Category Archives: Brands to Know

Designers and stores that offer the perfect clothes for you

Cool, understated jewelry. Yes please.

saltyfoxjewelry

Last night, I attended a trunk show for local SF jewelry brand, Salty Fox. Very cool stuff. I’ve been attracted to big, vintage-style baubles for a long time now (still am!), but have started to gravitate towards more minimal pieces for my day-to-day. Maybe it’s the West coast laid back-itude. Or maybe I just appreciate less fuss and more versatility now. Either way, I found Salty Fox’s pieces to have just enough edge to keep things interesting. Not too girly or precious, and completely wearable.

colleen mauer designs

And in a not at all seamless segue, let me take this moment to highlight another SF designer, Colleen Mauer, whose pieces will be making a debut in my upcoming video (stay tuned for deets). Her aesthetic reflects that same subtle, tasteful edge. I’m especially in love with her ridiculously awesome square stacked ring.

Salty Fox available at saltyfoxjewelry.com

Colleen Mauer designs available at colleenmauerdesigns.com

Breaking news: Coats are in for next fall. Lots of them.

I guess it’s not surprising that during a week full of shows for fall fashion, one would see a lot of outerwear. Or at least one would hope. New York Fashion Week for Fall 2013 concluded last week, which means the designers premiered a bunch of stuff you won’t get to see in stores until July. But I’m happy to report that in five months, we will have an influx of fabulous coats. Which makes me a bit giddy, I have to say. Lots of new colors and patterns, as well as plenty of your go-to blacks and greys. And I’m loving the oversized lapels, because, really, who doesn’t want some drama as they head out into the world?

Here are my favorite coats of the week. None of which I can afford.

the New York uniform of blacks and greys (JBrand, DKNY)

oddly soothing hues (Narciso Rodriguez, 3.1 Phillip Lim)

less soothing hues, but still pretty (Eudon Choi, Jason Wu)
cropped and awesome (Proenza Schouler, Helmut Lang)

 

 

colorblocking at its finest (Alexander Wang, DKNY)

print happy (DVF, Elie Tahari)

 

For more of my NYFW picks, check out my super amazing Pinterest board. And follow me while you’re at it. :)

List time! Top six sleeper hits of 2012

Happy almost New Year everybody! I thought I’d throw my own best of 2012 list into the mix. Hopefully this will offer you some mindless reading tomorrow while you’re in your pjs watching Bravo.

Behold my favorite sleeper hits of the year. These are fabulous items I’ve scored for either myself or my clients in 2012. Six unassuming pieces that have made closets happier and more fulfilled. Cheers to that!

theory deronisa top

Theory Deronisa Silk Top.

This sleeveless number from Theory has proven to be a godsend for a variety of body types. Perfect as an office shell under blazers, or with jeans for date night. They were making it in a bunch of colors, but unfortunately, it’s now hard to find online. Good news, though– little birdies over at Theory have told me it’s going to reappear on shelves this coming year.

loeffler randall flats

Loeffler Randall Blaise Moccasins.

A personal fave. These snake-embossed flats from Loeffler Randall have made dressing–and walking–so much easier this past year. They add an element of fun to every outfit, while still remaining neutral and comfy. Win win.

paige skyline straight jeans

Paige Skyline Straight Leg Jeans.

For the look of a skinny without the painted-on, i-can’t-breathe element, Paige’s skyline straights are simply thee best. They’re slim enough to look sleek and polished, but with enough room at the ankle to balance your top half. I adore these jeans.

stafford blazer from jcpenney

JCPenney’s Stafford Slim-Cut Sportcoat.

My, my Penney’s. Who knew you could come out with such sleek menswear? I tip my hat to the 2012 guy styles at JCP. Their sportcoats especially. If you’re looking for slim-cut separates in understated patterns, look to JCPenney for budget-friendly picks. Hopefully they can keep it up in 2013.

gibson blazer from nordstrom

Gibson Petite Knit Blazer.

Gibson’s knit blazers were my number one go-to this year for petite clients in need of a casual-style blazer that didn’t overwhelm them. Brilliant with jeans and a longer top underneath (because it’s a bit more cropped than a suit-style blazer).

jcrew pixie pant

JCrew Pixie Pants.

If you like leggings, you’ll love the Pixie. They offer the silhouette of a legging but with more substance, so you don’t feel naked on your lower half . Style them with longer blazers, men’s style button-downs, and chunky sweaters.

Happy 2013, all! Here’s to a stylish, comfy, sartorially fulfilling new year. :)

JCPenney backtracks, offers sales, won’t admit to it, confuses everybody

Remember that whole we’re totally done with sales forevah! jazz from JCPenney? Yeah, well they were just kidding. Sort of. We think. Apparently, Penney’s is now back in the discount saddle, offering clearance markdowns and friends and family coupons. This coming after a less than stellar reception of their no-sale policy last year.

