Sunday, April 30, 2006

Nothing that you actually take from your boyfriend would ever be this good

Of course, the advantage of actually taking it from your boyfriend is that it's free. Still though, it won't look like the slew of products labeled "boyfriend" that have been popping up lately. Let's examine the jeans first, shall we?

These are Yanuk's take on boyfriend jeans, and I think I actually have them in the lighter wash. They have a sexy, snug, fit, so unless your boyfriend likes his jeans tight and with a bootleg, they're not terribly authentic. Maybe in terms of the distressing--the denim is washed to have a very loved look. Other than that, these jeans don't even compare to men's clothes.

Next up is Whim's boyfriend sweater. Now, it's lovely, but I've never been with a boy who likes his sweaters to have a wide v-neck with gathered detailing and a banded waist. I suppose anything's possible, though.

Finally, here's Vince's new famed boyfriend tee. I understand the name because of the blousy fit, but once again, we have a banded waist. Will someone please tell me when in history guys have ever worn banded waist? I mean, this is so not authentic!

Well, at least all these clothes are laundered and don't smell when you get them.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Finals chic

This morning, I got breakfast in sweatpants and a trench coat.

No, it wasn't a fashion statement. It was an aesthetic response to the driving force of my life--finals. The sweatpants were easy to toss on, and the coat was still out from the night before, and when I woke up, I knew that if I didn't procure coffee within the next 30 seconds, I would fall comatose back into beed. Finals aren't quite upon me yet, but they're approaching at a rapidly alarming pace. And oh, how my look is suffering.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stylish things come from people named Coco

Blah blah blah, yeah, Chanel, whatever. Right now, I'd like to talk about a different fashionable Coco. Coco's shoppe is an internet boutique that I heard about recently that stocks only products that are sustainable, fairly traded, and/or environmentally friendly. Ethical, sustainable fashion? Count me in!

The stock is relatively small, probably due to financial constraints as well as general choosiness, but it's still definitely well-chosen. I already knew about most of the lines of clothing (and organic beauty), but they also sell a few lines I'd never heard of: Ananas, a line of bags made with easily renewable sources (pictured), Burning Torch, a line of clothes made from eco-friendly or recycled fabrics, and Deborah Lindquist, a line of clothing made from recycled cashmere and vintage textiles. Better yet, they've alerted me to the fact that several brands that I already love are at least somewhat sustainable! The pictured dress is Velvet (which I so love), and apparently Park Vogel and Spring & Cliffton use environmentally friendly material, too. The best thing though, I think, is that there's a description for each item of how it's eco-friendly, so you have a distinct idea of how your clothing is affecting the environment.

So, go shopping at Coco's shoppe. It's cool and it's responsible, and it's a lot cheaper than shopping at Coco Chanel's atelier (that was a bad joke. Sorry).


Update on Juicy Couture

It's come to my attention lately that a lot of people find my blog in an attempt to learn about the business ethics of Juicy Couture. Now, the only reason that this leads them to me is that I admitted to a dirtly little secret about my own feelings about Juicy Couture (but still, it's not like I own any), and that I sometimes discuss clothing with a conscience.

Still, I hate to disappoint, so I did a little research on Juicy Couture, and found. . . nothing. Sorry guys, I couldn't find anything whatsoever on how they treat their workers, the environment, their business ethics--anything. I suppose that means that we should give them the benefit of the doubt. . . maybe.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Because it's Wednesday

Wednesdays are long, tiring days. Rather than give you a Russian (read: long) novel to read about my stark raving mad opinions on fashion, I think I'll just give you pretty things to look at:

Built By Wendy. Chic as always. $95.

Forever 21. Pretty details. $15.80.

Personally, I'd prefer the Built By Wendy one, but for $16, the Forever 21 tank is pretty damn cute, too.

NOTE: Like a black storm cloud on the horizon, the impending doom of finals season is upon me (wow, I am sooo going to ace all my writing assignments--not). Check back, because I will be updating when I can, but I may have to slow down for a while.

A well-done project

Project Alabama first started garnering my attention a year or so ago, when I first saw their lovely things in magazines. I remember unsuccessfully trolling eBay for their goods, not only for a deal, but also just to have access to their clothes.

