Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thrift Score Challenge

Every time that I read Bits and Bobbins, I'm inspired by the amazing items that its blogger, Tricia, thrifts and recreates. Don't get me wrong, retail is wonderful, but there's something to be said for buying something that no one else has and giving it a new life, not to mention the environmental benefit of buying preloved clothing--not only is it recycling, but it also discourages, to some small extent, new clothing production. So, I've been reflecting on my own fabulous thrift store finds, and wondering, what the best thing you've thrifted? If you haven't yet ventured into the wonderful world of vintage, can you challenge yourself to find something fantastic? If you care to share, email a jpeg photo of the item, or even better, of you wearing it (you don't have to include your face in the picture if you don't want), to, and let me know how you style it, how much you scored it for, and any other stories that may be attached to it. Sometime in the next two or three weeks, I'll post everyone's shots and stories (with a link to your blog if you're a blogger, of course) along with my own, and we can all admire each other's fabulous bargains. Sound good? Good!


Forever 21: the pros outweigh the cons

I had to run into the city (that's New York City for my newer readers) on Friday for some errands, and the combination of the stress of deadlines, the steely grey sky and freezing wind, and mild boredom while I waited for my project to be finished, made is a perfect day for a little retail therapy. Unfortunately, I didn't (and still don't) have a lot of cash, nor did I have time to amble from shop to shop while searching for something fantastic to lift my spirits. The necessity of cheap and prolific left me with two choices: H&M or the sometimes dreaded Forever 21. I can go to H&M any time, so I decided to take a gamble.

And actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Forever 21 is about as cheap as you can get in the world of fast fashion, and sometimes, it's a bit of a disaster: the stores are crowded and messy, the service sucks, the music sucks more, and pieces that looked perfectly innocuous on the hanger can make even a happy, confident girl want to lose 15 pounds when on. Still, I'm happy to announce that there are some ways around these disasters, and some cute pieces to be found for very little money as well. As far as the music and service go, you just have to suck it up; embrace the tacky dance tracks, and give yourself time to do some digging and searching on your own, because you probably won't get any assistance. The badness of the clothing, however, can be remedied. Don't buy anything in your size, unless you like the shrinkwrapped look; the proportions of the clothing can be weird and a little off, so buy a size or two up, and whatever you get will be more forgiving. Also, try EVERYTHING on--don't ever assume that because something looks cute on the mannequin at Forever 21, it'll look cute on you, too. To put it plainly, the clothing isn't constructed well, so you have to experiment with fit. Still, if you can embrace the inconvenience of it all, you might find some cute things for very little money. Some guidelines:

Stay away from: anything in polyesther; childish patterns; anything see-through; flimsy, thin jersey pieces that lose shape; anything too tight; things with too many annoying colors; things that look as cheap as they are

Go for: cotton or silk pieces; large-scale, especially geometric patterns; structured pieces; items that are lined; things that fit well; solid, subltle colors; things that look more expensive than they are; trapeze dresses; blouson tops; high waisted, wide legged pants, patent shoes

Also, keep an eye out for some sweet Anna Sui-esque patterns. Actually, that's an overly-kind euphemism; they're more like blatant Anna Suit knock-offs, but I suppose nothing's ever truly original in fashion. Besides, Forever 21 used to be knock-offs of the knock-offs, so the more direct immitation probably shows an increase in quality. . . or something like that.

Shoes of the week

I'll fantasize about wearing them until the snow melts. . .

Get them here, if you have a chunk of change to spare.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tom's shoes

You've probably heard about Toms. You've probably read about Toms. You've probably seen Toms in every fashion magazine and blog that you've checked out this month. But, just in case some of you haven't, I'm going to fill you in anyway. Toms are very simple shoes that come in awesome colors and patterns and, as far as I can tell, look good with just about anything.

