Monday, June 29, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Handheld Satchel

The Matt & Nat Handheld Horizontal satchel is $163.90 and comes in black, grey, and this beautiful magenta. The bag isn't leather, so it's great for anyone looking for a vegan bag, and the lining is made of recycled plastic bottles, so it's earth-friendly, too. I just like the slim design and fab color. What do you think?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Embroidered Tote

The Cole Haan Kyle Embroidered tote is $148 and comes in cobalt, poppy, sunshine, and black. This cheery tote looks light and easy to carry around on a warm day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Your Closet Profile: Denim

There is a lot of demin in the world. Some of it is glorious, must-have, and extremely useful. Some, not so much. For fun and instructional purposes, I have divided the wonderful world of denim into two categories:

Fo Sho!

Trouser, skinny, boot cut, flare... These are a classic American staple, and you should already own several pairs.

Here is my Decree for All Ladies in the Land: You should, at all times, own two pairs of jeans that fit well. If you only wear flats, make sure they are both hemmed for flats. If you only wear heels, make sure they are both hemmed for heels. If you wear both, like me, one pair should be hemmed for heels, the other for flats.

Avoid at all costs: intense whiskering, rips in the crotch/arse areas, rhinstones, and embroidery- all are FUGLY.

Jean Jacket
Don't lie, you know you own one. The boxy ones are pretty 80s, but there are more fitted and streamlined versions all over.

Avoid at all costs: the denim suit. A denim jacket with jeans is a no no.

Denim Skirt
Love these. Mostly.

At their best, they are a cute, casual, flattering way to wear a skirt. At their worst, they are long, rhinstoned, flared, tie-dyed, or ruffled. Stick to something knee-length(ish),
A-line/straight/pencil, without embellishment, and you will not go wrong.

As If!
Demin Shoes
Denim shoes are unacceptable 100% of the time. Since there are no exceptions to this rule, there should be no need for me discuss something so distasteful any further.

If you disagree with me, then you will just have to live with yourself being That Clueless Woman Who Thinks She's Hip but Is Missing The Mark By a Mile. You know who you are.

Denim Purses
Why would you wear something that has an actual crotch?

Even when you find one without a crotch or bum, these are not ok. They are a little hippie, a little cheap, a little country, and a lot ugly as hell.

Denim Vests
These are a little Suburban Mom/Country Singer for me, but I could see someone rocking a tight vest over a long-sleeved black tee. So while I personally can't stand these, I am open to the possibility of a FEW of them not being quite as hidious as I think they are.

Denim Dresses
This dress is from hell. Or maybe just the 80s.

Structured denim dresses (don't lie, you know you had a button-down denim shirt dress) had their moment in the 90s. The 90s are over. So unless you want to look like a throwback to a time when the Gap was actually pretty cool, you will avoid these.

Denim Shirts
Don't be the Ass Wearing The Denim Shirt. Just don't.

If you work with horses, on a farm, or in a paint studio, then perhaps this is work wear. If you do not work in any of those places, you are just an ass.

Denim Jumpsuits
That these are horrible should go without saying. That you will look like you are just trying too hard might not be as obvious. But as with many, many trends, this one just looks silly, even if your body is as slammin' as the model's...

She might be hot, but she still looks stupid.

Overalls (of the skirt, shorts, or pants variety) are reserved for farmers and children under 10. There are no exceptions to this, so if you have any, now is the time to say goodbye.

Horrible Sight of the Day

Girl sitting on concrete bench outside train station, changing from massive furry boots (think yeti, people) into ROLLER SKATES.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wine Tasting: Some Dos and Don'ts

When wine tasting this weekend, I noticed a surprising amount of cleavage. That seems a bit much for a casual day in wine country... If you find yourself dressing for such an occasion, here are some Dos and Don'ts:

Do: Wear a cute sundress- if it's sunny.

Don't: Be THAT girl wearing a teeny tiny skirt in 50 degree weather.

Do: Limit the cleavage shots.
Don't: Wear your club clothes.

Do: Wear some fun shorts.

Don't: Be the girl whose arse cheeks are showing while you stand at the bar.

Do: Wear wine-colored clothing to prevent "wine boob".
Don't: Wear white if you are an agressive swirler.

