Monday, June 30, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

MFT catalog: #1 - the elephant ring

One of my favorite things in the entire world is fine jewelry that's fun and distinctive. So what better way to kick off the My Favorite Things list (MFT) with this gold, enamel, and diamond ring from Delfina Delettrez .

If you think a 3 ton pink elephant in the room is hard to ignore, just wait until you see a 24 carat gold one!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bitter-sweet Savings

I get daily news headlines and alerts emailed directly to my phone throughout the day to keep the journalist in me satisfied and up-to-date. And while it's a good thing to be informed, it can be a killer on morale...especially when the 4pm alerts arrive with the NYSE closing numbers.

Today the Dow dropped 350 points because of some unfavorable forecasts in technology and more possible cutbacks in oil production. The thought of paying closer to 5 bucks a gallon at the pump by the end of the summer was utterly depressing, so I did what I always do for a pick me up...I went to the mall.

But even at the mall, the tell tales signs of an economy in crisis were visible. Literally. Every store is on sale right now, with sale windows and displays from floor to ceiling. And not just a little discount here and there. Most places are offering 40% to 70%!

Usually a ginormous sale would be ecstacy...but here's the rub: I don't even have extra funds to enjoy the sales the way I'd like to, because the economy is so messed up! The irony is nauseating.

In order to maximize my money and get the best out of the "on-sale" retail trend, I have come up with 3 rules that help me make the most from a bad (economic) situation:

1) Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize. It maybe be tempting to buy that $160 Ikat dress (down from $535), but what type of longevity is it going to have in your wardrobe? You can get the feel of whatever look you are going for by getting good accessories! And by good, I don't mean Claire's or Icing. You're not 13, sweetie.

2) Shop around before you buy! Its easy to spot a sale sign in one store and get sucked in, but with so many great deals out there, it is worth your time to get a good lay of the land. You'll have more chances to find great stuff, plus it may alleviate buyer's remorse if you get $300 dollars worth of final sale merch, then walk next door only to find something better! (and believe me, this stuff is final sale! Stores want to keep your money, not mess around with returns or credit on slow-moving items.)

3) Avoid impulse buying based on price. A $5 price tag does not universally translate into "take me home!" Ask yourself, honestly, do you love it? Will you wear it? and most importantly, if you don't get it, will the money be better off still in your wallet? Sometimes you can find great penny-pincher deals on the chic-est of things, but don't waste cash on great deals that aren't great buys.

I don't know when the dollar is going to regain its strength in the global market, but in the meantime, I intend for the dollars I have to work as best they can. I am a shopper, darn it, and the Federal Reserve can't take that away from me!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Glossary with New Terms

I think it's safe to say there are two lessons in life that a girl has to learn through personal experience. The first: no matter what the circumstances, it's never a good a idea to wear fuchsia panties with white pants. The second: you always need to add a little bit of gloss over your favorite lipstick to give it the extra "umph" and finish off a superb makeup application.

But for some folks, these life lessons are the road to a great inventions...and while the pink undies/white pants conundrum baffles us to this day, the two-step lipstick process may have seen its last mirror, thanks to makeup savant Jody Cohen and her fabulous new product, Cosmoholic.

Cosmoholic is a specially formulated "liquid lipstick" that gives the rich coverage and pigmentation of traditional lipsticks, but is applied and has a high-shine finish like a gloss. (Why don't I ever think of these things!)

The tubes retail for $20, and come in 7 hues like promiscuous pink, mysterious mocha, and gold digger (I personally bought passionate peach and bossy berry)! If you aren't sure which colors will work best with your complexion, you can email a picture of yourself to the Cosmoholic team and they'll do an e-consultation to help you out! Now that's what I call service!

Ingenuity, price, and novelty aside, I love the way the product feels. It's not sticky or tacky on the lips, and lasts surprisingly well. The first night I tried it, I only re-applied once, and that was more out of desire to impress an ex-fling that showed up at the event than out of actual need. (I'm vain, so sue me!)

Cosmoholic glosses are available online and in select boutiques, and this is not a product you want to hold out on. It's getting a lot of attention and flying off of shelves. The gloss is being featured in upcoming issues of OK! Magazine and STAR, and completely sold out at a recent Henri Bendel trunk show in NYC.

