Friday, July 31st 2009

Function is Fashion: Zippers Do Double Duty This Fall


Fashion vs. function is an endless debate. Will those covetable 5” booties make me fall head-over-heels both figuratively and literally? Is it really wise to wear that string bikini in strong ocean waves? (I can testify that no, indeed, it isn’t.) But luckily, sometimes the sartorial stars allow fashion and function to align. Enter exposed zippers. Useful or purely decorative, the trend spotted on last spring’s runways is exploding for fall.

We all look for timeless styles with a modern spin, and zippers provide that fresh angle. A little black dress takes an of-the-moment turn with double zips adorning the front (as in this dress by Geren Ford), or with a zippered belt cinching the waist (like this cowl-neck Helmut Lang dress). And in the hands of Current/Elliott, this fastening sharpens up the classic pencil skirt.

Sure, zippers can be all-out edgy, but designers known for their femininity play the adornment against type with ruffles and rosettes. Zippers and chains temper a sweet shift by Nanette Lepore, while Catherine Malandrino uses them to make a ladylike knee-length frock really pop, and Juicy Couture’s princess goes punk with its Ruffle Zip Cardigan.

On the other hand, accessories make it easy to just nibble on a trend, and zippered shoes, bags, and jewelry are a way to make the look your own by pairing it with your signature pieces. I’d add the above Bop Bijoux bracelet to my usual wristful of bangles, or carry any one of the new Alexander Wang bags to add interest on lazy tee-and-jeans days.


Thursday, July 30th 2009

shopspotted: flowers as hair accessories

Trend forecaster Anne Ziegler travels the world scoping out the latest and the up-and-coming in areas ranging from fashion to music to art to travel. She’s helped retailers identify current and future trends and has worked with some of the biggest names in the glossies (Elle, Vogue, Lucky). Dream job? You bet it is. Here, Anne talks about a mini trend that’s popping up across the globe.

Blame it on summer love or the season’s heat, but there is no denying that a sweet trend is developing in hair accessories. Once reserved for ladies in tropical locales, girls across the globe are wearing flowers in their hair. I’ve spotted the look in Argentina, Spain, Italy—fashionable women are accessorizing with faux flora, and I have to say, I love the look! It’s simultaneously feminine and confident, and most importantly, looks absolutely adorable.

--Anne Ziegler

Thursday, July 30th 2009

Shop Your Style


The best thing about online shopping? The selection. Such a wealth of designer names at your fingertips, ready to be delivered to your doorstep with just a few clicks. But there’s a downside to this avalanche of options: fashion fatigue. Browsing two-hundred-sixty-seven versions of the little black dress can try the patience of even the most sartorially obsessed, leaving you looking for a shortcut. (Something like a list of top 10 songs, but for clothes.)

Good news: I’ve found it. Sure, size and color matter, but we all know the real reason most closet contenders are dismissed out of hand is that they’re not your style. Now Shopbop has it set up so you can shop only those items that suit your style with five mini-boutiques stocked with pieces selected especially for five distinct looks: Classic, Edgy, Bohemian, Girly, and Casual Chic. Not that you have to limit yourself to one, of course. Each boutique is meticulously edited, and you can mix and match J Brand jeans, cocktail dresses, and dress pants from each for a look that’s uniquely yours.

You define your style. Shopbop helps you refine it. (And speaking of great style, check out the winners of our first ever Most Fashionable Fan contest on Facebook.)

Shopbop Shoptalk

Thursday, July 30th 2009

first fashion

Our Favorites from What's New
I’m always on the hunt for more transition pieces. Essentially, it’s what you wear whilst shifting between tube top and turtleneck weather (or what you throw on in July when your favorite restaurant sets the thermostat at “bone chilling”). With fall just around the corner, I don’t always want to be carrying around a cardi, so I need something casual but more inspired than a basic long-sleeve tee.

Hooray for 3/4 sleeves! This is what I’m talking about: appropriate arm coverage, front draping with a touch of sex appeal, and go-anywhere jersey I can dress up or down. Velvet – Ariana Top


A hobo that works year-round, I’ll add this DVF bag to any ensemble and instantly up my city’s heat index. Diane von Furstenberg – Stephanie Slouchy Bag


Pumps or boots? No need to make such taxing decisions when there are plenty of haute booties that offer the best of both worlds. These Belles of the ball can be worn with a mini dress and bare legs now, and with all stripes of funky tights once the weather cools. Belle by Sigerson Morrison – Tie Back Wedge Booties

There's a wealth of options for spring, fall, and all the mini seasons in between, in What’s New.


