Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hey Jules

Today my lovely and talented coworker Julie showed up to work in the most fabulous micro- mini I have seen in a long time. Julie is one of those cool chicks who wears quirky vintage dresses and outfits all the time. A lot of her pieces come from her mom's closet and are authentic period clothes. I can only assume from Julie's wardrobe that her mom was a pretty cool chick back in the 60's & 70's. So if Julie is always wearing cool vintage clothes, what makes today's outfit blog-worthy? Well, today's outfit shows off Julie's rather incredible set of legs. All too often, we as women are insecure about different parts of our bodies. So when I see someone wearing an outfit that so clearly demonstrates confidence and self assurance, I just have to applaud them. So raise a glass to Julie tonight whose daring sartorial choice sends a message to all women to be proud of how you look and to not be afraid to let the world know it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Project Runway: Season 8, Episode 1

WIN: Gretchen
AUF'd: McKell

What is worse- making something basic and a little pedestrian or showing so much skin that Michael Kors says your model looks like a Dubai pole dancer? (I'm paraphrasing.) It's a tough call to say the least. All too often I have to wonder if the producers are encouraging the judges to keep someone around because they'll make for better TV or if they truly want to see more of that person's work. In the premier episode last night, Casanova made an incredibly vulgar dress that was completely unwearable. Is he the Santino of this season- completely inappropriate and over-the-top, but the judges are "intrigued?" Or will he just be good for ratings because of the language barrier/hearing problem and the tragic demise of his $1000 pants? (Not to mention his tiny yellow tie.) And was McKell's dress really that bad? Because I would wear it in a heartbeat. It was a little basic and not particularly innovative, so that combined with her quiet personality meant she was auf'd? In my humble opinion, there were far worse train wrecks on that runway than this precious little dress:

Need an example? How about this mess of an outfit:

Really? This is color blocking gone horribly wrong. Valerie made this monstrosity using Casanova's $1070 Dolce & Gabbana pants. That's just wrong. And what about this mess of an evening gown:

At least Nicholas was called out for this hot mess. I honestly don't understand what the judges meant when they said, "Well at least we know he can make clothes." Really? Because when I saw the back of this dress, I thought, "What on earth is going on with that zipper?" I'm all for exposed zippers, but his was all puckered at the bottom and looked so messy. Also, was it his intention for the gown to be so wrinkled? It's a mess.

I did, however, agree with the judges about the winner. I also felt the choice was clear because this look made me gasp, it was so beautiful:

Everything about this is wonderful. The dress is so beautifully made and the back is even more stunning than the front:
In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I die." The styling is as perfect as the dress, from her hair right down to the ankle boots. Also, when Tim spoke to Gretchen about her design, she seemed to have really put a lot of thought into the dress. It was more than just a garment for her- it was an idea, a person. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work.

As for the changes to the show, so far I am LOVING the new 90-minute format. There have been times when I felt the show was rushed, like they were cramming as much as possible into an hour that they possibly could. Now it feels a little more relaxed for the viewer. We get to see more of the design process and isn't that why we tune in to begin with? What do you think of the first episode this season? Love it? Hate it? Have a favorite designer yet? Leave a comment!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fabulous Etsy Find

Ok, this isn't technically an Etsy "find" for me since I commissioned these pieces, but they could be considered an Etsy "find" for basically anyone else. Check out these super cool up-cycled necklaces made by BBBellezza:

Super cool, right? I contacted Kim (the artisan behind these cool pieces) because I'd seen her up-cycled and recycled jewelry before and was impressed with her work. In addition, she's local to Lancaster, and I love supporting local artists and businesses whenever I can. Anyway, I explained the concept of a costume I'd designed for the upcoming "Abbey Road" show that I'm currently working on. As great as the costume was, I felt it needed a cool finishing touch and her nuts-and-bolts-style pieces were perfect. We got together to discuss the concept in a little more detail and these necklaces are what she came up with to complete my design. I couldn't be happier with them, but the even better news is that if YOU like them, they are going to be available in Kim's fall collection on Etsy. You have to wait a couple of months before they'll be available, but I think they're worth the wait. In the meantime, visit her Etsy Shop to peruse her other pieces.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cool off with a Sundress (and some Lemonade)