So I have some thoughts.

First, I’m not surprised that the ‘everyday low price’ thingy hasn’t been successful. We live in a society where the psychology of sales runneth deep. We need a sale. We crave a sale. Everybody loves a deal. But as things stand right now, those deals need to be presented to us in this get ’em now, hurry up, limited time only kind of way. People need to feel as if they’re scoring something that not everybody else is. When you offer a low price for the masses, then, um,  where’s the fun in that?

I believe the sale culture is getting out of hand. And I see firsthand the effects of buying stuff because it’s on sale. People’s closets–and lives–are overrun by stuff they bought solely because it was on sale. There’s something wrong with that. Isn’t there?

Time will only tell if Penney’s can find their secret sauce. Looks like they’re going to try and marry low prices to regular sales. Basically, becoming Kohl’s.

What do you think? Are you more likely to shop JCP now that sales have kind of returned? Does price always dictate what you buy?

Man Monday: cool sportcoats that work with jeans

These days, a ton of guys (and gals) work in business casual environments that allow jeans or similar casual pants. Sweet deal, right? Well yes and no. It can be tricky to navigate the weird world of what to wear to a biz casual office. A general rule is to pair denim or chinos with a blazer/sportcoat. So I wanted to devote this Man Monday to talking about the kinds of sportcoats that work best with jeans and the like. Yes, it is acceptable to do a suit jacket with (dark wash!) denim for a casual office setting. However, if you want to take it a step further up the awesome ladder, then consider investing in a sportcoat that stands apart from your suit jackets. You can look cooler that way.

Below are three characteristics to look for when seeking out a nice non-suit type jacket that’s still work-appropriate.

john varvatos USA sport coat

Subtle details.

John Varvatos is the definition of hip yet laid back when it comes to men’s designers. Anyone who uses Iggy Pop to sell clothes gets the cool award in my book. His pieces are pricey, yes, but kind of awesome. Check out his lower USA line for ever so slightly cheaper choices. The reason his sportcoats work in that ‘not too dressy but still polished’ kind of way is because they’re made in textured, darker fabrics, with understated modern details. The one above has leather piping that’s super subtle, but makes all the difference. Keep in mind they are cut very slim, so you may want to go up a size (or two).

 

jcrew herringbone sportcoat

Old school tweed. 

I love J. Crew for preppier sportcoats. These English fox-hunting-countryside-dwelling types are ideal for biz casual because they look great with more modern pants and button-downs. If it’s a lighter neutral color, like above, you can play around with different colors underneath.

perry ellis corduroy blazer from macy's

Non-suit fabrics. 

You can also experiment with different fabrics in a more standard suit jacket cut. Both corduroy and velvet are fun textures to wear with separate bottoms. Just make sure the corduroy is a fine wale (meaning not chunky 70s style) and the velvet is not royal purple. Unless you’re into making that kind of statement. This one above from Perry Ellis looks sleek with grey denim too.

Look like you know what you’re doing when you buy jewelry as a gift

So every year my father buys my mom a piece of jewelry for Christmas. It’s such a wonderful gesture, but the box is often returned a few days into January. My point is–Dad, if you’re listening–buying a woman jewelry is HARD. It’s a very personal thing, especially if she tends to be particular in her tastes (and we kind of all are, right?). That said, I thought it’d be helpful to offer some guidance for anyone willing to take that risk and buy some bling for their loved ones this holiday.

First of all, stick to brands and designers you know the person likes. This makes the odds of them not fake-liking your gift that much more in your favor! Unfortunately, you’re not always going to know that info. But if you can gather some style and personality clues, then shopping for jewelry can be easier. Hopefully you know the person well enough to catch a glimpse of said style and personality. Unless it’s secret santa, in which case, buy fancy booze instead.

Take a minute to think about the type of person you’re buying for, and then let that lead you to one of the following designers. All of which I love.

 

If she’s: trendy, modern, and loves to follow fashion

Look for: Kelly Wearstler, Dannijo

You will score big points if you show up to gift-giving time with one of these designer’s pieces. On the pricier side, though, just fyi.

If she’s: nostalgic, romantic, loves vintage

Look for: Lulu Frost (who also does a line for J. Crew), Miriam Salat, Kenneth Jay Lane

For the decadent grandmother in all of us. These designers offer opulent, over the top, gorgeous items. Lulu offers stuff on the more delicate side too.

If she’s: edgy, rock and roll-ish

Look for: Pamela Love, Eddie Borgo

Yes there are spikes involved. But they’re chic spikes! Plus a single piece from these designers will appropriately edge up a conservative ensemble. That means your waspy Aunt Stephanie would also look pretty rad in Pamela or Eddie.

If she’s:  classic and minimalist

Look for: Ippolita, Gorjana, Madewell

Ippolita is definitely an investment piece, but their bangles go with everything. And both Gorjana and Madewell offer tiny trinkets that can be worn everyday for a long, long time.

