Saturday, January 31, 2009
First, the handles on those handbags are suffering and will be warped beyond repair before first semester is over. Second, too much pink and green (I know it's just an ad, people, but I still don't like it). Get a damn neutral. Third, and most importantly, all of this looks so juvenile, that if your accessories even remotely resemble this image and you are over the age of 18, I would like to meet with you to have a little chat.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
These are your alternative to black pants in solid gray, navy, or chocolate. These are also non-negotiable. Again, get the best you can afford.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Rules for Shoe Buying
1. Go late in the day. Feet swell, get over it.
2. If the thought of shoe shopping stresses you out, bring an unstressed friend and go places where customer service is a given. Nordstrom is my favorite for service, but I also like Bloomies. Whatever you do, don't go somewhere without sales assistance.
3. Bring a list. Remember how you are supposed to make a list while you are cleaning out your closet? That's the list.
4. Don't go hungry/tired/thirsty/hungover. You'd think all this would be a given, but I am constantly surprised by how many women shop with low blood sugar. Don't do it, people, it does not end well.
5. Be realistic. If you are looking for open-toed slingbacks in the dead of winter, you may be disappointed. Fur-lined boots in the summer are equally unlikely. Many shoes transcend seasons, but be aware that what you want or need right now might not be available right now.
Rules for Shoe Ownership
Once you've plunked down the cash for shoes, show them- and yourself- a little respect.
1. Store them properly. You know what I mean- everyone has read an article about storing your shoes in their boxes with tissue in the toes, or using clear plastic boxes with snapshots of the shoes within on the outside of the box. A jumbled mess is just sad. It means you don't care to maintain the condition of your shoes, which brings me to my next point...
2. Care for them. Wipe them off if they are sandy or wet. Polish them if they are scuffed or looking ashy. Repair worn heel and toe taps. You would do well to befriend/date/know a cobbler.
3. Tall boots need inserts. I am guilty of not doing this, and believe me I have regretted it on more than one occasion.
Here's a link for cedar shoe shapers and inserts; plastic is fine, too: http://www.heelingtouch.com/shop/?shop=1&cat=2&source=google
Shoes EVERY Woman Should Own No Matter What
This is the bare-bones list.
1. Casual flats for running errands. This does not include running shoes, flip flops, crocs of ANY kind (they are still foam shoes you can hose off, people) or sandals with socks. Think sleek Pumas, not bulky Reeboks. Any color or non-tacky pattern your little heart desires is fine, since you're likely wearing jeans with them anyway.
2. Dressy flats for work or going out. A pointy toe is ideal, but not required.
3. Pumps in black, gray, chocolate or caramel. Goes with everything, a no-brainer in the morning. And if you are in school, you are going to have an interview SOME day and on that day, you will wear these shoes.
4. Pumps in a striking color, like red, blue, or green. Goes with your work basics. Head to toe black and gray? With black shoes it's dull; add a green shoe and you are rocking it.
5. Open-toed wedges or flats. For showing off your pedicure, brunch, shopping with the girls, laid-back movie night with your significant other.
6. Knee-high, heeled boots. For skirts and dresses in the winter with tights and for looking H-O-T with skinny jeans on the weekend.
7. Really fancy shoes. These are reserved for weddings, the opera, or a cocktail event. They may only get worn a few times a year, but they are beautiful and elevate your LBD. Think satin, velvet, metallics, and rhinestones. These are the super hot shoes with the 4 inch stiletto heel you only break out when it's truly worth it.
If you only have these 7 pairs, buy the highest quality you can afford. If you have more, you can experiment with pattern, color, texture, and shine. Not to mention heel heights. Happy shoe shopping!
1. With very few exceptions, I really like Michelle Obama's style choices.
Check her out at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Not so thrilled about all of the lemongrass/chartreuse/bright green and yellow, but ladies, let's face it- the woman has class, she has presence, and she can pull it off.
2. With even fewer exceptions, I really like Jill Biden's choices, too:
Here she is at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
How can you argue with sleek knee-high boots or the stunning red ball gown?
3. I don't care what Sasha and Malia are wearing, they are freaking adorable.
There, I said it. Now we can move on.
If cow print is your thing, get a new thing.
These shoes are 100% unacceptable. Yes, the shape is lovely and black and white is usually so versatile. But the cow is not an exotic or luxurious animal and its hide is not attractive, except as a prelude to a meal. These shoes are flat out hideous.
Remember how we talked about limiting our kitsch this year? I have not forgotten Resolution #1, nor should you. Do you really want to walk around wearing Guess's approximation of one of the dumbest and most boring animals ever?
