Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Walking on Sunshine: Dressing Down for the Weekend

I know there has been a severe lack of outfit posts lately. I apologize, but the nice weather combined with an interview I had totally took me out of my fashionista headspace. In addition, my computer has been eating posts left and right. Case in point it took me 3 days to get this up!

Enough of that though...on to the post!

The weather has been so lovely to the point where even strolling around the UWS with my husband is fun. I mean I have to enjoy it now before the torrential rains of spring come and are promptly followed by the scorching heat of summer. So, can I trust in you to forgive me my dear readers for neglecting to post?

There is a silver lining to my transgression, however, as I have been thinking about what best suits these lazy walks I have become addicted to in the past couple of days. I mean as you can guess by reading the blog I am not exactly a tshirt and jeans kind of gal, as such dressing down for me requires the retention of a certain amount of joie de vivre.

So, without anymore ado here is the perfect outfit to stroll about NYC in the springtime.

1. Banana Republic - Silk Habotai Panel Cardigan in Board Walk (Sizes: XS - XL): $98.00

I love the duality in this piece. The silk offsets enough to give it a funky look, but the cotton keeps it casual. Plus, I will not lie I am an ardent lover of the gray. Maybe I have just spent too long in NYC? Either way black and grey will probably today and forevermore be staples in my wardrobe.

2. Sachin + Babi: Solera Bracelet: $200.00

I adore the thrown together look of this bracelet. I feel it absolutely complements the whole structured thrown together look I go for on the weekends. It is strong enough to make a statement, but subdued enough to look effortless.

3. Lauren By Ralph Lauren - Marian Sleeveless Pleated Cotton Dress in Rose Garden (Sizes: 4 - 16): $150.00

The soft lines are what make this a winner in my book. I know I can just throw this on and ad a bit of fabulousness in my life after a hard week. It just seems so easy to wear and when paired with the sweater from Banana Republic - its plain effortless chic!

4. Roberta Di Camerino - Calf Leather Faux Belt Bag: $1744.00

My first ever official fashion show was in Milan at Roberta Di Camerino. My professor at the time had an in and somehow managed to score decent seats for my whole class to attend. I was studying in Florence at the time, and it honestly blew my mind. Roberta Di Camerino is somewhat responsible for the tuxedo tshirt as she "invented" the whole style of printing accessories on material. The show was amazing and the free champagne did not hurt either! So, I guess you can say I have a soft spot for the brand. Though I think it is hard to deny how great the bag pairs with the outfit - no?

5. Jill Stuart - Crystal Necklace: $348.00

I know a sequined kerchief is not exactly what you would think would go with this particular look, and that is the same reason I love it. It seems a bit out of place, but the more you think about it the more it belongs. The price is steep I know, which has kept from considering purchasing it. Sad fact is, however, the more I dance around it - the more I feel like I NEED it.

6. Eugenia Kim - Chloe Sequin Beret: $198.00

True story I was offered an internship by Eugenia Kim once upon a time to head up their PR department. I turned it down as I got another offer that paid, but I always regretted it. I knew it was a surefire job after I graduated too, but I was so focused on getting paid I shot myself in the foot. Why did I regret it? Well for one, they make insanely gorgeous hats that fit those with large heads! The other was the fact that I am still unemployed one year later. You live and you learn I guess?

7. Converse by Missoni: Call the Missoni Boutique on Madison for pricing - (212) 517-9339

Ok I normally hate when magazines list things without prices. I want to know now where and when I can buy things, but I fell so hard for these Converse by Missoni I could not resist including them. I am normally a flats persona and as such would rather chop off my own foot rather than wear a sneaker. Converse shoes are my achilles heel depending on who you talk are still considered the low end of the totem pole in fashion, but I beg to differ. I guess everyone has a chink in their armor and these are it. Maybe, just maybe, the fact that they are co-designed by Missoni redeems them a bit?

