I am on a bit of neutrals kick. Today's post is a companion piece to yesterday's nude sandal line-up. Graphic prints, bright colors, pastels, white or neutrals- whatever you have going on in your closet- a neutral and subtly patterned clutch in an 'exotic' print like lizard or snake is chic and an easy-to-mix piece you can carry with just about anything.
Discovered: The Willis Clutch by Brooklyn design duo Earslee (UPPER RIGHT). A perfectly sized, lizard print on leather that looks trim tucked under the arm but fits an ipad.
Day-To-Evening: Claire Vivier's Foldover Clutch (LOWER LEFT) is a polished snake print on leather with a very subtle sheen that makes it work day into evening,
The beauty of a great accessory purchase? Something that works now, next season, any season. Always love a little cost-per-wear-practicality in action.
Two spring trends to love: lower heels and nudes. First, heels. It wasn't that long ago that heel heights fell into two camps almost exclusively: four inches and higher, tears-by-noon-high or pancake flat. This season, a variety of heel shapes and heights look fashionable with lots of low wedges and low-to-mid block heels in the mix. Personally, a three-inch-heel is the outer limit of my center of gravity. Even a one-inch heel makes the legs appear a little longer. When you need to be built for speed but want to look like a lady- bring on the lower heels.
Next, nude tones. Just like the perfect sheer makeup blends and smooths out your complexion, the cosmetic appeal of a nude sandal flatters the foot and leg - especially when you wear an ankle strap. Dark or bright colors - while fabulous- can make your ankles look thicker than they are and shorten the appearance of your calves.
An outfit of tonal nudes head to toe looks very chic. White clothes and a nude foot always look fresh. And for the bright colors and prints in your wardrobe, a nude foot offers a perfect neutral balance.
1. Loeffler Randall Twist Wedge. 2. Stella McCartney Patent Block Heel. 3.Mango.
4. Chloe Chunky Ankle Strap. 5. JCrew Lillian Low Wedge. 6. Zara Color Block Sandal.
Who doesn't love insider intelligence? Especially if it's shared by fashion industry royalty like Karl Lagerfeld and Isabel Marant to name a few? New to a bookstore near you (and Amazon) are the Fashion Insider's Guides from French Vogue correspondent and fille- about- town,Carole Sabas who serves up all kinds of recommendations from of-the-minute boites and boutiques to hidden gem beauty services. These books are a virtual guide of the world's fashion capitals. And the sheer gorgeousness of the Cala Haynes print cloth covers make them very giftable.
I'll concede that T-shirts are not the most interesting fashion category to talk about. But since few spring/summer wardrobing pieces are as key to get right- I am weighing in on new T-shirt fit. I've recently done a few closet edits for private clients and it got me thinking about how easily we waste money on bad fitting basics. A T-shirt with great fit and current styling makes a high/low mix effortless. Too tight, short, sheer, sausage-armed or too big and boxy and your T -shirt will torpedo your look. Time to edit your T's. Edit ruthlessly. Let go of anything sprayed-on or shrunken, see through or vaguely '90's Baby T with capped sleeves that cut into your upper arm. These. Must. Go. Boxy shapes, stiff cotton and ill-fitting crew necks should also go on the donations pile.
Evolve your basics so they are as current as the trend pieces in your wardrobe. What looks new: a T-shirt with a skim fit and drape- a fit that looks easy under a good blazer or tucked into the waistband of a pencil skirt or a sleek trouser. Brands like T by Alexander Wang and Kain have been out in front of the 'new' T-shirt fit with shapes that are body-skimming. But if the thought of a ninety dollar T-shirt bugs you (it bugs me) there are brands offering the right styling and drape at various prices. Elevate your look. Spend as much as you can on a few very good quality T-shirts that will mix fluidly with tailoring and nice fabrics. Casual work wardrobe or weekends. You're covered.
A Checklist for 'New' T-Shirt Fit:
- Soft, thin cotton that drapes on the body from a combination of cotton mixed with fibers like Modal (bamboo fibers), silk and linen.
- A skim fit overall and a sleeve that hits at the middle of the upper arm is flattering.
- Ideal: a scooped neckline that hits about two inches below your collarbone. If you see cleavage, your neckline is too low. V-necks and Henleys work too. They draw the eye up and down so you'll appear longer and leaner.
- A hem that hits from your hip bones to just covering your bum. Look for a shirttail hem - a style that makes it easier to wear your T-shirt out for a smooth visual transition between your top and bottom.
- TIP: Want to expose less of your arms? JCrew's new Collection T-shirt comes in long sleeves. Look for long sleeve styles now -many are on sale. Take them to your dry cleaner and have them shortened to your desired length and coverage.