I don't know about where you live, but around here the heat and humidity has been relentless. Every day I want nothing more than to wear as little clothing as possible. Since I want to avoid getting in trouble for indecent exposure, I instead pull from my stock of light, summer sundresses. Fortunately, I have many to choose from. Believe it or not, I've been wearing dresses so much that I'm actually looking forward to wearing jeans again. In fact, when I got to wear my white jeans yesterday, I was elated. But alas, today it was hot and humid and sunny again. I wore a strapless sundress to work today- a picture will come eventually. When a sundress is made of light fabric- both in terms of weight and color, it has a calming psychological effect that combats the heat and humidity. The effect is best when combined with an open neckline like strapless or spaghetti straps and of course, a loose, flowy fit. If it's as hot where you are as it is here in Central PA, then I recommend you do the same- try a light, flowy sundress. Like one of these:

Tea Stain Floral Dress, Maurices, $34

Chambray Sundress, Target, $24.99

Now go on, get out your lightest, flowiest sundress, put it on and go sit and relax with a big iced tea or lemonade and feel the heat just disappear. Well, it might not disappear entirely, I can't actually control the weather through fashion. But if I could, I think I'd be a bazillionaire! Until then, I'll keep wearing my sundresses and lathering on the sunscreen.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Accessories Anonymous: Gold Hoops

There are some things that every woman should have in her closet: a tailored trench coat, a little black dress, the right jeans for your body, to name a few. These staples, or investment pieces are items that should last for years, that are classic enough to pass the test of time, and well-made enough to handle the wear and tear over the years. It's okay to spend a little more on a classic investment piece because of how much use it will get.

Lately I've been thinking about getting a pair of nice, gold hoop earrings. Real ones. Gold hoop earrings are never out of style and they are the perfect finish to so many looks. They are versatile and sophisticated and worth the investment. But what hoops to get? How big should the hoop be? Narrow and dainty, or heavy and wide? It depends- the size and style of your hoops should match your own personal style. If you typically wear bold, loud clothing and accessories, then your hoops will probably work best in your wardrobe if they are on the larger side. And of course if the opposite is true and you tend to wear more basic, neutral clothing, then go with a more understated set of hoops. No matter what your personal style, I guarantee there is a set of hoops out there for you.

Some hoops are so versatile, they would work for nearly anyone or any outfit. These from Saks are that type. They are small, but well-made. They make a nice statement without being over the top.

The same style is also avaiable slightly larger:

And if you prefer, an even larger version:

Large 3-inch 14K Gold Hoops, Heavenly Treasures, $298
Some people prefer a hoop that is small in diameter, but is a little more substantial in terms of the shape. In that case, these next few pairs of hoops might be for you:

14K Gold Hoop Earrings, Amazon, $374.50

Honestly, hoops are so classic and versatile, there are literally millions to choose from. Find a pair that works for you and rock 'em!

Rate My Look- I'm so lazy!!!

I'll admit it- I've been lazy. I've been wearing cute outfits nearly every day (in my humble opinion, anyway), but I've been super-duper lazy about photographing my outfits. I just haven't bothered. Don't you all feel so special? I feel comfortable enough to not even feel the need to make up a lie about why I haven't been posting more of my outfits on the blog. Really, you should be flattered.