Pretty soon, we could all be hooked on this stuff!...but what a luscious addiction to have!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hot Knots

It's true that many of the items we come to love in the fall have a way reincarnating themselves into spring/summer collections. The boot has the bootie, the parka has the raincoat, and leggings...well leggings are just going to be here forever. But recently, no piece has pulled off such seamless seasonal transitions like the scarf.

I don't know what it is about them--the drape of fabric, the twist of the knot--but nothing does for the décolletage what a scarf can do!

In winter, especially in colder climates, the scarf or wrap is just as much about style as it is about functionality, with heavy wool, or other knits spun securely about the neck, warding of the impending pneumonia that would love to settle in. But in the summer, the scarf is more carefree, tossed over a shoulder or loosely tied, so there's one more layer to ruffle in a summer breeze. It's a magical thing!

Use a scarf to add style elements to your outfit. Find a great ombre or floral to add pizzazz to a tee or solid dress. Add texture with an earthy crinkled linen or cotton wrap, or create drama by adding a super long scarf to any outfit.

If you haven't gotten a great summer scarf yet, leave your house now to get one... seriously, go now. And when you feel a slight breeze, or catch a chill while watching fireworks or building s'mores, you'll be well prepared (and of course, looking fabulous)!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Take a few Milly-seconds

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what's the value of a 30 second video? That's the question Nordstrom is hoping to answer with the addition of video to their online "Via C" boutique.

According to, the new "Designed to Inspire" videos are an experiment to test the impact of video content on consumer purchases. Each vignette features the designer discussing the style and inspiration behind different items, and giving tips on the perfect occasions or accessories for showcasing the pieces at their best.

The first 13 videos launched today (those of you on the Nordstrom email list will likely get an e-blast alert tomorrow morning!), featuring Milly designer, Michelle Smith. If all goes well, There will be new videos and a new featured designer in the fall.

I must say, Michelle Smith with be a hard act to follow. The designer comes across sweet, yet knowledgeable and totally in love with the collection she's created. The videos were shot in Milly's NYC showroom, and have the feeling of a personal showing, with Smith cast as the personal stylist, and the fall 2008 collection in the starring role. My favorite piece is the poppy print chiffon dress. I swear I got goosebumps!

I may be an easy sell, but the videos work for me! It's genius to be able to see individual looks on a model in motion, instead of the stylized still pix retail websites usually offer. The videos are wicked short, but they're definitely more functional than waiting for an entire runway show to load. Not to mention, I can select exactly what I want to see! It caters to every fashionista's dream of intimacy with the designer, as well as a customized viewing of the collection--all in the comfort of my own living room! Who needs netflix if Nordstrom can keep this up?!

The only drawbacks: for this round of videos, all of the featured items are only available for pre-order (ewww for the patience-factor!), and currently, none of the videos are shareable or embeddable. It's like they don't even care that I have a facebook page! But, I'll give them a pass this time, since they are new to this whole thing.

All in all, I think its an effective and entertaining tool for their website--because I'm getting ready to spend $435 to get that chiffon dress now!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tropical Storm Elbaz

In the classic tradition of togetherness, my family is taking a cruise through the Caribbean this summer. Ten days on a majestic vessel, with exotic ports of call like Belize, Cozumel, and other out-lying islands around the Yucatan.

Also in classic form, they aren't taking me. Go figure.

While my parents and grandmothers are off gallivanting near the Mayan ruins, the closest I'll get to a cruise this year may be gazing at the 2009 resort collections. But one collection in particular may give me the fix I need to make it through a summer and fall stuck in the states.

Earlier this week, Lanvin's Alber Elbaz presented the house's completely decked out resort collection which featured the brilliant colors of the tropics, blended with the classic silhouettes of the 1930's. Think Loveboat meets the Great Gatsby. The collection is bright, brooding, and erratically cohesive, full of bias-cuts, slouchy suits, and accessories galore!

According to Elbaz, the collection was inspired by the iconic notions of cruise and fantasy vacations, yet encompasses a "twisted Hamptons" flair (which begs the question, aren't the Hamptons always kinda twisted? But I digress...), pairing sunny t-shirts with floor length silk skirts, chunky faux-pearl and floral baubles with sequin polka dot dresses, and funky denim coats with raw-edge satin heels. I'd call the resulting look "consciously-flawed chic"--shabby chic's cooler, more confident cousin.

