Archive for March, 2011

March 29, 2011

Timeless Spring Trend – Wide Leg Pants

Wide Legs and Stars

My favorite trend this season is wide leg pants.  Admittedly, I am a wide leg pant girl EVERY season.  So much so that I have suffered through the past few seasons of skinny pants, skinny jeans, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any more fitted – jeggings!Don’t get me wrong, I love these looks…mostly on other people. 

While short, I have very long legs that are actually fairly toned, and rather small feet.  Sitting atop those legs is a very, and I mean very very round tummy, curvy hips and one seriously broad booty – essentially my lower torso is a big ball.  Above that a very short waist and then a sizeable bust creating another ball.  Being generous and kind we could describe my figure as being a traditional hourglass or a figure eight.  When you put that figure eight torso atop skinny pants you produce what I refer to as the Ice Cream Cone silhouette.  Flattering? Not so much. 

Like one of my favorite style icons, Katharine Hepburn, I am a pants girl all the way.  Sure I have a skirt or two and a handful of dresses, but pants are my personal preference.  I simply adore the thirties film star vibe – think my icon Kate and Marlene Dietrich – slightly tomboyish yet still feminine, sexy, and chic.  Unlike a narrower or more conservative straight leg cut, a wide leg pant has a definite point of view – they make a fashion statement.  These are pants you want to take long leggy strides in, wear a killer heel in, pose in.  Across the spectrum – from tailored trousers, to the wider flared legs all the way to palazzos – I simply LOVE THEM!!!   

Admittedly, the wide leg line is not for every one and I know several style mavens who would shudder to image someone with my diminutive height and curvy shape going for the wide legs.  But to quote Miss Hepburn “if you obey all the rules you miss all the fun”.   I wear the wider legs because I love how I FEEL in them.  They make me feel taller, skinnier, and as if my legs are even longer.     

What do you wear them with?  Well, there are a lot of great options.  In all cases I like to keep the tops cut in closer to the body or emphasizing my waist to balance the fullness.  I like jackets, especially shorter ones that just graze the hip and nip in at the waist.  Note that if you go too long on jackets they can start to look bulky and boxy.  This also applies with sweaters and cardigans – keep them on the trimmed down side or otherwise emphasize your waist.  However, in the mood to break rules, I am eyeing one of my long softer drapey cardigans with a tank and platform sandals to get a 70’s thing going.  Tailored shirts and tees are a natural, and tunics can be fab, again I prefer to belt these.  

For shoes I like a bit of a heel or a platform to extend the leg line further.  You can also get the retro mannish look going with a pair of oxfords – low or high heeled.  If you go with a masculine shoe or boot try a more feminine top to balance it out.  I love the play of feminine sexy/masculine chic ala La Dietrich.  (someday I am gonna have me my own tuxedo…someday!)

If you are short, or have short legs the silhouette is admittedly a bit tricky, so I suggest going with a more tailored, slightly pared down pant.  Another cool trick if you have shorter legs is to pair your wide leg pants with a higher heel and a longer shirt, tunic or sweater, belted above your natural waist line.  That way you are visually lengthening your legs and balancing your torso.  If you are on the round side you really need to try them, going for a pair that take a straight line down from your hip – I think you will be amazed at how flattering they can be.  Be brave and give them a try.

Despite the big trend this season, wide leg pants are timeless in their own way.  They can be retro from the thirties or forties, retro from the seventies or super modern.  Any look I am going for you can bet I will be making the most of this season and pants are definitely gonna be on my want list.  

March 28, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!!!

It is now officially Spring!  Granted spring happened in the fashion media world back in September and in the stores in early February, but most of us are just now actually catching the vibe. 

