Friday, September 30, 2011

She's Tricky

When I first moved back to NH, I met an incredible, adorable, super sweet girl named Heidi. Our mutual friend Kate had told me that Heidi would want me to make her a wedding dress someday. I'm still not sure if I'm ready to take that plunge- simple, casual dresses seem to be my forte. But since she was a "fan," I figured I ought to make her one of my dresses. I found a fabulous vibrant purple fabric and put one together with her measurements. When she arrived at my house for a fitting, she surprised me by sharing some amazing news- that she and her boyfriend were now engaged and planning a simple, private ceremony. And (drumroll, please) she planned to wear the purple dress I'd made for her. Suddenly, I found myself unexpectedly creating a wedding dress. Isn't she tricky?

 We chatted that day about accessorizing the purple dress to make it more bridal. We decided to add a white petticoat and bridal accessories made using her mother's veil. In the end, the look was absolutely perfect for their special day. Our other mutual friend Lara was there to photograph the day and she got some amazing shots of the couple (and the dress). 

I feel so honored to have been a part of their day and I couldn't be happier with Heidi's dress and accessories. But mostly I'm happy that they made her so happy! Congrats and best wishes, Heidi and Marc!

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 10

I have three words for the judges this week: Viktor was robbed.

Seriously- how could they possibly let anyone else win this challenge when it is so clear that Viktor is sewing in a different universe than all the other designers? I'm absolutely infuriated. I'm enraged. I want to punch something.

No offense to Anya, who seems to do a pretty awesome job most of the time, but Viktor not only created an impeccably tailored, flawless, super chic 3-piece modern take on the leisure suit, but he also made a sexy, fun, amazing dress, both of which were wonderful modern interpretations of 70's attire. Pretty much everyone else used loud prints and the same silhouette and their looks were all pretty horrific.

Josh's look was by far the worst with those pants. Oh my gosh, those pants!!!

Remember when Mondo made those super high-waisted pants out of his "positive" print? Those were actually kind of cool and even though not everyone could pull them off, his model looked pretty fierce in them. Josh's plaid pants? Not so much. And to mix them with a hideous top AND leopard print accessories-  as in more than one leopard print accessory- was the icing on the cake. Not only should Viktor have won this challenge, but there is absolutely no reason why Josh should not have gone home. (Except for the fact that he's so much snarkier than Anthony Ryan and therefore makes for better television.) 

I won't even waste your time with photos of the other looks. All you need to know is that this week, the judges got it all wrong. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I had the most fabulous and terrible experience yesterday. I was driving home from visiting a friend when I saw an adorable vintage shop I'd never been to before. I immediately turned around, pulled over, parked, fed the meter and hopped on over to what appeared to be a fabulous little vintage store. Unfortunately, it was 5:02 and on Wednesdays, this store apparently closes at 5:00. Isn't that just my luck? The lights were still on, so I could see into the store and I can promise that I will be back soon to check out all their fabulous items. I saw clothing, furniture and all sorts of other exciting vintage items. I also saw this:

The sign noted that the website is "always open." How adorable! When I got home, I popped open my laptop and enjoyed browsing through the website and Etsy shop full of amazing vintage pieces. One of my favorites also happened to be in the window at the actual shop:

I love discovering a new place to shop, especially when it's a vintage or consignment store. I can't wait to head back to this little gem of a store soon. Let's just hope I make it there before closing time! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm Addicted to Fascinators!

As you all know, my BFF Beth is getting married this fall. She's just about the best bride ever, especially since she is letting her sister Amy and I wear pretty much whatever we want as her "best maids." We don't have to match and both of us ended up buying dresses we'll actually wear again. Hallelujah for that! Since we don't match, we all thought it would be a good idea to have some type of unifying accessory or something. We agreed on a feather fascinator and I have to say, I'm super excited to wear mine. When I found it on Etsy, I emailed the link to Beth and told her that even if she veto-ed it for the wedding, I would purchase it anyway because I need it in my life. Fortunately, being the world's greatest bride, she did not veto it and I get to wear it in November! Hurray! I already broke my rule and showed all of you my shoes for the wedding, so I'm not going to do that again. You will have to wait until after her wedding to see the look I've put together. However, to hold you over until then, I'd like to show you another fascinator that I got while out shopping with Beth a couple of weekends ago. It's black and pretty huge and I love it:

