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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

'Dominate your stuff!'

The common scenario in my life: Arriving home after a long day prepping a job. My arms are laden with bags, it's raining, so I can't put them on the ground. My handbag is a bottomless pit of supplies I have needed throughout the day, and as I dig through it I can't seem to find the one thing I really need right now: my freakin' house keys. 
Well, my friend a colleague, a talented stylist, has come up with the perfect solution. She has created Leash NY. Handcrafted leather leashes to attach to your keys (or anything else you can't seem to dig out of your purse fast enough). It attaches to hardware or handles outside your purse on one end, and your keys on the other. Just tug, and the desired object is at hand. Awesome. 
What's even better is that they come in a variety of different colors. I own a beautiful white one (my current color obsession), in a very soft buttery leather adorned with tiny pyramid studs. I adore it, and it matches my white Botkier perfectly.
And what's even better than all that, is that 25% of the proceeds of a Leash NY purchase are donated to non-profit organizations supporting women's education and artisans. Currently the money is going to Afghanistan. The charity is educating women in handicrafts, so that they may have products to sell. is featuring some works by these women, such as an amazing amethyst silver ring. Gorgeous. I also really love the silver and gold plated drop earrings. I have been pretty obsessed with mixed metals lately, as well as ethnic designs. This is the real deal, not just some designers ethnic inspiration.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Advice for a alternate wedding gown option

A friend and client of mine recently called to ask my advice on wedding gown ideas. Her close friend is getting married but is not at all girly, and really never wears dresses. She said she wanted to wear a dress, but something that is understated while still acknowledging the momentous occasion.
I suggested the formal full length skirt, which I am loving. The idea is a full pillar of luxurious fabric from the natural waistline to the floor, paired with a slightly more casual top. It is a clean sophisticated look, while not being too ostentatious.
For spring, Jil Sander had many great examples walk down the runway, from wedding whites, to spring colors, to florals. What was really great was the pairing of such a formal fabric and silhouette with a simple soft tee shirt. In the case of the floral, the pattern extended from luxe fabric and on to the comfortable cotton, essentially marrying the rich with the humble.
Another source for this look is the surprisingly elegant J Crew wedding line, which boasts a beautiful full pleated shimmering tulle skirt which they have again paired with a simple tee.
The tee when fitted just right (not at all tight, but not too loose), creates a soft easy elegant feminine silhouette. The fabric may be everyday, but the look is classy. If it's still too understated a look for your needs, a blingy statement piece of jewelry would pop beautifully off the tee.
However, one could also try Tilda Swinton's take on the look by going with a button-up shirt. This gives it a slight masculine formality, which depends entirely on the personality of the wearer. I also should note that I love the subtle contrast of the pairing of crisp white with creme, something I have become a recent fan of.
Above, Tilda Swinton and Kate Bosworth. Below Jil Sander Spring 2011 (photos from J Crew Wedding.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

splash some color on that neutral!

For a good few seasons now, I have been adoring the combinations of neutrals. Nudes and tans paired with greys and textural silvers. Greys paired with caramel leather. Every subtle contrasty nuance really whetted my aesthetic appetite. 
The next step has finally come, with brightly colored prints and embroidery gracing taupe, tan, and khaki fabrics. I adore this unexpected contrast. The sea of sandy earthtone is enough to make the brightest and busiest pattern a just subtle flirt. And the color elevates the khaki out of utilitarian and into femininity.
I don't see how you can go wrong with a piece like those I have seen on the runways for Fall 2011. I imagine they will be in your closet for years to come.
I love the whimsical bird pattern of the Mulberry dress on the left. On the right, Matthew Williamson takes a step back from his usual 100% color saturation, placing his bright embroidery on an unexpected canvas.  Having made many trips to Mexico, I am used to seeing such bright floral embroidery on equally bright whites, which is often too much for my aesthetic.
I can't wait for these pieces (and ones like them) to hit the stores, so in the mean time, I will have to throw on some bright colored accessories and shoes with my khakis and tans.
Photos by

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Style-out for my new fave piece

