fall 2010 series: the essentials + where to shop them for less

For the next post in the Fall 2010 Series, I figured it was time to move onto clothes and do a post about the essentials for a fall wardrobe. The majority (or all) of these basics will be no-brainers for many, but it never hurts to review your options, now does it?

The clothes and accessories I’ve listed here are commonly referred to as “investment pieces” — wardrobe standards that you should invest a little extra money in to get the best quality, as you’ll be wearing them often. However, I believe that you still don’t need to break the bank to purchase good fall essentials — there are plenty of affordable options out there! (Especially at outlet shops, sample sale websites, and places like Neiman Marcus Last Call … the home of my new black Vera Wang dress!) Which is why, at the end of this post, I’ll do a quick list of ways to get designer pieces for a lot less. So without further preface …

Click collage to enlarge.

Part I: The Essentials

A good jacket | A fabulous jacket is the basis for every fashionista’s wardrobe. This is one area where quality definitely reigns, as a solid jacket will keep you warm and looking chic. Plus, you wear it every day (for multiple seasons!), so the cost per wear should be next to nothing. Maybe you already have a fantastic jacket, but if you’re looking for a new piece to rejuvenate your wardrobe (I certainly am), go for a camel color or basic black. Military style trenches are in for this fall (as are leather jackets, bombers, capes, and anoraks), but be sure what you’re buying is not too trendy, especially if you’re putting a lot of money into it.

A pair of perfectly fitted jeans | There is nothing better than a good pair of jeans, a pair you can always trust to fit you perfectly. We all have a ton of jeans, but if you’re anything like me, you tend to gravitate towards the same one or two pairs every time. If you’ve already found your perfect brand, that’s great! (Personally, I love J Brands … the fit is incredible, they are insanely comfortable, and the inseams are long enough for my legs.) If not, keep looking (try on several brands at an upscale department store … I promise you’ll find something that works if you look hard enough!) to find the jeans for you, and than try and snag them at a lower price (see the bottom of this post).

Tall leather boots | Buttery leather boots are a staple of any fall shoe collection and this year, they’re back in a big way with over the knee boots (which look fabulous with tights a cute dress). For those of us who don’t want to take the trend to the extreme, tall leather boots are the perfect alternative. You can wear them multiple seasons without them falling apart (if they’re good quality, that is) and they go with practically everything. I am guilty of wearing one pair of leather boots practically every day during the fall and winter for two years straight. (But again, in terms of cost per wear, they cost only a few pennies!)

An oversized silk blouse | I love this trend for fall. It’s simple, understated, and sophisticated at the same time. Plus, an oversized blouse (whether it be silk, chiffon, or some other material) is a great investment piece for your wardrobe. It can go from day (with a pair of jeweled flats and slim-fitted black pants, like the J. Crew Minnie Pant which I am currently obsessing over) to night (loosely tucked into a body con skirt with chunky jewelry and sleek pumps) quite easily. It’s a versatile piece that I’m looking to add to my wardrobe this season.

A utilitarian tote | I never liked the utilitarian trend — until J. Crew came along with their August catalogue (starring Maryna Linchuk), that is. Among the loads of cargo, silk, and sequins was this tote bag (also shown above). Simple, yet perfect for fall. It’s black color, durable fabric, and leather handles match with just about everything and are a great alternative to the increasingly trendy Longchamp “Le Pliage” bag.

The one-shoulder dress | A chic, updated version of the LBD, draped, one-shoulder dresses sprang up on the f/w 2010 runways in abundance. Despite its recent elevation to “fall trend” status, the one-shoulder dress is a standout wardrobe basic: it’s a flattering style for any special event and sets one apart from a sea of strapless cocktail dresses. Go for it in classic black, or a mauve or nude shade.

Voluminous trousers | A luxe pair of trousers are a great way to dress up any look without being, well, “dressed up.” Once you find a pair that fits nicely and flatters your figure, they’ll last forever and be a go-to piece when you simply can’t decide what to wear to work. As long as they’re not overly baggy, the extra volume helps offset a more fitted combo (like a dress shirt and blazer) up top.

A go-to pair of heels | Pumps are quite an obvious basic for any girl — a good pair will go with anything and be perfect for slipping on with any combination of dresses, trousers, and blouses. Patent is especially chic in black or nude if done correctly (too shiny, colorful, or with an overly pointed toe and you risk looking tacky). Look for a pair with a solid stacked heel that’s not too high (somewhere between 2.5 and 4 inches, depending on what you’re used too), so they’ll be comfortable for walking around.

Part II: Where to Shop

Everyone’s heard this advice before: If you’re just buying a trendy piece to supplement your seasonal wardrobe, get it for less at a store like Forever 21 or H&M. But if you’re shopping for a basic, it’s better to spend a little extra money for quality that will last you through the years.

Still, it’s always a bonus if you can get quality, designer pieces without splurging, and I’m going to quickly share a few of my favorite options here. Be sure to let me know in the comments of other ways you’ve found useful!

