Saturday, December 26, 2009

Playing Catch Up

If you're anything like me, then you're taking advantage of your winter break freedom to catch up on your blog reading.
If that's the case, I highly recommend you read the Elle News Blog interview with Cintra Wilson, the Times' 'Critical Shopper' columnist.

You might remember Cintra from when she did her beyond-hysterical review of J.C. Penney's over the summer. I live for her signature snark and brutal honesty.

The interview is done by Johanna Cox --the girl who won that 'Stylista' show last year and, against all odds considering she landed her job via reality television, is actually a good writer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Silent Treatment

I'm but a few short days away from fleeing the city and returning home to suburban Philadelphia for my bi-annual post-semester cleanse. For a week, I avoid consuming alcohol and carbohydrates, refuse to put makeup on or heat style my hair, and only leave the house to go running in Valley Forge Park and shopping in the King of Prussia mall. Instead, I hibernate on the couch to catch up on my reading, writing, and 'rithmetic tv watching.

During this week of rejuvenation, I also focus some tender love and care to my poor highlighted-to-death locks. My coif is in need of some serious moisture, so I'm desperately searching for a new deep conditioner.
I've used the Ojun one before but it didn't quite have the earth tremblingly-transformative results I was hoping for.

If anyone has some conditioner recommendations please send them my way!

Creative Laziness

As I sit here procrastinating studying for finals, I'm reading Vogue's feature on Rachel McAdams.
I'm not generally one to be smitten with run-of-the-mill celebrity profiles but I thought this one was pretty sweet.

It's formatted like these things called 'Simple Diaries.'
Designed by Philip Keel, they're interactive diaries that ask you multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. I usually find this sort of stuff to be a bit gimmicky, but they're actually pretty cute.
Rachel McAdams is a huge fan and if it weren't for the fact that I already have a million and one journals started, I'd totally want to scoop up one for myself in every color.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird walk into a bar...

Hey homies. Nylon has a new iTunes playlist out. Fo' FREE!
So if you're like me and need some new jams to get through finals week, you'll be really pumped about it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The coolest thing I'd never wear

That's right boys and girls, they're invisible shoes. Designed by Brazil-born Andreia Chaves, the footwear is made of mirrors and seems like just the thing to punch up your little black dress for New Year's Eve.

Chaves has designed a bunch of other crazy looking shoe contraptions, which you can look at over at Refinery 29.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh good, I was starting to think I was too old to get a job in fashion.

Let's talk Tavi.
For the uninformed, Tavi is a 13 year old fashion blogger who-- somehow-- managed to get really famous. Like, really famous.
Most recently, she shot a video for Rodarte about their collection for Target and scored a column in the January issue of Bazaar.
The girl's cute and all, but she quite frankly drives me crazy. Mostly because I'm insanely jealous that when I was 13, the closest I was getting to the fashion industry was taking a trip to the King of Prussia mall to buy Abercrombie jeans. It makes me a little insecure to think that someone nine years my junior is already living the dream.
I can't help but wonder if she's an Anna Wintour-in-training or if this whole teen gimmick will come to an end once she's old enough to start dating boys and spending time on other things.
Regardless, I'm really digging what Elle fashion director Anne Slowey had to say about her to New York magazine:
"I'm fascinated by anyone who's willing to, like, rock personal style, and you've got to giver that, she's got great style...You look at her [Rodarte] video, and the writing doesn't sync up with the way she talks about fashion. When I watched that video it smacked of this ethereal vagueness--the vacantlike quality where it was like everyone was on Vicodin. Like everyone was uncomfortably dumb except for me...I'm not trying to take anything way from her--her love of fashion, her love of style. She's either a tween savant or she's got a Tavi team."

Right on.

Here's her video in case you're curious:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sending a decade of fashion off in style

As the decade comes to an end, I find myself thinking about what will be the characterizing trends of the first decade of the new millennium. The ’90s had grunge, the ’80s had harsh blush and side ponytails, and the ’70s had bell-bottoms.

Years from now, what will our descendants wear when they have an “Early Years of the Millennium” party? Will it be leggings? Oversized sunglasses? Lady Gaga leotards? Crocs? Uggs? Trucker hats? Heavy eyeliner?

Somehow, a whole mess of ugly crept its way into fashion over the last 10 years — but there were also high notes. The dreadful pleather and general sartorial harshness of the ’90s segued into edgy femininity. There was a resurgence of prettiness.

Sadly, the day of “Mad Men”-era formality is long gone, but with its loss comes a new kind of casual-cool. People might not wear heels to do their daily errands anymore, but if you’re going to be comfortable, at least look good doing it. And no, I don’t mean by throwing on a Juicy Couture tracksuit.

