Wednesday 28th October 2020
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Posts Tagged ‘the chains’

Into the Fray

Saturday I saw my friend D, who was in town for work from LA. I’m always up for a good hang with D: she is one of those friends who you pick up with exactly where you dropped off  no matter how much time has passed. She’s also deeply loyal, and whenever I’ve had an issue with some guy I’m involved with she will—without pausing to consider both sides or suggesting I do the same—blame the guy. D is also just about the smartest person I know when it comes to consumer culture, so it’s always fun just to walk around stores and listen to her go. I was looking forward to an afternoon spent the way we often spend our time: lounging around  her cushy downtown hotel, then having a lengthy walkabout that involves visiting shops in one downtown neighborhood or another.

D had other ideas. She was already uptown at Barneys shopping for holiday gifts when we texted at 11, and had a punch list of other nearby spots she wanted hit. There was almost nothing about going to that particular corner of  town—so close to Rockefeller Center, which is belly of the beast during the holidays—that appealed to me. But off I went. Because quality time with D is quality time all around, and because one of the stops she wanted to make was the fearsome Uniqlo Mothership on Fifth Avenue, which I’ve wanted to visit for a while now.

Uniqlo makes some of the lightest and warmest down jackets around, in any number of iterations, and they are literally all over the store. (I have yet to figure out if departments actually exist in anything but name at Uniqlo.) The standard model is very Michelin Man, but some cuts are quite sophisticated. I am nuts for this three-quarter sleeve jacket with its puffy collar and the dufflecoat buttons. It’s just crazy how much fancier it looks than it is.

I spent ages going through all of the items made of Uniqlo’s Heattech material, which is composed of some lightweight super-extra-techno matter that keeps you very warm. This tee also comes with long sleeves. And in cami form. And about a dozen other ways, too. It’s completely synthetic, but very soft and not at all cheap-feeling next to your skin.

Also: Everyone makes super-seamless underwear these days, but I’ve never seen it as inexpensive as it is here.

Uniqlo’s cashmere is famously inexpensive, and I like it just fine. But if there’s one thing I learned during my days among the fashion ladies, it is this: there is cashmere and then there is cashmere. Don’t go expecting Loro Piana and you won’t be disappointed by the solid layering option that is this V-neck cardi.

Posted on December 4th, 2012 11 Comments

Making the Margiela for H&M collection happen

I know it’s not the easiest of the super-hyped big chain collaborations to love, but I’m way into it. And I’m including even the most seriously wackadoo pieces in that assessment, and here’s why: partnerships between edgier design houses and huge chains often become, between the moment they are conceived until the time they hit the racks, such disappointments. Like for instance, I am a big, big fan of Target’s collaborations—they set the standard in many ways—but I can’t think of a bigger bummer than their partnership with Rodarte. The disconnect between the two lines was so stunning as to be embarrassing. Margiela is a similarly esoteric line, and it’s easy to imagine a similar scenario playing itself out there. They could have played it really safe and elected to spin off some deconstructed tees, jeans, jackets, and bags from their more accessible MM6 line. But what they did was so much more nervy: they chose to reissue archival pieces from their collection line, priced at a fraction of what they’d gone for when they first came down the runway. My favorite look by far is this one, a skirt  and wrap blouse ensemble that scenester Leigh Lezark wore to the line’s launch party last month.

I once drove all over Los Angeles looking for one half of the last pair in town of this very exact same flat with my old partner in crime Andrea Linett (why just half? Good question, and long story). The hidden wedge makes them just that much more flattering than ballet flats, as does the more streamlined shape. Also: I like the sparkly.

What a cool, fun, and witty way to faux your way through a black tie evening—and for cheap.

Back when I could afford Margiela, this is the type of piece I went for: a familiar shape,well-tailored, and interestingly—but not too interestingly—cut.

I would never wear this super-deconstructed moto jacket and I love it.

They like to have fun with their accessories over at Margiela. See how simple this little bag looks? It is, unless you decide to wear it  by the long strap, in which case it’s upside-downsies! Another very popular reissue—and a cute gift for the truest of Margiela devotees on your list: this glove bag.

