Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Inspired by: Jane Austen's Emma

I don't know if I've mentioned this recently, but I am a huge closet Jane Austen fan. Well, not even closet fan, just general worshiper of all things Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my personal favorite, but I also have a soft spot for Emma. I have a friend in a Jane Austen class this semester, so we've been watching a LOT of Austen, and I just re-watched the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma, which I adore, and then I heard about the recent TV series version with Romola Garai, so I had to watch that too. Of course. Whenever I watch Austen films I like to imagine how the characters would be in today's society, mainly because I just want to be one of the characters, and so I got to thinking about how Emma would dress if she lived now. I realize that Clueless is the 'modern' interpretation of Emma, but I feel like Emma wouldn't be so highly stylized and fashion-conscious (although I totally love Clueless). She is vain, but not about her looks. I think her style would be classic and feminine, very dainty and girly, but with a slightly whimsical, sassy touch because, well, she's sassy and her head is any but firmly grounded in reality.

Here's a pic from the Romola Garai version of Emma. I seriously recommend it. That guy's not my favorite Mr. Knightley, but she was a lovely Emma, and like the recent BBC makeover of Sense & Sensibility, it was very tastefully done. The rest of the pics are from Gwyneth Paltrow's turn as Emma. Lots of delicate details, empire waists, and soft colors. It's all very tasteful and sweet, but also very rich.

Alice by Temperley Carrie Printed Silk-cotton Dress, $395 at, Gorjana Alphabet Charm Necklace, $50 at, Giles & Brother Rose Studs, $78 at I know this dress might not seem like the obvious choice, but I wanted something that had a simple, clean, almost retro silhouette with a hint of spunk in the print. The lines of this dress are very much in keeping with the femininity and charm of the onscreen dresses, and that little ruffle at the hem just feels so Emma to me. The ace of spaces print ties into the role that cards played in social life at the time, and adds a slightly whimsical, offbeat twist--Emma always keeps you on your toes. I wanted to keep the jewelry simple for this look because Emma is certainly not one for ostentatious displays of wealth, but rather chic, tasteful little pieces. I can definitely see her with a delicate charm necklace for daily wear, especially a monogram pendant charm necklace because she is a little self-centered. The rose studs are very sweet and girly, and reminiscent of Emma's countryside home (and she's an English rose! I'm so funny. Not really).

J. Crew Cashmere V-Neck Cardigan, $119.99 at, Rebecca Minkoff Heartthrob Bag, $365 at, Jeffrey Campbell Jewel G Ballet Flats, $140 at I'd layer this cardigan over the dress because the serene white hue would tone done the craziness of that print, and because Emma wore a ton of adorable little jackets in both adaptations. I chose a cardigan for her because it's a little softer and more relaxed than a structured jacket, which goes well with how she dressed in both films, and I like this cardigan because the buttons and tiny pockets have a little bit of a Victorian menswear vibe, which nicely references the era of the novel itself. I just can't imagine Emma with a giant, slouchy tote or hobo bag. I think that she'd go for a piece that's small, but still practical, and structured without being stuffy. This bag drapes across the shoulder very delicately, the grey shade doesn't compete with the dress, and there's something so simple and yet so charming about it that really reminds me of Emma. As for the shoes, since she wears flats in both films and since she's not a frivolous sort of girl, I thought a ballet slipper would be lovely. They're so inherently feminine that they work well with her aesthetic, and the smattering of faux jewels on the toe is a little remind of Emma's social status and her sassy personality. The grey also ties into the grey of the bag and in the dress perfectly.

Chloe EDP, $110 for 2.5 oz. at, Dior Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Reflect in Organza Pink 257, $26.50 at I don't think Emma would really be one for makeup. I just can't see her sporting a dramatic smoky eye. To me, her look is very natural and low-key, luminous and pink with a hint of sparkle. This Dior gloss (the correct color isn't pictured) is a lovely bright, but pale pink that would add the perfect rosy sheen to anyone's lips. I chose to focus on the lips for Emma because I feel like as a person, she's very focused on talking and the power of words. As for the perfume, the notes are pink peony, lychee, freesia, magnolia flower, lily of the valley, rose, cedarwood, amber, honey. The bottle says it all: feminine and refined, elegant and understated. I've smelled Chloe, and I adore it. It's a light, soft white floral with hints of sweetness and spice that's never too cloying or heavy, just effervescent and clean. I think Emma would wear something bright and fun, but also something that wouldn't distract from her personality. Chloe is the perfect combination of young and fresh, but not overpowering.

