Trendspotting | Pleated to Perfection

Giovanna Battagalia in Alaia | Jak & Jil

As I briefly mentioned in a previous post reviewing the new Vena Cava for Aqua line, I’m loving the pleat trend for fall. Although not as prominent or obvious as the leopard prints, faux furs, and red hues that took the runways by storm this season, pleating is a trend that has been popping up on the streets, in new fall lines, and in little details on the runways. For some, the words “pleated skirt” bring on nightmares of hideous middle school uniforms or crazy kilts. However, if done right, this trend can be pulled off beautifully. The key is to look for smaller and more numerous pleats in a gauzy fabric, or look for very subtle pleating on dresses and skirts. Some runways showcased macro draping that mimicked the look of pleats (see Burberry Prorsum) without the actual folding of the fabric. Even well-placed horizontal and vertical lines recalled the pattern of pleats.

In the center is my favorite take on the trend — a beautiful pleated dress worn by Miroslava Duma. Her dress has just the right spacing for the pleats and the light fabric keeps the look from being too stiff. In addition, the color of the fabric is a beautiful combination of slate and mauve, and it is accessorized perfectly with a leather belt, a croco-embossed bag and aviators. Chic and summery without being stuffy or overly girly.

Miroslava Duma | Stockhom Street Style

As it is, Miroslava has been working this look all summer — above is another perfect way in which she has pulled off the trend. I love the navy color of the dress, but the little peek of white at the top over one of the shoulders has kept her look from becoming overwhelming and dark. And again, a leather belt and a not-so-girly accessory (in this case the fedora) keeps the look fresh and classic. {Update: Check out Tracy from The Closet Shopper‘s spin on the look … It’s similar and quite fabulous! }

Click to enlarge.

Personally, I think that the pleats rocked on the streets were the freshest embodiment of the trend (or maybe it was just Miroslava), but I’ve included a few runway looks as well. I particularly liked the pleats at Alberta Ferretti (row 2, look 1) — they were subtle and soft and reminded me of Miroslava’s chic dresses. (It might be hard to see in the photo because of the coloring, click to enlarge.) Alexander McQueen did an excellent job with the soft pleating as well, using it as a detail on a gorgeous gown.

I also think Burberry Prorsum (row 3, middle) deserved a mention here — while he did not go all out with true pleats, Christopher Bailey sent a few looks down the runway that showcased careful, tiny draped details that were incredibly similar to the gauzy pleating at Alberta Ferretti. Still just as gorgeous and just as chic! No school uniforms here.

What do you think of the pleat trend? Will you be looking to stock up on some pleated looks for your fall wardrobe?

{ Source: Images from jakandjil.com, thesartorialist.com, stockholmstreetstyle.com, and style.com }

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vena cava for aqua | collection favorites

Click image to enlarge.

The highly anticipated Vena Cava + Aqua collaboration made its debut today at Bloomingdales.com. From the looks of it, the 19 piece collection has some great items for fall, from basics like this tee to statement pieces such as this velvet dress. Above are a few of the pieces I’m loving from the line (information below). The dresses are especially fabulous (all of them!), with gorgeous draping and feminine details.
I do have one reservation, however: despite the heavy price tags (even for a “cheaper” designer & department store collaboration), I’m a bit skeptical of the quality and fit of the pieces — mainly due to this article here. Some of the pieces (like this military jacket) look a little questionable, so I will definitely be checking them out in the store before I decide to purchase anything (and at that, I’ll be waiting for a possible sale first). Although this dress, my favorite piece of the collection, looks fantastic!
  • Ponte Coat, $198 | I love the versatility of this jacket. It looks soft and pliable, like a cardigan, but is warm enough to wear by itself. You can wear it as an integral part of a look or simply throw it on over to keep cozy during the brisk fall weather.
  • Accordion-Pleated Silk Skirt, $138 | Pleated skirts are “in” for the first time in what I assume has been many, many years (as they are quite reminiscent of ugly kilts, aka middle school field hockey uniforms), but the small and numerous folds here and jeweled detailing is quite elegant.
  • Carrot Pants, $138 | Sleek and perfectly roomy for fall. Loving the silky material, zippered bottoms, and cropped silhouette.
  • Jersey-and-Mesh Combo Dress, $158 | This is the perfect fall dress, and the colors are all fantastic. It’s muted tones and simple design make it the perfect base for any layered look, but it also works on its own thanks to the beautiful draping of the skirt.
  • One-Shoulder Draped Mesh Dress, $178 | I love the dark and moody combination of the navy and black (although this dress does come in two other color combos). It’s fierce! And one-shoulder dresses are definitely on my mind right now.
  • Faux Fur Vest, $188 | The only thing keeping me from buying all the faux fur jackets, vests, and accessories I can get my hands on is the question of whether or not I could actually pull them off without attracting some strange glances. But I do love this vest — it’s not very fitted (almost low-key) and the bow is such a lovely feminine detail!

What are your favorites from the collection?

{ Source: Images used in collage from bloomingdales.com }

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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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alexa chung + madewell

When you hear the name “Alexa Chung,” what words immediately come to mind? Stylish, chic, iconic, and slightly androgynous perhaps? Indeed, she is making waves in the fashion world with her original look — even inspiring the incredibly successful (and completely gorgeous) Mulberry “Alexa.”

The British icon’s new line for Madewell looks as though it will have plenty of classic pieces in true Alexa style. I can’t wait for this line to come out — while Mulberry is definitely outside my price range, Madewell is quite reasonable. And while these looks are nothing incredibly groundbreaking, they are most certainly classic fall staples for every girl’s wardrobe. I’m especially looking forward to the shoe collection (!!) and lots of pretty blouses.

The collection will be available to shop online starting September 9th and in stores starting September 11th.

In the meantime, here are some snapshots from the Alexa Chung for Madewell fall 2010 presentation.

I adore the dotted blouse in the right hand photo. It’s simultaneously visually intriguing and versatile.


What are your thoughts on the line? Will you be queueing up to snag some of Alexa’s pieces as soon as they hit the stores?

{ Source: Photographs by Nick Wolf from refinery29.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!