Monday, February 28, 2011

Rate My Look: Bright Tights

Yesterday I showed you different outfit ideas utilizing brightly colored tights. After clicking "Publish," I got dressed for work and decided to take some advice from the post I'd written. I decided to wear a pair of bright purple tights with- can you guess?- a simple black dress and boots:

Honestly, am I just the cutest thing ever in this photo (taken by the lovely Kerry)? In case you couldn't tell by the previous sentence, I suffer from high self-esteem. But seriously, there was another motivating reason behind creating this outfit yesterday. I woke up to an unexpected six inches of snow on the ground and flakes still falling steadily. I don't know how I missed the weather report warning me of the storm, but I did. If ever I needed a pop of springtime inspiration, it was then. I suppose that's why I also added the lovely purple flower to the outfit- the color wasn't enough of spring for me, I needed even more! 

And for some reason my photo editing software is not allowing me to crop anything. BOO! So you get to see a lot of wall space above my head in the photo above as well as my hands holding my dress up in this photo: 

It's times like these I wish I'd taken a computer course at some point in my life. Hey, I may not have the brains, but check out those legs! 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: Tights

If you're anything like me, you're dying for spring- not only for the sunshine and warm weather, but also for the different fashion choices that will be available. I'm dying for the days when I can wear sandals, sun dresses, even rompers. Unfortunately, the weather isn't exactly cooperating. It's still literally freezing weather around here, and likely will be until the end of March, so I have to find other ways to warm up my days.

One way to do it is to incorporate tights into my daily wardrobe- not basic black or dark brown or charcoal grey- but bright, colorful tights. I'm a fan of these color combinations:

From left to right:

- Pink tights with shades of grey- the feminine grey lace complements the girl-y ballet pink, but even a more business-like pencil skirt in literally any shade of grey will look just as pretty.
- Dark purple tights with black- Any shade of purple will do, actually- from the deep amethyst pictured above to burgundy or deep wine- they'll all look great with a simple LBD.
- Yellow with army green- It doesn't get much more sunshine-y bright than yellow, so tone it down with a muted army green.
- Red with... red- You all know how I feel about monochromatic, but to be honest, the best way to pull of red tights is with red everything else. No joke.
- Teal with brown- This is actually one of my favorite color combinations, but it also lends itself to a look with bright tights. The rest of the outfit is muted browns and just like with the yellow/green combination, the bright color pops against the earthy tones of everything else.

You can apply these color combinations to the entire outfit or you can keep it confined to just the lower half, namely the tights and shoes only. Either way, the tights will keep you warm and the bright colors will help you think spring. Need a great source for brightly colored tights? Try American Apparel and We Love Colors- both have a rainbow of options.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: Spring is coming...

Do you guys realize that it's less than a month till the official start of spring? For my birthday this year, my mom was very generous and bought me this Michael Kors leather handbag:

It's the most fabulous shade of kelly green (it looks a little lighter in the photo, sorry) and I think it is going to be the perfect bag for spring. In fact, a week or so after my birthday my mom asked me why I hadn't used it yet. When I told her I was saving it for spring, she said, "I don't know how you can wait that long! When I have something new, I have to use it right away!" Most of the time, this is true for me, too. But if you recall, I've been on a quest for the perfect bright green handbag for quite a while now. It all started back in October of 2009 and you can see the original post here. Nearly a year later in September of 2010, I found an amazing green bag, but it was right before I quit my job, so I didn't want to splurge at that time. Don't remember that post? It's here, if you want to read it again. About a month after I moved to New Hampshire, I found a job, and once again I blogged about the elusive green handbag. Don't remember? Visit here. Now, nearly a year and a half after the original pursuit began, I've finished my quest. And so I guess since I've waited so long, I may as well wait until spring- after all, it's less than a month away. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Normal Pants- they're not all bad!