Do: Wear your sandals.
Don't: Wear heels so high or spindly that you are teetering before you've made it to the second winery.

Do: Wear jeans.
Don't: Wear a freaking prairie skirt. I don't care how rural it is there.

That's Hideous!

Considering this refrain runs through my head several times a day, it's no surprise that I was delighted to find a blog with that title. Check out That's Hideous! which truly does bring attention to all things ugly.

Unusual Handbags Today

Considering the RIDICULOUS sales on handbags going on these days, it would just be selfish for me not to share. Today's theme: unusual, but intriguing, bags.

The Charles David shopper is long and lean, made of reptile embossed leather, and costs a jaw-dropping $83.98 (it retails for $275).

The Charles David satchel is a hexagon of deliciousness. This bag comes in black, white, and fuchsia. The black and fuchsia are $104.98 (originally $325) and the white is $83.98 (originally $275).

This Gustto Estiva shopper is $139.98 (originally $445). It is fun and unique; the shape and the hardware add just the right touch of "different" to some luxurious leather. Comes in navy, brown, and yellow.

The Furla Elisabeth zebra stripe hobo is $160.98 (from $400). Looks like a fabulous ovenight bag, gym bag, or every day bag if you carry a lot. This thing is awesome and the price is pretty awesome, too.

Stop me if you've heard this one, but I had to made sure you saw the Tracy Reese Patchwork Leather satchel for the INSANE price of $69.98. This bag retails for $365. It has a vintage-y feel with the embroidered handle and antique hardware. I adore this bag and am considering making room for it in my closet...

If none of these are working for you, you should check out Smart Bargains Last Chance Handbag sale, where all of these were found.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Handbags of the Day

Since I have been away the last few days, let me try to placate you with several bags that are on sale right this very minute.

The Francesco Biasia Charlotte Tote is $159.99 and looks like the perfect size for an every day bag.
The Alexis Hudson Cortina clutch is $129.99 and a perfect clutch for day and evening use.
This Sabina 2531 shoulder bag reminds me of LA for some reason. Its slouchy vibe, maybe? It is $129.99 and looks like a great weekend bag.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Street Style

Check out my friend Looch at Fashionist modeling her tie dyed tank dress in SF!

Obviously, I am not on board with either tie dye (um, this isn't the 60s, thank you) or flip flops (gross), but since she's so cute, I guess I can let this one slide.

BTW- She SAYS she doesn't take her street style as seriously as the other hipsters on this site, but she looks pretty serious lounging against that artfully chosen garage door...

Looch's Quote of The Day: "when I was a white, 19 year old, Rastafarian sorority girl I did not wear that dress as a joke. Oh for the way we were…."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Leather Tote

The Sak Silverlake tote is on sale for $159.99. It is beautiful and a little rugged, so it avoids any prissiness. I've been keeping tabs on this bag for a while, and now that it's on sale, I am finding it hard to resist...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sale at The Gap

I'm not saying I love the Gap or anything, I'm just saying that today I found and purchased two pairs of wide leg jeans there for $30. Total.

Handbag of the Day: Wood-Handle Clutch

This adorable clutch is $78.50 and comes in four colors. I love the carved wooden handles and the contrasting color of what the product description calls "a hand embroidered baobab tree." If I didn't already have clutches covered, I'd buy one of these immediately.

My Top Ten List

This is my own current Top Ten List:

1. Jeans hemmed for flats

2. Jeans hemmed for heels

3. Dress for office

4. Slacks for office, hemmed for heels

5. Tops for office, in spring and summer appropriate color palette

6. Skirt for office

7. Casual fitted tops in various colors

8. Sun dress or other casual weekend dress

9. Clutch

10. Leather jacket

This list gets tweaked several times a year, according to the season, but several things are constant, like the work dress, jeans, and leather jacket. These are the essential wardrobe pieces that I turn to repeatedly, that I can dress up or down, and that take me from day to night.

