Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Do I Need a Jockstrap?

I hate ruffles.

Ok, maybe a bit harsh. Maybe I should say, ruffles aren't really my style. Ruffles equal sweet and cute. They make me giggle and think of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Can't you just see a cross-dressing Pillsbury Dough Boy all decked out in...ruffles?!

Maybe I'm going overboard. But, it's hard to look like a sexy bad ass (always my goal) when you have layers of foofy, poofy fabric around your neck and arms.

And, for those of us that aren't blessed with a legs from here to eternity like what's-her-face who is constantly showing up at awards shows in couture monstrosities (Charlize Theron?)...those ruffles can and will eat you alive.

Now that I have made my case against the killer ruffle, you can imagine how over-the-moon I've been with the revival of menswear for women that started last spring, inched into fall, and rages on into spring 2009.

I'm a bit conflicted even calling it a "trend" since we all know that man-style dressing is nothing new. Think 1930s Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich in their tailored suits and ties; Diane Keaton's ties, vests, and boyfriend pants in Annie Hall; and gangster-inspired fashion from Bonnie and Clyde.

Then there are designers, like Ann Demeulemeester, who have always done the menswear-for-women thing, despite the girly-girlishness of fashion over the past few years.

Still, it's hard to deny the influx of menswear on women's runways. Designers known for the femininity of their lines, like Carolina Herrera, featured decidedly masculine pieces in their fall collections. Additionally, men's designers like Obedient Sons (now Obedient Sons and Daughters) and Band of Outsiders (now with the women's Boy line) have women's lines that take a page from their predecessors -- albeit with a feminine touch.

Although there really isn't much I don't like in this movement, there are some things I heart. The boyfriend jacket, which we will see even more this spring, has a vibe that speaks to my inner prep school rebel (um, don't we all have an inner prep school rebel?). We've seen menswear for women more tailored in the past, but the slouchy jacket, along with this season's slouchy cardigans, has that "I don't give a f&%#" attitude (even though we know you really do).

My closet is also filled with vests. Weird, you say? Maybe. But, slap that puppy over a white t-shirt, pair with skinny jeans and boots, flats, stilletos -- wahlah! Instant chic. Now, not all vests are created equal. I am averse to the sweetheart neckline. I want a v-neck and I want it in pinstripe, houndstooth, or heather. I like them short, long (lately longer), open or buttoned (lately opened). You can have fun with accessories too...a sparkly or chunky necklace or a spare neck and over-the-top ghetto-fabulous hoop earrings or, my personal favorite, a chain necklace and silver cuff bracelet. The beauty in this getup is its simplicity.

The slouchy boyfriend pant/jean, I have mixed feeling about...I think it gives me flashbacks (no pun intended) to my college days dancing around in oversize jeans to thumping house music in overcrowded abandoned warehouses. Still, there is something very comforting and appealing about them. Talk to me in a month...

So,"We get it," you say. "We know you have a more masculine aesthetic. But why drinking so much hatorade when it comes to the pretty little ruffle? What did our dainty little friend ever do to you?" Maybe I don't have to hate the ruffle that much. Maybe, just maybe, I'll make friends with that sheer silk blouse with deconstructed waves cascading down the front...but you bet your ass there will be a vest over it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Hammertime! You knew that was coming. Now that it's out of our systems...Let's talk harem pant.

Work with me here. Just for a minute suspend your disbelief that designers would actually have women wearing pants that look like saggy, soiled diapers. Forget the "I Dream of Jeannie" references. And, forget fashion editors' unflattering nickname for the pants -- "drop crotch."

Let's start at the beginning. The story goes something like this: Designers go to Paris and see Parisian fashion journalist wearing to-die-for pants with a crotch so low that if the wearer spread her legs far enough apart, attached a string, and summoned a strong gust of wind...we're human kite flying.

Back to the states, mix with some pleats, or maybe a banded hem...eureka! A New York Fashion Week star is born.

At best, in a sea of skinnies, boots, wides, bells...designers were trying to give us something different. At worst, they're making a mockery of our common sense by giving us something that wouldn't, couldn't, shouldn't be flattering in any light..or could it?

I'm going to be perfectly honest here and risk being pelted by the masses -- I kind of dig some of them.

I don't see how the genie ones with the banded ankles could conjure up anything but visions of Barbara Eden. Or, the ones with the ridiculously exaggerated crotch where the fabric literally stretches from ankle to ankle, which (oddly) makes me think of straining custard through a cheesecloth.

But, there are the more tailored, skinnier ones that have a reasonable drop crotch (did I just say "reasonable drop crotch"?), which gives the style a masculine appeal. Actress Dianne Kruger was recently spotted on more than one occasion -- a la 3.1 Phillip Lim -- droppin' it like it's hot.

Still not convinced? Neither is anyone else. Runway doesn't always make sense in real life. So, for now, just sit back, relax with your crotch resting happily where it belongs, and see what happens.

Hey, if all else fails, we can always just blame it on the French.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pet Me

Fur vests, or gilets, are all the rage this season. Fluffy, Muffy and Cottontail were all over the fashion runways and now have hit the streets. Get ready Animal Control, it's going to be a busy fall.

For those of you that don't know what a gilet is, I'm not talking about the innards of a chicken. A gilet is a waist- to knee-length jacket or vest.

