Tuesday, June 30th 2009

preppy’s big comeback


As you’ve likely noticed, preppy’s back in a big way. And while I’ve always harbored a secret crush on its blueblood cool, I have a hard time integrating uptown-inflected pieces into my downtown-eclectic style. How to make this classic style look more Crossroads, less Pencey Prep? 3 tips (courtesy of my extensive research and a few trips through our American Beauty feature):

1. Play It Against Type
Beneath that coiffed, country-club veneer, preppy’s got a debauched side that’s dying to get out. How do I know? Check out what destroyed denim or tie-dye skinnies do for a button-down or blazer. Suddenly the look is more Kim Gordon, less Cindy McCain.

2. Keep an Eye Toward Proportion
Cardigan plus below-the-knee skirt? To quote the venerable Tim Gunn, it’s “the express train to Dowdyville.” Cardigan plus hot-to-trot short-shorts, on the other hand, strikes a cool balance of sexy and bookish. Or, take your cues from the Alexander Wang fall runway and style an oversized button-down with an underwear-as-outerwear bra, second-skin leggings, and platforms. It’s the mix of body-con and boyish that makes it chic.

3. Make It Personal
Put aside your preconceived notions about preppy: e.g. that it demands to be accessorized with pearls and ballet flats. Instead, think of classic pieces as blank slates open to interpretation. Take something that’s the soul of preppy, a seersucker blazer, for example. You can style it dominatrix-preppy with platform pumps and a studded cuff, hippie-preppy with wood-heeled sandals and crochet, or rocker-preppy with ripped jeans and a shredded tank. The possibilities are, as they say, endless. The point is to let your personal style come through.


Tuesday, June 30th 2009

first fashion

Our Favorites from What's New
I’m getting ready to attend a Public Enemies premiere party tonight, which I am super thrilled about because I was in the movie. Okay, so I was only an extra (played a Depression-era mom of one of the Junior G-men), but it was a scene with Billy Crudup and the ever-so-arresting Christian Bale, so no complaints here. Check back Thursday when I post about my experience ogling Christian on set and fashion inspired by the movie. But for now, I have a red carpet to prep for:

Sequined mini dresses and sky-high platforms have been rocking all the awards show red carpets of late. I’ll be sure to avoid the dreaded ’80s prom look with sassy sass & bide on my back. sass & bide – Circle The Room Dress


If you hear the word “appliqué” and think mom sweater or craft fair, you’re not alone. But in Catherine Malandrino’s impossibly chic hands, this zipper appliqué is a singular sartorial sensation. Catherine Malandrino – Cap Sleeve Shift Dress with Antique Neckline


I’m drawn to the sexy simplicity and high-drama neckline of this dress. Methinks a Gemma Redux necklace will simultaneously fill in the negative space and steal the show. Free People – Draping Dress

Be the one who makes them star-struck with something dazzling from What’s New.


Monday, June 29th 2009

revisiting khaki


It isn’t my fault I shy away from khaki: the word has long evoked mental images of unflattering pleated slacks and clueless tourists in Hawaiian shirts and baggy shorts. But with Alexander Wang and Vena Cava's all-khaki collaborations with the Gap garnering their share of buzz, and this season’s neutral trend, it seems high time I revisit this oft-ignored fabric.

Unique details and spot-on fit make khaki shorts fashion-forward rather than frumpy (like the metallic sheen on this pair by Alice + Olivia, and the metallic pinstripes and paper-bag waist of the Myne shorts pictured above). Try them with a tucked-in white blouse to accentuate the waist, and pair with gold jewelry, a snake-embossed clutch, and nude stilettos for an elegantly understated combo.

Khaki blazers add polish to a look while keeping it on the casual side. A tailored style (like an Elizabeth and James blazer or a Marc by Marc Jacobs blazer) is understated over a fitted grey tank and distressed boyfriend jeans, or preppy with a plaid shirt and cutoff shorts. A tangled gold necklace provides a glam finishing touch.

