Monday, January 31st 2011

The Better LBD: Little Bright Dresses

From left: Lela Rose, Shoshanna, Alice + Olivia, Gryphon, Derek Lam.

Every woman’s got it: that tried-and-true black dress hanging her closet, the one that works as well at a company event as it does at a cousin’s wedding. It’s well-loved and well-worn, and, to be quite honest, it’s a bit of a fashion crutch. Push it to the back of the closet this season, because there’s a new LBD on the scene, the little bright dress.

Designers from Lela Rose to Derek Lam, Alice + Olivia to Gryphon clothing, are approaching the cocktail dress with an eye toward rainbow hues. For your next fancy affair, try a goldenrod Shoshanna dress in lieu of your favorite colorless frock. Pair it with nude shoes, delicate gold Alexis Bittar jewelry, and an easy up-do. It’s a look that’s sure to turn a few heads.


Friday, January 28th 2011

A Late-Winter Wardrobe Refresher

Maxi dresses by Free People, Twenty8Twelve, and Vince clothing.

Like every year at this time, I’ve fallen into a wardrobe rut, and my daily uniform of cozy pullovers, denim leggings, and flat boots is feeling stale. Though the breezy dresses populating fashion magazines lately may suggest otherwise, we’ve still got a month (or more) of winter to go. In a desperate search for a refresher that doesn’t require an entire wardrobe overhaul, I’ve come up with an all-in-one solution: the maxi sweater dress.

An elegant antidote to the season’s flannels and beat-up boots, this long and lean silhouette is easily accessorized with pieces already in my closet, like a chunky cardigan sweater, a wrap belt, and a pair of flat booties. Plus, it’ll easily transition into early spring: once the weather warms I’ll swap the cardigan for a leather jacket, an ensemble that will tide me over ’til mini dress-and-Havaianas season.


Thursday, January 27th 2011

Fashion + Function: Utilitarian Bags

For nights out and quick jaunts to the coffee shop, I love the pulled-together, streamlined look of pretty little clutches and mini-bags. But, say what you will about the return of elegance, there are plenty of times when the modern girl’s got to pack heavier cargo than lip gloss and a paperback. This is where a super-practical carryall comes in.

Until recently, when I thought of oversized bags, I pictured bottomless, key-consuming hobos that would do Mary Poppins proud. But recent shipments of Marc Jacobs standard supply totes, Alexander Wang duffel bags, and Parisian-inspired Tory Burch totes have opened my eyes to how beautiful useful can be. (And not to tease, but there are some jaw-droppingly cute Madewell bags soon to grace the site.)


Wednesday, January 26th 2011

Find the Best Bikini: A Fit Guide

Though it’s hard to believe given the current state of the weather, bikini season is just around the corner, and finding the perfect fit for your body can be as difficult as finding the best jeans for your butt. With that in mind, I turned to Shopbop stylist Bobbie and model Iskra for a little insight into how some of our favorite designer swimwear brands fit. (All sizing notes based on US sizes.)

Brette Sandler Swimwear
Top Fit: Average to small. If you’re a little busty, size up.
Bottom Fit: Average to small. If you’re between sizes, size up.
Best match body type: Brette Sandler has a great fit and works for any body type. It’s especially good for girls with a smallish cup size.

Diane von Furstenberg Swimwear
Top Fit: Very true to size.
Bottom Fit: Very true to size.
Best match body type: The perfect brand for ALL body types. DVF knows the female form.

L*Space Swimwear
Top Fit: A little generous. If you aren’t busty, size down.
Bottom Fit: True to size.
Best match body type: These suits will work for most body types, but they are especially loved by the surfing crowd. The tops run big, so they’re great for busty, athletic girls.

Shoshanna Swimwear
Top Fit: True to size, erring on the generous side.
Bottom Fit: True to size.
Best match body type: Shoshanna bikinis are designed for the curvy gal, but since the pieces are sold separately, they can work for almost any body type.

Tori Praver Swimwear
Top Fit: Small.
Bottom Fit: Small.
Best match body type: Tori Praver suits are for the girl who wants to show some skin on the beach.

Vix Swimwear
Top Fit: Average to big. If you’re not busty, size down.
Bottom Fit: Average to big. If you’re between sizes, size down.
Best match body type: Like Shoshanna, Vix bikinis are designed for curvy, sexy girls.

Zimmermann Swimwear
Top Fit: True to size.
Bottom Fit: True to size.
Best match body type: A match for any body type, Zimmermann boasts incredible fit and great fabrics.


Tuesday, January 25th 2011

Mexican Inspirations

With winter’s icy grip already beginning to loosen its hold, it’s time to think of the sunny seasons to come. With its bright colors, bold prints, and romantic silhouettes, the South-of-the-border look is one of spring’s most appealing trends.

