Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Every season, you can find lists upon lists of "what's hot, and what's not", which basically means "what you should go out and purchase, and what you should throw away".  I refuse to let someone else tell me what I need, like, or prefer, so I decided to put together my own personal "What's Hot" list.  The results follow....

Sometime soon, when I catch up on sleep, I'll do a "What's NOT" list too.

Sweaters – DAKS, socks – House of Fraser

cardigans - J. Crew
Skirt – Prabal Gurunga, blazer – Hermès, Sneakers – Vans, handbag – Karen Millen

all clothing - Donna Karan

Sweater – D & G,  tee shirt – Miss Selfridge, socks - Marimekko

all jewelry is my own

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

But I've started a new job - in a BAKERY!!!  My schedule is totally kerfluffulated (yes, that's the technical term), and my ability to do anything but work and sleep is very limited.

I'll be back, as soon as I get myself sorted out.  I think of you all, every day!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Remember this?  from 1981...

Some of the advice was timeless, and some of it is quite dated, but it was a delightful blast from the past to thumb through this again...

My favorite bits from this book were always the "15 ways to wear a ______".  Below is my take on the 15 ways to wear a tee shirt.  Note that I've not bothered with the last 3 suggestions, as 2 of them were to wear a tee shirt over a swimsuit, and the last idea was to wear tee shirts for sleeping.  I think you don't need to see that one illustrated...

Tee shirt & pants – J. Crew, stud earrings –, bracelets – Dorothy Perkins, belt – Paul & Joe, sandals – Diane von Furstenberg, white tee shirt – Michael Stars, blue pants – See by Chloe, scarf – J. Crew, espadrilles – Andre Assous

Tee shirt – J. Crew, Pants – Michael Kors, earrings – Mallarino Dahlia, gold belt – B-Low, gold sandals – Emilio Pucci, silver ball earrings – Debenhams, grey tee shirt – J. Crew, silver sandals – Havianas, sarong – Monsoon

Tee shirt – J. Crew, silk sarong – Yves Saint Laurent, earrings – Mallarino Dahlia, gold belt – B-Low, gold sandals – Emilio Pucci, red bag & belt – Valentino, red pumps – L.K.Bennett, long-sleeved tee – James Perse, silk skirt – Sonia Rykiel 

Tee shirt – J. Crew, skirt – Erdem, earrings – Renee Lewis, sandals – Mystique, gold bracelets – Banana Republic, gold belt – Diane von Furstenberg, white tee shirt – Michael Stars, striped pants – The Row, gold sandals - Unisa 
Tee shirts – J. Crew, safari jacket – Dorothy Perkins, pants – Michael Kors, brown belt – Madewell,  brown sandals – Gucci, silver belt – Mango, silver sandals – Giuseppe Zanotti

Shirt – D&G, tee shirt – Michael Stars, pants – J. Crew, stud earrings –, bracelets – Dorothy Perkins, belt – Paul & Joe, sandals – Diane von Furstenberg, shirtdress – Vanessa Bruno, tee shirt – J. Crew

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What I wear all winter long - to "go-to" wardrobe for almost any occasion:

  1. black cashmere cardigan - Lands' End.  If my entire wardrobe horribly disappears, this might be the first garment I replace.  Goes over every tee shirt, dress, or blouse, all year long.
  2. the short-sleeved sweater that matches the cardigan - also Lands' End.  Like a tee shirt, but cashmere.  
  3. black cashmere turtleneck - Lands' End AGAIN.  I wear it with jeans, I wear it with silk pants, I wear it with a velvet skirt.
  4. black cashmere v-neck sweater - LE, of course.  over a tee shirt, or on it's own...
  5. black velvet jeans - Eileen Fisher.  Jeans, but so much more.
  6. black velvet corduroy trousers - Eddie Bauer.  I love these pants so much that when they wear out, I'm going to find a tailor to re-create them for me.
  7. black knit pencil skirt - Eileen Fisher.  Won't wrinkle, won't ride up, and goes with everything I own, 365 days a year.  The second thing I would replace if I had to start from scratch.
  8. black cashmere cabled sweater - Lands' End.  Thick, heavy, luscious, heavenly texture.  