What is on your top ten list? Do you own a well-fitted and modern version of each item on your list?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Top Ten Myth

Tim Gunn, Issac Mizrahi, Nina Garcia and many other stylists have well-publicized Top Ten Lists of Essential Pieces. If you have eyes, you know that these lists are largely ignored. The reason why these lists aren't followed is because they don't always support the real women who are supposed to be following them. The stylists themselves will SOMEtimes admit that the lists must be adjusted to fit someone's life, body shape, or personal style. But women who have been told repeatedly that there is a single way (usually that particular book or magazine's Way Of The Month) to approach their weight, their hair, and their relationships know damn well that there isn't one way to do anything and it is insulting to assume that because women are busy/clueless/stuck in the 80s, they are also stupid.

The argument that the top 10 list is a way to streamline and make easy what is often a daunting process is a flawed one. Simplifying is one thing, but reducing the needs of all women to one list of ten things is entirely another.

This one-size-fits-all approach to a closet and wardrobe drives me crazy.

Here are some of the supposed "must-haves," none of which I own:

White Jeans
Seriously, this is just ridiculous. Raise your hand if you feel comfortable in white pants. Anyone? Stylists, take note: All I hear is crickets. If you are one of the few people who like these, awesome. The rest of us will apparently be down one "essential basic."

I find these hideous. Perhaps you don't. Either way, I don't see them as essential for any of the women I know in my age range. Regardless of age and inclination, I can think of many alternatives to this kind of shoe that might be even better choices.

White button down
While I can understand this item as a ubiquitous entry on every list I've ever read (it's a basic staple, it can be dressed up or down, good for work and play, blah blah), I don't own any and I have never had problems finding ways to cover myself. These just don't work for me. If they work for you, awesome.

Here are are couple of Top Ten Lists of my own...

Top Ten List for Stay at Home Moms with Young Kids

1. Jeans

2. Fitted, comfortable tops in various colors that don't show too much boob

3. Light sweater in flattering color, for layering

4. Dress or skirt for date night/wedding/dinner party/girls night

5. Trench coat for all seasons in solid neutral color

6. Slacks for parent/teacher meetings, Christmas eve services, Thanksgiving dinner

7. Dressy top for date skirt and slacks

8. Jeans (seriously, get at least 5 pairs)

9. Flats- several pairs for running around, one fun pair for slacks/skirt outfit

10. Yoga pants (for at home only!) to relax in after the kids are in bed

The glaring omissions: a suit and a LBD. If you need a suit, great, but I doubt most SAHMs would consider it a top 10 staple. And if you only go out once in a while, don't feel like you have to have a black dress- if color makes you happy, go for it!

Top Ten List for Graduate Students

1. Jeans

2. Knee-length skirt for brunch/dinner at prof's house/dinner party

3. Flats

4. Fitted, comfortable tops in various colors that don't show too much boob

5. Jeans

6. Clutch (no backpacks or messenger bags at the bars or clubs, people)

7. Leather or well-fitted jean/cord/other jacket (keep it light on the trendiness factor)

8. Jeans

9. Light sweater in flattering color, for layering

10. Dressy top for skirt or with jeans

The glaring omissions: a suit and a button down shirt. Save the suit for when you graduate and go on interviews. And button downs in school reads a little dull and school-girl.

Tomorrow: My Top Ten List for me...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fun Jewelry Alert!

I just discovered Urban Posh and I think you should, too. I'm a huge fan of an organic, elegant look, and these shiny rings and this necklace hit it pretty much on the nose. When mixed with more industrial pieces or a polished work look, they come off funky and unique.

Handbag of the Day: Woven Clutch

This Sweet as Spring Opal clutch is $68.50, comes in 4 solid colors and this adorable rainbow version, and is found on a great little site that Lucky Magazine just introduced me to: This rainbow bag is perfect for summer, and one of the solid colors would take you through fall and spring. (Woven raffia and wood might be a little off for winter.)

Do you love this as much as I do?

Reunion Rant, Volume 2

Let's talk about the biggest style issue I had during the reunion weekend: Vera Bradley. And Vera epitomizes everything I despise in a brand.

1. French Country is OVER. Even the people who live in the country in France don't use this crap.

2. Loud patterned quilted fabric. Um, does anything more need to be said?

3. Do you REALLY want to look like you borrowed grandma's bag? If you need a tote, there are a ridiculous number of options available to you that do not involve anything even remotely as ugly as this.

