Isabel a les yeux bleu

No matter how far I travel into the land of bright colors I am, at heart, a sludge girl. Give me some good muted, greens or greys, blues or reds, and I am a happy camper. If those dull shades can be translated into cool, wearable, clothes I am in heaven...because, let's face it...these colors can make you look like the troll who lived under the bridge.

Isabel Marant's Fall/Winter collection falls under the "beautiful sludge" category (all except the velour "leisure" pants...). Such laid-back-cool that even a troll would look cute.

 
 

Shortcuts

As there's still snow on the ground it's a little early for my "shorts are one of the most un-flattering pieces of clothing ever" diatribe. Yes, like anything, shorts can look good on certain blessed people but, in the main, they're worn because the weather's hot and they're "comfortable"...not because they work with the rest of the outfit.

But (and don't you love that there's always a but in fashion?) shorts in winter...worn with tights...as part of a look...can be wonderful...as illustrated in this picture from Paris fashion week.

 
 

A tissue, a tissue...we all fall down

A bad cold meant I left work early today; and, of course, here I am online instead of sleeping. And, I think I've taken too much NyQuil because I keep coming back to this Giles sweater/coat/dress. It looks like one of those Christmas gifts that you get from crafty grandmothers...the kind who keep on knitting and don't seem to be able to stop. In this case while she was watching Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. and thinking "that girl needs to cover-up or she's going to get a chill". Add to that the fact that this will be almost universally unflattering...I need to step away from the cough syrup.

 
 

Gemini

You know how some people dress twins in the same clothes...or take their little girls to American Girl Place and then insist on dressing the child and the doll in the same outfit...somehow it veers away from cute and morphs into creepy.

This picture of the Traina sisters with their Givenchy Nightingale bags should be the handbag equivalent...but for some reason, it's not...it just means I get to cast twice as many covetous glances at the bag(s).

 
 

The price is right...or not

I'd seen Louis Vuitton's "hybrid" bag in magazines and on websites but hadn't seen the price. Then I looked through the March issue of Nylon and saw...$38,000.

As Nylon is one of theose magazines that doesn't list prices for items and follows the maxim of "if you have to ask...you can't afford it" I assumed that a zero had been added and the correct price was $3,800. Imagine my horror when I opened the March issue of Bazaar and saw the same bag with the same, awe inspiring price tag. I just don't understand.

Is the price based upon the fact that the bag would actually have to be hand-crafted? And now that LV has changed its production methods...and a bag which once too eight days to create can be made in one day...well, I bet Frankenstein needed longer than that...in this case though, I think I prefered the monster.

 
 

"...Sea Bass, Sea Bass...that's four Sea Bass"

Fabulous meals should be paid the complement of good clothes to eat them in. For dining out in a very good restaurant, where the order is strictly dining not dancing, wear a short evening or rather magnificent cocktail dress. The important thing to remember is that only your top-half is seen above the table, so choose a dress with a flattering neckline - you're the judge of how much of yourself to bare. Sounds unromantic but delicacies tucked away behind a tiny waistband are going to put a strain upon it; it should never be too tight, for comfort's sake.
What you wear upon your head is optional; a hat adds terrific chic if it's tiny, ridicoulas and becoming. But if it falls short of any of those qualities, leave it at home.
The covering for your dress should be an evening coat, a fur or (poor you) a stole.

Ann Freeman-Sanders - The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Good Taste


Okay, I am not suggesting a return to the constrained, rigidly defined 50's standards as outlined above but...what happened to putting some effort into dressing for dinner or, at the very least, not wearing the same jeans that you went grocery shopping in earlier in the day?

I'm asking this question because the other evening we went out to dinner with a group of friends. The food and company were wonderful...I had a great time...but I couldn't help looking around the restaurant and being appalled by the sea of denim. I know that at this point I sound fuddy, and possibly even duddy, and I know that jeans can look hip or chic if worn a certain way...I love to juxtapose jeans with unexpected items...but that wasn't what was happening at the restaurant, it was just "jeans plus sweater" or "jeans plus blouse". Isn't part of the fun of going out getting dressed up?

I know that, for me, a good part of going out is the anticipation of what I'll wear. On this occasion though my husband had said "this is a casual dinner" with a certain glint in his eye (he knows me too well). So, I dressed down...and was still more "dressed-up" than 90% of the other patrons. There was one ray of hope though...a girl channeling Audrey Hepburn in a black fitted sweater and skinny pants...gold ballet flats...a big, black leather handbag slung over her shoulder...and a mustard yellow coat. Hope (as they say) springs eternal.

