Monthly Archives: August 2011

Your next skinny jeans, and where to find them

It’s no secret that I love my skinny jeans. I wear them pretty much everywhere. Of course, wide-legs, flares, and even certain bootcuts can be just as amazing, but there’s something about skinny jeans that I find supremely versatile. I can wear with flats or heels without worrying about the length. And, since I generally buy my tops five sizes too big (for dramatic effect), the slim fit offers that much-needed balance. It’s true that skinny jeans don’t work on all body types, but there are few garments that do. It all depends on your preference… and how you’re wearing them.

For those of you who also swear by skinnies, here are some nice options for updating this fall essential.

Higher end: J Brand and Acne

J Brand consistently churns out flattering, trend-right styles that offer generous stretch. Another notable brand  is Acne. Yep, the name is bizarre, but this Swedish label makes fantastic jeans. I bought a charcoal grey pair at Loehmann’s that I have worn to near death.

More wallet-friendly: Gap, Urban Outfitters, Uniqlo, DKNY

Gap’s Always Skinny label and Urban Outfitters’ BDG brand both offer classic skinny styles at friendlier prices. If you’re looking for some variety, Uniqlo has a big selection of both skinny jeans and jeggings in fun colors, although you can’t buy online. If you’re not a fan of the low rise waistband, try out the medium rise jean from DKNY. It offers a hint of helpful stretch and won’t sit obnoxiously low on your hips.

Is it time to buy for fall yet?

The Sartorialist

Labor Day is almost upon us (where did this summer go??), and it seems like the days are cooling down. So is now the time to buy fall clothes? Well, yes and no.

Regardless of the season, I don’t advocate a big spend-all shopping spree for everything you will ever wear this fall and winter. That’s a lot of bags to carry.

Instead, buy some ‘essentials’ now, and save your other purchases for later. Because you really don’t want to be paying full price for that new winter coat when in a few months–when you are really going to need it–it’s bound to go on sale.

What are these essentials you should be spending money on now? Jeans, work trousers, blazer, and shoes.

Jeans. Whether they’re skinny, straight, or wide, you should start looking for a pair now. These are also the easiest to transition with, since you can pair with sandals and a lightweight blouse today, and then bring them into winter with boots and a sweater.

Work trousers. I’ve covered the new colors you should seek out to spruce up your work wardrobe.

Blazer. This is also a year-round essential, but if you don’t already have one, get it now. A blazer will allow you to squeeze a few more weeks out of your summery dresses, shorts, and even white jeans.

Shoes. The feet are the first to feel the chill, so invest in a pair of autumn-ready shoes. The range is wide, but I suggest a neutral pump for work (and out), and either a ballet flat or casual loafer for hanging around.

Closet fantasies

Pacific Heights Residence traditional closet

Do you know about Houzz.com? I’ve mentioned it before when discussing jewelry storage options. It’s a great site (and app!) for interior design ideas. I came upon this post on ideal closet situations for the serious fashionista. While a luxurious walk-in is a fantasy to most, there are some good guidelines that those of us with barely a foot of closet space can abide by.

Here are the things you really do need:

Full-length mirror.

If you don’t own one, you should. Even if you are going through the ‘I don’t want a full-body shot of me right now’ phase, it’s still crucial that you get the head-to-toe glance of your ensemble before anyone else does. Think of it as a safety precaution. You have to make sure there isn’t anything stuck to the seat of your pants before the dude behind you on the street is obligated to point it out. To his friends.

Light.

The post mentions natural light as the ideal source, which is true. However, if you can’t achieve that, then get a bunch of lamps for different areas of your bedroom. And be sure to put one either in or near your closet so you can look at your clothes clearly every day.

Overall organization.

Whether this is achieved by a carpeted walk-in or some Container Store add-ons, keep the organization going. It will help with morning stress.

Shoe and jewelry display.

I’ve already discussed the importance of seeing your bling, but it’s also crucial to see and access your shoes easily. The freestanding shelf is a good idea, as is an over-the-door organizer. If you like to keep shoes in their boxes, then consider taking a Polaroid of the shoe and taping to the outside of the box.