This pic of Rihanna proves that rocker and khaki aren’t mutually exclusive. She accessorizes cropped khaki pants with oversized sunglasses, a gold chain necklace, mix-and-match bracelets (a great way to inject a little personality into any outfit), and metallic stilettos, leaving any lingering doubts about the coolness of khaki far, far behind.


Monday, June 29th 2009

first fashion

Our Favorites from What's New
I’ve never really been one for vests. Then again, until this season, I was never really into rompers either, until I found one I became so enamored with I actually bought two of the same style! (You know, to avert fashion meltdowns when one romper is stuck at the cleaners for two days.) But back to vests. After seeing stylist Bobbie mixing things up with Pencey, and a DVF houndstooth style in today’s What’s New, I’m betting with the right companions I can give this erstwhile men’s suiting staple an edgy attitude.

Beautifully tailored to flatter a woman’s curves, this is one layering essential that could go American classic or British punk with a swap of accessories. Diane von Furstenberg – Gilet Vest


Though I love the ripped dark-rinse jeans modeled with the vest, I’m partial to this charcoal skinny in soft Japanese denim. J Brand – 10” ankle skinny jeans


When getting dressed for a night out, I often ask myself WWMD: What would Morgan do? I envy our Senior Stylist’s knack for unexpected pairings (mini jersey dress with sneakers for example) with undeniably cool results. I think this bracelet is the finishing touch in helping me channel some of that spirit. Citrine by the Stones – Coiled Wire Bangle

Here’s a fashion challenge: experiment with one piece you’ve never tried before. No better place to start than What’s New.


Friday, June 26th 2009

City Holiday: Packing for the 4th of July in Chicago

With the heat that’s enveloped the middle states (and the rest of the country) my Fourth of July trip to Chicago will require a serious summer packing strategy. I inherited the immediate-discomfort-when-the-temp-tops-70 gene from my dad, so my suitcase will be all about no-nonsense, airy ease of dressing. What does that mean exactly? Body-con nothing and weightless everything.

Though most of us live the metropolitan life every day, it’s something else altogether when the city you’re visiting isn’t your own. What sort of restaurants will you frequent? How many wardrobe changes will each day demand? Will you have to bring the entire contents of your closet just to get by?

Ladies, make jersey your best friend. I contend that it’s the most versatile of fabrics, able and willing to play on a casual Saturday and as elegant as (but far more comfortable than) silk at night. As for me, I’ll throw three jersey dresses into my suitcase: a striped Rachel Pally mini that epitomizes the All-American fashion that’s so appropriate for this holiday, a barely there 291 tank dress, and an arty-cool, brunch-perfect Dolce Vita maxi. And for a night of dancing in Boystown, I’ll bring a sexy but airy cocktail dress.

Clothes are covered, so on to the accessories. In this arena, I’ll keep it super simple—no need to layer on belts and chunky necklaces that will only weigh me down in the summer heat. For baubles, the same signature earrings and necklace I always wear will get me through the weekend (I heart Gorjana jewelry), and in footwear, nary a high heel or platform will I see. I’m all about flat sandals in the summer, particularly a pair by Sergio Rossi from last spring. And since Chicago is on a big ol’ lake, I’ll throw in a Vix bikini, a Juicy terry skirt, and Havaianas flip-flops just in case we decide to hit the beach.

What’s on your Fourth of July must-have packing list? And, what are your getaway plans? (Jealousy points to anyone spending the weekend on a boat.)


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Thursday, June 25th 2009

tie-dye denim: a lasting look

The Latest by Kate, Fashion Director

Some new denim arrivals to shopbop. Tie-dye jeans are summer’s hottest emerging trend and promise to stick around for fall.