So there may not be a coastal getaway in my immediate future, but I can always live vicariously through the fam, and maybe even a little bit through the tropics-inspired creations of Elbaz and the folks at Lanvin.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home, Chic Home

If there is one thing I dread in life, it's moving. The thought of shlupping all my earthly possessions from one place to another is mentally exhausting, and actually doing it is even worse! Sadly, due to rent increases, this summer is a moving summer. And I'm not looking forward to it.

Even more than the hassle of packing and unpacking, I always feel anxious about entering a new space--something empty and foreign--and figuring out how to make it "home." The process of turning an assortment of rooms into one's sanctuary from the world is not a task I take lightly.

A home should be a place that can recharge your energy and reflect your personality. Feng shui experts will tell you that the overall arrangement of things plays a big role in that; but I've always felt that it's the little things, like coasters, and catch-alls, even the right waste basket, that give me the greatest sense of comfort and ownership.

So imagine the thrill-fest I had when I visited The Macbeth Collection's online boutique. The New York-based home & accessories company offers customized items for home decoration and organization, with a gallery of over 200 patterns, colors, and symbols. Owner and founder, Margaret Josephs launched the brand to provide customers with what she hopes will be the tools "to transform their homes, rooms and hopefully their lives into functional, fashion-forward and sophisticated spaces."

Sounded good to me!

I found some great stuff for my new place: stationery, party serving trays, and the perfect not-too-big-not-too-small waste baskets for my bedrooms and office. I'm also dead set on ordering the mail pockets, so I can stop my nasty habit of piling unopened envelopes on my kitchen table. For the patterns, I'm planning on blend of the "Marcia" the "Eve chocolate" and the "Morocco lilac" moderation, of course. Since I am not big on wallpaper, I think the exaggerated patterns on smaller items throughout the apartment will add a bit of personalized eclectic feel that I wouldn't find at Target or Ikea.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still not "excited" about moving, but the prospect of cutie monogrammed notepads and paperweights is ameliorating! And when my friends visit me for the first time, and coo:"This place is so you," they'll be exactly right!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Championship Style

Everyday is a great day to be a Boston Celtics fan. The tradition and legacy of the franchise is pretty much unrivaled in the history of professional basketball. So when times were bad, the true fans never lost sight of the goal (or their Celtic-pride tees)! But today, on the first full day of being the 2008 NBA World Champions, the world at large will be scrambling to get the hottest item on the market: Celtics championship logo merchandise!

I'm guessing the top seller for men's and women's apparel is going to be the 2008 champions locker room tees. These shirts are exact replicas of the ones given to the players during the the post-game festivities. The ash-grey color is sporty, and great for showing off in front of bitter Lakers fans at the gym! Or perhaps try recreating your own locker room scene: grab 14 friends, some championship tees, and a case of Möet, and have a blast! This shirt looks best when drenched in champagne!

My pick for MVP in the wardrobe game is the the women's trophy tee in black. I like this one best because it's celebratory in its own right with the yellow and gold detail, and calligraphy script. So its real team pride mixed with a slightly more feminine touch. This way, you can celebrate like one of the guys without necessarily looking like one of them!

I'd like to take this moment to share one very important tip. Please, whatever you do, do not buy the pink shirt. I repeat, do not buy the pink shirt! Garnett, Pierce, and Allen don't have them and neither should you. The pink logo shirt, in any sport, with any team, completely invalidates your support as a fan, and it sets women back 20 years. You may as well just get the word "poser" tattooed on your forehead. It's like saying, "Sport? What sport? I'm just here, trying to get a date, and I needed a shirt to match my bedazzled flip-flops!" If that's the case, then just wear some random tee from Abercombie, but do not do a professional sports team the discourtesy of having to match your accessories. Just because they sell the pink Celtics tee, does not mean you should buy it!

So get your shirts, and get out there to celebrate responsibly, legitimately, and with style! If you're a Lakers fan, it's not too late to jump ship and get a shirt of your own. It will help the grieving process... and Kobe won't even notice you're gone! Promise!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New School Rocks

For daily wear, I tend to feel like diamonds are over the top. Even when shopping for fine things, the idea of getting all gussied up in fine jewelry seems a bit pretentious. It's just not my style.