  • TopButton.com | A website where you can sign up for sample sale emails for new sales coming up in your city.
  • ShopItToMe.com | Sign up for emails featuring your favorite brands and styles on sale!
  • Ebay | Seriously, if you’re lusting after a specific piece, check for it on Ebay (look for NWT, or “New With Tags” items with photos from a seller with a good rating). It’s a great way to find denim — I bought a pair of brand new Hudson jeans there from this seller for $50. (Still not a total steal, but at least they were real … beware of super-cheap finds!)
  • Clothingline.com | A weekly sample sale in New York City — they stock a lot of J. Crew, Theory, Free People, and Tory Burch, among other finds.
  • TheOutNet.com | Net-A-Porter.com’s sister site, stocking tons of designer duds for less. They also have flash/pop-up sales and fabulous giveaways (which are impossible to win, but still).
  • Neiman Marcus Last Call | A cool outlet for Neiman Marcus clothes and shoes (including Louboutins, if you’re lucky). You really have to dig through the stuff in the store, but they have some incredible finds, especially on the extra-discounted clearance racks. Recently, I purchased a new Vera Wang Lavender Label dress (retail $525) for $70.
  • Outlet Shopping | Outlet malls are a great resource. Just be sure you’re buying something that you’ll wear this season and the next, and don’t get sucked into purchasing something ugly/trendy just because it’s cheap. I’ve found that Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, and Calvin Klein have especially good outlets. (With big discounts — some brands barely give you anything off!)
  • RueLaLa.com | I love sample sale websites like Gilt, Ideeli, and HauteLook, but RueLaLa is my favorite. Their site is clean and easy to use, with a great selection of high end and low end designers at heavily discounted prices (they even have special treats, like vacations and wine tastings). Note: clicking the links for RueLaLa.com, HauteLook.com, Ideeli.com, and Gilt.com will take you to my personal invite link, as these sites are invite-only.

View the full Fall 2010 Series here.

{Source: Images used in first collage via net-a-porter.com, vanmildert.com, and jcrew.com. Images used in second collage via ruelala.com, theoutnet.com, ideeli.com, gilt.com, hautelook.com, and neimanmarcus.com. Collage background image from computer-wallpaper-backgrounds.com.}

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fall 2010 series: beauty breakdown

Why do I love beauty trends? They’re the easiest to follow. Most looks can be re-created at home with supplies already on hand, or with a few inexpensive extras. (Of course, buying new makeup is always fun too!) But the point is: changing up your makeup is fun, easy, affordable, and if you mess it up or it doesn’t look good on you, you can wipe it off and try something new, consequence-free. The case is definitely not the same if you purchase that dress you’ve been lusting after on “Final Sale” only to find it doesn’t even fit when it arrives in the mail.

Here’s my quick list of some of Fall’s top beauty trends and how to achieve them.

Red Lips.

Red lips are HUGE for Fall this year, and I’m sure you’ve heard about this trend hundreds of times already. From Proenza Schouler to Givenchy to Chanel haute couture, bold lips graced the runways of my designers. I personally love this look — it’s classic and sexy, strong and feminine. But it has to be paired with a strong dose of confidence to pull it off correctly.

How-to: As with any bold makeup trend, it is essential that the rest of the face be neutral to avoid clashing (e.g., smokey eyes with nude lips and red lips with a fresh face). To get a matte red lip, first outline your lips with a nude lip pencil (some makeup artists also recommend applying concealer to your lips as well, to hold the color better) and then apply your chosen lipstick color, blot, and repeat until you achieve your desired shade. (To go glossy, simply apply a heavy gloss on top, starting at the center of your lower lip and then blending out with a lip brush.)

What to invest in: If you don’t have a great lipstick color or just want something new, a good lipstick is (obviously) the key to pulling off this trend (also a nude/clear lipliner to avoid the dreaded “ring” around the mouth). I’m not much of a lipstick guru, but I do like Benefit lipsticks — they go on very smooth when applied (try Benefit Full-Finish Lipstick in “Flirt Alert,” $18). Click here for a list of 11 lead-free lipsticks.

Grey Eyes.

Hazy soft grey eyes (seen at shows like Rodarte and Chanel) are a super chic twist on the neutral eye. As with red lips, be sure to pair them with a fairly neutral face — a bit of blush and nude or soft berry lipgloss/stain should do the trick.

How-to: Both makeup artists Kristin Gallegos and Sandra Ganzer emphasize that the key to making this look work is perfect blending. Start by blending a light grey shadow all over the lip and all the way up to the brow, as well as a little underneath the lower lash line. You can then add a darker or more metallic grey shadow closer to your lash line to define your eyes a little more. (Personally, I think a silver/pewter shadow makes eyes really pop!) You can then try winging the outer corners a bit with your shadow brush (or just use a liquid liner) and add mascara — whatever suits your look.

What to invest in: Good brushes are essential here for getting that perfectly blended look. Try the Sephora Collection Professionnel Angled Shadow Brush #20 ($16) and/or the All Over Shadow Brush #22 (#13). (See the full brush selection here.) Also, if you’re looking for a cool metallic liquid liner, nothing beats Urban Decay’s Liquid Liner in “Revolver,” $18.