The fiesta style is a breezy, playful one. If you’re beach-bound, keep things bright and easy with print maxi dresses, embroidered blouses, and embellished bikinis (Mara Hoffman and L*Space swimwear have examples worth writing home about). If you’re staying in the city, break out those Technicolor separates and head-turning jewelry (think House of Harlow 1960). A raffia beach bag and strappy Dolce Vita sandals will set a seaside tone on any a simmering city day.


Tuesday, January 25th 2011

Staff Picks: Megan

(1) (2) (3)

Name: Megan
Position: Fashion Director Assistant
Last Purchase: Geren Ford Pleated Tank and Minnetonka Fringe Boots
Favorite Designer(s): Proenza Schouler
Your Style in 3 Words or Less: All American/Girly

(1) I love this heel! It reminds me of the 1950s. I’d wear them with a knee-length dress. Maison Martin Margiela - Twist Front Suede Sandals

(2) This an amazing update on a classic style. The perfect complement to all the high-waisted bottoms out there right now. Alexander Wang - Cropped Mock Neck Tank

(3) Such an easy addition to almost any outfit, and at such a great price. Dream Collective - Crystal Mountain Ring

Monday, January 24th 2011

Introducing Pencey Standard: We Talk with Designer Christina Minasian

Shot by Greg Minasian/SPREADHouse

Meet Pencey Standard. An offshoot of downtown cool-girl staple Pencey, Pencey Standard aims to be the go-to collection of wardrobe basics. We talked with the brand’s designer, Christina Minasian, about this new addition to the Pencey family.
Shopbop: What is Pencey Standard and how does it fit into the Pencey clothing brand?
Christina Minasian: Pencey Standard is a collection based on tee shirts, but it encompasses so much more. We have dresses, skirts, pants, and tops. The idea of the collection is to provide simple, classic layering pieces that fit into any wardrobe. The styles are timeless and can be worn through different seasons.

SB: How do you see Pencey Standard growing within the Pencey brand?
CM: The line will develop and change but still remain true to its core purpose of always having the perfect t-shirt. Small details will set it apart, just like Pencey.

SB: The color palette is essentially colorless—white, black, and grey. Why did you take this approach?
CM: For our introduction, we wanted Pencey Standard to be classic and clean, and have the versatility to layer with anything all year long.

SB: What is your favorite piece from the collection? How do you wear it?
CM: My two favorite pieces are the Football Tank and Football Crew. I love that the cut is sexy, but still oversized and a bit masculine. They are great paired with your favorite jeans.

SB: Who should wear Pencey Standard?
CM: Everyone!

Monday, January 24th 2011

Staff Picks: Kirsten

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Name: Kirsten
Position: Senior Stylist
Last Purchase: Frye boots
Favorite Designer(s): Missoni, DVF, Lilly Pulitzer
Your Style in 3 Words or Less: Retro-eccentric

(1) I can imagine hosting a midwinter soirée in this silk Diane von Furstenberg dress. Diane von Furstenberg - Julian Wrap Gown

(2) Wearing these fun, fringy Minnetonka boots is the perfect way to channel my inner hippie. Minnetonka - 3 Layer Fringe Boots

(3) Karen Walker sunglasses are so cool, and this shape is forever chic. Karen Walker - Limited Edition Super Duper Sunglasses

Friday, January 21st 2011

Sweet on Sweats: The Rise of Fleece & French Terry

Not so long ago, I read an article in WWD about the rise of sweatshirt dressing in the spring 2011 collections. The gist: these sweats aren’t meant to be matched with Jazzercise legwarmers and lycra leggings. No, fleece is taking a refined turn this season, with sleek silhouettes that have nothing to do with their workout counterparts.

Brands like JNBY and AIKO clothing have already mastered the sweatsuit style, turning out complete collections made of the softest French terry and fleece, but mainstays like Marc by Marc Jacobs, Thakoon, and Vince clothing have gotten in on the game. A pair of Alexander Wang pants pairs so easily with a knit tank; a cropped Soft Joie sweatshirt is a natural match for black skinny jeans and lace-up booties.

How will you wear this look? I’m inclined to try a pair of Vince pants with a slouchy sweater, to work this comfier side of fashion for as long as I possibly can.


Friday, January 21st 2011

First Fashion: Closet Staples, Revamped

(1) (2) (3)

As a committed denim and basics girl, I’m always on the lookout for ways to spice up my wardrobe with unexpected touches—without straying too far from the tried-and-true path. These three picks are fresh, whimsical updates to some of my favorite staples.

(1) Using airy lace and mesh, Boutique 9 puts the traditional boyish oxford in touch with its girly side. Boutique 9 – Gilderoy 9 Lace Oxfords

(2) Your favorite J Brand jeans, now in a glitter wash. You read that right. Resistance is futile. J Brand – Shiny Legging Jeans

(3) The love child of a sporty basketball shoe and a ladylike espadrille, these Steven booties have an unexpected, playful beauty. Steven – Wyllow Wedge Oxford Espadrilles


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