Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Almost "Sex and the City" Jacket

Remember waaaay back, to that first "Sex and the City" movie?

There was a rose-covered jacket in the final scenes that SJP wore? The coolest jacket. Loved it. Wanted it. Daydreamed about it. Alas, it was completely unobtainable. Googling revealed that the wardrobe department crafted it out of a vintage Givenchy coat and parts of a Members Only jacket.

I briefly harbored thoughts of getting all "P.S. I Made That" and making my own. Then I remembered who I was. So, I decided it just wasn't meant to be.

Then, American Apparel came out with this lovely floral top.

Pretty darn close.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Had Me At 'Sale'

It's like they all knew that my cycle started.

Credit card cycle, that is.

Pure, unsullied, just begging for some charges to be rung up. That's the only way to explain the convergence of sales by my three favorite free-shipping websites.

Revolveclothing (extra 20 percent off code with STYLEWATCHOCT, even off sale items, until Oct. 18), Shopbop and Swayandcake have some good stuff.

On my wish list:

• Patterson J. Kincaid Blue Label's easy-fitting button-down. The perfect shirt for a weekend, or working from home. It looks perfect with ripped, faded jeans. And, it's just the eensiest bit dressier than a T-shirt.

•Torn's Brooke Circus Stripe Tank. Could there be a more appropriately named clothing item? It's so loud and fun. Makes me want to rent "Big Top Pee Wee".

•Grayling's Anthracite necklace. The thick, gunmetal-colored chains are rugged while the smoky crystals add pure, girly sparkle.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dressing Inside The (Crayon) Box

No doubt black is chic. And sleek.

But, there's just something about color that's even better.

Happy, bright colors usually are more flattering and can make you feel perkier, too. Perhaps this outfit goes overboard, but I felt mighty alert that day.

Outfit: J. Crew jacket and skirt; C&C California shoe tank (I love shoes on clothes); an Etsy shoe necklace; Tarina Tarantino bracelets and Me Too peep-toe flats.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What Were They Thinking: Volume 2

Just one word — really? REALLY?

Because I want a dress that makes my ass look like two Pomeranians are attacking it?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A 21st Century Parenting Tip

If you're going to turn over your old iPod to your 8-year-old, you should make sure to erase any questionable songs, like say "Baby Got Back."

It is both funny and mortifying — with the scales tipping toward the latter — to hear your child singing "I like big butts, and I cannot lie......"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What Were They Thinking: Volume 1

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't fashion designers trying to sell stuff? They do want to make gobs and gobs of money, right?

Then why do something like name a perfectly fine-looking cardigan the "Mrs. Roper" wrap? I'm a Gen-Xer, and I grew up with "Three's Company" (even though I didn't get all of those double entendres). Mrs. Roper was most definitely not fashionable. She had that every-curl-still-in-the-shape-of-the-roller hair and wore nasty muu muus. So now, even though that's an in-style cardi, I have forever associated it with bad, old lady fashion. That Alternative Apparel wrap is tainted. TAINTED.

Similarly, I love "30 Rock," probably the funniest show on television. I adore Tina Fey. Her character Liz Lemon slays me. That said, Liz Lemon is not known for being sartorially savvy. So in an episode last year, Liz wore the very same striped Michael Stars scarf stuffed in my accessories bin. I was horrified. Now, that scarf is tainted. Had it been Tina Fey wearing it, I'd be fine. But schlumpy, always-a-fashion-don't Liz Lemon? Ah, crap. I might have to throw the scarf in the swap pile.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Shoe Haiku...The Clog Edition

Clickety clomp clogs
Big, wide heel for clumsy me
So, why do I trip?

Shoe n' Tell: Clogs are so fabulous, and I rapidly accumulated three pairs in time for fall. As much as I love their look, I have such a hard time walking in them. What is that about? The heels are wide enough. Perhaps it has something to do with the curved wooden bottom. Whatev. I'll still wear 'em.