1. Club Monaco's Sunny T-shirt is $39.50. 2. Vince's high crew neck style is balanced by a nip at the waist and a shirt tail hem $78. Zara's T-shirts are all all cotton, good quality and $19. 4. JCrew's linen T-shirt has a nipped fit and more sleeve coverage. $42.
Images on home page from Vince and Zara.
Moda Operandi, the online luxury retailer that offers customers straight from the runway looks for order within days of the show is sponsoring tonight’s Costume Institute Benefit at the Met Punk: Chaos to Couture.
Moda'Operandi has partnered with several designers to make their dresses and accessories available for purchase the day after they're worn at the Met ball. So that dress from Rodarte, Nina Ricci, Wes Gordon, Delpozo or Anthony Vacarello, that you cannot live without can be ordered for up to one week after the event.
Further proof that the every fashion event morphs into the Oscar’s eventually, the e-tailer will be live-streaming the red carpet arrivals on its website beginning at 7 p.m., which will simultaneously stream on the Met's website and Vogue.com for those of us who have not had to struggle for months to find the perfect punk themed look for the gala. Personally, I cannot wait for the pictures from this one.
I 've loved Thursday Friday
bags since their very first tote -an Hermes Birken screen printed on canvas -surfaced three years ago. The line has since evolved into many cheeky, chic styles including the Diamonds Forever (below) a perfect take on the iconic Chanel 1955 bag. I love that anyone can carry a Chanel bag by way of Thursday Friday's great quality totes.
So here is the deal: One lucky reader will win a fabulous Diamonds Forever Super Together bag from the new Black Canvas series ( a $90 value at retail). Just write to me at email@example.com and tell me why you want/need/gotta have this bag in your life. Tell me all about it! Best response wins. Entries close Sunday 4/21 midnight.
I am a long time fan of Brooklyn-based accessories label Flea Bags
. Designers Shira Entis and Alex Bell began with one simple style - The Original Fleabag- the kind of sturdy but fashion-worthy carryall that can change your life. Committed to eco-responsibility, Flea Bags are produced domestically, often locally, in small production runs using organic materials and vegetable-tanned and repurposed leathers. This chic, color-blocked envelope is their latest collaboration with label VPL
. The palette looks as great worked with brights as with pastels or all white. An instant focal point where it flatters - tucked under your arm.
Colored nails are now one of the most noticeable accessories in a woman's arsenal. Bright or dark- working a trend color into your look via your manicure is an instant update. And one of the cheapest splurges in fashion. No wonder nail polish sales jumped 24 percent last year. But for the color commitment-phobe bottles of pricey polish from places like Sephora can add up. Enter nail polish rentals. No really. Lacquerous.com
will send you three bottles of designer polish ( Chanel, Nars, Dior etc.) for $18 per month. Less than the cost of one bottle of luxe lacquer from the likes of Nars,Tom Ford and Dior. There's a catch: you can only use each one three times. They measure how much is left upon return. Rent or buy? What do you think?
A lot of mail recently asking about how to wear stripes. If you've been shopping lately you've undoubtedly noticed that you can't swing your handbag in any direction without clocking a rack filled with striped somethings. Especially in combinations of high contrast black and white. Here is a perfect example of how important it is to choose what will enhance your shape. Capture the trend in a flattering way by first thinking about your body in a 360 degree sense. Consider how the direction of the stripes you wear directs the eye to places you want to play up or minimize -from every angle
A Stripes Primer:
- Horizontal stripes can add volume - or not - it depends on their width.
- Vertical stripes -from narrow to wide- create a lengthening illusion by drawing the eye up and down.
- Stripes as thin as a pencil line function as a neutral and work for a variety of shapes and sizes.
- A pattern combining varied width stripes can flatter lots of body types.
- Stripes placed on the diagonal are universally body friendly at every size.
Any riff on a classic French sailor tee is a chic wardrobe staple. In this case, the combination of a boat neckline, the way the stripes are placed at the shoulder ( diagonal meeting horizontal) and the fabric (ponte) make this top from Kate Spade Saturday
a good choice for small-to-medium-busted women who want to visually extend the appearance of their shoulders. A top like this creates balance for ladies who are smaller on the top and fuller on the bottom. Wear it with an a-line skirt in a fabric with lots of drape or a skim fit stovepipe trouser to fake the look of a more proportionate silo as in look # 2.
A v-neck, vertical stripes and a ruffle detail draw the eye up and down for the illusion of a longer, leaner torso. This good buy from Zara
has enough drape to conceal a full middle. 4. L
inen/silk jersey gives this classic t-shirt from T By Alexander Wang a slouchy drape. Ideal for a half tuck (as in look 2) or for a skim fit worn over bottoms of varying widths. Lighter weight, sheer cottons do cling through the bust and stomach however, so this style is best for lankier, smaller to medium busted types.