Image Sources:
Emma photos:,,,, Alice by Temperley dress:, Gorjana necklace:, Giles & Brother studs:, J. Crew cardigan:, Rebecca Minkoff bag:, Jeffrey Campbell flats:, Chloe EDP:, Dior lip gloss:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On the Nature of Flannel

Before I get started on the topic of today's post, I thought I'd show you guys three of the things I've been pondering today:

Kettle Black Long Denim Floral Skirt, $150 at, American Apparel Multi-Layered Reversible Petticoat, $65 at, Living Proof Full Thickening Cream, $24 for 3.7 oz at I don't even know where to start with this skirt. It's one of the ugliest things I have ever seen. It's like the spawn of an Abercrombie denim mini and a '70s hippie skirt from Goodwill (aka BIPOLAR) and it's being sold for the price of a good pair of jeans. Blasphemy! I really don't understand what's going on there. I can't see how it could ever be styled to look anything but deranged and confused. At best it looks like you wanted to add some length to your denim mini and decided to put another skirt underneath it. Which still makes no sense. Speaking of skirts, I'm trying to decide how I feel about this American Apparel petticoat. The thought that American Apparel is making petticoats honestly frightens me, but it's sort of fetching, especially in the black. Maybe that with a simple drapey tank and some leather sandals? Or is it just too costumey? I can't decide! The one thing I don't have mixed feelings about is this Living Proof Thickening Cream. Let me explain my hair. I have really, really, really (and I mean really) thick hair. Like I could loose half the hair on my head--in an evenly distributed manner, of course---and have as much hair left as the average person does to begin with. It sounds like I would have a ton of volume then, but no. My hair strands themselves are really thick and straight, and extremely heavy. So what ends up happening is that my trillions of hairs sort of compress themselves on top of each other into a clunky hair blob. I use volumizing mousse and salt spray to try to add some movement and body, but I will never have shampoo commercial hair. That's why I'm intrigued by this Living Proof cream. I trust Living Proof because it was developed in Cambridge (aka right by my college, aka amazingness), and this seems like it would actually pump up the hair strands instead of making them all starchy and crunchy like my mousse occasionally tends to do.

So the real question of the day has been bothering me for some time now. How do you wear a flannel shirt without looking like a hipster? I've never owned a flannel shirt before, so I never really put much thought into it. I just got one over break, however, and I'm dying to wear it.

Scoop NYC Flannel Shirt: here's my little flannel. Isn't it cute?

The trick is to find a flannel that hangs correctly (I like men's flannels for this because women's flannels can get very fitted/girly, and that kind of goes against the point of wearing a flannel anyways, which is to look like you stole it from your boyfriend), and then to style it so that you don't look like every other Urban Outfitters shopping hipster in a flannel and skinny jeans.

J. Crew Men's Secret Wash Lightweight Button-down Shirt in Coastal Plaid, $59.50 at, J. Crew 3" Chino Shorts, $39.50 at, J. Brand Mid Rise Straight Legs Jeans, $159 at Gotta love J. Crew. They have a fab selection of men's flannels at the moment, in a ton of different colors. A guy's flannel will be slightly oversized on you, and if you roll the sleeves up you get the perfect contrast of the baggy fit and exposed skin. I like the color palette of this flannel--it's still 'manly,' but it's subtle and flattering, not lumberjackish. The way I see it, you can go pretty much two ways with flannels: shorts or pants. I'd stay away from leggings underneath because that can look a little too 'walk of shame,' and it's hard to find the right skirt to go with this sort of piece. Tailored shorts add structure to the cozy flannel, but show enough skin to balance out the volume of the flannel. I like this navy/black because it picks up on the darkest part of the flannel print, which ties the outfit together nicely. Or you could go for a bottom that's more form-fitting, like these J. Brand jeans. The dark wash dresses up the casual nature of the flannel shirt, and the tightness of the fit again contrasts with the baggier lines of the flannel.

