Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cusps, Wings & Pretty Things

A whole other wing was added to the already gigantic Tysons Corner Shopping Center in McLean, Virginia. To my knowledge, the only reason why this particular mall is located outside Washington, D.C. proper is because, if placed inside, it would eat the entire city and not even bat an eyelash. This wing, which playfully channels an army bunker, only with more glass, signage and recessed lighting, houses an unfathomably large AMC movie theatre, a Barnes & Noble and assorted other "higher end" shopping options, you know, in case there weren't enough. I needed a personal GPS to keep me en route to my carefully chosen shopping destinations today; there was no room for dilly-dallying.

I'd never seen or heard of a store called Cusp until today, but the mannequins in the window were wearing some of my favorite pieces, including this confectionary sequined dress from Alice & Olivia that I have loved ever since Neiman Marcus debuted it before ShopBop could drape it on one of their personality-devoid models. If it weren't for the fact that this dress leaves little room for my boobs to carry out their function of not stifling my regular heartbeat, I would have snapped up this piece before you could say arrhythmia. What was special about the store, though, was that it afforded me the rare opporunity of touching the clothes I admire from the safe distance of my computer screen. I got more than the requisite three extra views to examine all the angles, I got to feel the clothes themselves, and that was no small treat.

I was pretty impressed at their range of designers and price points. Furthermore, they stock some pretty spanking new stuff, including this much-touted line from Karta. The clothes fall flat in pictures, perhaps due in part to the matte fabrics and simple lines, but in person they're positively divine. Each fabric is a dream to feel between your fingers and hangs elegantly on many frames. You can browse and purchase selections for the line at ShopBop, Singer 22 and Nordstrom. (Isn't it astonishing how differently the clothes are made to look depending on which stores photograph it?) Alternatively, you could just admire, like I do everyday, this heaven-spun little number:

What Cures Afternoon Nausea?

The great color combination in this Tufi Duek shift dress at Nordstrom?

The functional and flattering funnel neck on this gray Guess military-style coat?

The four-inch heel wonder of this lace-up oxford from Made By Elves?

How dangerously close I flirted with buying this VPL bra and wearing it, styled as seen?

The shoulder-baring glamour of this grecian ingwa; melero dress?

The announcement of the limited edition, criminally superior (even if a little boring...still) European styles on

Answer: all of the above.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

An Amsterdam Street Style Find

Click on the title for a link to the blog.

Cerulean Tinted Glasses

Like many girls my age, romanticizing Felicity's construction of life as a doe-eyed University of New York co-ed is second nature. Love or hate the big sweaters, for me her uniform came to represent innocence and intelligence. She looked so cozy bustling about in her thick cable knits and oversized coats, big hair flapping in the subway tunnel's stale breeze.

I don't look like Felicity and she would probably never don a coat like the one I'm about to plug, but my obsession with good outerwear begins and ends with four WB years of her coming of age. Seriously, was it ever warm in the city while she was there? But this isn't about Felicity, it's about GD coats! Remember Miranda Priestly's diatribe about cerulean? Ouch, but I definitely know the color when I see it now and I love saying it: cerrrrruuuuulean. How delicious.

Like this coat, called the Lady Day Overcoat. This particular shape is everywhere suddenly and acts as a welcome respite from the pressures of dressing like an androgynous pencil. I just love the peter pan collar. Even the bows on the pockets fill me with glee. My opinions of Anthropologie have darted all over the map over the years. Sometimes I am less than impressed with trying to pass faux patchwork and bohemian embellishments for actual design. Still, the whole lifestyle of the brand is impossible to dislike. Who wouldn't want to be a constantly vacationing retro dream woman?

So Much More Than Guitar Straps

I love this! $79 for the turtleneck at Built By Wendy. Their fall stuff has been added slowly but surely and I like the campaign images that allow you can see the clothes on real girls as opposed to lying limp atop a stark white background. I don't see the sweater she's in yet, but I'll snatch it up as soon as it's available.

13 Going on 21

We know Kate Young would totally back us up in our love of Delia*s, whose cheaper than cheap versions of trends win for overall ability to execute sharp style on a pre-teen's borrowed budget. The $548 price tag on last entry's adorable fall coat means it won't be in my hands anytime soon, so in the meantime, I can placate my unreachable wants with some attainable alternatives. Sure, the quality isn't the highest, but considering the turnover of most of the things in my closet, I'm not necessarily gunning for permanence with any of my purchases here.

Where Delia*s excels is in catering to their tween clientèle's lust for cute while managing to style them with the appropriate level of sophistication. What results is a mish-mash of 2*for graphic waffle tees that no self-respecting woman over the age of 15 would consider, and youthful, inexpensive pieces that totally hit the mark. Here are some of my picks from their new Autumn catalog.

  • This cropped jacket demonstrates a stylish twist on the traditional sailor's box shape. It narrows at the waist, but retains its nautical intelligence. Shoulder details and big black buttons feminize the look, but keep it sporty. I can see this working in all three of the colors.

  • This long number comes in such a fun plaid. At $88.50 is delivers a lot of style for your dollar. I would love to mix this with a brown and white floral blouse and a great rugged messenger bag.

  • I don't know how I feel about this style in Kelly green, but it is striking and rather fresh. The funnel neck is sure to be flattering. Anchor this with navy and crisp white. I would even try replacing the belt with something from your own closet. An easy jacket to wear with jeans, a crisp scarf and just about anything.

  • An unexpected find! A khaki capelet at Delia*s? Sure! This look is unique, but classic enough to wear with anything simple and ladylike.