 
 

Annie, get your gun!

I am notoriously low maintenance when it comes to beauty. Lip gloss...sure. Nail polish...definitely. Anything which requires more than marginal upkeep...no thanks.

In a previous post I mentioned my slight case of haircut phobia - a necessary evil which I put off as long as possible. In addition to this I also favor hair styles that can politely be called devil-may-care...or messy if you're being more honest. The one major up-side to the windblown look is it can be just that...the only time I see I hair dryer is at the salon. Which I was very happy about until I saw this pistol hairdryer.

I know the idea of russian roulette hairdressing is a little dark but...I can't help myself. Bang, bang, rock and roll indeed.

 
 

Tee-se me! Thrill me!

I admit that I'm somewhat of a nerd...so Luella's "GEEK" t-shirt has my name written all over it (if you'll pardon the pun). Or to be 100% accurate...another DIY project is in the works and a black t-shirt and some iron-on lettering will be getting together soon on my kitchen table. If I could make the rest of the outfit I would, but you have to realize your limitations. For me though, this is one of those perfect summer outfits...just the right mixture of pretty and punk...high and low...and not a pocket protector in sight.


Background - The Fashion of Terror t-shirt from Threadless, card print t-shirt by Chloe, deer print tank by Chloe, safety net t-shirt by Marc by Marc Jacobs.

 
 

In for a penny...

I just came across an article from a British newspaper regarding the increasing amount of young women who are in debt, fuelled by peer pressure and “The Lohan Effect” (their words, not mine)…the average debt listed for women between the ages of 20-35 was 25,000 pounds (about $50,000)…that has to be wrong, doesn’t it? It may sound na├»ve but…I’m shocked.

In case this is coming across as the-pot-calling-the-kettle-black...I do buy a lot BUT a lot of the things that I buy are on sale and if I buy something full price it's in the knowledge that I'll be paying the credit card bill in full when in hits my mailbox (even if that means no lunch for a few weeks). I know that we are part of a society where magazines, television, and, let's face it, blogs are encouraging the objectification of fashionable "things" but, at some point, reality has to intrude.

A favorite quote of mine is from Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, "I like my money where I can see it...in my closet". If it's my money, it's fine. If it's someone else's, at 20% or so interest, the money can stay in the bank.

 
 

Beau Comme La Guerre

It's been a bad Monday but this picture from The Sartorialist's site made my day. I love the magical combination of casual, dressy, and funky...look closely and you can see she is literally oozing cool.

 
 

All Tied Up

I’m sure I mentioned in a previous post that, when it comes to jewelry, I’m a silver girl. So much so that I’ve actually turned down gifts of gold jewelry (I know…that’s a definition of insanity). So, my first thought when I started ogling these gold bracelets was “am I coming down with something?”...but the feeling persisted.
So, without sounding too Goldilocks...the dream cuff on the upper right by Chanel is too expensive...the one from Anthropologie on the lower right is not luxe enough...but the two Lara Bohinc bracelets on the bottom are just right.

 
 

PH Balance

I forgot to mention that while I was poking around Barneys in NY last week I finally got to see a couple of Pierre Hardy's bags in real life. I'd been lusting over them in magazines and online and...I was really disappointed. The fabric was very thin and they just looked a little...cheap.

It's nice to be able to cross something off the wishlist but it's always a little disappointing when something which has been built-up so much in your mind comes crashing down. Oh well, I have a feeling something new will come along to ease the pain...

 
 

Life's A...B...C's from APC

I just reached Jean Touitou's blog during my Saturday morning blog-check and came across this guide...the advice was so good that I had to share it.

 
 

The Gilded Age

For a several weeks, I've been looking at these gold lame leggings from American Apparel and wondering...could I? Or, perhaps more importantly, should I?

I'm usually a dark-colored opaque tight or legging girl...veering into marled grey when the occasion arises...and these are a far cry from that. And yet, the gleam kept drawing me back...so I tried to think of a realistic way of wearing them. I'd just got to the point of thinking "you know, peaking out from under a plain-ish black or navy dress these might work" when I saw this picture of Anouck Lepere. Bingo! Granted, she could wear a sack and look gorgeous but I am definitely going to risk it and give the "gilded gams" look a try.

 
 

Tally Ho!