New York-based designer Alexander Wang revolutionized laidback-luxe in 2007, with knitwear that made just about every fashion editor and assistant salivate. He created pieces that were meant to be worn fashionably every day, emphasizing that the way you dressed down meant more than the way you dressed up.

American Apparel was founded in 1989 as a wholesale T-shirt company, but since the beginning of the millennium it has re-focused its efforts on retail and became the Starbucks of the clothing business. It started pumping out a rainbow of cotton basics that let fashion and function hold hands and skip down the streets of Brooklyn.

Designer denim became a multi-billion-dollar industry with a new “it” brand debuting more frequently than re-inventions of the Facebook homepage. Finally, it was OK to dress up jeans.

If there’s one thing to be thankful for about living in this past decade, it’s that it is 100 percent possible to be comfortable as well as fashion-forward. It is for this reason I am constantly flabbergasted by people’s inability to put a marginal amount of effort toward getting dressed. So I’m signing off the semester with the following PSA:

I’m going to make this short and sweet since I know you have loads of studying to do. Forgive me for sounding like a bit of a broken record here since I’ve said this all before, but I feel like I need to give a few reminders about “The Rules” now that its gotten chilly and sartorial apathy has started to set in.

A quick refresher course in looking pulled together: Sweatpants, with few exceptions, generally do not look good. Especially when paired with a matching sweatshirt and sneakers. Unless you’re en route to a final in the Baierl Rec Center, put on something else.

I know you’re spending long hours in the library and don’t even want to think about fashion, but guess what! It’s just as easy and comfortable to put on leggings and a tunic and a pair of boots. Really. I swear to you, it won’t even take two minutes longer than bundling up in sweats. If you’re cold, put on a scarf. Gloves, maybe too. If you’re really feeling ballsy, try a hat. It’ll make your outfit look even better.

Guys, don’t think you can slip away unscathed. The sweatpants rule is applicable to you, too. You’re already allowed to wear baggier jeans, so don’t try telling me they’re “too uncomfortable.” If you want to wear a sweatshirt, fine. But stash the Pitt Panthers one and try a colored hoodie. Major improvement, I promise you.

So good luck with finals, kids. I hope you manage to survive the week without overdosing on caffeine or completely losing your sanity in the depths of Hillman. Just keep in mind that it’s been statistically proven that you’ll do better on exams if you aren’t wearing sweatpants.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Santa, can you hear me?

Dear Santa,

Despite these trying economic times, I'm still positive that my life just can't go on without all the following items. I promise I've been a very good girl all year long!

  • Sneakers: boring but necessary.
  • Over-the-knee boots: I bought this exact pair of boots last year, but I've completely worn them to death. After tirelessly searching for a pair I like more, I'm giving up and want the same ones again.
  • All my cotton basics seem a bit tired lately, so I want to throw in a few new pieces from American Apparel.

  • I need to stock up on cold weather essentials since Pittsburgh's frigid winters have begun and Urban Outfitters has just the pieces I'm looking for. I'm obsessed with this oversized scarf and long, zipper-detailed gloves. Plus, this skinny leather belt is the kind of thing I look for everywhere and never actually find. Sometimes its the simplest things that are hardest to get.
  • The Sims 3: Because I'm really into kissing my social life goodbye during winter break.

  • Mad Men Season 2: I got the first season for my birthday and am officially obsessed.
Or just pick me up anything from Refinery 29's hilarious Guide to Fashion's Most Obscenely Expensive Gifts. (I particularly have my eye on the Hermes camera...)

So Santa, merry Christmas! I'll have Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies waiting for you when you get down the chimney.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Love for fashion started at an early age

I was digging through my closet while I was home for Thanksgiving break and stumbled upon a small red suitcase filled with my very first writing samples.

Among the viola sheet music, a Jonathan Taylor Thomas poster and diaries covered in ballet shoes and Beatrix Potter characters, were two pieces of loose-leaf paper covered in my oversized, elementary-school handwriting.

What did the 8-year-old Sam have to say back then, you ask? Well, turns out my affinity for accessories started early.

The work was actually a short story: A king in India gets annoyed that after he takes a bath in the river, he steps onto the sand and his feet get dirty. So he gives his faithful servant, Gabu, three days to solve the problem or else he will be beheaded. Poor Gabu tries to sweep and wash all the sand away, but with no luck. He decides to cover the entire country with a big piece of leather, but someone complains that the flowers and grass can’t grow.

“‘So what am I supposed to do?’ asked the king. An old man took out some scissors and some leather straps. He cut around the king’s feet and then tied leather straps from the pieces under his feet to his ankles. ‘How do you like them?’ the old man asks. ‘I love them!’ the king says. Yes, the king was wearing the first pair of shoes.”

Not exactly the most stunning closing line, but the moral of the story is that in my elementary-school glory I realized shoes were pretty great.

