Friday, July 31, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Artisan Leather

The Wild West bag from Ricardo Hinojosa is $179.99 at NOVICA. The shape, size, and apparent quality of the leather are awesome and and the studs make the whole thing even more interesting.

All of his bags are pretty awesome, and they mostly run under $200. You should check out the site because there are some amazing bags and other goods, made by artists from all over the world.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Short Rant

People, people, PEOPLE. Why are on EARTH would you leave your house for work before checking a mirror? Just a quick glance is all you need. Really, 2 seconds is all that is needed for you to notice that your stomach is showing.

Um, hello? Rational side of your brain? What made you think that showing stomach in the business world was appropriate?

Oh, I'm sorry- perhaps you didn't realize that you have a flesh belt? Did you mistake it for your leather braided one from the Gap? Did you forget that you work at an office/restaurant/store and, in fact, you do NOT work at the local strip club?

Or maybe you think showing belly at work is no biggie. Did you also notice that you weren't getting promoted or a raise? Do you think any supervisor would view you the same way as the equally qualifed person next to you who dresses appropriately? I have news for you: you are very, very wrong.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Attention, Shoe Lovers!

I am reading the Seductive Shoe: Four Centuries of Fashion Footwear. I recommend it to anyone who loves shoes- or can at least appreciate them from afar.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Tan Bowler

This tan leather bowler is only 45 pounds (about $74) and is a perfect little all season bag, should you be in the market for one. I love its slouchy round shape, the outside zippered pocket, and the handle drop that looks long enough to wear over a heavy(ish) coat.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Love Birds bag

There is something adorable- but not in an obnoxious way- about this Noah Love Birds Shoulder Bag. It is $129.99 and looks roomy enough for every day, including work, the park, and shopping with the girls. I love the laser cut details in navy; the birds make this a little silly but the structured shape offsets that nicely. What do you think?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lovely Leather Jackets

A leather jacket is a staple in my wardrobe, and really, in my life. If you don't already have one, now is a great time to consider it. The Nordstrom Anniversary sale has a pretty awesome selection right now, and other late summer sales will be popping up at other stores through August. All of the jackets pictured here are from the Nordstrom sale.

My leather jacket takes me from work to weekend without missing a beat. Sadly, the one I got in Paris several years ago has seen better days, and it's about time for me to replace it. Here's my advice when shopping for a leather jacket:

1. Consider alternatives to black.
Depending on your style and hair/eye coloring, etc., black might not be your best option. On me, black leather looks really aggressive, so I stick to brown, deep green, camel, and this year, possibly, gray.

When I say alternatives, please DO NOT read pink, orange, or turquoise. Loud, bright leather looks cheap no matter how expensive it actually was.

2. Fit is key
Leather stretches out as you wear it, so what you buy should not already be oversized. A jacket that fits trimly, with a LITTLE room to move around, is actually best. That stiffness will relax into comfort soon, I promise.

I'm not saying you should buy one you can barely zip. But if if fits well without a sweater underneath, it's a good indication that will probably fit well with a sweater pretty soon.

3. Quality matters
Since this is going to be a decent outlay of cash (nice jackets can be anywhere from $150-$600 and up), get the best quality you can afford, and your jacket will last a long time. You can even get it weather treated every year, so a little rain won't kill it.

(I don't recommend this jacket for the rainiest days, but depending on how heavily weather treated it is, most jackets can sustain small showers now and then.)

Seriously, a cheap jacket will always look cheap. And don't even talk to me about pleather. This is an unacceptable material for jackets.

4. Consider a timeless style
There are lots of non-trendy styles that are still fun and modern.

The first is a "scuba" style that I am drawn to- it's sleek and fits close to the body. I love the color, and this jacket comes in gray, too...

The second is a longer, belted trench version. This is a truly timeless style that's flattering on many body types.

The third is a cropped biker jacket. The shorter length and asymmetrical zipper make this modern, but the biker jacket is still a tried and true style that will serve you for years.

If you only buy one jacket, consider a less trendy style. If you have more than one, it's fun to experiment with brighter colors, shorter sleeves, and fun details liked ruffles, big buttons, or a hood.

