Entries Tagged as 'Alison’s Posts'
For some, fall means crisp air, red leaves, and acorns leaving dents on your car hood. For others, it’s the weekly morning keg party in a parking lot outside of a football stadium. To me, however, fall means my return to preppiness.
For many years for many Americans, there was nothing quite like cool Saturday afternoon in the bleachers sipping Jack and Coke from a stadium cup and wearing a cableknit sweater to keep warm. This pastime, enjoyed by so many 20-somethings for nearly a century, has given way to more modern endeavors (watching 15 different football games on your satellite feed from the comfort of your own home, going to school in sunny California to escape said fall weather, and the advent of fleece, for starters), but something still feels right about it to me.
The heritage textiles, the layers, the basset hounds… Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘Ultimate Tailgate’
With the release of True Prep, the follow up to the 1980 classic The Official Preppy Handbook; the recent rebirth of the Tommy Hilfiger brand under Peter Som; and the rampant collegiate trends, it seems like “preppy” is back with a vengeance.
Often the preppy look is written off as lacking intrigue, boring, or downright dowdy. Many women like to think that “preppy” is incompatible with “chic”. But what about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly and Katherine Hepburn? Do Tory Burch, Michelle Obama and Gwyneth Paltrow mean nothing to you? And while it has treaded into much trendier waters, have you no respect for the humble origins of our beloved J. Crew? My dear women, “preppy” can indeed be compatible with “chic,” you just need to learn that preppy doesn’t only mean embroidered ducks on your corduroys or a pair of reds from Murray’s Toggery.
Navy Schoolboy Blazer (J. Crew, $188)
As classic as it gets, this is a preppy style will always look good (granted decent tailoring and fit). My little brother had to wear one at school from 6th grade on, so for a while I was all about the hand-me-up, children’s-sized (read: 3/4 sleeves) navy wool blazer. With the big gold buttons, this one is a dead ringer to Ben’s Brooks Brothers school uniform, and a must buy. Wear with just about anything. Seriously.
Leather Blucher Moc (LL Bean, $69)
The menswear look for shoes has been big for the last couple seasons, but I can’t tell you how much I detest the look of oxfords. While yachting loafers just generally sound repulsive, too, these classic bluchers from LL Bean are a wonderful alternative. I can’t tell you how comfortable they are, and they have a wonderfully nostalgic feel. I love mine with a cropped pair of skinny jeans and a long cardigan. They are a men’s style, but heck, that’s what preppy is all about: stealing the best from the boys.
Ladies Winter Force Waxed Parka (Barbour, $399)
Barbour coats are the staple of fall where I hail from, no matter how stylish (or not) they are. This one, however, is a timely take on the classic wax field jacket. Hello military trend.
Boys Cotton Roll-Neck Sweater (Ralph Lauren, on sale for $49.99)
The quintessential preppy look involves major layering, and what better to layer with than a comfy sweater? The pop of red will work wonders with the rest of your fall wardrobe, and the boys sizing means it’s a bit more affordable.
So go on with your bad self and pair some of these preppy staples with your modern, stylish wardrobe. You’ll look like the million bucks your great grandaddy donated to Harvard.
Even at 5’10″, my legs are abnormally stumpy. To illustrate: my high school coxswain, standing in at 5’5″, had longer legs. So even at my thinnest, my thighs thunder on. While I flip-flop every now and then on just how confident and comfortable I am in this mixture of genetics and love of Bojangles, I will admit that I am somewhat predisposed to favor long, camouflaging skirts.
So believe me when I say I was an early converter to the sweet, summer maxi dresses that debuted a couple years back. Ah yes, the prints and the ruffles and the bohemian romance of it all, draping my body from shoulder to toe, was a wonderful escape from the ever-present “shortness” of it all. And how happy I am to see this trend reincarnated with a dramatic and edgy twist for the fall.
Today’s maxi look, however, is much less reminiscent of the Summer of Love. Instead, we’re offered a sleek, modern take: a minimalist take on a maximal style.
Maxi Dresses from Splendid, Sparkle & Fade, and Bassike on Refinery29
To wear this look, you have to be completely aware of your own physical proportions and the proportional weight of your garments. If you have wider hips, opt for a modest a-line , but remember to keep the volume minimal to avoid losing the element of modernity. If you’re shorter than average, make sure to get your skirt or dress hemmed, unless you want to look like a bag lady after a couple of wears. In fact, petite women may want to consider trying on maxi skirts as dresses, or even shorter dresses as maxi skirts; this obviously only works with elastic-banded casual wear, but it will open up your options. And when pairing a top with your maxi skirt? Do your best to avoid looking like Esmerelda the gypsy by sticking to sleek lines and avoiding superfluous volume.
Michael Kors Fall 2010 RTW
Remember, whether you have killer legs or not, you’re hiding them all up, so you’ll want to emphasize another part of your body that you’re comfortable with. Great shoulders? Show them off with a racerback maxi dress. Enviable cleavage? Pair a maxi skirt with a deep v t-shirt. Perfectly pinched waist? Duh – belt it. If you’re afraid of getting lost in all that fabric, try contrasting the top and bottom with different colors, and keep accessories to a minimum.
