Archive | August, 2009

Continuing into Fall…

29 Aug

Transforming your summer threads into fall ensembles can be as easy as adding a jacket, cardigan, or under-layer like a long sleeve, fitted cotton tee.

Take your favorite summer maxi dress (you know the ones – those sexy, grecian-flowing, full-length cotton or silk jersey dresses you wear with beautiful flats or flips).  Create a foundation underneath with a tissue-thin t-shirt and top it with a tailored blazer or jacket.  Instead of your beloved flip flops, trade up for a pair of low-heeled riding boots with tights for another layer shielding your precious legs from the fall nip. The long dress looks effortless, comfortable and still sexy in a very reserved fashion. The blazer adds a tailored bit of structure, and the pretty t-shirt puts comfy cotton against your skin and adds a pretty pop of color underneath the seasonal re-emergence of black (black…always good for fall).

Check it out…

Easy and inexpensive, from one of my favorite stores - Target!

Easy and inexpensive, from one of my favorite stores - Target!

Can't get enough of JCrew's basics - Cardies, tanks, and these great Ts

Can't get enough of JCrew's basics - Cardies, tanks, and these great Ts

A good blazer is one of the best investments you can make.  It transforms anything into a polished, fitted, and sophisticated look. And it acts as your "coat" in the in-between weather temperatures, like in fall.

A good blazer is one of the best investments you can make. It transforms anything into a polished, fitted, and sophisticated look. And it acts as your "coat" in the in-between weather temperatures, like in fall.

Like a good blazer, a well-made pair of boots go with EVERYTHING no matter what you're doing. The tall length make them ideal for all lengths of bottoms and the low heel is the saving grace of your feet for a long day at work or running around town.

Like a good blazer, a well-made pair of boots go with EVERYTHING no matter what you're doing. The tall shaft make them ideal for all lengths of bottoms and the low heel is the saving grace of your feet for a long day at work or running around town.

Let’s Move Forward

17 Aug

to fall, that is.  If you feel like you can’t take your summer duds into the fall, you’re crazy!  you can absolutely do that with a few key styling elements.  Fall is the best because you can have the opportunity to wear leggings, boots, cool jackets and other warmer weather accessories without feeling like you need to pile on a huge, heavy, burdensome coat.

That said, here is the first installment of Summer to Fall – Let’s Move Forward!

Summer Skirts Become Fall Skirts

There’s nothing better than a dichotomous, seemingly unmatched outfit, just working!  Take a girley, fluttery summer skirt (the brighter the better!) and pair it with ankle length leggings and ankle boots or t-strap pumps. Top it off with a lightweight cotton, crew neck sweater and a classic Nipped-in Blazer.SkirtLeggingsBootiesT-Straps

Crewneck Sweater

Nipped Blazer

Frenchie Style

13 Aug

New to me, but maybe not to others, is a little store in downtown Manhattan, birthed by the French (of course, because that’s where high fashion starts) called Comptoir des Cotonniers (literal translation: Counter of the Cotton Ones).  This store was introduced to me by my friend Anita a few months ago. I’ve only been once, but I will return.

It is a French-made ready-to-wear line for women with bright and rich colors, simple patterns,  a girly, whimsical (yet timeless in style) aesthetic, and all the best blends of silks, cottons, and the like. They sell shoes, bags, dresses, pants, tops…the French works.

Here’s the frenchie-411 on my faves:

Wear in the summer with ballet flats or in the winter with tights, boots, a turtleneck layer and high-waiste belt!

Wear in the summer with ballet flats or in the winter with tights, boots, a turtleneck layer and high-waist belt!

Oh how dreamy and Mediterranean are these blues together?

Oh how dreamy and Mediterranean are these blues?

Stunning color, simple yet girly ruffles and a drapy, comfy style that is to die.

Stunning color, simple yet girly ruffles and a drapy, comfy style that is to die.

Trench for the Fall. Bag for all Seasons (and everything but your kitchen sink).

Trench for the Fall. Bag for all Seasons (and everything but your kitchen sink).

I own this top! Oh, the beautiful silk is loose and sexy, the color is universal for all skin tones and the wide neckline flatters most women's silhouettes.

I own this top! Oh, the beautiful silk is loose and sexy, the color is universal for all skin tones and the wide neckline flatters most women's silhouettes.

The first things we see

9 Aug

I am of the school that one doesn’t have to spend a ton of money on one’s clothes or accessories but simply the best your budget can afford. When done smartly, inexpensive clothing can be made to look premium with the right styling, add-ons, proper care, and of course, carriage and demeanor.

Skin, hair and nails are no exception – they are the “first things we see” and as such, deserve as much attention. Here’s a little help!

SKINCARE:

Our faces greet new people, colleagues, and friends and show our emotions and thoughts.  Our hair is an extension of our faces; it counts as an accessory.  And, our hands animate our stories, touch people in greeting, demonstrate our excitement, and are integral in our interaction with people daily (ex. when you’re pointing to something on a page to show a colleague or friend, you don’t want your jagged nails being the only thing they see!).

