Thursday, June 28, 2007

Milan Fashion Week Spring 2008

Men's Fashion Week is in full swing in Milan this week. As I was perusing the shows on, I found that a lot of the styles seemed over the top and not clothes my male friends or husband would wear. Many things were almost comical! I would rate Alexander McQueen's designs among my least favorite. And since I know you're all busy people, I'll tell you why in three words:

While the collection was rather dark for Spring, Prada's Spring 2008 offerings were my favorite. Again, here's why in three words:

Check out a slide show of the worst of the worst from Milan here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Too Luxe: Balenciaga Leggings

If you watched the 2007 BET Awards last night, I'm sure you were impressed by Beyonce's performance of "Get Me Bodied". What you might not have realized was that Beyonce performed in Balenciaga's gold leggings which were featured in their Spring 2007 runway collection.

The leggings are made only on request and cost a whopping $100,000! (No, that's not a typo.) They are made of metallic fabric and made quite a splash on the runway. While they are very cutting edge, at $100,000 they are absurdly priced for a trend that will probably not last many more seasons.


Style Jack: Gabrielle Union's Kimono Dress

Gabrielle Union looks chic and sexy in a printed kimono dress on the red carpet for a party for the BET Awards. With deep v-necks and wide sleeves, kimono style dresses are very flattering. They elongate a woman's neck and show off cleavage while hiding problem areas like upper arms and less than flat stomachs. Gabrielle Union adds a wide leather belt as a sophisticated touch to her Asian-inspired frock. Here's how you can incorporate Gabrielle's style into your summer wardrobe.

This floral print kimono dress from Urban Outfitters is nearly a perfect match. At $58, it's a steal!
Splurge on an Elegantly Waisted wrap belt from ShopBop at empire waist level to complete the look. ($198)

Total cost to jack Gabrielle's style: $256
Figure flattering, sexy style: PRICELESS!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Read a Book, Blow the Rent

Read a book....

Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style
By Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney

If you watch Project Runway you are probably familiar with Tim Gunn. As the "den mother" for the PR contestants, he's known for giving sage design advice and telling the contestants to "Make it work." As you would expect from Tim Gunn, his book is full of good style guidance for those who feel a little confused or lost by the world of fashion. The book is well written and offers solutions on how to prune your closet, what to wear to compliment your body type and the essentials for every woman's wardrobe. Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style even has a glossary of clothing design words that the average consumer might not be familiar with and some good movies and other books to read for fashion inspiration.

My one problem with this book (and all style books for that matter) is the inherent paradox in the advice. Like any book that gives its audience advice on how to dress, it tells the reader to know themselves and find their own personal style... Unless that style is completely appalling, in which case, conform to what the rest of us are wearing. This is always where I think these books fall short. But otherwise, I would highly recommend this quick and engaging read.

Blow the rent....
In his book, Tim Gunn advises that ballet flats are ideal for chic women seeking comfortable footwear or a pair of shoes they can tuck into a purse to wear when their high heels have become unbearable. These Pedro Garcia ruffled flats are an elegant alternative to a pair of sneakers or worse yet, Crocs.

Pedro Garcia Albany Ruffle Ballet Flat $336

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Style Lesson: Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston is not a woman who follows every trend. You probably won't see her any time soon in a tunic, leggings and ballet flats. This is exactly what I love about her. She has a look that is unique and she sticks to her own personal style aesthetic. Some people might say she has a uniform, but I say she has a signature style.

You can be casual but still chic. In her personal time, it's clear Jennifer loves to be comfortable and wear jeans. But comfort does not have to mean sloppy or not looking put together. Jennifer matches dark jeans with a wide leather belt, heels and a cozy sweater for a stylish yet casual look.

When Jennifer wants to add a little color and warmth to her casual wear, she'll often throw on an extra large scarf.

Want to dress up your shorts? Wear tailored ones with a button down shirt and heels.

Primary colors and neutrals are fool-proof for formal occasions. Jennifer has a set color palette and rarely deviates from it. For red carpet events, she will often wear neutrals, dark or primary colors. She hardly ever ventures into the arena of patterns or bright colors. Dark colors and neutrals are universally flattering. Of course we all know the way to hide a figure flaw is to wear a dark color. And what shows off suntanned, gorgeous skin better than a neutral colored dress? Jennifer knows what colors work for her.

