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.