I use a mix of drug store and department store cosmetics and skin care. There are some real quality brands of cosmetics sold at  drug stores and online drug store retailers. Some of my standbys are eyeliner from L’Oreal Paris, Le Kohl Eyeliner in Cafe, Revlon ColorStay Bronzer,  and Olay Regenerist Cleanser (a good cleanser is key to proper skincare).

Alternatively, a tour of the mid-to-hi-end cosmetic counters can yield transforming products like MAC Studio Fix combination powder and foundation and Smashbox Matte eye shadow in Java.  Studio Fix is good enough to use for newscasters on camera and Smashbox’s eye shadows are highly pigmented, don’t crease (nearly as much as other brands I’ve tried) and have a velvety texture.

Not all of us need or want to wear a full face of make-up and that’s absolutely okay. But at the least, as we mature, a basic sheer foundation or power and some blush and lip gloss can provide a polished and bright face ready to face, greet, and charm anyone!

TIP: Take the time to get your colors done in a department store and then match the recommendations to a grocery store brand.

HAIR

Even a low-maintenance girl can have great hair.  It doesn’t require a ton of product or hair appliances. It all starts with the haircut. If you invest in a good haircut, your hair practically styles itself.  Keep it at a manageable length for your lifestyle. That could may mean long to tie into a sleek ponytail, a short pixie that only requires a little mousse or gel, or a chin-length bob with bangs that looks snappy and cute with one swoop of the flat iron.

Whether you spend hours or minutes on your “do”, take the time to find the right product for your coiffure. Again, drug stores offer effective and sweet-smelling options for hair just like costmetics. Some of my go-tos are Citre Shine Anti-Frizz Serum (I have super curly hair) and Herbal Essences Shampoo and Conditioner (mainly for the smell and texture).  TRESemme offers a full-line of undeniably high-quality products that I’ve been using for years. Their mousse is spectacular both in fragrance and functionality.

Higher end products from Bumble & Bumble, Aveda, and Frederic Fekkai are legendary brands knownd for their high-quality and delicious-feeling output on your hair, whether straight, curly or in between.

Tip: Try a few different products from the drug store on the weekend where you can afford to have a “bad hair day”.

NAILS

Don’t underestimate the power of an $8 manicure. There is nothing I can attest to more than a quick cuticle push (or cut) and a sheer polish.  It’s a weekly/bi-weekly investment with a pay-off that is infinite. Think of it: What’s more unattractive than someone shaking your hand with chewed-down-to-the-nub fingers or chipped, dark-red polish? I can even site a certain chef on Food Network whose name rhymes with “Play” that constantly has his hands on camera and they are consistently gnawed-on. Far from appetizing. Eww.

I would suggest at the least a quick mani at your local salon that includes  a cuticle push and a sheer white or pink-toned polish.  If you go further (like I do), getting a UV gel nail treatment is a good option. It is more expensive, but doesn’t require polish, doesn’t harm your real nails, looks remarkably natural, and lasts longer than a typical manicure.

Keep in mind that the recent trends are “allowing” far more than just the sheer or clear polish options. Currently I’m sporting Essie’s latest neon-takes-me-back-to-1986-colors – Punchy Pink on my toes and Perky Purple on my hands.  No matter the color, as long as your fingers are clean, cut short-to-moderate length and filed properly, your hands will be pretty, presentable and perfect.

Tip: Fingers and Toes don’t have to match – in fact, they shouldn’t! If you’re neon-timid with your fingers, take your toes on a test drive with a fun pink, purple or (gasp!) blue.

Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop.

8 Aug

We’re into the dog days of NY summer right now and I can’t live without flip flops. I wear them to the beach and to run errands. I wear them in the shower at the gym and down to do my laundry. I wear them at my summer share house. I wear them in the apartment when I am doing chores. I wear them; oh, do I wear them.

My favorite brand of casual flips are Havaianas.

They come in countless colors and designs, stay on your feet, the rubber doesn’t give you blisters, and the straps are remarkably slender making them sweetly elegant. The best part is how affordable they are with some of the prettiest ones being under $25. Below are some of my favorites.

But before I get to my faves, I have flip flop etiquette to share.

In NYC, women often wear them to commute to and from work (saving our soles from sore feet caused by long days in our various strappy numbers, up and down subways steps and over sewer grates).  But please, please, take them off when you get to work. They are not professional and they do make that horrific noise with each step.  If you must wear flip flops, buy leather or jeweled versions that are more upscale and just as comfy.

And now, my picks… (I haven’t linked all the images because you can simply go to Havaianas site and be dazzled by all of the choices yourself.  I do and I am.)

Havaianas

Havaianas 2

havaianas 3

HavsHavs 4