Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's About Time...

I've been debating about getting a pair of Sperry Topsiders for months now (seriously, here's a post I did on them in April), and you guys know that I'm slow, but I finally bought them! It only took me, what, three months? Actually, that's pretty good for me. I chose these over Vans because I think these are a little more unique, and I'm going to college on the east coast, so I may as well get a start on all the preptasticness.

Anyways, I got the Bahama Top-Siders in Chino/Oyster. I wish I had pics for you guys, but my mom has this annoying habit of driving off who knows where with the camera in her car, so we're gonna have to make do with stock pics. The two pictures on the left are the actual shoe color, whereas the pic on the right is the picture from the Sperry website, and makes the shoes look grey. I was definitely expecting grey-on-grey shoes when I opened the box, and surprise surprise, they're khaki on khaki. It doesn't bother me, but FYI if you're interested. I love the cute stripes on the inner sole! Very nautical. The funny part is that they come in this box with the Sperry mission statement, which is all about exploring the unknown sea and how is the ocean is this brave new world because Top-Siders are boat shoes, and I'm just laughing because if these shoes are on my feet, they're never going near a boat. I have a freakish fear of boats. And the ocean. So, of course I had to buy boat shoes.

As for the shoes themselves, I really like them. I finally have a pair of big girl shoes! As in shoes that have heels! They run true to size, but just a tad on the large side. I'm always a 10, sometimes a 10.5, and I could wear a pair of super thick socks with these with no problems. They're not falling off my feet, but they're a little roomy, so if you're between like a 9 and a 9.5, go with the 9. I haven't worn these out yet, but they're really comfy. They have great arch support, which I so need after years of flip flops, they're very well-made with a sturdy sole, and they don't make my feet look awkwardly huge, which can be a problem. The two-tone detail and peekabo laces keep them from being boring, but the neutral shade means they'll work with pretty much anything. You can get them for $50 at the Sperry website, or for $42.90 at zappos.com like I did.

Now, I'm going to wear them with the expected things like shorts, jeans, pants, whatever, but I also want to use them to anchor and toughen up floaty, girly sundresses like these. A.L.C. Sunburst Dress, $795 at shopbop.com, Catherine Malandrino Embroidered Cotton Dress, $495 at shopbop.com, Anna Sui Cherry-Print Silk Dress, $375 at net-a-porter.com. The masculinity and ulitarian vibe of the shoes contrasts perfectly with the girly delicacy of a sundress, and Top-Siders are a practical alternative to the usual ballet flat or strappy sandal. Come to think of it, Top-Siders would be the perfect travelling shoes. They're a sensible, comfy option for long, touristy walks, but unlike a big pair of tennis shoes, they don't scream tourist.

Image Sources: First two Top-Siders pics: zappos.com, Third Top-siders pic: sperrytopsider.com, A.L.C. dress: shopbop.com, Catherine Malandrino dress: shopbop.com, Anna Sui dress: net-a-porter.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

How To Never Have a Bad Hairday

I'm going to sound like a vain brat right now, and I'm apologizing in advance for that, but I almost always have good hair days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Pantene commercial ready on a daily basis, but I never have the impulse to shave my head/invest in scarves/throw on a beanie or whatever else it is people do. I have my hair down to a science, an easily repeatable routine that I can stick to everyday. To be fair, it took me years of middle school-esque angst to get to this place. I know my hair isn't everybody else's hair, but I have a few tips to help anybody achieve hair awesomeness on even Monday mornings.

1. Accept your natural hair texture. You heard me. If you have curly hair, wear it curly. If you have straight hair, let it hang straight. I'm not saying that you shouldn't mix it up and pull out the curling/flat iron every once in a while, but on a daily basis, give your hair a break. It took me about 6 years to get over the fact that I don't have waist-length Giselle Bunchen waves. I scrunched/wave sprayed/braided/curled my hair every night in hopes that I would wake up with anything but the pin-straight hair I was born with, and I fried my hair doing it. So, I finally decided to cut it all off into a shoulder-skimming bob that actually looks best straight. And it feels freaking awesome. Start with getting a cut that flatters your natural hair type, i.e. lots of layers for fine hair, dry cutting for curly hair, razoring for thick hair, etc. Yes, sometimes it can be expensive to get a professional cut like that, but think about the money on styling tools and products, and not to mention the time you'll save if your haircut can pretty much style itself.