Anyway, I bought some cute new pieces while I was on vacation. I couldn't help myself- there were bargains galore to be had! I'll try to cover them all over the next week or so, but it might take a while. For starters, check out this adorable chiffon top I scored at Marshalls for only $10:

I have been meaning to wear my white jeans more often, but every time I wear them I spill something on them. The first time I wore them, I got buffalo sauce on them. I washed them immediately and it came out right away. The next time I wore them, I dropped greasy Chinese food spare ribs on them. Once again, I was lucky and it washed out. (Thank goodness for Shout!) Today, I managed to drip salad dressing on my shirt, but the pants remained unstained for the entire day! Honestly, it was quite an accomplishment for me. (Side note: if you spill salad dressing or anything oily on your clothes, remove the stain using corn starch first. It actually absorbs the oil and helps aid the stain removal process.) But enough of that little glimpse into my horribly messy eating habits- let's move on to the outfit.

The top it SO comfortable and I love how feminine I feel in it. It has a built-in cami underneath, and the top layer it so delicate and flowy. It's a faux-wrap top with a tie around the waist. The v-neck is super flattering, but the cami underneath helps keep it demure. I felt a little bit South Beach-ish in this outfit, so I had to finish it off with my new purple pumps just to add a little quirky punch.

So now that you've seen a recent picture of me, I need your opinion. I've been growing my hair for a while, but lately I've been thinking of chopping it all off again. Something chin-length or a little longer. Opinions? Leave a comment!

Shoesday Tuesday- Boots in the Summer?

Not too long ago, my friend Melanie asked me about wearing boots in the summer- what boots are appropriate, what boots are not? She also sent me a picture of her pair of Frye boots that literally made me drool:

First of all, the color of these boots is amazing. I'm totally in love. Now, to answer her question: are these appropriate summer boots? Yes, they are. I love a floral sundress paired with boots- it's a fun juxtaposition of feminine and masculine and it shows a little bit of a quirky personality. I'm sure you remember Andrea's cowboy boots from earlier this year- they are another perfect example of summer boots.

I think that for a boot to qualify as "summer" appropriate, it should not be too heavy. Keep the colors light, the materials not too thick or heavily lined and the coordinating outfit sufficiently summer-y as well. But the bottom line is that if you are comfortable wearing the boots in the summer, then I think they qualify. I'm a huge fan of incorporating my summer clothes and accessories into my winter outfits and the reverse should be true as well. The only rule in fashion is: there are no rules! If it looks good and- more importantly- you feel good in it, then go for it! But if you need a bit of guidance- here are some "summer boots" inspired outfits for you:

I love this look because it's a little quirky and light-hearted. The cowboy boots are a little ironic in that they're a little over-the-top with the embellishments. But the rest of the outfit is so casual, it really lets the boots stand out a little bit more.  But as much as I like the outfit, I couldn't ignore Melanie's amazing boots- I just HAD to make an outfit with them:

Honestly, the possibilities are endless- so go through your closet and pull out your favorite boots. I guarantee you'll find a way to wear them before the snow starts falling!

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Etsy Item

One of my favorite accent colors is chocolate brown. I love dark chocolate brown against bright colors like robin's egg blue, fuchsia and lately, peach. When I was in New York on my vacation, I stopped by Mood and found some lovely cotton sateens in both peach and chocolate brown. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the fabrics since there was only about a yard of each color available. I ended up making a couple of skirts, but instead of being selfish and making them for myself, I decided to post them in my Etsy shop. (Please forgive the wrinkles in the photo.)

I love the skirts that I see so often on Modcloth and so I decided to combine the fabrics to create one inspired by the ones I see so often on that site. This skirt would be ideal for summer, but could also easily translate into fall or even winter. I often pair my summer clothes with tights, sweaters and other layers to create bright, fun winter outfits.

I actually made two skirts- one is a size small, the other a medium. The small has a waist size of 28 and a length of 18 inches, the medium is a 29 inch waist, 19 inch length. Both skirts are the same exact style- full box pleats with a back zipper and skirt hook closure. Both skirts are available in my Etsy shop, so stop by if you are interested. And if neither skirt is your size, let me know and I can custom-make one for you. Or if it only requires making one of the current skirts a little smaller in the waist, I can do that easily for you.