I don't have to tell you that if you like a skinny leg (as in jeans) that a pair with vertical stripes will make you look leggier but opt for 1"-3" width stripes for the most flattering effect. What looks newer and works high and low is this season's easier silhouette - a love child of pajamas, harem and track pants.
1. Slouchy at Chloe S/S 13 and a look that has inspired lots of affordable interpretations like this silk, skim fit pant with a mid-width stripe from Club Monaco (2).
Best for those with straight/narrow to straight/mid-width hips. These pants have recently worked for a few of my clients who are straight through the hips by adding the illusion of a little curve. Vertical stripes visually lengthen the legs.
3. Zara's pant in a low contrast combination of red, blue and ecru is perfect for visual leg lengthening and hip minimizing especially when worn with a longer, bottom clearing jacket. Long waisted? Vertical stripes and a higher waist create a proportionate balance by visually raising your waistline and making your legs appear longer.
DRESSES AND SKIRTS
1. Calvin Calvin Klein's dress is a clever combination of pattern and strategically placed side panels that make a straight silo flattering for women with fuller hips. Straight waist? A center panel placed on the diagonal suggests an hourglass shape. Defined waist and hips? This style compliments mother nature. 2. Full waist? Fake one with a fold-over waistband set on the horizontal and attached to a diagonally draped a-line like this style from INC. Full hips and thighs? This pairing of shape and stripes works for you. 3. Chevron - diagonal stripes meeting at a central point- are one of the most slimming and elongating illusions ever invented by the fashion gods. The center seam - a series of v-shapes- on this skirt by Hive and Honey draws the eye downward for a lengthening effect.
A word about low contrast stripes. They are universally easier to wear than high contrast combinations which accentuate volume ( fattening). 1. A black background and different width white stripes make this pajama- inspired jacket from 3.1 Phillip Lim a visually lengthening choice. Short waisted? Your height is perceived in the length of your legs so go for a jacket like this one to draw the eye downward making your torso look longer. 2. Bold and on trend (hello Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton) and very 'this season'. For time limited looks, it's smart to have a look at fast fashion alternatives to something very expensive. Zara's awning stripe tux style is easily less than a tenth of the price of the original inspirations. Bold vertical stripes draw the eye up and down. Notice the elongated line of the lapel and front buttons placed at the low waist. Lengthening with a skim fit trouser or something skinny to balance the impact above. 3. Stripes this thin function as a textured solid. Full busted? This is the stripe to try. Moldable cotton ponte gives this jacket from Willow and Clay an easy-to-wear drape. The rounded hem and thin lapel are curve-friendly features. 4. I like this low-contrast, fine stripe blazer from Club Monaco because it can be paired with high waisted flat front trousers as easily as with skinnies. Pleat top pants and a-line skirts are also an option here. Works for women who want to add volume up top and minimize their bottoms. 5. Straight waist? J Crew's low-contrast spin on a classic sailor stripe is a blazer with lots of shaping at the waist. Pockets placed at the side and at hip level fake a little shape by adding volume. The length of the lapel to waist closure draws the eye up and down.
Last night's Oscar fashion parade had a few high points but too many pale, fairy princess looks (again). There were a few standouts in the usual Oscar Fashion Camps:
Jennifer Lawrence gets a free pass on looking just a little bridal last night. In the hands of Dior Haute Couture designer Raf Simons, a maximalist shape looked simple and chic and not like a dress-up-fantasy. Despite the ultra fashiony breast-shaped bodice on Anne Hathaway's pale pink Prada she gets high marks for the most modern look of the night followed by Charlize Theron in a Dior Haute Couture gown with a shapely peplum. Short hair and minimal jewelry gave both actresses a fashion edge.
Go Big Or Go Home.
Applause for the ladies in graphic shapes and sequins. It's television above all. Big and gutsy is good. Halle Berry in her "Bond Girl" dress designed by Versace, Naomi Watts looked like a futuristic space siren in custom Giorgio Armani, Nicole Kidman in L'Wren Scott, and First lady Michelle Obama in Naeem Khan.
Strapless reigned the red
carpet but too many of the dresses needed to be seen head-to-toe to capture the eye ( hello Jennifer Aniston among many). Jessica Chastain in custom Giorgio Armani, Kerry Washington
in Miu Miu, and Zoe Saldano in Alexis Mabille Couture stood out in dresses with
shaping and details that looked interesting from the waist up.
Sleeves and Color
In praise of gorgeous and mature ladies in architectural shapes and dynamic color like Jane Fonda in Atelier Versace, Sally Field in Valentino Haute Couture and the lovely Emmanuelle Riva in Lanvin.