Thoughts? Comments? Bueller?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Anything you can do, I can do better: Issues of Copyright in Fashion

Fashion rarely reinvents the wheel. More often than not you can trace the origins of certain sartorial choices to historical periods, cultural overtures, or even a particular designer of the past. It is a bit of an Ouroboros by nature, but lately it has transgressed the boundary of referential good taste.

Fashionista has been keeping tabs on this in their Adventures in Copyright Series. Just take a look below and you will see exactly what I am talking about.

It is not a new phenomena exactly as it has been endemic in some form to fashion retail in America for quite some time.

"Couture houses sold their patterns to American department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue in New York or I. Magnin in San Francisco for one-year reproduction rights...It wouldn't be a a Paris creation per se, but pretty close...Middle market garment manufactures would pay a fee in 1957, it was $2,000--plus royalties to Dior to incorporate elements of Dior's design into dresses and suits that retailed for $50 or $60 in the United States".
-- Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas

The only difference between this situation and the current state of affairs in fashion is lack of due credit. I think it evolved as such because consumers simply do not care about the lineage of the products they purchase. Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster examines this disconnect in luxury retail, but I cannot comment definitively on it as I have yet to finish it. From what I have read so far, it seems mass production of luxury is responsible for dulling the senses of consumers to the finer qualities of design. Thus devaluing its importance in the eyes of consumers and creating the widespread belief that superficial similarity is "good enough".

I cannot say that I have not fed into the system myself as I have been known to pour over "get the look" pages in magazines from time to time. There is, however, a big difference from taking inspiration from the runway and blatantly ripping off a designer. Capsule collections are probably the best solution for consumers that are hungry for luxury trends. It creates a market for those more apt to opt for the knockoffs that litter canal street to purchase "true" designer goods at an affordable price. It also ensures that the designers the recognition and control over the final design they deserve. Win - win right?

The other option for consumers who are low on cash is to support indie designers. The goods do not have the price inflation of high end designer garb, the cookie cutter look of luxury brands, nor lapses in production values that occur sometimes in haute products. I mean how can you go wrong?

Thoughts on it? Leave it the comments.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Different Kind of Green for St. Patrick's Day

St. Patty's Day is about many types of green. Green clothing that represents Irish pride, greenbacks used to buy one off shamrock paraphernalia, green beer drank in copious amounts, and green faces when you go a bit overboard.

I would like, however, to talk about another type of green: green living. Today is one of those days when you really see the excess of our culture. Essentially, we desecrate a religious by buying all these tchotchkes to celebrate and also by getting rip roaring drunk. Not that I will be attending church today or anything, but I thought it might be a good time for a post on eco-awareness.

I also just finished this amazing book by Raj Patel called The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, which despite some out there ideas is a pretty solid read on how to change society for the better in regards to the environment and treating others humanely. So, maybe I just have it on the brain!

Enough with the diatribe as I am sure you like me have some serious drinking to do today!

Here is a list of 5 unusual ways you can go green:

1. Use Open Source Software: OS software can run leaner and meaner thanks to the millions of coders working on the program. The more efficient the code the more efficient the computer runs and as a result the more green your web surfing becomes. A great example of this is Linux, which I have yet to use myself as I am an Apple fangirl. It is actually more customizable than the MAC OS and better yet it is free! The only reason I have not made the big switch is because I am tied into Apple due to programs like Adobe Creative Suite.

2. Cut Back on the Booze: I know it is a strange thing to say on St. Patrick's Day, but by cutting back just a smidge on your drinking you can help save the environment. According to Treehugger, if I would save myself $1,304 and the earth 1,472 lbs of CO2 per year! Translation: that could put one hell of a fancy handbag on my arm.

3. Buy Vintage: I love vintage. If there was a vintage god, I would visit it's temple everyday and pray for lovely vintage goodies to rain down upon me. Since, unfortunately, that does not exist in real life I depend on awesome re-sellers. In NYC, I normally go to either HousingWorks or this thrift store in the 20s whose name escapes me right now. (I guess I started a bit too early - eh?) In cyberspace, I go to VintageSparkles and LA Vintage. The former has an awesome selection of accessories, and the latter believe it or not has PLUS SIZE vintage!

