Monthly Archives: September 2011

Booties. A love story.

While out at dinner the other night, a lovely new friend asked me about booties. She had some valid concerns regarding how to wear them, and if they’re flattering in general. I absolutely love booties (also referred to as ankle boots), and want to spread that love around! So I was more than happy to discuss. Booties, both flat and heeled, can serve as total outfit game-changers in the best way possible. It all depends on how you rock ’em.

A few of her questions below:

Bootie concern #1: Won’t they make my legs look shorter?

Answer: Not necessarily! If you don’t have the longest legs on the block, then try pairing a heeled bootie with tights of the same color.

This will create a monochromatic look that elongates. Plus, the bootie will give your ensemble more edge than a simple pump would. Playing with different textures works too… for example, grey heathered or cable knit tights with soft suede booties. Since the colors are the same, the mix of textures will add depth to your look.

Bootie concern #2: Are flat booties ‘in’? If so, how do I wear them?

Answer: Yes, yes, and yes. Flat booties are most definitely in and here to stay.

If you’re a skinny jeans fan (which my new friend was) then pull on a pair of booties wtih your skinny jeans and either leave the hems long and bunched at the bottom, or roll them up to just above the top of the shoe. If you’re looking for a bit of height, there are tons of flat-esque booties out there with a very low heel–either kitten or thick. I just found this amazing pair at Aldo. The color goes perfectly with all of my fall neutrals.

Style note: If you want to flaunt a bold colored pair, then keep the rest of your ensemble in a more muted color family. That way, the booties won’t compete with anything else that you’re wearing. 

Have a sartorial concern? If you don’t catch me at dinner, then just hit up Facebook or Twitter! I’m always there.

The 2011 choker: no more wimpy velvet

 

Remember when chokers were all the rage? Especially those velvet ribbon ones with cameo pendants or big fake jewels dangling from them? Well, they’re back. Sans the velvet. (Phew.)

According to today’s Who What Wear email, along with a slew of other trend sources, the 2011 choker is here and in full effect. And it’s not the flimsy kind we remember. This season’s chokers are very structured and bold, often made from heavy metals or chains. I mentioned my excitement over Michael Kors’ wide gold ones on the fall runway, and have been seeing similar styles pop up in stores. About a month ago, I stumbled upon a ton of them for sale at Housing Works (one of my favorite thrift stores). I bought three, and am excited to incorporate them into some fall looks.

Style hint: Try teaming a thick choker with an assortment of long thin pendant necklaces for an edgy combo. Or opt for a choker over that turtleneck we talked about.

Turtlenecks: who can and who can’t

As fall arrives (well, sort of arrives I guess – anyone else baffled by this crazy humid weather at the end of SEPTEMBER?), I’m seeing a whole lot of turtlenecks. Especially in the windows of mega-retailers like H&M, Zara, and J. Crew. This was a fairly big trend on the fall 2011 runways, and recently noted by the hilarious–and always chic–blogger Leandra Medine on her site, The Man Repeller.

But can anyone wear one? The answer is… sadly, no. Like almost every other trend in the world, it just doesn’t work on everyone.

Generally speaking, a lower neckline elongates the figure and opens up the face. This is a nifty magic trick for both petite women and those with larger busts. A scoop or V-neck succeeds in opening up the area and highlighting a woman’s decolletage. For petites, it creates a more vertical line from the top of the chest up to the face.

Turtlenecks do pretty much the opposite. If you have a chest, a turtleneck will accentuate it. And not in a good way. Turtlenecks can make a chest look bulky and shapeless. Plus, they can create the floating head scenario, which eliminates any sort of long, continuous line up the body.

So does this mean you can’t rock one if you’re bigger than a C cup or under 5’3″? Of course not! It all depends on the styling.

Instead of  wearing a turtleneck alone, opt for layering one under a sweater, blazer or lightweight jacket. And choose one that adds a pop of color, like red. This will turn the turtleneck into an accent piece (similar to a scarf) instead of the focal point of your entire top half.

