Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to: Runway to Everyday with Fall 2011 Fashion Trends

Describing someone as "trendy" is often a disparaging remark. Merriam-Webster defines trendy as "very fashonable; up to date," and a trend as "a current style or preference." According to these definitions I could say that everyone is at least a little trendy. Miranda Priestly said it best in "The Devil Wears Prada":  "You go to your closet and you select...I don't know...that lumpy blue sweater because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores....It's sort of comical how you think you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff." Even if you are not following the looks that show up on the runway every season you will inadvertently end up wearing clothing inspired by haute couture.

Every season I see trends that seem so out-there, and some designer always comes up with a way to translate this to the real world. This season there are many trends that can easily fit your lifestyle. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Polka Dots
Yves Saint Laurent, Diane von Furstenburg, Marc Jacobs and Gucci (just to name a few) showcased polka dots in their collections this fall. The picture on the left is YSL, and I think the shape and the patent detailing would make this a little impractical. The second dress (Kate Spade from Neiman Marcus) would fit most body types, is subtle but still fun and girly, and could be worn for multiple occasions.

     kate spade new york freesia polka-dot dress

2. Maxi Skirts
The maxi skirt showed up in many collections. This season's maxi skirt is conservative and comfortable but still sexy. The look from Tracy Reese is so boho and the colors are wonderful, bhere is a lot going on here. I think the outfit in the second picture would be easier to wear. It can be found in the Victoria's Secret catalog, believe it or not. I would add a fun necklace, earrings or bangle.

TRACY REESE Fall 2011 Fashion Week Photos 490946     

3. Oxford Wedges
The footwear this season is sky-high wedges with a masculine feel. Jill Sander dressed all of her models in feminine clothing and chunky heels. The patent leather is a little too much for me, but the taupe suede Pura Wedge by Dolce Vita could be worn with everything. The price tag is also more to my liking coming in at a fairly reasonable $89 while the pair by Jill Sander is closer to $700. These also come in black.

  Pura Lace Up Wedge

4. Bright-colored Pants
Pants of every shape were spotted in super-saturated hues. Although I love the color of the pants from Karen Walker (left), I'm not sure about the drawstring. Kim Kardashian's outfit uses similar pieces (a blazer, solid-colored shirt, chunky black heels) and looks more appropriate for everyday wear. The J Brand pants come in a rainbow of colors.

          J Brand 811 Mid-Rise Skinny Leg in Many Colors

5. Leather Skirts
This past February I did some damage out at the outlets. As I was walking to the cash register at Loft, I saw a gorgeous black leather skirt. I decided to take a peek. Low and behold this was the last one, in my size and $7! Since then it has hung in my closet because I had no idea what to wear with it. I was pleasantly surprised to see this look for Fall. The skirt from the runway is part of the Organic by John Patrick collection. It is a little long, and the sweater makes it look kind of frumpy. The skirt on the right is by Vince and looks very ladylike while still being relaxed. I would wear it with textured black tights, the Oxford Wedges (see above) and quirky jewelry. This would be great for our anniversary dinner next month!

Veggie dyed leather skirt from Organic by John Patrick Fall 2011 collection     

6. Long Layered Necklaces
I love jewelry! For Fall I'm all about the long layered necklaces. Chanel did it best with their Paris-Byzance Ready-to-Wear collection. I want the headpiece, too. The necklace from Chico's has the same feel as the Chanel one especially with the blazer. I'm going to hunt down a headband to go with it.


7. Python Bags
Tons of designers had python handbags in their collections. I've never really liked this look before, but for some reason this season is different. The bag on the left is from Valentino and I cannot even begin to guess how much it would cost. If you have to "request the price," you probably can't afford it. It is amazing and could be worn with everything. If I had the money this would be my go-to bag. The Kate Spade bag on the right is strikingly similar with the bonus of the cross body strap. Being that it is python the price is still too high for me, but I found many python-print leather bags that would fit my budget.

     carlyle nadine

8. Nail Polish
I find that most of the nail polish looks from the runway are simply not practical. The same can be said for this season. However, I did find some colors that would be perfect. Maroon, mauve, eggplant and metallic polishes were everywhere. The textures were a little extreme. I buy Zoya polish all the time, and was excited to see that many designers used the brand on their models. My favorite trend for the season was at GUiSHEM. Nails were painted in Lael with one nail on each hand in Goldie. LOVE!!