Neutral.

The starting point for pulling off all of Fall’s beauty trends, a neutral face is key to pulling off red lips, grey eyes, and other bold trends. It’s also a great base for the classic smokey eye, so be sure to master this simple, fresh look. No one pulled off neutral better than Prada and Marc by Marc Jacobs (the most natural faces on the runway this season!), but the look was also spotted at Alexander Wang and Ann Demeulemeester.

How-to: To get flawless skin, start by applying a medium coverage foundation and then using a good concealer to hide any spots or redness. Set the look with a fine powder.  To get the grunge-y Alexander Wang look (a smudgy brown eye), use a medium to dark brown cream shadow and smudge with fingers or a brush. To get the sleeker Ann Demeulemeester look, use a black eyeliner pencil in the crease and smudge with a brush or q-tip (or just use a black eyeshadow in the crease). Or simply apply a fabulous, bright cheek stain or blush and leave it at that.

What to invest in: A good foundation and concealer is the most important part of this look. Clinique is a must-try for good, basic makeup and beauty needs. Lauria Mercier also offers a Flawless Face Kit, $65.

Bright Eyes.

Not the kind of look you would wear everyday, but still something fun to try for a more dressed-up event or a night out. Colorful eyes were found in abundance on the runways of Caroline Herrera, Oscar de la Renta (my personal favorite — tons of smoky metallics), and Dior haute couture.

How-to: Start by priming your lids with an eye shadow primer, which makes the colors appear brighter and helps your look last longer. Then simply apply whatever shade(s) you desire! Just remember to keep the rest of your look in check — a little blush and nude lips should do the trick. Topshop.com has several video tutorials on various bold eye color trends (as well as one on red lips), so definitely check those out for more specific tips on pulling off this trend. I especially love the “Sun Shower” look (à la Oscar de la Renta).

What to invest in: A good eyeshadow primer to hold the most color for the longest amount of time. Try Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion in “Original,” $18.

Dark & Shiny Nails.

Nail polish trends are always my favorites for Fall and there are usually way more than one “it” shade. One common thread I’ve been noticing in Fall nail polish hues is that they are almost unfailingly dark, moody, shimmery, and mysterious. (Like Chanel’s Paradoxal“, $23 — by far the hottest nail polish for Fall.) A couple similar (and cheaper) shades: Sephora by OPI’s “Just a Little Dangerous,” $9 and Rescue Beauty Lounge’s “Scrangie,” $18. But purple isn’t the only option! Also look for deep, glittering navies and greens.

How-to: Make sure nails are clean to start. Then clip, shape with a nail file, moisture, buff, apply, and dry. Or go to a nail salon. You know the drill.

What to invest in: Chanel’s “Paradoxal.” Obviously.

What’s your take on the Fall 2010 beauty trends? (Not just the ones I listed here!) Will you be trying any of them out?

 

 

 

 

View the full Fall 2010 Series here.

{ Source: All runway images used in collage from style.com. Chanel nail color image from sasareport.co.uk. Thanks to urbanoutfitters.com for trend and application information. }

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* P.S. If you’ve blogged about any of these trends or reviewed any of the products listed here, please let me know!

fall 2010 series: accessories edition

Click image to enlarge.

I always love getting new pieces for Fall. It’s the only time of year when I’m practically guaranteed to consciously go out shopping with a very specific list in mind (or written down on a scrap of stationary in my bag — where it’s been for the past month — just waiting impatiently to be put to good use). This year, I’ve been loving the clothes and accessories designers have been putting out — all classic, solid pieces perfect for any season, really. I’ve been especially impressed with J. Crew and the utilitarian-chic looks they’ve crafted with a perfectly balanced combination of leather, silk, canvas, and sequins. But more on that later, because here’s a small snapshot of the accessories I’ve been coveting for Fall 2010 — plenty of sparkling gems and fabulous shoes from J. Crew (bien sûr…) and some other pieces on my ever-growing wishlist.

What’s on your mind for Fall 2010?

Shopping Details (clockwise, starting at top right):

1. Bauble Bow Necklace, $38, anthropologie.com.

2. Sparkle Bib Necklace, $250, jcrew.com.

3. Walker Riding Boots, $275, jcrew.com.

4.  YSL Parisienne, $39-$85, sephora.com.

5. Roberto Cavalli Serpent Ring, $265, net-a-porter.com.

6. Faux Fur Stole, $50, topshop.com.

7. Langford Platform High-Heel Oxfords, $275, jcrew.com.

8. Winter Migration Scarf, $50, madewell.com.

9. Petite Ballet by Boutique, $190, topshop.com.

10. Stoneset Bracelets, $68 each, jcrew.com.

See all the posts in the Fall 2010 Series by clicking here.

{ Sources: Collage by Prada For Breakfast, images used via jcrew.com, sephora.com, topshop.com, anthropologie.com, madewell.com, and net-a-porter.com. }