So imagine my joy upon discovering that they now have a website!! It is new, so it's not as complete as it could be, but they have a small store up, and a gorgeous lookbook of sorts (they call it a catalogue). Something about their aesthetic and their attitude remind me of an American A.P.C.--it's their unapologetic marriage of simple designs and innovative ideas, originality without pretension, I think. And I approve.

I really can't wait until I can afford their clothes.

It's unfair to make fun of Jersey

Cotton jersey, that is. I realize that it's not silk or velvet, and that's it's pretty damn ubiquitous, and that we've all pretty much been wearing it since day one. Not terribly special. Or is it? I mean, we all know that it's comfy and easy, but could it possibly also be. . . ridiculously stylish? Gorgeous? Original?

Well, my answer is yes, and several designers seem to agree with me. Still being a fresh young thing myself, I can't say who it was who first starting using cotton jersey in new and interesting ways, but I can tell you about several people who currently do. The jersey gaucho, the item to usher soft, stretchy pants back into style--whether or not that's a good thing--was, I believe, first pioneered (in this millenium) by Rachel Pally. Now, if you're anything like me, you've seen enough gaucho pants to last a lifetime or five, so I won't bother with a picture. Her basic tees are pretty nice too, though--I especially like the chain-link printed ones.

Moving beyond slouchy LA basics, Daryl K. has also done some nice things with soft, stretchy fabric. The first pictured top (which is Daryl K.) would be as at-home at a cocktail party as with jeans. The top directly at left, however, is Roland Mouret (yes, I know he's no longer designing under his own name, but it is still possible to buy some of his pieces), who is probably the last designer that most people would associate with cotton jersey. I mean, I know the picture is small, but trust me, the top looks more like it was made of silk chiffon than jersey, and it's every bit as detailed and structured as his signature pieces. While you could wear this top with jeans, it was undoubtedly designed for going out on the town, for seeing and being seen. It'd also be perfectly appropriate for high tea.

Clu is a line that I've had my eye on since I saw one of their dresses in Teen Vogue a while back (not that I read Teen Vogue or anything. . . ok, I totally read Teen Vogue. I really like it). They do a great job of making basics special and unique, and moreover, just plain pretty. It seems to me that they rely largely on strategically-placed gathering to do the job, but it works. It's quite flattering.

You don't have to shell out hundreds of dollars to benefit from this trend. Just a week or so ago, I got a jersey dress from H&M for $12.90. It was such a good deal that I'm going to say it again--I got an adorable black drop-waist jersey dress for $12.90! And I know that it's kind of lame that I talk about them in like, every entry, but another reliably fabulous source is American Apparel--I actually have two of the pictured skirt, I like it so much. Once again, the gathers make it fantastically flattering.

I'm not a big fan of people abusing basics and wearing boring t-shirts and jeans every day. But with pieces like these, it's possible to be t-shirt-and-jeans comfy and Daryl K./Roland Mouret/Clu stylish. I love it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Reconsidering Amanda Peet

Ok. I loved her in Barefoot in the Park, didn't so much like her in Lucky, and now I'm not sure what I think of her. My earlier impressions were that she's a fine actress, but perhaps less of a style icon, but she's looked pretty lovely in pictures lately, AND (though I just learned this recently) she apparently went to Peter Som's show in fashion week. Peter Som! I mean, I don't think unstylish people go for Peter Som. In the above picture, I love the combination of the frilly-ish, feminine dress, and no-nonsense, serious black coat. I'm not sure what the label they are, but the shoes look like Louboutin, and we all know how I feel about him.

In this next picture, it looks like she's wearing Isaac Mizrahi (which would make sense, since he designed costumes for Barefoot in the Park), and I love it on her. She can certainly work a mini dress. I've also been downright crazy about babydoll dresses lately, so that doesn't hurt my opinion of her fashion sense. I'm not sure I've ever seen her wear color, though, which is a little upsetting--it takes a brave New Yorker to be willing to experiment with blue or purple (or anything that's not black or grey), but doesn't that it make it all the more better when they do? Still though, I usually think that the shape and the cut of clothing is just a little more important than the color, and she seems to have a pretty good grasp of shape and cut, so I guess I shouldn't criticize.