J. Crew Reese Gladiator Sandals, $88 at, Frye Dorado Riding Boots, $458 at If you like the shorts option, I'd choose a delicate but slightly rustic sandal like this pair from J. Crew. A ballet flat is just too girly, which takes away from the 'boyfriend' effect of wearing a flannel, whereas a clean pair of sandals still says feminine, but in a more basic, practical way that goes well with the nature of the shirt. When wearing a flannel and jeans, I'd finish the look off with a pair of equestrian boots. You want something that's going to add a little extra polish to the look, and equestrian boots are refined and chic, but still really practical. The neutral hue of these boots keeps all the focus on the flannel top, but the subtle buckle details ensure that they won't fade into the background at all.

FENTON/FALLON for J. Crew Carrington Chain Bracelet, $95 at, Madewell Long Rhinestone Necklace, $27.50 down from $55 at, Felix Rey Leopard Bow Mini Messenger Bag, $175 at The accessories for this look are where you can really start to have some fun. I'd choose jewelry that's feminine with a bit of an edge. Girly materials, like the rhinestones in this bracelet and necklace, remind everyone that you're still a girl, even though you're wearing a flannel, and exposed metal and mixed materials give the outfit edge and visual weight. Both of these pieces would drape so perfectly. The soft lines of the bracelet add a little sexiness, and the dark rhinestones of the necklace would peek out from the placket of the flannel in a really chic way. To top it all off, I'd do a fun bag like the leopard messenger bag. Mixing prints is a huge thing for Spring and Fall, and it works here because the colorful flannel is clearly the dominant print, whereas the leopard is a smaller, more neutral print. When mixing prints make sure that one is always dominant and the others play supporting roles. I like a little shoulder bag for this look because a giant, slouchy tote would be too casual against the flannel, and this shoulder bag adds femininity and structure while still being whimsical and fun.

Image Sources:
Kettle Black skirt:, American Apparel skirt:, Living Proof cream:, J. Crew shirt:, J. Crew shorts:, J. Brand jeans:, J. Crew sandals:, Frye boots:, J. Crew bracelet:, Madewell necklace:, Felix Rey bag:

Monday, March 29, 2010

What To: Wear to a Frat

College brings on a whole new set of demands to your wardrobe. I mean, there are the things you have to wear to class, the things you wear on weekends, the things you wear chilling in your room, and the things you wear when you're going out. It's that last category that most people seem to have trouble with. I go to a school with a lot of capable, good-looking people who tend to make the most ridiculous wardrobe choices when it comes to going out. I'm talking Jersey Shore status. On non-themed nights.

Forever 21 Striped Slub Dress, $9 at I think the things that bother me the most are the dresses that look like this: really short and baggy on top, with an awkward band around the butt/hips. I just don't understand. It completely hides the thinnest part of your torso, your waist, and then highlights the widest part of your body. It's a recipe for disaster and yet SO MANY PEOPLE WEAR IT.

I'm proposing a few changes to the going out uniform. It doesn't matter if you're going to a friend's party, a frat, or an after party, it's still possible to be cute and fashion-forward without being skanky and cheap. That said, no one wants to wear their new 7 jeans or Alice + Olivia dress to a frat just for beer and indescribable sludge to get all over them. The key is to wear cheap items without actually looking cheap. The way I see it, you can go one of two ways: dress, or shirt and skirt. I don't like to do jeans because nice jeans can be easily ruined, and I stay away from shorts just because I don't really own any, and they're hard to make sexy without being slutty.

American Apparel Interlock Mini Skirt, $25 at, American Apparel Nylon Spandex Stretch Floral Lace Bodysuit, $34 at, Monrow Demi Tank, $56.50 down from $113 at I can't even count how many times I've worn this American Apparel mini skirt out. It's such an easy, perfect piece to wear. It's inexpensive, comes in a huge range of colors, and is seriously comfy. It's the ideal piece to layer under a voluminous tank or under a little cami. I'd pair with tanks like these. I know an American Apparel bodysuit sounds ridiculous, but if you layer something under it, like a navy blue cami, and then put that mini skirt over it, it would be totally adorable. Or you could put a lingerie-inspired top like this Monrow tank on top, which would soften the strict lines of the skirt nicely.