Outfit: Wet Seal jacket, James Perse tank dress, Lucky Brand "Maddox" clogs, Juicy candy corn charm worn as a necklace and assorted, cheap bracelets.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Coolest Costume Ever

Peeps rock.

Not to eat, of course, that would be gross. Well, scratch that — if the candy is properly microwaved and then nestled in between rectangles of dark chocolate and then sandwiched between graham crackers, it's passable. But generally speaking, Peeps are not particularly tasty.

Yet, I'm moderately fixated with them. At work — for every holiday — the Just Born company sends us the new crop of Peeps. I save them, date them with a Sharpie and line them up across my desk. Some date back to 2003. Really. They're all hard and crusty, but when it's time for the summer monsoon season to hit, they get all squooshy again. Now, our weather people officially use the term dew point to describe the amount of moisture in the air that tells us when the rains'll hit. Screw that — I have the Peep Point, and it's most accurate.

I have a Peeps shirt, well, a couple actually and lip gloss and an entire farm of pastel-colored, stuffed ones.

If I don't win this Peeps costume on eBay, I'm pretty sure I'll die.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cheap, Random Thrills

Ah, the joys of ASOS.

The UK online store has tons of stuff, a lot of it at reasonable prices. The only hitch is that your stuff floats over stateside on the Mayflower. It took two weeks for this cute heart necklace to arrive in the desert. But, shipping was free (hurry — complimentary shipping to the U.S. through Sept. 25).

Cost of the heart with the little horns (I didn't even think until after I'd ordered that it could be construed as, um, 'horny.' I choose to think it just means devilish, in the cutest possible way): $6.74. Check out the site — lots of cheap, fun jewelry to be had, among other wondrous things.

And, Thrill No. 2 at a Target near you — Xhilaration lace skirt, regularly $16.99 but on sale in stores for $8-something. The skirt also comes in ivory and gray. It's a great way to try out the lace trend without spending a ton.

In the photo: Sauce knit jacket; Forever XXI shoe shirt and bracelet; Target skirt and Report peep-toe clog sandals from Nordstrom Rack.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Having A Ball (With Lip Balm)

Is this not the cutest packaging ever? Easily the most darling since those old L'eggs pantyhose. Are those even around any more?

I have been hot on the trail of this EOS lip balm ever since it started popping up in magazines some weeks back. You'd think a balm shaped like a ball wouldn't be hard to find. You would be wrong. Dead wrong.

Every drug store that allegedly carried it never had it, and I wasn't going to order it online in the dead of summer. Heck, it's still over 100 degrees here. No lip product can survive that kind of heat.

Finally, it did surface at a local CVS for $3.49.

The balm is bigger than you'd think — about the size of a golf ball, so no shoving it into your pocket unless you want to listen to "Oh, is that EOS lip balm in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" comments all day long.

The good thing — no nasty chemical-y stuff; it's natural with lots of oils and fruit extracts for scent and flavor. It also has shea butter, which you'd think would provide all-day-long moisturizing. The balm does feel good for a bit, but it's not especially long lasting. I forgive that, though, because it's fun to rub that little round ball over your lips — it's like a little mouth deodorant! The peachy scent of the summer fruit balm is positively intoxicating.

And, most importantly, it is so blasted cute.

Target has a five-pack for $10.99, which is the best deal I've seen going.

Monday, September 20, 2010

From the WTF Files

Now, I love a good hoodie. Was even contemplating a Hello Kitty one with her cute face across the chest while the hood had little pink ears.

But this? I don't get.

For a Halloween costume, maaaaaybe. But even then, these
Spirit Hoods run $69-$129. Surely one of the nasty, pop-up costume shops can do better.

Who wears something like this? Aside from the appropriate animals. Or Ke$ha.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Safety (Pin) Dance

I recently read blogger Erica Domesek's "P.S. — I Made This" (Abrams Image, $18.95). Although it made me feel painfully uncreative and inadequate as a person, I did marvel at Domesek's wild imagination — a studded bracelet made of lace, studs and a cardboard roll? She's a fashion MacGyver!

Most of her projects actually seem doable, too.