I wore it to church with my grey dress, Autumn Kiss brooch and black and white spectator heels. It was a fun look. I've always wanted to be the kind of person who could pull off a fashion hat, especially at church. I think I'm gradually getting there, but for now I'll stick to the fascinators. They're bold and fun, and they hint at the idea of a hat. Maybe I should move to the south- doesn't everyone wear a hat to church south of the Mason Dixon line? 

Wondering where I got my cool headpiece? Salmagundi in Jamaica Plain. It's only the coolest store around. So what do you think of my fascinator? Love it or hate it, I want to hear what you think, so leave a comment! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday: Bonus!

I've got a blog post coming up to show you guys one of the most recent Renee Terese Originals that I made for my friend Heidi. But first, I want to share her shoes with you. Yes, they are so fabulous, I felt they deserved their own separate Shoesday Tuesday post! Check 'em out:

Available in white and ivory, I think they are amazing wedding shoes, don't you? Check back soon to see photos of her whole bridal look and the story behind how it came to be. Happy Shoesday Tuesday! 

Shoesday Tuesday: New Fall Boots

When the weather turned cool a couple of weeks ago, I pulled out my boots from last fall/winter. While I'm still pretty happy with my flat brown boot options, I realized I was really sick of my black boots. I wanted a better pair for this season- something a little more dressy, a little more sleek, a little more cute. I spent ALL DAY last Sunday shopping for a new pair. I'd also surfed the internet for over a week looking for the perfect pair. My problem with boots is that I have a high in-step, so a side zipper is almost always essential. Pull-on boots sometimes work, but I would never buy a pair over the internet if they didn't have a zipper. After hours of shopping on Sunday, I went home frustrated and empty-handed. In addition to my issue pull-on versus side-zipper, I also have very specific taste when it comes to black boots. Whether the leather is real or faux, I hate when it's too smooth and shiny. I like texture, whether it's that nubble-y kind of leather, or just a little distressed, I prefer when the look has depth. Often, when I find a boot I like, I usually prefer it in whatever shade of brown is available rather than the black. With a lighter color, there is usually more depth to the look of the leather. Black can be too flat, too one-dimensional sometimes. In the end, I found a pair I love from Charlotte Russe of all places!

3-Buckle Distressed Riding Boot, Charlotte Russe, $42.50

The leather is faux, but it looks rich. The texture is great and the cute heel and buckles are fabulous details. I'm sure I'm going to get lots of wear out of these boots this season. Also, even though they are pull-on style, getting my foot in was not an issue. Hurray! 

Charlotte Russe happened to be having a great shoe/boot sale- for every pair of shoes you buy, you get another pair for just $15.50. Online, the deal wasn't quite as good, with anywhere from a $15 to $40 discount on your shoe/boot order. Even though the online discount wasn't quite as much, I couldn't find these boots in either of the two stores I went to, so I had no choice but to get them online. There was one other pair I'd been eyeing when I was in stores, so I splurged and got them, too, but my total- including shipping charges- was still less than $75. Not bad for two pair of boots, right? Here's the other pair I got: 

Zip-Back Studded Distressed Boot, Charlotte Russe, $50

Again, the distressed look of the faux-leather is what drew me in. Even though they are inexpensive boots, the texture gives them depth and actually makes them look more expensive. I also really like the placement of the zipper at the back of the boot rather than the side:

Cool, right? I'm almost as excited to wear these as I am the black boots! What qualities do you look for in a pair of boots? Are you as picky as me? I often don't care if what I'm looking for is out of style. I like what I like. End of story. Leave a comment and tell me about your personal boot style. And have an awesome day! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thanks a Dot, Modcloth