5. Go to the damn store
This is one purchase I don't recommend making online. Because fit and feel are such a huge part of whether a jacket will work for you, it's best to just try it on at the store. Raise your arms, sit down, put your hands in the pockets (this is important- if you don't like the pockets, you will be annoyed every time you wear it).

While you're there, you can see if the new fall shoes have arrived...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Spectacle Necklace: As Ugly as it Sounds

As awesome as it is to see people wearing their glasses on a string around their necks, now people who don't even need glasses can join the fun. This spectacle necklace is as expensive as a real pair of glasses at $118 and is made of copper and silk. I just want to know who thinks this is a good idea. I heart you Anthropologie, but get a damn clue.

Rip Off Alert: J Crew flats

This shoe is $148.

What? Did I stutter? $148.

Now, I am the last person who will criticize someone for paying dearly for something they love. I have been known to splash out on a handbag what some people make in a month. (This happened exactly once, by the way. No need to tell Dad.)

But people? This is a ballet flat. A very basic, very boring-looking flat with an obnoxiously precious bow.

Ahem- ever heard of Target? They sell basic, boring flats with obnoxious bows, too. For $19.99.

No, the Target version is not real leather and no, they won't last as long as the J Crew shoes. But they will look, at least for a little while, EXACTLY THE SAME. And while you are wearing your cheap knock offs, you can go to any number of shoe stores where you can find all manner of lovely ballet flats for under $100 in real leather that WILL last as long as the J Crew shoes.

And don't even try to use the price-per-wear argument to justify these. That applies to well-made classics that you will wear for years. Flats get TRASHED people; you'll be lucky if they last 2 seasons with repeated wear.

My point? For $148, you can do better. You can get a pair of fabulous heels full price, or a pair of Stuart Weitzman's on sale. You can get a chic cross-body bag for summer and fall. You can get a sleek little clutch and have money left over for wine with your girls.

I know, I know- J Crew tried to sell you hook, line, and sinker with its overpriced BS. I'm pissed, too. But you are too savvy to bite. Take your money elsewhere, people.

Fabulous News! (Death to Crocs)

According to this article, the hideous scourge of shoe departments everywhere known as Crocs, is about to kick the proverbial bucket. Considering they are some of the ugliest, most ridiculous shoes EVER, this is awesome news. I might buy a pair of super cute heels just to celebrate!

Handbag of the Day: Printed Scarf Hobo

This printed scarf hobo is $19.50 and adorable for summer. It also comes in 5 other prints, although this one is my favorite. At this price, you could get two...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WARNING: Insulting Bag Alert

Not only is this little monstrosity actually a cotton tote with a Louis Vuitton bag printed on the front and back, it's advertised as an exclusive collaboration piece. And it's over $65.

Now I ask you, does this look chic to you, or does it look like every fashion victim's dream? And I'm not buying the It's A Joke argument, because flat out robbery clearly isn't funny.

Handbag of the Day: Leather Hobo

The Sabina Leather Coquille Bag is $149.99 and in this delish brown leather, looks like a perfect year round bag. The pleated leather and braided strap is just enough detail to make this interesting and it looks roomy and easy to carry everywhere. I love this one!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shoe Site Alert!

Check out! They have a really large, really fun selection of shoes, including sandals, flats, and, um, heels. And you can search by brand, color, size, heel height, and style.

Your Capsule Wardrobe: Part 1

There is a lot of chatter about "capsule wardrobes"- what they are, what they should consist of, how to make them work for you. Here's what I think: if you are interested in shopping with a purpose and never having to worry about what to wear in the morning, you should consider putting one together.

This does not mean that you have to buy a whole new wardrobe- in fact, what you already own should make up the bulk of your first capsule.

First, a definition: a capsule wardrobe, according to moi, is a group of wardrobe pieces that you can mix together to make multiple outfits easily.

Second, a very simplistic example: let's say you own a cranberry sweater, a pair of jeans, a black skirt, a white tee and a navy tee. That's 5 pieces, in case you aren't counting.