Wednesday, July 29th 2009

They’ve Got Staying Power + How to Clean Your UGGs

Last winter, I read more than one blog post posing the same question: are people really still wearing UGG boots? The answer, from London to L.A., was yes, they are. Why? Because the sheepskin boots have become a staple in many a winter (and for you surfers out there, beach) wardrobe.

Brought to the United States in 1978 by Brian Smith, UGG’s Classic Tall and Classic Short styles are modeled after the same sheepskin boots worn and adored by Australian beach bums. The boots were a hit on the West Coast, and eventually made their way east, where they were appreciated for their cozy warmth in the north’s brutal winters.

More than 30 years later, the brand has branched out from their classics to include a full range of styles, including UGG slippers (the Coquette is among the most popular), driving moccasins, fashion boots, and the most recent addition, the Classic Cardy, a knit take on the brand’s iconic silhouettes.

How to Clean UGG Boots
It’s an oft-asked question, and one that needs answering: how does one go about cleaning UGGs? I consulted the back of the brand’s Sheepskin Cleaner & Conditioner bottle, and after getting past the no-brainer warnings (“DO NOT use a washing machine.” No kidding.), I discovered the process is pretty simple.

Here’s the low-down:

Step 1: Get yourself a bottle of UGG cleaner.
Step 2: Grab your dirty, worn UGGs, and get them a little wet with some clean, cold water.
Step 3: Dilute the cleaner using a 1 part water/1 part cleaner ratio (that’s half water/half cleaner for the math challenged among us).
Step 4: Apply your diluted potion to a wet sponge (not directly to your boots—you’ll end up with a big-ol’ cleaner spot), and very gently scrub the area clean.
Step 5: Rinse in clean, cold water, then lightly stuff the boots with paper and let them dry naturally and slowly.
Step 6: When the boots are dry, brush them very lightly with a soft-bristled brush.

Before Step 1 (when you first buy the boots) and after Step 6, you may want to treat them with UGG spray, to minimize the number of times you have to repeat steps 1 through 6.


Tuesday, July 28th 2009

Play peek-a-boo: bikini tops and bralettes add a sexy new dimension to your look

The fashion blogosphere can’t stop rhapsodizing about fall trends, but it’s still only July and your summer style could use a shot of something new. While I was culling through photos of Senior Stylist Morgan for last week’s Studio Style post, I (no surprise) discovered an inspired take on pieces we all have in our wardrobe: a bikini/bra top worn beyond the beach or boudoir.

Left: Morgan creates a scintillating yet casual daytime statement with a peek-a-boo
bikini top. Right: A lace bra coupled with the above pieces is sure to generate after-dark sparks.

We’ve all seen innerwear as outerwear done in a ’90s Madonna bustier way, but what I’m talking about is more subtle, chic, and sans padded cones. For a daytime look, start with a sleek triangle bikini top in a dark color like black, midnight, or charcoal. I personally like the colored pyramid studs on this Brette Sandler style for extra kick. Top it off with a slouchy jersey tank that’s got a deep cowl neck, cutouts, a draped racer back, or all of the above. (I love how Morgan’s bikini peeks out on the sides in the pic above—the perfect answer for those tanks with the extra-deep arm openings that you’ll be seeing lots more of.) Finish with boyfriend shorts, a long flutter by Jill Golden pendant necklace, and flat cutout booties like these.

To take this look downtown, switch to a cool lacy bra like this one by Only Hearts, lightly bleached J Brand jeans, and carnivorous Givenchy booties. Doll up those peep-toes with a neon pedicure: hot pink, acid yellow, or tangerine polish brings a delicious color pop to a feverishly hot ensemble.


Tuesday, July 28th 2009

the accessories hit list

The Latest by Kate, Fashion Director
Weather-wise summer’s only just begun, but new fall arrivals are hitting shopbop every day. Where to get started on your fall shopping? Accessories! Why? You can wear them today!