Besides, layering is more fun anyway.

The simply amazing sleeve roll

I was browsing Susan Schwimmer’s “Tips for Instant Style” on the MORE site, and just had to share #7: the sleeve roll!

As all of my clients know, I am a big, big fan of the sleeve roll, or as I like to call it, the zhuzh. (I blatantly stole this word from Carson Kressley, just FYI.)

A simple roll of the sleeve can inject attitude into an otherwise stiff blazer or prim and proper shirt. I zhuzh all of my blazers, and even my trenches for that added bit of comfortable cool.

And there’s no wrong way to do it. I tend to roll twice, and then scrunch up near the elbows. But you can also just do a simple turn of the sleeve hem and call it a day. It doesn’t have to be perfectly even… the more nonchalant the better. Keep in mind, if you don’t want to show the lining of the blazer for one reason or another, you can always do the reverse zhuzh; tuck the sleeve end inward once, and then scrunch up the sleeve above the elbow to keep in place.

Go ahead. Zhuzh it up!

A good tee is hard to find

It’s true. Especially as we get older and more picky. At least that’s how I feel about the situation. I’ve been advising a lot of clients lately on adding some quality tee shirts to their off-duty wardrobes. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but the right tee can truly make an outfit all grown-up in a casual cool sort of way.

But where does one find a good tee? Below are some good picks and where to find them.

 

Mossimo Junior’s Tee from Target.

I am over the moon about this Tarjay tee. I have four in grey, two in white… and I’m planning on grabbing some warm colors for fall. They are longer in length, looser on the body  (I buy a size bigger), and perfect for laid-back dressing you can take into public.

Pure Body Tee from Gap.

These are super soft with a hint of stretch, which means they keep their shape after several wears. The cut is more fitted, but not too tight. Way to go Gap!

 

 

Deep V-Neck Tee from American Apparel.

As much as I really REALLY don’t like some of the stuff associated with American Apparel as a company, I have to admit they have some kick-butt tees. The above V-neck is the quintessential hipster tee, with a slight retro feel. They do a jersey grey color near perfectly, with a subtle worn-in way about it.

Splendid Scoopneck Tee and James Perse V-Neck Tee (from various department stores or online).

Splendid and James Perse are both brands known for making soft, wearable tees. They can run on the pricier side, but are generally worth the extra few bucks. I like Splendid for more fitted styles, and Perse for ones that have a roomier boyfriend look.

Style note: Take these tees out on the weekends with a pair of darker wash jeans, stretch cords, or slouchy trousers. Layer with a chunky sweater or oversized scarf, and you’ll look instantly–and effortlessly!–cool.

Finally, rain boots I can work with

Amazing news on the dressing for rain front: Loeffler Randall’s fall 2011 rain boot collection is adorable… and available for the taking!

This could not come at a better time, as I have spent the last few mornings cursing the threat of rain and what it does to my wardrobe choices. I am NOT a fan of going out in a downpour. I know, I know, who is. But I truly despise it, especially since most of my regular shoe options are suede, which water does not treat well. I  have relied on my La Canadienne knee boots for a few years now, but they’re always so heavy looking (and feeling). Every time it rains, I long for a shoe that’s less bulky and stiff. Especially if I want to change after a commute.

Well, said wish has been granted with these LR boots. I love the ankle styles… and the $150 pricetag isn’t so bad!

Check them out here: loefflerrandall.com.

Reader question: What’s the deal with pant lengths?

Over the weekend, I received a really great question from a really fabulous TRS reader. You know who you are:)

Can you write a post about pant lengths? I have some black slacks that are basically straight leg – they measure 17 inches circumference all from the knee down to the bottom. I think the hem bagging onto my foot in flats looks very sloppy. Is the Audrey “ankle length” appropriate? Thanks for any tips!!

Pant lengths can be quite a doozy. The right length depends on the silhouette. If you’re working with a slimmer leg–straight, tapered, or skinny–then the length should fall at or slightly above the ankle. Going any lower down the foot can start to look messy and cause that weird bagging effect. (I always find Tory Burch‘s pants to be the perfect length. Both the ones she designs, and the ones she wears.)