So, in that same creative vein, why not pimp out a dress or shirt with pins? Safety pins, that is. Sauce is this cool label that does a lot of basics with edgy twists, like this maxi henley dress. How easy would it be to just attach some pins to the side of one of your old maxis? Plus, it'd make it easier to walk in.

Take another cue from Sauce and add fun beads to pins and then stick 'em onto a shirt pocket, like the line did here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fur Sure!

You don't have to be a Muppet to appreciate the season's bumper crop of faux fur. But, I'm sure it helps.

I feel like such a smart girl for snapping up this The Battalion fuzzy vest in March, even though I only got to wear it once. And, boy did it make me sweat. But, I'm stubborn that way.

The season abounds with fur aplenty but for the most part, it's all the usual, unexciting suspects: cheetah coats with three-quarter sleeves, fake-rabbit vests. Nothing really looks that fresh, except that is, for this amazing sweater by LaRok ($448).

The asymmetrical hem is current; the use of the sweater sleeves with fur throughout the main body is so modern. Alas, it is made of real rabbit.


I have no problem eating beef or chicken, and I most certainly have absolutely no problem with — drooooool — bacon. But something really, truly creeps me out about wearing real fur. Makes me think of the unhinged bad guy in "Silence of the Lambs" who was making a coat out of people skins. It is just that foul.

Here's to hoping Forever XXI will appreciate this design and knock it off like there's no tomorrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Shoe Haiku....One to Boot

I pity the fool
Who makes fun o' my big boot
Tres Monopol-ish

Shoe N' Tell: For those unwilling to make the huge cash investment in the military boot trend — or, you're just not sure you can pull it off — try this Forever XXI lace-up boot necklace (Product Code: 1082128634). At $4.80, it's much cheaper than a pair to wear on your feet. This one is pretty darn big for a pendant — it's an inch high and more than an inch long. I feel a little Mr. T-ish wearing the trinket. It'd totally kick the Monopoly boot's ass.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Site to Shop: C & C California

Welcome to the latest installment of "I'd Shop That" — cool, online sites worth visiting.

The site: C&C California

What You'll Find: Great basics made of sumptuously soft materials like organic (and regular) cotton. Items are true-to-size. I recently bought an asymmetrical-hemmed tank dress in a lovely, seasonless blue for not even $15 — it was $14.40 with a free ship code.

Standouts: This plaid henley oozes comfort. The cuddly fleece sweatshirt has the coolest faux suede trim that gussies it up and makes it stand out.

It's worth signing up for e-mail because.... You'll receive a code for 25 percent off. Plus, you'll get the heads-up on sales, and the sales are great. Don't let the regular prices scare you because at C&C, there's always a sale. Even better, there's quite frequently free shipping. It is by far one of the most generous sites when it comes to complimentary shipping — and it's Fed Ex, so you get in just a few days.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Most Questionable Fashion Design Ever

I'm on the hunt for a super cute keychain.

This is not it.

Due to my limited computer skills, I can't make the keychain look bigger. But, I can offer a better close-up on this T-shirt. Shudder. That this motif even exists in more than one form bothers me so, so much.

The See by Chloe design is allegedly an animal, maybe even a dog. I guess it kinda looks like the Quiero Taco Bell dog — after a bean burrito bender. It more closely resembles a chupacabra, I think. And what, you ask, is a chupacabra (chew-pa-CA-bra)?

Translated from Spanish, it means "goat sucker." It's a mythical beast. But every once in a while, a butt-ugly, hairless coyote shows up dead in Texas and everyone gets all excited that these things really do exist. They do in this label.

Just. Don't. Get. It.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fashion Forecast — Dotty with a Dash of Pink

This is what happens when you can't pass up a $12 pair of sale pants at J Crew — you get a questionable, bright color that you're not sure how to style around. These pink crops, though, are easier to work with than the baby blue and coral trouser pants that I gave away out of frustration.

