Monday, December 28, 2009

So just what is the fashion protocol for going out when there are 2' (+) snow drifts?



So. This past Saturday, I was finally coerced out of my parents' house, where I've spent most of the week staying cozy for the holiday and the 10 inches of snow we got here. It was about time for me to leave, I suppose.  After all, my grandpa had made a break for it  earlier that day, having clearly been antsy where I was merely glued to the fireplace, my dog, and apparently, my pajamas. I'm not exactly a lounge-around-in-sweatpants all the time (at least, not for days at a time) kind of girl, so the transition back to real clothes was a little tough, but it was made tougher by my age old question, what-the-bagpipes-do-I-wear-when-I-go-out-when-the- temperature-is-like, 10. And this was further complicated by the what-the-bagpipes-kind-of-shoes-do-I-wear-with-my-winter-going-out-outfit-when-there-is-lots and-lots-of-snow-on-the-ground?

My obvious instinct was jeans and in winter-time, I often take to wearing leggings under my jeans for warmth. So, check and check. But the top was a little trickier. I'm not sure why, maybe it was my pajamas talking, maybe it was the fact that I get cold, everywhere, but sleeveless arms in the winter seem unnatural to me. Not that I haven't done it, but, well, given the fact that there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground, drifts of several feet, and a sub-zero temperature, it gave me pause Saturday.

I went with my coziest, drapiest, albiet chic and deep V-neck sweater, but the shoes - the shoes! My feet were saying, flannel-lined Wellies. Actually, every part of my body was saying that. But, still doubting myself, I packed a pair of closed-toe pumps in my car and headed out into the cold, cold night.

I ended up wearing the heels. And I'm kind of glad I did. I felt a little less dowdy, not to mention, not as hort. And truth be told, feeling cozy always makes me a little sleepy, so it's always best to make sure I'm not entirely feeling like I'm still in pajamas.

If it hadn't been a Saturday night though, I'm sure I would've worn those boots out. And actually, I might switch up the formula to include those boots for next time (will they go with my tulle ball skirt for NYE?).

But no matter how I feel about the cozy Wellies, here's my biggest wintertime fashion don't: Please, please, please, don't wear a skimpy little cocktail dress and then "forget" to wear a coat.

Seriously! What is that? We walked down to the steps at Tomfooleries Saturday night and as soon as the door opened, out flooded all the girls in their bright cocktail dresses - which normally probably would have been me, had I not been not wanting to get out of cozy mode - and, well, that was it. Some weren't even wearing tights! Yikes! Not a glove, not a scarf, not a jacket in sight!

It's just silly. Yes, it's a hassle to find someplace to put all that outerwear, but, oof! It's a lot worse I think to walk around without a coat. So, lesson learned - lesson one, anyways: Protocol includes a coat. And may I also recommend a hat, gloves, and a scarf?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

We're getting close - can ya feel it? While it was unseasonably warm here in KC for most of the past month and half - and I realized that if I lived in California, I wouldn't know how to get into the Christmas spirit 'cause it just doesn't feel like that time of year without the cold and the snow! - the temperature has officially and dramatically dropped and we've had our first snow. And the holidays are in full swing. Meaning, holiday parties, gatherings, cocktail occasions, and family events are also swingin' in the merriest of fashion. Which may, I don't know, leave some in a lurch when it comes to churning out the looks for all the different goings-on. Well, Beauty Brands and Target are here to help.

Curiously, I've never done a red polish, but I felt like this holiday season was time to bite the bullet. After all, I adore a good bitten lipstick.  So, armed with the $5 coupon I received as a perk of being enrolled in Beauty Brands' Beauty Advisor program (I get a coupon for a free product, or two, at least once a week!), I marched on in to check out their nail polish selection. And what joy - they have several holiday reds on sale!

Find China Glazes' glitzy Ruby Red Slippers polish on sale for $3.98, while OPI has two shades - Pomegranate Me a Wish and Red a la Mode - on sale for $4.98. Generally, OPI's lacquers are a cool $8.50, so for a previously red-shy girl, I couldn't beat the introductory low rate. I chose Pomegranate Me a Wish, a shimmery pink-infused red and am currently wearing it on my pretty nails and haven't been able to stop staring. I'm officially a red convert. Red a la Mode is more a classic red and I packaged the China Glaze polish in with a Secret Santa gift and now that I'm initiated, I'm kind of thinking of going back for a bottle of the bold, glittery red. That is, if they don't run out!

Beauty Brands also has OPI's full collection of 10 holiday shades, from deep plums and burgandies, to dazzling bronzes, all priced at $8.50. At under $10, it's a steal as far as accessories go, and even if it's the only update you make to your holiday wardrobe this year, be assured that all of these polishes are show-stopping statement makers. Which is all I ask of a manicure.

Also right now, receive a free OPI clear top coat with any OPI purchase over $17.

And finally Rodarte for Target has hit stores; I've been waiting for months, I feel like! Alas, no shoes in the line, but lace tights, tulle skirts, a lacy slip dress with bows on the shoulders, and cardigans are among the more covetable items. Key colors are mustard yellow and black, and the overriding print is . . . leopard! There are 55 total items in the collection and it will be in stores until January 31, but, you know, I'd go ahead and hit it up now because the line made its debut December 20 and I wouldn't be surprised if my local Target is already sold out of the best pieces. Darn it all, and I haven't made it yet. I find it hard to shop for myself this time of year, but for Rodarte, mmm, I think I'll make an exception.


Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Make sure you sparkle from eyes to toes, and have a Cool Yule!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Starting next month, just in time for some New Year Optimism, Lilly Lovers can officially wear their favorite green and pink, eyes, lips, and cheeks to tippy toes. In Lilly Pulitzer's latest collaboration, the always perky line has paired up with cosmetics kind of color, M.A.C., to create a line of nail polishes, lip glosses, and eye shadows. New York Mag sneered a little at the idea of the pairing; here, I think it's only natural. Bright, poppy colors are beloved by girls everywhere, by pretty and prim prepsters to Lady Gaga - worthy on-edge trendsetters alike.

Vineyard Vines has some competition on the critter accessory front in homegrown "classically casual" line Tucker Blair, it seems. Tucker Blair specializes in needlepoint accessories, such as flip flops, key fobs, belts, and headbands with lobsters, starfish, American flags, sailing flags, even snowmen. But the special thing about this company is that it is web-based only, so consumers aren't paying "paying a 100% retail markup, so the value is delivered back to (them), not the retailer." There's a 100% guarantee on every product and they'll pay the shippingon any return or exchange. As they say, "at Tucker Blair, we're swimming against the stream to build a web-based lifestyle brand that puts the customer first." And then there's the fact that the entrepenuer toured Asia to source yarn, and uses only "100% wool yarn, tight petit point stitching, and full grain leader."

Now, I happen to think critter accessories are cute: I even had an instant bond with a boy once over the fact that we both had whales (courtesy of Vineyard Vines and J.Crew) on our flip flops. And I do like the hand-made needlepoint look, actually. I'm not going to buy a snowmen belt, but I like the polka dot headands and adore the dog collars. And I like the no mark-up idea. So, in the case that you sometimes err on the side of preppy like me, or just like cute animals adorning your wardrobe, check then out at

And in the realm of all things monogrammed, at, find a digital version of the monogrammed stamp - for Word documents, e-mails, anything your heart should desire, so long as it has pixels! I adore this idea and it's defnitely going on my Christmas list, along with a monogrammed candle, checkbook cover, coozie - I mean, it's my personal belief that you can'thave enough things monogrammed. Check out, for even more monograms.

And in case that's not just me, local company Olympic Engravings does an absolutely beautiful job personalizing any gifts not made of cloth. A friend's boyfriend gave her a set of champagne glasses etched with her initials by this company, last year for her birthday, and, well you definitely could have colored me a little jealous. They're gorgeous. A truly elegant gift.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I think I'm going to have to work backwards here. Which is sometimes necessary, no? There's nothing wrong with planning out an outfit around a killer pair of shoes. Or an undergarment, for that matter.

So what I have here is an article - a practically ancient one at that - written in response to the uprising against the culture of thin which exists, which has existed for at least two decades now, and which will - especially according to the author - continue to exist in fashion. This is Robin Givhan for the Washington Post:

"There's plenty to be said about whether the models on the runway are healthy. Most definitely, some of them are not. But most folks aren't demanding to see a doctor's note. The focus of the concern is aesthetics. And some horribly airbrushed photos notwithstanding, the main focus of the complaints isn't that the look is unpleasant but that it's unattainable for most people.

With that in mind, maybe all of the protesting about deluded designers has been wrongheaded. Maybe all of the demands that editors and photographers just use heavier models have been misguided. Because before fashion models will get any bigger, people in general will just have to get smaller.

Fashion tells us something about ourselves and our culture. It does that by reflecting a heightened or twisted reality. It may be that the only way to change the fashion industry's portrayal of women is not by trying to make sense of the funhouse reflection but reconsidering the original sunject matter."

I'm going to save my editorializing, but I will say that I think Givhan has a point. It may a harsh one, but it certainly has validity. You have to read the article in its entirety to get more than a shocking sound byte, but what she's saying, essentially, is that the super-thin is the ideal because we tend to idealize something as a culture that we are not.

I don't agree with the practice of digitally witling down models - even so far as to say I do wish these practices would be banned - and I certainly think there should be concern with the fact that the ideal thin is no longer a healthy thin, but, well, there's not much health to be had at the opposite end either. And this is an interesting point of view regardless.

Now, Givhan had another point I entirely agree with. Even as a recessionista, budget-conscious-ista, etc., etc., I think it's incredibly frustrating when some folks Just. Don't. Get. It. But then, I don't understand the point of spending money on, say, stamps, so, you know. To each their own. Read on:

"It's alwas a bit discombobulating when people raise their voices in anger because they've gotten wind that designers are making and selling $25,000 dresses. After all, it's not as if the existence of a dress that costs as much as a car negates the availability of cute $25 frocks at Target. And it isn't as though edicts have been issued that all women must now dress like one of the superheroes on Balenciaga's runway.

For personal and sometimes tortured reasons -- I can't have it so no one else can! -- observers declare that they just don't understand the attraction of these strange and expensive clothes. That would be a fair argument if those same complainers lashed out at people who spend thousands of dollars on Redskins season tickets, vintage wines, first-edition books or midlife-crisis cars. But those industries don't stir nearly as much ire from people who are uninterested in them.

Everyone has a passion that is lost on others. And to be fair to the fashion industry: It may be strugging, but so far, no government has had to bail it out."

Some thoughts: yes, thank you. Rodarte for Target starts in just over a week!! Oooh I die. And remember Carrie Bradshaw? "I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet." Read Givhan's full article at

And I came to all this via Style Rookie, the 15-year-old fashion toast of the town, Tavi. She's kind of a doll. A vintage-clad, runway-obsessed, got her own, brave style in high school doll. Check her out: