Saturday, September 26, 2009

In True Football Fashion

I think I was probably 14 or 15 when I went to the first UT football game, that I remember. The Vols were playing Georgia, and we had driven in that morning from our cousins' farm, amidst a sea of Volunteers, surrounded by Big Orange country - the leaves on the trees had started turning, and they were vivid yellows, reds, mauves, and browns, but they seemed to know where they were, and turned out all the Tennessee Orange they could in support. Fall in the South is nothing to sneeze at, but autumn in the Smokies? Now that's somethin'.

Well, we did it all: tailgated, roared Rocky Top, attended a party on the Little Tennessee River hosted by members of the Vol Navy, and my dad showed us the best of Knoxville that day. And of course, the sound of 103,000 and some odd fans, the famous checkered end-zone, and Smokey stuck in my mind, cementing a love affair with college football, but what really made an impact were the collegiate daughters of my father's friends and their chic tailgating attire.

In fact, one girl's outfit sticks in my mind the most; she had on dark, wide leg jeans, camel leather boots, a gray and orange (natch) sweater, and a fox fur vest for warmth.

It was football perfection.

See, I was standing there in my orange T long-sleeved t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes, bcause, well, I was 14, and that's what people - my mother - wear up here in Jayhawk country.

Well, then I graduated and went to college down south, at a small school where our D-3 football team wasn't too big, but tailgating - now that was a must. And I really think we did it right: boys in seersucker and suit jackets warm weather, crawfish boils and chili cookoffs, and that perfect combination of sundresses, pearls, and cowboy boots.

That's not the way things go up at KU, I quickly came t fnd out. For one thing, the weather's a lot crisper. For another, t-shirts and jeans are still the popular uniform.

Well after a girl's been spoiled by mimosas and sundresses, you understand, it's going to be hard to downgrade (and that old comfort argument doesn't fly with me, because I've always maintained that a well-fitting dress is ten times more comfortable then jeans). And besides that, football games should be just another fun opportunity to be creative, dressing to support your team, while still staying autumnal, casual, and chic (and warm! Later on).

You can still pull off a casual sundress, I think, even amongst the t-shirts, especially when paired with boots and something else to dress it down, even a ponytail or a slouchy cardigan. Or all three.

But, that girl at that UT game really nailed it in my book. Colors to support, the casual yet chic fall uniform of jeans and boots, and, mmm, that yummy fur vest. Mix it up by pairing a white (or black) tee or sweater with an appropriately colored pashmina or scarf (yes, I've got a blue and red one, but not an orange quite yet!). I even saw a girl looking super cute last weekend in black shorts, a Jayhawks tee, and a black blazer to top. And if I'm not going to the game, but I'm out and about on the town, I usually try to accessorize with my little Jayhawk studs with whatever little outfit I happen to be wearing out.

And, in that spirit, Rock Chalk Jayhawk GO KU, and Rocky Top, you know you'll always be Home Sweet Home to me (in case y'all didn't know, I'm the child of a divided household indeed)!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A few weeks ago, I touched on the big nail trends for fall (Pretty and Polished), and included in this my favorite, foiled nails. Specifically, the Minx nails which are so hot with celebreties like Beyonce and Mrs. Posh Beckham. Unfortunately, for me anyhow, there still aren't any salons in the KC area offering this service (yet there are in Wichita . . . f you wanna make that drive). So I sent everyone to the pages of the September issue of InStyle for some killer DIY tips, myself not being much of a mani pro, or even afficiendo.

They advise you to order nail foils from a nail supply store or website and then press them on yourself using nail glue. The technique they showed was pretty fiercel they told you how to start with a gunmetal base, apply the nail glue, and the layer silver and gold foil on top - the result being that your nails look as though someone's done a rubbing on them.

Well, every once in awhile I can actually be pretty clever, and I've figure out an even easier - and cheaper, frugalistas - way to get the look.

