Monday, January 26, 2009

Brush Strokes

With my internship days switched around this week, I found myself in my apartment today without much to do. I opened the door to my closet, which I've been putting off organizing for at least a year, and pulled out clothes to try on and assess. This did not turn out well. I spent most of the time prancing around in various dresses and skirts.

This foray into pretend cleaning led me to one conclusion. I'm done with winter. Yes, it's still January. And yes, I've only just broken in the awesome boots that I got for Christmas. But I'm ready for skirts and dresses sans tights. For the green, swing jacket and The Cardigan. Apparently I only like dressing for those in between seasons. Fall is all about blazers and skinny corduroys and the right amount of amount of crispness in the air. Spring is for floaty dresses and cropped jeans with ballet flats.

This all, of course, led to my sitting on my bed in a patterned skirt and a white tank scouring the internet for Spring merchandise like this dress.

Painterly patterns and I are totally going to run away together.

Photo via

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ball Time

With the weather dipping into the single digits, I decided that leaving my apartment this weekend wasn't absolutely necessary. I spent most of yesterday watching the first four episodes of Friday Night Lights followed by first round Australian Open tennis. I tried to avoid the major news networks. I love Obama as much as the next girl, but the wall to wall coverage is driving me insane. However, I wanted to do my part to commemorate this special occasion. So between watching pretty boys pretend to push each other around on a field and other pretty boys hit balls back and forth on a court, I browsed the Fall/Winter 2008 and Resort 2009 collections for dresses that I might have worn if I had been invited to one of tomorrow's inaugural balls.

Firstly, we have this option from Temperley.

This is the only long dress that I chose. The length is broken up by the slit up the middle. I have major issues with people in their 20s wearing gown length dresses. It's very, very easy to age yourself. You can still be black tie appropriate without your skirt touching the floor. The color of this dress reminds me of the midnight blue hue of my senior prom dress without the sparkles and the huge skirt. The floating away that occurs beneath the bust line would hide my tummy, and it leaves me comfortable. No need for Spanx or other restrictive garments. I could breathe and eat and drink in this dress.

Secondly, we have this option from Marchesa.

I am not a fan of metallics in clothing. A metallic thread making its way through a black piece of clothing is fine. A metallic shoe or bag or ring is perfectly acceptable to me. But a metallic dress is not. New Year's Eve 2007, I wore a silver dress that my mother bought me for Christmas. I love that dress. But the silver is tempered by black thread that runs throughout it. I didn't look like a piece of aluminum foil. And, to be honest, I've only worn it once since then. But I couldn't stop looking at this dress. It doesn't say I am a shiny piece of gold jewelry. I love the definition of the bodice. The pleating of the skirt. The fact that, once again, I would be comfortable.

Finally, we have this option from Tracy Reese.

This dress is my favorite. I'm not completely sure why. Like with most of my favorite pieces, all rational thinking flees and emotion overtakes me. It just feels right. The deconstructed floral pattern in deep reds and black. The sheer portion at the top. The length.

Apparently I'm more of a fan of color and pattern than I give myself credit for.

Photos via

Friday, January 16, 2009

What About This? Part V

When I turned 25 last year, I realized that I had known the next friend in this series for more than half of my life. 15 years to be exact. On the day of our all school picture in the fall of 1993, she was wearing jean overalls, a red shirt and red socks. I was rocking a purple dress with pink flowers and pink tights. There might have been a scrunchie involved.

A lot has changed since then. We have both grown at least eight inches. We sat through eight graduation ceremonies with eight different dresses. Florals and pastels for the first seven. White for our own. And now, for some reason, I see 17 year olds walking down the street dressed almost exactly as we were on that picture day. Things have apparently come full circle.

She is a little bit taller than I am but, like every other female in the world, has hips. I've tried to include shots of color for the most part and pick pieces that can be worn in many different combinations.

Last year to break in her new apartment, she held a clothes swap for all of her friends. I left with one pair of cropped pants, three shirts, one skirt and one of her cardigans. So in exchange, I present to her A Tale of Two Cardigans.

But before you can deal with the top half, you need the perfect jeans for a backdrop. These high heeled flare jeans are great for taller girls. The extra length means that she can wear it with a wider range of shoes. And no one has ever looked bad in a flared leg.

For a day trip to the Brooklyn Flea or the local farmer's market, you need something you can just throw on while still looking put together. (There are a lot of cute boys walking around those places. It's always best to be prepared.) Horizontal stripes can be tricky for just about everyone, but the shawl front of this cardigan breaks up the pattern just enough to make it wearable.

A simple shirt that works with everything.

Walking is a large part of any Brooklyn weekend adventure. These sneakers will make ensure that she's comfortably stylish.

A soft, neutral bag goes with everything. And she could totally fit some bagged produce in there.

When the night rolls around, she can easily change everything but the jeans. This deep purple cardigan can be left open or closed for dinner or drinks with friends.

But with this blouse, leaving the cardigan open is the best way to show off the detailing at the neck.

While this belt accents the waist as the color adds a pop to the purple of the sweater.

Flat boots can be worn with everything, everywhere.

She is a fan of the statement ring, usually featuring a non-precious stone. This ring lacks a stone, but the oxidation in the indentation adds just enough visual interest.

Though both of the above outfits can be worn to her office, sometimes you get the urge to dress up a bit. She loves color and pattern. My closet, in comparison to hers, looks like a moody teenager who spends their time listening to Emo in the dark. So for days when she wants to dress up a bit at the office, this skirt has the perfect combination of the two. Painterly elements have been really big recently, and I like how that leaves the pattern looking more deconstructed.