Essential accessories:
  1. My Kenneth Jay Lane cuff bracelet.  A little punch of WOW onto anything.
  2. pearl necklace and 
  3. earrings - Majorica.  I much prefer pearls to any other jewelry - I'm all about luster and glowing and subtle radiance.
  4. pearl ring - Charlotte Santa Fe.  Pearl set in heat-treated stainless steel.  I just love it.
  5. two Hermes scarves - De Tout Coeur, and 
  6. Voyages en Etoffes.  Both gifts from my belovedest. They brighten up my outfits, and my heart.   
  7. Cap-toed pumps, and 
  8. lizard embossed Belgian loafers - Stuart Weitzman.  I could conquer the world with just these 2 pair of shoes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The most interesting thing I've discovered in building four spring break wardrobes is how many items can be worn regardless of one's age or preferred level of modesty.  Every wardrobe has had a striped tee shirt or two, a Chan Luu bracelet, ballet flats, the same white denim skirt, a tote bag, some simple tee shirts, and a cardigan or two.  Timeless, indeed!

Tee & pants  – Vince, cardigan –, tote – Vanessa Bruno, earrings – Macy’s, bracelet – Chan Luu,  flats – Tod’s,  carry-on bag - Tumi

Navy silk tunic – Vince, Swim dress - Speedo, cover up/tunic – Milly Ava, silk dress – Yves Saint Laurent, flowered dress - Lanvin, striped tee shirt – Velvet, grey tee shirt, white tee shirt – Acne, glitter espadrilles – Toms, navy sandals – Dezario, linen cropped pants – Seasalt, flowered skirt – Cacharel, grey twill pants – Old Navy, white skirt – Closed, grey cotton cardigan – Maison Martin Margiela

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's not uncommon to have to go straight from the office to the train/car/airport, so this selection accommodates that need.  An oxford striped shirtdress as a swimsuit cover-up, some more modest shorts, and more dresses than before make this a very adult vacation ensemble!

Tee – Splendid, blazer & pants – 3.1 Phillip Lim,  tote – Alexander McQueen, earrings –, bracelet – Chan Luu,  flats – Bottega Veneta, carry-on bag - Victorinox

swimsuits – Nina Ricci, flat metallic sandals – Jimmy Choo, navy & white striped oxford shirtdress – Thom Browne, stripeacd dress – Michael Kors, print cardigan – Crumpet England, Dress – Diane Von Furstenberg, draped top – Alloy, white sneakers – Keds, tee shirts – Splendid, tie-dyed shorts – Henrik Vibskov, white shorts – Lanvin, print skirt – Marni, striped espadrilles – Kate Spade, white skirt – Closed, striped tee shirt – Nicole Farhi

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This is a bit more adult version of yesterday's pack, with longer shorts, an additional skirt, nicer quality sandals... but it's really all about the tote bag!

Tee – A.P.C., Jeans – Yves Saint Laurent, black linen blazer – Paul Smith, tote – Totem, earrings – Debenhams, bracelet – Mars & Valentine,  flats – Tod’s, carry-on bag - Rimowa

swimsuits – Norma Kamali, shirtdress – Miu Miu, red studded sandals – Balenciaga, cardigan – Organic by John Patrick Sleeveless dress – Valentino R.E.D., draped neck top – Steffen Schraut, striped top – Tsumori Chisato, white skirt – Closed, shorts – Marc by Marc Jacobs, white sandals – Miu Miu, tank tops – Patagonia, black & white sandals – Matt Bernson, printed silk skirt – Thomas Wylde

Friday, February 17, 2012

A young reader asked me to suggest what to pack for spring break, based on her preferred water colors, and on two bikinis she owns.  These are my ideas...