  • Plaid is unavoidable this time of year, and who would want to? Delia*s has a ton of plaid coats, but these two coats do the job in tartan and buffalo. You'll never want to come indoors.

  • You can never have too many cardigans! The heart-shaped buttons may be going a little overboard, but I love the puff sleeves and this timeless color. It's cropped, so it it will go over all of my high waisted bottoms perfectly.

  • A precious dress that bridges summer and fall. It's such a sweetheart look, I can't get enough of the metallic buttons and the dainty buckle belt.

  • Such a sharp but cute fall blouse to wear with anything. This blouse will pop like no other under a men's jacket or over slouchy trousers.

  • A trapeze oxford is positively breezy for fall.

  • The square neckline is universally flattering and the waist-level pleating anchors the whole cut.

  • The bubble sleeves are very chic, as is the houndstooth pattern. Another tent top with an adorable yoke. I'd layer the jewelry on this one. It can take it.

  • Black oxford pumps are essential. These nude pumps are like life-size versions of that classic Barbie doll shoe shape, but not as plastic. Sleek boots let you take the hemlines higher and show off fun tights. This buffalo plaid bag has so much potential.
  • Mustard with Envy

    Maybe this is what They meant by a great power coat? I'm salivating over this wool felt number from Marc by Marc Jacobs. It's a bright alternative to winter's more subdued outerwear palette, and the perfect topper for the more staid blacks, browns and tweeds. It's a rather safe 3/4 length, double-breasted shape, but what makes it Marc are the smoky tiger's eye buttons and the retro storm flap. I'm also enamored of the vertical pockets and exaggerated collar, which stands up to the dramatic neck-dressing we've been seeing without overpowering it. This has been my favorite accent color for almost two years now and it's nice to see it finally in bigger, statement-making pieces. The only temptation to avoid is making an entire outfit of this cute but sophisticated shade.


    I'm sweet on Jezebel's new series of LOLvogue photos. Following in the popular footsteps of LOLcats and others, these photos treat September's gargantuan fall fashion issue to a royal dousing of internet low culture. The subjects might not be as cute as kittens, but some would argue they're just as catty.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    Hommage a la Garconne

    I'm feeling very boyish suddenly, imagining myself with slender hips and a wardrobe built around a pair of obnoxious suspenders. If I slick my hair back, I can almost see it.

    After a summer of floral prints, linen dresses, Havianas and no makeup, fall's structure and layering have become new words for heaven. Of course, none of my autumnal dreams would be complete without the perfect petite wide leg trouser, platform oxford pumps, some high-neck ruffles and red lipstick. This same vision strikes me annually around this time of year.

    Maybe 2007 is the time to start, finally, to feel and dress like a grown up. Fall's always felt like a collegiate season to me and this is, after all, my final year in college. I'm looking to take some risks, mix prints and textures and wear real shoes and not just a chilly wind-kissed blushy cheek and converse! This newfound confidence may or may not have to do with my first expected purchase of the season: the ubiquitous and universally chic black turtleneck, the standby of poets -- or rather caricatures of poets -- and the muse of beats. If it's just a phase, like every girl's deep-sea diving adventure into the rewarding waters of Sylvia Plath, I'll happily enter it.

    I've been prevented in the past from building looks around black turtlenecks because I've never been able to find one in the right body-conscious fabric weight. I'll be damned if I ever try on another cotton ribbed turtleneck, which I've only seen in either extremely saggy or extremely rough and stiff incarnations. Every version of the piece I've run into over the years has seemed to take my torso and wield unflattering license on it, adding volume where it should be smoothing, and smoothing (more like crushing) over what nature has given in the way of volume. Furthermore, I say no more to unforgiving tissue-weight jersey! I'm hopeful, though. Perhaps the right shopping and the right pairing with opaque black tights will allow me to rotate bright shifts and carry the summer's pleated shorts into colder climes.

    Fashionista has opened my eyes to fairly nascent Danish line Baum un Pferdgarten. Their inconvenient omission of stockists on the site (instead inviting online browsers to contact them for locations) makes the brand seem ultra exclusive for anyone not in Copenhagen or London, let alone Providence, but I'm told they can be found in Manhattan's Lower East Side at Travessia, or by well-placed request. I'm probably not the ideal client for that shop, but I can peruse the lookbook to my eyes' content.

    Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave have put together some very interesting takes on denim, from baggy to blousy. There are some incredible office appropriate ensembles that have very clever rugged details like zippers and drawstrings. They keep the textures to a minimum, instead preferring subtlety and a certain degree of sleekness with the matte vs. shiny pairings, but what they do have is mixed together interestingly and often stunningly. A rustic cable knit cardigan plays down the prissy pleats in a navy dress. And while not everyone is keen on Balenciaga's revival of the jodhpurs off the runway, relaxed thighs and tapering at the ankle are not uncommon and used to good effect here.

    In their own words:
    Following up last season’s theme, Baum und Pferdgarten refines the art of finding the key to express the boyish silhouette in the women’s wardrobe. Never ending legs and slender hips set the scene for the [...] collection. A self confident look with a cool casual attitude and a sexy edge.
    As a whole, their AW2007 line incorporates nearly all of this season's headlining trends with grace and precision, while editing out those with less classical appeal. There are jewel tones that don't go over the top, understated industrial touches on traditional secretarial outfits, inventive interpretations of menswear and playful but smart reworking of the monolithic tuxedo, all of which are, after all, the theme. And the details! It's all very clean, very Danish and very much to my liking.