Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oh, Anna.

Anything at all that I could've said about Anna Wintour's Letterman appearance, the Fug Girls took care of and said a million times more brilliantly.

They summarized the segment in this nice little metaphor:
"Watching the two of them effectively hang out and make small talk felt a bit like eavesdropping on somebody's incredibly awkward blind date: He tried to care about fashion, and failed; she gave him little to work with beyond quoting funny, nasty things various writers have called her in print, and the encounter ended with a distinct air of relief and absolutely no making out."
The Fug Girls always know how to say it best. Read the whole commentary. It's great.

Budgeting and creativity the new recession trend

Something strange happens the summer before your senior year of college. Things slowly begin falling together as you gradually embrace the notion of independence. Suddenly, the most generic advice grows distinctly clear.

People tell you to do things for you--no one else. People say to study what interests you-- not what someone else wants you to do. People say to spend time with people that bring out the best in you -- not waste time with those that don’t. The sage advice is about creating a sense of self and, in this case, a sense of style.

Regardless of your year in school, there's perhaps no better time to find what works for you--and forget everything else. Forgo spending money on trends in favor of what makes you look your best. Wear what suits your personality and body type. Wear what pleases YOU.

"There are few things in life more pleasurable than shopping, but there is also enormous joy to be had from repairing and revitalizing," said Rita Konig, a contributor th the now-shuttered Domino.

She was actually talking about furniture at the time, but it also rings true in fashion. This year is far less about trends and more about putting creativity to use and modernizing what you already own. Dig around drawers you haven't opened in awhile. Spend some time shopping from your own closet instead of the mall. Not only is it cheaper, you'll end up with a style that's completely different from everyone else.

Usually there's nothing that thrills me more than back-to-school shopping. It brings me back to the days in elementary and middle school when, on one fateful day of August, my mother would hand me a catalog and a pen. I'd circle everything I wanted, then carefully narrow down what I wanted badly enough to buy.

Ironically, back then I hated the mall. I associated it with tagging along on my mom's tedious trips searching through racks of business suits. Those were my tomboy days, when I rejected the glittery pinkness of Limited Too in favor of leggings and oversized graphic tees (my favorites were endangered animal ones sold each year as an elementary school fundraiser.) Not much has changed since then. This duo is still my go-to ensemble on lazy weekends and nights spent in the library.

This year, I'll be rejecting the mall again. My aching bank account has forced me to pull out clothes I haven't worn in years and look at them in a new light.

If you are dying to buy something new, you're in luck. Last year's high fashion trends are still trickling down into cheaper chains. It's easy to score key pieces at affordable price points.

When composing your shopping list, consider a few trends: Leather and tough detailing. Think exposed zippers and studded anything. Layer on chain necklaces--personally, my favorite accessory. Try a bold pair of jeans—acid wash, distressed, or brightly colored. They’re all more versatile than you think and can make an otherwise simple outfit look far more fashionable. Hit up consignment stores to partake in the monopolizing 80s trend. Strong, sculptured shoulders have generated into a full blown trend since Balmain’s now notorious military jacket debuted last year.

Head to the stores (or your closet) and try things on. Keep looking until you find things that are perfect for you. Put pieces together in a way you never have before. The results may surprise you. After all, college is a time of trying new things and finding yourself.

So welcome back, kids. Here’s to a fashionable year.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Could this be any cuter?

No surprise that Scott Schuman's kids are absolutely adorable. This is precisely how I want to dress my children someday.
Mr. Schuman did a shoot for Style Piccoli with his daughters and their friends. You can see the rest of it over at The Sartorialist.

Love affair with August

Despite the humid stickiness, August is a definite contender for my favorite month of the year. I love the way the Philadelphia suburbs empty as families head to New England or North Carolina for vacation. I usually go up to my grandparents' house in north Jersey the first week of the month to celebrate my fabulous grandmother's birthday.
This year, I extended my trip into a visit to Brooklyn. It's quite lovely getting to the age where you have friends who live all over. It's my sole comfort in getting older and having more responsibility.
We spent three days eating, drinking, and basking in New York's incredible energy. We hung out with some fashionable people (even bumped into Mischa Barton on the street) and painstakingly planned every detail of our future. Which, of course, included neighboring Manhattan apartments, joint family vacations to the Hamptons, and all around perfection.

The final week of August is my most favorite. I finally move back to school and am reunited with my friends and the city of Pittsburgh (I swear, there's more to do there than you think) but class and obligations haven't set in. We enjoy a blissfully irresponsible week of socializing and relaxing. It's wonderful.

To keep me tied over until that week is the crown jewel of August: September issue season. I faintly resemble a toddler on Christmas when I head to the newsstands in the balmy month. I love when the glossy page counts double and are packed with outfit inspiration.

I picked up a copy of Marie Claire while I was waiting for my train home from New York last week. I'm helplessly receptive to anything with an Olsen twin on it.
August symbolizes a time of transition. And because I'm the type of person who constantly needs change, that's just my type of month. August is about reunion, relaxation, and justifiable spending on your new fall wardrobe. Who could ask for more?

Something to look forward to.