Other than a marginal improvement in my grasp of punctuation, not a whole lot has changed since then.

My roommate and I were in New York a few weeks ago, and as we walked around the Upper East Side, we had a lengthy discussion about the transformative quality of shoes. Few other articles of fashion possess an equal ability to step-up your outfit. You can wear a Hanes T-shirt and jeans, but if you’re wearing a really fantastic pair of boots, it’ll look like you’re completely in the fashion know.

This is why I’m morally opposed to flip-flops and those icky brown clogs. They don’t do anything for any outfit you could possibly hope to pull off. I’ve seen many outfits ruined by the wrong footwear. I cringe when I see girls running around in otherwise great ensembles only to look down at their feet and spy a pair of decrepit shoes that look like they were shipped straight from the Ugly”R”Us catalog from two seasons ago.

Let’s not even get started on Crocs and those MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) sneakers that are supposed to improve your posture. You should know by now that these are simply unacceptable.

Also, wearing flip-flops to a formal is a mortal sin. This is not up for debate, OK? If you can’t stand spending the night in stilettos, get a dressy pair of flats.

Fashion novices, take note. You can fool everyone into thinking you know exactly what you’re doing if you get just one pair of nice shoes. I know — shoes are expensive. Which is why December is the perfect time to fill your footwear void if needed.

While the holidays are supposed to be about giving, I find there’s not better time of year to be completely self-indulgent. Take this opportunity to get exactly what you want. Now is the perfect time to ask for that Hermes leather bag you’ve been eying or a pair of Christian Louboutin heels.

Just kidding.

I’m all about charity and community service, especially in December. However, if you are writing a list for Santa, I encourage you to request a nice pair of boots or flats. By investing a little more in your footwear, you can get away with scrimping on the rest of your clothes. A $10 shirt and a $30 pair of jeans will look like a million bucks if you pair them with a great pair of shoes.
(Click my scribbles to enlarge)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just a little somethin' somethin' to brighten your day

Karl Lagerfeld made over a SpongeBob figurine for a fundraiser.

I never thought the underwater cartoon would collide with the fashion world, but apparently I stand corrected.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Literary Birthday

I suppose I'm not quite as complex as I try to appear. My main interests are writing and fashion (shock!) and apparently everyone knows it. So three of my birthday presents were books. Exactly my favorite gift to get.
My lovely roommate gave me The New Yorker humor writing anthology, my brother got me The Sartorialist book, and one of my besties got me The World in Vogue.

The World in Vogue is this amaazzing collection of photographs, including one of my favorite shots ever printed in Vogue-- one of Keira Knightley feeding a baby elephant draped in Louis Vuitton. Wonderful.
The Sartorialist has all the pictures featured from Scott Schuman's blog, but he does some commentary for a few of the photos. My favorite quote:
"Let's be honest, the reality rarely lives up to the romance and I am OK with that--I think we all could benefit from letting ourselves get lost in the romance of an idea or perception instead of having to know every excruciating detail of reality."

Recent Acquisitions

I did a little bit of shopping while I was home for Thanksgiving. Ok, a lot of shopping. But in my defense, I haven't gone shopping in forever AND it was my birthday. So there.

Purchases included: black purse from F21 (I needed something that fits my laptop since I carry it with me everywhere these days), gold chain bobby pins from F21, fur stole from H&M (I seriously cannot wait to wear this. I'll probably wear it to class tomorrow.), Steve Madden leather oxfords, suede motorcycle jacket (thank you Wilson's Leather outlet for fulfilling my wish for a tan leather jacket that I've been trying to find everywhere), black leather mini skirt from Express, gold chain necklace from Old Navy.

I promise you I needed it all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to clean out your closet

Next week brings along that fateful day of turkey and rejoicing as over-worked college kids finally get a chance to relax.

For many of us, this will be the first time we’re returning to the nest since our parents dropped us off in August. While the opportunity for television marathons and free food is great, an (almost) entire week with extended family can be a bit daunting. If you’re looking to dodge Aunt Sally’s cheek pinches for a few hours, I suggest seeking refuge in the cozy confines of your bedroom and cleaning out your closet. After all, the holidays are a time of giving to others, so why not clear out those folded piles of nostalgia and take a drive over to your local Goodwill? Not to mention if you clear your sartorial cache now, you’ll have all the more space to cram in Black Friday purchases!

I spent a few days over the summer clearing out my closet. I’m a self-proclaimed neat freak, and my haphazard wardrobe was not exactly depictive of someone who folds her underwear. I figured I needed to say adios to the stretched out cardigans and flared jeans I have never worn. Upon digging around, however, I realized my closet was a veritable graveyard of 75 percent-off sales, moments of impulse and generally bad choices.