Most importantly, since Jennifer sticks to simple, elegant styles, she is never competing for attention from her clothes. She wears her clothes; the clothes don't wear her. The next time you're debating whether to buy into the latest trend being foisted on us from the fashion world, remember that a classic style is consistent and doesn't need to change with every season. Or maybe just ask yourself, "What Would Jennifer Do?"

SALE: Bulga!

Look what arrived in my inbox today:

(Click image to enlarge.)

I can only assume that this is a sign from above that me and this bag are meant to be together. See you at the sale!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Day at the Beach with Juicy

Tomorrow is the first day of summer. While I don't have any travel plans for the season, I do intend to visit the beaches of Long Island. My usual beach tote is the classic LL Bean boat and tote, but Juicy Couture has some adorable and functional beach bags that are making me rethink my typical choice. In addition to the bags looking great, they also come with a beach towel or mat that makes them totally functional. And you don't have to worry about making a big dent in your wallet with a designer beach bag since Neiman Marcus has them ON SALE!

Juicy Riviera Tote & Mat $169 (from $225) This one is my personal favorite! It can also double as a yoga bag and mat.

Juicy Islands Bag with Towel $124 (from $165)

Juicy Malibu Beach Tote & Towel $116 (from $156)

Since I'm a big believer in mixing designer items with mass brands, I would pair my new Juicy beach tote with this Gap bikini (also on sale!).
Gap Eyelet Crochet Triangle Top $24.99 (from $32.50)
Gap Eyelet Crochet String Bikini $24.99 (from $32.50)

Have fun at the beach!

UPDATE: The sale has the Juicy beach bags for even lower prices than Neiman Marcus! My Saks links rarely work properly, but you can search the sale by category and then by brand to find the Juicy bags. Check it out here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Three Times Makes it a Trend: Nude Dresses

What's sexier than showing a little skin? Going nude! Many Hollywood starlets are wearing flesh colored dresses to add a little sex appeal to their summer wardrobes. And we all know what it means when three starlets wear the same style... It's a trend!

Victoria Beckham wears a fun and flirty Azzedine Alaia nude dress for her appearance on The Today Show. She accents her dress with nude colored Christian Louboutin pumps and extra large sunglasses.

Katie Holmes wears a strapless nude colored dress with metallic heels and oversized shades while in France with her husband, Tom Cruise.

Entertainment correspondent Maria Menounos wears a nude Dolce & Gabbana dress with gold metallic accents in her corset belt and shoes.

Want to be dressed and still feel nude? Try these pretty flesh-colored dresses.
Leyendecker Chandelier Dress $169.50 (on sale!)

Gap Trapeze Dress $49.99 (on sale!)

Piping Hot Fashion News

Sunglasses: The last affordable designer frontier.

Victoria Beckham launched her dVb denim line at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City last week.

R.I.P. Gianfranco Ferre.

Tired of that tramp stamp? Tattoo removal is becoming a booming business.

Dress like you mean business... It may get you a promotion so you can afford to buy more dresses.

The quintessential brand for ballet flats, French Sole, is expanding into bridal shoes.

What happens when relaxed Atlanta style meets New York city chic? Read here and find out.

Avoid Fendi's Fall 2007 handbag line at all costs.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I adore animal print shoes! As a New Yorker, I often find myself in the city's default uniform: all black. New York may be the fashion capital, but it can be very tiring to come up with exciting new outfits every day. Wearing all black (or the other uniform: black with denim) is a safe choice that requires little thought or preparation and always looks chic. Nothing adds a little sex appeal and spice to a monochromatic outfit like a splash of leopard print. Unleash your wild side with these animal print shoes on sale at Saks.

Brian Atwood Bejeweled Leopard D'orsay Pumps $457.90 (from $655)

Valentino Haircalf Pumps $412.90 (from $590)

Christian Louboutin Leopard Platform Mules $412.90 (from $590)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

eBay: Steals or Shams?

From 2002 to 2003, eBay was my go-to web site for buying designer items at discounted prices. I had a lot of good experiences purchasing authenthic designer clothing and accessories at prices that were very reasonable. I assumed that most of the sellers I purchased from had either bought the items at store sales or shopped at outlets in order to be able to sell their wares for lower than retail prices.