Look, I love animals- I eat them, I wear them. And animal print is great in measured doses. But the professional lady in the know wears the print of an elegant, impressive animal, like a cheetah or a leopard. Wearing cow print is the equivalent of wearing polyester when you could be wearing silk. It's just cheap and gross.
Before you get all PETA on my arse and start throwing paint around, I am neither defending nor encouraging you to wear real fur. All I'm saying is that if you don an animal print- real or faux- have the decency to do it well.
Monday, January 19, 2009
The Thakoon for Target line caught my eye when reading about it recently. I decided to kill a perfectly good hour on a rare sunny day in January by checking it out myself this weekend. After looking through all of the options, I tried on the three tops shown here.
Friday, January 16, 2009
I bought them years ago at Macy's, and wore them to work periodically. They are a lovely shoe for spring and summer, and look great with pants, skirts and dresses. This morning, I scoured my closet for the perfect shoe for my awesome brown striped anthro trousers and it hit me- the Guess Rally peep toe sandal! Neutral but fun, and high enough so my hem won't drag on the ground. I strapped them on and was out the door.
Sadly, upon walking on any surface other than carpet, my feet slip, the slingback slides down, and I am generally a wobbly mess. Not cute, people, not cute.
I buckled the strap tighter. Now it hurts and it's STILL slipping. WTF?!
I haven't even gotten to the part where my hems are getting all bunched up under my heel.
I have heard tell that a shoe repair shop can shorten the strap or add extra holes for the buckle. But does it really work? I have even seen apparent solutions to the pants bunching issue: Kix by Katie (http://www.kixbykatie.com/) is the most convincing one I've seen so far. But is it worth it?
Also, I saw these Strappy Strips from Foot Petals (http://www.footpetals.com/cgi-bin/footpetals/Strappy%20Strips.html)- do these look promising?
A friend and fellow shoe lover has tons of slingbacks and loves them. Does she have a bumpy heel?
Ladies, I beseech you: How the HELL to do you wear slingbacks?!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This is not a pretty picture.
I don't care if you heart Marc Jacobs/love pinky salmon/think dressing head to toe in one color is fly. Unless you are the activities director for Norweigian Cruise Lines, this is not ok.
Resort wear is what designers put out between seasons to keep us interested and buying. Instead of buying clothes for your real life, you are buying for exotic places you'd like to visit and fabulous vacations you'd love to take. In short, it's a fantasy that designers are selling us- the idea that we all hopping from one sunny destination to another is hilarious given the current economic climate and the fact that it is still JANUARY.
I'm not saying that all between-season clothing lines are useless, but you should choose what you take home with care (unless you live in Miami, in which case, dive right in).
A few common traps:
I know you envision yourself lounging on your yacht, sipping mojitos in your crisp white pants. Unless you are meticulous, they will get dirty. And unless you actually own a yacht, you probably don't need these. Most women are really uncomfortable in white pants and unless they fit perfectly and are sparkly white, they won't do you any favors.
Sure they are roomy and summery. But do you really think it looks nice with work separates? Or even jeans in the city? This is a passable look on the weekend when it's warm, but trust me, you can do better.
If you are ACTUALLY going to the beach or pool, these are totally appropriate.
If pastels are a good color palette for you, then pre-Spring and Spring are your seasons to shop. If not, just don't do it. Know why it looks great on the fair-skinned blond model? Because she has the coloring for it or the makeup to make it seem that way.
Some good peices to look for:
If you love sandals, they are starting to get easier to find. And the Spring collections of high-heeled and platform sandels are awesome right now. I am loving a lot of what Piperlime.com is showing these days.
A good choice for work or weekend because wearing a dress is an easy way to update your look without a lot of thought. I like what Banana Republic and Anthropologie are offering right now, and there are amazing sales online at retailers like Bluefly and Tobi.
In keeping with our resolutions, try one in a fun pattern.
Good for keeping sun AND strangers away. Check.
If you don't already have a trench coat, now is a great time to consider one. It is a good time of year for selection and prices are becoming increasingly reasonable. Grey, khaki, black, whatever- this is a must-have for all closets.
This is not my last word on the subject, my darlings...
Monday, January 12, 2009
This means that you have to take everything out and try it on and decide whether you are keeping it. Yes, it takes time, but since you are not shopping right now (probably) and you have recovered from the holidays (hopefully), you have both the time and the energy to tackle this.
I have realized, after helping a lot of women clean out their closets, that it is easiest do to so with a friend, a glass of bubbly, and your sense of humor in tact. So find a friend who either loves cleaning closets or is at least very honest and crack open that bottle you've been saving.
I like the following approach, but you might find something that works better for you. Just be ready to spend several hours on this and have several bags ready for your discards.
