Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fleur Promo--T-shirt Giveaway

M and I are trying to increase readership of our blog!!  Other sites have been successful in doing so by periodically doing small giveaways and promos, so we are going to test it out.  If you join the site as a follower, send the site's link to three friends, and post the most creative comment to the query below, you can win a free Original Penguin V-neck Tee or a Threadless Tee of your choice!!  Wit, language choice, and creativity do matter.  The winner will be announced on Columbus Day!!

What is the most offensive male fashion faux pas you have witnessed--that has not already been covered by FleurStyle's August 17 post?

Quick Fix--Wearing Clothes that Fit

A few weeks ago, I ranted about guys wearing clothes that fit properly.  However, after ceaseless discussions with several guys, I am now at a stagnant point in my opinion as to how clothes should fit on men.  After a short photo session with some newly acquired items from the Original Penguin sale at Ruelala, I wanted to post my thoughts, and get some feedback from our readers (wherever they may be).

With the advent of designer jeans for women, it's not uncommon to find a pair of 7 for All Mankind or Citizens in the majority of closets today.  Why?  Women who have tried them just cannot go back.  The quality of cut, fabric, and fit is unsurpassed by most middling cheaper brands such as Old Navy or Gap.  The biggest aspect of designer jeans that I love?  The ratio of cotton and spandex that allows for a hugging fit, but not an overly tight one.  While I am not encouraging all men to sprint out to Nordstrom and snap up a pair of jeans for $200, I do think there is something to be said about cuts and fits of men's jeans.  The skinny leg has crossed over from women's fashion into men's fashion, and I certainly am not a fan.  However, I think a guy's frame can really benefit from a properly sized bootcut or straight cut pair of jeans. 
I think the above photos are a good example of how jeans can engulf someone's bottom half.  I will admit... the majority of men have differing objectives as to how they want their legs to look in pants than women.  Women obsess about every minute aspect of any body part looking too big, too small, too lumpy, too short, too long, etc.  One overarching concept that is unflattering on men and women?  Shapelessness.  We aren't looking for a pair of jeans that outline the shape of your package a la Jonah Hill trying on a pair of too tight jeans in Superbad, but throw us a bone here.  We want to know if a guy actually has an ass.
While I argued with my subject that these new jeans are still too big, I have to admit that there is a big improvement just through his choice in a bootcut style... rather than whatever he was wearing before (first picture).  I think if he just sized down from a 34 to a 33... it would make a huge difference.  If he sized down from a 34 to a 32, it would be even better.  However, this might be an uphill battle for me. 
Boom.  I think the above comparison says it all.  Left = bad.  Right = better.  I win.

The picture that I used in my "Buy Sh** that Fits" portion of the Men's clothing post in August demonstrates how pure my hatred is for shirts that fit poorly on guys.  The traditional dress shirt fit is not for every man.  In fact, it really is designed for this mythical American male figure who graduated from high school as a football star and then started working on a farm with a tractor every day.  THAT is how boxy and big these traditional dress shirt fits can be.  I think that a lot of men need to discover the "slim fit" or determine shirt brands or lines that taper off all that extra material, so that shirts aren't billowing like a sail in the wind behind them.  Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, and a lot of modern designers carry this more flattering fit. 
I sometimes wonder if a lot of guys just ensure that said dress shirt can button up over their body... and proceed to grab that shirt and buy it.  I think length, collar, sleeves, and where a shirt's shoulder seams hit on a guy's body really make a difference.  This is Tailoring/Alterations 101, but a lot of guys might not care/notice.  I DO.  Thanks to my subject for making these Original Penguin plaid button-down shirts look so nice!  The above pictures are a great example of how I think a shirt can, not only fit well, but flatter a guy's body frame in a subtle manner.
Same goes for t-shirts.  Baggy. T-shirts. Are. The. Worst.  I can't say that enough.  They are the ultimate offender in making a guy look sloppy and unkempt.  Obviously, no one is going to tailor a t-shirt so that it fits your body perfectly.  However, if it just hangs on you, toss it aside.  So the above statements are my two cents on what I look for in the fit of men's clothing.  I'm at peace.  For now...
*Original Penguin Brand

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cute Color Combo--Tame the Wild