2. Use the right products. You can get away with only using one or two products if they're the right ones. Dull, greasy hair comes from a combination of oil and buildup. Use a clarifying shampoo, like Bumble and Bumble's Sunday Shampoo, $22.94 at amazon.com, one or twice a week. Clarifying shampoos are stronger than regular shampoos, so they take away more oil, and are designed to get rid of the buildup that styling products can leave behind. If oil is the only problem, try a dry shampoo like Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo, $18 at sephora.com (washing your hair less often also helps prevent dry ends). Also, your hair, like your skin, can acclimate to products over time, so you need to switch up your shampoos and conditioners. I like to use a nice shampoo once a week, like L'Oreal Everpure Smooth Shampoo, $6.99 at drugstore.com, and use a shampoo like Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Shampoo, $7.49 at drugstore.com, for the rest of the week. That way you get all the benefits of the nice shampoo at a fraction of the cost. Color Me Happy shampoo is also a great, cheap shampoo for colored hair. I've been using it for a few weeks, and I should have serious roots by now, but I don't! Win-win-win. Also, random tip, but if you have dry hair, use a creamy shampoo. Creamy, opaque shampoos are much more moisturizing than clear, transparent shampoos.

It's important to use the right products for your hair type, colored, dry, fine, limp, whatever. If your hair is extremely limp or extremely thick (like mine, in which case gravity is not your best friend), a volumizing mousse is a fantastic option. I like Tresemme 24 Hour Body Volumizing Mousse, $4.99 at walgreens.com, because it leaves my hair soft, not crunchy, and the body lasts all night (I shower right before bed) and all the way through the next day. Just comb an egg-sized amount through your hair right out of the shower. Plus, it smells AWESOME. For another tip for limp hair, scroll down to a DIY recipe at #4. For super-curly hair, use a curl-activating cream like Living Proof Curl Defining Styling Cream, $24 at sephora.com, to bring out your natural curl, and a serum like Bumble and Bumble's Brilliantine, $24.94 at amazon.com, to fight frizz and keep your curls from getting over-enthusiastic. Brilliantine is also awesome for basically any other hair type. It's great to smooth away frizzies and flyaways, it fights dry ends, and I use it to add texture and definition to the ends of my hair. Another way to combat dry and split ends is to use a deep conditioner. You can splurge on Sephora worthy deep conditioners, but at the rate I go through this stuff, I like to go drugstore cheap, and you can't get better than Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Time Renewal Conditioner, $5.99 at drugstore.com. The day after I started using this I literally marched up to Maud and was like "FEEL. MY. HAIR." After one day, it's noticeably softer and just overall happier looking. It's a pretty intense conditioner though, so if you have fine hair I'd only leave it on for a minute or two. Lastly, if you do any type of heat styling, blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron, anything, USE A PROTECTIVE SPRAY. I can't say that enough. Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray, $4.75 at drugstore.com, keeps my daily flat ironing (explanation below) from totally frying my ends. I haven't had split ends (at a noticeable level, at least) in over a year, and I think this is why.

3. And the right tools. Personally, I think blow dryers are the devil. If you don't really need to blow dry your hair, why not just wait an extra hour or two for your hair to air dry and save it all that damage? Then again, I shower at night, so I'm never rushing off places with wet hair. But if you're one of those weird morning shower people (so. early.), at least invest in a blow dryer that won't eat your hair alive. Trust me, one of those ionic dryers will pay for itself with all the money on fix-it styling products you'll save, and they cut drying time drastically, so they damage your hair less. I've heard good things about this CHI Turbo Low EMF Professional Hair Dryer, $135 at drugstore.com, and it's CHI, so it has to be good. For a combo curling/flat iron, I'm in love with my T3 Mini Flat Iron, $119 at sephora.com (and $60 on eBay). I have 99% straight hair that likes to flip out awkwardly at the ends, so I use this to just curl my ends under/straighten them every night. It heats up in 15 seconds, has adjustable temperatures, and even though it's travel-sized, can curl/straighten your entire head quickly and is great at adding root volume. Can you tell that I love it? Now, I'm the last person to plug a hairbrush, mainly because I like my hair bedhead messy and brush my hair like once a month, but if you want awesome shine, you need a hairbrush. It's one of the most effective ways to make your hair look polished and pulled together. Make sure you get a paddle brush (also works for blow outs) with high quality boar bristles, like this Karina Brush, $29.99 at drugstore.com.

