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.
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.
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.
The difference between a good and a great weekend getaway is having everything you need to create three or four days worth of looks packed in one carry-on bag. Since I spend a lot of time living out of suitcases, friends call me all the time asking for packing advice. So, here is my beach weekend packing primer:
-Choose a palette
This is the best way to organize yourself. I start with basic anchor pieces in solids. I've used navy and white here. Then, I add a few more pieces - a tee, a camisole- in a few solid bright accent colors. I don't need to tell you to pack a few white tee shirts. Next, add a print or two. Like a pair of shorts.
And pack a neutral, soft cardy
that works over all of your pieces day to evening.
The easiest denim
to work high and low. Crisp for day with tees and flat sandals and for casual evening with some 'statement' jewelry and a high heel wedge. Don't like jeans? A long and simple white cotton skirt
can work too.
-Pack A Dress
You don't want to look too dressed up. Just 'effortlessly chic'
enough for lunch or dinner at a restaurant or for an at-home dinner invitation.
A Button Down Shirt
I like a chambray shirt
that I can wear with everything. I'll throw it over over my bathing suit as a cover-up and wear it with my jeans and some jewelry for sunset drinks and a casual dinner.
A One Piece Bathing Suit
Bring a solid colored suit
that subs as a top you can wear with your skirt or shorts for a step-off the-beach-to-have-lunch look. Pair it with your skirt for a sunset drink option.
Max The Accessories
Jewelry makes an outfit. Since it's lightweight and easy to pack- bring options like a statement necklace, a cuff or two
or a pair of big drop earrings, a neutral clutch
that works with all of your looks and a lightweight scarf
big enough to ward off airplane air con, wear as a sarong, or as a shoulder wrap in the evening.
Just Two Pairs of Shoes
If I'm at the beach I leave my 'city' ( read stonking, dagger heeled, leather) sandals behind and bring something more casual. A neutral colored wedge heel espadrille-ish sandal
dresses things up without looking like you have labored over your outfit. And a neutral flat sandal
takes you from airport security to the beach. Okay, I am not including the sneakers you pack for running or rain insurance- just what you need for the fashion portion of your weekend.
Your beach bag
doubles as your big under-the-seat carry on.
I'm not big on rolling my clothes. They end up looking like mess. I pack my shoes first wrapped in bags so that my clothes don't get dirty. I layer my dress and skirt on top of some tissue paper. Tees, sweater, and gym clothes go next. More tissue paper. Lighter pieces like a silk camisole go on the top of that. I pack my jewelry in a separate jewelry roll and that gets tucked in on the side of the bag. On top of it all is a clear toiletry bag I can hang on the bathroom door packed with TSA approved mini-sized bottle filled with the things I'll need. I pack my makeup in a separate small bag
. I never pack without a Tide stick and some Woolite in a mini bottle. I hand launder and line dry as needed.
Tip: I spray the tissue paper with my favorite fragrance so that my clothes arrive smelling fresh. Something light like Kai or my new favorite Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia.
Iron what you plan to wear a few days before you leave, then hang it up. Any dampness makes your clothes wrinkle like crazy. Pack the night before to keep yourself sane.
ON THE HOME PAGE:
I am not much of an aggregator but this short film from Nowness
about senior citizens with extraordinary personal style is inspiring and simply too good to miss. It features one of my style heroes, the impossibly chic Iris Apfel
. Her outsized glasses and effortless mix of ethnic jewelry with couture reflects a one-of-a-kind eye for color, texture and pattern.
Apfel's unique style inspired a 2005 exhibit of her wardrobe -Rare Bird of Fashion- at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum. If you missed the show don't miss the inspiration to be found in the book from the show.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I hate the whole concept of comfort," he says. "It's like when people say, 'Well, we're not really in love, but we're in a comfortable relationship.' You're abandoning a lot of ideas when you are too into comfort. 'Comfy' - that's one of the worst words! I just picture a woman feeling bad, with a big bottle of alcohol, really puffy." - Christian Louboutin
When I read that a sploofy UES shoe service will paint the soles of any shoes Louboutin red - that finished it for me.