But you can tell all this from the pictures. What you might not be able to tell is that for every pair you buy, the creator donates a pair to a child in need. No strings attached. This isn't one of those "charity" shopping events where the retailer is the really benefitted party. This isn't one of those BUY TO SUPPORT AN IMPORTANT CAUSE deals where it say in the fine print that 3% of proceeds from one particular item will go to some charity. This is a really, honestly good deal, where someone else benefits from the purchase as much as the purchaser does.

So go buy some! I like the stripes, myself.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The boys were refined, the girls were rebellious

This is a really tough look for the typically sophisticated, straight-laced super-Brit brand Burberry.

And I love it! I especially love this, though God only knows when I'll have the money to buy a Burberry coat that's short sleeved and therefore functionally useless:

Truthfully, though, as much as I liked the edgy sophisticate clothes (though I found the thigh-high boots a bit overdone and annoying), I'd rather have one of the male models than the coats.

But that failing, I certainly wouldn't say no to this:

Christopher Bailey should be my boyfriend.


A bit more social responsibility

You know, my posts used to have an environmental, sustainable, or ethical bent all the time, and lately, those posts have tapered off, and I apologize to all of my readers who look for that. Actually, I apologize to everyone, because I think we all need more exposure to the slightly less superficial side of fashion. So, what happened to my interest in socially responsible clothing? Nothing happened to my interest, but part of the reason that my posting on it has diminished is that I'm trying to lessen my environmental impact by simply buying less clothing. I'm doing pretty well, too--this year, all I've purchased is a skirt, a tank top, and a dress, and I've donated more than that to charity (please note that I donate old clothing rather than throw it away).

One of the best ways to lessen your environmental impact in terms of clothing is just not to get things that you don't need. An ironic thing to read in a fashion blog, I know. Sometimes, however, you do need (or just want) new clothes, and it doesn't have to be detrimental to get them Thrifting is probably the most environmentally and socially responsible way to do that, because it doesn't involve any new clothing production, and proceeds often go to good causes. American Apparel is another awesome choice. They have an eye toward sustainability, but they're also very ethical--probably the most ethical large-scale clothing business in the USA right now--and produce all of their items in the US, paying a fair salary and giving good benefits to their employees. Plus, they crank out some pretty cute stuff. I'm really liking the two dresses pictured. Boatnecks are always flattering, and I love the trapeze-ish shape of the first dress. Also, can you imagine how easy dressing on a cold day must be with the second dress? Pull it on (over a pair of skinny jeans, and with some cute shoes), and you're not only ready to go, but warm to boot. I linked American Apparel's website in this post, but they'll always be a mere click away on my link list to the right as well.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sipping Stylish II

Yes, I know that Sipping Stylish I was ages ago, but now that I'm back stateside and don't get to hit the bars as much, I have to devote a lot of thought to what I buy to drink. Granted, cocktails and drinks out are expensive, but if you don't like what you get, you're only committed to it for a glass. If you buy a bottle of wine that you don't like, well, that's a bit trickier (not that a bottle of wine ever lasts more than one night, but chances are, you'll have more than one glass). When you're buying larger stocks of booze, and you want the drinks to flow for longer than your cash, well, you have a tricky selection to make. On Friday, I had a perfectly palateable bottle of Pinot Noir that tasted like a good buy, considering its price, but Christ, did I have a cheap-tannins hangover the next morning. Ugggh.

More successful was the bottle of Ballatore Spumante that I got for last weekend. I know, I know fake champagnes are skanky, but it's not like I expected Veuve Cliquot quality for a California wine price. And frankly, given my expectations going into it, I wasn't disappointed. Now, you can't buy an $8 bottle of sparkling white wine and expect pear and honeysuckle notes, but you can expect a perfectly nice bellini if you toss in some fresh peach juice, and a nice clear head in the morning (if you don't overdo it, obviously).

And really, what more can a college student ask?


The Agency on iTunes

As the title would suggest, this entry is about The Agency, which is available on iTunes. It's the premiere episode of a VH1 reality show about a modeling agency, and it's shockingly unglamorous, and, it seems to me, addictive. I hate the fact that they tell tiny little 16 year olds that they're fat cows that need to look away, but in a sick fascination sort of way, I'm totally going to download the next episode. Anyone who wants to see the un-pretty side of fashion should check it out.


