Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wine and (say) cheese.

With all the clothes, shoes, purses and accessories we have at our disposal, it’s easy to forget that our hair and makeup say as much about our personal style as what we put on our bodies. Pop in your go-to chick flick from any given decade: ‘80s hair and (cringe) ‘90s lipliner are proof that cosmetic trends are as real as any others. It’s easy to fall into a routine with makeup – most days, I’m a rushed and uninspired concealer-brows-mascara kind of girl – but if your unpaid intern salary (ahem) won’t cover a new wardrobe, a cosmetic update can be a cost-effective way to make your existing one look fresh.

I’ve been romancing red lips like Casanova this summer. They give the face a youthful boost and elevate even the most basic outfit to something cheeky and playful. But in light of the heavy fabrics and moody color palates that come with the soon-to-be-changing leaves (or just even to offset this years camels and nudes), I think it might be time to switch out my beloved MAC “Ruby Woo” for a color with a bit more…inner angst.

I first fell in love with wine lips in Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” music video. The vid’s no “Bad Romance” (no offense, Gags, love ya like a sister!), but isn’t the makeup lovely and unusual? A deep mahogany stain is the perfect complement to the pasty skin we’re all about to endure for the next nine months (or at least I am, because I refuse to walk around smelling like Jergens “Natural” Glow). I’d add a coat of mascara to avoid channeling Silas from The Da Vinci Code, but the subtle winged eyeliner on the last frame is an alluring way to take the undressed eye into nighttime.

Then the world went nuts over the bare eyes and bright lips in the latest Chanel couture show. The color is a little lighter than that debuted in “Alejandro,” but the overall composition (note the bedhead to balance out the more substantial makeup) is similar, enviable and entirely transferable to a sultry merlot or cabernet lip. Meanwhile, Abbey Lee Kershaw has successfully convinced me that blunt, shoulder-length bobs with bangs are where it’s at. I’m going to need a lot of people to remind me over the next month that I a) don’t have thick, straight hair and eyes the size of saucers, and b) spent the last two and a half years complaining about how long my hair took to grow out after my 11-inch freshman year coif chop. Okay? C’mon, it’s what Jesus would do.

The usual cautionary advice: Beware of brown undertones. Use a lip brush for better texture and accuracy. Surround yourself with friends who will tell you if you have lipstick on your teeth, dammit, because who lets some fool with lipstick on her teeth wander around unawares? I think there’s a special spot reserved in Hell for that, right next to “people who kick puppies” and “people who serve Lindsay Lohan drinks.” Speaking of which: if you're going to drink wine while wearing wine, be sure to check yourself out in a hand mirror (or iPod screen...not that I've ever done that) every now and then. Not many people can pull off this.

Monday, August 16, 2010

You're so transparent.

I love being naked. I may masquerade as a clotheshorse by day, but if I’m lounging around in the privacy of my apartment, I can’t get out of my clothes fast enough. I’m not a cavewoman - I’ll throw on a robe or a pair of booty shorts out of respect for a roommate who may not be as into my body as I am - but when I live alone, there’s a good chance I’ll eat, sleep, crack my knuckles, read and re-read Harry Potter, check myself out in Photo Booth, practice my Beyoncé booty shake and do all of my other embarrassing secret behaviors in the buff. Going au natural makes me feel more in touch with my body and holds me accountable to not, you know, eating entire jars of rainbow chip frosting in one sitting (don’t judge. These things happen, y’all). Nudity can also provide a devilish confidence boost for those sure-to-be-awkward phone calls (I once nailed a job interview wearing only a watch).

It may come as no surprise, then, that when law or common decency require me to be clothed, I tend to gravitate toward body-skimming styles that hug my so-called curves. I have the kind of proportions – little waist, long legs, childbearing hips – that sound great in theory, but don’t take to clothes nearly as well as they do to hypothetical male fantasies. Loose-fitting, androgynous styles do me no favors. The more I conceal, the bigger I look. As such, this whole sheer moment that's happening right now is particular exciting for me: I get to wear the high necks and the loose, blouse-y shapes that would otherwise send me on a one-way trip to Frumpsville without concealing the shapely silhouette that lies beneath (yep, I love me). But as I rifled through my sheer-shoaled wardrobe, I couldn't help but wonder: how does one bring spring and summer's floaty fabrics into fall?




This Alexander Wang chiffon sweatshirt is DY. NA. MITE. The daring can wear it over an art deco bra à la the above photo, but a bodysuit or ribbed undershirt is a swell full-coverage alternative for the wallflowers/professionals/people who occasionally eat entire jars of rainbow chip frosting in one sitting. If you choose to go the exposed tummy route, you'd better love yours, and you'd better be pretty damn sure everyone else is going to love it, too. I've also seen knockoffs at Urban and Topshop with mesh or chiffon insets on the sleeves instead of the torso, eliminating the question of whether or not to reveal the inner workings of your gastrointestinal system to the world.

Regardless, you'll want to minimize the gap between your hemlines. Opt for a high-waisted skirt, perfectly fitted jeans (muffin tops need not apply), languid cargo pants or - whaddya know! - leather shorts. I also recommend balancing the peekaboo sex appeal of a sheer inset with a pair of flat boots or chunky platforms.