With all this talk about the fall weather, and my excitement at its arrival now that we have officially passed from summer to autumn... my thoughts flickered to last winter.  YES.  The blizzard winter from hell.  While a lot of fashion/style posts have been inspired by the movement from the summer to fall season, the CCC today is almost a fall to winter color composition.  Call me crazy... but I think it's true.  I think it's because I will put off wearing a coat until it becomes absolutely unbearable without one covering my shivering shoulders.  We all know when that moment occurs--you get away with wearing a hoodie... or a thick sweater coat... and then BAM.  You head to work one morning, the knit layers are just not enough, and baaaaah--wool calls your name.
One item that I have been meaning to purchase for... approximately a decade... is a camel-colored winter coat.  WHY I have been unable to pull the trigger on this winter staple is beyond my comprehension.  I don't know if it's because all the available options I have seen were not in my size, outside my price range, or just not in an interesting enough style... I guess it's possible that my timing has been off for the last ten years... i mean let's be real--it wouldn't be the first time in my life that I utterly failed at making life events occur as seamlessly as possible.  In fact, I guess it seems pretty par for the course.
Alright--I guess I'll come clean about some other stuff... I bought those shoes from Endless a few weeks ago, and after staring at that coat all day... I bought that too.  I have some black dresses in my closet that will look pretty smashing in the outfit created above.  The only concern is the necklace... that necklace is quite perfect... hmmmm~ must. not. buy. necklace...
*Etsy - Camel Double-Breasted Velvet Coat
*Nordstrom - Jax Twist Front Black Sheath Dress
*Endless - Vaneli Pouch Animal Print Sandals
*Nordstrom - Cara Accessories Crystal Bib Necklace

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fall Shopping Bag--Cutie Patootie Booties

Do I really need to spend too much time describing how awesome these Ann Taylor booties are?  I think not.  They are just beautiful.  Thank God they don't come in my midget shoe size.

It's Fashion Week--Clothing as Art

While the clothing from the collections I featured earlier this week were just straight-up items I would wear myself, I think that is generally an exception to the rule.  Often--the clothing draped on runway models during fashion shows are just really weird... similar to the strange, futuristic look that cars have in auto shows. I just came to terms with the idea of clothing as works of art, and there were several examples that actually fit that term to a "t."
Vera Wang's collection was borderline wearable in shape and style, but probably not for anyone who is not 5'9" and weighs 100 lbs.  However, her items were truly works of art in print and fabric choice.  The strapless top on the far right actually invoked Van Gogh's Starry Night for me... for some reason.  I think it was the swirly-ness.
Rodarte's line really encapsulates the idea of clothing as art with their eclectic combination of textures in the fabrics used, as well as the mixing of prints.  I mean, heck, if there was a genre of art that possessed the gilded beauty of the Mulleavy sisters' frocks, I'd visit a museum to view that exhibit.

Courtesy of Jezebel--Is Fashion Smart?

Jezebel's September article discussing the question "Is it really possible to be a smart person and like fashion?" was a very interesting read.  I always wondered this... mainly because I, myself, always discussed my love for fashion and style with a layer of self-consciousness.  I would gush over clothing and shoes with a select number of similar-minded friends, but when my passion came up in conversation to other individuals... I would play it off like it was some mindless form of entertainment--similar to watching a deliciously empty program on TV.  "Oh, yeah, I write a fashion/style blog--just for fun--you  know--just to use as a creative outlet... right..." would be my typical response.
When one thinks about extravagance in clothing, footwear, and accessories, a less than academic fluff socialite (Paris Hilton **cough**) may come to mind for a majority of the population.  It's hard not to make that connection when a lot of these heiresses or socialites make it a game to be wearing the latest and greatest of fashions and get photographed in them.  The following citation from the article is what I found most insightful:
     "Fashion is itself a way of engaging with the ideas that move our culture.  At least it can be--New York's second-largest industry, which is poised to generate some $770 million in economic activity for the town during the next week (Fashion Week) alone, intersects with race and racism, sex and sexism, consumption and consumerism, and it presents all sorts of murky ethical questions about how the garments we dress ourselves in are made, by whom, and under what conditions.  If you can't see those stories are fashion stories, then you're not looking hard enough.  (Or perhaps you're just the kind of "serious" person who would prefer to be engaged by issues of champagne and hemlines.)  A lot of the cultural resistance to seeing fashion as worthy of serious consideration is due to the corrupting influence of advertisers who would rather their glowingly photographed wares not appear opposite reporting on sweatshops or the dearth of women of color within fashion's image machine--but some of it is also doubtless due to the fact that fashion is an industry dominated by women and gay men, and ours is a culture that suffers from some deep, internalized misogyny and homophobia.  (Law professor Susan Scafidi, who decorated her office with pink and purple dresses, states--"Fashion is a pink-and-lavender discipline.  It's associated with women and gay men, and there is an ongoing perception that this is a lighthearted subject.")"
A further click on Susan Scafidi's name sheds light on a subject that I have looked into with fervor and excitement.  Not only does she serve as a role model that fashion can be "smart," she is pioneering an entirely new field of law.  As a budding first-year associate stuck in office doldrums that may or may not be the rest of my life, I read about this niche area of Fashion Law with great hunger, similar to how I research Animal Law topics with a vested interest.  Reading about the IDPPA, the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, which is pending in Congress as we speak, defies my normal immediate instinct to pass out while reading legal material.  And God only knows that I have never really been interested in any facet of Intellectual Property law. 
Who knows--maybe some day--after I've put in my dues (i.e. years of associate and perhaps partner torture)... I can open up a boutique within a boutique.  Fashion law and animal law expert practices within the... that's right.... the Fleur clothing boutique I have dreamed about for years... hey.  A girl can dream can't she? 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall Shopping Bag--Smoking is Cool

