Sunday, May 23, 2010

Walking Amongst Giants: American Woman at the MET

I finally made it to the American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity at the Metropolitan Museum. Seriously, I have tried 8 times to go and each and every time something has come up. This time I only made it with 45 minutes to spare, so unfortunately it was a bit of a rushed viewing of the exhibition.

A little background on the exhibition:

American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity "explores developing perceptions of the modern American woman from 1890 to 1940 and how they have affected the way American women are seen today". The exhibit is broken up into The Heiress, The Gibson Girl, The Bohemian, The Patriot and the Suffragist, The Flapper, and The Screen Siren.

As you can imagine, the fashions were nothing short of amazing. I could literally go on and on about them. The most interesting thing I found about the exhibit, however, is how truly timeless the pieces were in their construction.

Take this piece from 1910 by Madame Marie Gerber for instance. I highly doubt any hipster would bat an eye if I showed up in a bar in BK in this outfit. After all, it is eveningwear accompanied with leggings!

This sweater from 1895 also caught my eye as it would hardly look out of place in my wardrobe today. I mean there is no way you can deny its similarity to this piece by T Los Angeles.

Then of course there is this excruciatingly beautiful gown made by Madame Grès in 1937. It would hardly look out of place on a red carpet today - just look at this dress worn by Angelina Jolie in 2004.

The exhibit overall was a bit crowded and small, but the curating is amazing. If you are in NYC this summer I highly suggest you brave the crowds and take a trip over to go see it. Also, if you loved the exhibit like me but were hoping to a take a slightly more leisurely stroll through fashion history I highly suggest picking up High Style. It is the catalog created to accompany the exhibit and at $25.00 a copy it is one of the most cost effective art/design books I have ever purchased. I seriously cannot wait to sit down and leaf threw it some more!

Have you been there yet? If so leave your thoughts in the comments.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friend Friday: Gettin' to Know You

Friend Friday has rolled around again and Katy of Modly Chic has given us a new assignment. This week: 10 random facts or trivia pieces about ourselves.


1. When I was born, the doctor goes you have a beautiful daughter Mama Coquette but... My mom as any mother would is practically seizing at this point as the doctor continues "she has 2 different colored eyes".

2. I was once a guest on the Regis and Kathy Lee Show. It was a less than memorable experience. Apparently, Regis tried to kiss me and I ran like he was Satan. I was also I think 2 or 3 at the time, so I gather it was an appropriate response at the time.

3. I have lost all of my pets at least once and found them again. My first cat went adventuring in the next town over for a month, and that is when I realized you can't take a cat outside without a leash. My second cat was thrown down a garbage shoot by the super who breaking in to my apartment at the time. My dog jumped out of the car while being watched by my sister at a Quick Check. They are all safe and sound with me now!

4. I met one of the members of the cast of The Lord of the Rings at a science fiction convention. I have an autograph talking about my breasts from said event. In my own defense, I went to support a friend.

5. I have gone speed dating after I was married to support a friend. There is nothing more creepy than the men at these events in NYC. Worst part about this is I did not even have one drink. I had to do the whole thing sober!


6. I speak a total of 4 languages: English, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. Japanese of course being my best.

7. I despise every member of the citrus family in non juice form. Seriously, I will spit it out if it is present in any form of food. There is just something about it that I simply cannot stand.

8. I went to college for a total of 7 years and I am not a doctor. I started off at Washington & Jefferson, transferred to Rutgers, and then finished up at Parsons School of Design. I guess you could call me indecisive.

9. I saw Catwoman starring Halle Barry in theater for fun. I also did it sober and enjoyed it for all the wrong reasons. There I said it.

10. In my rooftop garden in NY, I am currently growing: blueberries, eggplant, tomatoes, and figs.

Whewh that was kind of hard and I love talking about myself!

Check out the other Friend Friday posts here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reading Rainbow: Elsa Schiaparelli + Lady Gaga

I was talking to a friend the other day about Lady Gaga and made a comparison to Elsa Schiaparelli. She stared at me blankly when I said she out gaga-ed GaGa.
Take this shoe hat for instance which is pretty bad ass to wear back in the day when compared to Lady Gaga's telephone hat of today.

Getting back to to the discussion at hand with my friend, I am sad to say she had no idea who in the hell I was talking about. She asked me to tell her more about Schiaparelli, but I was at a loss as I knew very little about her outside her amazing designs.