Influenced by Balmain, one of the hottest runway shows of spring ’09, tie-dye denim emerged with force this season. Whether it's a ripped skinny, a bell-bottom, or denim cutoffs, shopbop girls can't get enough of this look. Among our favorites? The J Brand Thrasher Jeans and Siwy Camilla Shorts in Superstition.
Denim being the foundation of any look these days, it's no surprise that this wild new variation would capture the interest of stylish girls who are mixing their bleached-out bottoms with anything from structured blazers to cropped tees to printed boho tops.
Jump on it now, Fashion Forwards, because this look is sticking around for fall. New styles feature darker marbleized washes in varying shades of blue, and mix black with tan or white. Rebellious and rocker? We're all over it.


Thursday, June 25th 2009

studio style: bobbie

The shopbop studio stylists seem to wave a chic little wand and voila!—a limp tee and a rumpled pair of jeans transforms into something high voltage. What’s the secret behind their stellar personal style? That’s what we’re here to find out. Meet Bobbie:


Suzanne: You’re wearing our hottest new shorts trend—bike shorts!  Can you give us any tips for how to keep them looking fashion-forward and not like we just crossed the finish line at the Tour de France?

Bobbie: Bike shorts are so easy for summer. For casual looks, style them with slouchy cotton tanks, embellished sandals, headscarves, sunglasses, and lots of jewels. For a dressier look, try pairing them with the unexpected, like a silk top and heels. It gives you an effortless, not-trying-too-hard look.

S: Tell me about your bracelet.

B: I love earthy jewelry. I scoop up wooden bangles whenever I can, and I picked this one up at a market in Ireland. One of my favorite pieces right now is a necklace I made from Alkemie rings. I loved the rings, so I added them to a chain I can wear every day.

S: How would you describe your personal style and how has it evolved since working at shopbop?

B: I've always had an interest in fashion. I started sewing and reworking my own clothes when I was in middle school. I love the unexpected—like ratty cutoff bike shorts with a button-down shirt—and I love thrifting and working my finds in with designer pieces. Styling on a daily basis has shown me what works and has also surprised me at times. There are so many options. My advice is to wear what you feel comfortable in; don’t pay too much attention to the dos and don’ts.

S: What sorts of things inspire you when building looks?

B: My BFF comes over before we go out and we try on everything in my closet—some bizarre combinations!  Sometimes we get terrible results, but often we put things together in ways that inspire me for the next day at work.

S: Favorite new shopbop brand and how you’ll wear it?

B: David Lerner and Patterson J. Kincaid! I love pairing the oversized Patterson J. Kincaid tops with the David Lerner leggings. It’s totally my go-to outfit.

Bobbie wears:
* Denim Vest by Pencey
* Clean Drape Tank by James Perse
* Wake Bike Shorts by Leyendecker
* Wooden bangle from Ireland


Wednesday, June 24th 2009

’70s Fashion


The Gilded Eighties may be getting the lion’s share of attention in the big glossies right now, but the ’70s, a decade defined by the style of too-cool-for-school girls in plaid, fringe, and bell-bottoms, still has a hold on fashion’s imagination. (We need only look to the fall runway of design luminary Diane von Furstenberg for proof.)

Thankfully, the 2009 take on ’70s fashion leaves the corny, cringe-worthy aspects (see vast lapels and flammable synthetics) behind. Two contemporary labels in particular bring ’70s style into the present day while keeping its free-spirited, rebellious nature intact: Joie clothing, a perennial favorite that specializes in updated takes on boho-chic staples like peasant blouses, drawstring dresses, and faded prints, and American Retro clothes, a Parisian brand that does groovy with a Gallic accent. (Think moody floral jumpsuits, ombré maxi dresses, and tactile suede.)

And of course no discussion of ’70s fashion would be complete without denim. Merging retro style and modern fit, lines like J Brand are doing flare jeans that pay homage to their vintage predecessors in technologically advanced stretch fabrics that flatter. To finish the look? Try substantial wood or cork heels. They hold their own against dramatic bell-bottoms and have an organic glamour that complements the ethereal appeal of faded florals, gauze tops, and crochet pieces. One shoe standout comes courtesy of Stuart Weitzman: he puts a stacked wood heel on a sky-high sandal, adding an unexpected earthiness to a provocative style. 