4. Join Shared Ownership Programs: I love movies. I literally cannot resist buying the bargain basement priced DVDs from Target. It is my secret shame, because obviously I don't watch these movies often enough to justify owning them. That is why I joined Netflix. The same goes for driving and living in the city, which is why we chucked the car and joined ZipCar. Books are another sore spot for me as I love them, but I normally never read them more than once. That is where companies like BookSwim come in for people like me. Not only does it curb spending, but helps me live a little bit greener. Finally, I can't consider myself a fashion blogger without mentioning Avelle formally known as Bag, Borrow, or Steal. Normally, I get to stare at these pieces behind glass but this company puts them within reach.

5. Mend What You Own: We live in a disposable culture. I mean when is the last time you ever heard someone say they were going to mend their socks? I buy pretty expensive shoes when I can scrape together the cash, and I make sure that I maximize the purchase by making sure they are in tip top shape by visiting a cobbler on the regular. I also have had the lining on my coats repaired numerous times, because plus size limitations aside I am extremely discerning when it comes to my clothes. This not only helps me save money and stimulate the economy at the same - it also helps me green my life a bit by cutting down on unnecessary purchases.

I hope that was helpful and I promise I have an awesome post coming up soon. I just had an interview to prepare for and that took a lot out of me!

Enjoy your day of drunken debauchery, religious observance, or regular old Wednesday goodness!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Framing the Modern Fashion Mythos: The Beautiful Fall

I had a post ready for today about bridal showers. I have to go to one today and I was racking my brain for what to wear and decided that might be of interest to my readers. Key word is HAD, however, as my computer just swallowed it whole.

So, instead we are going to do a short and sweet review of one of the greatest books in modern fashion history.


One of my favorite books to read about fashion is The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake. It has provides great insight into how ready to wear came to dominate the fashion scene and how all the major players came to be. The main focus of the book is on the relationship between Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, and if that is not your cup of tea it is still worth a read for the decadent descriptions of fashion in the 70s.

The reason I decided to do a post about this book in particular is that we all come into fashion differently. I came in via stories - well one in particular. My best friend and I were watching television one day and the history channel was doing a special on Coco Chanel. This was before the fashion craze went mainstream, and as such this was the first time I ever really heard of Chanel outside perfume.

Watching the program on a lark, I was in awe of her grit and determination to be the best despite her humble upbringing. She literally turned the fashion world on its head simply by being the best. That is no easy feat mind you and she did it all through sheer force of will. As you can imagine, I found her story to be mesmerizing and fell in love with fashion via Chanel that very day.

So, when I came across The Beautiful Fall I thought it was an amazing opportunity to learn about the man who took over the reigns: Karl Lagerfeld. I took away a lot more than I bargained for as I learned about all the ins and outs of the modern fashion business and its evolution from couture. In short, if you are interested in fashion it is a must read.

Normally, I would write more but I have to go pick my dress up for the bridal shower I have to attend today. Wish me luck as I have to endure a 1 hour commute in the rain to reach my destination in NJ. Let's just hope the PATH train isn't flooded by the time I get there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Putting on the Ritz

When the weather is nice I love to take a walk in the Meatpacking District. The long wide sidewalks are so inviting and normally if I wander long enough I find a new interesting shop or restaurant. I know it is mostly known for its clubs, but I swear to you there is more than meets the eye down there.

Yesterday, I found myself over there due to a meeting I had about a potential job and thought that I could use a bit of a stroll to shake off the post interview jitters. As I was wandering around about, I noticed this woman rocking an insanely gorgeous cocktail dress. I was a bit put off as it was 11:00AM, but I completely in awe of it as well.


