Monday, March 29, 2010

TRAVEL TRICKS

Travel Style dilemma:  You only want carry-on luggage to avoid checked bag fees.  How many outfits can you fit in?

The trick is to make what you have work twice (or thrice) as hard.  We begin with a basic travelling dress:  a fitted sheath in a stretch fabric blend for comfort.  The light ruching on the side adds soft drape.

Airport to Lunch


For the airport, comfort is key:

  • Throw on a knit, like this cotton capelet
  • Distressed leather shoes are surprisingly comfortable with the platform style and thick, rubber soles
  • Ballet flats work just as well and make it easy to put your shoes through security
  • The look can go straight from the airport to a lunch appointment or casual meeting.
For your evening look, 

Evening Outfit

  • Switch to a stretch, marabou bolero for packable, evening glam
  • A wide, accent belt cinches your waist
  • Black, suede booties with ruching and a bow finish the look
  • The booties can work the next day with black cigarette pants
If you don't want to accent your waistline, a long scarf wound around is flattering.  A structured blazer on top can also make your look office-worthy.


Geometric cut-outs on suede, peep-toes & buckles on leather
These are tried and tested.  I just came from a 3-day trip with workout clothes, 2 casual, 2 daytime and 2 nighttime outfits, all within one roller case.  Airlines can't keep you from being chic!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BARCELONA BUZZ

I love the Spanish fashion houses that gave us reasonably-priced chic in the form of the Mango and Zara stores.  Now, there's a new import from the land of Picasso.

My good friend and I were just wandering in Beverly Hills after lunch when we discovered a new boutique called Desigual.  The bright splashes of color just drew us in!  (Their opening promotions of free limited edition t-shirt, beach bag, and no sales tax were added bonuses)


Multiple panels and textures

Eclectic and modern, just like their artistic heritage.  Unlike Mango and Zara's black and neutral color palette, Desigual's explosion of color really brings Spanish flair to mind.

Embroidered elephant


The shapes were all very simple in order to let the brightly colored panels stand out.  The fabric is easy, stretch jersey.  It works as well on the beach as a cover up, or in town for dinner.

Back side of the dress
Best discovery of all is what I found out when I got home: the dress could be worn backwards.  Double-duty with style is what I call Good Design!

The first US store opened in SoHo, NYC just last fall.  I walked into their West Coast shop in LA when it was just 2 days old.  With spring in the air, these bursts of color were just what I needed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

CALIFORNIA CASUAL

I am heading for LA this weekend where it is about 75 degrees.  This brought to mind the relaxed Southern California look all year long - jeans and t-shirt, normally worn with some easy slip-ons.

Here, we look at one way a Californian might dress up their favorite jeans:


  • It's still a t-shirt, but jazzed up with drapey ruffles
  • Spring's military trend is adopted here with the casual, olive color
  • The season's transition footwear is the shootie: here in distressed olive leather, with peep-toe front and sandal back
  • A funky necklace or leather/bead cuffs finish it off
All the pieces are about comfort and relaxed style.  Even the shooties are surprisingly soft with their platform heels and rubber soles.

Sun, here I come!

Monday, March 15, 2010

HOMAGE TO ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

"Out, out, brief candle!" - Shakespeare, Macbeth


A visionary flame was snuffed last month with the passing of Alexander McQueen.  The fashion world was graced with his final, beautiful creations in Paris last week.  Take a look at the link:

Alexander McQueen's Last Collection

The rich fabrics and regal lines were such as a Czarina might wear.  Here, we pay homage to McQueen's vision in our own version.  Though we cannot approach the grandeur of his works, we are inspired by it.

Silk brocade tunic

  • Stick to luxe fabrics like this silk brocade tunic
  • Another option is a bubble skirt dress in burnt-out silk fabric 
  • We opted for a satin belt rather than leather to emphasize sheen
  • A fox muffler or elaborate jewelry finishes the look

Burnt silk, bubble skirt dress

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

PARIS FASHION WEEK: CHANEL'S ICE AGE

Paris Fashion Week is nearly over.  Chanel's take on Fall/Winter is all about the Ice Age.  See the link:

Chanel 2010

There was a lot of fake fur on the garments, much like the look we posted in  Winter's Last Hurrah.  The Yeti-inspired boots injected humor to all of Chanel's classic tweed, leather and lace looks.