Yet another fashion week recap

Sass and Bide, perennail purveyors of super skinnies, have now forayed into a new shape: genie!

But fear not--there's still plenty of tight, tapered action yet to come.

Twinkle was lovely and soft and feminine, exactly how I'd want to dress if I was more sophisticated and less of a college partygoer than I am. Well, some day.

Malandrino had a lovely color palette.

And it's a bit of a pity that nothing else really excited me. Oh well. Spring fashion week is a mere half year away. . .


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fashion week recap, a mere week after the fact

Betsey Johnson's shoes were sexy, but her dresses were shockingly, scandalously demure.

Alexander Wang married street style and sophisticated elegance seamlessly, though I'm not sure how (magic wand?).

Trovata got a lukewarm review, but had a perfectly wearable collection with more edge than the collections have had in the past. I liked it. I wish I was cool enough to wear this:

And I would love this coat (if I could afford it):

Derek Lam's show was another of my favorites. I loved the little nipped in dresses with pencil skirts--sexy, sexy, sexy--but this was one of my favorite dresses:

Marc Jacobs delievered, as we've all come to expect from Marc Jacobs. I thought his collection was really clean and fresh. I gotta say, though, for all the modest, 40's Parisian-esque shapes that he showed, my favorite pieces were the shiny little mini-dresses. I must be hopelessly stuck in this season:

Last year, I had my reservations about Doo.Ri, but now, it's safe to say that I have completely, totally, and 100% come around. I honestly liked the whole show, but my absolute favorites were the sort of floppy-looking jersey dresses in deep teal that she showed at the end. Everyone knows I love jersey, but I'm afraid I don't do it much justice by calling it 'floppy;' what I mean is that the dresses had some fantastic draped shapes, and deep teal is one of my favorite colors, as such:

Anna Sui was, as usual, pattern-tastic, with sweet shapes to boot. Honestly, her collection wasn't enough of a change from what she's done before for me, but it was still awfully cute. This dress was my favorite. I'd wear it to class and look ridiculously overdressed, and rock it anyway.

Proenza Schouler's multitude of coats didn't excite me much, but the fascinatingly draped dresses that came after it did. I loved the way that the fabric looked twisted and tied, and I love that I can buy the same silhouettes at Target. Rock on!

Temperley. Ooooh, Temperly. Perfect. Perfection. Parfait. Loved it. I loved it, loved it, loved it. Unfortunately, I can't afford it, afford it, afford it, but you can bet that the sublime palette of royal blue, black, grey, and some soft lilac will be one that will definitely appear in my wardrobe soon. It was probably my favorite collection.

Now, the same schedule that forced to me put this online a week after fashion week ended demands that I go to a fancy dinner that's going to cost as much as most of my pairs of jeans did. Eh. Well, sometimes you just need to act sophisticated, get pampered, and wind down with overpriced wine. And what will I be wearing to aforementioned snooty restaurant? Built by Wendy, Mint, and. . . Proenza Schouler! Well, Proenza Schouler for Target. But still.


Friday, February 16, 2007

All I can give you

It's seriously late. On a Friday night. Which is party night. Which is why I'm not sleeping/doing homework. Which is why I somehow got separated from my friends in the room where there was dance, which is why I'm now waiting for them to call me when they're back around, which is why I'm not doing anything and why I need something else to do. Which is also, unfortunately, why I'm somewhat impaired and not currently capable of much.

So. . . here ya go. From Marc by Marc Jacobs in London. My favorite shot. Hope you like it as much as I do, and hope I still like it in the morning.


My newest obsession?

Stud earrings!