4. A few cheap, extra tips. When people ask me what I do to my hair everyday to make it look half-way decent, the first thing I tell them is the cheapest, easiest hair tip I have. Rinse your hair in cold water before you get out of the shower. And I mean cold water, as in as cold as it gets. It works because your hair is like your skin; it has 'pores.' Cold water closes skin pores and the cuticle openings on the hair shaft. When the hair shaft is smooth, light reflects off it more evenly and hair looks shinier. You'll need to do this for at least a week to see results, but seriously, I had run of the mill hair before, and now I can't take a picture of my hair with flash because the shine makes it look white. Another way to get rid of buildup and extra oil, aside from a pricey clarifying shampoo, is to rinse your hair once a month with a water bottle filled halfway with apple cider vinegar and halfway with water, and then shampoo and condition as usual. Apple cider vinegar strips away everything that builds up on each strand of hair, making it look clean and shiny. Finally, I love to use the conditioners that come with my hair color as deep conditioners. They're super-nourishing and smell fantastic. You don't have to color your hair to do this. I used to 'borrow' them from my mom before I dyed my hair, and you can buy them separately online or on eBay. Once a week, when I shave my legs in the shower, I leave on the conditioner. It takes me about 5-10 minutes to shave my legs, depending on how clumsy I am, so the conditioner has a long time to absorb, and the heat from the shower makes it even more potent. It's my cheap version of a deep conditioner. To add texture to fine, limp, or very straight hair, fill a spray bottle (12 ounces, please) with 8 ounces of water, a teaspoon of fine salt, 2 teaspoons of conditioner or deep conditioner, depending on how fine/dry your hair is, and a dollop of drugstore brand hair gel, shake vigorously, apply to wet hair, and scrunch like crazy for volume, texture, and a hint of a wave.

Once you figure out what products you need to use and incoporate whatever tips/tricks you want into your routine (seriously, try the cold water, it's MAGICAL), try the whole thing out for a week and document the difference it makes. Write it down, use pictures, whatever. If you don't have significantly more good hair days that week than usual, feel free to write me angry comments/emails, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Just for proof: look at the shininess! And that's without flash.

Image Sources:
Bumble and Bumble Shampoo: amazon.com, Herbal Essences shampoo: drugstore.com, L'Oreal shampoo: drugstore.com, Tresemme Mousse: walgreens.com, Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine: amazon.com, Living Proof cream: sephora.com, Pantene Conditioner: drugstore.com, Tresemme Heat Defense: drugstore.com, CHI Blow Dryer: drugstore.com, T3 Iron: sephora.com, Karina Brush: drugstore.com

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Anna Sui for Target

I love Anna Sui. I love Target. Therefore, by my mathematical calculations, I love Anna Sui for Target (and I thought I'd never use math after high school). The clothes on Gossip Girl are fantastic, and Anna Sui separated her collection into focusing on the four main girl characters, Serena, Blair, Jenny, and Vanessa. Gossip Girl has a slightly dark, very fashion-forward aesthetic that fits Anna Sui perfectly, so I was super-excited to see the promo pics for this collection, which drops in September. Read on for my review.

Serena: Serena's character is the 'Kate Moss,' boho-chic it girl. I think these ensembles are a little off. First off, they're all black/white/grey. Don't get me wrong, I love all those tones, but seriously, where is the color? Second off, they're not nearly skanky enough. I love Serena, but she's a slut, and I see zero cleavage. This first outfit is just boring. Serena would wear a little leather bomber, but not with a black tee and belt and skirt. The bomber itself is a good piece, though. As for the second look, I see where it was going. A cute grey mini-dress with a statement necklacey neckline is very Kate Moss, but when done in a babydoll cut with a roomy skirt it kind of looks like a maternity dress. If it was fitted through the waist with a little tulip skirt, and the neckline didn't look like some creepy vampire-goth fang collection, it would be great. This middle dress is my favorite Serena look. It's proper up top and sexy below, and the cage-esque overlay on the skirt are the right mix of trendy and chic. These last two looks are just a hot mess. The leggings with the baggy shirt/dress with giant hip pockets in so, so unflattering and dumpy, and the 'equestrian' look on the right just looks cheap. What do knickers have to do with Gossip Girl? Nothing.