Here’s my hit list:

1. Round Sunglasses A celeb favorite and a simple way to make a big fashion statement. Invest in this must-have trend NOW!
Favorite styles:
- Lanvin Paris - Wouter Round Sunglasses
- Oliver Peoples - Sheldrake Sunglasses
- Proenza Schouler - Round Sunglasses (pictured)
2. Studded Handbags Classic shapes take on a rock-and-roll edge when they get the studded treatment.
Favorite styles:
- Bulga - Blesk Stud Tote
- Rebecca Minkoff - Supernova Stud Devote Handbag
- Tory Burch - Studded Satchel (pictured)
3. Avant-Garde Hair Accessories Incorporate a lavish hair piece for a little Parisian flirtation. It’s the perfect way to add some romance to your look.
Favorite styles:
- Bop Bijoux - Romantic Head Wrap
- Bop Bijoux - Studded Headband
- Felix Rey - Mesh Spiral Headband (pictured)
4. Ruffled Shoes Seen on pumps and boots, ruffles are happening this fall. I’m particularly loving Marc by Marc's ruffle boots.
Favorite styles:
- Elizabeth and James - Risky Ruffle Pumps
- L.A.M.B. - Randi Peep Toe Pumps
- Marc by Marc Jacobs - Ruffle Back Knee High Boots (pictured)

Monday, July 27th 2009

4 tips: how to wear tie-dye denim

Style Notes by Morgan, Senior Stylist


Bleached, tie-dye jeans are huge for fall, and while they look super-chic and fashion-forward in magazines and on the runways, the look can be pretty intimidating to pull off in real life.

I’ve played around with this a bit (check out our tie-dye denim lookbook), and wanted to share my tips on the best ways to make this ‘80s comeback just right for right now (and into fall).

Tip 1:
Think sophisticated and grown-up with an oversized button-down shirt in a solid neutral color (like this one by Elizabeth and James) to temper the eye-catching jeans. The juxtaposition of classic and edgy keeps the look really wearable.

Tip 2:
Most print tops are too intense for such bold bottoms, but blouses that are soft, sheer, and feminine look amazing with super-faded tie-dye jeans. Try this blouse by Patterson J. Kincaid with these bleached Current/Elliott jeans.

Tip 3:
To avoid looking costume-y, stay away from styling bleached denim with flannels and logo or band T-shirts. It’s stylish to update retro inspiration, not to look like you’ve stepped out of a time machine. Instead, try pairing with a chunky cable-knit cardigan, like this one by Vince. A little prep provides a chic contrast.

Tip 4:
Tie-dye jeans look hot with big chunky black boots! They anchor the look and keep it fashion-forward, not grungy. Whether you go with a clean-lined button-down or a soft floral blouse, these shoes are the way to go.

I would love to hear your tricks for styling tie-dye denim! How do you guys wear it?


Monday, July 27th 2009

first fashion

Our Favorites from What's New
As I write this, I’m prepping to go to a Coldplay show. By the time you read this, I may have already run away with Chris Martin (sorry Gwyneth!) and inspired his next album, but I digress. I have to be strategic in my concert attire because a) it’s at an outdoor amphitheatre with a wickedly steep hill involved, b) I have lawn seats on said hill, and c) I still need to look cute!

The last time I attended a show at this venue, I set off a security red alert for trying to get past the gate with a backpack-style purse. (Hey, it was 2003—no judgment.) This cross-body bag is ideal for the summer music scene—frees hands for plastic cups of wine while maintaining runway readiness. Botkier – Logan Shoulder Bag


Aha—my nightmares of slipping and spiraling down crazy hill assuaged! These sneaks provide traction and the smudged edges make me look art school-cool. Bensimon – Classic Lace Up Flats


This top is the epitome of model-dating-lead singer sexy. Tie-dye J Brand jeans and some Bing Bang baubles and I’m all set. KAIN Label – Side Drape Tank

How to Viva La Vida? Join the party in What’s New.


Friday, July 24th 2009

what to wear to a dive bar

Love ’em or hate ’em, the future (for now) of New York nightlife seems to lie in dive bars. A recent article in the NY Times says “clubs” are out and “lounges” are in. The difference? Not important. What is important is what a person should wear to this social revolution. I suggest channeling your inner hipster, in a fashion-forward way.

Start by browsing our Edgy styles. The emerging tie-dye jeans trend will be right at home in any hole-in-the-wall bar. Add some black leather (like an Alexander Wang vest) and a slouchy tank, and your too-cool-for-school look has a solid base. Accessorize with cutout booties (L.A.M.B. makes a vampish pair, pictured) and some heavy-duty jewels (I’m obsessed with Fiona Paxton, and the Kettle Black cuff above has all the makings of a signature piece), give your hair the bed-head treatment, and your look will have devil-may-care urbanite written all over it.


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