When I was little, I begged and begged my mother to let me get my ears pierced. When she gave in (I was in third grade), she had one stipulation: studs only! I did, of course, get them pierced anyway, expecting her to back down, but she held firm. Anything that dangled at all below my ear lobe (save for a very small loop she finally allowed me in the sixth grade) was strictly verboten. Her reasoning? They could get caught while I was running around on the playground at rip my ear off! The combination of their intrinsic danger, watching all my friend sashay around in whatever dangly earrings they pleased, and admiring my mother's own rather impressive collection of dangly earrings made me lust for them like nothing else. When I realized that my mother was no longer enforcing her 'no makeup' rule, as I was sucessfully wearing mascara to school every day with little to no resistance, I decided to challenge the earring rule as well, with immense success.

After that (and that was ninth grade--ages ago!), all the earrings that I wore and purchased were dangly. I was forever through with studs--or so I thought. This past winter, I was visiting the Czech Republic, and I loved all the amber and garnet jewelry that was for sale in the Chrismas markets. I wanted some, but on a college student budget, my options were limited. The piece that caught my eye and didn't break my budget was a pair of nicely green-tinged amber studs. I went for them. And I wore them every day for about the next two weeks. There's a sophistication, a simplicity, to wearing jewelry so small and subtle. It's especially pronounced when you're wearing very pretty studs--it's just so sexy that something so small can draw the eye. So, on my last trip to the mall (which is a rare trip for me--I usually only go for Target), I hit up Claire's accessories, and came home with two new pairs of studs, a pair of black rosebuds (like the ones pictures, but. . . black), and little princess-cut black rhinestones (I couldn't resist a pair of sparrow-shaped dangly earrings too, but I mostly got studs!), and thusfar, I'm really enjoying them.

In fact, I need more. Any suggestions?

(Earrings pictured are from Urban Outfitters, La Garconnne, and Forever 21, respectively.)


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Christopher Kane (for real, not Topshop)

Two posts in a row on the same topic? Sacrilege! Actually, they're not quite on the same topic, since this one's about Christopher Kane's show in London Fashion week. I really liked this:

I really didn't like this:

And that about sums it up. Although, I guess that his final mini dress was pretty damn cute, too:

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Christopher Kane, blah, blah, blah. . . ok, well, maybe he deserves some of the hype. . .

Christopher Kane for Topshop. Christopher Kane for Topshop. Christopher Kane for Topshop. Christopher Kane for Topshop.

Ok, now that we've talked about it, can we change the subject?

I was really excited to hear about Marios Schwab for Topshop, since I've loved all his shows and his Alaia-esque body-hugging collections. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed by the collection itself. Now that I'm back stateside, I could only look at it online, which I'm sure can't be the full collection, and probably doesn't do it justice. Still, judging by the Christopher Kane pieces that they put online, his collection is, ok, fine, I admit it. . . better. It just looks far more individual--you can see the designer in it, and at our crappy exchange rate, it's definitely more worth the price. I don't need to show you, since every other fashion blog has already done so (but if you haven't seen it, here you go). I only wish that there was more Marios Schwab worth showing. . . I mean, I'm sure that the whole collection is better than the few pieces they put online. Until they put up more (I hope), I'll be contented to show you this image:

and saying that I really wish I could see someone wear it. It's plain, but I bet it looks hot on.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Vena Cavahhhhhh. . .

This is a look that I'll definitely be trying to replicate this season. I wish that I didn't have to replicate it, but Vena Cava's price tag is usually beyond my college student reach.

Oh well. Maybe Forever 21 will do an interpretation. . .


Is this really Betsey Johnson?

. . . apparently so. Hard to believe, isn't it?


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Because everyone loves Lovechild analogies

Charlotte Ronson's show makes me think of what would be produced if a hippie and a milkmaid had a roll in the hay:

And I like it!


They remind me of the frosting on a cupcake!

Bianca flat by Loeffler Randall--get it at Active Endeavors.

Can you tell that it's lunchtime?


Monday, February 05, 2007

What I Wore's "What I would wear"

Even though I haven't been able to hit the sample sales this year, runway shots have provided me with a multitude of items to seek out in the end-of-season sales next year. The designs that come down the runway may not always be exactly what hits the racks--and sometimes for good reason--but I've seen quite a few pieces that I'd wear exactly as they are on the models (um, but in a size 4, please). So, without further ado, here are the items from the shows that I would happily wear (thusfar)!