Leave a comment and let me know if there is anything specific you'd like to see in my Etsy shop. I'm working on a dress that I hope to finish in the next few weeks. I'll be sure to let you know once it's posted!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Announcement: More Etsy Shop Items to Come

As you all know, I was recently on vacation home in New Hampshire. I also stopped for a couple of days on the way in New York and I managed to visit the garment district while I was there. I decided to purchase some fabric, but this time the fabric is ALL earmarked for my Etsy shop. Right now, most of what is in my shop are my custom dresses. The new items that will be going in soon are going to be ready-to-wear but I will offer minor alterations to the various pieces. For example, let's say I make a dress that is a size 4, but there is seam allowance that I could let out and the dress would then fit a size 6- I'll do it for an additional small fee.

When will these pieces be added to the shop? I can't say at this point, but I can tell you that I am very excited to work on them. When they are finished, I'll post them on Etsy and also post something here so that you know they are available. And as always, if you are interested in a custom piece, you can always email me for more information.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another "Don't, please."

The past few days have been very busy and I worried about not having enough time to blog, but then I saw something horrifying today and just had to make time. I saw a woman with a rather large chest wearing a dress that was low cut and somewhat open in the back. I just about died when I saw her.

Your style lesson if the day is as follows:

Just because the dress is designed in such a way that wearing a conventional bra is not possible does NOT mean you wear the dress without a bra. It means you should not buy the dress. If your ta-tas are not properly supported, they will not look nice. End of story. This goes for small ta-tas, too. Gravity is not your friend.

Have I made myself clear?

Friday, July 23, 2010

The interwebs are an interesting place...

In my line of work, I spend a lot of time shopping online. I have favorite websites for all sorts of things. My favorite formal wear, over-the-top shoes and sleek menswear are all from various sites on the "interwebs" as I like to call them.

I tend to think of myself as a bit of a Google-ing expert, often locating precisely what I'm looking for in the first few pages of a search. I type in different variations of descriptions in an attempt to elicit new results from my searches. Sometimes what I'm looking for is a little "out-there" and I need to get creative with my searches. Other times it's a piece of cake. In all cases, it's pretty interesting to see what is on the interwebs.

Just this morning, I was Google-ing "ladies grey business suit." And do you know what I found? This:

I have no words. Well, I do, since this is a blog, but I'm practically speechless over this. I guess it qualifies as a "suit" and it is meant for "ladies" but beyond that, I'm at a loss as to why it turned up in my search results. But that's not even what I really care about. I can't believe that this "outfit" is being sold somewhere and even worse that people are buying it?!?!?! On the website where it is sold, it's referred to as a "Church suit."

My style advice of the day is inspired by this outfit: Please do not wear this. Ever.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shoesday Tuesday- Vacation is over

So, tomorrow I begin my 7 1/2 hour drive back to Central Pennsylvania. I will likely post all of my shopping booty from this trip as the week continues, but I just have to tell you that one amazing purchase includes a pair of cream high-heel cowboy boots that are wicked awesome. ("Wicked" is a term New Englanders use to mean "very, very, very." Ex. "Those boots are wicked pissah.") I also got some interesting vintage pieces (like the gloves from the other day), a whole slew of Life is Good garb, as well as a cute outfit from TJ Maxx, and a fabulous sun hat from Marshalls. The best find ever was the boots, though and I'll tell you why when I post an outfit with them.

My vacation consisted mostly of eating delicious food, shopping, and spending time with friends and family. I got to spend some quality time with a lot of good friends who I haven't seen in a long time, so even without all the great shopping, I consider this vacation one of the best I've had. Also, I did manage to eat cannoli and gelato from the North End of Boston, a lobster roll from a dive-y seafood stand (where the best seafood is always served), and ice cream from my favorite ice cream stand (Memories in Exeter, NH). I like to revolve my vacations around food and shopping. Doesn't everyone? I particularly enjoyed eating foods that are regional treats. Central PA has some good food, but I would never in a million years order a lobster roll there.