Ok. I take it back. She's not unstylish at all. In fact, she's pretty cute and she does have good dress sense. Still though, we'll see if she ever takes a chance on color.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Good things come in unglamourous packages

I'll admit that, often, I'm a total sucker for packaging. I mean, Benefit cosmetics are fabulous, but I totally first started buying them because of their clever use of the pin-up girl motif. Tonight, though, while I was thinking about what I'm going to wear this week (yes, I am that nerdy), I realized that every outfit I was considering involved what must be my favorite, though incredibly unexciting, fashion item: a men's undershirt. They're not exactly couture, but what's not to like about them? They're comfy. They're infinitely stretchy. They come in packs of three or five. The fit is actually quite sexy on a woman. They're thin enough that they layer better than anything else, but they're just barely opaque enough that you can get away with wearing them alone, so long as your bra is nude-colored. They're long. They have a deep-but-not-indecently-revealing neck. In a way, they're kind of perfect.

I never thought that my favorite item of clothing would come from a plastic bag in the men's section, but life is funny that way.

Mmmm, Lover. . .

I'm not sure when it was that I first heard of the Australian label Lover, but it can't have been very long ago, because they've only been around since 2004. I'm also not sure how long they've been available in this hemisphere, because they're still pretty tough to find, but if you ask me, they're worth seeking out.

Their aesthetic is cute and girly, but still very sophisticated and elegant, and I think that's a pretty damn tough balance to strike. I mean, sophistication says "serious" to me, while cute says "fun," so I'm not entirely sure how Lover clothes can simultaneously be both, but somehow, they are. They've been compared a lot to Marc Jacobs, and while that's a fair comparison, Marc Jacobs has been around for a big longer, and I think it shows. Lover's vision is, in my ever-so-humble opinion, still a little rough and unfocused. And you know what? I like it. It's unapologetically lovely and unique. It's also just a little, tiny bit new-wave, which is a look that I'm SO loving right now--I bought an old polka-dotted, pleated skirt with an elastic waistband yesterday, and I cannot wait to wear it with vintage 80's flats. But I digress. I'll be keeping my eye on Lover to see how they mature. I expect good things. Form your own opinion on them by checking them out here.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wasn't being anti-designer the point?

American Apparel has been getting awfully designer-y lately, in almost a late 80's, early 90's we-love-stretchy type way. I mean, they've always made fabulous basics, but their basics have been getting, shall we say, cheeky lately. Check out the rocking stirrup tights (I wear those for ballet, AND on the street--I am SO ahead of my time!), and in an even more individualistic, original move, their cable-knit leggings. Cable-knit leggings? Huh? They're weird, but I'm actually probably going to buy a pair--I'll wear them as super-warm tights with boots in the fall (I have my fingers crossed for going abroad and studying somewhere rather cold in the fall. . .).

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with American Apparel carving out more of a design image for themselves. I'll continue to be a fan and a customer, so long as they keep up their stellar business policies. It's just a drastic change from the generic way they were promoting themselves eariler.

Check out more pics of the two mentioned items, and even more design innovations, in the "Coming Soon" section of the website.


Actual fashion talk to follow

Fear not kids, I'm not dead (though perhaps, after last night, I should be). I'm just overloaded with work to procrastinate. It's awful. I haven't been getting nearly as much procrastination done as I should. Just the other day, I sunk so low as talking to a professor about specifications in my research for a paper. I just need to suck it up and start procrastinating!

But seriously. I'm going to update soon. For real.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A handy fashion tip, because I love you

Everyone loves Vince. At least, I can't think of a reason why anyone wouldn't. Their clothes may be simple, but they're cut well, and they use nice material. They're also on the pricey side. The pictured tank is $38. Personally, I have no problem paying for quality, but if anyone wants to pay a lot less for the same quality, here's a hint: the basic tanks at Uniqlo look exactly the same, and retail, I believe, for $10. I got mine on sale for $7. See how much I care about you readers? I'm handing out my secrets here!

Er, what?