It takes a lot of confidence to wear evening wear during the day I thought to myself, but then I remembered an article I read about how evening wear is now being considered to be a daytime staple. I mean it makes sense as the recession has consumers watching their wallets and workers putting in overtime to hold on to their jobs.

Some trends look out of place no matter what though, and I think that has some people leery about it. You should keep in mind, however, that evening wear during the day is totally doable if you balance it right. All you need to pull it off, in my opinion, are the right accessories and a bit of confidence.

This is a perfect example of how to do it:


1. Golden Goose Deluxe Brand - Chain Handle Leather Bag: $1500.00

This super sleek bag has been on my radar for quite some as it screams utility. It also does not hurt that it does not sacrifice fashion for function either. It's subtle sophistication is also key to making this evening wear heavy ensemble feasible for the light of day.

2. Givenchy - Lace and Patent Leather Flats: $464.00

These shoes are on my list of things to buy. They are craveworthy as they are dripping with femininity and at the same they are extremely casual. These shoes pair well with the outfit as they are strong enough not to be dominated by the other pieces, but are casual enough to keep it daywear appropriate.

3. Victoria's Secret - Metallic Sweaterdress (Sizes: 0-18): $58.00

This glittery and formfitting dress would be considered evening wear by most, but the detailing makes it doable for daywear. The straps are also removable which I love, because who does not love a 2 for 1 deal? Depending on how high the hemline falls on you individually, I would suggest leggings if necessary. I am unsure if it is necessary due to the proportions of the model.

1. figleaves - Womenswear Sequin Blazer (Sizes: 8-18): $59.40

I have seen many a sequined blazer this season, but this is the one that gets my vote. It just screams attitude and confidence to me and that is what I think is key to wearing sequins during the day. The loose fit also makes it casual, which is essential for wearing it as daywear.

5. Tom Binns - Rabbit Clock Pendant Necklace: $66.00

I love to get a bit out there with my accessories during the day. So, I think this pocketwatch necklace is the perfect counterpart to bring this outfit into the daywear catergory. If you prefer to play it more safe though I highly suggest the Tough Chic Drop Necklace also from Tom Binns.

Anyone of you have any suggestions on how to incorporate evening wear into daywear leave it in the comments!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Brunch: The Most Important Meal Of the Day

The weather if you live in NYC has been amazing these past few days. I, personally, spent Friday afternoon on my patio with a blood orange mimosa in one hand and banana cupcake in the other. I guess unemployment has its benefits sometimes!

Mimosas, I have to note, are not just for celebrating they also go hand in hand with one my favorite meals: Brunch. I am in love with this meal as it is one of the few socially acceptable occasions to drink with breakfast. (One of the others being St. Patrick's Day Parade Days - case in point the bars in Hoboken opened on last Saturday at 9:00AM.)

I also love brunch because it is one of those magical times where chicness and comfortability go hand in hand. There was no better place to observe this then in the Meatpacking District at Markt. Sadly, however, it has since moved on and been replaced by an Apple Store. I have yet to find a place that I enjoyed as much, but my love of brunch is still going strong to this day.

If you ever caught me out on a Sunday my outfit would look a lot like something like this:


1. ASOS - Contrast Trim Ponti Blazer (US Sizes: 4 - 16): $85.47

I adore this jacket for two reasons: the red piping and the military inspired motif.

2. Banana Republic - Weekend Chino (Sizes: 2 - 16): $59.50

I normally hate pants with a passion, but brunch is one of those times that I never mind throwing a pair on. Maybe it is just the simple fact that after a night out I can't be bothered to wriggle into leggings or tights? I'm not sure. Plus, these ones actually look like they are midget friendly and as such I would not have to worry about the crotch being too long.

3. Fendi - 'Peekaboo' Satchel: $2,990

Oh this is definitely on my list for things to buy when I win the lottery. I like to chose clean simple lines whenever I invest in high end designer handbags, and this fits my requirements to a T. Why do I do this? A truly fashionable piece is timeless and I will not buy something in that price range if I cannot wear it at 75.