J. Crew Lace Panel Camisole, $168 at, J. Crew Perfect-fit Swirling Petals Tank, $29 at, Alpine Stars Pit Slouchy Tank, $59 at Depending on the tank you pick, you can get a really wide range of looks out of a mini skirt like that. This J. Crew tank might be too nice, but it's so cute that I had to post it. It's another take on the lingerie-inspired look, and would be perfect if you wanted to be a bit more dressed up for say, a private party. The delicate straps and color palette are so flattering, and the hint of neon in the pink adds a little extra edge. For a simple look, you could do something like this lightly embellished J. Crew tank or this slouchy ASTARS tank.

Forever 21 Mesh Overlay Dress, $29 at, American Apparel Cotton Spandex Jersey Double U-Neck Dress, $36 at, Sweetheart Two-Toned Mini Dress, $46 at If you're into wearing dresses out, I'd stick to something cheap and simple, so that it's easy to dress up in a variety of different ways. This Forever 21 dress has a boudoir, retro vibe that would be so adorably refreshing in a sea of denim booty shorts, and the pop of color at the straps is so flattering. American Apparel is a really good option for cheap party dresses, especially very basic party dresses. This u-neck dress comes in a rainbow of colors, and has a scoop-neck in the front and an even deeper scoop-neck in the back. The actual sleeves and solid color palette balance out the form-fitting cut. For a similar look that's a little girlier, this sweetheart dress is a great option. You get the look of a sweetheart strapless dress with the sexiness of a sheer panel at the neckline, and the fit is divine.

Forever 21 Posh Stiletto Heel, $20.80 at, Urban Outfitters Ecote Macrame Slingback Sandal, $28 at I'm biased against heels in these situations, just because I'm already 5'8' and a pair of 5' heels puts me at 6'1'. AKA very tall. But if you do like to wear heels, don't wear nice ones. There's no telling what's on the floor of a frat basement, but it's a nasty cocktail that likes to eat nice shoes alive. Go for cheap, but cute heels that you won't be heartbroken to lose or ruin. These Forever 21 heels are crazy affordable, but they look expensive, which is key. If you're like me and tend to wear flats, I'd recommend a simple flat sandal. Ballet flats often look out of place, and boots are just too hot and cumbersome. I like flat sandals that have clean lines but some sort of fun embellishment, like the twisted metallic detail on these sandals. They're chic and comfortable, and again, super affordable.

Forever 21 Unconventional Braided Bracelet, $6.80 at, Forever 21 Lustrous Shoulder Bag, $18.80 at Jewelry can be difficult in these situations. I've had friends go through horror stories (my friend's diamond studs got swallowed. Yes, you read that correctly), and when you're dancing around something like a pair of chandelier earrings or a statement necklace is not the best choice for personal safety. I like to stick to bracelets. They aren't going to fall off or get in your way, but they're still able to make a statement. I love this braided bracelet. It has a slightly preppy vibe from the braiding, with a hint of edginess from the chain material. It'll stay snugly on your wrist but also have a lot of visual interest. As for bags, from experience I think the best way to go is a clutch with a shoulder strap that's long enough to wear across your body. All you really need with you are a phone, keys, and maybe some lipgloss, so a giant bag isn't necessary, and a small clutch won't get in your way. The thin strap on this bag makes it very easy to wear, and the twist-lock opening ensures that your possessions will be safe all night.

Image Sources:
Forever 21 slub dress:, American Apparel: skirt:, bodysuit:, U-Neck dress:, Sweetheart dress:, Monrow tank:, J. Crew camisole:, J. Crew tank:, ASTARS tank:, Forever 21 overlay dress:, Forever 21 heels:, Urban Outfitters sandals:, Forever 21 bracelet:, Forever 21 bag:

Friday, March 26, 2010

NYC Trip Days 4-5: The Cloisters!

Sorry for the postage fail yesterday, it just got a little crazy with packing and everything, and then you add in the lack of WiFi and my epic inability to blog using my Blackberry, and doesn't work out all that well. But I have tons of pictures and dish for you guys today, so enjoy!