The other day, I had some time to kill (ie, I had some work to procrastinate--in this case, I'm putting off writing a paper on how a particularly play was received by the pedants, and how it influenced its genre. Wish I'd chosen an influential play), so I decided to log some hours (more like minutes, unfortunately, though) on Now, my favorite section of is the fashion show coverage, even long after the parade of fashion weeks has ended (obviously). I was looking at the list of shows--I recognized many names, and there were a good few that I didn't recognize as well. I decided to randomly click on a name that I didn't even have a vague, dreamlike recollection of ever encountering, and check it out. Erdem was elected. And it's nice. I'm pleased.

That was sort of a pointless entry, but I do hope that you like the picture. I do, save the really really harsh hair and lips on the model.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Overpay to feel connected to a celebrity

Mandy Moore claims to have started her t-shirt line, Mblem, because even though she doesn't know high fashion, she "knows t-shirts." I mean, good for her and all, but who doesn't know t-shirts? Not only does it just seem, shall we say, not too tough to make t-shirts, there are already quite a few people who do t-shirts, and who do them well.

Now, maybe I'm just being unfair because I resent Mandy Moore for diminishing my chances with Zach Braff, but I will say that I don't think any of her t-shirts are bad. I just don't think that any of them are particularly good. There are already so many decent t-shirts on the market, it doesn't make sense to me to pay $50 for one just because it has a celebrity's name attached to it. American Apparel makes great basic tees for much less. If you're looking for a not-so-basic tee, there are brands that are considerably better than Mblem out there. Try Threadless for amazing, original designs. For an artistic interpretation of concert tees, United Bamboo is doing a beautiful line (which is supposedly available at I Heart in New York, but I haven't seen them there yet). If you want a really cool t-shirt and you're willing to pay for it, try Odin in East Village (tee pictured at right) for shirts that are limited edition, so they're original in more than one sense of the word.

I loved Mandy Moore in Saved. I don't think she's a bad actress. Actually, once more, I don't think that she's a bad t-shirt designer, either. I just think that there are a lot of better ones.

Monday, April 17, 2006

But I want them. . .

Yesterday, I made the mistake of counting my shoes. I knew it was a bad idea from the start. I was inspired to do it because I almost never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row (unless it's my black Converse Chuck Taylors--I swear to you, they make almost anything more stylish), and I still have a bunch of shoes that I never wear. Ugh. I mean, that alone should have been reason enough not to count, right? If I can't get around to wearing all my shoes, that's proof in itself that I have too many pairs. But I was a dumbass and I went ahead and counted anyway, because that's the kind of (dead) curious cat that I am. I suffered a minor guilt attack. I gave a friend a (damn cute) pair of printed sneakers that I don't wear much.

I was recounting the horror of taking inventory of my shoe wardrobe later that night with friends, and I was coerced into sharing the exact number of pairs I had. I made my pals promise not to judge me before I told, and to my surprise, they weren't that harsh. My friend D even said, "That's not too bad. I have 14 pairs, and I'm a guy." (That also proves that other people count, which makes me feel better, too.)

So, since I was nice and I gave away a pair, and since my friends eased my guilt, I can buy the pictured, pair, right? I mean, they're sooooo cute. . .

Why not make them all green issues?

The "green issues" of Elle and Vanity Fair are on the shelves now. While this is definitely cool, Vanity Fair didn't manage to print the issue on recycled paper. I mean, as with all causes, awareness is the most important thing, but if you don't ever actually take any action, what's the point? I mean, I suppose a symbolically green issue is better than nothing, but props to Elle for actually printing their issue on recycled paper, and hiring an environmentalist guest-editor.

I bought the issue, and it looks good--I don't think they've sacrificed any quality in order to use some recycled paper in the issue. I'm looking forward to reading it, since I really like the idea of a green issue to begin with, but I also might fire off a quick letter to the editor suggesting continued use of recycled paper. It just seems like a good idea.

It's also a good idea to get your fashion news online, where you don't waste any paper. . . not that I'm self-promoting.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Do I smell a trend in the making?

Yes. . . yes! But what on earth is that scent? Could it be cherries? Yes, I think that's it. . . but wait. . . there's something else. . . it's. . . artichoke? What?