Recently, I've found the site to be very disappointing. There are several obvious designer fakes being sold as "guaranteed authentic" and the prices are far from a bargain anymore. I have read that many sellers have taken to auctioning off knock-offs of designer bags from China that strongly resemble the real thing. After I got burned on a fake Marc Jacobs bag last year, I decided I would need to change how I shop on eBay or not shop there at all. Here are my suggestions to other eBay shoppers.
  1. Know what you're buying. If you are going to buy a Gucci bag, go to your nearest store that is an authorized seller of the brand such as Saks Fifth Avenue or Bloomingdale's and check out the Gucci selection. Take note of things like the zipper brands used (ie. Coach and Marc Jacobs use Riri brand zippers which are embossed on the bottom portion of the zipper pull), the lining or other details the designer uses repeatedly. Once you've taken a close look at the real thing, you can do a better job evaluating the pictures from eBay. If you know that Marc Jacobs uses Riri brand zippers on his bags, don't buy a purse where the seller shows a closeup with a YKK brand zipper.
  2. If the price is too good to be true, it's probably a knock-off. If someone is selling brand-new "with tags" high-end merchandise for an absurdly low price, you should be very suspicious. Even discounters and outlets mark items up to make a profit. If a seller is selling a Stella McCartney shirt for $19.99, how much have they paid for it to make a profit? And how could it be real at that price?
  3. Check reader feedback and the other items the seller has sold. I once saw a seller who sold diapers in bulk and Marc Jacobs handbags. While it's possible that the bags were authentic, something just didn't seem right. Vendors who sell high-end merchandise tend to stick to this type of item exclusively. If the vendor has repeatedly sold designer merchandise in the past and has gotten good feedback from their customers, the vendor may actually be reputable.
  4. You are better off buying used items than brand new. I have found that it's safer to buy used designer clothing and accessories rather than things labeled as "brand new." I would rather buy the "gently used" designer shoes of a fellow fashionista who has just grown tired of the item she bought from a legitimate retailer than chance buying something new that could be fake. Also, don't be afraid to ask to see receipts, tags or other documents that will prove the authenticity of the item and the seller's claims.
  5. Go with your instincts and ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask the seller to see more pictures or for more details about the item. If the seller is slow to respond or doesn't want to give more information, don't buy from them. You have a right to want to know exactly what you're buying before you shell out your hard earned money for the item. If the seller does not respect that, I would avoid them. And if your contact with the seller gives you an uncomfortable feeling, go with that. Your instincts are usually right.

The most important thing about eBay is to look at everything with a slight feeling of suspicion. There are a lot of good vendors out there. (Including me! I have sold many of my old clothing and accessories on eBay with good results.) But there are also a lot of people out there trying to scam innocent shoppers. Let the buyer beware.

Dream Item of the Day

I played the lottery today and this dress by Fendi is the first thing I plan to buy if I win. I mean, who wouldn't look sexy and stylish in this dress? It shows off the arms and shoulders and cinches in your waist. The side pockets and fullness at the hip gives the wearer an appealing hourglass shape. I NEED this dress.

At a mere $1,119 (which is the reduced sale price, mind you), I certainly can't afford it on my salary. But if that ticket turns out to be a winner, this dress will be hanging in my closet soon. Dare to dream....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Caribbean Fashion Week!

As a women whose parents were born in the Caribbean, I am ashamed to admit that I had no idea that this week is Caribbean Fashion Week. Taking place in Kingston, Jamaica, CFW is currently in its seventh year and features Caribbean designers.

As to be expected, tropical colors and mixing textures was a big theme and the designs were featured on slightly more curvaceous models than what you would see at the New York shows. You can see pictures and read more about Caribbean Fashion Week here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

French Connection Has the Answers

I never paid much attention to French Connection. I had shopped French Connection stores a few years ago, but wouldn't find anything particularly appealing so I crossed the stores off my list of shopping destinations. But recently I found myself needing to kill some time before a hair appointment and I wandered into a French Connection store. I was shocked by all that I had been missing! FC had feminine, pretty, colorful styles that were affordable and stylish. Here's how French Connection is going to keep me (and you) chic all summer long!

Need an outfit for work that is simple yet classic? Try the Sinatra dress for $148.

Going to a barbecue? Try the Shadow Flower Shirt for $88 with Lottie Jeans (on sale for $79.99).

Having some cosmos and a night of dancing with the girls? The Super Sequin Dress for $198 will keep all eyes on you.

Doing brunch and a movie on a lazy Sunday afternoon with your boyfriend? How about the Madame Top for $39.99 (on sale!) with Logo Denim Shorts ($108)?