It was then that I was hit with a jolt of inspiration: why not blog about it? At first, I was going to do a post cribbed from wiki entries but how trite would that be when talking about a woman who worked with Dada?

Instead, I decided to read her autobiography in her own words and blog about it in a month. I plan to take this a bit further in the future and make reading the great designers in their own words a regular feature on the blog. Think of it like this - Reading Rainbow: Chotto Coquette style.

If you would like to read along and comment I am picking up Shocking Life by Elsa Schiaparelli tomorrow.

Any other designers you would like to see featured? Leave it in the comments.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The New Adventures of Old Jewelry

One whole week without a blog post! Seriously, I should be ashamed of myself dear readers.

I do have a small excuse for it though it was my anniversary! Also, I had to overhaul my garden. It was starting to look like Jumanji out there. Then on Friday, I was walking out of the subway and the sidewalk literally crumbled underneath my feet. I was flat on my back on 60th street and 3rd Ave in front of the movie theater across from Bloomingdales with my foot stuck in a hole. If a nice man did not stop to help me get it out - I may still be there right now. That little escapade garnered me a chipped foot bone and a inflamed nerve. As a good friend of mine likes to say, "my life is not real".

I did, however, work on a post about my anniversary gifts which were repurposed jewelry. It is one of my favorite category of accessories even though it is hard to find done right. Though when you do the results are truly amazing.

For my anniversary I acquired these two lovely pieces from New York based Lori McLean.

1. Locket Pendant Necklace by Lori Mclean: It is of Persian descent and was originally part of a watch fob. The store put the glitter in and it is something I plan to rectify soon. I love the mystery of the piece, because no one is quite sure what purpose it was originally intended. Poison? Photograph? Lock of hair?

2. Compass Pendant Necklace by Lori Mclean: This is a functional brass compass. My husband bought it for me as I am always a bit lost figuratively and literally. The coolest part about it is that it still works!

My other favorite place for repurposed jewelry in New York City is Pippin. I bought this amazing pin made from the remains of an old watch chain.

For those of you not based in the tri-state, fret not as there amazing finds on the web as well if one looks hard enough for these repurposed baubles.

4. Dardeila Aristocrat Revisited Statement Necklace by Voleuer De Bijoux ($85.00) - This piece is simply irresistible as it weaves the old with the new to create something beautiful. The repurposed items are the vintage oval links, link rings, and filigree pendants. I adore these types of pieces in particular, because they truly go with anything. From tshirt and jeans to cocktail dress - this piece would definitely have you covered.

5. Art Deco Rhinestone Dress Clip Necklace by Destash Rehash ($90.00): Oh this is the piece that I am going to regret not being able to purchase. It is pure perfection, but then again I am a whore for art 40/50s costume jewelry. I also love that the chain is a bit rough around the edges in comparison to the pendant. It is what keeps the piece casual enough for everyday life!

6. The Dichotomy Locket Necklace by Basil the Cat ($142.00): Ok I am cheating a bit by including this one as it just vintage and not repurposed, but it is such an amazing piece. I would be remiss if I did not share it with you dear readers. My only gripe is the chain, which I would switch out for something a bit more refined to better contrast with the piece. Then again, I am super picky about my chains!

7. prizewinner by pequitobun ($450.00): Made using vintage rose and horse broaches respectively this piece is a show-stopper. I would probably wear it without wrapping it and wear a simple short base necklace to balance it out. This is the type of item that requires a bit of hutzpah to wear, but I highly doubt you would regret it if you did.

Got any vintage finds that I should know about? Leave them in the comments!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What to Wear: Say Yes to the Dress

The weight of social occasions is especially heavy when you are plus sized. On the one hand, there is the whole anxiety of knowing more than likely you are going to be the heaviest one in the room. Then on the other hand, there is all the stress involved with picking out what to wear when you have limited options. All this negativity can get pretty overwhelming - that is if you let it.

I had a wedding to attend this Friday and as we all know there is nothing like that bit of extra pressure of seeing people that last saw you when you were 8 to send you off the deep end! How did I stave off the jitters associated with such an occasions? Planning. I sat down and planned every element of my outfit from hair, nails, dress, shoes, bag, and undergarments. Over the years, I have amassed some pretty lovely pieces so that I could avoid the whole dilemma of what am I going to wear.