This is the part where most bloggers would make a crack about this look being "sheer brilliance." But I'll save you the forehead slap and the drum solo. You need that energy for shopping.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I see you're wearing leather...are you into handcuffs, too?

Occasionally, an item of clothing will wrangle out of me an entirely inappropriate public reaction. It usually happens when I’m killing time in a store with no intention of buying or even trying anything on and, as such, am caught off guard by an instantaneous and deeply powerful connection.




Such was the case with these Rag & Bone shorts. I made a beeline to them from across the brand’s SoHo boutique, caressed their buttery leather between my thumb and forefinger and audibly whispered, “I want you,” in an all-too-sexual tone (much to the discomfort of the salesgirl standing two feet away from me). Not only was it my least successful seduction to date, but I was also forced to make a quick exit before I could even ask for their digits.

To clarify: forced by my pride to exit. Fortunately, the salesgirl let it slide.

Having since been informed by the Interweb that their “digits” are something to the tune of $795, I’m convinced that things wouldn’t have worked out between us anyway. They do, however, make a beautiful prototype for the next item on my fall wish list: leather shorts. I first added this line item to my long-term shopping list (a novella-length, fully categorized Google doc; the short-term one is on my iPod Touch for portable shopping purposes) a full year ago. I’ve since found a couple of potentials, but haven’t until very recently made actually buying a pair a priority.

When it comes to a stiff and highly connotative material like leather, cut is particularly important. Spare us the leather booty shorts and (heaven forbid) leather harem pants. Straightforward, relatively modest shapes keep leather from veering too far into territory already claimed by the two B’s: bikers and bondage. These long, loose A-line shorts with their nipped-in waist strike the perfect proportion. They’re tough and sexy, but also polished. Clearly worthy of a terrible pick-up line.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cloudy with a chance of menswear.

It's been threatening to rain for three days now. I keep dressing down in anticipation. It has yet to so much as sprinkle. Infuriating. On the bright side, these fake-out forecasts have given me a chance to play with my approach to casualwear; namely, how to bring a little personality to jeans and a button-down.

This necklace is one of the few jewelry items I've ever actually purchased, having been lucky enough to inherit my weight in accessories from my late and formidably posh grandmother. It was my obsession this past fall and winter. The chain links are a combination of gunmetal and silver, though some are starting to go pink from where my perfume has rubbed off over time. Stah-ruggle.

No clunky Casio today. I thought the statement necklace begged for a one-metal color scheme and more delicate co-accessories. I'm a fan of how this particular watch adds a bit of sparkle without being excessively blinged out. Swarovski is not so much my jam.

Shirt: BDG.
Jeans: Forever 21.
Purse: Talon.
Shoes: Deena & Ozzy.
Earrings: Forever 21.
Necklace: Lou Lou boutique in Middleburg, VA.
Watch and rings: Inherited.

Augustatic is one step away from Septembrilliant.

It’s around this point in any given summer that I typically begin to develop a hint of weather-related wanderlust. These three steamy months are a particular brand of laissez-faire delightful, but they sure do make it easy to fall into a rut of wearing only airy sundresses for weeks on end. In dreaming ahead to times when sweat-induced dry cleaning bills will be merely a memory and layering will once again become an active consideration in my wardrobe, I've begun to assemble my fall fashion wish list. And I mean wish list. As in, I wish there was a chance in Hell I would be able to get my hands on one or more of these things by October. Now that a budgeting disaster called “I greatly enjoy mojitos” has sabotaged my fall shopping allowance, I’ll be lucky if I can afford to eat for the next four weeks, let alone buy a new pair of mom jeans from Salvation Army to shred into cutoffs.

But just like J. Lo's love, online window shopping don't cost a thing. Therefore, I will be debriefing my top picks for fall over the next couple of weeks, operating under a fantasy budget of whatever it takes. So let’s kick things off (heh) with:

Nailing down this summer’s official shoe crush was less exciting than it has been in years past, as this shoemance sadly has little to no chance of coming to fruition. This is partly because I have no income, and partly because Rumi “Fashion Toast” Neely has since given these Sam Edelman boots her blessing, so I’m sure they’ll be sold out in my size before I get the opportunity to save up for them. At any rate: want, in black (I’m generally nuts for gray, but not as nuts for the combo of gray and brown) leather (they also come in suede, but I never spend more than $75 on shoes that will inevitably be ruined in two weeks’ time), size eight and a half (if anyone's feeling generous). Envisioning them with slouchy paper bag-waisted shorts, a vintage blouse and a neatly tailored blazer. Equal parts classic and quirky.

What’s that I hear? You barely even signed on for the clog phenomenon, and now you’re being expected to embrace clog boots? Yep. Embrace them. Embrace them right now. I actually prefer these to clogs' original rendering. The streamlined shape and artful cutouts make them appear less clunky than traditional clogs, while still channeling their earthy, 1970s-era charm.

Stay tuned for another fall frontrunner tomorrow. Also, a breaking addendum to my Twitter rant: if you have Foursquare linked to your Twitter account, I will punch you in the face. Peace and blessings.