I've noticed a small slew lately of printed scarves with food images on them. I realize that scarves are a sort of frivolous, aesthetic-only (meaning that they're not going to keep you warm or dry) fashion item, so it makes sense that they're printed with whatever images or prints pop into a designer's mind--they can be a whim-piece. They've never really enticed me, though. They always seem like too much of an accessory, as though wearing them says, "Why yes, as a matter of fact, I did spend a lot of time trying to look stylish, as is exemplified by my excess of unnecessary touches." I think it's hard to look like you threw on your clothes in the morning, and just happen to look stylish (which is sometimes what I go for--most things are better when they're subtle) when you're wearing a scarf.

But weird as they may be, these food-print scarves kind of amuse me. I think that their fashion statement is more along the lines of "I have a sense of humor" than "I try hard." Since they're so odd, they have a really quixotic, unpretentious effect. I'd still avoid wearing them around your neck, or covering your hair in that "celebrity in disguise" way, but feel free to try them as a headband, or tied onto a handbag. The stranger the food, the better, too. Marc Jacobs printed a scarf with cherries and it's cute, but Moschino printed their scarf with artichokes (if you didn't guess by my opener), and it's positively delightful. The pictured Hermes scarf is pretty clever with the mushrooms, too. Still, I think just abouty any food-scarf would be cute.

But maybe it's just because I'm trying to diet. No, that's not right. They're really actually very cute.

An excellent reason to learn how to sew

The dress at left is the same Marc by Marc Jacobs dress that I used as inspiration recently for recreating the runway. Although it retailed for close to $600 (duh, it's Marc by Marc Jacobs), it's now on sale at Net-A-Porter for a mere $300.

That seems like a great deal, until you see how this girl made her own. Damn my lack of skill with a needle and thread (and sewing machine).

Friday, April 14, 2006

Renaissance woman, or just another name?

Hmm. I can't decide how I feel about Taryn Manning. For one, I think I've mentioned how greatly annoyed I am by actress/pop star/socialite/fashion designer/"songwriter"/entrepreneur/mini-moguls I am, and nextly, I don't like her clothes line, Born Uniqorn. On the other hand, I don't really think she's enough of a name to float by on fame alone (*coughHillaryDuffcough*), so it seems to me like the stuff she's done (she's an actress/singer/songwriter/fashion designer--slightly shorter than the above list) must have probably been at least somewhat accomplished through talent. And I don't think that all celebrity fashion lines are evil--there are actually a couple that I like. Still though, she's supposedly best friend with Britney Spears--that's gotta count for something, right? Maybe that's how she got the connections to be a designer without actually being good at it. Then again, maybe Juicy Couture just forever ruined sweats for me so that I can't enjoy them in any format. Hmm.

Don't you hate it when the new kid gets popular right away?

I think that I must have read fashion editorials where people talked about Loeffler Randall shoes ('cause I know people are talking about them) at some point, but since they're such a new name, I didn't have the necessary recognition to recall specifics. Rather, I think that I know Loeffler Randall because there have been a few times where I've seen their shoes in an adds or in fashion spreads and thought, "Huh. Those are really cute shoes. I wonder who makes them" checked the caption, and seen the name "Loeffler Randall." After a few times, I must have seen the name enough to remember it, because I certainly know it now. Their shoes really are adorable.

So imagine my surprise when I did a little bit of research and found out that they've only been making shoes (or anything, for that matter) since 2004! They're total newcomers, and they're already on the shelves at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. They really do kinda deserve it, though. Being an old western horsewoman (kinda), it's hard to excite me with a pair cowboy boots. They're kind of old hat (old boot?) to me at this point. But Loeffler Randall does it. It's not too hard to excite me with a pair of ballet flats, but they sure as hell don't miss the mark there, either.

Nothing really need be said about them save that their shoes are amazing, but I'm going to go ahead and say anyway that I love seeing fashion businesses run largely by women. It's not that I don't love male designers (or businessmen either, I guess--I mean, I have nothing against them), but there's an undeniable deficiency of women in power in the fashion world. So, more power to the people behind Loeffler Randall--people like them are the reason that I constantly have to remind myself that I can't afford to spend $500 on shoes. Yet.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Who wants to buy me a dress?