Anyway, I encourage each and every one of you to take a trip to New England when you have a chance. Not only is there delicious seafood (find the most run-down ramshackle-looking roadside stand near the seacoast for the good stuff), but it's beautiful (mountains, seacoast and a lakes region) and full of wonderful cultural events (like Red Sox games and county fairs). But bring the bug spray or those new clip-on bug repellant things (the black flies are wicked brutal). For breakfast, find a mom & pop diner and make sure to get real NH (or VT) maple syrup on your pancakes. Parker's Maple Barn is a favorite place of mine (order the Parker's Special with the deep fried French toast (deep fried!!!) or the daily pancake- either choice is a winner). Take a day hike up Mount Monadnock- (the most frequently hiked mounted in the word- we recently surpassed Mount Fuji for that coveted title, although the website has yet to be updated) on a clear day you can see all the way to Boston. Speaking of Boston, take a morning to walk the Freedom Trail, then grab lunch in the North End (it'll be cheaper than dinner) followed by a quick trip to Mike's Pastry to stock up on chocolate chip cannoli (get at least half a dozen- you can thank me later). After lunch, if the weather is still nice, take a walk along the Charles River. Check the schedule of the Boston Pops- they may have an outdoor concert on the esplanade. Our Fourth of July concert is legendary and traditionally ends with a performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture complete with real cannons and the bells from the Old North Church (which you saw and learned about on the Freedom Trail earlier).

And do it all wearing one of these:


Just kidding- you might look like a tourist trying to fit in if you wear one of those t-shirts. Instead, if you really want to blend in, drop your "r's" (pahk the cah at hahvahd yahd) and definitely wear one of these:

Yankee Hater hat, $9.95 (sale price)

Don't you love how they've taken the Yankee's logo and changed the "N" out for an "H?" Clever, right?  Malicious, but clever. And Red Sox fans are nothing if not clever, malicious. Anyway, to pull off the the true Yankee Hater look, wear either the t-shirt or the hat, but not both. You don't want to look like you're trying too hard.

Anyway, I can't tell you enough how much I love New England- just the other day a Boston driver honked his horn at me and it made me smile. So I cut him off and slowed down. It's the New England way.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rocky Corner Soapworks

This is a fashion blog and I do tend to stick to things like clothing and shoes, but every now and then I come across something so great that even though it's not technically "fashion," I still have to share it.

As you all know, I am currently taking a quick vacation at home in New Hampshire, visiting family and friends. I am staying with my family and while I've been here, my mom convinced me to try a new soap she's been using. It's made by a local artisan and the company is called Rocky Corner Soapworks. I have tried handcrafted soaps in the past and never been all that impressed. Until now.

First, a brief background: I am the kind of person who moisturizes daily. I like having soft, healthy skin. In the winter, I moisturize more than in the summer, but it is definitely a year-round practice for me. I also tend to use commercial products with fragrance. For me, it's a nice double-whammy. My skin is soft AND it smells good. Anyway, today I stepped out of my typical routine and I chose to use the Rocky Corner Soap ONLY. No moisturizer. My skin has never felt so soft. It's literally like silk. I couldn't believe it. I said to my mom, "I need to go buy some of that soap for myself TODAY." She was kind and took me there and I bought over a dozen bars. I plan to keep several, give a bunch away and maybe if you're lucky, next week I'll host a giveaway for one or two bars.

I asked about why the soap was so fabulous and it was explained to me that handcrafted soaps do not remove the glycerin in the process. Commercially made soaps are not only filled with harsh chemicals, dyes and perfumes, but they are also decidedly lacking in glycerin. The large soap companies treat the glycerin as a by-product and remove it from the soaps. Then they use the glycerin to make things like- you guessed it- lotions and moisturizers. With handcrafted soaps, the glycerin remains in the soap. What does glycerin do? Well, it attracts and retains moisture in your skin.