Vanessa: Vanessa is the Brooklyn hipster character, so for some reason she must wear entirely orange and brown? Not following Anna Sui there. This looks like what a '70s hippie would wear to Thanksgiving, and not in a good way. The patterns are atrocious, the styling is horrific, and not a single one of those pieces is cute or flattering. I'd just skip over these entirely. And seriously, what's with the letterman jackets?

Jenny: Jenny is the rocker-chic, rebellious schoolgirl/fashion designer. I'm not feeling the styling of these looks, but some of the individual pieces are really cute. The dress and coat from the first look would be adorable separately, and they definitely look like Anna Sui at like a fourth of the price tag. I loved the second look at first glance, but it has an awkward elastic band around the waist that's supremely unflattering unless you're a double zero with no hips. :( The middle dress is ok, but that neckline is kind of trashy prom dress in my opinion. I can't even talk about that fourth look. It has no redeeming aspects at all. The ripped leggings? Really? Is she supposed to be Lindsay Lohah? This last is my favorite Jenny look. It's a little sailor/saucy pirate wench, but it actually looks like Jenny, and it's kinda cute. The off the shoulder sleeves are sassy, and the crazy stripes/print are a little Jean Paul Gaultier. The crossover at the bodice is flattering and intriguing. Just skip the fishnets in real life.

Blair: I was the most excited for the Blair looks. She has the most personal style by far on Gossip Girl, a mixture of Audrey Hepburn and prepster chic. For the most part, I love these. The leggings look on the left is something Blair would never wear. It just looks awkward, and that had better not be a romper (when will that trend die?) The second dress looks like an adorable little a-line shift dress. The print is fun, and it looks like it's made out of a decent fabric (check out the sheen). The middle dress might be difficult for anyone with boobs/a butt/hips to wear without it looking like a nightgown. The Victorian neckline and nude/lace tromphe l-oeil print are balanced perfectly by the mini length. The fourth look is cute. I love the slouchy fabric mixed with the formal cut, and the black belt is very flattering. I just hope it's not super-short in real life, because it would be way cuter as a dress than a long shirt. This last dress looks just like a DVF dress I loved. The sheer lace trim is really on-trend, but the color and cut are totally classic, and very, very Blair.

Image Sources:
all images from nymag.com/daily/fashion

Fashion Scoop! Remembering MJ

To make a long story short, I was at the Saks right off of Rodeo today/tonight and ran into an interesting situation. While briefly venturing out of the dressing room to look at something in the 360 mirror (always a confidence booster. not.) I overheard a certain somebody mention that she was Janet Jackson's personal shopper. Interested and a wee bit of an eavesdropper, I obviously decided to pay a little bit more attention to the situation at hand and less on what I looked like. Apparently she was there to purchase some wardrobe pieces for Michael's funeral. Now, looking at the pieces she had in her hands seemed strange to me, considering they were for a funeral. You know, because they were all white and I was expecting something a little more traditional, like I don't know, black. But supposedly that was the point. MJ didn't (or wouldn't) want people to wear typical mourning clothes. So if you really want to show a tribute to him the way he would have wanted it, wear white. And considering the already inspired trends of the current seasons, there's no reason why you can't go all out with a little MJ style.

Resort 2010: More Highlights!

I know I;m a little late with the resort coverage, but I'm working 8-6 everyday, so I'm a little strapped for time the moment. So, finally, here are my favorites from the Resort 2010 collections. Yes, I have 21 favorites. Did I mention that I'm indecisive?

Roberto Cavalli, Sonia Rykiel, Moschino Cheap & Chic: That is officially my favorite maxi dress of all time. The slinky/slouchy cut is sexy enough to balance out the fullness of the skirt, and it looks like a zebra. A zebra. Um, amazingly fun. This Sonia Rykiel dress also has that slouchy-chic thing going on. I love the colorblocking with the black accent at the waist. There's enough color to be fun and flattering, and the black makes it a little more versatile while highlighting the waist. The pairing of this striped cardigan and girly, ruffled dress is genius. It's the perfect mix of casual and dressy, and the way the nude stripes and dress match pulls the outfit together nicely without washing her out. And how adorable are those shoes?!