Dude. This little Marc by Marc Jacobs confection made me salivate when I first saw it. I'm sure that you all can see why it's so wondeful, so I don't need to list the features that make it special, but I will say that baby blue and navy are a fabulous combination. If you have $350, buy it (for me!) from Barneys. I wear a size 4, if anyone needs to know. . .

Three cheers and a huge sigh of relief

My computer is back and well! Expect more exciting updates soon (as in this evening).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The rise of the heel. . .

I love sandals, sneakers, and boots. Sandals are cheap. Sneakers are comfy. Boots are warm. All can be stylish and interesting. Still though, as much of my shoe wardrobe as is comprised of sandals, sneakers, and boots (which is a lot), none of them really say 'feminine.' Don't get me wrong, with a skirt or dress, or with a few strategically-placed ruffles, they can be delightfully girl, but in and of themselves, they're just not. In fact, the only shoes that really are distinctly feminine on their own are pumps, kitten heels, and ballet flats.

The world is full of wonderful pumps, kitten heels, and ballet flats. Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo have carved out major names for themselves in the fashion world with their amazing heels alone; they've never even forayed into the world of clothing. They're always willing to take risks with their designs, which is great, but Christian Louboutin can take risks and still create a shoe that looks classic. It goes without saying that they're sexy. I mean, there's a clear reason why new designers who have yet to (or haven't wanted to) create a shoe line usually use Christian Louboutin in their runway shows. I think that they really have designed the ideal heel (don't you love it when I rhyme?).

There's really no contest with ballet flats, either. Of course lots of brands do them well; London Sole is great, Burberry is lovely, I even have a couple $20 no-name pairs that I wear all the time. It's not hard to do ballet flats nicely. The brand that transcends "nice," however, is Delman. Delman's flats range from gorgeously classic to delightfully eclectic, and they hit all the middle ground between the two. Furthermore, you can just look at their shoes and know that they're gonna look damn good on a foot. They're well-constructed. It also get a kick out of the fact that they use ballet-lingo to describe their shoes; you usually don't read about the engineering of a shoe's vamp outside of the pointe shoe section of a dancewear catalog.

Kitten heels are a little harder. There's no line that specializes in kitten heels, so a lot of places make lovely ones. Personally, I usually melt over kitten heels by Irregular Choice London, but Burberry does them well, too. It must be a British thing.

So, if you need to look feminine, but want to wear jeans, you know what shoe designers to hit up if you want to look your best. Oh, and if you have a lot of money. I, personally, don't own any of these brands. I can dream.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sad, sad news

Ok, do you remember when I talked a week or so ago about how my computer was getting sick, but then it got better? Well, that's all still true, except the part where the computer gets better. My computer is officially gone from me (*sob* why did you have to leave?) to get some rest and relaxation, and to talk to some very knowledgeable people about what's been troubling it. Actually, it's getting a new hard drive. I'll try to post a little bit every now and then until I get my computer back, but there's no way I'll be able to update my usual twice a day. My sincerest apologies.

In the meantime, go shoe shopping and tell me all about what you buy.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Testifying for the existence of Grecian Goddesses

I've wanted to talk about Sophia Kokosalaki for ages here, but I've been putting it off and putting it off (ha, like that's something new for me), because I just don't know what to say about her. It seems so obvious to say that she's a Greek designer with an obviously Greek sensibility, but that her clothes are infinitely wearable. It seems pointless to say that I think I might like her Spring 2005 line best when all of her work is gorgeous and romantic, but still somehow modern. It seems even more pointless to say that her clothes make me want to vacation in the Mediterranean, since that's obviously not a possibility for me any time soon. So, rather than rack my brain to think of something to say about her, I'll just let her clothes speak for themselves:

Brand review: wait, Built By who? Do I know her?

There are quite a few indie designers that I love. I, personally, believe that their lack of corporate financing gives them more creative freedom, since their only obligations to sell are to themselves. The downside, however, is that their lack of corporate financing often means a lack of financing, and clothing by independent designers is difficult to get, and not widely distributed. To be an independent designer with some recognition is to be one hell of a hard worker, not to mention a good designer to boot.