First I obsess over a piece, dreaming as I build imaginary outfits around it. In this case it was the Valentino for Gap army parka. I had been looking for an army parka for a while as I feel like a neutral army green is a great way to add an authentic punky edge without overdoing black leather and studs. For me, it's also an homage to my long distant activist days, where the army-navy store was a major resource for durable clothes and boots.
I ended up choosing the Valentino version because I wanted a whimsical heightened version of my former self. Also because Manhattan is beginning to look like it's under marshall law, and all the enforcers are thin 20-something gals with great hair and impractical shoes. I figured I might as well go ahead and acknowledge my femininity a bit more.
The idea was to throw it over anything and everything from sequined dresses, regular skinny jean outfits, and bright colors such as magenta. And lo, I have had much luck with pairing it with everything. I just can't go wrong.
None-the-less, I do love to fantasize the perfect outfit, which I have created above. I chose a delicate silk print dress in a bright pink by Tucker. I love pink with army green, and I think the reason is that this color combo occurs in nature. Every flower combines a bright color with green stem, nestled in a flounce of green leaves. I am loving sheer black hosiery, especially those that feature a subtle texture such as small black dots. I would also be partial to a black seam up the back. Chunky casual heeled black booties give an edge while elongating the leg. I am loving these inspired by desert boots (which I am seeing everywhere these days). And finally, I like to top off my look with a bit of vintage inspired bling. Again, it's the unexpected texture and shine that pops off nicely with the rough and ready army neutral.
Jacket: Valentino for Gap (check ebay if you must)
Silk Dress: Tucker
Jewelry: Lulu Frost
Shoes: MIA

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How an edgy gal styles her whites

This spring you'll be seeing head to toe white looks as they had dominated the runways last September. Many are tailored, some textural, and a lot of them are floaty. For a good time now, I have been on the hunt for a great frothy white dress, but I always knew I would not be able to pull off a head to toe angelic look. For one thing, my hair is jet black, and for another it's just not me.
However, I adore the contrast that white and creme in my wardrobe provide. So, of course, I just adored the styling of this Temperley white frothy dress for fall 2011. The thick black belt reminds me of the harness look, the sheer dot textured hosiery provides just enough darkness and interest, and finally I am all about a black boot with a feminine dress.
I have already sported a floaty off white dress with my black moto boots or my black moto jacket. I like that the Temperley look is more subtle with it's edge and manages to retain 100% femininity whilst injecting a good amount of 'bad-ass'. I will replace my biker boot with a stacked heel or wedge bootie, and replace the moto jacket with a good black belt.
Done an done.
Temperley photo from

Monday, February 21, 2011

Strap me into my new obsession

I am loving that fashion went punk and edgy a few years ago, and it seems to have stayed on the dark side. I mean, in a way, it makes it difficult to maintain any sort of level of mystique or image of rebellion, but on the other hand it means that cool things are readily available for purchase.
Last fashionweek Marios Schwab featured a long otherwise feminine floaty white dress paired with a caramel colored leather harness.  There are so many things I love about this, I don't know where to start. A harness is an innovative way to belt a dress and help create a flattering silhouette. It also provides a contrast color as well as an interesting geometric pattern. But most of all, it provides a bad-ass edge, and as you readers must know about me by now, I love contrasting the uber-feminine with the uber-tough. 
I dream of pairing a caramel leather harness on a simple heather grey t-shirt maxi dress. Or a black leather harness on my floaty feminine cream chiffon dress. 
I've actually discovered some great harness options on Etsy. See below:
Marios Schwab photo from


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rock out with Urban Boulder

Recently a couple of my good friends launched a jewelry line called Urban Boulder. I have to say that I love the ethos and aesthetics behind this label. The name denotes that the inspiration is found in the city streets around us. The sights, shapes, and sounds that we all too often block out and edit from our daily consciousness is what Designer, Lisa Simpson, focused on as a point of beauty. Personally, as a city dweller, I love to stop and admire the grafitti (or just as easily, a rusted twist of metal) as much as a suburbanite enjoys stopping to smell the roses. As a result, this line really talks to me. I especially adore the bracelet with a 'One-Way' sign, which can be seen as a simple street sign, or much more (as a fave band of mine says: "there's only one way of life, and that's your own, your own, your own"). Of course, I am sure I am extrapolating my own meaning from this piece, but that's the beauty. By altering ordinary things into jewelry, one is altering our perception of ordinary things in such a way that we can imbibe meaning from them.
I also really love the Nut and Bolt necklace, but this is mostly because it rocks. It's hard and edgy, but at the same time super luxe. The chunky nature of the silver and the rope chain make Urban Boulder jewelry the sort to last generations. And speaking of rocks, let's talk about the Boulder itself. This is where the ethos comes in.
Opal rocks are hand-mined in co-founder, Remo Carbone's, native Australia.  Urban Boulder buys directly from independant miners and unlike other jewelers they keep it in boulder form rather than just extracting the shiny bits. To me, this keeps the shiny bits contextual to the earth from whence they came. A geologist would wax on about how looking at the striations of the opal in the rock could tell you stories about our earths history that dates back to before man (I am guessing). I love the idea of the history of mother earth at one with my own urban life (which is often very much separate from nature) in one precious piece of jewelry.
In an industry where jewelry is often just about bling and flash, or simply following the iconography of current trends, it is great to see a line that is a work of art married with nature.
Photography by Alison Gootee