I am as happy as any red carpet-walking actress that another awards season is behind us. I can't skim anymore articles or suffer anymore chat show segments instructing me how to get myself Red Carpet Ready. I don't know about you but I'm going to work, the airport, yoga, CVS and I don't feel to compelled to get RCR to do any of these things.
As for last night's red carpet, aside from the trends - red and varying shades of purple, lace, nude, shimmer and sequins- Oscar fashion always falls into five reliable camps:
PRETTY: Romantic, frothy, lacy and sometimes more than a little too fairy princess for grown women. But pretty all the same. The kind of relatable fashion that most women can imagine themselves wearing if they needed to be RCR. Last night Natalie Portman inspired leagues of pregnant women how to do a maternity evening look well. Halle Berry would look stunning wearing a belted garment bag but her floaty nude Marchesa confection led the charge in pretty.
HIGH FASHION: Strong, statuesque types like Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Tilda Swinton dress for fashion's sake and not for wolf whistles. They take risks knowing they will be pilloried by the press. I love them for it and I loved the Givenchy Haute Couture creation that Cate Blanchette wore last night.
STATUETTE: Sequined columns that suggest Oscar himself like Gwyneth Paltrow's liquid platinum gown by Calvin Klein or Amy Adams in a sapphire sequined L'Wren Scott.
TRAIN WRECK: Helena Bonham Carter has been helming this category for years. Her period costume drama sensibilities are okay with me. She lives with Tim Burton. What more do we need to know? Sadly, there aren't enough train wrecks of the Cher in Bob Mackie variety to look forward to anymore. The majority of actresses are savvy enough to hire a good stylist. However, Melissa Leo's hand tooled leather lace number by Marc Bouwer did not disappoint. And the perfect accessory for a certified TW? An F-bomb. Fun!
ABOVE THE SCRUM: There are a few actresses who by keeping things simple manage to navigate the rocky shoals of Oscar style like Helen Mirren in steel gray Vivienne Westwood, Ann Hathaway in an 'archival ' red Valentino and Sandra Bullock in red Vera Wang.
Engineers have compared the construction of a great bra to a suspension bridge. Think about it: are you wearing an architectural masterpiece like the Brooklyn Bridge or Tarzan's rope walk under your sweater? No other garment has the potential to either optimize or undo a woman's silhouette like her bra. Take time to find the right ones. Try them on under a tissue tee or a lightweight sweater to get the true effect ( because everyone else will).
The right bra will:
Provide lift and support.
Sit in the center of your torso ( front and back). The cups should shape your breasts for a symmetrical look (making your torso appear longer and slimmer from every angle).
Have a cup shape and depth that is in exact proportion with the size and shape of your breasts: no spillage over the top or sides, or from the bottom of the cup ( really obvious in tee shirts).
Have a strap width and length that doesn't dig into or slip from your shoulders. If your straps are pulled to the tightest position, your bra is too big.
The band should fit securely across the middle of your back when fastened on the tightest set of hooks. A band that rides up creates VBL ( visible bra line known less charitably as back bacon) that flesh roll above your band. Loose also means that your breasts will drift southward from lack of support. A bra worn on the furthest set of hooks is too big since bras give a bit with wear.
Check how your bras fit every six months because even subtle weight shifts and hormones that cause fluid retention and GRAVITY can change the fit enough that you may need to do some fine tuning.
Start the new year with a new bra. And when you've weeded out any that no longer fit you perfectly - put them to good use. Between now and February 14 Soma Intimates Boutiques
have partnered with Dress For Success
and Bra Recyclers
to collect new and gently used bras to donate to women in need across the country as the one piece of clothing that needy women most often lack is a good bra. You can drop yours off at a Soma boutique near you or contact Bra Recyclers for donation information.