The great switch

Here’s an easy way to spruce up your work ensembles when you’re stuck in a rut:

Switch out your blah blacks and dark browns for cool greys and buttery camels. This is especially helpful now that fall is (kind of) upon us, and we are seeing more cool-weather colors in the stores.

I may sound like a broken record to any clients reading this, but I truly believe that a light grey trouser is a key ingredient to a crisper, more modern office look.

The same goes for camel. While browns in general are not the most flattering, a rich camel color can prove sophisticated and chic.

Now, I’m not saying black and brown is the wrong choice. Black can’t ever really be the wrong choice. However, if you are growing bored of your standard professional look and want to switch it up without spending a ton of money, invest in a few new pants to get you started.

Some of my favorites are the Mad Men-inspired trousers from Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren’s wide-leg pants, and these super wide-leg ones from Alice & Olivia.

The petite predicament

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of petite clients. And they almost all pose the same question: Where have all the petite sections gone?

Being petite is not merely a matter of wearing a smaller size. Petite clothes are tailored differently, often with slimmer shoulders, arms, etc. The same effect can’t always be achieved by just ‘going down a size’ in women’s clothes.

So, where can you shop for good petites nowadays? Many department stores and chains still do offer petite sections, however, they are becoming harder to find.

Let’s break it down.

At Bloomingdale’s, you have to visit each designer’s section to find their petite offerings, which not all of them have. A saleswoman (who happened to be a petite size) mentioned to me that it’s more the designers’ faults because they’re just not making petites anymore. However, Bloomie’s does have a separate petites section on its website, which offers more designers than you see in the store.

Lord & Taylor is a bit easier to maneuver since its petites are, for the most part, all together on one floor. They do have a separate online area as well.

Saks ‘got rid’ of its petites section according to an associate on the phone. And there’s no trace of one on the site.

Nordstrom is known to have a more extensive petites selection. One of my clients swore by it until she moved to New York and realized we aren’t Nordstrified quite yet. The online petites section is also quite plentiful.

I’ve found a nice variety of petite styles at Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and LOFT, both in the store and online. Plus, LOFT offers a nifty fit guide in case you are doubting your correct size.

J. Crew has a good assortment, but it’s online only.

Eileen Fisher offers most of her regular styles in petite sizes. They can be found in her stand alone stores, department stores, and online.

Finally, for tailored basics, I’ve had a lot of success with Theory. The regular sizes fit many petites, and they also offer complimentary tailoring on all items. Theory’s especially fantastic for blazers and well-fitting trousers.

Do you have a favorite store or brand for petite sizes? Do share!

What to wear to go out

Ah, what to wear when going out. It can be quite the challenge. Especially when it comes to different regions of the country.

My last client was all set workwise, but needed some help in the going out/weekend department. She recently moved to NYC from the South, and was looking for an update to the easy sun dresses she formerly looked to.

The term ‘going out’ can mean so many things, especially in New York.

So let’s break it down to occasion-specific stuff.

1. Going out to a casual dinner/drinks with friends

Keep it laid back yet polished. For warmer weather, belt a light cardigan or knit vest over one of your summer dresses. Or try a flowy peasant blouse with slim blue jeans.

What to avoid:
Anything too sloppy or disheveled. Which means leave the bum-around hoodie at home.

2. Going out for a date, gallery opening, or something a little more fancy schmancy

This is the perfect opportunity to don your urban tuxedo. Try white, black or grey skinny jeans instead of blue, and a sharp blazer instead of a cardi. Finish with sexy heels and some edgy jewelry. You can also experiment with colored jeans (red or teal) for more color.

What to avoid: the standard jeans and fancy sparkle top look. It can be dated. Instead, try a more casual, slinky top and amp it up with different types of jewelry. Rather than those blue bootcuts, try extreme cuts: slim fit, exaggerated wide leg, or even slinky harem pants. This will make you stand out in a sophisticated way.