Years ago I bought a vintage men's hunting coat. The typical "hunting pink" jacket that brings to mind the English upper classes chivvying a fox over a few fields. It was a beautiful jacket, and in great condition, but didn't fit me so we sadly parted ways. After seeing these images from Luella's F/W show though I am deeply regretting the loss…after all, I could have had it altered…what was I thinking? (Side note but...this is probably why I hoard clothes…you never know when something will have a second chance in the fashion lottery…I am a Fashion Boy Scout and my motto is "Be Prepared".)


But back to the glorious, punk-equestrian, red coats at Luella (and the equally fantastic boots, I might add). I think they have definitely made my Fall wish list…now I just need to hope I can find somewhere that stocks them...Luella's clothes being not that easy to find in my area.

In the meantime I have my new (you guessed it) red APC jacket to wear as I sing a little hunting song...

D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay,
D'ye ken John Peel at the break of day,
D'ye ken John Peel when he's far away,
With his hounds and his horn in the morning.

For the sound of his horn brought me from my bed
And the cry of his hounds which he oft times led,
Peel's 'view hullo' would awaken the dead
Or the fox from his lair in the morning.

 
 

Clutch Control

There's something about a utilitarian bag with a girly twist that makes me weak at the knees...and this crinkled leather Chloe clutch meets the criteria.

Net-a-Porter describes it as an evening bag but but I don't agree. Why limit something this cool to evenings?

 
 

Autumnal Appetizers

Maybe it’s the weather but I’ve been reluctant to really get into the FW 07/08 collections. I just feel so buried by slush and cold that I’m having a hard time fast-forwarding to the same weather conditions, albeit in snazzy new clothes. But, as the Walrus said, the time has come…

And what better way to ease myself in than with some pre-fall from Louis Vuitton? I would describe it as the appetizer before the main course but I loved almost everything so, if that was the case, I’d be filled up before I started...an hors d'oeuvres hog.



Some elements remind me of the ghost-of-Prada-past but overall the collection comes across as the ultimate nonchalent-but-cool girl wardrobe. Yum.

 
 

Love Is In The Air...no, wait, it's smog

Much as the good people at Hallmark try to persuade me otherwise, I don't find Valentine's Day romantic. If someone's giving you a gift because they have to it's just lacking in a certain feeling. I'd rather get surprised by a bunch of flowers any other day of the year…just because someone wanted to give me flowers…MUCH nicer.

If I did celebrate though, nothing would say V-Day more than a copy of "A Date with John Waters". On one of the kitsch-est of holidays, don't we all need a little extra kitsch? Songs include "Sometimes I Wish I Had a Gun" by Mink Stole and "I'd Love to Take Orders from You" by Mildred Bailey.

If this CD does well we are promised the companion "Breaking Up with John Waters"...take that cupid!

 
 

Smash & Grab

According to family lore my great-grandfather had a penchant for smashing plates. Yes, after a hard day prospecting for gems (I kid you not) he would throw the dinner plates across the room and into the wall if the menu was not to his liking.

This could be considered delightfully eccentric if you buy your dinner services at Target...however, if you plan on buying any of Marc Jacobs' crystal or bone china that is due out this Spring it's just plain lunacy.

 
 

Elle's Belles

Nestled amongst the pages of March’s US Elle is a page entitled “Reality Stars” and it’s safe to say that I’m a little chuffed that I was one of the people selected to be included (#12 for those of you playing at home). Certainly, there are elements of doubt…why did they choose the picture where I look like a deer-in-the-headlights and do I really want to put myself that far out there being two of the loudest in my mind. In reality though there’s little difference between posting pictures here in my blog or on StyleDiary or in Elle…you do open yourself up to criticism but, if you love clothes, it’s just plain old fun…like playing dress-up as a child.

 
 

New York Top 10

10. Dean and DeLuca – I eat reasonably well except when I am on vacation…then all hell breaks loose. This trip I tried to invent new mealtimes just so that I could go to Dean & DeLuca. My new addictions are coconut cupcakes and dulce de leche cookies. Thankfully they are both so sweet that one of each during a 6 month period will suffice. However, if you get a chance to sample one of the cookies…or should I say two thin cookies, with a caramel filling, rolled in coconut…do so.

9. Marc by Marc Jacobs on Bleecker Street – I knew I was close when I saw a guy running down the street wearing Cons, tan cords, a pink/orange striped sweater and “hipster hair”. Sure enough, he went into the store just ahead of us. There isn’t a lot of space; it was pretty full when we were there so we all had to move in unison…like the shopping equivalent of synchronized swimming.