Our take on Karl Lagerfeld's all-ivory mix of lace, satin, and fur:


  • This is a vintage cocktail dress with delicate lace and ribbon detail.
  • We pair a ruffly, long scarf in the same color.
  • These arctic snow boots are popular in places like Vail and Aspen, or among regular trekkers in Alaska.
Ribbon Detail in Vintage Dress

Monday, March 8, 2010

CASUAL CASHMERE

A friend once told me that nobody wears a suit in her office unless they are visiting consultants.  Given today's casual office cultures, a classic sweater can anchor your office look.

The key to this look is Fit and Fabric. Cashmere provides warmth and soft texture. In warm climes, silk-lycra blends work well too.  The sweater must not be too baggy or too tight.  This adds pounds to your silhouette and looks dowdy.  The ribbing also ends at the high hip, before most women's shapes widen out.  This creates a more feminine shape.


  • We pair the neutral sweater with ivory slacks.
  • Slacks should have a nice drape and may be lined.  
  • Flat front slacks work best for most shapes.  Narrow hips or boyish shapes look good in pleated trousers.
  • Flesh-colored slingback kitten heels are comfortable and continue the long line of the outfit.
  • The long, v-shape of the accent necklace complements those with rounder faces, and elongates the torso.
  • A long scarf with the ends hanging is an alternative to a necklace.
We switch the outfit to one with a tulip-shaped denim skirt.

  • Denim mutes the tulip skirt's bombshell shape.
  • Vertical panels in the skirt are slimming.
  • The dark wash can be appropriate for the office.
  • Dark T-strap shoes add polish for work.
So, you can go to the office in casual comfort and style!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

PARIS FASHION WEEK: CUT, DRAPE & EXOTIC TEXTURES

It's Paris' turn to show their Fall Pret-A-Porter collections.  My favorite so far is Lanvin's beautiful collection.  See the link below:

Lanvin 2010 Fall - Lanvin Collections on ELLE.com

Posted using ShareThis

The shapes were feminine, with exquisite use of drape and geometry.  But the knockouts were the exotic feathers or fur accents in new places, but it was never outre.  It's the kind of collection you would actually see ladies in fashion capitals wear.  The other Paris collections were entertaining but perhaps too theatrical for real life, unless you were in theater.

Here's a close-up look at structure and shape from a Swiss label, Akris:


The folds on the sleeves was similar to some of Lanvin's techniques on his dresses.  You can see it close-up on the right.
Which Paris collections did you find inspiring for your own individual style?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

FUZZ BUSTERS

Our lives are very busy.  Who has time now to go to a salon for a waxing?  Some people are very happy to shave everyday.  But, if you prefer the extended hair-free weeks that come with waxing, there are ways to lengthen the time between salon visits, or do away with them altogether:

  • Finally, the local drugstore carries instant wax strips for home use
  • No need to heat up wax in a tin, spread it, and use cloths
  • The strips warm up right between your hands
  • You can wax for 5 minutes right before a shower, so it's as quick as shaving
  • Unlike shaving, it takes a few weeks for the hair to grow back, and always more softly
  • Best thing is that it costs a fraction of a salon visit, and you don't need a whole hour for an appointment
You can find them in the drugstore Depilatory aisle.   I've been so happy with them, I haven't been to the salon in months!

Monday, March 1, 2010

CLASSIC TAILORING AT MILAN 2010 FASHION WEEK

D&G 25th Anniversary collection: back to tailored classics


Fashion Week is in full swing in Milan.  Of note is Dolce & Gabbana celebrating 25 years of Italian fashion.  Their collection goes back to classic tailoring with modern twists.  That is terrific for most "real" women out there!

This is a classic tuxedo suit from a previous collection of Dolce & Gabbana.  The jacket is long and fitted and the narrow pants' outside seam has a satin tuxedo stripe.   The simplicity in the look can go from office to evening.  Here, I've just shown it with:
  • a black, velvet bustier
  • glossy sling-backs
  • an accent necklace
Tailored shapes celebrate the woman's feminine silhouette.  We must thank Christian Dior for introducing the "New Look" over half a century ago!

WINTER'S LAST HURRAH

Punxsutawny Phil may have been right in predicting more Winter.  New Yorkers got pummeled with close to 30" of snow in one blizzard.  The Stylish Set during NY Fashion Week did not let that stop them.  Here's a look taken from NYC streets, particularly around Bryant Park:
  • Fur - real or faux - was seen in various forms and in unexpected places
  • Scarves were de rigueur, some wrapped around the head in '50s screen siren style
  • While galoshes were seen, animal skins like these horse hair boots still paraded
  • Interestingly, Animal Rights Activists laid low.  Is it more difficult to spot real furs these days?
So for my friends back East or other wintry climes, don't let the cold snap get in the way of your personal style!

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