I know I'm the first person to preach the virtues of dresses as the most comfortable and stylish fashion choice, but I want to dedicate this post to pants. They may not be my favorite garment, but I fear they may be on the fashion endangered species list. Have you seen the pants we have to choose from these days? It's not pretty. For some reason, harem pants, jodhpurs, mom jeans and all sorts of unflattering, high-waisted pants are all over the runways and the racks at Macy's. It's a sad state of affairs. I blame American Apparel.

Due to the severity of the current situation, I implore you, friends, to do what you can to help restore the numbers of mid-rise, straight leg, boot-cut and wide-leg pants available to the modern woman. Let's all start by wearing a fabulous outfit incorporating flattering pants in at least one outfit per week. Can you all get on board with that plan? In case you need some inspiration, I've created some Polyvore sets for you, all based on different pant silhouettes.

Wide-leg trousers are not the enemy, ladies. (Harem pants are the enemy.) Wide leg trousers are not only comfortable, but they are also very flattering. Do you have wide hips? A wide-leg trouser is your best choice for a slimming effect. Since they are a smidge masculine, pair them with feminine tops in light weight fabrics with girly details like ruffles and bows.

Of course, wide leg trousers (and jeans) aren't the only type of flattering pants out there. Boot cut is great too! Especially with- you guessed it-boots! They also work well with just about any heels- pointy, rounded, chunky, stiletto- you get the picture. Honestly, even a slightly wider bootcut- dare I say it?-a slightly flared leg can look great on the right person. Bell bottoms are a whole separate breed, but a little bit of a wider opening at the ankle? When did that suddenly become the enemy? I repeat: Harem pants are the enemy.

Once again, keep the styling of the top appropriately feminine- ruffles, lightweight fabrics, girly colors- you get the idea. And if you're afraid pants aren't going to be sexy enough, bare a little skin- an asymmetrical neckline that leaves one shoulder bare is a super hot option. Or go for a more open-back halter top. Maybe it's your fabulously toned arms that get to show or your well-defined collarbone- pick a spot and let it be the only bare section. A touch of skin showing will go a long way- trust me.

I feel as though skinny jeans have been covered on the blog, plenty of times, so I'll forgo the polyvore set there. But even without covering skinnies, I feel that boot-cut, flare and wide-leg trousers can all be quite flattering and we should try to wear them more. Are you with me? Go Team (Normal) Pants!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rate My Look- Thirsty Thursday

Thursdays are my favorite days at work. It doesn't really have anything to do with work, it mostly has to do with the fact that when we are done work at 8:00, we all walk next door to Margarita's for Ladies Night or Thirsty Thursday, whichever you want to call it. Ladies Night on Thursdays at Margarita's means 40% off all food for ladies. Yup- you read that right. The menu choice is always easy- we rarely even open it to view the choices these days. Why? Have you had their fish tacos? Please report back once you have experienced the divine deliciousness that is fish tacos. (One time, as we were seated, we were told there was only enough in the kitchen for one order of fish tacos. It was a sad day.)

What do fish tacos and Ladies Night at Margarita's have to do with style? A whole lot of nothing, that's what. But this is what I wore:

Actually, now that I think of it, my sweater kind of reminds me of the bright purple cabbage that sits atop my delicious fish tacos. The cabbage adds a delightful crunch which complements the fresh corn salsa (with yummy cilantro), the crispy, moist tilapia that is fried to perfection and of course the perfect ingredient that completes the dish: the spicy chipotle sauce- I always ask for extra. It burns my mouth, but it is SO worth it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: Another Fascinating Fascinator

I wore this to work last Saturday:

A statement headband like that requires an outfit that is fairly neutral. That's why I chose to wear it to work on a Saturday when we're required to wear black. Basic black dress/tights/boots + super fabulous accessories= a super fabulous outfit. 

On this particular Saturday, the shop was hosting a trunk show for a couple of design houses, one of which is an accessories designer. In fact, it's the same company that made my super awesome rhinestone bracelet. Remember it? No? Well, here's a picture to jog your memory: 

How super fierce is that bracelet? That's right- it's super fierce. Just look at all those rhinestones!

