Friday, August 21, 2009
Gap jeans! "Who What Wear"! Hair powder!
I'm sure I'll regret this next week, but what the heck — I'm blowing all my material right in one posting. We've got fashion, we've got books, even beauty products. A little somethin' for everyone.
Up first: Gap jeans.
Perhaps you've heard the buzz about the Gap's new 1969 Premium Jeans line. It's pretty much impossible not to. In interviews, designer Patrick Robinson flat-out calls them the best-fitting jeans in the world. Designers spent more than a year perfecting washes and cuts comparable to high-end denim and eliminating pesky problems like gap-y waistbands. All this, for less than $70.
Riiiiiight, I thought.
Nonetheless, I am a sucker for a smooth talker (and a new pair o' jeans). I wasted no time hitting the Web site when the jeans arrived last week.
Now, I do not need another pair of jeans. I have a pretty complete denim wardrobe (16-plus pairs). The one staple I'm missing — trouser jeans. I do have one pair from two years and 16 pounds ago, but they're a bit droopy in the drawers.
The Gap trouser jeans — which I got on sale for $40 — were unavailable here in Tucson, Ariz., so I decided to take a risk and buy 'em online.
They just arrived, and I have to say, Mr. Robinson was not just blowing smoke up our denim-wearing asses.
The jeans were made in Egypt and since the Egyptians know a thing or two about architectural splendor, I took this as a good sign.
The stretchy denim is thick with just enough give and lots of softness. There's nice detailing with a tab at the back and a different, large, brassy button above a teeny 2-inch zipper.
The rise is lower than I thought it would be and the slash front pockets sort of pooch out (probably because I could stand to lose a few more pounds), so I think those might need to be sewn shut. But this is a good pair of jeans, peeps. They feel substantial and well-made, and are the perfect deep shade of blue with some subtle fading. The jeans — as is true of all jeans — will need to be hemmed up a little. $40 was a steal.
Kristen's call: Give the Gap a chance.
"Who What Wear" By Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power ($18.95)
One of my greatest failings — if not the biggest — is my complete lack of patience. So when I heard that Kerr and Power — the goddesses behind the brilliant style Web site whowhatwear.com — were coming out with a book, naturally I snapped it up as soon as it was available.
I should have waited.
Not that the book is bad, it's just not for me. It spends way too much time on the talky-talky, like how to find your personal style, how to find inspiration. Any fashion fiend already knows this stuff and just wants to get to the nitty gritty. The paperback really shines when it does what the Web site does best — highlighting outfits, pointing out how how to make something trendy versus classic and how to dress for specific occasions, everything from a daytime wedding to lounging on the weekend.
I think the hangup I have is that I paid money for something I can get for free daily on the Web. Quite frankly, I just like looking at purty pictures. The "Sex and the City" companion book to the movie was more my speed — snapshot after snapshot of great outfits. You don't need to have a lot of words in a fashion book — just let the clothes speak for themselves.
Kristen's call: Sign up for Who What Wear e-mails and regularly scour the well-done Web site.
Principessa hair powder
My hair is thin and fine. Anyone with hair likes this knows this means one thing: daily shampooing.
There are plenty of days I'd like to have that extra 45 minutes sprawled out in bed rather than diffusing and fluffing my hair into submission. Thanks to hair powder and a satin pillowcase, second-day hair is a new way of life.
I'd been using Oscar Blandi's hair powder. It was an impulse buy near the checkout at Sephora. The thin nozzle applicator does a good job of getting the powder right at the scalp where it does its business absorbing oil and making hair presentable for yet another day without extra effort. And, I was perfectly happy with it. But recently I discovered Principessa Bianco Breeze ($24), a hair and body powder.
This is the stuff.
The silky powder is even better at adding body and it has this lovely, freshly floral smell. Coming from me, this means something because I am part bloodhound and hate the smell of pretty much everything (that'll be a future posting. Try to contain your excitement).
Here's a little tip that I learned the hard way: Despite the spray of holes in the top of the container, you can't just open the top and shake it on your head. Your hair will be white. Not attractive when you have dark hair. Instead, sprinkle the powder into your hands AND THEN work it into the scalp.
My recipe for socially-acceptable second-day hair: Get yourself a satin or silk pillowcase to sleep on and Principessa powder. If your hair is really fine and thin, put the powder on before bedtime. I just get up, apply the powder, cover my hair with a shower cap and let the steam bring it all home.
Kristen's call: Principessa's powder is a must-buy.