Or at least it wasn't, until I checked out Ivanka Trump's jewelry collection.

Ivanka's partnership with Dynamic Diamond Corp has produced signature items deserving of all the expected diamond adjectives: elegant, sophisticated, opulent. But, the collections left me with a singular resonating, and unexpected word: appropriate.

There's an almost uncanny balance in the designs that makes them simultaneously awe-inspiring and approachable. So often, fine jewelry can leave a person thinking, "That's beautiful! But where the heck would I wear it!" But the updated and still regal looks of Ivanka Trump's jewelry seem to fit a modern code of luxury that kept me browsing through the collections thinking "Oh, this would be perfect with my _________ (insert current wardrobe item here)!"

My favorites? The onyx bead on pavé wire earrings from the black and white collection and the graduated pavé diamond bead necklace from the signature collection.

Modern luxury will, of course, cost you. The least expensive item is a silver and enamel ring priced at $650, and the most expensive listed price is $58,000. After that, the online boutique provides you with a toll free number to call for orders and inquiries. Read--"If you call, you'd better have a black card."

Trust fund or no trust fund, the jewelry is a definite must-see, and a must-have if your bank account, credit card, Daddy, or Sugar-daddy can swing it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sack-it to me

Let me get right to the point: It's never okay to re-use your Victoria's Secret merchandise bag to carry things other than recently purchased lingerie.

You may be thinking to yourself, "But I want to do my part to save the planet! So what if I choose to put my sack lunch in the same bag that I used to bring home my lace panties! Every little bit counts!"

And while that is true, I don't think that environmentalist groups meant for women around the globe to be marching through the streets with beat up pink-striped paper bags containing their sundry items. **

Perhaps, the most ridiculous reason ever offered for this practice was given by a friend of mine who actually said, "Oh, I like carrying my Vickie's bag around. I think it's sexy!" When she said that, part of me died, and the rest of me wanted to drag her to a shrink to study what was clearly the beginnings of a destructive self-loathing disorder.

Sexy does not come from the big shiny pink store, and proximity to their bags certainly does not increase your measurable "sexy-factor." Nothing good has ever come from a out-of-context Vickie's bag. No guy has ever called his buddy and said, "Dude, did you see Stacy this morning! She brought her lunch in a Victoria's Secret bag. That is totally hot, and at the same time I truly respect her strength as a woman." It's never happened. Ever.

If you really care about the planet, and want to save yourself and the general public around you from an awkward "pink bag" incident, invest in a good reusable tote. I personally like the Envirosax. You get different colors and some fun designs from a bag that is meant to make more than one appearance. And when you're done with it you can shove it in your real purse.

Once you get the hang of using your tote-able totes, you can keep one on you. So the next time you go to VS, you can tell the girl at the register you don't need a bag! And when you walk out of the store, your Victoria's Secret will actually be a secret. It's sneaky, it's environmentally conscious, and that's sexy.

** the same is true for old bags from Bloomingdale's, Forever21 and H&M.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tom Ford-adryl

I woke up at 4:30AM today to the sound of over-eager birds and the cool dampness of a tear-stained pillow. Now, that would have been a great chapter opener for a chic lit book, but tears are far less romantic when they're accompanied by redness, irritation and nasal congestion.

It seems that I'm developing a case of adult onset seasonal allergies, which totally stinks because now my eyes won't stop watering and I'm all puffy-faced...and everyone (except Renee Zellweger) knows that is not a good look!

So by 9AM, after failed doses of Claritin-D and Sudafed, I had to suck it up ("sniffle it up" may be more accurate) and leave my apartment to run some errands. But even though I felt like crap, I refused to look like it, which meant I had to cover as much of my face as possible!

So the love of my life, my Tom Ford Margeaux sunglasses from last season had to do what OTC medicines could not: make me better.