Not that I want to be accused of sending young children the wrong message... but cigarette pants are hot for fall.  I especially love this version by Corey Lynn Calter, which comes with ankle zippers and some fun zipper detailing on the rump.  That being said, I hope no one is able to see your rump while you wear these pants, because I am a big proponent of the arse being covered when wearing leggings, skinny jeans/pants, cigarette pants... unless your body is just so perfect that you can get away with wearing cigarette or skinny pants with a more cropped top.  In my opinion, people wearing leggings should never have their butt hanging out... ever.  BTW--if you are that person with the perfect body, I hate you.  I think that this paired with a breezy feminine tunic would be a great combo.  Add a moto-style vest for a more interesting twist.  Chunky cage sandals or booties would be the perfect footwear for this outfit.

JBrand's cigarette cord pants offer a softer version of the zippered pair above.  I see it paired with a fitted flannel shirt and tucked into riding boots for maximum comfort.

It's Fashion Week--Oh, to Look Deliciously Pretty...

Anyone that knows me is fully aware that I am obsessed with bows.  I have bow belts, bows on headbands, tops with bow accents, skirts with bow ties, and when I graduated from law school... my close gfs bought me a Tiffany bow necklace.  Years before that--M bought me a pair of miniature silver and pave stone bow earrings for my birthday.  Yes.  That's right.  Too many bows?  I think not... I continue to adore them.  The majority of DKNY's fashion week's offerings are adorned with bow sashes (or I just liked all the items that happened to be topped off with a bow), but the pretty doesn't end there.  Flowing scarves, dainty ruffles, floral prints, and girly shapes to the skirts and dresses could bring out the girly in anyone.  I also adored the one streamlined piece in the form of a double breasted v-neck sheath in a classic khaki shade.  I'll take one of each... thanks!
Just so that I can end this post with a bow, I lust after the Freshwater Pearl with Silver Marcasite Bow Necklace above.  I think it would look great with a scoopneck cardigan and tank for work, or a strapless or open neck dress for going out.  I haven't had the chance to watch the Gossip Girl season premiere, but the necklace screams a bit of Blair... don't you think?  While it has nothing specifically to do with the fall season, I might have to add that to my fall shopping bag.  Blair Waldorf is my fashion idol after all... :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Shopping Bag--Fuzzy Wuzzy Had a...

Old Navy's fall items leave me hankering for something cozy to wrap myself in or cover up--despite the fact that the temps are still in mild summer mode during the day--I have the rampant desire to light up a fire and huddle under a blanket with a book, and one or both of my dogs curled up by my feet. 
This longish wrap sweater would be perfect with skinny jeans or cords... or with a pair of dress pants for a more casual look at work.  You can dress it up or down based on what type of shirt you layer underneath.
I've focused on the idea of accumulating variations of the moto jacket trend that is hot for fall.  I love this one, because it will stretch and move with you because of the fleece fabric.
Another hot trend for the upcoming fall--as it has been for a few seasons prior--is military style.  ArdenB's version mixes the structure and sharpness of a military jacket with its cut and brass buttons with a fun and feminine ruffle detail along the edges.  Maybe this fall season will be the one in which I concoct the perfect alcoholic apple cider beverage... :)

It's Fashion Week--Oh, to be a Fairytale Princess...