Truth be told, fur vests have been in and out of favor for decades. Hollywood style icons adopted it for a devil-may-care '70s vibe that still manages to say to the world, "I poop money."

This season, our furry friends have been spotted on creepy-skinny stylist-to-the stars Rachel Zoe and even creepier-skinnier Mary Kate Olsen. Beware: When you're this tiny, you can run the risk of actually becoming the animal you are wearing.When I see pictures of MK scurrying around New York City in her fur Thing, all I can think of is a rifle-toting Sarah Palin chasing after the poor Starbucks guzzling, cigarette-smoking long-haired mouse that has no chance of getting away wearing those Balenciaga platforms.

A kissing cousin of the fur-drapes is this feather showstopper from -- surprise, surprise -- the Olsen twins’ Elizabeth and James line. It's only $595 and, as you can see here, it adds such a classy, understated touch to any look.

If you must, must, must have fur drapes in your closet this fall/winter, there are some ways to do it that work. Keep it simple and temper the innate "sexiness" of fur with a dash of innocence and quirkiness. This black-on-black look, with the sweetness of the blouse underneath, is working for me -- especially when you throw in the Ray Bans and dark lipstick.

The lesson to be learned here? Just 'cause they're furry don't mean they're cute.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Open Letter to Blake Lively

Dear Blake,
I'm here to tell you that you've made me a believer. You've made me believe that adult women can wear jumpers. Before you, I held firm to the notion that one-piece top/short/top/pant sets should really be kept to the under 18-month-old crowd.

But, not you. Oh, not you brave Blake. You took those Vena Cava onesies by the horns, slapped killer Jimmy Choos on them, and strutted your white girl stuff.

You didn't just do it once either. You did it once, twice, three times ma' lady. One time was the top/pant combo -- some say risky, I say ballsy. You were criticized for looking like you were ready to parachute out of a fighter plane. But, I defended you, Blake. I said, "No, she's working it! She's working it! You wouldn't wear strappy heels to jump out of the plane! Look at the necklace! She's accessorized!"

My favorite was the black onesie. I loved the jewels. Not just a top/short combo, but top/short/necklace combo. Genius!

What is next for you, my sweet Blake? I have an idea for your next fashion leap of faith...smocked dresses...with Christian Louboutins! Hot, right?

With love and admiration,

Saturday, November 8, 2008

These Boots WERE Made for Walkin'

I'm in love. With you. You fringed, cushion-sole wonder. You make life cute, fun, and comfy. I feel like I'm floating on air when you're with me.

I don't care that scary Rachel Zoe handpicked you on piperlime.com. I don't care that all those Hollywood girls are straight pimping you out like a two-bit hooker. They'll never love you like I do.

I never gave my heart to Ugg. You mean more to me than that. Your fringe, your stitching, your sole. I was sold at first sight -- for $55.

I try to keep you away from my plaid shirts and blue jeans. I know you don't like them, and I understand. I think it is because they make you feel plain and sloppy. You want to shine!

You especially like spending the day with my grey or black skinnies. That makes you happy...a little more svelte, a little more sophisticated.

Oh Minnetonka, you'll be with me until the end...at least the end of the season.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Pegged Jeans: It's Just Not Right

Maybe it's because instead of elongating the leg, they cut you off at that mystery frump area between the calf and the ankle.

Maybe it's because it just seems so contrived that it's got to be the fashion gods playing some hideous, cruel joke on us.

Maybe the thought of reliving awkward pegged-jean-high school days makes me break out into a cold sweat. (Can't...get...cuffs..tight...enough! Must...cut off....circulation...around ankles!)

Whatever it is, the return of the pegged jean has me not only scratching my head, but actually throwing my hands up to the sky crying, "Why? Why? Why?" And, in case you're thinking, "She's just jealous because Hollywood starlets can get away with it and she can't," the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the pictures.

I'm not the first to recoil in horror over this latest revival of an'80s trend. The entire blogosphere has collectively shuddered over pegs, pegs, pegs. Even Project Runway's Tim Gunn has thrown in his two cents.“I have to say, Katie Holmes has become so much more sophisticated in so many ways, but I think she’s in a dip right now. I can’t explain it."

So now your thinking, "Everyone just calm down. What is so wrong with a little harmless cuff-and-roll?"

Well, for starters, they make even the most statuesque woman look stumpy. Take Katie Holmes, who towers over her sweet little hubby. Dowdy, dowdy, dowdy. Pants, skirts, etc. that cut you off right above the ankle are sure to up your frump quotient. Second, they make an outfit look, well, juvenile. Remember your rolled-up hand-me-down Toughskins? Finally, why would you spend time and money on a great-looking blazer (a-la Amanda Peet), hot shoes, and the clutch that pulls it all together just to have a hot mess of faded, rolled-up denim anchoring all of it?

But, if you must do it, at least do it with jeans that are already straight-legged or skinny. Then, you can just roll a couple times WITHOUT the prerequisite fold-over, which ends up giving that parachute-pant/bozo-the-clown effect.

So, my story with pegs ends here. I'm not anti-'80s. I got on board with skinny jeans (can we just say tapered, for God's sake?), leggings, off-the-shoulder tees, and even leg warmers. But, pegged jeans...I'm sorry...they'll be no rekindling with you in my closet.