Check out the French Connection web site here. Happy shopping!

Model Moment: Irina Lazareanu

With a face and style that looks a little 1970's rock star and 1960's pixie, Irina Lazareanu is one of the hottest models walking the runway today.

Born in Romania in 1982, Irina shot to top model status through her friendship with Kate Moss. Irina was sent to study ballet in London in her teens and quickly became a part of its underground music scene. She became friends with Pete Doherty (lead singer of Babyshambles) who introduced her to his girlfriend, Kate Moss. Kate handpicked Irina to model for an issue of Vogue: Paris which Kate was guest editing. The rest is history. Irina holds the record for the most runway work in one season and has walked for top brands such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Michael Kors, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen. She was also the model for Kate Moss' Top Shop line.

Here is Irina serving you hot fashion.

Backstage at Fall 2007 Alessandro Dell'Acqua

Fall 2007 Balenciaga

Fall 2007 Christian Dior

Modeling Kate Moss' Top Shop Line

Fashion magazine layout with Jessica Stam


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sale!: Tory Burch

Dying to get a pair of fabulous Tory Burch shoes or at the very least a tunic? Check out the Tory Burch Sample Sale!

Tory Burch for Women
SSS Sample Sales
261 W. 36th Street – 2nd Floor
(betw. 7th & 8th Ave)
Tuesday - Friday 10 - 6:45

Let me know if you score anything good!

Too Luxe: Coach PVC Tote

I'm not sure exactly when it started, but recently designer handbags have gone from a bit expensive to the absolutely absurd when it comes to prices. While I understand that some handbags should be expensive due to the quality of the materials and craftsmanship involved in making them, it has gotten to the point that designers think that slapping a luxury brand name on any old purse makes it reasonable to charge several hundred or over a thousand dollars. Case in point: the Coach PVC tote.
This purse made of PVC (ie. plastic) with leather trim costs $498. The Coach web site lists this as being ideal for the beach or travel and they are right. But why would I spend nearly $500 on a purse that I will put on hot sand and allow to get wet? And it's PVC! How do you justify that kind of price tag for that material? If you love the idea of a PVC tote for summer but don't want to spend $500 for a plastic bag, try this one from Nine West instead.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

SJP's Bitten: I'm Not Biting

For the most part, I tend to ignore celebrity clothing lines. As all of the celebrities who have their own clothing brands (such as Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss, etc.) have not gone to fashion design school or had any kind of training, it's obvious they don't really have the neccessary skills to create and design a fashion line. Duh! They're not actually "designing" anything. The typical celebrity clothing brand is based on the star's personal style; which is the result of a well-paid stylist putting together outfits for said star from established or up-and-coming "real" designers. What is particularly interesting or fashion-forward about that?

That said, the advertising campaign and media blitz for Sarah Jessica Parker's Bitten line has annoyed me enough to force a comment. The manifesto for the line is:
"It is every woman's inalienable right to have a pulled-together stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live."

And as you can see, Sarah wears a t-shirt that says "Fashion is not a luxury" in the ads for the line.

I'm astonished at how pretentious and insulting the whole marketing campaign behind this line is and that so many people are falling for it hook, line and sinker. Why does a clothing line need a "manifesto"? Am I supposed to believe this line is part of some greater political movement and not an opportunity for Sarah Jessica Parker and the Steve & Barry store chain (where the line is sold) to make money off Sarah's post-Sex and the City-style icon status?

And how kind of her to make lower-priced clothing for the masses. "Fashion is not a luxury?" You don't say? And here I was thinking women of limited means should just walk around naked. If you have ever walked into an H&M, Gap or Old Navy, I am sure you are well aware that fashion can be affordable and leave you with enough money to pay your bills. Even designer clothing can be affordable if you shop at thrift stores or discounters such as Century 21, TJ Maxx and Marshall's. Fashionable clothing at an accessible price is not a new concept and shouldn't be treated as if it's some kind of revelation particularly when it's being marketed by a millionaire who is best known for playing a character that had $40,000 in shoes.

I don't know anything about the quality of the line itself and I have no intention to go to a Steve & Barry's and check it out. From what's been shown in the media, I don't see much about Bitten that makes it any different from other lower-priced lines.

Bitten appears to be just another uninspiring, celeb-persona driven clothing line in an already oversaturated market. Check out a really good article about celebrity clothing lines in today's New York Times here.

Picture source