Lots of girls spend a bulk of time during their youth pretending to be a princess in a fairytale.  You dress up in a princess costume, and wave your magic wand around... hoping that you can replicate the aura you witnessed in cartoons or movies.  (When you grow older, you maintain the dream of being a princess... but for entirely different reasons.  Maybe its a growing cynicism of men after years of disappointment that fuels the desire for Prince Charming to come by and whisk you away to his magnificent castle and... wait.  Sorry... got off on a tangent there.)  I, personally, spent my younger years fishing in ponds, playing with legos, and trying to fit in with the boys in my neighborhood by squishing caterpillars between my fingers... so what do I know about princess dreams anyway?  What I lack in princess memories, I will make up for now by living vicariously through Monique Lhullier's current line.  I always wondered why women were willing to spend thousands of dollars they may not have to wear a lace number from Lhullier's bridal collection--but I ponder this no more. 
The jewel encrusted gold number melds sparkle and body into one.  The gown's cut is classic, but the layers of nude tulle give it romance and sex appeal simultaneously.  Lhullier provokes images of watercolor art through her fluttery creation of varying ocean shades.  The opulent gold bodice and bold siren red skirt create high drama in a timeless strapless shape.  Lhullier decides to implement the bright tomato red in an entire gown, which dares to bare a little bit for the imagination through its cut-out design right above the chest.  Alexis Bledel displays the wearability of Lhullier's designs, as well as her knack for choosing the perfect print, fabric, and cut for the perfect combination.

The sheer romantic fabric of the floor length dress is countered with a bold print, plunging neckline, and a chic but subtle metallic belt.  In the next pink floral number, Lhullier uses a simple, Audrey Hepburn-style structured a-line cut, but softens it with layered fabrics and a satin belt.  The soft, gauzy layers in the next strapless gown maintain its romantic style with petal details and ribbon trims on the tiers, but the rich, chocolate shade exudes through the sheerness.  The dramatic floral ball gown skirt stays subtle through its neutral coloring, but still reflects an air of gorgeous sophistication.  Last but not least, Lhullier's deep red strapless gown just screams, "look at me," and will be a guaranteed head-turner with its rose print and gathered bustle. 
Fawning over such beautiful extravagance does make a girl think--will Prince Charming ever arrive?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall Shopping Bag--Lovely Greys

This past weekend was the first time I actually felt the need to throw a cardigan in my bag for the evening.  As if I ever need an excuse to shop, my favorite clothing transition is that of summer to fall.  So--of course--I have been filling up shopping bags on all online retail sites in my excitement.  I've been really excited about the color grey for the upcoming chilly weather, so these shoes were exceedingly droolworthy for me. 
The Nine West Ambitious pumps in grey suede is the perfect addition to your fall wardrobe for work or play.  M fancies them in the Taupe Patent (as our quest for the perfect nude shoe continues), so we might have to just buy both and rotate each pair between the two of us!

It's Fashion Week--Oh, to be a "Young and Casual Heiress"...

It's Fashion Week... which, really... is probably better than Christmas to someone like me.  I get to drool over the upcoming season's offerings... and tally up all the items I want, but cannot afford.  Masochistic?  Maybe.  Loads of fun?  Definitely.  I was in NYC this past weekend for the US Open, and while lamenting my absence from DC and the "Fashion's Night Out" event I rsvp'ed to with some gfs... my idiot brain completely forgot that I WOULD BE IN NYC DURING FASHION WEEK'S KICK-OFF WEEKEND.  I had remained clueless until my friend wanted to take me on a stroll down 5th Avenue just for sh*ts and giggles on our way to dinner.  I didn't get to go into any of the stores' events, but just walking down 5th Avenue was an experience in itself.  :)
Erin Fetherston's collection is entitled, "Pretty, Wearable Clothes for the Young and Casual Heiress"... and is accurately named.  She offers draped styles in breezy and beautiful fabrics, but mixes in structured classics like the trench coat.  Below are my top 10:

The shimmering neutrals exude pretty and girly, but the cuts of each item give them sophisticated flair.  The rich greens and reds were unexpected but welcome splashes of color.  The shorts suit is adorable, and the dress with the dramatic ruffle is to die for.  The mixture of sheer, decadent, and tweed fabrics keep the outfits fresh.  It is rare that I would want every item in any one designer's line, but this EF line takes the cake.  It. is. gorgeous.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Best and Worst Fashions at the U.S. Open