Closet overhauls are a great time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. It’s times like these that I learn to rule out cap sleeves, full skirts and Bermuda shorts for myself. Plus you never know what kind of hidden gems will show up. Recently, I found a handful of scarves I had long forgotten and a white clutch that I only used once before stowing away.

If you’re not sure how to go about pulling the weeds from your drawers, I’ve come up with a few pointers. It’s best to approach this arduous task with a tough-love sensibility. So take no offense, buckle down and start filling those trash bags with all of the following.

While fashion trends certainly have a way of reinventing themselves and coming back into style, I think its safe to say you can toss anything made mainly out of polyester, colored pleather and overly chunky heels. Oh, the ’90s. Good intentions, bad executions.

While you’re at it, get rid of those weird tops that I know many of you wore to dances circa 2000 — those ones that started out the size of an apple but stretched to fit you? Yeah, they aren’t coming back anytime soon.

Get rid of anything you don’t wear on a moderately regular basis. To people who say they’re “saving things for the right occasion,” what exactly are you waiting for? An invitation to the Met Ball? Get over yourself; It’s not going to happen.

And honey, for goodness sake, don’t give me that “it’ll look great when I lose 5 pounds” crap. There’s nothing that makes dieting less successful than a closet full of clothes taunting you. Get rid of everything, lose the 5 pounds and then go on a shopping spree. I promise it’ll be more fun that way.

Say goodbye to articles with an excessive use of pompoms. Toss anything that can only be worn in conjunction with a holiday — if you already have sweaters in your closet donning jack-o’-lanterns or reindeer and you aren’t a third grade teacher, I’m a little concerned.

Follow these rules and you’ll experience a great sense of rejuvenation. If you actually are the type who can pull off any of the aforementioned pieces, I say brava. Really, this isn’t sarcasm — I champion creativity when it comes to attire. If you’re just going to pair that pink fleece vest with coordinating go-go boots though, send the stuff on over to Goodwill and let someone with a little more originality figure out what to do with it.

So everyone, have a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your mashed potatoes and be thankful that your closet is free of all those atrocities.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

If I could be granted ONE wish right now...

I go on Net-a-Porter just about every day to gaze longingly at this blazer. My dream jacket. Oh, do those details make me die. The puff of the sleeve? The rounded cut of the front? Those leather inserts? I want, need, and have to have.
I think in a past life I was some kind of equestrian aficionado, because their aesthetic will never fail to appeal to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keep the Fashion, Leave the Celebrity

There’s something I must declare to having a bit of a beef with. It weighs tirelessly on my mental wellbeing day in and day out. I often times awake with a start in the middle of the night, so burdened with annoyance at this very issue.

The problem? Celebrity fashion lines.

It seems as though every gal in Hollywood with a pint of success has slapped her name on a clothing line. If these desperate attempts at consumerist acceptance aren’t a case study in narcissism, I don’t know what is. It’s no secret that celebs have serious entitlement issues, but I just have to ask, why do this?

Not making a pretty penny off of your last flop-laden album, eh? So you thought you could pin your name to a line of polyester-blend atrocities and call it a day? Yes? That’s what you thought? Well find another route to profit, has-beens, because I’m sick and tired of hearing about your attempts at fashion superstardom. This isn’t sixth grade home ec—you should actually possess an iota of talent to launch a line.

Celebrity brands range from the good, the bad, to the just plain fugly. Heidi Montag-Pratt, (if you can even be considered a celebrity) that latter descriptive was to you. Your collaboration with junior budget retailer Anchor Blue was atrocious. Who exactly did you think was going to wear acrylic hot pants and zebra print dresses the length of a camisole? Oh right, you would.

Lindsay Lohan’s saunter into the leggings industry can best be explained as an act of self-beneficence. After all, we wouldn’t want her to run around bottomless, now would we? Oh wait, we’re too late. Luckily, she’s also started her own self-tanner company so when she does forget to put pants on before leaving the house her legs aren’t pasty.

Lauren Conrad provided us with enough abysmally simple jersey dresses to last a lifetime. No surprise that the overpriced line ended up crashing.

There are, of course, exceptions. To the Olsen twins, thank you for continually giving me $200 t-shirts to lust over with your lines, ‘Elizabeth and James’ and ‘The Row.’ If it weren’t for your pricey pieces, I may have long since dropped out of college and joined the circus. But a click through your fall collections gently remind me, “Sam, you need to make a living someday. Those feather-trimmed blazers aren’t going to pay for themselves. So stop scrolling through the backlogs of Textsfromlastnight and get to work. A diploma is supposed to mean a paying job someday, right? Har har…”

Then there are exceptions within lines that are otherwise deemed a disaster. For example, my roommate Erika trotted home from a particularly exhilarating trip to Wal-Mart a few weeks ago and exclaimed, “You will not believe what I bought!” With that, she procured from her smiley face-branded shopping bag a surprisingly adorable screen-printed t-shirt dress. The designer, you ask? Miley Cyrus with Max Azria. No one was more shocked than I, trust.

Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. brand continually delivers charming punk-preppy separates. Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow accessories line boded surprisingly well among fashion critics. Then there’s my personal guilty pleasure, Jessica Simpson’s shoe collection. I love the girl’s footwear so much that I own two pairs of her flats.

A friend and I were wandering around a department store over the summer and—no lie—every time I liked a pair of shoes enough to pick them up and look at the tag, they were Jessica Simpson. A little embarrassing, but I ignored the brand and bought them anyways. My friend on the other hand, insisted she would never purchase anything with Simpson’s name on it just for the principal of the matter.

For me, the JS line worked because I genuinely liked the merchandise. But the very selling point Simpson’s marketers banked on to move product is simultaneously its greatest downfall. If ‘Jessica Simpson’ hadn’t been stamped into the sole, my friend might have picked up a pair, too.

Do retailers really think that collaborating with a D-list celebrity is going to stimulate the credit card-wielding masses? I know the economy is flagging and all, but there are better ways to increase profits. For starters, try making clothes that are actually attractive.

To the celebs, all I’m saying is stick to your acting/singing/socialite-ing and leave the designing up to, uh, actual designers. Capisci?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To Fill Your Daily Pantlessness Quota

Just in case you're one of those types who completely avoids all that occurs in pop culture (in which case, I'm not really sure how you ended up here...) I'll let you know that the new Lady Gaga video came out today. It's sort of a big deal. Everyone's getting really hyped about it, the fashion crowd included.

I don't have a whole lot to say other than, "God. Those shoes. I'd kill." But I did do a little Gaga-inspired blogpost for Chickdowntown, so go check that out.

Being selfish has never been so good

Whether you're admirably getting a head start on your holiday shopping or are just in the market to buy yourself a little happy, print out this coupon and head out to the Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy this weekend. You'll score 30% off and every sale sends 5% over to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an organization that's very near and dear to my heart.

I'm really digging these pieces, since I'm desperately trying to stop buying so much black. Not to mention I've been searching everywhere for the perfect short sleeve sweater to layer over a black turtleneck.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

To Whomever Styled This Ad

Dear Stylist,

I hate to say this to ya, but I'm really not feeling Zoe Kravitz in this new Vera Wang Princess ad. I love the girl to death, don't get me wrong. I think she has great style and gorgeous features. But this doesn't even look like her! You've completely deprived Zoe of her signature bohemian-rocker look in favor of something that's entirely too soft. You could've used her as an opportunity to bring a new edge to the high school-girl-scent. But instead you swathed her in chiffon and made her look like Jordin Sparks.
Nice try, but I'm not a fan.


Here's looking at you, kid

My adoration for well dressed children is no secret, so imagine my delight when I read on Refinery 29 about a new street style blog devoted entirely to little kiddos.

It's freaking adorable. Especially all the pictures of trendy tots in their Halloween costumes from the weekend.

The best part? The blog's name: Planet Awesome Kid. Awesome, indeed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thanks for the compliment but don't always expect one back

Take your seats, boys and girls. It’s midterm season, and that means it’s time for another lesson in Sam’s Psychology of Fashion 101. This week’s lecture: positive reinforcement.

To get you up to speed on B.F. Skinner’s catchphrase concept, positive reinforcement can roughly be defined as the presentation of a favorable stimulus directly after the desired response. After awhile, the stimulus becomes associated with the response and increases the frequency of the response.

The age-old phenomenon has been used for more than canine obedience training. It’s hardwired humankind to be responsive to compliments. We’ve grown so accustomed to mumbling flattery whenever we want to get on someone’s good side that it’s practically white noise.

Remember that time the girl in your mass communications class told you she liked your necklace? She probably was just trying to get you to do all the work in your group project. The time that guy at a frat party told you he liked your shoes? Well — you know what he wanted. Do compliments ever have any validity these days?

Over the summer, I was sitting in a New York City bar one afternoon, and a guy next to me was throwing paper towels into a trashcan on the other side of the bar. I laughed and said something along the lines of, “Nice aim. Good luck with the NBA.” And you know what his response was? “You’re clearly not from New York. You’re too friendly.”

I’d never been more offended in my life. If there’s one thing I’d rather be mistaken for more than a friendly person, it’s a bitter native New Yorker. I was hoping my all-black ensemble would put on the right facade, but apparently it wasn’t enough. Apparently, New Yorkers don’t give compliments.

Perhaps, however, these uncongenial city dwellers are on to something. After all, I do hate when people give compliments just to hear themselves talk. There’s surely nothing worse than the hesitantly reciprocated compliment: “Oh thanks, you, uh, look cute today, too.”