4. People mistake these bags as appropriate for evening. I'm not kidding, a woman was wearing one of these with her evening ensemble during the Saturday evening event. This is not even a little bit ok.

5. The one time I walked into a store to see if there was anything even REMOTELY accepable for my fun pattern- and color-loving li'l sis, a sales woman asked if this was my first Vera peice and welcomed me to the Vera family.

To say I was nauseous would be an understatement.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reunion Rant, Volume 1

So, picture one of the ugliest, most offensive New England Prissy dresses I've ever seen, add some I Have No Imagination So I Wear My Mom's Jewelry pearls:

...and finish everything off with I'm Over 30 So I Guess I Should Wear Blocky Sandals Now shoes:

And you can now picture half the people I was seeing at my bf's 10 year college reunion last weekend.

I'm not saying I didn't have fun. I'm just saying that when you are going to see people you likely haven't seen in 10 years, don't you think about the impression you are making, even a LITTLE bit?

And then there were the people who clearly over thought the whole affair. Prom wear at the outdoor summer party? I mean, I know there was a DJ and everything, but the whole part about this not being high school or even a sorority event didn't dawn on you?

Someone was wearing a pale pink prom dress, I shit you not. Sort of the result of these two having a Pale Pink Sweetheart Neckline 80s baby:

Top things off, literally, there was a woman with her hair done and hair sprayed within a inch of its life who also saw the need to add a gigantic (I'm talking the size of a man's fist) flower to the side of her head.

A nightmare, really, but a people watcher's dream...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Red Banana Bag

I have long considered Banana Republic handbags to be way overpriced. If I'm going to pay $300 or more for a bag, there had better be a designer label on it. Recently, they have put out a few things that are more reasonably priced, especially when you find them on sale (which, by the way, happens to everything at Banana, so try to restrain yourself when you see something fab at full price; it WILL be marked down, trust me). This sassy little Freeport Medium Tote in Sarong Red is $150. I like it because it could accompany you to your preppy boat party thing or go more casual with a bottle of white and some chick lit in the park.

Handbag of the Day: Satchel

I really don't want to like Jessica Simpson products, but I must admit that I like her price point and sometimes I find myself admiring her shoe line at Nordstrom... So, I don't WANT to like this Gotham Satchel, but as synthetic bags under $100 go, this one is pretty cool. The shape is somewhat unusual, the color is lovely, it has a fun lining, and it's $79.99 at Piperlime. I know it also came in bright blue, but perhaps that has sold out...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Purple Tote

In honor of delicious summer stuff, like plums and totes, today's bag is the Kenneth Cole New York plum tote on sale for $179.99.  It is a really fun color wearable in all seasons, has a great contrasting trim, and is roomy enough for weekend or weekdays.  I love this one.

Also, if you liked the Francesco Biasia bag I featured a while ago, it is now on sale for $119.99!

New Blog Alert

My bff has triplets (yes, there are THREE of them; no, they are not identical) and a hilarious new blog called Triplet Crown and you should check it out. There's even a recent post about moi!

Travel Wear, or How to Not Look Like an American Abroad

While the problem of screaming “Je sui american” with your clothes is seen around the world, it does not have to be this way.  In honor of Ellen and my upcoming jet-setting, I feel that Travel Wear should really be addressed. As mentioned on a variety of occasions, I do not camp or backpack in the traditional “I just accomplished something, now I should sleep outside and pee in a hole” sort of way. (Frankly, that doesn’t sound like much of a celebration to me, more of a punishment.) Therefore, the following commentary will obviously not apply to such situations.  As I am now very pro-outdoors, however, I will take the more outdoorsy folk into account to the best of my JAP-y ability. I have traveled more than the average bear, so I know of what I speak. Let me just say this, before I begin: Traveling is about having fun and experiencing new places and cultures. Your focus should be on that, not on your wardrobe. To this end, packing appropriately is key, so you don’t even have to think about your outfit before you head off to the top of the Eiffel Tower or Machu Picchu.

Lets start from the top down, shall we? Very Nixonian, but bear with me.