I freakin' love the Grand Slams.  During the two weeks that each one is televised, I really do not do much outside of work other than watch the matches.  While the tennis is riveting, observing all the different outfits is almost equally as entertaining. 
I will not even go through the trouble of re-posting this guy's opinions as to who was best and worst dressed at the U.S. Open.  Click here to see some beauties... and some eyesores.  I love Maria Sharapova's day and night dresses, but I have to disagree with his opinion on Ana Ivanovic.  I found it a gooey pink snore.  Caroline Wozniacki was rockin' the ruched number, but hell--if you are tall, leggy, blonde, and have a sparkling smile--you're always gonna look pretty darn good.  The Fed and Nadal are lookin' smart, as always.  Now, does Djokovic think he's starting an alternative line for Audigier in tennis apparel...???...because he did a pretty damn good job at making his Serbian self look like white trash.  Monfils... well... yeah.  And someone, for the love of god, please hire Nadia Petrova a stylist.  If Ellesse thinks that parading Petrova around in frills, ruffles, and circusy color combinations will sell more apparel, their marketing manager might want to take a second gander at the success rate of that misguided theory.

Trend to Try--Paisley (the non-sperm kind)

I came back to the office this afternoon after some client site meetings, and yet again, I was floored with another fashion catastrophe.  Seriously, why would any designer at Michael Kors find the creation of this men's shirt okay?  Did he/she just have a mental conversation with him or herself... "Gee golly, I think an old lady's hankerchief would make a fabulous dress shirt for a guy."  Yeeeeeah~ big... fat... F-A-I-L.
I have had longstanding arguments with M about my general disdain for paisley.  I have always had a beef with the paisley print.  For the most part, subtlety is lost in the design.  Many paisley prints smack you straight in the face like a fart on a crowded metro car with its garish colors and dizzying swirls.  Other versions of the print give you the feeling that you are observing the journey of a school of sperm.  The monstrosity above makes my argument easier, as does the plethora of horrific paisley items out there (see my August 25 rant about preppy styles). 

That being said, I will admit that I have purchased a few paisley items post-Paisley argument, which reside in my closet today.  But, I still feel that a good paisley find is the exception.  After a quick search, I discovered some paisley options out right now that fall outside of the label..."fugly."  It's hard to go wrong with a black & white clothing item, especially a cream cardi with an interesting black print.  J.Crew's cardigan can be the perfect accompaniment to a bright-colored frock, or paired with a simple pencil skirt for the perfect classic look.  When I saw this Peter Pilotto dress, I simply breathed a sigh of relief upon noticing the ginormous price tag ($1,676), because I would have snapped it up just to stare at its head-turning glory in my closet.  The velvet number by Etro screamed fall weather, which was desirable in itself due to the scorching hot temperatures we have experienced in DC this week.  I do not even come close to having the body to pull off the Aoide Paisley Dress, but I fell in love with the swingy fringe detail used in the side panels.  It can also be winterized with some grey tights and boot(ies).  Finally, I allowed Michael Kors to redeem itself with a cute little tank dress in a pattern that is quite lovely with its orchid and black accents.
Last but not least--I love this Joie Campbell Paisley Shirtdress.  The shape is loose and comfortable, can also be winterized with some layers underneath, tights/leggings, and boot(ies)... but the sheer and flowy nature of its movement gives it a sex appeal that cannot be denied.  Love it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Res Ipsa Loquitur--Serena Williams

Since she is not playing in the U.S. Open right now, I guess she has nothing better to do than burn our retinas with her complete lack of taste.  Gah.  It scares me that she designs a clothing line (Aneres).

Thou Shalt Not--Patron Ed Hardy

After a fun-filled evening overflowing with various types of white wine, I am slouched over in my office with the door closed, my pumps kicked off onto the floor, guzzling water--praying that someone will just come and put me out of my misery.  I took a short break to skim through today's sales on my usual line-up of Gilt Groupe, HauteLook, Ideeli, Ruelala, and various retailers... and I saw the Ed Hardy sale taking place at Ideeli...
Someone must explain to me why the design of these bags would make them a desirable purchase, because I am really having a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept.  According to Wikipedia, "In 2002, Hardy licensed Ku USA, Inc. to produce a line of clothing based on his art. Within two years, the collection had drawn the interest of Saks companies.  Hardy and Ku USA formed Hardy Life LLC, which holds the trademark ownership as well as the copyrights to all his images.  In 2004, Christian Audigier licensed the rights to produce the Ed Hardy clothing line, which is based on Hardy's imagery."  Don't even get me started on how distasteful I find the Audigier line.  I mean really??  Clothing and handbags based on tattoo art just seems like a bad idea... but that's just me.  Apparently, it's doing well enough to stay trendy for now, but I hope it joins the burial ground hosting deceased white trash Von Dutch trucker hats.  Ugh.