Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Styling Trick to Remember

I came across an idea I read in the October issue of Elle (which they've in turn borrowed from Marilyn Monroe) and unless I log it here, I'm afraid I'll forget it. It's for styling a cashmere cardigan: wearing it with just the top two buttons undone and without a blouse or cami underneath. I get so used to thinking of a cardigan as a jacket-y layer that it never crosses my mind to wear it as an incredibly soft, sensual, stand-alone shirt. I think this styling trick would be particularly fabulous for a casual evening out.

Minaudiere Magic

Most of the minaudieres out there just don't do it for me. They're too fussy, too flashy. This one's a stunner with a timeless quality and a traditional luxury that it would take a long time to tire of. Despite the fact that minaudieres are impractically tiny and rigid, sometimes their formal precision really is called for in place of a softer evening clutch.

The intricately molded metal on this piece reminds me of my favorite pieces of gold jewelry and I think it would pair beautifully with any carefully-worked gold jewelry. The black lining melts into the shadows and keeps the piece versatile enough for a range of color schemes.

Minaudiere by Yves St. Laurent. Image from Harper's Bazaar, October '07.

Perfect Restraint

As you can see, in this case, less is definitely more. The skirt and top seem to be the epitome of simplicity, but the effect is breathtaking and the look utterly classic. Let's begin with the fineness of the knit and the gorgeous drape of the skirt. It's neither voluminous, nor clingy, and projects complete ease, while suggesting the lines of the body. The knit detailing at the collar and sleeve cuffs is feminine without being frilly, womanly as opposed to girlish. Again, the long short sleeves and shawl neckline were born to flatter. The simple diamond studs are the perfect counterpart to the clothing: when something is so perfect, it doesn't need embellishment.

I wonder if this kind of matched knit skirt and top could usually be worn in place of a suit. Admittedly, the soft lines of knit fabric are instantly more casual, but the conservative silhouette and neutral matched color of top and skirt gesture in the direction of suiting. The look is quiet, polished and pulled-together, but with a gentle confidence that would only perhaps be out of place in the most formal and aggressive environment.

Image from Vogue, October '07.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Feminine Winter Layers

These outfits, in an ad campaign for Italian design, totally blow me away. I've been trying to figure out how I want to incorporate more comfortable yet put-together, pale and feminine skirts and dresses into my day wardrobe this season, while layering enough to keep warm. These two images offer some solid ideas that I plan to steal.

First of all, notice that they both employ the 'skirt-over-a-skirt' trend that I noticed early last season and which, I'm surprised to say, I have not yet heard mentioned by a single fashion editor. I'm still loving the look. In both these outfits, the underskirt has a full shape and is made from a textured, solid-colored fabric that has a slight rigidity to it. On top of it, both models are wearing sweater-dresses that are similarly full on the bottom, with gathered waists and fitted bodices. The colors are also kept in the same family.

I like what's going on with hosiery and shoes in the second image as well. Let's leave aside the inherent goodness of the shoes, which are an interesting departure from the ubiquitous plain ballet flat and which, from the red soles, seem to be Louboutins. I love the idea of the lace-pattered knee highs but because knee highs carry a very young connotation, I would probably swap them out for thigh-highs or over-knees. I also like the way the color of the shoes repeat the color of the dress, but that of the socks offers some contrast, while staying in the same family. It keeps the look from seeming too deliberately matched, but keeps the colors quiet.

All in all, an excellent lesson in feminine winter layering.