Anyway, enough propaganda- do the reading about handcrafted soap for yourself here. All I can tell you is that there is such a dramatic difference in my skin after just ONE use, that I knew I was going to keep using this soap. My mom told me that most winters she gets dry, cracked heels, but this past winter using the Rocky Corner Soap, was the first winter in years that she didn't have cracked heels AND she didn't use moisturizers or lotions. Amazing, right? I've had occassional dry patches of skin, but I've never had to deal with chronic dry skin or xerosis, but I imagine that someone who does deal with that would be thrilled with these soaps.

I am honestly not trying to just promote this business- I truly loved the product when I tried it. And yes I paid for the soap I bought today, so this is not an endorsed post in any way. Give it a try if you like- the scents are mild, but pleasant. My favorites right now are Pomegranate Peach and Tranquility with a Twist. The Pomegranate Peach is self-explanatory (it's a mild fruity scent), but the Tranquility with a Twist requires a bit of explanation. It's infused with lavender, peppermint and rosemary. The result is very refreshing in a sweet, herbal way. I'm diggin' it.

That's all.

Boston Day Trip, Antiquing and Bringing Back Gloves.

Yesterday was a fabulous vacation day. I drove down to Boston to see one of my very best friends. Since moving to Pennsylvania, I haven't been to Boston, so I was long overdue for a visit to my favorite city. We started off the day at a HUGE antique store-five enormous floors of antiques. We spent hours going through the booths and peering into the glass cases full of jewelry. There were SO many interesting things to see- so many items that I wanted to incorporate into an outfit or to use as inspiration for a new garment.

One accessory that I was continually drawn to were vintage gloves. As Beth pointed out, Betty Draper wears them. And we know how I feel about Betty Draper's clothes! Anyway, we decided that it is time to bring back the gloves. So I bought a pair to match the Bouchard Original I happened wearing and put them on for our walk to the North End (to pick up cannoli from Mike's Pastry).  

I plan to wear them again soon, and especially once I can get a few more pair. So what do you think? Am I crazy? Did the musty air in the antique shop get to my head? Or is this a great trend to bring back? Look closely at the picture of Beth and I and you will see the coral wrist gloves I am wearing. I felt that since this is kind of an "out-there" fashion choice that I would break my rule about matching accessories to the outfit. I decided to select a pretty color that blended in with the print of my dress. Beth also looked fabulous yesterday in a new chambray skirt from Urban Outfitters.

Overall, my vacation has been very enjoyable. I have a trip to the seacoast planned for today, where I hope to eat a lobster roll. (All my vacation plans revolve around food.)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Plasticland Shoes

Not too long ago a friend told me about the site Plasticland, so I decided to check it out. She said the shoes were similar to ModCloth's and that was all the incentive I needed to hop on over. There are definitely some adorable shoes. Like these:

Dance Hall Heels, $58 (Also available in gray)

The whole site sort of reminds me of a retro-inspired Forever 21, but at a slightly higher price. They carry some pieces from Tulle, which is nice, and a lot of the accessories are the random, quirky type that would likely be hard to find if you were specifically looking for them.

Overall, it might not be a life-changing, must-have type of site, but with a quirky collection and a mix of clothing, shoes, accessories, and home decor items, it's worth a perusal. You never know what you might find!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Blog!!!

Today marks the one-year mark for my humble little blog! I am very proud of it and I really enjoy writing it, so I hope that you enjoy reading it! Sometimes I wonder what people think of my blog- the ones who read it but don’t necessarily comment on it. I frequently read other blogs but don’t always comment. But when I'm on the other side of it, I think, "Why don’t they comment?" Of course I begin by drawing the conclusion that they don’t comment because they don’t like it (silly insecurities), but of course if they didn't like it, they wouldn't come back, right? And according to my hit counter, they ARE coming back, so that argument doesn't hold water. I guess it will remain a mystery for a while longer

After all, one year is not that old. It may take several more years before I start writing  comment-provoking posts. Until then, feel free to LEAVE A COMMENT and tell me if there is something you particularly enjoy.

