicately at the waist, or a pair of peep-toe ankle booties (I take my vintage with a healthy dose of modern). History can be brilliant.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fools Gold

Since E started airing all episodes of Sex and the City, I've been happily catching up on all that I've been missing since my DVD collection never made the move out of the city with me (some lucky person who frequents the Salvation Army is enjoying my repertoire as a bonus to his TV stand purchase).

Last night's episode was the famous post-Aidan break up (part 1) trip to LA where Samantha and Carrie consider buying a fake Fendi, only to realize just how sad the impostors look in the trunk of the car in 'the Valley'. Happily the story concludes with a reflection on how, even if others are fooled, Carrie would always know her bag was a fake. A victory for fashionistas and intellectual property lawyers alike.

Unfortunately not all North Shore Long Islanders adopt this philosophy, and I was forced to share a train seat with one such offender. It was bad enough that my warmest winter coat just barely zips over my 26 week stomach, the train arrived 15 minutes late, stopped numerous times between stations, and then crawled into Penn Station with the effort of an elderly man on oxygen. But the entire ride a large, middle aged woman insisted on resting her faux Gucci bag against my thigh, pressing it more firmly into me with each voyage her hand took to retrieve another snack. I tried to escape the contact of the vile object (made from who knows what), but I could only plaster myself against the armrest so hard before it began leaving an imprint in my side. Somewhere outside of Jamaica I couldn't tolerate it any longer, and found refuge standing near the doors. I suppose this is something I'll have to adjust to as a suburbanite.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Privacy, Please

If I had several million lying around, I would definitely make a high risk investment with the potential for an equally high yield, perhaps a struggling new designer, or a solar powered hair iron. The 2 private equity firms that put their heads together and decided to buy J.Crew for a reasonable $3 billion this past November certainly had the right idea (and stock prices have confirmed consumer confidence of this decision).

Since the end of turkey day, I've been anxiously awaiting any sign of the new ownership in the brand's veneer, hoping that it doesn't manifest in another price tag hike, and that any impact is rather minimal, akin to a new microderm abrasion peel rather than a face lift. So far so good- spring appears to be eternal, ethereal, and inspiring of trips to the tropics, as per the usual. (I've found a few one-piece bathing suits I'll be needing for post-baby summer days at our private community pool, so cute that I will hardly be missing my usual bikinis. My good friend is planning her May honeymoon, and has stocked up on much of the January capsule resort wear, making me both excited for the pictures, and jealous that I can't also take another honeymoon this spring).

But the longer term effects of transition into the private sector have yet to be seen. Reports predict 'aggressive' store expansion, and this always carries a risk. Part of what makes a brand so enticing is its mild accessibility, both in terms of price and location, and anything as pervasive as McDonalds loses something. But we will wait with baited breath for what lies ahead!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Club Wear

In The Devil Wears Prada, when Anne Hathaway's unsupportive boyfriend, upon hearing news of her new fashion job tells her that, to her, Club Monaco is couture, I always think, whats wrong with that? I was happy to see news in February's Harpers Bazaar that famed photographer Ryan McGinley and actress Lou Doillon collaborated on the chic brand's spring line.

During my fashion merchandising days, between my time at Ann and the beginning of law school, I helped design and implement a spring floorset for for Club Monaco's Soho location and in the process, took home 3 large bags full of new finds with the lovely 40% off employee discount, temporary as it may have been. Few know that Club is actually owned by Ralph Lauren, one of its few non-eponymous brands. But if you look closely, the child's aesthetic (clean, modern, sportswear) is really an apple from the tree. The feel of the clothes is decidedly urban, with European tones evident in cuts and details. With no online shopping (other than through sites like Shop Bop), Club Monaco is a bit of an anomaly in this day. I have to have a coral silk shirt dress shown in Harper's under a taupe masculine vest, (the loose shape of which will be forgiving this summer, post baby). I feel slightly ridiculous shopping for such items in the store at the moment, given my 6 month belly, but I'm looking ahead to needs for the season ahead as always. Check out your nearest Club Monaco for a spring treat.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Splits and Rips

If you are a fan of Bravo's Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and happen to adore, pity or otherwise be enchanted by cast member Camille Grammer, do not read any further. I find her vile, to such a degree that I have a difficult time watching the show without hurling a diatribe of insults at the TV screen, to the background of questions from my husband as why it is I keep watching if I seem to hate it so much.

In the wake of her July 2010 divorce, and in anticipation of Thursday night's episode, it seems the tart is making the usual press rounds. I can scarcely contain myself when commercials for tomorrow's episode air, in light of Camille's psychotic physic predicting the demise of marriages around her, yet not uttering a word about the impending failure of her dear friend's nuptials, and the 'boulders' Camille throws inside her glass house. Again, I've been trying to rise above the petty, but every now and then, a romp through the mud is a necessary therapy akin to a trip to the spa or a sale at Barneys (where they really don't sell maternity clothes anyway).

Had the Grammers been married in New York, Camille would be entitled to half the pot (bless equal division of the assets) given the lack of a prenup (did Kelsey lack a good lawyer in his Rolodex 13 years years ago?). Seemingly, California divorce laws are on par as settlement rumors swirl. Amidst such reports of a $50 million settlement, I'm sure Mr. Grammer is kicking himself with his Prada loafers. Tune in tomorrow at 10 if you need a good cathartic release!

Friday, January 7, 2011

High End Hopes

Shopping can be more than a proverbial rush, it can actually be therapeutic, neuro-chemically speaking. And anything that lifts the spirits can make a fulfilling career, right? Now, you can actually get a masters degree in the art of shopping and catering to the super-rich, according to January's Marie Claire.

The International University of Monaco offers a masters program that prepares graduates to be experts in high end luxury goods, like yachts, jewelry, and fashion. Its a sales based degree that shapes grads to sell to those with the cash to carry. The director, Annalisa Tarquini, first dreamed up the idea while working for Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, where, as the name alone indicates, luxury lives. 35 applicants a year will have the honor of completing the degree program for the equivalent of $29,600 US dollars a year. At a fraction of the cost to attend law school, perhaps this would have been worth my while back in 2006. Those Europeans seem to do everything better than us!