Plus, the ankle cut is a wonderful length to wear with either flats or heels. I tend to gravitate towards skinny and straight cuts precisely for this reason. I don’t have to worry about my shoes before putting on the pants!

When you’re opting for trousers that have more flow to them–flare, wide, or bootcut–you have to take into consideration the shoes you will be wearing. There’s nothing worse than too-short wide pants, and with those types of cuts, even a half of an inch can make you look awkward. The length should break slightly at the front of the foot and cover the majority of the shoe.

So in a nutshell, ankle lengths are more than okay, but make sure to avoid any bagging at all. The hem should end before the break of the foot. For wider legs, it’s a whole other ball game (see above).

Have any burning style questions? Shoot me an email, or post your sartorial issue on Facebook or Twitter!

My random faves from New York Fashion Week

The crazy beast that is New York Fashion Week has finally gone back into hibernation after several days of clothes, clothes, clothes… and Nicki Minaj in puffball couture. While spring doesn’t usually get me going as much as fall does, there were several standout pieces from this week’s shows. Among my favorite collections were Diane von Furstenberg, Vivienne Tam, The Row, and Yigal Azrouel. Below are my top 12 picks. (I had to add two to even out the rows.) They don’t follow any sort of trend–see my earlier post for that. These are simply looks that made me go whoa. In a good way.

All images courtesy of Style.com

NYFW Spring 2012: It’s going to be a very bright season

New York Fashion Week is a little more than halfway over, and from the looks of it, it’s going to be a very loud and busy spring. Lots of colors and prints have dominated the runways, along with a few other emerging trends. Below is a breakdown of what to look out for when the weather warms up next year.

Bold colors were seen in everything from clothes to accessories to shoes. Some of my favorite color combos came from mixing with neutrals, as seen at Vivienne Tam, Christian Siriano, and Derek Lam.

Another fun way color was used was in belts. I loved these accents at Siriano, Tracy Reese, and L.A.M.B. This is a great idea for those who’d rather approach the color trend with caution.

Conversely, some designers opted for colorful ensembles accented with black details. Very sharp. Above looks are from Carolina Herrera, Prabal Gurung, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Prints were everywhere this week, and many designers showcased them head-to-toe (DKNY, left). Print-mixing was big too, as seen at Diane von Furstenberg and Vivienne Tam.

I saw some fab printed pants (yay!) at Lela Rose, Rachel Roy, and DVF. If you’re wary of full-body prints, but want a fun way to try the trend, a pair of exciting pants is the place to start. Tibi’s even doing them this fall, if you can’t wait another minute. Just make sure to pair with a neutral solid on top in order to avoid the pajama effect.

While sleeves popped up on some dresses at Tadashi and Zac Posen, it looks like most designers are taking baby steps on that front. There were a bunch of cold-shoulder dresses this week, especially at Luca Luca and Carlos Miele. While this isn’t exactly the coverage most sleeve-seeking women are looking for, at least it’s a start.

 All images courtesy of Style.com

MObama at the US Open… in an open kind of shirt

My girl MObama stopped by the US Open yesterday, which excited me beyond belief when I saw her on my TV screen waving at the camera. From the brief shot, I could tell she was wearing some sort of red along with an armful of fun bangles. Cute, for sure.

But when I found a pic online of her full ensemble, I was saddened to find that it looked like this:

It’s no secret that I adore the First Lady’s style, however, this was the first time I stopped and thought… whu?

The red on red is quite chic, and I love the mixing of a pattern in there somewhere. That said, I just don’t understand what’s going on with the layers. Is she wearing the top backwards? Bottom line, I give her A+ for color choice and risk-taking, but the result is sadly a fail. C’mon Michelle!

What do you think of the First Lady’s US Open look? Avant-garde, or just plain messy?

Let me know in the comments section below, or share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.