You can do the following:
Jeans + white tee = an classic look, just add accessories
Jeans + navy tee = sophisticated version of above, add the same accessories
Black skirt + white tee = with colorful accessories, you are sleek and polished
Black skirt + navy tee = yes, black and navy go together because they are both NEUTRAL, you just have to wear them with purpose, add metallic accessories here
That's 4 outfits.

By adding the cranberry sweater to any of the above, you double the number of outfits, so now you have 8.

Part 1 of this process is the planning stage. I like to think about my wardrobe in terms of seasons. Not only is this how the fashion industry works, it is also a finite number of times I need to plan during the year. Now that we are well into summer, I can start planning for fall.

Here's what I do:
1. Look at the upcoming fall colors and decide which ones work for me- my skin tone, my preferences, and most importantly, what I already own.

After you do this for a couple of seasons, you will start to see trends emerge in your own wardrobe, and that's a good thing. Not only will you be aware of what you already have, you can make more consious decisions about what to buy.

The Pantone Fashion Color Report is a good place to start. It's a pretty accurate forecast of what designers will use in the upcoming season. There are other places to look for these predictions; from what I can tell, they all look fairly similar to each other for Fall 2009.

You can also look to the runways; we will see versions of whatever the big fashion houses are showing in places the rest of us actually shop. I like to look at the fashion shows as inspiration for new accessories and experimentation, but I don't use them as a guide for planning my daily work and weekend capsule.

I can do a quick elimination of several colors they list: "honey yellow" and "creme brulee" wash out my skin tone, "warm olive" makes me think of the 70s in a bad way, and "Nomad" is just a little weird for me.

That leaves me with 6 other colors, all of which I either like and would consider buying or I already own. (In case you are wondering, they are "American Beauty," "Purple Heart," "Iron," "Burnt Sienna," "Majolica Blue," and "Rapture Rose.")

2. Decide which 2-3 neutrals to use as a base for the colors I like.

This is largely informed by what I already own. I have a lot of black, grey, and navy, so those would likely be my neutral bases. However, I really love brown in the fall and winter, so I will probably switch one out for brown.

I think I will go with grey, navy, and brown. Not only do I already own a lot of black, many of this season's more muted colors will look richer with softer neutrals.

You could also go with cream and tan as light neutrals, if you already own those.

3. Choose 2-3 colors to add to the neutrals.

My decision on this is based on my research and what I find fun or interesting. I don't want to be a slave to trends, but I am also a practical shopper. If "Majolica Blue" is going to be big, I am going to be able to find it easily; if I decide that bright orange is my new favorite color, my efforts to round out my wardrobe for the season will be pretty frustrating. When I select colors I enjoy, I am more likely to wear them beyond a specific season; this is where taking into account your own taste comes in.

I have chosen "American Beauty" (pinkish, blue-red, almost raspberry), "Majolica Blue" (deep aquamarine blue without any yellow tinge), and "Iron" (charcoal with some depth).

4. Test the selected colors against the neutrals and each other.
Each color should go equally well with each neutral you have chosen, as well as going together with each other.

Here, each of my colors will go well with grey, navy, and brown. And the red, blue, and charcoal shades will work together beautifully.

Sound like a lot of attention to focus on something as seemingly trivial as the colors in your wardrobe? Trust me, once you have finished the entire process, you will be relieved to find that getting dressed is not only easier, but so is feeling put together and confident. Not to mention the sense that you have accomplished something: you will have defined and showcased your personal style.

Next up: In Part 2 I will discuss how to determine which specific pieces to look for, now that you have chosen a color palette.

Handbag of the Day: Leather Messenger

That's right, people- it's another leather messenger bag. This one is the Ecote Whipstitch Leather Messenger and is $79.99. I like it because it is a neutral color and just a little rugged. The zebra-print lining doesn't hurt, either.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Love for Ruby & Bloom Flats

Since it is my birthday and this is my blog, I am going to take this opportunity to shamelessly gush over my lastest shoe obsession: the Ruby & Bloom Grace ballerina flat. Not only do they come in like 20 colors (bright patents, muted metallics, cool prints), they are $69.95 and they are fabulously cute and comfortable. If you wear flats at all, you should get a pair of these shoes. The only downside, as with most flats, is that there isn't a ton of foot support. But they are comfy anyway. And did I mention adorable?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Drop-Crotch Dress/Jumpsuit?!