Moschino Cheap & Chic, both Stella McCartney: It's a backwards tuxedo dress. A backward tuxedo dress. I'm dying. It's so YSL le smoking meets Madonna meets film noir starlet. Lose the hat, and you can hit up any party in town. OMG I love that dress. It's classic and formal meets young and quirky. The whole Stella McCartney show was fantastic, and these two looks are my favs. The buffalo plaid sweater/dress is a perfect way to be comfy and chic, and the sheer netting at the top of that black dress is to die for. The one shoulder strap going through the sheer top is a great twist on a look that's been around for awhile.

Proenza Schouler, Basso & Brooke, Roksa Ilincic: Great styling at Proenza Schouler. Layer an oversized vest over a boxy tee dress and add a ton of necklaces for a casual, but urban and edgy chic look. The sharp-shouldered white blazer paired with the neon printed dress should come off as totally '80s, but the minimalist cuts and simple accessories keep it modern. The sheer top and sweetheart necklace combo at Roska Ilincic is genius. The sweetheart cut is sexy, and the sheer layer adds a bit of modesty, so you can be sexy without being too revealing.

Lanvin, Preen, Marchesa: How fun is that Lanvin dress? It has a cheerful print, great movement, and a cute, floral print. You can't go wrong there. I love the idea of doing an edgy, body-con dress in a super-girly color like lilac. Opposites definitely do attract. Pastels make me gag, and I'm drooling over this Preen dress. That necklace is fantastic. If you ever want to look like a Grecian goddess, go no further. This Marchesa dress screams Helen of Troy with the one-shouldered toga construction, but the chain details at the waist and shoulder and the subtle pleating bring it up to the moment.

Marchesa, Herve Leger, Max Azria: I love, love, love these two dresses. The Marchesa dress is so simply cut, but so, so chic. The pleats add subtle volume, the pewter hue is offbeat but flattering, and sweetheart necklines are always a plus. The burnout effect on this Herve Leger dress is stunning. It almost looks like you rolled in ink, and I think it's that insouciant, devil may care attitude that draws me to it. Plus, it's a bandage dress, so um, it's hot. There's something so perfect about just throwing on a menswear blazer, a plain tee, and some slim pants. All the pieces are extremely simple separately, but when thrown together the mix of masculine and feminine elevates it from basics to drop dead gorgeous.

Christopher Kane, Jenni Kayne, J. Mendel: A cutout t-shirt dress done in an atomic bomb print? Um, yes please. Christoper Kane is so weird, but in such a good way. All you need is that dress, a killer pair of heels, and you're the best dressed girl at any party. I love the styling of the boxy leather jacket over the boxy mini at Jenni Kayne. The tucked-in tee keeps is sexy, and the neon and neutrals pairing is on-trend and classic at the same time. Don't you just want to hug that J. Mendel dress? It's a big ball of sunshine. The soft pleats look so floral and organic, the pale lemon hue is unique but flattering, and the lightness of the chiffon balances the heaviness of all the layers perfectly. I will cry if this never sees a red carpet.

Badgley Mischka, Balenciaga, Dior: I'm having a Cinderella moment with this Badgley Mischka dress. I just want to spin around in circles with it. The big sheer overlay over the sequin dress is a fun and really flattering play on the sheer trend that's been circulating. When is Balenciaga not great? This dress is so boho/peasant, but done over with a Balenciaga sci-fi twist in the slimmer cut and neon belt. This is a really fresh look that would be easy to dupe! How glamourous is that Dior dress? It reminds me of a Fall Naeem Khan dress that I worship. The dove grey hue is perfect, understated but offbeat, and the drapey one-shoulder sleeve is elegantly on-trend. Just go with slightly simpler hair for real life.

Image Sources:
Roberto Cavalli: style.com, Sonia Rykiel: style.com, Moschino Cheap & Chic: style.com, Stella McCartney: style.com, Proenza Schouler: style.com, Basso & Brooke: style.com, Roksa Ilincic: style.com, Lanvin: style.com, Preen: style.com, Marchesa: style.com, Herve Leger: style.com, Max Azria: style.com, Christopher Kane: style.com, Jenni Kayne: style.com, J. Mendel: style.com, Badgley Mischka: style.com, Balenciaga: style.com, Dior: style.com


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