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.
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.
I am staving off my boredom with winter woolens -and the black puffer coat that seems to be my constant companion -by working combinations of black and bright spring white into my look. The black and white trend is everywhere and an easy one to start wearing now (not to mention find in your existing wardrobe). Add an awning striped blazer or an optically printed silk shirt (inspired by collections like Louis Vuitton, above left). They are findable in stores like Zara. Your favorite white shirt and black pants ( or the reverse) are a perfect canvas for a pair of two-toned shoes
or a color-blocked bag
. Break them out now. I've added a classic white watch
to my mix for a graphic hit of spring.
Let's all take a page from Michelle Obama's wardrobe playbook. She accented her waist with a smooth, embroidered belt and instantly enhanced the look of her Thom Browne inaugural coat. The buckle-free cincher is a wardrobe essential- an all sleek and no bulk asset for any wardrobe. Perfect for creating flattering definition under an oversized layer or for turning a cardigan into a jacket silhouette. Forget the self belt that came with your dress and add your own finishing touch. Jackets and lightweight coats are easily upgraded with a smooth belt. I love a sleek and buckle-free number like this embossed snake style (above)
from Elegantly Waisted for a clean-lined effect.
Is the demise of the platform here? Fashion has been stomping around in very big and very chunky shoes for a decade now. In the January issue of Vogue Manolo Blahnik said, "I only make single-sole shoes. They transform the way a woman walks: in heavy platforms like truck drivers, in my shoes like ballerinas." The time feels right for a market correction.
Fashion Truths: Not too many women look truly great with a chunky foot. Walk behind a woman struggling along in platforms ( subway stairs are a prime viewing spot) and witness the clomp. I get fashion designer's love of an exaggerated line - the big foot as punctuation point for a model's impossibly long, lean legs. I've appreciated the para-military menace of styles from Proenza Schouler or Prada's forties-meets-seventies-meets 21st c. platforms as a way to create some volume in a look. I have styled with big platforms. But I don't wear them because they make me feel as feminine as a Musk ox.
The shift has been percolating for a few seasons but this spring single soles equal instant currency. 1. Classic
or 2. tough but sleek, 3. D'Orsay
, the average women looks leggier and sexier in a single sole style with a well turned heel from spiky to square. For leg-lengthening glam and grace give me a single soled, high heeled pump, please. Perfect right now with sharp, slim ankle-cropped pants and a jacket.
Over: The Louboutin-ish platform pump that has become the default setting of Real Housewives. The same shoes that are de riguer with a head full of barrel curled beach waves, bandage dresses and a lot of cleavage.
Leave those on the sale racks.
This fall, the classic, clean-lined black satchel is the everyday ( read investment) bag to carry. The Little Black Bag
showed up in collections as varied as Marni
( image left) with 60's inspired, belted jackets and drop waist dresses, at Alexander Wang
with minimalist, lacquered leathers and tweeds, at Lanvin
with fur vests and statement coats and at Prada
with jewel encrusted coat dresses worn over pants. I love the versatility of a bag that works with looks from leather jeans to shapely dresses. While number 3 - Lanvin's Doctor's Bag- is priced in the stratosphere, check out it's shape and absence of hardware for the right look.
Here's what I've noticed a lot this summer: when I look at a woman's outfit it's The Big Three - bag, shoes and sunglasses- that telegraph her personal style more than her clothes. I know. Alert the media. But there is a reason that accessories are bigger than ever. Clothing trends are all over the map. Some days it is just easier to wear simple pieces and to ply some great accessories than it is to decode fashion's multiple personalities. One of the biggest street trends in NYC this summer? A tailored silk shirt worn with everything from denim cut-offs to slim, print pants and street-sweeping long skirts. For work, I live in white shirts and simple bottoms and my Big Three fly my style flag. And I don't leave my apartment for milk without sunglasses (and a little red lipstick). A privacy shield and a style badge, a great pair of shades give your everyday look the right quotient of 'right now' .
So how to choose the frames that flatter you best? Simple math: if your face is full and round avoid round frames. If your face is angular avoid sharp edges. The trick is to "contrast rather than mirror the shape of your face" according to optometrist Rene Soltis. Here is more of Rene's Facial Geometry 101:
Your face is broadest at your forehead and cheekbones and tapers to a narrow chin like Michelle Pfeiffer's (here, in a still from Scarface
that my intern Margaret could not resist...) A modified aviator or wayfarer shape that curves at the bottom balances the difference between the width of your forehead and chin. Low temples also balance your facial proportions. Pass on frames that have a strong line at the brow or that have bold or dark colors that add weight at your brow. Choose solid lenses vs. gradient lenses. 1."Jennifer" sunglasses by Tom Ford
2. Marc by Marc Jacobs "Powder Blue".
3."Clubmaster" by RayBan.
TIP: Never been sure about your shape? Try this messy but reliable trick. Look at your face fresh from the shower with your hair slicked back. Draw the shape of your face on a mirror with a washable marker ( an old eyebrow pencil or a hated shade of lipstick works too).
FOR ALL SHAPES:
"Be sure that your eyes are centered in your sunglasses", advises Rene Soltis. "And your frames shouldn't cover your eyebrows".
Sun protection has nothing to do with the color of your lenses. In fact, deeply tinted lenses can be worse for your eyes than no glasses at all. Here’s why: your pupils dilate in the dim light behind the shades which actually lets in more damaging rays.
Your lenses should cover the entire eye and block 99 to 100 percent of UV light.
Fall is here- in the stores at least. Rethink your sunglass style. Does the color of your frames boost your skin tone and hair color? Does the color work with the heavier fabrics and richer colors on deck? Black and tortoise are classic choices but try on colors like navy, spruce green, graphite, oxblood or deep plum tones for an update.
Chanel once said "a woman should wear ropes and ropes of pearls". Agreed. But right now it's the impact of the single strand that's caught my eye. I noticed them at Thom Browne for spring (left) and then a few weeks ago at Donna Karan for Fall 2011.
Maybe it's a trendlet and maybe not. But unadorned gray pearls sans any mashup of chains, gems and bows look great. Their creamy, nacreous sisters are beautiful but I am pulling out my long strand of grays to wear everyday with white tee shirts, menswear jackets and with bright colors. There are few things sexier than a single strand of pearls tucked into the V-neck of a white tee or sweater. While I don't recommend running for the train in the knee length Mr. Browne used to accessorize his schoolboy blazer, I like the exaggeration of an opera length (48 to 120 inches long) worn casually. Donna Karan's marble-sized princess length looks elegant and unapologetically faux. And fake knocks the potential for stuffy out of the equation.