One such designer that meets all above criteria is Wendy Mullen, behind the delightfully chic brand Built By Wendy. I, personally, manically check her website every month or so to see if she has new clothes up, and I must say, she has yet to put out a season that's disappointed me. She's an independent designer in terms of financing, but she's indepedent in her aesthetic, too--although she takes inspiration from everything from other cultures to American pop culture (see her t-shirts), her look is really, really unique. Her spring look is especially great, springy as one would hope, but without pandering to any stereotypes of what spring clothes should look like.

I don't (yet) own any of her spring line, but I do have three tops that are Built By Wendy from other seasons, and every time that I wear any one of them, I get compliments. Random girls that I hardly know will stop me--that's right, stop me, not just say in passing--to exclaim, "Oh wow, you look so cute." One of my good friends who knows my wardrobe took one look at the Wendy cami I was wearing the other day and said "You're wearing my favorite shirt again." I told her that she could borrow it whenever she wants, but I do hope that she treats it well. In other words, 100% of her clothes maintain an above-average performance rating in my wardrobe. They're all flattering, fun, original, and CUTE!

Now, I have no beef with the Gucci Group, or any other corporate fashion house, or the designers that have contracts with them (Marc, I love you no matter what), but Built By Wendy's got something good here, and I really hope she doesn't change. The fashion world needs independent thinkers.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


New York Magazine has an absolutely gorgeous slideshow of new designer heels splashing through puddles (the ones pictured are Balenciaga) in their fashion section. But did they really get all those gorgeous, expensive pumps soaking wet? Unghh (that was a whimper, if you didn't guess) . . . painful.

Effortless beauty, or an excuse to be a slob

It's a humid, cold day (weird combination, I know), and due to an overload of work, my hair's not particularly clean today. Humidity and grime are a bad pair for hair, so I decided to try something new with it. I decided to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER with it. No serum, no volumizer, no styling, not even any brushing. And you know what? The grime in my hair is somehow giving it a little bit of body, the humidity is giving me big, loose curls, and the lack of brushing is keeping it from any poofiness. Even if it is a little gross, it looks great, and I'm totally going to have to do this (by which I mean do nothing) again sometime.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Recreating the runway part IV: this one's too easy

Remember that Marc by Marc Jacobs pink dress from a couple seasons ago that everyone went crazy over? The one that was almost offensively bright, and was printed with big black roses that were reminiscent of tiger stripes? Well, if you don't remember it, the picture's right there.

Even though the structure of the dress is cool, this look is all about the print. This tank top, from Delia's does almost all the work for you (I mean, I wonder where on earth they found the inspiration. . .). To keep the dress look, you'll need a skirt (though hopefully, you didn't need to me tell you that). To keep the boldness, I'd go with pink--pink like the pictured American Apparel skirt. Have I talked yet about how much I love American Apparel? I love American Apparel. The print is so visual that this outfit seems to happen completely in the dress, but believe it or not, the bottom is important. If the boots were loud, the outfit would be hard on the eyes. If they were too subtle, so much attention would be on the dress that it would still be hard on the eyes. If they were too constrast-y (like, old and beat-up or something) and didn't go with the aesthetic of the dress, they would be distracting. Grey boots are a wise choice because they compliment the pink, and they're sizeable enough that they pull a little attention from the loudness of the dress. The pictured grey boots are availabe at Zappos, and I think that they go with the rest of the outfit well enough, but there are many pairs of grey boots in the world (some of which would probably be ok with the rest of this outfit).

To put it all together, um, put it on.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cute + Cool = Fred Flare

I used to think that I got cute out of my system at a very young age. When I was really little, I loved jewelry, makeup (of course I wasn't allowed to touch it), stuffed animals, and all things ruffly, pink, floral, and otherwise girly. As I got a little older, it morphed into a sort of drag queen-tomboy thing; I was a kid with scrapes and bruises, wearing plastic jewelry and Mom's mascara, climbing a tree or begging my big brother to let me play soccer with him and his friends. A bit of a conundrum. At an even later age (think late elementary school/middle school), I started gravitating away from overly-cutesy stuff and toward simpler silhouettes. I satisfied my outdoorsy side by horseback riding, and started looking (slightly) less scruffy. I was never really interested in dressing in a way that wasn't at least somewhat feminine, but as my style evolved, I came to prefer touches that were visually interesting and engaging to things that were just cute.