Self-obsession is a human impulse. The ever-expanding world of social network media outlets attests to this theory. Do I really believe that everyone wants to know whether I’m having a good day through my Facebook status? Yes, I do. Call me your friendly neighborhood narcissist.

I wish I could say I’m at a point in my life where compliments don’t mean anything to me, that I’m happy with who I am all on my own. The unfortunate truth is I’ll probably never tire of positive feedback. What can I say? I’m vain. Does anyone honestly not enjoy the small boost to his fleeting confidence?

It is for this reason that I’ve never understood people who don’t put in at least a base level of effort when dressing in the morning. Maybe they’re admirable. Maybe they really are so secure they don’t need adulation. After all, fashion is essentially the physical manifestation of fishing for compliments.

But I think these people are selling themselves short. They don’t know what they’re missing — it’s really quite nice to hear good things about yourself. My personal getting-ready-in-the-morning philosophy is as follows: If you don’t put anything on that warrants a compliment, you probably shouldn’t bother leaving the house in the first place.

So here’s my call to action: I’m asking everyone to cut the obsequious flattery. Speak up when someone is dressed well and keep quiet when you’re just trying to break the ice. There are better ways to start a conversation.

Oh and guys, just because I compliment you does not mean that I’m hitting on you. You’re probably not even my type. So few guys dress well, though, that when they get something right, I feel I need to keep nudging them in the right direction. Positive reinforcement, remember?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm really obsessed with the three following things:

1. Narcissism. I think about it all the time lately. This may or may not be directly related to the fact that Mariah Carey's 'Obsessed' and OneRepublic's 'Everybody Loves Me' have been getting a lot of play time on my iPod recently.
Seriously. This song is great. It kind of has this Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-thing going on in the beginning.

2. The disappearance of my roots. Thank god that's over.
3. My American Apparel hoodie dress. I bought this last year and wear it a lot in general, but its been getting particularly heavy rotation lately. I blame my current overall apathetic outlook towards life. Senioritis is rough, man.

The Leopard Trend

I would just like to take a brief moment to acknowledge the fact that Michelle Obama and I were the same thing for Halloween.

Clearly, great minds think alike.
Ha. I kid.
No but really.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This Halloween should mix the original with the risque

In grade school, Halloween was about gathering copious amounts of candy and having your mother terrified that the creepy neighbor might hide some anthrax in with the Milky Ways.

In high school, Halloween was about joking with your friends about being the oldest trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood.

In college, however, Halloween is about making questionable choices about hemlines.

This weekend, partygoers everywhere have the opportunity to banish their usual jeans-and-tank uniform to the back of their cramped closets in favor of something a little bit more ... original.

There’s something about Halloween that gives people the confidence to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t dare. Maybe it’s all the chocolate. Maybe it’s all the blood-red jungle juice. Regardless, I just feel sorry for the girls who regularly dress like they’re hopping on a table for open-heart surgery — that is to say, in very little clothing. For one weekend each year, these little tartlets have competition. Girls that usually bare less skin than Reese Witherspoon in “Election” suddenly check their sartorial morals at the door and take to the streets looking like, well, a streetwalker.

There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as getting liquored up and revealing to someone, while wearing fairy wings, that you’ve secretly been eyeing him from the other side of your Intro to Cultural Anthropology lecture all semester. The only thing better? Having to walk home the next morning in said fairy wings. Don’t forget, kids, if your costume advertises that you’re the kind of person who will indulge in a one-night stand, the walk of shame will be that much more embarrassing. I once heard a story about some poor guy who had to walk home at 9:30 a.m. dressed as a ballerina. The worst part? The first of November was a weekday, so everyone saw him on their way to class. Oops.

In case you’ve waited until the last minute and still don’t have a clue what to dress up as this year, I’ve taken the liberty of thinking up a few suggestions, ranging from hooker to class act, from which to choose, according to your personal tramp preference. From this point forward, we will euphemistically refer to this skank factor as the broadometer.

Michelle Obama: Belted plaid cardigan, full pleated skirt, pointy flats.

Broadometer: Zero. Hello, it’s the first lady! Though, if you really wanted to be risqué, I suppose you could make it a mini-pleated skirt.

Cast of “Gossip Girl”: This style-centric teen drama has some of the best costumes in the business, so pick your favorite character and go to town.

Broadometer: 2.5 (Blair)—8.6 (Serena). Depending on your level of modesty, there’s a look for everybody. Conservative gals can don a bowed headband and go as Miss Waldorf, while the risk-takers can take a cue from Serena. (Seriously, the level of cleavage she’s been revealing lately is unbelievable. Who’s allowed to go to work like that?) And if you want to go with a more traditional, gothic Halloween look — in the same vein as zombies and Frankenstein’s monster — just pile on the eyeliner and go as Jenny.