 

Posted on November 19th, 2012 3 Comments

Leopard: king of the animal prints

I am so obsessed with leopard prints, and hold so many and varied extremely strong opinions on them, that I sometimes think I could start a Tumblr on the topic and never run out of material. I can’t think of another print that can go so many directions depending on who’s wearing it and how. But one must exercise caution here: there is also no animal print that can skew quite so tacky.

My general rule is to avoid anything too tight, cleavage-baring or otherwise overtly sexpot: a fantastic straight skirt—like this one from Christopher Kane—would be my sole exception, and even then only if the rest of the outfit is comparatively subdued.

As for sweaters, I like a sloucher take—this Zara v-neck hits the exactly right  note.

And I’m so batty for this pre-styled-for-your-convenience piece (the flash of leopard at the hem is part of the sweater) that after I’m done with this post, I might reward myself by walking over to my neighborhood Rebecca Taylor store to try it on.

A good, clean-lined leopard jacket is always hard to find—and it almost never comes cheap. Too often, designers revert to a retro, 50s-ish shapes, or use cheap faux fur that can make you look a little bit like you’re wearing a plush doll. This By Malene Birger number gets it just right.

I was obsessed with this Elizabeth and James coat last winter, because the tailoring looks so dead-on, and those leather lapels are fantastic. Thrillingly, it recently turned up at Neiman Marcus Last Call, way-discounted.

Leopard print dresses are tricky business—they can come off so costume-y—and definitely require strategic styling. I’ve been thinking about this one since I saw it front and center in Anne Klein’s fall ad campaign. I’d definitely throw a cardigan on with it, though, to break it up a bit.

As a rule, I am not in favor of the leopard print shoe. No matter how fancy or fabulous the designer, they always look cheap to me. But I kind of love this Loeffler Randall pair: the red adds the right playful touch, and takes them to a delightfully new wave place.

I feel about tops in this category the way I feel about sweaters: the less seriously played, the better. This tee from Freshman is fantastic and my love for it would be complete were it now cropped just a pinch higher than I like my t-shirts to be.

And how cute is this? I can’t decide if it’s maybe too young for me, but I’m in love with the clever interplay of colors. The green just totally works with that red, which if so cool and unexpected.

My ass and I are a few years beyond the time when leopard jeans would be advisable, but that has not dampened my enthusiasm for  what Current-Elliott  has been doing with the print for the past few seasons. I like how subdued the wash always is, which keeps it from looking too 80s metal. So does the fact that this pair in particular is grey. And I like them with just a bit of give. Don’t be afraid to size up.

Leopard print scarves abound. I prefer ones that go colorful. How cute—but not cutesy-sweet—is this pink and red one?

And this is rather unexpected in the green, no?

As for bags: that’s a topic unto itself, and I shall address it another day. You can be certain.

Posted on August 29th, 2012 18 Comments

A bunch of scarves under $50

Good scarves cost too much. I know this. And yet whenever I see another  perfect, feather-light number with a just-exactly-right print—and then get a load of the price tag— I always manage to be just as disappointed as I was the very first time a pretty scarf let me down. I have never once, in the history of ever, been pleasantly surprised to find that the gorgeous, soft, perfect scarf I’d been eyeing cost less than I was expecting. Not once.

It shouldn’t have to be this way. And part of the the solution, I’m thinking, is to arrive at a place of peace with synthetic blends: done right, they don’t have to feel like you’ve wrapped a dense coat of dental floss around your neck. This polka dot and herringbone number from Loft is a happy thing to behold, and it gives any outfit you might choose to wear all the print it needs.

I am so excited to see that somebody over at Gap shares my enthusiasm for black and yellow.

There’s something very bold and 80s Betsey Johnson about the red, yellow and black palette of this French connection scarf, don’t you think?

Flowers and butterflies. But sophisticated.

“I like that one,” my hairdresser Sija just said  when she glanced at my screen (I am in fact writing this as I get my hair done all pretty at the fabulous Damian West Salon). And I’m thinking I’d wear it exactly like she would: with a white tank, little jacket, green army pants and big hoop earrings. A nice little touch of sweetness to balance out all that rocker-chick badness.

Leopard bordered by red is so insanely classic and perfect that I had to include this even though I just showed you a leopard-print scarf two scarves ago.