So what about you? If you saw someone wearing that headband, what would you think? Would you love it? Hate it? Would you think they were a total whack-job or would you love them for their quirky sense of style? Leave a comment and be honest! Tell me what you think! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Fashionable Co-worker

I've mentioned before that the ladies I work with are all very stylish, fashionable women. It's one of the things I love most about my job. It's like a fashion show every day and each person's unique style comes through easily. We all feel comfortable dressing to suit our own unique styles, and yet we all manage to look professional at the same time. Last night, Kerry came in wearing an outfit that's quite similar to many of my work outfits, so I simply had to snap her photo.

I love the simple silhouette- a pencil skirt with a sweater- it's so 1960's-sexy-secretary. Honestly, she looks like she walked off the set of Mad Men and right into our shop. She could give Joan Holloway a run for her money! I'm not sure where the skirt and top are from, but I know her shoes are Madden Girl by Steve Madden. I know because I asked to try them on. They were quite comfy. 

I've managed to photograph three of my amazing co-workers- Gigi, Sadie and now Kerry. It's only a matter of time before I get all of them on the blog. They are all very camera shy, which is what makes it difficult to document all their fabulousness, but trust me- I'm working on it! 

Shoesday Tuesday- The Showroom Showdown

Can I get some props for the fabulous alliteration in that title? I mean, come on, folks- that is some decent work if I do say so myself. And I thought writing titles for these blog posts was my WEAKNESS. I should have known better.

Anyway, as you know, I'm a member of the two rival online shoe "stylist" companies- Shoe Dazzle and Just Fabulous. It occurred to me the other day that I had neglected to show you my February Showroom selections from each company, but lucky for me, there was a Tuesday remaining in the month. Hence, the title of this post. But I digress. So without further ado, I present Just Fabulous February Showroom:

My first reaction? "Meh." I am underwhelmed. Or am I? Could it be that I've seen so many shoes and have so many shoes and am constantly on the look-out for new and exciting shoes that I've just OD'd a bit on shoes? Because upon closer inspection, there are some lovely choices up there. After all, Ynez is pretty rockin' and you should see her in red! Pascale is an awesome shade of purple and that ruffle detail is pretty awesome. And I'm kind of in love with Darcy- she's available in some neutral options, too, but the red is kind of fierce, actually. So, after calmly progressing from underwhelmed to vaguely interested, I decided to check out Shoe Dazzle's February Showroom: 

Ok, now I'm overwhelmed. Especially with the four ADDITIONAL shoes in my showroom that are currently "Sold Out" and therefore I can't get a good picture to show you. (And don't think I didn't notice they have the exact same shoe in there, but in a different color option. You're not fooling anyone, Shoe Dazzle! I'm on to you!) But seriously, what happened to the unique personalization of my shoe selections? Lately is seems as though Shoe Dazzle is getting less and less personal and more and more interested in just shoving as many shoes in my direction as my inbox will take. 

Which brings me to another point: BOTH of these companies bombarded my email account with Valentine's Day specials to the point where I stopped reading the emails and simply clicked "delete" as soon as one arrived in my inbox. And while their special Valentine's shoes were cute, they were mostly red and we all know I have plenty of red shoes in my life. Plenty. So, in conclusion, I have to say, I might be canceling my accounts with both companies. Mostly the emails just annoy me and I have yet to be so in love with a shoe that I simply HAD to buy it. I think I gave it a decent run, though. Sorry, Kim Kardashian, it looks like your fancy shoe company just might not be for me. And for whomever owns Just Fabulous, congrats on a better execution of the same idea as KK's Shoe Dazzle, but in the end, I just don't think our relationship is working out. It's not you. It's me. Oh, wait, no- it IS you. 