I'm gonna go buy my blog a birthday cake.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summertime Hair

It has been very humid for the last few weeks, which isn't too difficult to deal with, except for the fact that I'm currently trying to grow out my hair. It's down past my shoulders now, but on hot, humid days it is really annoying. So lately I've taken to pulling it up or back, but in an effort not to be completely boring and mundane, I've been sporting a messy side bun. I start by parting my hair to the side, then I sweep it all into a low bun on one side. I've also been adding big flower clips or little feather fascinators to them for a little added pizzazz. It looks far more interesting than a basic ponytail, but it's just as simple to execute. Trust me, I have ZERO hair-styling skills, so if I can handle it, anyone can. While the messy side-bun was more of a trend LAST summer, I didn't really participate then. My hair was too short. But this year I'm sporting it nearly every day. A few examples:

I am loving the braid in this last one.

Not all side buns are as successful as they need to be. (Even the last one whose braid I love, is a bit too much of a mess- sort of reminds me of a bird's nest. Not a good thing.) To successfully pull of the side bun look, make sure you keep it low and just a bit tousled. Or if you are going for the sleek look, make sure the bun is as sleek as the hair. If you have slicked back hair, but a messy, tousled bun, it will look disconnectd, almost as if you are wearing a fake piece of hair. (Which I do all the time- more on this topic in a bit.) The same is true of the reverse- too neat a bun on a tousled head of hair will appear disconnected and fake. If you place it too high, it will look like Minnie Mouse lost an ear, so be very careful with placement, too. Case in point:

Be consistent with the texture and keep the placement low and you'll be able to sport the side bun with confidence. If your hair is too short for a nice, full bun, consider adding a piece or two. I do it all the time and no one is the wiser. Seriously- it's amazing what people will think is my real hair. Sometimes I use a Fun Bun:


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back to the Ladies

Ladies- I know I've been focusing on guys fashion for the last few days, but don't worry- today it's all about you. I'm back to womens wear for at last today.

Anyway, I was persuing ModCloth tonight, looking for a new pair of lace-up oxfords. After a brutal day in New York City yesterday, my cut-out oxfords from Urban Outfitters are pretty much trashed. I'm really sad about it, but I figured I could buy an exact replacement pair OR I could shop around and see if I find something I like better. Honestly, there aren't many out there in the same price range that are as fabulous as the originals, so I will likely stick with them. But that's not the point. The point is that after I visited ModCloth's shoe department looking for potential replacement oxfords, I hopped on over to the skirts section and found this beauty:

I'm in love. It would be adorable with a cute pair of heels and a simple black top. Since the skirt is so stunning, I'd keep the rest of the outfit simple and allow it to be the focal point of the outfit. Did I mention that I love it?

I'm on vacation as of tomorrow and I'm hoping not to break the bank by shopping too much while I'm away, but time will tell! At the very least I need to replace my oxfords, which really shouldn't count towards new clothing purchases since they're a replacement set, right? Aside from the shoes, there's nothing I can think of that I really "need." Of course that hasn't stopped the shopping in the past and I'm sure it will be the same in the future. And when I'm on vacation, there's no stopping the shopping! I see different friends and family each day, and everyone wants to do the same thing- shop! Of course, I have NO problem obliging, but I'm sure my checking account would appreciate it if I curbed my enthusiasm just a bit. The good news is that whatever I buy will eventually end up on the blog, so it's not only clothing, it's inspiration!

My posts may be a bit erratic while I'm on vacation, but I will probably be able to post at least a couple of times over the next week. Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shoesday Tuesday- Still focusing on the guys

My BFF Beth called me not too long ago complaining about a man she'd seen on the street wearing a dark suit with light tan shoes. While I am an advocate of mixing up color, she said that this combination actually made him appear to have clown-feet. She said his feet were rather large and the strange color shoe choice just did not work.