Whatever this thing is, it's hideous. It's like she's wearing a damn diaper and trying to make it sexy. I don't get it and I don't like it.

Handbag of the Day: Leather Messager Bag

The Sak Flap Crossbody Bag is $199 and available in a color called Saffron. Since it's leather and pretty sleek, looks like a sophisticated school or work bag. The color, which can be viewed under the link, looks mustard-y enough to work for summer and fall, and the handy outside pockets gives the bag a little ruggedness and great place for a cell phone and train pass...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nordstrom Sale!

Nordstrom is having a pretty fantastic sale right now, so if you want/need/lust after clothes, shoes, or handbags, they have marked down A LOT of stuff.

Another Handbag of the Day: Satin Clutch

I am in love with this fan pleat satin clutch. It is $48 and comes in black and cloud silver. It is unique and interesting, and still looks sleek and easy to carry. It also comes with a strap in case you want to wear it over your shoulder. I think this would be a fab way to add a one-of-kind detail to an evening outfit.

Handbag of the Day: Silk Wristlet

This Nordstrom ruched silk wristlet looks like a great evening clutch. It is $48 and comes in turquoise, purple, black, silver and champagne. I like it for its simplicity and practicality- it looks roomy enough for a phone, keys, lipstick, and a credit card and you can carry it on your wrist or under your arm. In turquoise or purple, it would be great pop of color for an all black evening look. In black, silver or champagne, it would be a versatile piece you could wear with anything.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Handbag of the Day: Studded Crossbody

I'm obviously somewhat obsessed with crossbody bags right now. This B. Makowsky studded bag is $128 and comes in violet, black, brandy, and cobalt. This brand has delish leather products and fun linings- this bag has leopard print lining! Perfect for weekends and travel, I adore this little bag and might be forced to add it to my wardrobe...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wearing Open-Toed Shoes: A Decree

I hearby decree that all women (and men) who wear open-toed shoes shall do the following:

1. Wear shoes that fit.
This means that your toes are not hanging over the side or front of the shoe AT ALL. There is little I find more disgusting than seeing someone's claw-like toes hanging out over their shoe.

I saw a women yesterday who had a full INCH of toes that came past her sandal. NEWSFLASH: The shoes don't fit.

They also don't fit if your heel hangs off the back of your shoe. Or if the sides of your feet slop over the sides of the shoe.

If you have doubts about whether something fits, just put them on and look at the side view in a mirror. Either your toes/heels/sides are contained by your shoes or not.

2. Get (or give yourself) a goddamn pedicure.
Feet must be washed, toenails trimmed, cuticles pushed back, dead skin sloughed off. This is a bare minimum, people. Don't like it? Don't expose your feet to my eyes.

For the love of all things stylish, don't get rhinstones on your toes. A tiny painted flower is (sort of) cute, but little plastic stones are just trashy.

3. Avoid plastic.
I know that plastic shoes are inexpensive, but that is the point. Cheap shoes don't breathe or wear well. I'm not saying they have to be designer sandals (paying upwards of $200 for trendy sandals is freaking ridiculous), but do pay attention to what the shoe is made of, whether your feet will slide around after you sweat in warm weather, if the strap will snap after the second wear, etc.

4. If you wear colored nail polish, immediately remove or reapply when it chips.
Chipped toe nail polish is beyond tacky. If you don't want this kind of maintenance, go polish free or chose a neutral shade.

If you don't wear open-toed shoes, you can ignore all of the above. For the other 99.9% percent of us this summer, these are Words To Live By.

Handbag of the Day: Mini Crossbody

The Nordstrom mini crossbody bag is $88 and comes in black, orchid, green and orange. I love the sleek lines of the bag and the fact that it looks sophisticated but also casual. Plus, I like a crossbody in leather so much more than canvas.