1. Hats and visors are fine, within reason. Baseball caps that have stupid sayings or curse words or anything other than a simple team logo need not apply. Honestly, baseball caps really shouldn’t make the trip with you at all, but summer travel gets hot and sunny, so as long as its toned down it can be done. Be careful with the visors, floppy sun hats, and those stupid annoying little bike hats- if you think it draws a lot of attention state-side, it draws even more on the other side of the border.  Sunglasses are a must, obviously, and I am all about having fun sunglasses.

2. Shirts: please, for the sake of our foreign relations and the eyes of passers-by worldwide DO NOT WEAR SHIRTS WITH THE FOLLOWING: any Simpsons character, any cartoon character period, American flags, slogans about America, Che Guevara (if I see you, I will smack you, take your shirt, and start a tomato fight with you in the middle faster than you can say Ayudame por favor!), state slogans (that goes extra for Texans- no one cares how big things from Texas are, I guarantee it), or Obama (don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely Pro-bama, but the election is over now, so put the shirt away).

3. More on the shirt front. Ladies (and Gents!), keep the boobs covered. And the bras.  And the bellies. In most countries (yeah yeah, I’m not talking about tribes in African countries, so stop looking at me like that), its considered gross and rude to show a lot of skin. Especially when you might be visiting religious places and holy sites. Plus, its just tacky no matter where you are. Sleeveless is ok, but bring a sweater just in case.

4. Shorts/skirts: Just like with shirts, a lot of skin is a no-no. The world already thinks we are slutty, easy, sex-addled people, let's not prove them right until they buy us dinner, ok? Bermuda length shorts are a new favorite of mine, and they are flattering and cover your ass, which is good for everyone.  Cargo shorts are a dead tourist give away, especially if you store stuff in the pockets.  Pockets, FYI, aren’t really meant to replace bags unless they are camo colored and you are in a very sandy country that rhymes with Shaq or Shmafghanistan.  Skirts should be respectable as well- clearly. It all boils down to the probability that your ass/crotch will be seen by doing normal daily tourist activities. Unless you WANT to have sketchy people seeking greencards approaching you, proceed with caution. If it's too hot for jeans, please don’t show me your undies or plumber 's crack.

5. Dresses. I have recently become mildly obsessed with dresses. I am all for bringing a dress or two, for a concert or a nice daytime outing.  Again, cover the boobs and butt, don’t make it too tight, and you are golden.  Dresses also have the added benefit of being TRES European, if that’s where you are going- or even if it's not! European women tend to be very well dressed, especially in the big cites, so take notes, and try not to allow them more reasons to gloat.

6. Shoes. OH DEAR. Travel footwear is not easy to deal with. I am going to have to side with Ellen on this when I say: no crocs, and avoid flip-flops when you aren’t at the beach. Big cities are dirty, so its just not a good plan.  And if you are in a rural area, you should be wearing something closer to sneakers anyway.  

Speaking of sneakers, those are the fastest way to identify an American.  Big white sneakers. Basketball shoes. High tops. UGH and EW. People outside the US just don’t wear those when they aren’t specifically exercising, and actually, I’m not sure they wear them even when they ARE. Pumas and addidas make some great comfy shoes that will be less conspicuous. Those ugly ass shoes that are sandals but not and hiking shoes but not are HIDEOUS. If you wear them in the woods, I obviously won’t see you, but in a city they are simply unacceptable. Don’t do it. DON’T DO IT. For dresses and skirts, nice sandals are the way to go, and they are easy to pack. The same pedicure rules still apply. The Brits may have stereotypically unfortunate teeth, but they don’t have crusty heels.  Also, wear discrete socks.  Tall white athletic socks are ugly no matter what country you are in.

7. Bags. I have been trying to learn how to “pack lightly” as long as I can remember. I’m terrible at it. TERRIBLE. Ellen is much better, actually (shockingly!). I am always paranoid that I won’t be prepared, and I also don’t want to be the smelly kid.  The rest of the world is less concerned with this than I am, which is good for you, and perhaps less great for the person next to you in the subway.  For my trip, I will be taking a large suitcase, a backpack to carry on with me, and a day bag of some sort that is big enough and sturdy enough for going around Rome all day and cute enough to take to a cafĂ© at night (yeah, I’ll let you know when I find one of those!).  Fanny packs are absolutely, without a doubt, unacceptable. In any circumstance. There is ALWAYS another option.  Also, be careful of bags without top zippers as well as backpacks, because those are easier to steal stuff out of. (Trust me, I know.) Cross-body bags are safest, as are purses that go over your shoulder and close under your arm. Guys- don’t fear man-bags.  Since you hopefully won’t have cargo pockets as an option, man-bags are awesome.  Backpacks and messenger bags are great too. Don’t ask the women you are with to carry your stuff- that’s just lame.