I'm heading back to Boston now, but before I left NYC I had a chance to visit the Cloisters. They're an off-shoot of the Metropolitan Museum of Art located all the way up at 190th street in Fort Tryon park. You read that right. 190th street. That's past Harlem and a REALLY long subway ride, but I subdued my underground transportation phobia long enough to make it out there. Basically what the Cloisters are are a modern building done in an early Gothic/Romanesque style with parts of actual Gothic and Romanesque buildings integrated into it, like the archway at the left. Even though there are parts from a really wide range of buildings and countries, the overall effect is very harmonious, especially since it was pretty empty for a Met-associated museum. The Cloisters themselves are full of little gardens and pieces of art, tapestries, sculptures, and precious objects from the Medieval era, like this altar with the head-shaped reliquaries. They have some really impressive pieces for such a secluded museum. I kept pointing out things from my art history textbooks (and then I got a little too enthusiastic and set off the alarm. Of course.) and with so few people around, you get to spend a lot of time with the art. I really loved that they put everything in the setting that it was meant to be seen in--statues that would have been high up on walls were high up on walls.

They have fully recreated apses with authentic frescoes! So cool. We went at just the right time in the afternoon for the light to hit all the stained glass windows--absolutely gorgeous. Here's a view of the Cloisters from Fort Tryon park. The park itself is really lovely, right next to the river and full of trees and flowers. It was surprisingly empty when we went, and extremely peaceful.

And here's an adorably artsy picture that my mom took at the subway station. To get to the Cloisters you take the A train express uptown to 190th street, get into a really sketchy elevator, and walk through Fort Tryon park. Then we went to get froyo at 40 Carrots at Bloomingdales, which is no Pinkberry but it's pretty darn good. And yes, I ate all of that by myself.

I love to study how people dress in other cities. I tend to think that how people dress in LA is how people dress everywhere, which is definitely not the case at all. There is so much more black in NYC. SO much. And the longer we were in NYC, the more I started gravitating towards the all black things in my suitcase. Someone actually asked if I worked at the Soho Uniqlo, so I felt like a real New Yorker (not really, but still). Since I sorta failed at blogging yesterday, I thought I'd put together a little ensemble that I would have liked to have worn this past week.

Rebecca Minkoff Lindbergh Perforated Leather Jacket, $795 at, Temperley London Flying Horse Belt, $450 at, Rory Beca Abbie Trapeze Dress, $190 at I love my new little leather jacket, but I couldn't find it online, so here's a similar one. Just your standard issue little motorcycle jacket, edgy without being to hardcore and in-your-face. I'd pair that jacket with this little tank dress and that equestrian-inspired belt. The cheetah print of the dress adds a girly contrast to the hardness of the jacket, and the swinginess of the skirt balances out all the structure up top. Plus, that taupey-beige is a nice way to lighten up the black jacket without going all crazy on the colors, which doesn't feel as NYC to me. I love this belt. I saw it at Saks with my mom and we both died. It's so odd and almost antiquidated, but I think the heaviness of it would really work with the lightness of the dress, and the black leather would tie in with the jacket, while the gold horses would pop from underneath it.

Kenneth Jay Lane Snake Print Ring, $66 at, Pelle Moda Finet Stud Caged Heels, $175 at, BE & D Woodstock Hobo, $995 at I wanted to keep the accessories neutral as well, but not boring. I love this snakeskin ring. It stays in the black/taupe color palette, but since it's snakeskin it's inherently sassy. Plus, since it's gigantic, it makes a statement without detracting from the focal point of the belt. These heels, which I'd never actually wear on a New York street but still, anchor the floatiness of the dress and again, tie in with the jacket. The studs add a little extra visual interest, and work well with the silver/grey tones of the bag. I'm seriously feeling BE & D bags of late. The grey keeps the neutral theme going, but still mixes it up from the black and taupe, the studs are echoed in the shoes, and the shape is that perfect combination of slouchy and structured that we also see in the jacket.

And just for fun, here are some inspiring pics I missed this week (I never realized how much I relied on WiFi before!). Loving the jaunty hats from Kenzo, and that shot is fantastic on its own. Giles Deacon would make a triceratops bag, and Katie Grand would wear it like it was just a regular purse. It makes perfect sense.

I adore Jenna Lyons. She's done so much for J. Crew, and she just seems like such a fun, lovely person. How could you wear such an oversized, cheeky scarf without being inherently awesome? When those maxi skirts showed at Chloe a few seasons ago, I didn't get it. But now...I'm starting to see the '70s appeal.

Image Sources:
Jak & Jil pics:, Garance Dore pics:, Rebecca Minkoff jacket:, Temperley London belt:, Rory Beca dress:, Kenneth Jay Lane ring:, Pelle Moda heels:, BE & D bag:


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