When you're wearing such a vivid piece, it's best to let it have the spotlight and keep everything else very simple, like with this sweater.

You can never have too many pairs of black, opaque tights. Especially when the temperature is dipping into the 20s.

Black wedges possess the same versatile qualities of black pumps without the pain.

This bag can be brought to the office in its folded over state and used for a short weekend trip in its fully extended state.

So this dress isn't exactly weather appropriate or necessarily office appropriate, but I think it's absolute perfection. The floral pattern filled with purples and greens. The band right below the bust that will make any girl look particularly teeny. The way the skirt floats away. An airy dress with structure.

A few months ago, we were sitting in her living room waiting for the Thai food delivery guy to arrive. It was stormy out, so she threw on her raincoat when she went down to retrieve the curry and steamed dumplings. Before she opened the door, she turned to me. I never see people in New York wearing raincoats. I thought about it for a moment and agreed. I hadn't worn a raincoat in years. I usually wear a light jacket and carry my pink umbrella. When I'm feeling ambitious, I throw on my trench coat.

If there's one thing every girl needs, it's a trench. But who wants to get lost in a sea of beige when you can wear a coat like this one.

Photos via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tie Games

I readily admit that I know very little about men's clothing. I know what I think they look nice in, but I don't always know why I'm drawn to one particular item over another. But given all that, I'm still going to talk about a picture from this event.

Seriously, what the fuck? Are there no other tie colors besides red and blue gentlemen? Maybe the general public sees this as patriotic or something, but I see it as a sign that you lack a creative mind. Or that you simply choose not to listen to it, which is not a trait I like in my politicians. Are your PR people dressing you? Wait. Don't tell me. I already know the answer. Maybe we can look into some dark plums. Or a hunter green. I would even put up with the dreaded goldenrods that every boy at my college seemed to own.

On a side note, stand up straight Mr. I'm Only President for a Little Bit Longer. It looks like you're trying to bolt before your time is up. And will someone move closer to Jimmy? He's looking a little lost on the end.

Photo via

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What About This? Part IV

So this post has been sitting in draft form for weeks to the point where many of the items are now extremely marked down. With the holidays and the laziness and the start of the new year and the laziness, it's been hard getting this one off the ground.

Next up we have Now in Boston friend. She, Dance-y friend and I worked at the same company before scattering like leaves on a warm, autumn breeze. Or, more appropriately, like rats fleeing a hurricane. With NiB friend, we return to someone on the shorter side of things. She is smaller on top than she is on the bottom, which is actually the case with all of my friends. Apparently I'm just a non-hipped weirdo.

When living in Boston, your coats are some of the most important pieces of your wardrobe. As a hometown girl, I can tell you that the last of the snow often didn't melt until early April. And having a sweater in your tote is necessary for most of the year. If there is one city that calls for a classic all-rounder, Boston is it. And with her shape, she can pull off the double breasting in this coat.

I saw the brand that makes this scarf at a tradeshow I attended while at my internship, and I wanted to take their entire soft, warm, cashmere booth home with me. It comes in a rainbow of options, but I like this choice as I think it would set off her eyes very nicely.

NiB friend is also a lover of the Marc Jacobs purse. This one comes with his classic quilting. And I think the fire engine red would look really great as you carried it through a snow shower. You know, when everything's still pretty. Before the city is overtaken by the gray slush that seeps through your shoes and leaves you disgruntled and susceptible to frostbite.

NiB friend works at a company where she can wear jeans to work. The thing about wearing jeans to the office is that you sometimes have to overcome the urge to show up looking like a piece of shit. Maybe you went a little overboard after someone at your favorite restaurant bought tequila shots for the bar on a Wednesday night (not that I would know anything about such shenanigans). Or perhaps you and your co-workers drank a six pack on a commuter train because, really, how else can you get through a 1.5 hour commute after a day from hell. Trouser cut jeans makes the next day dressing simpler. They always look pulled together and flatter almost every shape. All you are left to worry about is the top half. And where you put the Advil.

But because they are jeans, they also work outside of the office. Like on a lazy Sunday, when all you want to do is throw on a comfy sweater.

Maybe with a pair of sequined Chucks.

At the office, layer dressing is key. For some reason, office buildings are always 10 degrees too hot or too cold. Our old office had a constant case of icebox, which meant that we always had sweaters, like this cardigan, or jackets at the ready in the middle of the summer. We had to keep an eye on them though. There were some people in the office who were constant sweater snatchers. And chair snatchers. And snack snatchers.

Higher necklines, like the one on this sweater, can be hard to for many women to pull off. Except for NiB, who would look great in this sweater. And the vertical ribbing adds a nice contrast to the horizontal ribbing in the cardigan.

Her puppy, who once spent a good part of a car trip licking my arm because of the lotion I was wearing, got a bit too mouthy with her cowboy boots. And leather and sharp teeth do not mix. I suggest a high hiding place for this pair.

Some days you have to put the jeans away. Maybe for meetings or interviews or just for the fuck of it. This skirt, with its length and color, is appropriate for all of those circumstances.

The slim cut of this blouse is the perfect partner for the pleating and volume of the skirt.

Gray tights will keep her warm while allowing her to stray from the classic black in a way that still works for the office.

A classic heel
for a classically styled outfit.

The first thing I do when I start thinking about these posts is make a bookmark folder labeled with the name of the subject. At least half of the items I find when browsing get discarded before I settle on the final pieces. I kept coming back to this dress. I searched for things with more color as I'd kind of fallen down on the job in that respect (sorry NiB friend!). But this dress, with its defined bodice and the skirt that floats away from the body in progressively darker colors and the exposed zipper in the back. This was the dress. Color be damned.

You can always leave the color to the shoes.

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