I once wore a fabulous polka-dot dress to work (not at my current job) and a co-worker called me "Minnie Mouse." She meant it in jest and she was not being malicious, but the comment bothered me. I wasn't wearing a bow in my hair or mouse ears or white gloves, so the only reason she had to call me that was the polka-dots. Why should polka-dots get a bed rep just because of Minnie Mouse? She's lovable, right? Polka dots don't have to be cutesy and this dress from Modcloth is proof:

Thanks a Dot Dress, Modcloth, $104.99

Paired with modern accessories, this dress will look sophisticated and stylish. Do yourself a favor and don some dots today. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Amazingly Fashionable Co-Workers

There are often days at work when three or four of us will show up wearing similar outfits- the same color tends to be a common theme. On Thursday, there were four of us wearing a coral colored top with black pants or a skirt. Another day it will be purple, or red, or maybe even black and white stripes. Since we're all very fashion-obsessed, it would make sense that we have similar tastes, or that we would gravitate towards similar looks, whether we're inspired by a style magazine or another coworker. Last week, both Juhree and Kristin wore amazing outfits centered around the same types of pieces: an awesome teal dress, rockin' knee-high boots and simple accessories. 



I wish I'd taken close-up photos of the girls' accessories- Kristin's bird necklace and Juhree's cocktail ring are each the perfect finish to their outfits. I love the richness of the cognac color of Juhree's boots- the combination is perfect for fall. And Kristin's 60's-era silhouette looks modern with flat black suede boots and her awesome bird necklace. So, if you're in need of some outfit inspiration, consider creating a look inspired by Juhree or Kristin and you can't go wrong. Here are some super chic options to help you build an outfit from the ground up, or finish off one you already have: 

Lacquered Hummingbird Pendant, Forever 21, $5.80

Faceted Dome Ring, Forever 21, $2.80

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 9

MENSWEAR!!! I love a menswear challenge! It is so difficult for the designers to wrap their heads around the pattern-making and fit issues that the design can become an afterthought. When I was styling performers at AMT, one thing I learned about menswear is that a simple look that fits really well will always win over something busy, over-designed and especially something ill-fitting. This was Olivier's challenge to lose and did he ever. Honestly, for a menswear designer to put out something so ill-fitting, boring and just plain terrible, he deserves to go. Also, I've always found him to be really annoying, so I can't say I'm sad to see him go. On the other end, I think that Viktor's win was completely overshadowed by the fact that there was so much drama everywhere else. Regardless, I'm thrilled for him. I've liked his designs from the beginning and I really want to see him make it to the end.

Ok, let's take a look at these horrific looks:

First, the winning look designed by Viktor:

Much like Bert, Viktor was praised for creating a look that was more than just an outfit- it was an image, a persona. It defined the wearer. It was well made, expensive-looking and fit well. Bravo, Viktor! 

Speaking of Bert, his look was one of my favorites for exactly the same reason- he created an image, not just an outfit. I loved the striped pants and the silhouette. Where Olivier fell apart trying to create a "plus size" outfit, Bert embraced his model's body type and actually helped create a sleek look for him. And it had personality! 

Even the styling choices were good and other than the tunic being a smidge too long for my taste, I wouldn't change a thing. 

In my opinion, the only other halfway-decent looks were Josh and Anthony Ryan's. Strangely enough, they both did white pants: 

Josh's Look

Anthony Ryan's Look

Both looks are too flamboyant for this dude, but at least he got some cool pants. I wish both had distressed them just a bit. Josh's have a better fit, but the top half of his outfit is pure costume. 

Everyone else's looks were pretty much disastrous. They weren't nearly as bad as the Tiki Barber episode, but this episode did include a pair of jeans that split in the back, which I believe is a Project Runway first. Let's take a look, shall we? 

Anya's Look

Kimberly's Look

Both of these looks are terrible- poor construction, bad fabric choice, and really bad design. Anya's is a really bad hippie Halloween costume and Kimberly's is Shaggy (as in Scooby Doo). Need I say more? I think the Scooby Doo reference may have even been made by Adam Lambert on the episode. It's not a good thing. Almost as bad as Olivier's look was Laura's: 

Aside from giving him the "red jeans" he asked for, Laura pretty much failed at this challenge. The jacket and scarf are terrible. The tank is borderline pathetic and the jeans (once again) are not nearly distressed enough. Kudos to her for dyeing them, but that's about it. 