So of course, now that it's been so long since I've actually wanted to dress in a style that could be classified as "cute," my interest in it is resurfacing. I still find interpretations of it cloying; I never want to wear Juicy Couture (except their shoes), and t-shirts with "cute" sayings like "Hot Boys Wanted" and "Your boyfriend thinks I'm cute" make me wretch. One place, however, that will never mess cute up, is Fred Flare. They sell a mishmash (love that word) of life necessities, like clothes (duh), accessories (duh), books, home goods, and so on and so forth. You probably could have guessed this from the title, but it's all really cute. The best part of it, however, is that all of it's clever, too. It's all kind of a funny, self-aware cute, cute like the slightly awkward indie music nerd that everyone loves because of his good looks and sunny disposition (why yes, I am thinking of a specific person). Their stuff is bright and colorful and fun, but none of it would look ridiculous on a person who is (and by "is", I mean "acts occasionally like") an adult. The pictured necklace meets all the above criteria (bright, colorful, fun), and it's almost kind of Marni-esque. The anchor t-shirt is an adorable (and cheap) way to simultaneously pay homage to and make fun of the nautical trend. The iPod speakers are no only infinitely useful and cool-looking, they're kind of retro-funny, too. A pair of earrings I have that came from Fred Flare (not pictured--I'm lazy) get comments every time I wear them. Fred Flare has hit the "cute" nail on the head, so go check them out.

Cute Overload also does cute right, but you can't buy clothes from them.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Because I love you

Lately, I've realized that quite a few people find this blog by searching for sustainable clothes, and are curious about what clothing companies use sweatshops as well. I think that it's pretty cool that people are interested in this kind of stuff, and if anyone wants to ask a specific question, feel free to email me ( and I'll do my best to find and answer.

Oh, and it goes without saying that I'll gladly answer any other fashion questions as well. I like feeling important. Just kidding. But I kind of do enjoy it when people ask my advice, so if you want to know, ask!


Torn and tormented

For a while now, I haven't been a big fan of Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic. I used to think that I didn't like their business ethics--I have relatively reliable information that, at one point, they used sweatshop labor--but I know that now they're part of a coalition that refuses to use sweatshop labor, and they actually donate money to a lot of causes I support, so I guess business ethics can't really rub me the wrong way anymore. There are definitely other reasons that I'm not a fan, though: Old Navy so often looks as cheap as it is (and their commercials are downright irritating), Gap gets dull and redundant, and I think I got Gap out of my system in middle school anyway, and I've always sort of felt that Banana Republic is confused about its role and tries to be something it isn't--I mean, it is supposed to be upscale mellow preppy a la J. Crew (my interpretation--I think they should stick with this), or a mid-priced alternative to couture that uses movies as commercial inspiration and tries to create it-bags for less than $200?

Maybe my aversion to the three is more a snobbery thing than anything else. I mean, I'd like to think that the style I've been cultivating is a little more downtown than suburbia, so I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've kind of liked some of their pieces lately. Even Old Navy, which I started to think was kind of ridiculous in ninth grade, has been catching my eye a little. I mean, the striped chiffon mini skirt (pictured) is so cute that the website is already out of my size (dammit). Gap still doesn't excite me much (which is too bad, considering its ubiquity), but I really like some of Banana's sort of relaxed safari thing that they've got going on (I reeeeeally want the pictured t-shirt).

The problem is that shopping there just sounds so unexciting. I mean, I love all forms of shopping, save malls, which make me vaguely ill, but this presents a problem with Old Navy or Banana Republic. They don't seem to be found anywhere else, really. And, despite the fact that I believe that fashion can be found anywhere, I still have a hard time trying to convince myself that chain stores are where it's at. Still though, I repeat, I think that some of the stuff is really kind of cute! Dilemma dilemma.

Well, as my acting mentor says, 'the proof is in the pudding.' Whether or not I'll concede to the proof and break down and go shop there remains to be seen.