I have spent several cool, rainy weekends immersed in the joys of the Spring editions of the fashion glossies and here are the trends I am in love with this season:

  1. Wide Leg Pants
  2. “Flatforms”
  3. Color Blocking and Nautical Stripes
  4. The Return of Happy Colors
  5. Bright Bags

And the trends that are back for more and I STILL Love:

  1. Modern Oxford Shoes
  2. Maxi Dresses
  3. Cat Eye Sunglasses
  4. Boho

Now some of these I adore for myself and some I love on someone else, but these are the looks and pieces that I am truly inspired by.  Spring always brings a fresh infusion of fashion for me so over the next few weeks I will be writing and shopping the spring fashions – stay tuned!

March 23, 2011

For The Boys: What About Fancy Jeans?!

Dressing Up the Boy

Recently my father sent me an e-mail asking what I would recommend he wear for his upcoming stint as a Grand Juror.  Yes, I even get requests from my Seventy-six year old Dad!  How cool is that?!

The request got me to pondering fashion challenges that guys have and I decided a little first hand research was in order.  So I toddled off to ask the men in my life deep probing questions about clothes, and more specifically about what their fashion challenges are.  They were, as you can imagine, thrilled.  Okay, so not really, but they did have some interesting insights. 

First up, I asked my own guy.  Silly me.  EVERY time I have a fashion question for him he selects the same exasperating topic, dying to see if I will ever address it, but pretty certain I am a little too stuffy to ever do so.  But I am undaunted and not nearly as stuffy as he thinks… so Honey, once and for all, “going commando” is not a fashion statement.  Sigh.

Next I consulted my personal trainer.  His challenge?  When is it not okay to wear your “fancy jeans”?  Apparently this topic has come up with his wife, and I agreed with her – no, fancy jeans are NOT okay to wear to weddings, even if you are wearing them with a nice shirt and sport coat.

At the hair salon I consulted the very fashionable young receptionist, Dino.  His feedback – he always struggles with finding the right thing to wear to weddings; especially daytime affairs in the spring and summer, when most suits seem too heavy or too dark.  (Weddings are hard.  In fact the whole wedding fashion thing is so complicated I may cover it separately in upcoming months.)  Dino also told me, in a scandalized tone, about a client who came in from jury duty in flip flops and shorts – “No respect!  So Tacky!”  On a roll, I asked him about Fancy Jeans and he immediately got it “Oh yeah, you mean really nice, high quality designer jeans in a dark wash without any weird stuff, distressing or anything, right?”  Yep, those are the ones.   “Yeah, those are good.  But you need a stylish shirt…or a great jacket…maybe some cool shoes or boots”.  Indeed, I completely agreed.

I proceeded on to harass a less fashion-conscious group, my co-workers.  For a bunch of engineers they were surprisingly aware of the need to dress appropriately for certain occasions, especially those involving the women in their lives.   Their biggest dilemma was hands down the question of what to wear on a first date or the married-guy equivalent – going to a nice (read expensive) restaurant with their wife.  The unanimous concern was that, here in Southern California a suit and tie seem too much, but jeans and a golf shirt aren’t nice enough.  I asked them about cool shirts, sport coats and “Fancy Jeans” and got confused looks from some.  Hmmm…dressy casual has clearly eluded the techy set.    

Survey complete, I returned home to Mr. Commando and shared my results.  “See, what we need is a magic formula, or at least a definitive set of garments we *have* to own.  That all match so we can’t screw it up. Keep it simple.  Just tell us what to do, and we will do it.”  So there you have it.  I will do a little research and get back to you guys on the must have items and if you have any more dressing dilemmas, by all means send them along!

PS:  So what did my Dad decide to wear?  Well I suggested he wear something business-like enough to show respect for the court without needing to go for the whole suit and tie thing(besides, you don’t want to be confused for a lawyer or a denfendant!).  Dad might meet a nice single retired lady on jury duty, so it didn’t hurt to look spiffy.  Clearly my father has never owned a Fancy Jean in his life, or any jean that I know of, but he took it from there and channeled his own inner cool dude.  Grey and brown tweed sport coat (with suede elbow patches), cream cashmere turtleneck, grey slacks, and his dressy brown Tony Llama boots (cool old school dress boots, not funky cowboy boots) – he hit every element Dino and I had listed.   Now I know where I get my sense of style.  Way to go, Dad!

