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.