Finally, Olivier really bombed on this episode: 

There isn't a single positive thing I can say about this look. There are so many things wrong, I don't even want to discuss them. Goodbye, Olivier! I won't miss you! 

On another note, I just want to say that the editing has greatly improved this season. Also, I'm really enjoying the judges- they're funnier or something this season. I can't put my finger on it, but I whatever it is, I love it. Thank you to the PR producers for jazzing things up a little this season! 

Pencil Perfection

Can we talk about this pencil skirt for a minute?

Ruffles, a bow, a flattering shape and a perfect fall color. I dare you to give me one reason why I shouldn't own this fabulous skirt. No. I double dare you. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shoesday Thursday

I couldn't wait until next Tuesday to show you all the shoes I got for Beth's wedding. I know I saw I wouldn't be showing anything from her wedding until after it has passed, but I can't wait to share these shoes with you all! It will be the one and only time I break that rule, though.

CJ by Charles Jourdan, Off Broadway Shoes, $69.90

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to wear these! November 12th can't come soon enough! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Dress for Melanie

Today I spent some time working on a dress for my friend Melanie. I won't show you the whole dress, but I will show you the super cool bodice I made. This photo obviously shows the design pinned together, but not sewn completely:

After a fitting this weekend, I hope to finish it up and get it delivered to its rightful owner- my fabulous and fashionable friend Melanie! I'll be sure to show you a picture of the finished dress and hopefully Melanie will let me put a picture of her in it on the blog! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday: Around Town

It's amazing how easily I can get distracted when shopping- online or in stores. For example, earlier this morning, I was on a search for a new pair of black knee-high flat boots. I need them for work. Well, "need" is a strong word, but you get the picture. Anyway, in my search throughout the interwebs, I of course stumbled upon a pair of absolutely awesome and completely impractical high-heel mary-jane-style pumps from Nine West called "Around Town." They are available in five colors and I think I could make good use of all five:


Black Suede

Dark Pink Suede

Teal Suede


Can you guess which one is my favorite? Leave a comment or tweet it with our standard hashtag #ShoesdayTuesday. Well, I suppose I ought to get back to boots... 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Seeing Red on the Red Carpet

I admit, one of my guilty pleasures is watching the red carpet fashions at awards shows. Sunday night's 63rd Emmy Awards was no exception. This year, the red carpet was ablaze with red gowns galore. The ladies who did it right, in my opinion were:

Kate Winslet in Elie Saab

With a color as bold as blood red, a simple design can often be the best choice. Since the color calls so much attention already, if the design is intricate or over-the-top, it will very easily start to look costume-y. This Elie Saab creation is the epitome of bold and classic. 

Sarah Hyland in Christian Siriano

Soft pleats and a sheer fabric help tone down the color of Sarah Hyland's gown. In a more opaque fabric, this dress would have worn her, not the other way around. The contrasting belt at the waist helps break up the color, too. 

Lea Michele in Marchesa

Again, a simple silhouette and well-placed details are all the design needed when the color is the show-stopper. This backless Marchesa is simply stunning. Lea Michele can't seem to hit a wrong note on the red carpet these days. 

Nina Dobrev in Donna Karan

Sofia Vergara in Vera Wang

While understated is typically the way to go with such a bold color, there are exceptions to every rule. Nina Dobrev and Sofia Vergara are two women who can not only pull off such a bold color, but they can do it in a gown that would be dramatic in black or navy. Of course, their rockin' bodies don't hurt the cause, either. 

Who was your favorite on the red carpet last night? Did you love seeing so much of one bold color? What about the other colors? Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 8

Last week's PR was a doozy! I loved seeing the designers freak out when a bunch of men- of varying shapes and sizes- came out onto the runway. We all know how well menswear goes over in PR! But fortunately, the designers were not tasked with creating menswear. Instead, they designed for the significant others of the various men- the exciting "real woman" challenge. Unlike past seasons which included at least one or two plus size women, the most any designer this season had to deal with was a set of "double D's."