Adam and Eve: Get some flesh-colored undergarments — or not — and accessorize with leaves.

Broadometer: 10. I mean, you’re basically naked. It doesn’t get much more scandalous than that.
Personally, I think a more admirable alternative to dressing like a strumpet is to use Halloween as an opportunity to test out a fashion trend you’re otherwise too scared to try. Looking for an excuse to buy aviators? Guys, go as Michael Jackson; ladies, Amelia Earhart. Not sure if you can pull off rompers? Dress up as anything in a uniform — a mailman, UPS delivery person, etc. Craving the opportunity to don some sparkly latex? Give David Bowie a try.

If you’re looking to go pants-less this Hallows Eve but want something more original than the Queen of Leotards, Lady Gaga, I say dress up as my favorite muse, Edie Sedgwick. Pull on some black tights, a striped shirt and a fur jacket. Don’t be surprised if someone asks you to star in their next movie project.

Really, the costume possibilities are endless. Just use a little creativity and have fun with it. So enjoy a safe and happy Halloween, boys and girls.

Be sure to check your candy for suspicious punctures and maybe throw a big sweatshirt into your bag for the morning after. You know, just in case.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recession's Roots

OK, so: Refinery 29 had this posting today about ombre hair. As in like, hair that fades from one color to another from root to end. Like this:

Now, as much as I would like to believe that this is the latest in coiffure trendsetting, I'm just not buying it. This is completely, 100% visible proof that we are IN A RECESSION. Just in case you didn't know. Ladies can't afford constant salon visits to keep their roots touched up.
Exhibit A? My own grown out highlights. This picture is embarrassing on all kinds of levels, but because I like you guys, I'll share it with you. Let's not get judgy, ok?
Luckily, I'm getting this little situation taken care of on Thursday after class, just in time for Halloween weekend photo ops. A big thank you in advance to Anthony over at Spa Uptown for saving me from any future embarrassment.

Friday, October 23, 2009

'The September Issue' offers chance to walk in Wintour's stilettos

“The September Issue”
Starring: Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Andre Leon Talley
Director: R.J. Cutler
A&E IndieFilms
Grade: A-

The small screen has taken an increased interest in the fashion industry in recent years, indulging the pleasures of die-hard magazine readers and giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look with varying degrees of success.

“The Rachel Zoe Project” led us into the famed stylist’s catch phrase-filled world of celebrity-dressing hysteria, and for the most part, it seemed believable. “The Hills,” on the other hand, wasn’t even close at giving us a firsthand account of the magazine business. Unless, of course, Heidi Montag’s morning grooming rituals are considered insider information. “America’s Next Top Model” tried to convey what it takes to become a successful supermodel, but Tyra Banks’ self-branding agenda got in the way more often than not.

Luckily for those genuinely interested in gaining temporary access into the industry, the fashion gods have teamed up with director R.J. Cutler to give us “The September Issue.” Critically acclaimed at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, the film scooped up a win for cinematography and a nomination for the grand jury prize.

The film is bracketed around the creation of the behemoth five-pound September 2007 issue of Vogue. As the months and weeks whittle away, we watch as Anna Wintour — the editor of Vogue for over two decades now — and her Voguettes click-clack around the Conde Nast office in killer stilettos. Just a glimpse at these people, who arguably must be some of the most glamorous folks around (they are, after all, the tastemakers of the world), is mesmerizing in itself. It’s oddly reassuring to see them squirm to avoid Wintour’s wrath. Vogue editors are insecure too? Who knew?

The beginning scenes establish Wintour’s power in the fashion business — just in case, you know, anyone with a remote interest in style wasn’t already aware of this. One interviewee is asked if there’s any aspect of the fashion industry on which Wintour doesn’t have influence. He pauses for a moment, searching for a small glitch in the system that’s out of the reach of her manicured palm. In the end, his answer is simple: “No.”

Even viewers without an invested interest in the industry should have a subliminal understanding of Wintour’s character. Her rumored editrix nature is, after all, the alleged basis for Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada.” Those looking for a similarly plot-driven gossip fest, however, should look elsewhere.

“The September Issue” is more documentary than chick flick. It reveals a glimpse at the hard-edged business side of fashion that so often gets pushed aside in favor of a portrayal emphasizing parties and glamour.

Wintour’s daughter, Bee, describes fashion as “a weird industry,” insisting that she’d rather “go to law school” than follow in her mother’s footsteps. It’s astounding to think someone would pass up such easy access to that impenetrable world, but as the film shows, fashion isn’t for the faint of heart. And for those who are hankering to score a job in the industry, it’s comforting to know there’s one less person with connections vying for the same position.

While the film certainly accentuates the toils and stresses of the industry, Andre Leon Talley, Vogue’s editor-at-large, serves as the film’s much-needed comic relief. Upon Wintour’s demand that he lose weight, he takes on playing tennis, decking himself out with Louis Vuitton and rolling onto the clay court. God bless a man with style.