This look should be worn in a solid color, my own preference skewing toward black or dark grays. The jury seems to still be out, however, in the appropriate shoe pairing. There were a lot of flats on the runways, but many street looks feature booties and wedges. I think the shoes shouldn’t take away from the beautiful, long skirt you’re wearing, so avoid anything too flashy. Then again, depending on how long you wear the skirt, it may not even matter (although rule of thumb is for the skirt to skim the top of your shoe). I like the idea of a flat sandal or ballet flat for the day and a pair of matching booties at night.
Seam Detail Maxi Skirt (ASOS, $43.81)
L’Agence Crepe Maxi Skirt (Net-a-Porter, $400)
If you’re worried about the longevity of this look, opt for a lighter color – nude or cream – in a gauzy fabric: you can mix it with fall-appropriate knits in the same color for a stunning start-of-fall look, then stash it away until spring, where it will be just as trendy. If you’re worried about the hemline theory of economics, well, let’s just cross our fingers that this is a reactive trend that took too long to catch on.
From Chris Benz Spring 2011 RTW. ‘Nuff Said.
As Belle has mentioned, the time has come for New York Fashion Week, and with it comes the second installment of Anna Wintour’s ever-growing brainchild: Fashion’s Night Out. Lucky for those of you in the District was the cash to burn, FNO will be joining us in Georgetown this year.
My friend Mary*, who is outrageously stylish but a bit patronizing from her designer-clad tower in Manhattan, has told me that there’s no way this could be successful as DC is “too boring and political.” Well ladies, I think it’s time we assert ourselves and prove to everybody that this isn’t just “Hollywood for ugly people” anymore. Plus, the event is political: it’s for the economy, stupid! So get out there and do your part, troops! ¡Viva la revolución de la moda!
Sadly for me, the unpaid intern, it will be Fashion’s Night In. The tweets and blog posts from various designers, magazines, models, bloggers, and celebrities leading up to this extravaganza have forced me into a deep dark depression in which nothing but a 10-figure-prize winning lottery ticket will bring me out, and I simply cannot bring myself to be near free booze, h’ors d’oeuvres, and reduced-price shopping.
For the rest of you: eat, drink, and drop some hard-earned dinero on fierce new fall attire and beauty supplies. To make it easy on you, the 70+ participating vendors in Georgetown will be open until at least 11:00 p.m. and there will be free pedicabs to chauffeur you about town.
My picks for the best way to spend your night? Definitely a stop by Intermix, where you’ll receive $50 a purchase of $300 or more – as if you could spend less than that at Intermix anyway – and Urban Chic for the Halston Heritage trunk show. If you’re feeling charitable, there’s an unemployed 22-year-old with a burning desire to throw on a turban and a cropped fur coat and dress up like Bianca Jagger for Halloween in this Studio 54 stunner:
Halston Heritage Pleated Silk Dress (Bergdorf Goodman, $895)
*This name has been changed for the speaker’s safety.
It may surprise you, dear reader, to hear I have an oft-ignored craving to wear things with certain light-reflecting qualities as often as possible. My dear friend Emma describes these things as “shiny”, and she means it in the most literal sense. Metallics, sequins, just about any bedazzled embellishment: nothing escapes my intrigue, fascination, or desire.
I never had any real wish– or requisite capacity – to be a pageant princess, Vegas show girl, drag queen, or generally tacky person, but maybe this is my cry for attention. Maybe I need to tell the world that just because I don’t consider all the world a stage for my pending reality show doesn’t mean I don’t want a ray of the harsh spotlight every now and then.
My attention-seeking, magpie tendencies, however, are generally beaten into submission in the name of taste and decency – or to avoid appearing as if I have taken a sip of the Rita Wilson Kool-Aid. So what’s a girl to do when she wants to shine without sacrificing taste?
Here I offer five tasteful ideas to light up the night… in descending order of shininess.
Alice+Olivia Gabby Blouson mini dress (Net-a-porter, $595)
One step down from true allover sparkles, this beaded dress is fun and sexy without being one-note. Plus I love the reference to 1920s flappers, because it’s cool to be a strong, intelligent, independent woman, but it’s even cooler to look amazing while you do it. Of course, with this sort of embellishment you need to basically forget accessories.
Crystal Parade Necklace (J. Crew, $150)
Here’s one way to make a truly shiny statement. While it doesn’t require the commitment of a beaded dress or top, it will command immediate attention, and look incredibly pretty doing so. The clear crystals let this necklace work with a whole host of background colors and textures, so it’s versatile, and the layers make it a little less old lady, a little more PYT.
Anya Hindmarch Marano mirrored-leather clutch (Net-a-porter, $530)
I have a beautiful clutch in a similar pale silvery-gold that’s been passed down from my great-grandmother to me, and I don’t think I’ve found an ensemble yet that doesn’t accomodate it. Metallics are big this fall, and one like this is surprisingly neutral. Putting the “shiny” in your accessories brings a bit of excitement to what might otherwise be a pretty blah outfit.
Rock & Republic Nikki Platform Pumps with Crystals (Shopbop, $325)
Business in the front, party in the back? You’ll catch the eyes of those checking out the dancefloor or walking up a flight of stairs behind you, but that’s about it. Like a shiny secret on your feet.
Diamonds and Pearls (Deborah Lippmann, $16)
Nails, to me, are the great trend testing ground. You can try out just about any look with minimal effort, investment, or remorse, and not look entirely stupid if it just doesn’t fit. This polish is sheer, so layer it until you find the right hint of sparkle.