Thank you to Elle for pointing me in the direction of Advanced Style, a blog dedicated to fashionable senior citizens.
I have quite the irrational fear of getting older, (I wear sunblock every single day in preparation) but this makes the process look a little less arduous.

As for my favorite stylish seniors, I leave you with a picture of my impeccable grandparents. Can you believe they're in their 80s? I hope I inherited a whole lot of their genes. My grandmother went to LIM in New York to study fashion merchandising back in the day. Clearly, she learned a lot.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Let's talk about this...

So the fashion news blogosphere is all abuzz about Cintra Wilson's Times column in which she does a scathing review of JCPenney. Actually, scathing is an understatement. Let's turn to a few choice excerpts, shall we?

She begins by asking,
Why would this dowdy Middle American entity waddle into Midtown in its big old shorts and flip-flops without even bothering to update its ancient Helvetica Light logo, which for anyone who grew up with the company is encrusted with decades of boring, even traumatically parental, associations?

She does a few subtle digs at the lower middle class:
It was never “get the look for less” so much as “get something vaguely shaped like the designer thing you want, but cut much more conservatively, made in all-petroleum materials, and with a too-similar wannabe logo that announces your inferiority to evil classmates as surely as if you were cursed to be followed around by a tuba section.”

And talks about masstige [mass+prestige. also known as designer diffusion lines]:
There are collections by other designers who insist on going by their first names (perhaps because Penney’s is a friendly, homey place, like Oprah’s couch). Behold...Liz & Co., an offshoot of Liz Claiborne, key provider of looks that say “I have been in a senior management position at this D.M.V. for 34 years.”

Then she delves into the fat comments:
It has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of “Roseanne.”
The petites section features a bounty of items for women nearly as wide as they are tall; the men’s Big & Tall section has shirts that could house two or three Shaquilles.

Commenters, writers, readers are all freaking out about this (read through some of the comments left on the 'apology' she posted on her blog. Pure entertainment.)
Honestly? I think it's hysterical.
I get that it's offensive to most of America. I know people are sensitive when it comes to discussing money and weight. For middle America, reading this column was probably like trying to stand up to the catty queen of high school. She promptly cut you down with remarks that were cruel, mostly because they were undeniably true. And those always hurt the most, no?
But really, how can you not just laugh at this? The quality of humor is what saves her in my book. If it wasn't as witty, the whole thing would come off as a crass rant.
And for those of you that are into fashion, have you really never contemplated all of the same things that Wilson wrote? Personally, I'm kicking myself for not having cleverly crafted and published all these thoughts myself.

Everyone can leave the woman as much bad feedback as they want, but I say brava. I'm far from a rich size two but I still laughed through the whole thing.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

B[utton] Job

I spent a good year and a half searching for a kelly green coat. Everywhere. Finally, I stumbled upon one at the Nordstrom's sale last year. It gave me that kind of shopping euphoria that occurs when you've been looking for something forever and finally find it.
But guess what.
I never wore it.
Not even once.
I got to campus in the fall and it seemed like everyone had gotten the same coat at the Nordstrom's sale.
So since it kills me to let a purchase go to waste, I finally decided to spruce it up and make it more my style. I went to Joann's, picked up some gold buttons, and did a little swap-a-roo.
I think it looks less trendy and more sophisticated now, no? All for the low low price of $10. Much more economical than getting a new coat for the season.
I'm a big fan of replacing buttons. I put some brown leather ones on a corduroy blazer last year. Now I'm thinking about updating my black peacoat with some silver crests.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm really obsessed with the three following things:

1. Visiting (and subsequently missing) various cities: This summer has greatly lowered my tolerance for suburbs.
2. Red lips and nails: After watching Gentlemen Prefer Blondes the other night I'm inspired to slick on some red OPI and finally dig my red lipstick out of the bottom of my makeup bag. Which all goes perfectly with fall's overarching beauty trend: more is more.
3. LA Ink: My latest small screen guilty pleasure. It almost makes me want to end my phobia of needles and get a tattoo. Though, I decided if I was one of those people who wanted to get married young and hip (I'm neither hip nor interested in settling before I'm 30), I would get a serpent swallowing it's tail (the symbol for eternity) tattooed around my ring finger. Poetic, right?

Currently Lusting over: DKNY

Clearly, I'm really into ads today. I don't know why.

Anyways. I swear every time I dog-ear something in a magazine lately, it ends up being something from DKNY. I love the sophisticated-with-a-twist vibe and the dashes of color and leopard print. Donna is pumping out everything I want to be wearing this fall. Way to go, girl.

Smart, smart, smart

Kudos to whichever Cover Girl marketing exec came up with this one.
The ad compares each CG mascara to its designer equivalent. I almost feel like this isn't legal, but nonetheless I wish I'd had this a couple weeks ago when I was trying to find a new (and affordable) mascara. I ended up getting MaxFactor 2000 Calorie. It's okay but I'd still like a more dramatic one.

I think the DiorShow/LashBlast comparison here is a little off, though. I've used both and DiorShow is infinitely better. I was never a huge fan of LashBlast--while it never clumped, it also never seemed to apply enough product for my far-from-natural liking.
At least all this recession stuff is making ads blatantly easy to follow...