 

 

Posted on August 21st, 2012 12 Comments

Technicolor autumn

I returned to the city last night to a boatload of mail—much of it of the rather pressing and urgent variety. But naturally—me being me—the first thing I directed my attention to was the new Madewell catalogue. And I must say that, after a weekend of looking at the big September issues of the fashion mags—and drowning in all of the Important Trends of the Season—it was refreshing to see how blithely Madewell chooses to go its own path. They’re not so much about fashion as they are about cool. And fun, which isn’t a story the rest of the fashion world tells nearly often enough.

For starters, I decided I needed this happy little t-shirt. And improbably enough, a bunch of other kelly green items as well  (kelly green being a big Madewell color this season. Who decides that they’re going to make an Easter color huge for fall? I love this). I decided to pay a visit to the lower Fifth Avenue store to have a little look.

This top comes off a bit shapeless and eh as a still- life (click here to see what it looks like on a model, just in a different color) but it’s the perfect underpinning for people like me who have stared, bewildered, at their closets and wondered why on earth they’ve never been able to get it together to throw a couple of nice pop-y brights into the mix.  Also: you can’t see it here, but it’s got the tiniest bit of a cap sleeve, which can be so much more forgiving on the arms than straight-up sleeveless.

How fantastically throw-it-on-and-go is this? I used to wear silky little dresses like this to the office all fall and winter with boots and tights and a cardigan. And it’s not as short as it looks: 36 inches, which isn’t bad for those of us who are less than model-length. (It also comes in black,  which is probably lots more versatile, but not nearly as much fun.)

As far as that which is not green goes: I still can’t decide if this colorblock sweater is too young for me (it’s got little heart patches on the elbows) but boy, is it cute.

A rare case of polka dots that work. Probably because the dots are more dash-ish, and because of the solid strip at the neck and the arms, which keeps it from being way too much and instead makes it really, really chic.

And here’s what I wound up buying: the t-shirt that inspired my visit in the first place and these, which I could not be more on board with. My search for a pair of suitable fall oxfords hasn’t been particularly extensive but it has been frustrating:  all those  browns and blacks just kept looking so clunky and unfeminine. But the pointy thing going on here—which I wasn’t sure about until I tried them on (I feared they would look too Jazz Shoe)—is actually very sophisticated, even graceful.

 

Posted on August 20th, 2012 12 Comments

Modified moto

As a kid, I never loved school the way some kids do. And even in high school, when I finally caught on to the fact that both knowledge and the exchange of ideas were well worth cultivating, there was always some place I’d rather be. College I loved entirely, but I can not lie: after graduation, I was thrilled by the notion that I’d never have to enter a classroom again. And yet—and I’m sure this will shock exactly none of you—I couldn’t have gotten more squarely behind the notion of back-to-school shopping. And there I remain, well into adulthood.

 

My key purchase for years now has been a cute little jacket, the kind you can throw on over a tank as soon as the faintest chill hits the air, then layer later. And pretty much every one I’m currently loving is some variation on the motorcycle jacket, only very streamlined and with minimal hardware. This one, by Zara, has a whole lot going for it: an excellent slouchiness, that scrunched leather thing going on that usually costs a fortune but here is relatively within reach, and ever-so-subtly quilted sleeves.

Iro is one of my new favorite lines, and they make some of the best grown-up-enough-for-work-but-cool-enough-for-fun jackets I’ve seen anywhere lately. How impossibly clean and elegant is this?

Colored leather is tricky, tricky. But somehow, that clever Yigal Azourel has created one in a hue so subdued it almost comes off as a neutral.

A motorcycle-style jacket made of fleece could really go either way, but the notion of one light enough to wear under a heavier jacket in the winter appeals deeply.

Not quite sure how they managed to pull off a look so simultaneously preppy and moto here, but probably the Barbour-style waxed cotton has something to do with it.

One option for those looking to not spend a fortune—because this is a pricey category—is to go vegan. So many synthetics feel all stiff and wrong, but this one looks like it actually moves.

Dying for.

Boucle and moto are two great looks that shouldn’t look great together, but somehow, they totally do. And you can’t beat the price here.

Posted on August 16th, 2012 7 Comments