Friday, May 31, 2013

Signature Scents

I love having a signature anything. When you're late meeting a friend, a signature drink means there is one waiting for you when you arrive.  A signature lipstick can make you feel like Gwen Stefani, only truly yourself when your "face" is on.  A signature shoe makes shopping quite easy - your shoe is available in a new color or fabric? You dont even have to try it on.  I will never not like a skinny jean (usually Lucky Brand or Gap),
a mongram canvas Louis Vuitton Speedy,
Adidas Shell Toes
(impossible to pick a favorite color, but I'm partial to white with orange stripes, when available). On a day when I dont feel like thinking too hard or attempting a look or a costume, if I put on any of these items, I know I look good, put together, and essentially me.

A signature scent is an entirely different animal, though.  It's not something that you're just covering yourself with. When it's right, it seems like a part of you.  It just becomes your smell and the future memories it will trigger in you and in others means you really must love it. I think most of us treasure our high school and college scents as the memories they conjure recapture our youth so exquisitely. Mine are Colors by Benetton, Kors by Michael Kors, and the first Anna Sui.

It requires no psyche-shattering dressing room experience, but it may be more difficult than bra shopping.  It's not just trying on a few thing or finding the coolest looking bottle.  It takes time. You cant smell ten fragrances at a time - well you can, but your nose quickly becomes numb and you run out of exposed skin on which to test. Find one or two that seem promising, a spritz on each wrist, then spend the rest of the night sniffing. As it settles, is it boring or nauseating? Do you find that you cant stop yourself from sneaking a sniff? You're probably on the right track.  This weekend I did a quick scout of Sephora - looking for both a men's and women's scent.  I found not a single men's scent that excites me, but found two very promising women's. Jimmy Choo (I so did not want to like this one!) and L'eau de Chloe. Throughout "The Great Gatsby", I could not decide and could not stop sniffing.  As we walked up Wisconsin on this hot night, I finally settled on my right wrist, exactly at the moment I was struck by what it reminded of. My college boyfriend (now husband) had a giant bottle of Costco brand shower gel, of which my right wrist now smelled. It was uncanny. It doesnt sound complimentary to say that $75 bottle of perfume smelled like bulk purchased shower gel form the early 90s, but we have been searching for this scent for years. It's so clean, fresh, a little sexy, and a lot nostalgia. Strangely, it doesnt seem dated. It smells like summer, hot sticky nights, laying in bed and talking until sunrise. It's definitely my scent for now.

I am definitely a snob about certain brands, but with perfume, that Roberto Cavalli might be tailor-made for your body chemistry.  (Please god, no). I would never consider myself a fan of Juicy Couture clothing, but their perfume on one of my girlfriends is just intoxicating. It is perfect for her - memorable, but not off-putting.  Even though scent is so personal, some of my most favorites have been gifts from friends. A lovely floral from Bendels, a spicy and sweet Burberry, a sexy Dior Addict. I save all of the bottles. Not really because I'm a packrat, but because even though the fragrance has aged and is no longer wearable, the essence of the scent is still there. Just enough to savor a few memories. How can I get rid of that?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Prada Love

I dont want to appear to be obsessed with any one designer, but I almost always love Prada. I may not fall in love with each collection, but I always feel her designs are thoughtful and boundary-pushing. This article in T Magazine shows exactly that. She's interested in the ugly side of fashion, is never concerned with being too pretty, questions the legitimacy of fashion as art, and is honest that she also actually has to sell these clothes she dreams up.  I love that she requests no input.  I'm not an expert on what is acceptable in terms of fashion and labels, but I'm always slightly disappointed in how many major brands with a major designer that seem to offload the actual design to anonymous assistants.  I guess the designer is the big picture, direction provider, the one that oks or tweaks each design.  This bursts my bubble, though, on the fantasy I'm buying into. I dont want a dress designed by committee, I want the idea that fell out of the sky, onto paper, and eventually into fabric.  I dont want to know that the sleeve was chosen because 3/4 sleeves are big sellers from March through August.  Mrs Prada is honest with that business side, but I feel that she pushes the envelope so much that this cannot be her only thought as she creates.

We arent all lucky enough to earn a living following our passion, but this is a good reminder that we can hopefully find some merit in the work that we do.  
“Yes. If people take money out of their pockets, it means that what you are doing is relevant to them. I hope they don’t just buy because there is a logo but because the object is relevant to them. To sell is to prove that what you are doing makes sense. I’m completely against the idea that we do fashion for an elite — that would be too easy, in a way.” 
It's also a good reminder that what you spend your money on impacts the kind of world we live in - what types of products are for sale, what type of art is supported. You vote with your dollars, whether it's your local coffeshop (to stay in business) or in Macy's (what styles and brands are sold in stores). You get to vote if you would prefer cheap, disposable fashion or investment pieces. (Oh, now that's a whole other discussion. Of course, no one wants to support sweatshops, but we all cannot afford luxury, hand-crafted goods. Ok, another day!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gucci Resort 2014

I havent really figured out how I feel about Frida Giannini's Gucci.  Some seasons, it's so sexy, so pretty, and some seasons I just have no clue what is happening.  I do always love that logo, however.