Like shoes as much as (or more than) me? Then tweet about it with my hashtag #ShoesdayTuesday and let's get talking! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fashion Week 2011- Betsey Johnson

Whether or not you like Betsey Johnson's design aesthetic, you have to admit, she (and her clothes) have personality. Personally, I love mixing one Betsey Johnson piece into an outfit because it helps add a touch of quirkiness. An entire Betsey Johnson outfit is usually a bit too over-the-top for my personal style, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate her work.

This past week at Fashion Week, Betsey Johnson did something that I think is not only super fun and inventive, but it showed the fashion world and the world beyond fashion that her clothes can translate to any body type, not just the standard 5'9" stick-thin runway model body type. She used her employees as models- various heights, shapes, genders- there was even an obviously pregnant model rocking a skin-tight printed dress. All "models" wore Miss Johnson's own signature blonde hair with blunt fringe (wigs, of course) and what's more, they all appeared to be genuinely enjoying themselves as they strutted down the runway. From peace signs flashed to quirky dance moves, they all seemed comfortable showing their personalities as they showed off their employers designs.

A few of my favorites looks:

Check out the entire show here and then pop back over here to let me know what you think of the designs. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: Did I Miss the Boat?

Ages ago, before I'd even moved back to NH, I spent a fabulous summer day shopping with Beth and considered the idea of bringing back gloves as a trend. Remember that day? If not, you can get a memory jolt here. Well, since then, the only gloves I've worn were for keeping my fingers warm in the cold New England winter. I have a pair of nice black, leather gloves that look nice with any of my winter coats, but as far as gloves for fashion goes... I think I missed the boat. I never acted on my brilliant idea. I even bought a pair of gloves that day and have I worn them since? Nope. Epic fail. Well, maybe it's not exactly an epic fail, but I still feel as though I failed to take advantage of that idea. It could have been an opportunity for some fun, funky outfits. If only.

Perhaps my move back to NH that resulted about a month later distracted me from my plan. After all, to bring back the trend, I would need to shop for a few pair of gloves. While packing for NH, rather than shop for new things, I instead tended to purge my closets of anything even remotely unnecessary. So maybe gloves as fashion didn't happen for me last fall, but maybe they can this spring. These are a few cute pair of gloves that could certainly entice me to give it a try:

Teal City Gloves, Modcloth, $18.99 

Leisurely Drive Glovettes, Modcloth, $49.99

Vintage 50's Gloves, Sydney's Vintage Clothing, $27.99

Cotton Driving Gloves,, $30

The colors, the textiles, the gorgeous details- I think I could really get into this trend with just a few fabulous pair of gloves. So tell me, if you saw someone walking down the street wearing gloves that were clearly for the purpose of making a fashion statement, what would you think? Crazy? Cool? Daring? Outlandish? Leave a comment and tell me what you would think. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fashion Week Faves- Couture

As much as I die for the ready-to-wear runway looks, there is nothing that compares to the pure fantasy and artistry of the couture collections. I simply can't resist sharing a few of my favorites with you. My breath was taken away by each and every one of these:

Elie Saab

Elie Saab




Does anything ever compare to Dior couture? Really, though. 

Rate My Look- A Day at the DMV

Birthdays in New Hampshire not only mean cake and balloons and parties, they also signify a rite of passage for any and all auto-owners: car registration. Why the state chooses to ruin everyone's birthday month that way, I'll never know. Although, I suppose it does make it easy to remember. Anyway, I've been majorly procrastinating with transferring my car registration from PA to NH, but as my birthday approached, I realized I could delay it no longer. After an extra half hour getting ready, I was finally ready to head to the DMV.

Why so glammed up for the DMV? Well, as a new resident, that means new drivers license and that means my picture would be taken! The outfit isn't super important, since only the very tops of your shoulders show in that type of picture, but I still decided to spruce it up with the sparkly scarf and cashmere sweater in pale blue and pink. And yes, I spent an extra 20 minutes curling my hair, and another extra 10 making sure my make-up was perfect. In the end, I had to have the DMV clerk take the photo twice. The first one was SO unflattering. The second was great, though- I am actually smiling a big ol' smile in the photo. Once my license arrives in the mail, I'll try to show you all. 