What's going on here: J Crew ruffled cardi, H & M polka dot tank, black bubble necklace (from a swap party. Thanks, Desert Flower!), Rebecca Minkoff zipper wrap bracelet, Free People black studded bracelet and nude Report flats.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cool Styling Trick: The Belted Scarf

When I was a kid, I loved playing beauty pageant. Probably because I always won.

OK, so things might have been stacked in my favor. Just a bit. My younger brother was always the judge — and he knew I'd kick his ass if he didn't vote for me. More importantly, the tiara was mine. If any of the other contestants even thought about trying to win it, I'd remind them of that. I spent all my Christmas money on that sparkly, rhinestone tiara that I'd admired for months in the glass case at Hancock Fabrics.

For the evening gown portion of the pageant, I always wore the same dress — a satin-edged pink, waffle baby blanket. It was just long enough to tuck one end under my armpit and drape the other over my left shoulder for a very elegant look. That same kind of childhood inventiveness — you make use of what ya got — comes to mind with all the belted scarves popping up.

Urban Outfitters did it in its recent catalog.

Neiman Marcus also belted wide swaths of cashmere on its website.

Simple, effective — you just drape a scarf over your shoulders and belt at the waist. What could be easier? And, more versatile? It's exactly the kind of thing Miss Junior America World would have done.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Does This Outfit Work?

The best outfits come from thinking outside the box.

So do the worst.

While I don't think throwing together three styles — girly, laid-back casual and military — is the worst ever, I wasn't quite sure I was pulling it off. At the risk of sounding like your optometrist, which style looks better — 1 or 2? Which is sharper — 1 or 2?

Let's dissect.

My first attempt was the top photo: J Crew cashmere cardi with Anthro's Blacklight blouse (blogged here) and Target military skinny cargos (blogged here). I debated between ballet flats and sneaks. But, I liked dressing down that top, so I opted for the Simple "Satire" kicks. The chartreuse necklace pulled out the sash but seemed too much. The pink pop was good with the neutral colors, but was it too '80s?

Attempt 2 was what actually made it out the door.

Stripped off the chartreuse ribbon and necklace, and opted to use a cheapie black skinny belt. I added a delicate pink heart necklace and assorted bracelets crafted by kids — my own and some in China working for Forever XXI.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Odd Couple — Ugg and Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo and Ugg may well be the freakiest pairing since Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts.

Inexplicably, the two brands have banded together to create collection. Let's just say, they're Kardashian ready.

Here's the Mandah boot. Don't stare at it too long, lest you damage your retinas. These are some garish boots, my friends.

The others — which include the usual moon bootlike shape but fun details like fringe, zebra and leopard print accents — look a smidge better. Prices range from $595-$795 and will be available at and

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Shoe Haiku...Ah, Boooooots!

Do blondes have more fun?
I dunno — I am brunette*
These blondes rock out, though.


Shoe N' Tell: I admitted my lust for these Jessica Bennett boots a year ago (click here to read the tale). I put those suckers on layaway and saved up. They're worth every penny — so versatile and not the least bit shit-kickerish.

I'm paying homage to them again now because today is supposed to be less than 90 degrees. Around these parts, that's called fall. I'm so ready to pull out full-length pants and, of course, boots.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Best Time Suck Ever

Forget Facebook.

If you're looking for a time suck — that's infinitely more enjoyable than hearing people post for the umpteenth time that they need coffee/are heading off to work/are looking forward to a new day! (gag) — mosey on over to H&M's Fashion Studio.

This 21st century version of paper dolls lets you create ensembles out of current items. Layer on as much as you want, in the order you want. It is plain, flippin' fun.

My only suggestion is to let people choose dolls that fit their body types rather than the very Charlize Theron-esque bod that wears everything. To its credit, H&M does let you pick a non-Nordic face. Still, different bodies would help even more.

Have fun in the studio.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tim Gunn is Flat-Out Wrong: The Style v. Comfort Case

The September issue of Marie Claire offers a peek into fashion guru Tim Gunn's new book, "Gunn's Golden Rules" (Gallery, $23.99).

The five rules highlighted made perfect sense — except for Rule 3: Physical Comfort is Overrated.