Start the same way, with two coats of a dark base - I chose a deep chocolatey red -and let dry completely. This is important! I have a hard time being patient enough, but do it while you're watching tonight's Office and 30 Rock premieres and you'll be distracted enough to let everything dry thoroughly. And then some!

Anyways, you then pull out one of Sally Hansen"s Quick Color Nail Pens in a light, shiny shade - mine was Shimmering Sands w and lightly swipe some stripy, spacy strokes over your dark nails. The goal is to achieve the same patchy, accidently-on-purpose artful look, so don't cover your entire nail, and use a nearly dry nail brush for a better effect.

Et, voila! Foiled nails. You could probably even use two shades, as InStyle did. The only downside is that there aren't currently any gold or silver shade options in Sally Hansen's nail pens (though possibly in other lines!), but rather like the different color I chose. And for those who are a little shy of this trend, or dark polishes in general, audition this look on your toes and then pair it with a classic ballet pink on your fingers. Very office appropriate, and you can even matte them to stay uber-trendy.

This may seem like a no-brainer, and it's certainly not exactly the same as foils, but, it mimics the look pretty well and is simpler to boot. Happy painting!

Monday, September 14, 2009

OMFG. The B**** is back.

It's been a long time, Upper East Siders. Too long. And how, yes, how, we've missed indulging in your excesses, your misbehavior, your shocking lack of manners beneath the well-groomed veneers. But most of all, oh Serena, oh Blair, oh Chuck, we've missed your clothes. Nay, your wardrobe.

The sumptuous silks, daredevil hem and necklines, the purple, the ascots, the unisex neckties, the bright tights, the gowns, the headbands - oh, the headbands. Gossip Girl, we welcome thee back.

And I can't wait to see what this season brings us, especially now that our favorite well-moneyed miscreants are in college, meaning, out of uniform. Will Blair don tea gloves for rush? I'm sure we'll see Serena in some over-the-knee boots. And Blair's sure to rock the 40's revival. Beyond that, well, it's all just wait-and-see eye candy.

Today also marks the day that Anna Sui's Gossip Girl - inspired line for Target officially hits stores. I've only had the chance to sneak peak online, having sadly missed the pop-up shop at Fashion Week last week, but, I can say that there are definite winners in the bunch. Overall, I'm not a huge fan of the Vanessa or Jenny looks, but, then, for me, Blair and Serena have always carried a more sophisticated cache of style as it is (and I'm really not a Vanessa fan, especially since the actress who portrays her stole my man Ed Westwick, aka Chuck, in real life). But no matter whose apparel you aspire to wear, be sure to check out the frocks fast; as highly publicized as the line has been, I'm sure it won't last. I'll be doing some after-work shopping myself, and don't worry, this girl's sure to report back.

That's all for now, fashion insiders. But before I go and slip away, I'll leave you with this. It's been one week since Labor Day. My question is, are you still wearing white? You should be.

You know you love me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oooh those sharp-dressed men of style. . .

I spend most of my time writing about women here - beauty, fashion, dating, and other girly things - so, in honor of all the men in my life, stylish and not so much, I'd thought I'd write about them for a change. And because, to me, there is nothing sexier than a man with timeless style, who's groomed but not too so, and who carries himself with the kind of confidence and ease only truly stylish men seem to. Or, because, as ZZ Top put it (ironically, really): every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

Male Style Essentials (in my book)

- a crisp white dress shirt
French cuffs, preferably. This is an essential that should not be bought carelessly, or cheaply. It works wonders, with denim, cuffs rolled up, or with a well-tailored jacket. Or, well, with anything, really. Oh and my heart melts at the sight of French blue, too. T-shirts and henleys have their days, don't get me wrong, but these are the kind of shirts man was made for.

- A tuxedo
When you think about all the weddings you might attend in a lifetime, along with various other events, it's a smart investment to own your own tuxedo. And when these fit a man well, well, man, he's never looked so good.