Tee – J. Crew, Jeans – Place des Tendances, cardigan – J. Crew, tote – Modcloth, earrings – Jamie Joseph, bracelet – Chan Luu,  flats – Nine West, carry-on bag - Heys

Note that I ALWAYS recommend long pants, closed-toe shoes, and a cardigan or jacket for travel.  When you embark on a voyage, you truly have no idea how long you'll be traveling, or under what conditions.  But you know that (a) planes are cold, (b) airports are big, and (c) it's nicer to take off too much clothing than it is to wrap oneself in an airplane blanket!

bikinis – Hurley, hoodie – Patagonia, strapless swimsuit – J. Crew, tunic/short dress – Dorothy Perkins, top – Reiss online, tank tops and shorts –, print tee shirt – Stella McCartney, white skirt – Closed, cardigan- Patagonia, flip flops – Old Navy

I have three more variations of this suitcase to come, in gradually more modest and/or mature versions.  Some variation in colors, too...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

So I've decided that I'm going to curate my wardrobe in groupings of eight, in keeping with the plan that seems to be working so well for other wardrobes that I build!  And first up, the highly utilitarian work wardrobe for the winter holidays.  Cotton turtlenecks from Lands' End, sweatshirts from Lands' End and Adidas, and jeans from NYDJ (stretch jeans are ESSENTIAL if climbing is in your job description).  I didn't need a lot of clothes, because I'd have to come home most evenings and immediately launder whatever I'd been wearing...

To me, this wardrobe, while not particularly dressy or innovative, is elegant, if you define elegance as simple, timeless, and appropriate to the situation at hand!

And I've chosen to include eight accessories/pieces of outerwear with each eight garments that I choose.  For the winter holiday work, I have to have: 
  • my Barbour coat, 
  • cheap black earmuffs from who knows where, 
  • Falke leather gloves that I've had for AT LEAST 10 years, 
  • my Camper pelotas shoes (best climbing shoes ever!), 
  • an Hermes scarf (yes, I wear Hermes with a sweatshirt)
  • two paisley scarves from Diwali Paris,
  • stainless steel ball earrings.  I'd love to wear other jewelry, but I have to wear something that won't chip or scratch if I catch a box in the face.  Yes, that happens!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lots of people really liked my post about a "Chanel-inspired" wardrobe based on 2 suits, but expressed concern because they found it too dressy.  So I've tried here to work from the same general idea - four garment groupings in 2 neutral shades, and then build around them for a 24-piece wardrobe.  This is primarily a very casual wardrobe, with only one skirt, and one dressy blouse.  There are some flowers, and some lace, and the obligatory Spring 2012 pair of "fashion color" pants...  Enjoy!

Sweater – Topshop, pants – Rabens Saloner, tee shirt – Shakuhachi, denim pants – A.L.C., olive sweater – Cacharel, olive pants – Closed,  blouse – Bruuns Bazaar, shorts – Denim & Supply

Beige Cardigan – Fatface, tee – Zucca, peach sweater – Carven, yellow sweater – Burberry Brit,  olive cardigan & tee – Patagonia, yellow tee – Acne, peach silk blouse – Vanessa Bruno

Tee – Very, floral tee – Topshop, tan top – Topshop, baseball top – Mulberry, zip hem jeans – Moto, skirt – Marni, shorts – Alberta Ferretti, cropped chinos – Junya Watenabe

Monday, February 13, 2012

These emails always mean trouble...

So if you're not busy Friday, there's an auction of vintage Hermes items, in Paris.

Artcurial has Hermes auctions twice a year - vintage everything made by Hermes.  Just scrolling through the lots here will give you food for many drooling dreams...

Which begs the question in my mind: am I leaving anything behind me, at the end of my life, which would even be WORTH auctioning?

I don't want to have wasted every penny I've ever spent on things that my heirs will just throw away...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fedora – Rag & Bone, scarf – Faliero Sarti, coat – Yves Saint Laurent, peacoat – Burberry, scarf – Whistles, gloves – Lacoste

Hot pink scarf – Fendi, Hot pink gloves – Dents, denim jacket – H&M, teal beanie – Topshop, leather jacket – Reiss, scarf – J. Crew

Friday, February 10, 2012

This was me, last night.  Only I was red, too!  Excellent sculpture by Michelle C. Gallagher
One of my great assets has always been my skin.  It's pale, smooth, and immune to pretty much any abuse - I could wash my face with laundry detergent, and I don't think it would matter much!  So when a very dear friend of mine gave me a few skincare product samples to try, I didn't think there was any risk involved.