4. Thomas Pink - White Megan Women's Shirt Double Cuff (Sizes: 4 - 20): $250.00

I love button ups for brunch, because they can go from modest to sexy with a flick of a button. This one in particular is especially stylish and versatile due to the double cuff on this one and black piping.

5. Melissa by Vivienne Westwood - Rubber Ballet Flat: $130.00

Flats are essential for brunch for me at least, because afterwards I normally have to traverse the city to take care of last minute errands. I have a couple of friends who think flats are boring, but these rubber ballet flats from Melissa by Vivienne Westwood are anything but! The peephole in the front toe is on trend, the rubber material makes it durable, and the black button in the shape of wax seal makes them unique. A definite stunner in my book.

6. Gianfranco Ferre - Luigi: $325.00

Sunglasses are essential to brunch for three reasons: block out the sun while sitting outside, they allow you to covertly people watch, and if you are like me disguise your hangover. These are a bit different then your normal oversized sunnies, but I really love the way they bring this outfit together.

7. Jennifer Behr - Double Delicate Chain Link Headwrap in Gold: $68.00

I am a huge fan of Jennifer Behr's headbands. I have yet to come across a company that makes hairbands at their level but with the same balance of sophistication. I especially love this one because it can easily be paired with a messy bun and look pulled together.

8. VintageSparkles - Antique Sterling Victorian scroll Pocketwatch necklace: $225.00

I, personally, would wear this pocket-watch as a necklace. I already have one that I wear all the time but unfortunately there is no timepiece inside the casing. That never keeps people from constantly complimenting it and I am sure they would do the same as well for this amazing piece.

Well that is how I see dressing for brunch, what about you?

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Plus Sized Fashionista's New Best Friend: the Millennial

Elitism in fashion is on its way out and we have the rise of the Millennials to thank for it.

Marketers are literally chomping at the bit to appeal these consumers aged 18-28 as they are considered to be the holy grail in this depressed economy. Why? They have the most disposable cash and are considered to be the tastemakers of today as well as tomorrow.

Millennials are different from other consumer groups as they are "eager to be entertained and informed yet [they] are resistant to the 20th-century approach". They are a "generation of free downloads, easy access to everything — what the American psychologist Nathan Brody calls 'the entitled generation'". Brands, as such, have been forced to create new strategies to speak to these consumers in order to simply survive.

It is no wonder then that exclusive world of fashion has begun to open up lately - it has no other choice! That is why everyone recently is trying to get on the diffusion/capsule collection bandwagon, and also why we are seeing an increased presence of brands on the web outside of etail. Millennials, after all, are known for their love of wired interactive connectivity and brands as such are scrambling to catch up.

A prime example of this is Nowness a new website launched by LVMH. There are no products being directly sold on the site and no mention of the site's ownership by LVMH. In fact, the only press they get from the website is when a product from one of their lines is mentioned every so often. It may seem strange but the main goal of this website is to generate goodwill via remarkable experiential editorials, and also to stand as demonstration of the brand's commitment to their consumers opinions/interests. This is essential when marketing to Millennials as they will seek out other brands if they feel that they are being ignored, and in a market being propped up by their purchases their departure can be deadly blow.

So, what does this mean for the plus size fashionista you may be asking yourself? It means for the first time there is a chance new voices to be heard in fashion, and plus size voices are breaking through as we speak. Marie Claire was the first to jump on the bandwagon of plus size editorials by having plus sized columnist Ashley Falcon join their team. The blogosphere also is a heavy hitting sphere of influence in this regard as it is changing the way fashion is being viewed. Take Gabi of Young, Fat, & Fabulous - she is now vlogging for Vogue Italia Curvy, which is a whole website owned by Vogue Italia devoted to plus size high fashion. Or the fact that Stéphanie of Le Blog de Big Beauty is being paid to create a plus size collection for La Redoute.

I mean I know we still have a long way to go until parity is reached, but for the first time in a long time it actually feels like my voice is being heard.