Thursday, November 29, 2007

Black Sneakers: the Ultimate in Geek Chic?

All-black sneakers are kind of like black jeans. They look extremely cool on certain people, while making others should I say it...extremely geeky.

But some of us are willing to risk looking like a perfect geek. I'm going to Paris on holiday this March, and as I'm a big believer in quietly combining comfort and style, I need to find a pair of cute all-black sneakers to match up with with tights and skirts. I am toying with finally giving in and snapping up a pair of all-black Converse, but does anyone have any other suggestions? My wish is to find Keds with black soles...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holiday (Personal) Shopping

Why is it that we spend more time buying stuff for ourselves during the holidays than we do our friends and family?

Of course I revel in finding that perfect gift for Mom, or Best Friend, or Boyfriend, but I'm only slightly shamed to admit that not a shopping trip goes by where I don't sneak in a sparkly blouse here or a pair of lace-up oxfords there.

For instance, these Eames coasters -- picked out by Grace at DesignSponge -- work well in my boyfriend's thoroughly modern apartment, but I can't help envisioning them in my psuedo-Parisian boudior that subtly hints of the mid-century. Maybe a "his and hers" moment is in order.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Christmas Song Story

In college I worked with several school friends at a Christmas shop in Boston's Faneuil Hall. The store has since closed, but memories of listening to Christmas tunes in the heat of summer remain.

Now, I'm the first to admit that listening to Silver Bells in August isn't always so appealing. But seeing as it's nearing December, I think it's time to add some classic carols to the iPod. Here are my picks. P.S. You can thank my mother for my excellent taste in holiday music.

John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together
I love this album. Many of the songs are originals, and others are silly muppet variations on the classics.

A Carpenter's Christmas
Can you tell I'm a child of the early '80s? My mother wasn't a Carpenters fan in particular -- they were a little too whitebread for her, but she did love the Christmas album. And I love Karen Carpenter's voice.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
I listen to this year round -- the composition is gorgeous.

Chipmunk's Christmas

Did you hear they're making a Chipmunk's feature film? Isn't that a generation (or two) too late? Regardless, i still want a hula hoop...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

That '70s Catalog

This image is being passed around with several others from a late 1970s JC Penney's catalog. Although the guy's swimsuit is a bit ridiculous, I have to say, I'm digging the girl's maillot.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gifting Lesson #1: Books

As we're nearing the holiday season, I thought I might share with you some tips on gift giving. I will say that although I am not always the bearer of the best gift, once in a while I do hit one out of the ball park. One of my favorite gifts to give is a book. I feel that they're the most specific pressies out there -- you can really pin down one's personality with literature. Some of my favorites for the holidays include:

Stylist: The Interpreters of Fashion
Sarah Mower
Mower's an American Vogue writer living in London and does a lot of work for the Telegraph as well -- she expertly reports the little-known world of stylists. It's a great coffee table book, too -- visually stunning.

Farid Chenoune

Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the house of Christian Dior.

Transit Maps of the World
Mark Ovenden
My bf's pick -- for anyone who loves design and travelling, this is ideal.

Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas
Chuck Klosterman
Great pop culture critic. Actually, great writer in general.

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster
By Dana Thomas
Great debate about the future of the luxury industry.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why I Can't Afford A Winter Coat: The Disappearance of Mid-level Retail.

My friend Emme and I often get into very heavy discussion about a very fluffy subject: the fashion industry. And we've been chatting about the cost of clothes more than ever. I am obsessed with two winter coats this season, both of them terribly trendy, and both of them upwards of $700. Now, I would certainly justify buying a pricey coat if it was a long-lasting piece. After all, you wear it daily and it's a necessity. My handbag, for instance, was a little pricey but I've worn it nearly every single day for the last three years (it's a Jas MB, if you're wondering).

But neither of these coats are lifers. My decision? A very fashion forward coat from H&M at a very doable price: just $90 (with a 30% coupon).

As high-fashion costs skyrocket, prices at mid-level retailers are creeping up as well. A winter coat at APC, which ran $300-$400 dollars a couple of years back, is now upward of $600. Urban Outfitters is selling dresses for $400. And an approachable designer like 3.1 Phillip Lim, lauded for being affordable, is now selling dresses at $1,000+. Heck, even H&M's prices are going up. With the threat of recession, will retailers bring the prices back down?

I Heart Members Only

Sorry I've been MIA everyone. I had quite a busy week and would like to share some of it with you. First off, did I ever tell you I've a special place in my heart for 1980s threads? As much as I would love to wear '40s style head-to-toe, the '80s are so easy: preppy plaids, booties, leggings, berets. I've got them all, and I flaunt them all.

So, of course, I was thrilled when my friend Julia told me she'd be designing a new women's line for '80s brand Members Only. The looks come straight from the decade and include acid wash jeans and gold lamé bomber jackets. The launch party was upstairs at the Bowery Hotel, but I have to say, it's the leaving gift that made me the happiest. A dead stock Members Only jacket in red. Congrats, Julia!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Working For Cocktails

I'm attending a few events around the city tonight for work -- one at the new Chopard store on Madison Ave, another at the Bowery Hotel downtown. Of course, I'm thrilled to be invited to both, particularly the Members Only re-launch at the Bowery Hotel -- my friend Julia is designing the line so I'm looking forward to seeing what she's come up with. Chopard -- albeit glamorous -- will require some grunt work. I have to stand on the red carpet and ask the celebrities in attendance what's on their wish lists for the holidays (a day job duty, of course).

My question is, how dressed up should I get for a party that I'm only invited to because I'm a journo? For Members' Only, I can wear something cool and comfortable, but for Chopard, it's "cocktail attire," which means I need to wear heels.

Finally, at 7am this morning, I decided on a black pencil skirt, patent Kate Spade Mary Janes, and a grey blouse with spaghetti straps. Grownup enough for Chopard, casual enough for Members Only. My ideal piece? This grey dress from 3.1 Phillip Lim. Maybe next party season.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Confession: I Hate The Beach

No, it's not because I'm uncomfortable in a bathing suit. Or because there are too many kids running around (although that does factor in occasionally). I hate the beach because it's sandy. It's salty. And most importantly, it somehow seems easier to develop a sunburn on the beach than by the pool.

That's probably not proven to be true -- but it sure feels true.

This summer, I took my first trip to the Hampton's, marking my first venture onto Long Island (yikes!) as well as the debut of my black 1950s pinup bathing suit. As much as I loved sporting the halter suit with strategic ruching, I didn't love the pile of sand that came out of my hair, in between my toes -- and other regions I won't mention -- whilst in the shower. I also didn't love my silly tan lines (which are still, amazingly, in place five months later) and most importantly, I didn't enjoy having to dip my feet in freezing cold salt water to stop from profusely sweating.

I hate to be down on sunshine and fine living in general, but give me a smokey cafe in Paris over a white beach in Ibiza any day.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Getting in Thigh Deep

As I sit at my desk, pulling up my tights, I wish that I had worn my thigh-highs.

That's right. I predominantly wear opaque thigh-highs during the winter in lieu of tights. Sure, they have a "sexy" connotation, but what they should really be known for is comfort. No more bulges, adjusting and wriggling. My gut doesn't get sucked in, but you know what? I deal with that just fine all summer long, so why not during the winter? It sure beats the itchy Lycra that often cuts a less-than-attractive figure.

Sure, there are some days that you have to wear full-on tights, and for those, I say go with the Spanx's high-waisted version. They reach all the way up to your bra so that there's no strange gapes. And for thigh-highs try, Givenchy's 40 denier version.