This adorable little dress was made by knitwear darling Alexander Wang, who apparently doesn't need a skein of cashmere yarn to turn out something fabulous. Actually, I really loved his whole show--I thought it was very clean and new, without any of the coldness usually associated with "modern" design. Plus, I totally think I could pull off the pattern.

I think that this Erin Fetherston dress, modeled by the designer herself, is very sweet. There were other items in the collection that I liked (though the show doesn't seem to have been as fantastic as her last one), but this is probably the only one what I would wear. And, come to think of it, I already have a dress a lot like it. But hey, I do wear a lot of grey.

It's no happy coincidence that the only Developement items I own (two tops and a skirt) were designed while Phillip Lim was still the designer. I adore him. I really, positively, totally and completely adore him. His 3.1 Phillip Lim line is a little out of my price range (um, as is everything else on this page), but I'm keeping an eye out for it on eBay, at Century 21, Tokio 7, etc. Hey, a girl can dream. Oh, and, of course, the dress is lovely. Right for a country club dinner with your grandmother, cocktails with your sexy rocker boyfriend (who's hopefully less of a loser than mine was), or over jeans for a day out with the girls. What more can you ask of a dress?

Rag & Bone is the show that has probably impressed me the most. I know they're known for their denim, but I'm thoroughly in love with their everything right now. I thought that the tight, cropped suits were, for lack of a better way to put it, totally hot. It's no mean feat to make tweed and glenn plaid look fierce (which they did)! I loved the suits, but realistically, I'm not going to toss one on for my Shakespeare seminar, whereas this look is something I would do. Somehow, the black jeans with the shrunken blazer looks very right, even though it should be a played-out look. Something about the proportion just makes it work incredibly well.

And when you really love something, one is never enough, right? I could choose if I liked the previous look or this one better, so you, my lucky readers, get both. I know, I know, a dress over skinny pants is also a bit of a well-loved look (although one that I sure as hell won't give up any time soon), but once more, this one is just so right. The dress is beautiful, but it goes well with the jeans rather than competing with it for formality (because tossing jeans on under something too formal for every day is the best way to extend its life), so I think it's unique in that way. Plus, as I said, I really like grey.

So, those are my (thusfar) picks. Guess I'll be buying a lot of dresses in the coming months. Hey, the more, the merrier!


As Four, as twenty-one

I know that my coverage of fashion week has been dismal, to say the least. Problem is, my workload has been dismal, to say the least (really, who assigns papers the first week back? What kind of sado-masochistic professors thought that would be acceptable? Honestly, it's like they think I'm HERE to study or something!). I had hoped to get down to the city this weekend to check out the sample sales (I mean, it's not like anyone's going to let me into the tents) and soak up a little of the atmosphere, but alas, the allure of Shakespearean playhouses confined me to the library. I have been looking at the coverage, and I've liked some of it, loved some of it, and been thoroughly disappointed by some of it too, but the biggest surprise of fashion week came in my hallway last night.

I ran into a friend of mine and expressed my displeasure of not having been able to get into the city for fashion week, and he kindly expressed his sympathy, and then, to my utmost surprise, told me to look at the footage from the As Four show, and that he had liked it quite a bit. Now, my friend T is an eclectic and individual dresser to say the least, but I had no idea that he was interested in women's wear. Moreover, I didn't know that our taste in women's wear would be similar.

As Four, or ThreeAsFour, has never really caught my attention before, but their twenty-one piece collection of flowy pants and dresses, mostly in silk charmeuse, is really quite nice. The draping is fluid, a bit amorphous, and looks simple, but it's still enough to catch an eye and hold some attention. I'd happily wear any of the first three dresses pictured, but the showstopper, rightfully presented at the end, and on Irina Lazareanu, might be beyond me:

I'm afraid I would close one of the many strips in my car door.