After a trip to the DMV for the license, it was on to the registrar office to get my car registered, where I totally jumped on the NH vanity-plate bandwagon. Finally, after getting my car inspected, I was officially legal to drive in my new/old home state. In the end, I'm glad I spent the extra time on my outfit and hair/make-up. I have had a few too many terrible ID photos, but hopefully this one will set the bar for the future.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fashion Week Faves- Ready to Wear

May I please have one of each of these? Thank you.

Catherine Malandrino

Christian Siriano

Elie Tahari

Victoria Beckham

Oscar de la Renta

Chado Ralph Rucci

There were SO many other scrumptious looks that walked the runway at this past Fashion Week- I could be here all day showing you my favorites. What were your favorite pieces? Collections? Shows? Shoes? Leave a comment! And then check back here for more on Fashion Week 2011. 

Accessories Anonymous: Untouchable Clutch-ables

I have been so into large bags for so long- bags that I can use every day to tote all my essentials around with me. Inside my bag right now, you will find:

- A make-up bag with no less than 4 lipsticks, 1 powder, 1 cream foundation, 1 mascara, 1 eye shadow palette, 1 lip gloss and several hair ties and clip
- Wallet and separate coin purse
- Business card case
- Keys
- Cell phone
- iPod
- Tissues
- Tampons
- Pens and a small notebook
- Hand sanitizer
- Mini lotion bottle
- Mini perfume bottle
- Gloves (it's cold out there!)
- Tape measure (you'd be surprised how often I pull it out)
- Nail file
- Altoids

Of course, a lot of these don't get used every day, but I hate when I need something simple like a tissue or a working pen and it's not right at my fingertips. It's not that I'm impatient, it's just that if I have a large bag, why not fill it with all the essentials and then I'll never be stuck without the one thing I need? My new Betsey Johnson bag is much smaller than what I've been using lately and it became problematic because I simply couldn't fit everything I needed inside it. Eventually, I re-worked the contents in an effort to make it more user-friendly, and while that worked for a while, there was that one time that I didn't have the shade of lipstick with me that I really wanted. Not exactly a life-or-death situation, but still irksome. The funny thing about smaller bags is that if I do eventually grow accustomed to carrying around a smaller amount of items, when I inevitably switch out to the larger bag, it's not as if I continue to pare down the contents. Nope. It's almost as if a larger bag is free license to carry so much more around! I'm amazed I don't have back problems.

Of course, the most difficult bags to deal with for me are evening bags- specifically clutches. (How psyched was I to see oversize clutches coming into trend?) In the event that carrying an evening bag is required, I always stash it inside my larger bag. I'll carefully select the one lip product I'll need, remove the items from my wallet that are the most essential (I.D., money, credit card), and if there's any extra room after squeezing in my keys and cell phone, you can bet I'll try to cram a face powder compact in there, too. Lately, I've been thinking of forcing myself to use a smaller every day bag, just to get out of this habit. The idea prompted me to  shop around for some smaller every day bags that I could carry around and maybe create a new habit. The weather at this time of year isn't really helping my situation because if there isn't room in my bag for everything, I likely have a couple of pockets in whatever coat I'm wearing to stash a few extra essentials.

But here's the thing: if I'm legitimately going to try for a smaller every day bag, it still needs to be super cute. Maybe one of these will do:

Glittery Mesh Clutch, Forever 21, $17.80 

I'll be honest- this experiment is mostly in my imagination- I don't see my big bag habit going away anytime soon. Although, if I had a couple of the clutches above to use, I might be a little more enthused about changing my ways. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beauty Product Review: Model in a Bottle

I was recently approached by the online beauty supply company Misikko about reviewing a couple of their products. After perusing the site, I was most intrigued by a product called "Model in a Bottle." I'd tried make-up setters in the past, but never really found one that was super amazing. I was excited to try out another brand and see how it compared to others I'd used in the past.