There are a few things here in Resort that excite me, but then so so so many pieces that are truly WTFable.  Or maybe I dont really appreciate her styling. Or Rue McLanahan's circa "Golden Girls".

This coat - so slouchy, so comfortable. This would instantly take any outfit to eleven (provided you are confident with your midsection and throw this over an outfit that will not make you resemble a roll of carpet).  But those shoes? We're still doing this style of platform? I mean, I think it's ok for those of us walking around the streets to wear these, but it's not very runway ready to me. Keeping in mind, I think Resort is just a money-printing scheme by the fashion industry, so I'm sure this is just a best-seller style at Gucci.

But this jumpsuit (? I think it is, or trousers + halter-blouse? Oh man, I really hope it's a jumpsuit. I loooooove/dream/obsess over jumpsuits), this hair, this clutch, even the stupid hem length that is always controversial, I want all of it. I want to be this. This this this looks like "Resort" to me.

But then there's this:

And this:

(images via NYMag)

This is not quite as bad, but just seems like a failed attempt at the Prada Magic Ugly-Pretty Indescribable Object of Lust.

See Carolyn Murphy, 1996:

All in all, I'm trying to incorporate items with less cling into my wardrobe. I like the idea of sexy, loose, pajama style, high fashion comfortability. I'm not sure how many of us can pull it off, however, without looking frumpy or like Blanche Devereaux. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I went away from blogging for a good while. A baby, then another baby, and then Twitter have taken my attention. The fact that I am unable to concentrate on fashion and the shows to the degree I once did completely took away my ambition for this site.

I follow TinyBuddha on Twitter and was struck by the timing of this post on perfection. Not that I'm a perfectionist, but I found so much in common with this writer. Feeling so much ambition, but being unwilling or unable to put the work into reaching those goals.

For the last several years, I felt if I cant view each and every image from each and every show in a timely fashion, then I dont even want to look at a single show. I will just wait for the magazine coverage. But I miss it. I miss setting aside that time for myself, for this thing that I love so very much, for this thing that I so want to be a part of.  I think it's time. If I have no readers, it's ok. If I cant review every show, it's ok. At least I am doing something for myself and maintaining this little dream.  I look forward to any feedback, any readership and promise never to take a six-year hiatus again.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Manifesto for Imperfection

As hard as I try - admittedly not that hard - I will never be the put-together girl. At any given moment, you can find something I've completely lost track of: eyebrows, manicure, blowout, emergency stapled hem, this blog (ahem).  I've always been a big believer in the whole look, not the microdetails.  Attempts at perfection are completely limiting and paralyzing to me. If I had to be perfect before I left the house...I'd never leave the house.  In the interest of getting to work, getting to dinner, I think it's better to focus on the whole look or for one huge, distracting detail.  An amazing pair of shoes, electric pink lipstick, or a 40s Benin hat, whatever will keep anyone from noticing that I forgot to bring my shampoo to the gym.  Additionally, I'm extremely cheap and loyal. If I discover my favorite strapless column dress has a hole minutes before I'm leaving for a gala, I just create some interesting draping with four safety pins and think about how much more dramatic and flattering it looks this way (less sucking in). While I spend a good portion of my day styling dream outfits and makeup looks in my head, I truly believe that fashion should not be so difficult or frightening.  

Looking perfect is actually quite easy: book your next maintenance appointment at your current appointment. Never lapse with your pedicure, highlighting, waxing, Dry Bar appointments.  Buy full outfits, including accessories, from a single store (whatever suits your personality and wallet).  Just buy what's on the mannequin or in the ad.  Find a neutral palette that suits your coloring and makes you feel pretty and never deviate from that makeup.  There is almost no thinking required, only planning.  For me, though, this sounds like pure hell. As a result, I find myself making things imperfect on purpose.  I would never want you to know what I'm wearing, where or when I purchased it, or even to guess what lipstick shade I'll be wearing when I see you next.  Of course this means I occasionally look like an insane bag lady or perhaps am wearing something I cant quite pull off, but tomorrow is another day. I dont require that you find me pretty, I just require that you never find me boring.  

I feel that if you're waiting until your weight reaches ideal or your skin is perfectly clear or your hair is perfectly straight to change your look, a new lipstick, a new style of dress, a bikini, then what are you telegraphing about yourself in the meantime? A girl with a belly cannot be fashionable? Imperfect skin means you should downplay your face? Nora Ephron once said, “Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.” The same can be said for anything you overstress about - looking back at old pictures, things are never as bad as you are currently imagining.  Maybe you're thinking about a certain look that you'd like to erase all photographic evidence of, though, perhaps all of seventh grade?  That's part of my plan too - I never want to look the same way two days in a row. I'm not asking you to risk that fedora for all of Spring, but how about Sunday brunch?  If it doesnt feel right, maybe try it again in a few weeks with a completely different style.  I just want to give you permission to not be perfect, to not be pretty, to not play it safe every once in a while. I'll let you work up to daily.

I feel like a failure if I let too many days go by without feeling a little uncomfortable. Meaning, I need to push myself out of my comfort zone to feel pretty, to feel fashionable. It's ok to worry that your eye makeup is a little much, because you never know what you might discover about yourself or how others might perceive you with a dramatic cat eye and teal eyeshadow. I'm certain it wont include the word "boring".