Granted, not many people are like me and find it necessary to have several party frocks in their closets. Purchasing one is a great way to ensure that you always have a great go to outfit that makes you feel amazing. Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than confidence after all!

Why I bring this whole point up is that I have been reticent to do outfit posts of myself. There is nothing like looking at yourself from a wrong angle, but sharing it with the world is a whole other can of worms. The fact is I chose to do it now to show how the power of planning can really diminish any qualms when it comes to body confidence.

1. Dress: I bought this orange dress years ago and it has never let me down. Fit wise its fantastic as it lets me shine in all right places, and color wise it never results in me meeting a color doppelganger.
2. Shoes: These are a pair of Ferragamo kitten heels that I bought ages ago for $99. Honestly, one of the best investments I ever made fashion wise as they will never go out of style and are extremely comfortable.
3. Bag: My little LV always steals the show. I had a larger one in rainbow, which I gave away years ago as it never meshed with my style. It was just a bit too ostentatious and overexposed for my tastes. I have no idea why I ever bothered to purchase it in the first place, but when I saw this item on net-a-porter I knew it had to be mine. Just enough flash to be noticed, but functional enough for everyday use.
4. Makeup: I had to purchase some Shu Uemura products to replenish my makeup stock, so I got my makeup done at their kiosk in Bloomigdales. It was honestly the best decision I ever made, because it was one less thing I had to worry about and I got something out of the deal. I never pay just to get my makeup done ever, because honestly it seems like a waste of money. Just find out what the price of the qualifying purchase necessary, check what you need in your makeup bag, and make an appointment. Honestly, it is the best deal ever. Oh and why yes I am wearing the lipstick from my previous post!
5. Nails: I like to be daring with nails as mine are really short. The blue contrasts nicely with the dress and keeps the whole outfit from being overly formal. It is an OPI shade, but the name escapes me as I got it done at salon.
6. Jewelry: I try to keep everything above the neck classic. These pearl studs are from Tiffany - a gift from my husband many moons ago. The heart shaped ruby necklace from Versani was in fact another gift from my husband. Oh and the blue topaz ring from Little Kings? Also, a gift from my husband. Jeez, I think I really need to go out and buy some pieces for myself. Otherwise, if he dies horrifically in a car crash or we have a nasty divorce - I'm going to have a box full of bad memories.
7. Hair: I got my hair done for the occasion at Blow, because I had absolutely no time to try and tame the beast. Plus, your hair sets the tone for your outfit and overall confidence level. If it looks like hell - you feel like hell. Thanks to the extreme hack job performed on my hair recently, it was a challenge but the stylist was able to make it look amazing.The only thing I regret is forgetting my undergarments at home. The tell tale bump in my tummy is ever-present in the pictures and I could have positioned myself better, but you know what I will remember years from now in lieu of that? What a great time I had and how gorgeous I felt!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friend Friday: Mothers

I recently joined a group called Friend Fridays being run by Katy of Modly Chic. She sends questions and we answer them on our own blogs. Then we send them over to her for meta posting on her blog!

This week's topic: Mothers

1. Which character trait of your mother's do you hope to emulate?

When I was young, my mom told me once that there was no reason not to share as you could always get more. Rampant consumerism aside, this I think is one of the best lessons she ever imparted on me. Generosity is one of the rarer traits seen in this world today, and as such I could not think of a more desirable trait to want to emulate.

2. What are your thoughts on your mother's/grandmother's sense of fashion?

I love my mom, but I hate the way she dresses herself. She could look so much better if she took the time to invest in herself, but like a true mom she just does not have any time for that. One of these days, I swear I'm going to plan a What Not to Wear intervention for her!

As far as my grandmother is concerned, in her youth full on Doris Day and in her old age Annie Hall inspired fashions reigned supreme in her closet. Black was one of her favorite colors and she wore it almost everyday, and as the years passed on it became a staple in mine as well. She may not be around anymore, but everytime I don something black I think of her.

3. When you reach your 70's you want people to look at you and think...

There is no way you are in your seventies! I know with age comes wisdom, but I am not necessarily looking forward to the wrinkles. Then again this may be highly possible as I am going to be 26 soon and people still think I am 13 - 14 sans fards. Plus, as long as the medical advances in science do not turn us all into zombies - I am pretty sure it is a go.