3. Going out to partayyy

If you are headed out to dance the night away, then take it up a notch with either a sultry fitted dress or one that shows off a statement print. And again, a structured blazer is an amazing topper. Plus, you can take it off when it’s time to get down.

What to avoid: anything too clingy. If you’re going the sexy route, try a dress that’s fitted but still has structure.

Now, go out! Have fun. Be careful.

Nordstrom’s kinda sorta arrival in NYC

Today marked the opening of Nordstrom’s maybe attempt at an NYC location. However, it’s not called Nordstrom, and it’s not a department store. Confusing, yes? The store, named Treasure & Bond, is considered a ‘concept space’ that the company will be using to test the New York waters.

I took a stroll down to SoHo to check it out in person.

The two-floor layout is funky enough, with a very industrial, gritty feel. But while cool, it certainly doesn’t resemble a Nordstrom. And neither does the off-beat merchandise. Ah well. At least all the profits go to charity.

The goods include eclectic jewelry, bags, scarves, books, and home goods on the first floor, and clothes on the second. I especially appreciated the jewelry from Gemma Redux, Giles & Brother, Erickson Beamon, and Dominic Jones.

Overall, it’s an inviting atmosphere with a lot of interesting pieces to catch the eye, but it’s not the Nordstrom I know and love.

But I suppose it’s a start.

(Located at 350 West Broadway in Soho.)

The urban tuxedo

Yesterday, I did a photo shoot for an article that’s set to appear on Dr. Oz’s YouBeauty.com just after Labor Day. It’s going to be a quick how-to on re-styling your closet. I was interviewed a few weeks ago for another YB article on how to dress for your chest, and I’m so excited–and HONORED–to be featured again!

As I was assembling outfits for the shoot, I got on the topic of the ‘urban tuxedo’, a phrase I use to describe my city uniform of choice: sleek blazer and skinny jeans (or pants). It’s my no-brainer to feeling sophisticated and cool in an instant. A blazer’s sharp structure is the perfect partner to slim-fitting bottoms, and never fails to make me feel put together and edgy without trying too hard.

There can be a lot of variations on it, but the staple silhouettes are consistent. Structure on top, skinny fit on the bottom. Then I tend to switch out tops, jewelry, and shoes for different types of occasions.

And there you have it. The urban tuxedo.

Check out more on my borderline obsession with penchant for blazers, and where you can find the best ones!

Tibi’s fancy pants

Yep, it’s still 90 degrees out, but that’s not stopping the slew of fall collection emails coming at me everyday. And I can’t say I’m complaining. The thought of changing out of simple summer frocks and into some fun fall pieces is kind of exciting.

So, after lamenting over out-of-my-price-range coats from Vince, I’m moving on to pants from Tibi.

A lot of my clients love Tibi for their unique party dresses, but I find their pants selection this fall to be especially fun. They’re a refreshing take on the season’s bold jean trend, with some softer colors, interesting patterns, and flattering cropped cut (which is great for showing off new shoes).

These lace pants offer a modern way to flaunt the romantic trend. I wish they were a tad longer, though.

And pairing with deep burgundy is much more exciting than a go-to black.

These sweet pink pants are a refreshing alternative to light grey trousers. They’re ideal for brightening your fall look.

This printed pair might be my favorite. I love the messiness of the pattern, and how it begins lower on the leg.

You can view the entire Tibi fall collection here.

Vince’s gorgeous (and expensive) fall coats

Vince is one of my favorite brands. They make beautiful pieces that are easygoing yet refined. And while the price tags are on the higher side, I do enjoy window shopping from time to time.

I just checked out the fall looks on Shopbop, and I am especially in love with their outerwear this season, like the buttery camel coat above.

This wool blend coat is edged in leather for a subtle downtown feel. Vince is especially good at these kinds of hip, yet not obnoxious accents.

Yes, this shearling car coat is almost $2000. And no, I will not be taking it home any time soon. However, I can admire its fabulously dramatic fold collar from afar.

Check out the whole fall 2011 look book here.