Pull out every thing you own, either all at once, or peice by peice. You and your closet cleaning companion should decide how you want to determine what to keep and what to toss. My preferred factors are a) Fit, b) Condition, and c) Suitability.
We have discussed this before, and surely we will do so again. Suffice it to say that if it fits, you can get to points b and c; if it does not, you must toss it.
The only exception to this rule is when minor tailoring (hem length, strap adjustment, etc.) can make the item fit. To keep the item, however, you must take to the tailor IMMEDIATELY. Like, tomorrow. Otherwise, it's just taking up valuable space.
(If you are having a hard time parting with something because you think it COULD fit at some point, ask yourself whether you have worn it in the last 3-6 months. One trick I play with myself is to move those items to another closet, out of sight. If, several months later, I haven't even thought about them, then I know I can- and should- get rid of them. More often than not, I don't even remember what I put in that out of the way location, which is a sign that I never needed that stuff in the first place.)
If it's stained or torn, seams are pulling apart, or there are any other signs of disrepair, you must toss it. I know you think that you will one day turn Martha and hand-sew all of your garments back to their original condition. Get over it. Unless there is a very simple repair that will make the item wearable, like replacing a button or repairing a hem, it's not worth it.
This is where most of your justifications to yourself and disagreements with your friend will start.
Suitability means that the items is appropriate for your (actual, not imagined!) life, your personal style, and the current fashion climate.
One woman whose closet I made over was keeping stuff from middle school and high school because the clothes weren't in poor condition and they still fit. But the styles were 10-15 years out of date and didn't work for her business casual office environment or active lifestyle on the weekends.
Another woman had a several prairie skirts and bum-around-the-park tops that she loved for sunny days lazing around the parks in the City. Unfortunately, the clothes did not flatter her, nor did she have a lot of time for lazing around. And jeans or walking shorts would work just as well when she did have time to lounge outside, and would also suit her structural, more modern aesthetic much better.
One of my own closet issues revolves around button down shirts. I buy them, thinking I can make them work with peices I already own, and I can. But what I can't do it get comfortable in them. When they fit my bust, they are huge in the shoulder; when they fit my shoulders, it gaps at the button-closures at the bust. And I don't even like them! They don't make my professional clothes look sharp; I feel stuffy. And they don't make my casual looks polished; I feel like a soccer mom. So they aren't my thing. So even if one fits and is in good condition, I should get rid of it.
After you have been through everything, you can put away the keepers and sort the discards into one pile to give away and one pile to toss entirely. You should also make a plan to deal with anything that needs repair or tailoring.
Along the way, I keep a list of what's missing. Great burgandy cords but no top to go with? Put it on the list. All work clothes and nothing for weekend? On the list. Wear jeans to work everyday (lucky dog!) and only 2 pairs of jeans? List!
All of the above should be done at least once a year. I cull my closet 3-4 times a year, have gotten my methods down to a (somewhat tipsy) science, and each session takes less than 2 hours now. And I have a constantly evolving list so when I shop, I can be focused on something I should get versus getting distracted by all of the delicious sales...
1. We will limit our kitsch.
If you are over 14, you can no longer wear Hello Kitty, Winnie the Pooh, or any Disney character on any article of clothing you own. No, not even the sweatshirt your sweetheart/mom/BFF bought you on The Best Trip Ever to Disney World.
If you must have Mickey in your life, get a damn coffee mug like a damn adult.
2. We will wear patterns and textures.
I love a solid color- I don't have to even CONSIDER about what it goes with, because it goes with any neutral in my closet. However, not only will it not kill you to try a pattern or two, but it will actually wake up your wardrobe. Repeat after me: Patterns are not scary.
More on this another time, because you know you need it.
3. We will make rational purchases.
I'm a pot calling the kettle black here, people, I know. I am the queen of justifying purchases that I want as items that I need. I'm all for supporting the economy, but let's try to pare those wants down a bit, shall we? Maybe 2 new handbags instead of 4 this year? (Grumble.)
4. We will accessorize with care and creativity.
Read: we will not wear the same, tired pendant with every outfit and call it a day. Change your necklaces, ladies! And while those studs/stacked rings/pearls look fab, they don't work with EVERY outfit.
Modern women are creative in their dress, so let's update, shall we?
5. We will dress the bodies we have, not the ones we want.
You've heard this before, I know. And I'm not big on dishing about all of the psychological stuff that goes into dressing, body image, etc. But I will tell you this: the women who acknowledge their bodies and dress them accordingly are much better put together than women who don't. You might hate your thighs, but that doesn't mean they deserve to be hidden in sweatpants every day. And you might love your boobs, but if they are over a (very perky) B cup, let's keep 'em in their holster in public, mmm kay?