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!