As a girl who once — and only once — wore thong underwear for the entire day and was so wildly uncomfortable that I couldn't concentrate, I respectfully disagree.

Here's Gunn's take: "Some people think of dressing up or being polite as a burden. They think having to wear a tie or use the right fork or send a thank-you card is a kind of shackle. To these people I say: Getting out of bed is a shackle. If you feel that way, stay in it! Invest in a hospital gurney and wheel yourself around on it when you need to go out. I get very impatient with this whole 'comfort issue' with clothing. Yes, you don't feel as comfortable in clothes that fit as you do in your pajamas. That's a good thing. You're navigating a world where you need to have your wits about you. If you're in a lackadaisical comfort haze, you can't be engaged in the world the way you need to be."

Now, I adore dinner that requires actual silverware and not a plastic spork. I live for those dinners. They're hard to come by when you have three kids.

I'm also freakishly polite and send thank you notes. In fact, I just finished baking cookies for my car guys because I need to get my oil changed tomorrow and last week they added air to my tires when I just dropped by. Saying "thanks" doesn't seem to be enough for consistently great service.

AND, I happen to adore comfortable clothes. I do buy and wear tight jeans because how they fit helps keep me (more specifically my gut and butt) in check, but show me a loose-fitting, micro modal shirt — soft as a newborn — and I will not be able to resist it. Which is how I ended up with Alma.

The top popped up — half price at Anthro — and I bit.

Made of modal and silk, this baby looked so sumptuously soft and comfy and easy to wear. Pair it with leggings or skinny jeans. Dress it up, dress it down. Tim Gunn be damned, I wanted that shirt. Ironically, when Alma arrived yesterday, I discovered it wasn't that comfortable. The sleeves were second-skin tight. I was painfully aware of the seam across the shoulders where the silk joined the modal. The edges were so frayed, they kept getting caught in the buttons. It's goin' back — because it's not as comfortable as it should be.

Does this mean when I wrap myself in the sherpa-lined softness of my favorite J Crew hoodie, I won't have quick enough reflexes to stop Middle Child from taking a whack at Youngest Child? No. In fact, I will be infinitely more alert than if I were distracted by a phantom wedgie, courtesy of an uncomfortable undergarment.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Red....Without the Dread

Gwen Stefani rocks — in more ways than one.

Girl's got style, and as much as I love and admire her over-the-top glamor with the platinum hair and fire-engine red lips, it's just not something I — a journalist, soccer mom of three in Tucson, Ariz. — can do. On those occasions when I do a red lip, I feel like a little kid playing dress up. Plus, it's fairly high maintenance, making sure the red's not feathering or wandering onto parts of my face it shouldn't.

Even if you can't pull off straight-from-the-tube MAC Russian Red, you can rock a more natural-looking red that gives extra polish but doesn't make you feel like you're 5 and playing in your mom's makeup.


• Rather than applying red straight from a tube, try dabbing it on with your pinkie. You can even use a lip brush. Both methods will give softer color that won't be so saturated and Joker-ish.

• Use a stain. TheBalm has this Stainiac potion in "Beauty Queen" ($17) that is perfect. It's just a good, natural wash of color. The Q-tip-type brush makes for easy application. Then, you can just swipe some gloss over. Easy-peasy.

• Buy yourself a tube of Medieval by Lipstick Queen ($20). My newest favorite lip product (I gushed about it here), this gives the most natural, perfect flush with a hint of glossiness. Think cherry Popsicle, but way more hydrating. A friend was lamenting her inability to do red (the inspiration for this post), and I handed her Medieval to try. She marveled at how it stayed on for so long and didn't make her feel clownish.

Monday, September 6, 2010

One Shoe, Two Shoes, Red Shoe, Blue Shoe

Dr Seuss wears Converse.

The sneaker giant has a collection of cool kicks featuring Seuss characters or Seussian designs. Stylenotes says you can get 20 percent off — sneaks range $35-$60 — and free shipping until today with "20offnow."

Not all styles are available in adult sizes (frickety frak!), but there are plenty of cute options. Oh! Just think of the places you'll go in those shoes!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

O Booties, Where Art Thou?

