For their fall/winter finale, Dolce and Gabbana sent dozens of girls down the catwalk (semi)dressed in smartly tailored jackets on top and simple black pumps on their feet. Their message was clear. The time seems right for a footwear correction to compliment two fall clothing camps -minimal and ladylike.
And when two high priestesses of cool like Stella McCartney and Isabel Marant sent pointy toe pumps down their runways a trendlet was hatched.
Requests for this "IT" mid-heel have created waiting lists at Isabel Marant stores in NY and Paris but they cost $620 (ouch) and the look can definitely be found for less.
This time last year I had a serious craving for just this kind of point toed pump to wear with pleated, cropped pants. I wanted pumps that were not so tres cher and expensive that I couldn't run around in them (I use this term loosly) on a typical day of shopping and appointments. I found the $69 style from Nine West (below).They are very comfortable. I can walk easily and the pointy toe offers the alchemy of nasty, sexy and classic all at once -minus any agony quotient. And at a tenth of the price of a pair of classic mid-heels from either Manolo Blahnik or Christian Louboutin I was pleased with my thrifty discovery.
I like the look of the Charles Jourdan pumps with a heel just over three inches and the black suede Elie Tahari pumps capture the vibe of the Marant pumps.
Target's marriage of high fashion designers and masstige retail continues this fall with three new collections worth investigating at your local Super Store. First up, on August 29th, is a collaboration with fine jewelry designer Temple St. Clair whose distinctive gold work and motifs are inspired by Florentine art. While her pieces are collected by connoisseurs with an eye for modern classics, it's exciting that the rest of us can access her elegant and ageless sensibility.
ABOVE LEFT: Tucker for Target blouse, detail of Temple St Clair for Target necklace. A dress from Tucker by Gaby Besora the designer's main line. Mulberry for Target bag.
On September 10th, Tucker for Target will bow with separates designed by Gaby Basora. Tucker by Gaby Basora dresses and blouses have been among my go-to favorites since I discovered her debut collection three years ago at Barney's.
And on October 10th, Target unveils their collab with British handbag line Mulberry. There are bound to be takes on their newer styles like the Roxanne and the Alexa but I have my fingers crossed for a riff on the classic Bayswater.
While so much of what is on offer in Target's capsule collections looks tragically trendy, 'young' and too disposable on women past their twenties, there is real potential among this lineup for one-off pieces that may just look sophisticated enough for grownups.
l 'll be honest. It has taken me awhile to come around to leggings in their current incarnation in no small part because of the number of walking disasters I see on the street. But I'll concede that there are many reasons to wear leggings. Like the current look they add to the classic proportion of volume on top/skinny on the bottom. Let's add comfort, strategic shaping and seasonless looking knee and vein coverage to the plus column. But while I am loathe to lay down laws, there are rules of engagement for legging wearers of a certain age.
To my eye, leggings look great and ageless (worn by designers Vera Wang and Donna Karan both in their early 60's) as an under layer. Their looks work for two reasons: First, the volume on the top looks sleek, not sloppy. Vera Wang wears a shift dress that skims her body and her leggings meet the top of her sandals for a kind of chic art gallerist look. Donna Karan, the godmother of easy jersey combinations, wears grecian draping to define her curves. Her cropped leggings offer ideal knee-o-flage. And Second, both looks balance black leggings in tonal combinations for an unbroken line from head to toe.
Hem lengths remain annoyingly short and sales people will tell you that leggings are the solution under any too short dress. Wrong. Shift, shirt and tunic dress shapes work. Flouncy anything does not. High contrast combinations will break your body up into blocks of color which is never a sound visual strategy for looking longer, leaner and youthful. Be a leggings purist and wear black only if your goal is sophistication. Wear them with monochromatic top layers or in tonal combinations like Vera and Donna. Prints and patterns should incorporate plenty of black in the design to unify top and bottom.
Leggings worn in lieu of pants set off my mutton alarm. It's crucial to get the combined proportions just right. A bottom clearing jacket like a boyfriend looks right worn over a top of a similar length in jersey or a knit. A layer with shape and drape under your jacket is key to avoid looking blocky.
The tunic (left) above looks sleek and clears (just) anything that needs to be covered. The same line in a mid-thigh to knee length tunic dress is the right idea. The rock chick intimations of the look on the right are for girls in their twenties. It doesn't matter how in shape you are, dressing to look 10 or 20 years younger (especially in leggings) makes you look older, fact.
What about shoes? Ballet flats always work. And flat or chunky wedge heeled sandals provide the right balance for a covered leg in the summer. When the temperatures drop bring on the booties and tall boots. Avoid the I Love the Eighties look of leggings and pumps. The Spanx leggings below are convertible so they can be worn at ankle length or pulled over the top of the foot as a sock compromise.
Simply Vera Vera Wang at Kohl's carries cotton and lycra cropped and full length leggings for $20. Danskin has a range of cropped and ankle length styles in supplex that run from $25.00 to $35.00 and are available in regular and plus sizes. The next price jump is from $65 to $75 for lines like Splendid and James Perse made of a blend of cotton, lycra and modal for softness in regular sizes and Caslon in plus sizes. They are all available online at Nordstrom. Long inseams should try Long Tall Sally for the Alba leggings at $49. Donna Karan Collection leggings are priced at a stratospheric $495 for the kind of luxe lycra jersey used for her ready-to-wear.