Now mind you, this was product from a VERY reputable company, and it is quite well-known stuff.  Desirable, even.  Quite high priced, and considered to be the bee's knees of beauty goop.

So I apply said goop to my normally asbestos face.  60 seconds later, itching.  90 seconds later, a shade of red normally seen on ripe summer fruits.  120 seconds later, AMAZING swelling commences.  121 seconds later, I'm under the shower, blasting this stuff off of me!

Benadryl follows.  So does sitting awake for a few hours past my normal bedtime, just in case something else untoward decided to erupt...

Research this morning indicates that this expensive, widely advertised, miracle face sludge contains (count them) FIVE known skin irritants!  Five!!!  (the excellent site is a treasure trove of dispassionate, fact-based information)

Skin care cream containing known skin irritants?  This leaves me even more aghast at the reckless idiocy of the world than usual, and that's pretty bad.

Moral of the embarrassing story: believe nothing in advertising.  Trust only science, and your own good sense.  And when something advises a "patch test", for heaven's sake, DO IT!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Maybe because it's been dark and gloomy, or maybe because Valentine's Day is barreling down upon us, but I've seen quite a few red coats in the last week, on women from 18 to 80.  They certainly brighten up an otherwise severe city sidewalk!

Red jacket – Donna Karan, black skinny jeans – Rag & Bone, red hi tops – Converse Chuck Taylor, red peacoat – DSquared2, striped scarf – John Lewis, navy trousers – Reiss, navy loafers – Easy Spirit,

Trench – Burberry,  tote bag – Kate Spade, black boots – Liz Claiborne, black tights – Oasis, scarf – Yves Saint Laurent, wool coat – Mauro Grifoni, grey pants – Viyella, patent loafers – Kate Spade

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

For years, I would tear out articles or images from magazines and keep them if they interested me, or resonated with me on some level.  In a fit of technology-inspired tidying, I scanned them all about six years ago.  Just today, I was browsing through them - aside from the very 80's or early 90's vibe from some of the photographs, a lot of the information was rather timeless.

One that I thought of a lot was the following.  I've erased her identity, because I'm quite sure that after 20 years, she doesn't want to be seeing herself all over the internet...

As I work toward identifying "the number" for the size of my upcoming carefully curated wardrobe, I'm seeing suggestions ranging from 10 to 1,000 - giving me a lot of things to consider.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

repeat after me: left over right, then right over left...

I don't wear this knot terribly often, but it's very handy to know, as there are two variations using a square knot, and once you know how to tie this one, you can do it without a mirror...

Start with a bias folded scarf, or a rectangular scarf, and center it behind your neck like so:

Bring the left part over the right part:

and loop it over and through - standard knot-tying procedure:

Now here's where many people go awry.  Your normal instinct is to take the "new" left end and take it back over the "new" right end.  Resist such instinct, and instead, bring the RIGHT SIDE OVER THE LEFT SIDE.  (I could get into a technical explanation of how changing direction alters the direction of the weave of the fabric within the knot, and strengthens the knot, but we're not mooring a ship here...)

 Do the normal loop through and pull, and you get a knot that's relatively square, and from which the ends will protrude in a rather horizontal manner for a few inches, until the weight of the fabric causes the ends to drop down a bit.

I more frequently will double wrap a scarf and then square knot it; center the scarf in front of your neck:

cross the ends behind your neck, leaving you with nice tidy short ends:

Left over right, pull through, RIGHT OVER LEFT, pull through, and this is what you have:

Just for informational purposes, if you tie the knot "left over right, left over right", you have tied what my father called a Granny Knot (I have no idea if this is a real knot name - if my dad said it, it's good enough for me!), and this is what it looks like:

if this is your desired effect, go for it!

I like the shorter knotted version in cold weather, or under a jacket - it gives a nice dash of color, and is quite insulating.  For many people, a lower square knot can be quite flattering.  I find that it's silken coals to Newcastle to put anything additional mid-torso, for me...