The hunt is on.

I'm looking for the kicky lace-up Circa Joan & David booties in this photo. Have you seen 'em? I sure haven't. Lucky claims they exist, though.

In the past several months, I've lusted after things spotted in Lucky magazine. There was the infamous peach DVF "Brady" jacket, featured in the summer of '09 (see original post here). Turns out the company never made that exact jacket (although it did make a less-attractive silver one guaranteed to make its wearer look just like a baked potato).

A Topshop scarf with pom-pom fringe was a recent lusted-after item from about three months back. That never popped up on the website either. In September's issue, I have to find the Circa Joan & David "Alisha" wedge booties. I'll be darned if I can find them, and I've looked. Oooh, have I looked.

So, what the hell is that all about?

I know magazine deadlines are crazy early, which means if companies want their stuff included, they're probably sending samples that may or may not go into production. Still, when it's in a freakin' national publication and is guaranteed to get you insane amounts of exposure, then make it! You've already created a built-in audience chomping at the bit.

And that includes my bitter Sunday rant.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Absolutely Real Military Belts

So, here's a website you wouldn't expect to visit on a fashion quest: The Sportsman Guide. Turns out it's a great source for — no kidding — military belts. They're authentic, too.

My dad gets credit for this one. I had an epiphany one day while scouring the web for the perfect, double-holed olive-drab military-style belt: Steal one from my father, who's retired military. Sure enough, he had a stockpile. Of course, since he's Air Force, the belts were navy blue and hole-less, but that's OK. I'll make anything work if it's free.

After I told him why I wanted them and how the belts are part of a huge military trend, then he started poking around the Internet. Did I mention he's retired?

This site was a link from the Base Exchange, and it has all these cool belts — my fave is the striped Hungarian military officer's parade belt — for way-cheaper-than-Michael-Kors-charges prices. They ring in at $12 or less, and quite often, that's for two. Plus, how neat would it be to tell someone who's just complimented you on your accessories that you're wearing an Italian military handcuff belt?

Friday, September 3, 2010

That Ol' Friday Shoe Thang

There was a time when
Used shoes gave me the heebies
No more — they're good deals

Shoe 'n Tell: Meet possibly my riskiest purchase ever — Stuart Weitzman "Woodstock" boots, bought off eBay. Never tried 'em on. No returns. Bought them in a 7 despite the fact that all my Stu sandals are 7.5. Lady Luck was on my side. Price tag: $50, which is much cheaper than the usual gazillion dollar price tag. I figured it was worth the shot. After all, I could always sell 'em on eBay.

For years it was taboo — for me — to even consider shoes worn by another. Now that I've been regularly doing swap parties with my friends, I completely see the validity: Someone else's tootsies have anguished through those initial wearings. Then I get 'em perfectly broken in.

Outfit: H&M leopard-print blouse from last year; Splendid asymmetrical cardi also from last year; Forever XXI necklace; DIY J Crew cutoffs; gray Target socks.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Comes After Jeggings....

Sweggings, apparently.

While it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, I'm not ruling this sweatpant/legging hybrid out just yet.

Weird but oddly intriguing. As I'm typing, the idea is starting to grow on me. But that name...sweggings. Raise your hand if it doesn't sound like it ought to be a saying from "Saturday Night Live" a la Alec Baldwin and the NPR Delicious Dish spoof "Schweddy balls."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

DIY Denim Vest

Nylon's August denim issue got me searching for a denim vest. Then I realized, I could make one. Now this is my kind of DIY — some minor snipping and all done.

The candidate was an old Gap denim jacket that I realized I rarely wore because I have a denim hoodie that's much softer and chicer.

After amputating the sleeves, I had a much more wearable denim vest. It's edgier than a jacket and better for our more temperate climate.

The outfit: thrifted dress (thanks, Jenni!), Michael Michael Kors clogs (thanks again, Jenni!), Forever XXI necklace (artfully stuck on a button) and a 5-year-old denim Gap jacket.