     Nail Polish-Lael SmNail Polish-Goldie Sm

There are several Fall trends that do not work for me but might be perfect for some of you: Chic ponchos, high slits and graphic tartan prints are all the rage. The runway can provide inspiration if you can find a way to make the latest trend fit your lifestyle, but remember that eventually you'll be buying clothing that reflects the styles of Fashion Week. Don't take my word for it. Just ask Miranda Priestly.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

I'm sure you all have lost something that was important to you. Whether it was your lucky marble, a favorite sweater haphazardly thrown in the dryer or a discontinued lipstick; you understand how difficult it is to let go of something that feels like a part of you.

Currently, I am grieving the loss of my favorite purse. Maybe it seems silly, but people attach memories to clothing. You never forget the details of a special event in your life. The clothes you wore are valuable details. The bag I'm talking about was the first large purchase I made on my own.

When I saw this bag, I fell in love. Initially, I experienced sticker-shock. I, of course, used multiple "phone a friend" lifelines. The purse was the perfect shade of brown and a fresh, lady-like shape with incredible details. Eventually, I was convinced that this would be an item I would carry every day. Utilizing the cost per wear formula I was almost certain this purchase would be beneficial.

The bag ended up literally attached to my hip. I was constantly getting compliments, and it went with every outfit. It exceeded my expectations in every way. The cost per wear ended up amounting to next to nothing.

My purse was by my side during many life-changing events. I wore it with my gray suit to my first real job interview. It sat beside me as my husband proposed. This bag managed to hold all of my necessities during my honeymoon and multiple vacations. It was a constant in my life.

Over the course of seven years it has taken a beating. The handles are worn, the stitching's coming undone and the lining is ripped in several places. It has had a long and fulfilling life.

Nearly a year ago it sustained irreparable damage. My faithful companion met a clumsy neon-colored slushie that left its mark (a large stain that covered the bottom third of one side and the entire underside). I was devastated. A 911 call was placed to the designer's customer service, and I was told there was nothing anyone could do to fix my beloved bag.

For awhile after the incident I continued to carry it on my shoulder. The huge stain stayed pressed against my side in an attempt to "keep pressure on the wound." I have halfheartedly looked for a replacement, but I lacked hope. During this time I have tried to let go. It has stood regally on a shelf in my closet.

I have tried several acceptable bags that have not come close to the standards set by my favorite purse. No website carries anything like it, and the designer has not made anything similar. I even checked Ebay and other online sites with no luck.

Recently I found a bag that left me feeling the way I felt about my old faithful. I hemmed and hawed for a month and finally broke down and bought it. I know it will never take the place of my old purse. I only hope that it will stay by my side through the next stage of my life. Now I feel closer to being able to say goodbye. I will respectfully send my bag into that great walk-in closet in the sky.

My old friend. It looks better in the picture than in real life.
Notice the discoloration on the bottom third of the bag:
That's from that silly slushie.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guest Blogger: "No One on the Corner Have Swagga Like Us"

Hello, out there. My name is Richard and I am married to Sarah, a fashion-queen. I am guest blogger, and I want to give my two-cents about the effect clothes can have on your self-confidence.

Let me share something with you all: I've been wearing the same clothes since high school. I've always been a t-shirt and jeans type of guy who really didn't put much thought into what I wore. I believed that if my clothes were comfortable, I was good. I knew a lot about clothes because I live with a woman who has a closet as big as my Man Cave, but I lacked confidence when it came to fashion.

However, there has always been something inside of me, a little voice saying, "You can do better than a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. You're sexier than that." That voice sounded a lot like Sarah. I've wanted to step up my fashion game, but like a lot of other men, my lack of confidence kept getting in the way. I didn't feel confident enough to wear stylish clothing and have that "swagga."

I had no idea what type of clothing I was into which added to my confusion. When you can't figure out what you like it really makes being "fashionable" a challenge. My wife broke it down for me. Start by identifying your personal style. What do you like? What are your requirements in various situations: Do you need to be comfortable, conservative for work or do you want to get attention from the opposite sex and affirmation from your friends ("Make 'em want you or want to be you," as my wife says).

I've always been a preppy guy waiting to break free. My look did not reflect that at all. The clothes I wore were more of an urban style. You know, baggy jeans and shirts that were one size too big. This was not me, and this was not how I wanted to look.

I know now that when you look your best you feel better about yourself. This leads to an increase in your self-confidence. Having confidence doesn't change who you are, but it changes how you see yourself. It might even change how others see you. Face it guys, women want confident men. They're not interested in an insecure guy. Oh and ladies, trust me, men dig confident women.