Can I see a show of hands for all the people annoyed by Olivier's body issues? He had more than one "fatty" remark and he had no idea that "double D" is a bra cup size. Pathetic. His accent annoys me more and more every week. He seems to be one of those designers who prefers his models to essentially be a walking coat hanger. I am NOT a fan of that type of designer. As annoyed as I was with him, his design got him through without any critique from the judges. In my opinion, it was ill-fitting, inappropriate for his client and boring. Also, it's nothing we haven't seen from him. There was hardly any design to it. I will be happy when Olivier goes home:

Olivier's Look

There were two other designs that landed in the middle- Laura and Kimberly. Laura's dress was atrocious- the length, the silhouette, the fabric, the fit- everything about it was bad. I was amazed she wasn't called out on the runway for it. Kimberly's was half-good, half-bad. The top half was good- the blouse had pretty draping and was a gorgeous color. The bottom half was not particularly flattering and the fabric was a poor choice. Regardless, they were the lesser of the many evils on the runway this week, so they ended up safe. 

Laura's Look

Kimberly's Look

In the bottom was Bert, Bryce and Anthony Ryan. Bert was criticized for being boring, Anthony Ryan for creating a cheerleader outfit and Bryce for failing (once again) to prove he's competent at design or sewing. I know that sounds harsh, but it's true. Bryce has been out of his league from the beginning. I completely agree with the judges' decision to send him home and if he'd been put through for another week, I may have thrown my TV out the window in a rage. Anthony Ryan's dress as cute, and yes, cheerleader-esque. If only he'd made the neckline asymmetrical, the cheerleader aspect would have disappeared entirely. Also, his girl was absolutely adorable and I loved how smitten her boyfriend is with her. 

Bert's Look

Bryce's Look

Anthony Ryan's Look

Finally, the top three- Anya, Josh and Viktor- really shone this episode. Well, the boys, anyway. I was not a fan of Anya's design and I still can't figure out what the judges loved so much about it. The asymmetrical neckline, kimono sleeve, high-low hemline, layered belt, mixed fabrics- it was all too much. Where Bert offered no design whatsoever, Anya over-designed her garment to death. While I loved the restraint Josh showed in created his gorgeous black dress, I have to declare Viktor the winner (once again!) of the Would I Wear It Award. His colors were fresh and vibrant, the fit was stellar and the styling was so spot on, nearly everyone marveled at how the outfit looked like it already belonged to the client. Bravo, Viktor! I'm rooting for him for the top three for sure. 

Anya's Look

Josh's Look

Viktor's Looks

The competition is getting pretty fierce and I'm excited to head into the second half of the season. My prediction for the top three is easy at this point: Viktor, Anya and Josh. I believe those three are not only skilled and talented enough to make it, but I think that they are savvy enough to make good decisions even as the competition gets more intense. We'll see, though.

At this point in the season, do you have a prediction for the final three designers? Do you have a favorite designer? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beautiful Bridal Photography

It's funny how I've ended up working in the wedding industry surrounded by so many friends that I've known for years outside of that field. I met my friends Kate and Shawna back when I was just starting to get into theatre. I've stayed close with both of them, even after moving to PA and back. Kate is a phenomenal bridal photographer and Shawna is actually a Madeleine's Daughter bride- her wedding is this October. Recently, they collaborated for a fabulous bridal photo shoot featuring gowns by Watters. Kate happened to ask me to design a handful of headpieces to be used in styling the photo shoot. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be at the shoot, but I sent along 3 or 4 pieces that I whipped up the day before. If this photo (from the shoot) is any indication of how they looked, I'm going to be very excited to see the rest of the photos:

I promise to show more photos once they're available. But in the meantime, check out Kate stepping out of her photographer role to act as a model for a photography class:

I'm amazed at how gorgeous these women look. And I'm proud to say that not only did Shawna wear my headpieces with beautiful Watters gowns, but Kate is actually wearing a gown designed and made by me in the two photos above. I think I might want to stick with this industry- it seems to suit me.

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