Thursday, September 30th 2010

Fringe Benefits: Flappers and Hippies Unite

Despite more than forty years separating the eras of Clara Bow and Grace Slick, they had at least one thing in common: both looked great in fringe. Flappers and hippies knew that no other adornment conveys the joy of motion, from jitterbugging to simply groovin’, better than fringe.

Who wouldn’t be moved to dance wearing Haute Hippie’s fringe pants or Alexander Wang’s Dree Fringe Sandals? Nanette Lepore and Linea Pelle know that a fringed purse can go from yacht club to outdoor festival without stopping at home first. And this tunic by Elizabeth and James is a paragon of potential energy. It can go from mellow to manic in a second. 

Fringe is an intriguing anachronism, vintage and modern at the same time, like enjoying The Great Gatsby or Easy Rider on your laptop.


Wednesday, September 29th 2010

First Fashion: Eye-Popping Color

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If variety is the spice of life, I’m forced to admit that my grey and cream wardrobe is something of a bland dish. This morning, I combed What’s New for a little bit of wardrobe wasabi.

(1) As if these purple denim leggings from Joe’s Jeans weren’t already killer, knowing the wash is named “Poison” pushes them into must-have territory. Joe’s Jeans – Ankle Leggings

(2) This roomy quilted tote combines Tory Burch’s understated elegance with a standout orange hue. Tory Burch – Jaden Tote

(3) Shopbop newcomer Duvetica has transformed the down jacket into a bright and beautiful statement, without sacrificing any of its practicality. Duvetica – Thia Hooded Jacket


Wednesday, September 29th 2010

How to Wear Maxi Skirts for Fall

Floor-grazing skirts, like mixing prints and wearing socks with sandals, may initially seem like headers on the syllabus for “Style 201: Advanced Style.” So get out your pencils and paper—Shopbop stylist Amanda offers four lessons in how to wear the look:

1) Rock it! Pair a maxi skirt with a leather jacket and high-heel booties. Load up on chains, spikes, jewels, and rings, and you’ll never find yourself missing your mini.

2) Keep it chillaxed. I will forever love the look of minimalist grunge. I layer short and long- sleeved tees over my maxis, and I finish the look with flat black boots, hand warmers, and a super-slouchy stocking cap.

3) Give the look a preppy edge by pairing a long skirt with a flannel shirt and a cropped Fair Isle sweater. Add a scarf and a pair of lace-up booties—trekking the city, here you come.

4) Probably my personal favorite: wear this look to work and transition it to evening. For daytime, I love the idea of a tailored menswear blazer over a luxe button-down blouse. Add patent oxfords and a belt if you like. To shift to evening, add a sequined bag, layer on some delicate bangles, and slip into strappy sling-backs.


Wednesday, September 29th 2010

First Fashion: Dressed Up

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I admittedly don’t have many opportunities to dress up on my immediate fall agenda, but when an event that requires a little something more pops up, I’ll turn to this ensemble:

(1) It starts with a Diane von Furstenberg dress. This one is a little rough around the edges, but refined in the way DVF does so well. Diane von Furstenberg - Noelle Mini Dress

(2) Keeping the rest of the look simple, a pair of classic nude pumps by Pour La Victoire will reinforce the sense of classic sophistication. Pour La Victoire - Irina Suede Pumps

(3) And I’ll finish it off with some gold Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry, like this chunky cuff. Kenneth Jay Lane - Braided Mesh Cuff


Tuesday, September 28th 2010

Diffusion Lines Done Right: Viva Vena, Rag & Bone/JEAN + ALICE by Temperley

Some diffusion lines have become so established and well-loved we’ve forgotten they were ever an offshoot in the first place: think Marc by Marc Jacobs, See by Chloé, and Moschino Cheap and Chic. And luckily for us, many lines are following suit, launching complementary collections that offer a designer’s aesthetic at an affordable price. Three of our new favorites:

Viva Vena
A collection of basics with an unmistakable Vena Cava twist, Vena Viva launched this season as a more casual complement to the main line. And it’s lived up to the pre-launch hype: with hand-drawn prints and collage-like graphics, Brooklyn-based designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock have distilled their signature aesthetic into everyday-wearable jersey dresses and tees, allowing their downtown fans to wear their creations from day to night.

Rag & Bone/JEAN
Rag & Bone is known for high-quality construction, luxury fabrics, and attention to fit, and these qualities are found in Rag & Bone/JEAN, an effortless collection of wardrobe-building basics. From plaid button-downs to cozy sweaters and unadorned denim, this line’s functional pieces are right in step with this season’s heritage sensibility.