Having said that, there were loads of fun things for very little cash…animal shaped pencil sharpeners were $1 each, “Fashion Week” bags for $12, and glittery hair baubles for $28. Funnily enough, I’d noticed the “Fashion Week” bags in the window of the Marc Jacobs store earlier in the week but had taken the “Free with purchase of expensive handbag” which was printed on the back too literally and assumed they weren’t for sale…silly me.

8. The Conran Shop on East 59th – though it is noticeably smaller than the Brompton Cross store in London and whoever told me it was under a bridge wasn’t lying...The Conran Shop was definitely worth a visit. Even I (the woman who once carried a carpet on a plane, then lugged it across Paris on the Metro, and finally carried it up 3 flights of stairs) couldn’t rationalize trying to get housewares home on the train…so I made a list for next time.

7. Paul Smith on Greene Street – I love the whimsy in Paul Smith’s clothing although I’m not keen on the prices with the exchange rate the way it is right now. Once again though I was lucky and the final markdowns were in place. There was an absolutely beautiful thin, grey sweater with a large jeweled bow on the front that I drooled over but (oddly for me) I realized that I would probably snag it or lose a jewel after one wearing so I resisted the temptation. I did buy this skirt though which is an interesting juxtaposition of staid, furnishing-style fabric and crazy, almost architectural, shape.


6. MOMA on West 53rd – I'd wanted to see Doug Aitken's "sleepwalkers" projected onto the side of the MOMA building but the timing just didn't work out. Thankfully I can view the trailer on their website and carry the bag from the exhibition...an artistic take on the classic tourist souvenir.


5. Nicole Farhi on East 60th – this store is housed in the former Copacabana nightclub which made it a worthwhile place to visit even if I didn’t like the clothes, which of course wasn't the case. I found a couple of beautiful pieces but they were heavily marked down (there’s nothing like shopping at the end of the sales). A blue tweed and velvet three-quarter sleeve, slightly voluminous jacket and a crewel work skirt that reminded me of a Jacobean tapestry at the V&A…both for less than the original price of the jacket alone.



4. Chumleys on Bedford Street – you’ve heard the term “off the beaten track”? Well, Chumley’s bar is off the map. The scaffolding, for sale sign, and general air of desolation make you think that you’re in the wrong place. Inside it smells like rot. BUT, if you’re a bibliophile it is a worthwhile pitstop. Sure, the back of the bar looks suspiciously like a urinal but the overall atmosphere is incredible and I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s one piece of history that won’t be around too much longer. F. Scott and Zelda got intimate in one of the wooden booths, the walls are lined with literary memorabilia, and the afternoon we visited we were the only people there (literally, we didn't even see a bartender)…what more could a girl ask for?

3. The Guggenheim on 5th Avenue & 89th – if you get a chance, I’d strongly suggest visiting the El Greco to Picasso exhibition. A picture is worth a thousand words so here is Saint Francis of Assisi in his Tomb by Francisco de Zurbaran.


2. APC on Mercer Street – okay, I realize that when I got the Spring/Summer catalog I said I was disappointed…but I was unable to be objective as it seems like most of the best pieces didn’t make it in there…but they did make it into the store. After walking up and down in on the sidewalk out front for an eternity (ok, not that long but 11am is a bit late in the day to open) I was like a kid in a candy store. A fitted, red, three-quarter sleeve jacket will be a new staple in my closet…the bronze trim on the low-key striped shirt adds just a hint of “summer in Capri”…the rattan bag is the perfect low-key summer bag…and the set of buttons is just plain cool. My only piece of redemption is that part of this motherload was a belated Christmas gift.



1. New York - yes, it sounds corny, but the sheer energy of the city was worth the visit in itself. I'm a city girl and the more people and more activity there is makes me happy.

 
 

Go on...take a bite!

Back from New York (just) and a quick update post is in order. I'm going to leave purchases for a separate entry in the next day or so...suffice to say, some of the sales were still on and had reached desperation level (three or four red numbers crossed out and getting gradually smaller). I was bad...but in a way that allows for justification...mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.

Though we were based in Soho we walked everywhere...to The Conran Store on 59th, to Marc Jacobs on Bleecker Steet, to The Guggenheim on 89th...thank you APC crepe soled boots for allowing me to walk this much and still be able to stand...

On the best dressed list streetstyle-wise were the men...hipsters in multi-hued Cons...incredibly sharp Japanese men...and one greying, middle aged man who had succumbed to premature balding in a new way; a mohawk! Sadly, I didn't see too many women's looks that made me envious. There were some beautiful bags but all too often they were worn with dull outfits.

So, for now, a few of my favorite images...


McQ posters run amok

night

APC



day

looking at the frozen Hudson

 
 
 
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