8. Make-up: don’t wear a lot of it! Its summer. You’re traveling. Loosen up on the morning routine. The less time you spend on this, the more time to shop, see art, meet cool people, and eat tasty food. DO wear sunscreen! You know how I feel about this. Plus, being lobster red is another tourist give away. (The Brits look RIDICULOUS in Spain when they walk around like freshly boiled lobsters in pain. Some of them are fluent in Spanish and know the country well, but they still don’t get taken seriously by the Spaniards because of their sunburns. HA!)

9. Accessories- this includes maps and guide books. Tone it down. You can still have fun and personality without gaudy and over the top. Particularly in Europe, though maybe not in “I’m stuck in the 80s Spain,” big bold jewelry is just not classy.  Plus, it takes up valuable luggage space to haul around lots of baubles for every outfit (and I DO advocate packing in outfits, not in numbers of shirts you need). When you bust out a map or guide book, don’t hold it up and shout as though no one else is around. Not only is this obnoxious, but you are making yourself a target for thieves and ridicule. Don’t douse yourself in tons of perfume either. I am sick to my stomach on the El almost every time because of that, or smokers, and its got to end now!

10. Photo equipment. Be careful. Keep it small (unless you are professional). You don’t really need a photo of EVERYTHING. Be respectful. DO take pics of fabulous or heinous outfits and send them to us!!!

The moral of the story is this: just because you are on a field trip doesn’t mean you get to look like ass. We need to improve our relationships with other countries, and dressing badly doesn’t help. Also, wouldn’t it be awesome to have someone ask you for directions as though you’re a native!? Oh, and its way easier to find a beautiful native of wherever you are to show you around if you don’t look like a crazy American pig. Right? Right! Bon Voyage!

-Andrea S.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Handbags of the Day: Beach Totes

It's hard for me to think about the beach in today's overcast, dreary weather, but since not everyone is suffering through a second winter, I will try to carry on with some summer ideas...

My first requirement of a beach bag is that it must actually be usable at the beach.  Backpacks and slouchy canvas totes need not apply.  If it can't stand up on its own on my towel/blanket/sand, forget it.  

My second is that it has be cheap enough that it can get sandy and wet without my freaking out. 

The last is that it should be fun in some way.  It's summer, people!  Time to relax.   Sweet outside pockets, cool print, great shape- all are candidates for the fun category.

This straw beach tote is $14.95 and looks fun and summery without crossing the line into geriatric resort wear.

This water resistant tote for $24 in crisp black and white is versatile enough to use at the park the rest of the year.
These printed canvas totes are $12.50 and could easily double as a shopping bag for those of you using canvas grocery totes.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Warning: Do Not View This at Work

Please note the special Anonymous Sender feature. Enough said.

Handbag of the Day: Croc Tote

This bag is $52.80. It is a large croc leather tote and was originally $132. This is a STEAL at the sale price, in case you were wondering. It looks like a great business bag or other work tote and it has a red satin lining. I've never ordered from this site, but this looks like a pretty good risk to me...

Worst Dressed: The Chicago Edition

My little sis saw this today, and I thought I'd share the horror with you, too. The lesson here?  Check to make sure your back and front are distinctly different before you take off your shirt in public. 

That is most certainly on my Top 10 List of Things I Never Thought I'd Have to Say EVER.

Handbag of the Day: Leather Studded Clutch

I love this leather studded clutch for day or evening.  It is 35 pounds (around $58).  It was recently featured on one of my favorite blogs, The Fashion Police, and I think it would be fab with jeans and a tee during the day or a dress and sandals at night.  I already find it hard to resist such a neutral-colored leather; with the studs and little strap, it is pretty much perfect.