Honestly, I completely understand where she's coming from. While buttery-tan oxfords are all the rage right now for you guys, it doesn't mean you get to wear them with whatever you want, particularly if your feet are over size 11. The thing about this trend is that it's a spring/summer look that needs to be paired with a spring/summer suit. Think khaki and seersucker- light weight suits in light, summery colors. Avoid dark suits like black, navy, or charcoal if you want to sport the light-colored shoe. And in the cooler months, do the opposite. It's very outdated to actually match your shoes to your pants, so wearing a different color is actually a good thing. Just be certain to mix the colors appropriately for the season and for your physique.

One person who wears contrasting shoes very well is Bravo TV personality Andy Cohen. If you ever watch his reunion specials with the Real Housewives or his late night show Watch What Happens, you may have seen some of his suit/shoe combinations. Here are a few examples:

Just a couple of weeks ago, he wore a pair of buttery tan oxfords with a light, summery suit and it looked fantastic. Too bad I can't find a picture of that look! But I think you get the idea. Maybe tomorrow we'll get back to women's clothing and accessories!

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Menswear- Blazers and t-shirts

I'm apparently on a menswear kick this week. I have to dress the men in the cast and band at work all the time, so the topic is frequently on my mind. Dressing for the stage is often quite different from dressing for real life, though. But there are some instances that can carry from one to the other. For example, in the current show on AMT's stage, I dressed all the band members (who all happen to be men) in different washes of jeans, then paired the jeans with a fitted graphic t-shirt and a fitted blazer on top to complete the look. Some wore converse, others black shoes, but the look was basically a cool, casual look that works for both the onstage presentation or for a casual night out.

All too often when I go out with friends- whether it's out to dinner, to a bar, over a friend's house, or even when I pass guys out in public during the day or evening, I feel like I keep seeing the same carbon copy of a standard casual guys outfit everywhere I look. Granted, menswear is not nearly as varied as women's attire, but they could certainly mix it up just a bit.

The blazer-t-shirt-jeans combination is one that not only works for just about any guy, but it allows for a bit of personalityas well, which helps prevent the carbon-copy appearance I'm so sick of.

Start with a pair of great-fitting jeans. Dark wash is more dressy than light wash, but faded black can also work. Next, add a fitted graphic t-shirt that shows a bit of your personality. Maybe it's vintage, or vintage-inspired. Maybe it's your favorite band, or an interesting design inspired by your favorite artist. Finally, add a slim-fit blazer over the t-shirt to complete the look. Shoes can vary to show personality as well. Since you have jeans on, a pair of converse is just as appropriate as a pair of slip-on dress shoes or low-ankle boots.

The key to pulling this look off successfully is to make sure all the pieces you are wearing fit you properly. Far too many men wear clothes that are too big and they end up looking sloppy, disheveled and often they even look heavier than they are. A blazer or sport coat should fit in the shoulders which means that the seam where the shoulder and the sleeve are sewn together should rest at exactly the same place where your shoulder and arm connect. If the seam on the blazer extends beyond the shoulder, the jacket is too big. Same goes for shirts- all kinds of shirts.

Here is proof:
Banded bottom aside, this shirt is a disaster on this man. See how the seam is several inches beyond his shoulder? The short sleeve hangs down to his elbow and the shirt actually makes him look bigger than he is.

This gentleman has the same issue- the shoulders are too wide, so the sleeves hang too long, and the shirt overall drapes in an awkward way that makes his body appear larger than it is.

This man is also plagued with the oversize shirt dilemma. In fact, it's most noticeable on him because he has tucked it into his pants. It's too wide in the shoulders, causing the sleeves to be too long, and then it's too blouse-y at the bottom. Major fit issues.

Here's how to do it right:

Notice the placement of the shoulder seams? And the length of the sleeves? Also notice how the shirt fits his body- it's skims it without being too tight or too loose. Some shirts with vertical seaming will fit tighter than ones without, but be careful not to go too far in the other direction. If the fabric pulls across the chest or stomach when buttoned, you might need to go up a size or find a different style fit.

Here's another one that fits nicely.

And another...

Now take these rules and apply them to t-shirts and blazers and you'll have a fabulous casual look for the next time you head out on the town.
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