March 16, 2011

Did you see that?!

Clicking over to The Sartorialist and other favorite blogs, I get a taste of what is being worn and seen in the cities of New York, London, Milan and Paris.  I envy the terrific people-watching and what is essentially fashion immersion happening as a part of day to day urban life.  I spent a week in Manhattan not too long ago and simply adored the élan of its inhabitants and the amazing variety of styles just walking the streets.

Living deep in the heart of Southern California suburbia my daily fashion exposure is, well… a bit more…um…SUB-urban.  We embrace sameness here in the OC, even when expressing personal style.  Yawn.  My one big exception is when I trek up to Los Angeles proper to go to an NBA game.  We are long-standing season ticket holders so this happens frequently and provides me with a great opportunity to see LA fashion in its extremes.

And it is extreme!  A professional basketball game audience will span a wide age range, countless cultures and economic levels – 15,000 or so folks in a single open viewing area, complete with television coverage.  You will see it all – from people dressed in sweats to people dressed to be seen and everything in between.  My sweetheart has spent so much time listening to my observations as we sit through half times or wait on time-outs, now even he has joined in the game I have come to call “Did you see that?”

Just watching the variety of fashion do’s and don’ts that don the array of folks who sing the national anthem is fascinating.  There are the All Americans who stride out in perfectly distressed and fitted denim, boots and tees; the local gospel groups in concert ready black; and the up and coming pop stars that teeter onto the floor in platform stilettos and spangled dresses with really short skirts.  And their entourages are usually even more interesting, sometimes bizarre.  Some look terrific, others make me want to gently take them aside and offer to help.    

The “regulars” at a game are especially great to watch as you see them over time and really get a sense of their style.  Our seats happen to be quite near the home bench so we sit with families of the staff and team.  There is one woman whose husband works for the team and she is always amazingly chic and put together.  I watch just to see what bag she will be carrying!  She usually has her two young sons in tow, so keeps it practical wearing nice trousers or jeans, usually with a fab pair of Gucci boots, loafers or ballet flats, a silk shirt or tee, and a great jacket – sometimes baby soft leather, sometimes (real) Chanel tweed – always chic and tasteful.  Clearly she loves designers but has managed to pull her look together without looking like a Beverly Hills label-fest.   

One of the other regulars is a beautiful girl with the worst fitting wardrobe of jeans I have ever seen.  A former cheerleader, she does media work for the team.  She has a perky personality, pretty face, good hair and great figure, her “uniform” is a top with the team logo, jeans and heeled sandals or boots.  For some unknown reason the poor girl has the hardest time with her jeans.  She is always tugging them up – and I mean ALWAYS.  Watching her pulling on the back of her low rises as she walks and wiggling to adjust the sides over a muffin top otherwise non-existent if it weren’t being created by bad fit, I feel uncomfortable for her!  I can feel the chilly air of the arena hitting the small of my back, can feel the pull of too snug denim moving the wrong way.  To add to her fit woes are her otherwise very cute bedazzled tops – some a little too small/short, and some that are so big she has tied them up in various ways to pull in the extra fabric.  I just want to give her a gift certificate for a good tailor.    

Sitting near us are several women in their fifties and sixties who clearly dress to go to the games in coordinated outfits cleverly accessorized. One woman favors bold mustard, deep orange and chocolate which she pairs with large scale gold jewelry, matching bags and shoes (of course) – she is a goddess in these ensembles and works it.  Another gal has several fedoras and newsboy caps that she pairs with a cape or trench coat, creating a look so chic and effortless she should give the young starlets some lessons on how to wear hats! 

These women clearly watch the fashion show as closely as the basketball, too.  I recently wore a gorgeous embellished Anna Scholz tunic that had them all raving, “ooooh, you GO girl!” And when a certain b-list celeb walked by in a truly unfortunate outfit two turned to me simultaneously, eyebrows raised, lips pursed, and said “Did you see that?!”

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