Clothes by Romeo Gigli for Rebecca Brown. Images from Harper's Bazaar, October '07.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Long Gloves

Ever since the magazines started showing Fall/Winter fashions, I've been thinking about getting a new pair of long gloves, and now that we've had a few days in the 50s and 60s, the urge to bundle up in something cozy is even stronger. Then my October issue of Elle arrived yesterday (all my maggies seem to be arriving late the past couple of months...) and there was this picture in it:

I adore them! First of all, they're extra-long and look like they'd reach well up to one's elbows. Second, I love the mix of materials and the functionality of the places where they're used. You've got leather covering the hand, which would provide the most effective barrier against nipping wind. Then there's the huge, plush, dove grey-tinged fox trim at the wrists, which would peak out right at the edge of a coat's sleeves, making the coat appear luxuriously fur-trimmed. Finally, the length of the arm is snuggled in warm, soft, supple wool. This accessory covers a lot of bases, sort of an all-in-one arm-warmer/sweater/coat embellishment/glove. Plus the black color with loads of texture and hints of grey is just the thing to perk up a basic black wool coat that has been the go-to outwear staple for one season too many.

Gloves by Missoni. Image from Elle, October '07.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lean Fur Jacket

It's a really good thing that I don't own this jacket because if I did, I'd only ever take it off to bathe, and I'm not sure that it would survive the indignity of being slept in.

The jacket sums up one of the things I love about fashion: its ability to transform us by filling our lives with beauty and excitement, to momentarily transport us to a more glamorous time or place. Who wouldn't want a life in which they could wear something like this and look this elegant?

I love the long, luxurious trim at the collar and wrists, the lovely mix of dove and charcoal grey and the impossibly nipped in shape. I also adore the three quarter length sleeves which furnish the perfect excuse for long gloves, the epitome of chic.

The fact that the jacket is something that few people could imagine wearing only makes it more appealing to me. Yes, it's extremely "fancy"; yes, it's made unapologetically of controversial fur; and yes, you'd have to work to figure out the right occasions to wear it. But it seems to me that the inability to think of where to wear something so amazing is a failure of imagination and evidence of a willingness to settle for a life that's not racy and somewhat mysterious. Like most people, I'm a carnivore and a purchaser of leather goods, and I don't see wearing fur as being materially different from eating meat or wearing leather. Fur is incredibly warm, impossibly soft and has long connoted something I love - luxury - so let people think what they like.

Yes, if I could afford it, I'd buy the jacket and wear it to death. Fashion isn't just about clothing the body, after all, it's about living out one's dreams.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Vera Wang at Kohl's

I'm very excited about the new collection that Vera Wang is designing for Kohl's. I've marked my calendar accordingly for September 9th, the drop date, and plan to be at my nearest Kohl's first thing that morning. The fact that the prices aren't bargain basement cheap actually makes me more optimistic that the collection is going to be a strong one, since it hopefully means Vera Wang had some leeway in buying reasonable quality textiles and workmanship. I do wish there had been more or better magazine coverage, beyond the rather lackluster ad campaign in which anything that seems remotely interesting is photographed too close up to actually be able to get a sense of the item's details.

I did, however, come across this straightforward, eminently practical skirt in Blueprint:

It's supposed to be jersey, which should mean a close and comfortable fit, which is obviously key with a pencil skirt.

Then there's this blouse:

This is exactly the kind of delicate, feminine yet modern piece that attracts me to her style. Hopefully the wide, fairly bulky short sleeves would be flattering....

What do you think so far? Are you planning to hit up Kohl's for Simply Vera Wang?

First image from Blueprint, September/October '07. Second image from Vogue, September '07.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Vintage in Vogue

These vintage images are both from this month's Vogue and I thought I'd post them for their inspiration value.

The mood in this first photo is just so *pretty*. I can't tear my eyes away from that hat. Everyone is saying that hats are going to be huge this season and I, for one, hope that they are right. I've loved hats ever since childhood, when a kindly neighbor took me shopping for Easter bonnets with her, and let me try on as many as I wanted. A cloche is a fairly understated shape to wear, and an outdoors-only version in a cozy wool wouldn't seem eccentric. I haven't seen anything currently available that's as nice as this one, though. The delicate, bonnet-like gathers are incredible.

This second image, is obviously all about a vampy-sexy version of femininity. I'm coveting that fabulous coat, oversized lapels, wild zebra print and all.

Images from Vogue, September '07.