July shopping

Nina Ricci, Erdem, & Vince.
Nina Ricci, Erdem, & Vince.

It might be a little hotter & more humid than you’d prefer, & you’re probably itching to get out of town, but there is quite a lot to appreciate in July, & you’ll find most of it at Barneys. This is the month to take advantage of the designer sales, while getting first dibbs on the most fabulous pre-fall/fall styles that are just starting to arrive. Nina Ricci’s sleeveless charmeuse & tweed dress is perfect for a cocktail party, or you can pair it with a black blazer & wear it to the office, Barneys, Suggested Retail: $2,250, now on sale for $559. Erdem’s lace & sequin embellished dress with black pointed collar is a chic choice that gets extra credit because it actually looks best with flats (YES!—my feet are celebrating!), Barneys, Suggested Retail: $3,950, now on sale for $989. Who doesn’t love soft leather jackets that you can throw over just about any casual look?  That’s why you need Vince’s ultra soft leather funnel neck jacket in olive, Barneys, Suggested Retail: $995 now on sale for $399. You have been so savvy & saved a fortune with these amazing sales, so now you deserve a treat—Isabel Marant’s Idoa blanket vest (below) Barneys, Suggested Retail: $660. This open front, shawl collar vest will be one of the most coveted pieces for this fall, so get it now; it will be sold out before August.

Isabel Marant's Idoa blanket vest.
Isabel Marant’s Idoa blanket vest.
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White denim

White denim styles from the Gap.
White denim styles from the Gap.

This summer white is the new blue, as far as denim is concerned. Embrace the light, relaxed spirit of the season & choose one (or all) of the styles above to suit all of your summer plans.  The legging skimmer jean (first style above, far left) is the perfect fit for those of you who love the skinny jean. This style is very comfortable, with stretch so that it retains it’s shape, & is the ideal length for showing off your summer sandals, Gap, Suggested Retail: $69.95, on sale for $27.99.  If you’re looking for a carefree casual weekend jean, the deconstructed sexy boyfriend is your soul mate (above, center). Roll-up the bottoms & you’re ready to go, looking effortlessly stylish, Gap, Suggested Retail: $69.95. The long & lean jean (far right) is a slightly more traditional, but still modern. If you are one of those who finds the term “white bottoms” synonymous with “totally unflattering,” give these a try. They truly have a slimming effect & will show off your curves delicately instead of in a blatant, “in-your-face” kind of way; they are running a touch on the larger size, so grab one size smaller than you normally wear to try on too, Gap, Suggested Retail: $69.95, on sale for $38.99.  Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one style, especially with these prices. Happy shopping!

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The trend towards comfort

Slip into comfortable shoes this summer.
Slip into comfortable shoes this summer.

This season designers took a step in the direction of comfort, at least as far as footwear is concerned.  The sandals this summer are genuinely comfortable from ever angle, so you can say good-bye to the overall pain, blisters, & cuts that have been the battle wounds from many a fabulous pair of shoes. Isabel Marant’s Holden sandal (above, left) features lambskin leather criss-cross straps & a leather footbed for maximum comfort & style, Barney’s, Suggested Retail: $510.  Loeffler Randall’s Paz mixed media gold/zebra print sandal has a molded footbed so you’ll actually enjoy walking around while looking very fashionable (above, middle) Neiman Marcus, Suggested Retail: $150. Yes, yes, it’s true Birkenstocks  have made a come-back. However, not just any Birkenstock will do; you must choose one that has a softer more modern look, like the floral printed Arizona sandal, which still has the sculpted Nappa leather footbed that our feet have always loved (above, far right), Barney’s, Suggested Retail: $245. Thankfully, the trend towards comfort will continue for fall (see below for a sneak peak), with Balenciaga’s panel Chelsea boot Barney’s, Suggested Retail: $1,025, & Chloe’s double-buckle leather ankle bootNeiman Marcus, Suggested Retail: $1,220.

A sneak preview of Fall's comfortable boots.
A sneak preview of Fall’s comfortable boots.
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Swim season: don’t be nervous

Two piece options from H&M and Splendid.
Two piece options from H&M and Splendid.