The style is great: oversized, but not overbearing, with actual nose pads on the bridge that make up for my little nose. The gradient shading was a huge bonus, because I didn't want to look like robocop, but I still needed the tint since the allergy was making me extra sensitive to sunlight. I fell in love with the Margeaux last year and I've been kicking myself ever since for not getting a back-up pair, but the Yvette style from the current collection (pictured above) is very similar and a worthy update. I'm sure someone owes me a present... oooh, maybe I can write it off as a medical expense!

I'm glad to report that thanks to my shades, I did not scare any young children with my zombie eye, and no one offered me their spare change while I waited for the train. I may never get used to this allergy thing like my friends who've had hay fever since they were in utero, but with the right sunglasses, hopefully no one will ever know.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

There's Just something about Maxi...

At some point last week, a friend and I were eating at one of my favorite little sushi spots in town, when I saw a gaggle of girls ( yes, I said gaggle) passing by the restaurant's large open windows. It's summer, so I wasn't at all surprised to see that 5 of the 7 girls were sporting "maxis;" but what caught my attention, other than the shrill giggling, were the dresses the girls had chosen and just how they were wearing them.

Before I give you the breakdown, here's my thesis on long summer dresses. It seems there are really only 4 styles when it comes to maxis: the bohemian, the whimsical, the virago, and the wandering bridesmaid.

First, there's the Bohemian. The industry has been pushing the look for God-knows how many seasons now, but for one simple reason: It works. The natural, carefree feel of this look showcases the maxi dress at its finest. Its ease and minimalism are refreshing, and make a smooth transition across situations, so you can hold a picket sign at a peace rally at 2pm, do some shopping at Whole Foods around 5pm, and still look hot on your dinner date at 8:30.

After the boho look, perhaps the most popular is the Whimsical. These darlings almost ooze estrogen they're so girly. But the longer length takes the florals and other prints from being juvenile to having a womanly allure. It's the opposite of the school girl fetish where less is more... here, more is more, and still just as enticing. Though if I have to be honest, the whimsicals are almost strictly day and beach/resort wear. I love the foley+corinna dress pictured here, but I'm not sure if it can pull off a sit-down dinner post 4pm. Brunch, definitely. Night on the town...I'd need some convincing.

Of all the maxi personalities, my favorite is one I like to call the Virago. It's fun, but not goofy; romantic, but not girly; chic, but not trying too hard; and simple, but by no means understated. That description may seem to be a) contradictory or b) impossible, but dichotomy and versatility is at the core of the Virago style. These dresses are often bright solids or moody neutral patterned frocks, with detailed straps and ties. They're like an open canvas and can take lots of jewelry, or none at all, depending on your mood or what you're up to that day. "Shop. Dine. Lounge. Party. Look fabulous.--" that is the Virago creed!

Last, and certainly least, the bastard child of this whole trend, the Wandering Bridesmaid--which brings me back to my poor little muffins in front of the sushi restaurant. In every trend, there is the danger for failure. It just comes with the territory. With the long dress, the most preeminent of those dangers is wearing the wrong fabric and cut, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and looking like you tried to recycle your maid of honor dress from your friend's wedding or the last dress from you sorority semi-formal. In and of themselves, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these dresses (usually!), but if you go strolling down the street in one, you will get some looks, and most of them will not be pure admiration.

Of the girls I saw walking past, 3 were in refab bridal party dresses, one was in a surprisingly pleasant floral, and one of them, bless her heart, nailed the bohemian look in an effortless little tie-dyed number that looked a lot like this one. Very Nellie Furtado, pre-Timberland. $20 bucks says she is the one that got the most numbers that night, from people who actually intended on calling her, because nothing says self-confidence more than the lack of stretch satin!

More Dresses:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome to the knowledge of style blog

Bienvenue, greetings, howdy, etc. to the blog pages of The blog and the site are in the very earliest of almost pre-nascent stages... I mean we are seriously new! is a site dedicated to all things fabulous--fashion, lifestyle, and what not--and to the savvy folks out there who know that behind every great product, there's a great person, a great story, new insight, or great new way to implement those must-have into their lives. And they demand to know!

If you've stumbled here on your own, then you, my friend, have a keen sense of where the spirit of chic resides! If you heard about this smart new project from a friend, they you should buy them dinner for keeping you in touch. And if you're here because I told you to come, thank you, and I can promise you shall not be disappointed.

Stay tuned for more... because more is on its way! =)


~The Maven