When my Model in a Bottle arrived, I could hardly wait to try it, but since I'd just walked in the door after a long day at work, setting my make-up wasn't exactly a top priority. But since I wasn't about to use it in a practical sense, I took the opportunity to test it out on my skin, just to see how if I would react to it at all. I have very sensitive skin and I try to be very careful about testing different products before I use them on my face. I sprayed a bit of the Model in a Bottle on the back of my hand to test it out. The first thing I noticed was how strong the scent is. I have perfume that isn't as strong a scent as Model in a Bottle. I tend to be very sensitive to strong scents, but I think this might even bother someone who isn't particularly sensitive. Yes, it's that strong.

The next morning, I was actually a bit nervous about trying it because I was afraid the scent would really get to me. After all, if it bothered me while it was on my hand, how much more difficult would it be to deal with when it was sprayed on my face? I did my make-up as usual, and then misted the Model in a Bottle over my face. Once again, the scent was strong, but the product dried quickly and I quickly headed out the door to work.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the scent to be not nearly as overpowering as I'd expected. Throughout my 10-hour day at work, I frequently checked my make-up in the many mirrors around the shop. Each time I was pleasantly surprised to see that instead of the usual shiny patches and areas where my make-up had worn off, my make-up seemed to be nearly as fresh as when I'd first applied it that morning. Overall, I was quite impressed with "Model in a Bottle."

- Clean, matte finish that requires little to no touching up throughout the day
- Very fast-drying (especially compared to other similar products)
- Fine, even mist
- After using every day for a week, I have experienced no side effects or skin irritation of any kind. Actually, my skin feels soft and smooth whenever I use it.

- Somewhat overpowering scent

Clearly the pros far outweigh the cons, at least in my case. If you are looking for a good make-up setter, I think this is a great product to try. And even though Misikko sent me my bottle for free, you can trust I've given an honest review.

Although this review is geared towards the make-up savvy, Misikko has quite a few products for those who are hair obsessed. Maybe I'll have an opportunity in the future to review a hair straightener or hair product like FHI Heat Hot Sauce.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday: My Brogue-mance

Guys, this Shoesday Tuesday is for you. I know I wax poetic about my obsession for lace-up oxfords and I do have a decent collection by now. But the truth about that style is that it's 100% menswear, made for women. So why not dedicate a post to the original shoe that inspired the trend? Gentlemen, may I present: the brogue.

Mens Vintage Harry Brogue, Super Shoes, $245

Wondering what made me want to write about these shoes? Well, I was sitting in the living room last night, watching The Shawshank Redepmtion. Great movie, right? Well, remember when Red is talking about how Andy escaped from prison- he was wearing the Warden's shoes, which he'd rubbed to a nice mirror shine. Remember Red's line, "After all, how often do you really look at a man's shoes?" It's true- mens shoes are not always something you think to look at, unless of course, they're really nice. Since brogues are so versatile- they look great with a suit, with dress pants, even with jeans and a nice shirt- they are a great shoe to invest in. A nice leather pair will last you years, especially if you take care of them. Have the soles repaired if they get worn out and spend a few minutes cleaning them off at the end of the day. A little care goes a long way. 

And don't be fooled into thinking brogues are for the boring, straight-laced (pun intended) type. There are funky oxfords out there for just about anyone. Like these: 

You like? I do! Make a statement with your shoes, gentlemen- you won't regret it! And don't forget to tweet your shoe obsessions with the hashtag #ShoesdayTuesday 

Monday, February 14, 2011

I can't even go there...

I really enjoy doing red carpet coverage for the big awards shows, but the Grammy's are a place I just can't seem to go. Maybe these are the reasons why:

Cee Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow. Honestly, his outfit makes her cotton/spandex unitard and hot pink feather earrings look almost normal. 

Lady Gaga in an EGG. Why am I not surprised? 

Nicki Minaj. I have no words. 

Rhianna. Oh, Rhianna. I can hardly believe you are the least offensive amongst this hodge podge of cray-cray.  
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