Searching for a little ’70s style inspiration?  Revisit Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused: it’s the ultimate loveletter to chic-without-trying ’70s chicks.
Shopbop Shoptalk

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Wednesday, June 24th 2009

Will Go Uptown (For A Good Cause)

News from Our NY Editor at Large

Clockwise from left: Kate and me, LL Cool J, Tamarama, Kate and Matt Bernson.

An event that requires me and my partner in crime, Kate, to venture above 14th Street and into a mega-club had better be two things: charitable and fashionable. And if LL Cool J is hosting, it doesn’t hurt either. Last week’s Pay It Fashion Forward—put on by Fashion Delivers, a nonprofit organization that aids victims of disasters and others in need—recognized several industry vanguards for their positive influence on their community, and boasted an open bar, throwback tunes from my man LL, and a performance by Tamarama. (Oh, you know them. Remember Whitney Port’s long-haired hottie of a boyfriend in The City? It’s his band. Don’t worry, I snagged a picture.)

We grabbed dinner at our favorite hole-in-the-wall café on Bleecker before hailing a cab uptown to the event’s venue, M2 Ultra Lounge. Kate and I dressed twinsies-style in rompers and heels—great minds think alike! She donned a black one by Elizabeth and James that I’ve been eyeing, and I wore my go-to Alexander Wang bubble-print one from holiday ’08. If it ain’t broke…

We arrived on the earlier side and were shocked that the club was already packed. I overheard someone say more than 500 people were there. Clearly this wasn’t your average stop-in-and-go fashion event. We had to prioritize. Cocktails? Check. Pic with LL? Check. Scan of the room for good-looking men? Check.

Now, let the run-ins begin. When you’ve been working in fashion in N.Y.C. for as long as we have, these events always turn into mini reunions. We chatted with our favorite Glamour fashion blogger (and my former colleague at Elle.com), Tracey Lomrantz, who was actually miked for some secret show she was taping…hmmm. Then, oddly, we ran into my next-door neighbors (literally—I share a balcony with these boys!), who, though they’re not in fashion, are college buds with Matt Bernson, King of Sandals and a member of the selection committee for the event. Small world! Lucky for us, the boys had the hook-up—a table in the V.I.P. section. Kate and I danced in our short-shorts to all of our favorite hip-hop tunes and embraced life in the clubs!

We had plans to hit up a mutual friend’s birthday party, so we had to say goodbye to our newfound club life and head—where else?—downtown to a dive bar, where we belong.

Check back in a couple days for details on my outing with Thayer designer Marsha Welcher at the U.S. Open. And I do mean the golf one.


Tuesday, June 23rd 2009

sauce: a new basics line from pencey creator christina minasian


It’s an age-old conundrum: sometimes we want to go casual with a tee and jeans, but don’t want to look like we just alighted from the steps of a freshman dorm. Meet Sauce, the new basic-but-never-boring line from Pencey creator Christina Minasian. A collection of tops, dresses, leggings, and loungewear in soft jersey, Sauce channels Minasian’s whimsical sensibility while distilling what we love about Pencey down to a tee. The result? Distinctive detailing, distressed screen prints, and an aesthetic she describes as “surf-rock meets Tokyo,” all at a no sticker-shock price point.

This helping of Sauce inspired me to take a second glance at Pencey’s summer lookbook. The line’s boy-meets-girl sensibility is reflected in a sexy LBD with cummerbund details, slouchy pants with handwritten doodles that would be perfect with a feminine ruffled top, and a tough moto jacket I’d love to layer over their celestial-print tank. And I give high marks to the slash leggings, an ideal day-to-night look paired with Sauce’s Drape Pin Tee and peep-toe booties.


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