Recently, my wife helped me find my swagger. She went shopping for me and found some clothes that she knew would help me look my best. My girl can shop (I should make her take a picture of her closet to prove my point). She realized that I'm a preppy guy and she knows fashion, so I don't have a problem with her dressing me. When she got home and I tried on those clothes, let me tell you, I felt like a new man. This was the style I've wanted for a long time. When I go out now, I'm not insecure about what I'm wearing or worried about what other people are thinking. I know I look good. Swagger!

When you have that confidence and swagger, you talk differently, walk with your head held high, and have a smile on your face because you know that you look hot. I believe the saying that confidence comes from within, but try a new look and you'll be amazed by how good you feel about yourself. Put some swagger in your style.

              Before                       After (J.Crew v-neck and shorts, 
                                                                         Polo sneakers)

Fast Facts about Me:: I am a Sagittarius. Wild Berry Skittles are my favorite candy. I am a huge Atlanta Braves fan. People would call me a "history buff." My wife and I enjoy travelling around the United States, and we are looking forward to a trip overseas.

T.I. with Jay-Z featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne. "Swagger Like Us." Paper Trail. Grand Hustle, Atlantic, 2008. CD.

Upcoming Events for Central Florida Followers

In my post "My Love of Freshly-Sharpened Pencils and Pencil Skirts: Back-to-School Shopping," I discussed my excitement during this time of year. Even though some of us may not be going "back to school" we can still reap the rewards of the season. I suggested some great places to search for deals, but I just have to share some AMAZING events coming to the Orlando area.

J.Crew at the Premium Outlets (4951 International Drive; Orlando, FL 32819) is partnering with Kate Spade for a "Friends and Family" shopping event. You will receive special offers, drinks and appetizers. The date is either August 9th or 10th. I will pass on specifics when I receive them.

Also, the Kate Spade store at Premium Outlets on I-Drive is undergoing a revamp in the coming weeks. They will start carrying an array of clothing, shoes and even more fabulous jewelry in addition to their handbags and leather goods. This is also an invitation-only event. The date and time are set: August 30th from 6:30pm-11:30pm (you may be able to shop earlier in the day with the final transaction taking place that evening). Again, you get treated to savings and yummy treats.

If you are interested in attending either of these events, please email me your information ( I need to get them a headcount as soon as possible.

I don't know about you, but I'm SUPER excited. I'll be attending both events, and I'd love to see you all there!!

How to: Coordinate Your Nail Polish with Your Clothes

I'm sure some of you are wondering what nail polish has to do with fashion. Well, let me tell you: Nail polish can be a major accessory! It is as vital as a pair of earrings. Many of my acquaintances say that they never paint their fingernails, but polish on your nails is a finishing detail that should not be overlooked.

As an admitted nail polish addict, I can often be seen wandering the nail polish section in Ulta. Many happy hours have been spent researching the latest nail color trends. Each season I figure out which new looks I can rock and which ones I should leave on the runway.

Recently, my quest for the perfect polish became even more complicated. For the last several years I have slowly been moving towards an organic, cruelty-free lifestyle. All of my go-to brands did not meet my new requirements, so I had to find replacements.

It did not take long to see that their are not many organic polishes on the market. I decided to expand my search to include products that did not include harsh chemicals or solvents. They also had to be cruelty-free. I  researched tons of polish lines, many that I had never heard of before, and found some awesome nail polish manufacturers.

Armed with my new-found knowledge, I returned to my beloved Ulta. I was pleasantly surprised by the vast array of shades in the "healthier" brands. Now I could get back to one of my favorite accessories.

I love mixing colors and patterns. Nail polish is the easiest way to incorporate more textures and colors into your look. Notice I said "mix." Matching is no longer de rigueur (required by etiquette or current fashion). Nowadays you need to work at coordinating.

For example, you can start with a little black dress. I'm sure you knew I would suggest an LBD. Add a mango cardigan and pewter flats with fun details. Throw on a multicolored beaded necklace. Grab your silver purse and you're good to go.

Wait, wait, wait....You've left one "i" undotted, one "t" uncrossed. With the entire rainbow at your fingertips, which color do you choose? Well, let me suggest turquoise. It is bright; "coordinates" with your black, mango and pewter; and it's one of the trendiest nail colors this summer. Check out my turquoise nails!
I love how the necklace ties all of the colors together
(Nail Polish: Flyin' High by China Glaze)