- Navy sportscoat / blazer
Black's sharp and all, but personally I prefer the softness of navy. The same goes for a good tweed too, you don't see them enough. Two buttons is the way to go these days. Can be dressed up or down, keeps ya warm, and sure looks good on your girl's shoulders too.

- brown leather boots
This girl loves her cowboys, so I love those cowboy boots too, but really, any kind of boot will do. Again, brown's softer than black, ages well, and a pair of boots should be every man's go-to do-anything in 'em shoes.

- loafers
Worn without socks, oooh.

- at least one bow-tie
These seem to have found their niche amongst old men, gay men, and Southerners, but I for one would like to see them more often. I don't know any lady who doesn't have a smile on her face at the sight of one, too.

- RayBans/Aviators
You know that scene in Benjamin Button when's Brad Pitt's driving his motorcycle? And the sun's hitting him just so, he has a burnished look about him?


Every man needs a perfect, well-fitting pair of shades; they just add so much panache. And mystery. These two are the classic styles I just don't ever see going away. For good reason.

- a fedora
I'm not talking about your ironic hipster hat. I mean one of the kind good ol' Bogey and Cary Grant used to wear. I miss the days I never knew, when men wore hats everywhere they went, and women too. And to go along with this,

- a good topper coat
Wool, camel hair, cashmere, tweed - a good, full-length overcoat will get you anywhere and everywhere. And it just looks so classic, sophisticated, and good.

- scarves
I really think these are neglected among today's young men. But they really do look so good, add so much style in one little package, and well, they really do keep you warm! Wear them without your jacket on too, especially on those crisp fall days.

- gloves
I've got my cashemere-lined, red leather pair I couldn't go through winter without and I know men's hands get cold too. I don't know if it's memories of those puffy kid gloves your mom stuffed on you with your snow suit, or what, that steers men away, but this is another area of menswear that seems to get neglected. And who wants cold fingers? And why not make them stylish to boot?

Well, that's that for now. There's more, but let's take things slow for now. The basics - well-fitting jeans, good, soft t-shirts, tennis shoes, a supple pair of flat-front twill pants - I assume every man has. These are the essentials. Take note - there is a difference.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So I'm kinda crazy about my conditioner right now

Oh, my hair. I definitely have a love / hate relationship with it. But, most of the time, I love it and feel blessed to have lots of it, and that I've finally learned how to tame it. And I especially love it when it's well take care of.

That may seem like a big ol' "duh!" but you'd be amazed at how many hair products just do not do what they say they will! My biggest problem? My dry, wavy hair needs to be hyper-moisturized BUT without being weighed down.

Which is why I'm loving my current conditioner (and okay, the shampoo probably helps too). I've been using Amenta, an "aromatherapy hair care" line that's all natural (well, there's that whole controversy over products which claim to be all natural, vs organic, vs certified organic, etc., etc. Amenta has chemicals but really, I'm not that big of a stickler).

Now when I saw aromatherapy hair care, I thought, code for smells really good but doesn't really get the job done. But, lucky for them, two giant bottles were on sale and I'm currently a frugalista, and one who doesn't mind trying new products (I kinda love it). I tried their daily repairing shampoo, and the chamomile maximum volume conditioner.

Now the last thing I need is more volume. Truly. My hair's got it going on in that department, no extra help required. But I have found that volume conditioners are great about moisturizing without weighing hair down. Exactly what I needed.

And oh, does it work. I can go two, even three days without my hair feeling greasy, or dried out. And they weren't kidding about the aromatherapy either. There's the advertised chamomile, of course, but also wheat germ, thyme, lavender, and orange flower included. The end result is that my hair smells kind of nutty wheaty but sweet - a lot like almonds. Which is perfectly light and I can't stop touching or smelling my hair sometimes!

Which can also be attributed to one of those Keratese Keratin conditioning treatments I had done at my last hair appointment. I think it's pretty much worn out by now, so it's time for another, but my hair was the healthiest, softest, and shiniest it has been in years after that treatment. Seriously, if you've been debating it, it's worth it.