 

If she’s: hippie/earth goddess (but still cool)

Look for: Agapantha, Jacquie Aiche

These pieces have a more organic, handmade feel. Super pretty, feminine…and affordable!

Also check out BaubleBar, Love her Madly, and J.Crew for darling xmas picks at all prices.

For summer (and fall and winter), green is the new jean

I get asked a lot about some alternatives to wearing blue jeans as part of daytime or evening casual outfits. If you’re not really a skirt or dress kind of gal, finding some variety in this arena can be challenging.

And while there’s definitely no lack of colored denim out there, you can’t wear just anything on top. And a lot of those colors are not for the faint of heart. White jeans can be a fresh departure from basic blue, but this too can become routine after a while.

So, here’s a fantastic alternative: olive green. It’s kind of  the best neutral ever. Softer, muted greens go with almost anything–black, white, bold colors, and even patterns. I highly suggest picking up a pair to get you out of the dark denim rut. A sage will also work (which is a lighter green), but because it’s lighter on bottom, it won’t be universally as flattering. The primary style in this color around town is a skinny jean, but you can also try an ankle trouser or even relaxed chino for summer. Or shorts if you’re cool with that.

Huge bonus: this color will transition sans effort into fall. So you won’t be shelling out money for a one-season wonder. Nice, right?

A few of my favorites: Vince, AG, and J. Crew!

Just loving this tank

This post (okay, any post) is long overdue. My apologies for summer laziness!

Anyway, I was out and about shopping for a client, and came across this fantastic little Eloise tank. It’s from Anthropologie (yes, I went against my own rule and shopped outside the accessories department), and it’s super simple and genius at the same time.

It’s a fitted tank for layering under sheer or low-cut tops, and…wait for it… has BOTH a scoopneck and a V-neck for you to match to whatever top you’re wearing over it.

I love this idea.

Just make sure to cut out the tags before wearing, so that they don’t accidentally flip up in the front.

Well played, Anthro. No crazy embellishments in sight.

My love affair with Love her Madly

I wrote about the amazing Love her Madly a while back in a post on office-appropriate jewelry. The site is owned by a friend of mine, who has an insanely good eye for one-of-a-kind pieces.

I knew Rachel from my first job in fashion (she was my boss), and I remember being so excited to see her walk into the office everyday, not only because she was one of the nicest people on the planet, but because THE GIRL COULD DRESS. She was quite the style genius. But not in an outlandish, in-your-face kind of way. I’d say her style was soft and feminine with a kick. And that kick would often come from fantastic jewelry. So I was beyond thrilled when she started Love her Madly, which offers an impeccably curated selection of jewelry from around the world.

I sat down (virtually) with Rachel, and asked her some questions about the biz and such.

How did you come up with the idea for Love her Madly?

 I have always adored jewelry.  As a child I would watch my mom accessorize with sparkling pieces that I would dream of wearing some day.  Through both of my parents (yes, my dad has great taste too) I observed their knowledge and appreciation for one-of-a-kind costume jewelry pieces.  So the idea of Love her Madly has been cultivating in my head for years.

Where do you find the jewelry? Who designs it?

I seek out designers from all over the world.  Our goal at LhM is to consistently introduce pieces that are unique, vibrant and well constructed. My design team and I create some signature pieces as well.

Do you have any current favorites on your site?

I’m loving vibrant color right now so our Bliss Droplet Earrings are a must have for summer. Rings are a huge addiction of mine.  I’m a sucker for classic statement pieces like our Rhinestone Claw Rings.

Why do you think jewelry should be a part of one’s wardrobe?

 Jewelry is powerful.  It has the ability to change your mood and the mood of your outfit. Even the slightest touch of jewelry will never go unnoticed.

Who are your style icons?

My grandma Roz tops my list by far.  Her style was daring & bold, yet simply amazing.  I also adore Ali MacGraw’s style from the 60s and early Kate Moss in the 90s. For me it’s about confidence and risk taking.  Current style icons… Kate Bosworth & Gwen Stefani.

 Any fashion blogs/sites that you follow regularly?

As of now just a few…

StyleCasterFarfetchThe Re-Stylist!!

Shop Love her Madly’s lovely baubles at lovehermadlystore.com.

(image from LhM)

A little J.Crew for your holiday weekend

CNBC aired a documentary last night on Mickey Drexler and J.Crew. Having missed it (I blame the absence of DVR), I’m grateful to have stumbled upon this post from The Cut. Plus some clips. Thanks for that!

As a native Jersey girl, I was proud to here that the Garden State Mall’s store is the first in the country to receive all new shipments. I’ve been to that J.Crew. It’s a good one. Go Jerz!

Below is a peek into the making of a J.Crew catalog. And click on over to view some more from the doc.

Happy Memorial Day weekend everybody! Hope it’s a relaxing one, whether you hit up the Crew or not.