And if Talley provides the laughs, then flame-haired creative director Grace Coddington provides the soul. The film follows her crafting a series of extraordinarily beautiful photo editorials that Wintour heartbreakingly tosses aside. Seemingly heartless moves like this make it easy to see where Wintour gets her reputation. Behind her platinum bob and oversized shades, though, Wintour isn’t cruel-hearted. She’s a hard worker with impeccable standards. It’s a shame, really, that being so passionate and skilled at what you do means a media-driven perception of soullessness and frigidity.

“The September Issue” is not without its faults. Just as Wintour harshly edits the pages of her beloved magazine, cutting out seemingly perfect photographs and articles, the documentary editors cut too much from this film. The credits roll after a mere 90 minutes, leaving viewers scrambling for more, searching for what sets these people apart from the rest of us mere mortals.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Precious wouldn't even begin to describe.

This diverse little gang of toddlers almost makes me want to have children before I'm 32. All courtesy of Stella McCartney's Gap Kids line. So freakin' adorable. I want that jacket for myself.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Calling all hipsters! I need a date!

Open casting call to all hipsters: I’m looking for a date.

I’ve been in this peskily nostalgic mood lately, and I’m thinking that getting back in touch with my childhood will snap me out of the trance, and what better way to revisit my youth than with the recent release of “Where the Wild Things Are?”

Unfortunately, all my friends are either too busy to go to the movies (since when does being a senior imply responsibility and work ethic?), have no interest in seeing “WTWTA” or are waiting until the long queue of hipsters has gone down — and their fellow moviegoers have showered recently. Yes hipsters, it might be time to disprove that unfortunate stereotype.

My friends fail me when it comes to indulging in this film fantasy, as none of them are pretentious hipsters. I’ve burdened myself with genuinely friendly, non-conceited and well-adjusted comrades. No one will go see “Wild Things” with me tonight, which is why I’m desperately seeking a hipster guy to take me to the movies.

Let’s take a second to define this whole hipster paradigm. Because of the negative connotation, it pains me that the word has become synonymous for anyone with a creative fashion sense.

For the record, just because you have good taste in clothing, movies or music, that doesn’t make you a hipster. It’s what you do with this previously aforementioned good taste that classifies you as such. Hipsters use their pop-culture knowledge for evil rather than good, sniping at anyone not as knowledgeable as them.

Before all you Pitchfork-loving kids start scribbling angry hate mail, let me say this: I feel for you. I like being ahead of the curve as much as the next asymmetrically hair-styled kid. And I genuinely appreciate your style. I’m the first to champion unique fashion statements. I actually harbor a secret desire for the ability to pull off tortoiseshell reading glasses more than just about anything — I just don’t have the right face shape.

I’ve been trying to find a fluorescent pair of Nike Dunks for months now, but every time I try them on, they simply look ridiculous. I envy you. Don’t go and get your keffiyah in a twist.

I would even go so far as to say I have a mild hipster-esque impetus. There was this one time in first grade when the whole class gathered on the carpet to listen to Miss Adams read us some book about the rainforest. I was devastatingly bored, though, because my mother had already bought me this book. I had already consumed it cover to cover, already laughed at the punch lines and already looked at all the brightly colored pictures of toucans. When the rest of the class would laugh at the boa constrictor protagonist, I rolled my eyes and thought, “For God’s sake, couldn’t we read something a little more cutting edge? What are my parents’ tax dollars going toward, anyways?”

You see? We’d probably get along fine. I’m just saying, it wouldn’t kill you to be a little nicer to me. Indulge me when, say, I haven’t heard of the latest group of whining 20-somethings marketing themselves as the world’s next electro sensation. Wipe that “Oh-my-God-you-haven’t-heard-them” scowl off your face and get over yourself. Didn’t your mother ever tell you your face could freeze if you hold it like that for too long?

So if any hipster boy out there is reading this and needs someone to accompany him to the movies this weekend, look no further. I’m your girl. You’re going to have to leave the fedora at home, though, because it’s obstructive to other theater patrons. Your septum ring and thick-rimmed spectacles? Those are just fine. The tighter your jeans, the better — I’m not big on surprises, anyways. And if you aren’t wearing some neon-colored V-neck or hoodie, you might as well forget about our date. Turn around and high tail it right back to American Apparel.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Clean Up in Aisle 2

Liz Claiborne isn't a brand that comes into my radar all that frequently, but I'm loving this season's ad featuring two of my favorite fashion industry personalities: Coco Rocha and Isaac Mizrahi--who took over designing for the company last Spring and is slowly rescuing it from middle school-teacher-chic.
This may be the most fashionable grocery store line ever.