It’s that time of year again, yes, swimsuit season has arrived.  While choosing a swimsuit can often be a rather daunting task, it doesn’t have to be, just embrace the season & your body—both are beautiful. Keep that in mind & see the beauty when you try-on swimsuits; do not focus on flaws, we all have them; they are what make us individuals. Barbie may be “perfect,” but she is made of plastic, which takes up space in landfills; your body is far better for the environment & loving it will make the entire swimsuit process much easier. In the world of two-pieces suits, I love having the option to be creative & have fun mixing colors & prints. My favorites are H&M’s floral bikini top with ruffles, back to their drawstring bottoms in dark green  H&M, Suggested Retail: $14.95 & $12.95 (respectively); Splendid’s pop geo print reversible triangle top Piperlime, Suggested Retail: $40.99 paired with either their pop geo print pant Piperlime, Suggested Retail: $33.99, or with Splendid’s Miami stripe tie pant, which also works with their Miami stripe reversible top for a more classic swimsuit look Piperlime, Suggested Retail: $37.99 & $45.99 (respectively). There are many great one-piece wonders to choose from as well. I suggest Nanette Lepore’s sportif seductress one piece, which brilliantly uses chevron stripes to slim the torso, while the blue & white give a nod to the always classic nautical theme of summer, Piperlime, Suggested Retail: $144.00. Old Navy’s dot-print twist front one-piece is the perfect sophisticated retro look, providing a balance of coverage & sex appeal, Old Navy, Suggested Retail: $32.94. Now, if you still need more convincing that you will look amazing in a swimsuit, you don’t have to take my word for it, but listen to one of the wisest & most fabulous of women of all time: Maya Angelou. The world is lucky to have the legacy of her words. You are a Phenomenal Woman.

One-piece wonders by Nanette Lepore & Old Navy.
One-piece wonders by Nanette Lepore & Old Navy.
Excerpt from "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou.
Excerpt from “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou.
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Day-dreaming of the Cannes Film Festival

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley at the Cannes Film Festival & gowns inspired by her look.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley at the Cannes Film Festival & gowns inspired by her look.

I completely understand, my invitation was lost in the mail too!  However, even though you’re not attending this year’s Cannes Film Festival, you can still be inspired by it.  Rosie Huntington-Whiteley looked glamourous in Gucci Première; you can evoke the spirit of her look in Adrianna Papell’s beaded blouson gown or Aidan Mattox’s sleeveless cinched waist beaded gown, Bloomingdale’s, Suggested Retail $245.00 & $575.00 respectively (above).  Blake Lively, also in Gucci Première, turned heads in her fabulous black & white strapless gown. Channel Blake’s moment in ML Monique Lhuillier’s strapless contrast hem dress, or David Meister’s colorblock one shoulder gown Saks Fifth Avenue, Suggested Retail $698.00 & $246.60 respectively (immediately below). Lastly, Jessica Chastain epitomized elegance in Atelier Versace. Use her look as inspiration by wearing fabulous chandelier earrings with either Matthew Williamson’s embellished one shoulder gown or Alice + Olivia’s “Waldorf” silk chiffon gown Neta-a-Porter, Suggested Retail $2,425.00 & $595.00 respectively (below). So, just think of the next black tie optional wedding or gala you attend this summer as your Cannes!

Blake Lively at Cannes & styles inspired by her look.
Blake Lively at Cannes & styles inspired by her look.
Jessica Chastain at Cannes & gowns inspired by her elegant style.
Jessica Chastain at Cannes & gowns inspired by her elegant style.
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You look simply radiant, darling!

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow.
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow.

A healthy glow is one of those universal things that we all want to achieve, & for good reason; it looks good on all of us. If you don’t have time to sit outside in the sun, or you live in a city where sunshine is a bit elusive (ahem, Chicago), Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow Multi-Colour Broad Spectrum is your new best friend.  This lightweight multi-strip powder highlighter, sculpts & bronzes while providing the radiant glow of a blush.  It has a sheer, natural finish so you don’t feel or look like you’re wearing too much make-up, you’re simply enhancing your natural beauty.  More proof that Chanel thinks of everything, this fabulous product even contains SPF 15  sunscreen; your dermatologist would approve, Nordstrom’s, Suggested Retail: $65.00. This is a limited edition, so don’t delay this purchase!

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The Met Gala best dressed

The 2014 Met Gala's best dressed.
The 2014 Met Gala’s best dressed.

The Met Gala is the annual ball that officially launches the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s yearly Costume Institute exhibit.  Last night, in attendance as always, were fashion’s elite,  a bevy of top designers, models, & Hollywood’s most stylish starlets.  The theme of the Gala was a tribute to Charles James, the legendary Anglo-American couturier whose career, design process, & masterpieces are displayed in the Met’s exhibit May 8th-August 10th. Themes aside, here’s my best dressed list (photo above): Amber Valleta- in Saint Laurent with Lorraine Schwartz jewels, Joan Smalls (with Vera Wang)- in Vera Wang, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (with designer Olivier Rousteing)- in Balmain, & Michelle Monaghan- in custom Alturuzarra with Pomellato jewels. For extra credit, the looks that best captured the spirit of Charles James: Liu Wen & Karen Elson, both in gowns by Zac Posen (below).

Liu Wen & Karen Elson in Zac Posen.
Liu Wen & Karen Elson in Zac Posen.
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Working it out

Activewear by Old Navy
Activewear by Old Navy

I’ll never forget the look of disgust I received from a rather narrow-minded woman, who is probably in her mid-eighties now, while riding in an elevator about 15 years ago.  She voiced her distaste as I was getting off the elevator, “the way young people dress these days is embarrassing & just plain ugly.” Needless to say, these words were very hurtful to the already low self confidence of a young woman who had not yet turned 20 years old, & had perhaps gained “the freshman 15” despite playing for her college tennis team (there were always a lot of bagels at tennis matches, & no one had previously explained that eating 5 or so at a time was a bad idea even if you had just played a 3 set match). I had just come from tennis practice & was running a quick errand on my way home; I saw nothing wrong with getting groceries while in my workout clothes, however in this woman’s eyes, I had virtually committed a crime.  Thankfully, society has evolved; in fact it’s pretty much done a 180 since then.  Today, not only are fashionable workout clothes socially acceptable outside of the gym, they have become the norm & are far from “embarrassing & ugly”.  As my best friend says, “workout clothes are the uniform of every mother dropping off her child at pre-school,” & I’d be lying if I said that I wore something other than yoga pants or running shorts most weekends until it’s time to get dressed for dinner.  The secret to looking stylish in workout clothes:

The fit—as with most things in life, a happy middle ground is key. You’ll want to buy the size & fit that shows off your figure, without being too tight. You should actually feel comfortable in these clothes. Also, even if you aren’t going to the gym, you need to at least look like you at planning to, so be convincing. If your outfit, or more specifically your top, is so low cut that it looks like you might be going to a nightclub, don’t purchase it, no one will sincerely believe you have plans to exercise. Remember, showing cleavage in workout clothes is not stylish; it’s another word that starts with an “s”, & not one you would want to describe you.

Although many different brands offer a great selection of workout clothes, often times  one piece can cost more than my monthly gym membership. Luckily, Old Navy’s Active assortment doesn’t force me to choose between a great fitness pant & a month of pilates,  Old Navy Activewear, Suggested Retail: $11.97-$29.94.

Old Navy Activewear.
Old Navy Activewear.

 

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Spring style: the casual goddess

The casual goddess: Sass & Bide dress, Jacquie Aiche earrings, Chloe cuff, & Saint Laurent sandal.
The casual goddess: Sass & Bide dress, Jacquie Aiche earrings, Chloe cuff, & Saint Laurent sandal.

Spring should be about enjoying nature’s beauty. The snow has finally melted (at least in most places) & greenery is starting to reappear & give life to the sad, barren branches we’ve been haunted by all winter long.  I find that in order to fully appreciate the season, & most things in life, it’s essential to find the right balance of style & comfort. These pieces are an example of that perfect equilibrium. Sass & Bide’s embellished crepe maxi dress, Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail:$390. Jacquie Aiche’s pink raw tourmaline & rose gold studs, Stanley Korshak, Suggested Retail: $415. Chloé gold tone bar cuff Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail:$550. Saint Laurent Jane flat sandal, Barney’s, Suggested Retail $895. So, welcome spring with open arms, an open mind, & an open wallet.

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Glass slippers, fairy godmothers, & proms

Volunteering last Saturday: with Margaret Bode, top left, & seniors with their prom dresses.
Volunteering last Saturday: with Margaret Bode, top left, & seniors with their prom dresses.

We all have at least one special occasion dress, or pair of shoes, that have only been worn once, & we will never wear again, for whatever reason (think bridesmaid dresses). Instead of wasting precious closet space, give these dresses a far better home by donating them to organizations that provide students with a full outfit that they can enjoy for one of the most memorable social events of their high school years—THE PROM! If you’d like to feel even more like a fairy godmother, you can volunteer this time of year & directly assist the girls while they are searching for that special dress; it’s truly a rewarding experience for everyone.  The Glass Slipper in Chicago is still accepting volunteers for the next few Saturdays, April 12th & April 26th. Check out a non-profit near you to participate.

New York: Donate My Dress, Operation Prom 

Chicago: The Glass Slipper

Los Angeles: The Prom Dress Project

Nationwide: Donate My Dress

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