4. What piece or pieces from your mom's closet would you like to incorporate into your own?

Tough question as I said fashion is really not her cup of tea. I mentioned this question to my husband and he said why not opt for her gun? My mother is an ex-police officer, and according to him a girl could not look hotter than when she is packing heat in a sexy dress. Is it any wonder he likes the Resident Evil games?

5. What I like best about my mother is..

Besides her generosity, I think her willingness to do whatever how uncomfortable when asked by her daughters. Most recently, she has agreed to go bungee jumping with my sister for her 22nd birthday. If that is not a superhuman level of dedication to the whims of your children - I have no idea what is!

Fashion wise if you want to know how me and my mom match up - this graduation photo speaks volumes. Also, I had a panic attack earlier that day hence my delightful expression!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fascinating Fascinators Anonymous

Hi, my name is Lauren and I am hair accessory fanatic. Jennifer Behr is normally my drug of choice, but for the purposes of the post I forced shaky to type something other than her url into my browser. What I discovered is nothing short of amazing.

Jeweled Embellishments: "Rich and rare were the gems she wore..." - Robert Moore

1. sereni & shentel - bow down, bridzilla is here ($60.00): I absolutely adore this headband because it literally is a bow sandwich! The layered construction, furthermore, is what takes it out of the realm of cutesy into the world of stylish objects.

2. Brett O'Mahoney - Minnie ($185.00): This piece reminded of pure old hollywood glamor. I love the fact that the designer chose earth tone colored stones for the embellishment, because by grounding it she kept it from traversing into chintzy.

Delicate Flora: "Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." - Hans Christian Andersen

3. Handle & Spout - White and Pastel 5 Flower Set ($65.00): Mix and match sets are never a favorite of mine, because I always feel they are ad hocked. This piece made me change its mind with its soft elegant design.

4. Claudia Griffiths - gisele headband ($195.00): Go big or go home is one of my phrases to live by and so how could I not love this headband? The best thing about it could be worn with everything from jeans to an outfit for a night on the town. Not many of my hair pieces are that transitional!

Serious Hardware: "It's about putting the pedal to the metal and not asking any questions at all and just going for it." - Brandon Thomas

5. Comme les Moutons - Magdalena ($118.00): If you are looking for a statement piece, well look no further. Those bursting with personality or even those that would like to feign some will defiantly find what they need in this piece.

6. - mad for joan ($300.00): A bit on the softer side true, but this piece requires just as much hutzpah to get it out the door. The vintage metallic trim gives it a Victorian flair, which makes it perfect for everything from casual to evening.

Flirty Trim: "The exhibitionist loves to flirt with shame.” - Mason Cooley

7. Comme les Moutons - Ginevra ($45.00): Demure until you think about it, this piece's french maid like ruffles will be sure to peak the interest of others. What can I say? I love a conversation starter!

8. - J ($50): Flirty and fun are the key words that describe this piece. Young knows no folly - right? If you think so, then this piece is definitely for you!

Like it? Love it? Need it? Hate it? Leave it in the comments!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Painted Lady: In Pursuit of Glossy Perfection

Lately, a strange obsession has been creeping up on me. It all started when I began testing out various shades in Sephora to come up with a wet look red lipstick/gloss combo that I liked. I normally skew to more of the lighter shades of pinks when it comes to lip gloss as I am so absurdly pale, but the red look was trending and I wanted in on it.

I kid you not this little adventure made me fall in love with lipsticks/gloss all over again. It was fun discovering what combos worked and when I finally found the right combo it was like a choir of angels began singing. Okay, not really but I deal instantly feel a lot more confident breaking out of the light pink gloss ghetto.

This obsession with the red look, furthermore, has now blossomed into an affection for those stand out colors that people cry out "I love it, but I could never". Today, in fact, I just spent 45 minutes picking out the perfect combo to share with you all in this post in addiction to my famed red wet look. As Mikey said, try it you will like it!

After all, there aren't many obsessions that cap at around $40.00 that do not require rehab down the line.

The Wet Red Look

1. Rouge Dior: Creme De Gloss - Rouge Nectar #845 ($29.75)
2. Dior Kiss: Lip Gloss - Strawberry Smoothie #851 ($21.00)

The Wet Pink Look

1. Rouge Dior: Lipstick - Pink Preview #475 ($29.00)
2. Givenchy: Pop Gloss - Pop Rose #403 ($24.50)