ALICE by Temperley
Alternately polished and punk, the Temperley London look has been passed down to its little sister line, ALICE by Temperley. Designer Alice Temperley, a graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins, founded Temperley London with her husband in 2000, and this year launched its youthful complement, inspired by London It girls like Alexa Chung, Alice Dellal, and Georgia Jagger. From boldly patterned sweater dresses and cardigans to night-out dresses, the designer sought to create “the perfect wardrobe–things you can just throw in a suitcase and go.”


Tuesday, September 28th 2010

First Fashion: Modern Interpretations

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Timeless styles of the past dominated the fall runways, but today’s classics are a far cry from what you’d find in grandma’s attic.

(1) The reversible sequins on these Jean-Michel Cazabat pumps give you three shoes in one: silver, black, or whatever pattern tickles your fancy. Jean-Michel Cazabat – Zilla Reversed Sequin Pumps

(2) These decidedly grown-up galoshes from Michael Kors combine rain boot practicality with combat boot styling. KORS Michael Kors – Stow Lace Up Rubber Boots

(3) Full-length elastic insets give these Modern Vintage boots a downtown edge, while staying true to their equestrian roots. Modern Vintage Shoes – Bernadette Over the Knee Boots


Monday, September 27th 2010

The Upside of Cold Weather: Cool Winter Accessories

It happens every winter: I get excited for the first snowfall and break out my favorite mittens and scarves, but come mid-January, I’m over the white stuff and stuck firmly in an outerwear rut. I’m determined to make it through the long cold months with a little more sartorial variation, and I plan to do it with winter accessories. A chunky-knit or plaid-flannel Eugenia Kim hat matched with a Rag & Bone scarf one day (a classic girl-next-door feel), sleek Diane von Furstenberg gloves and a Juicy Couture beret the next (for a little Parisian je ne sais quoi). An arsenal of attention-worthy accents will make an easy job of livening up my everyday wool coat and practical UGG boots.


Monday, September 27th 2010

First Fashion: Beyond Denim

Eliet (1) Awang (2) Vic (3)

A denim girl through and through, I’ve always dismissed the classic pant as something suitable only for job interviews and other stuffy occasions. But this season, a few designers are overturning that notion with skillful details and flattering silhouettes.

(1) An obi-inspired tie, complimentary shades of grey, and the perfect amount of slouch erase all memory of the unflattering black dress pants in the back of my closet. Elie Tahari – Abby Pants

(2) Alexander Wang lends unexpected sex appeal to trousers, with a waistline meant to be flaunted by a coquettish crop top. Alexander Wang – Pegged Pants with Belt Detail

(3) First button-downs, and now pants: Victorialand creates suiting separates we’ll actually want to wear after 5 p.m. Victorialand – Slouch Pleated Pants


Friday, September 24th 2010

End of the Century, Again: ’90s Style Returns

At left: a look from the Charlotte Ronson spring 2011 runway. At right (clockwise): Delia Suede Wedge Booties, Cashmere V Neck Cardigan, Petite Edie Belt, New Army Handhack Tote, and Viva Vena Decoupage T-Shirt.

The comeback is always the best thing about fashion. Far superior to the hot new trend, which tends to leave you a little embarrassed once the fad has passed, a comeback lets you cherry-pick the best of what worked the first time around.

Case in point: Charlotte Ronson’s spring collection was inspired by the “minimalist androgyny of ’90s grunge.” This influence was apparent in the styling that stomped down the runway: print dresses layered over plain white tees and topped off with a knit cap. Even a current fave like the romper received a grungy glam-down in the hands of Charlotte Ronson. Her enthusiasm for this neglected style is contagious. I can’t wait to see everyone dressing like my schoolboy crushes Lisa Loeb and Winona Ryder (without having to endure Pogs and Beanie Babies again).

Ms. Ronson isn’t the only one watching reruns of My So-Called Life, where I think I’ve seen this jacket before. Madewell brings a touch of luxe to grunge with their silk button-down shirt. Wear the jacket and button-down with a pair of boyfriend jeans and, voilá, you are an honorary barista from Seattle, circa 1992.


Thursday, September 23rd 2010

Thoroughly Mod Milly

Milly designer Michelle Smith cited the films of Jean-Luc Godard (godfather of the French New Wave), as inspiration for her fall 2010 collection, and with all the pop-art print dresses, cute pea coats, colorblock, checks, and berets she sent down the runway, the connection wasn’t hard to make. Mod is notoriously tricky to pull off without looking like you’re trying to make your Twiggy Halloween costume go double-duty as daywear, but Smith showed how to mix swinging ’60s themes with of-the-moment silhouettes and styling, keeping things in the now. Take your cues from the Milly runway and try an A-line miniskirt with sleek flats and a slim-fitting cardigan with gold trim. It’s a thoroughly modern approach to mod that retains the playful part without veering into mere silliness.


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