Archive for December, 2011

December 31, 2011

STW Turns One!!!

Happy BDay
 
This week marks the First Anniversary of the Something To Wear blog and I have to say, it has been a blast!
 
I had only the barest of visions for STW when I set off on this adventure.  I enjoy reading blogs – both the more personal, as well as some of the more professional ones.  There are so many folks out there with definite voices, styles, and audiences; some are simple journals, some are ongoing photo essays, and some have evolved way beyond sharing thoughts to become full-blown businesses.  As I started to develop my blog I looked at all of it – what I loved and didn’t love out in the fashion blog-o-sphere, and what I felt was missing. 

I love being able to get fashion news, inspiration and ideas from voices beyond the fashion and retail establishment.  I love the immediacy of online media for discovering and sharing talented people, interesting personalities and fresh perspectives.  When I discover particularly beautiful images or great writing I find myself at the end of posts wanting more.  Conversely, I don’t love reading things that feel like press releases or are rehashes or downright copies of someone else’s posts. And I am admittedly a little disappointed when I see blogs that clearly are intended to be a business with content that isn’t always well edited or well written. 

So with all of this in mind Something To Wear has emerged.  I am not a professional writer or editor, but I attempt to satisfy my fairly critical eye.  I try to share not only my own point of view and personal style; but also appreciate and comment on others.  I strive to keep a balance between daily realities and the glorious frivolity, beauty, and fantasy that fashion is suppose to be.  Above all, I endeavor to share my love and enthusiasm for fashion, to give a little experience-based advice, to possibly inspire others, and at the very least to entertain. 

While definitely wanting to expand readership and followers, making my blog a “money maker” by crowding it with irrelevant advertisements and links to other sites and products has never been an objective.  Having not rocketed to the stratosphere of blogging I have yet to receive a goody box of free merchandise from any business asking me to review their stuff.  Every opinion is truly my own, based on my own experience with my own purchases and those of my shopping companions.  If something is good I am excited to talk about it.  If I don’t like something I try to be fair yet honest.  

In the past year I have written 54 posts, a number that still completely stuns me.  It has been a very busy year for me in my real life so to think that I have managed an average of a post a week is astonishing.  It amazes me to find that I can find the topics or the words on those topics, but apparently I can since, as one friend put it, “I can’t believe it, you can write an entire article on one brand of make-up for Pete’s sake!”, who knew?!

All in all it has been a terrific first year.  I haven’t yet mastered the magic of blog marketing and publicity but the blog stats have started to grow.  STW has gained a few followers, and gotten a fair bit of feedback.  I have surveyed friends and family, interviewed folks, and shared the fashion experiences of those near and dear to me.  I got brave and featured photos of myself, but found I much prefer the ability to capture things the way I envision them by playing editor via Polyvore.  I was thrilled to have been featured on the blog of one of my favorite brands simply due to mutual appreciation rather than commercial partnership, and was even more thrilled to see the resulting bump in readership.  And I have already had part of a post plagiarized by another blogger, which, once I got over the surprise, I took as a compliment.

I absolutely love the creative fun of this blog and truly get excited by each new reader, positive comment, new connection or terrific discovery.  I love seeing and sharing the ridiculous and funny side of fashion.  I try to curb my naturally acerbic tone but must confess that there are some things that I can’t resisting sharing so forgive me if they end up sounding too snarky or critical – it is never meant to be mean spirited.   Yes, I am rather verbose.  Yes, I tend to focus on the posh goodies I love because, frankly, for me they are more interesting.  And no, I am not writing to provide meaningful dialog or commentary on serious subjects; I will leave that in far more competent hands than my own!  Instead I will continue to Polyvore, shop and write as inspiration moves me and I am curious to see where those whims take me in 2012. 

I treasure my readers and, while some folks like my sweetheart are obligated to follow, there are also some fabulous peeps from as far away as the UK and even Australia who have joined the fun just because.  Bless you one and all!!!  I hope you find Something To Wear is as I intended, a delicious fashion dessert to enjoy after our meaty days.

Much Love and Happy New Year!!!

December 17, 2011

Giving Peas a Chance

Back a few years ago several of my friends were struggling with small children and the challenge of expanding their food preferences beyond peanut butter and chicken nuggets.  One parent’s approach impressed me with its cheerful determination and irrefutable logic.  Her young son had informed her that peas were green and icky and he would not eat them.  When asked if he had ever tried peas he had to grudgingly admit he had not – to which his triumphant parent exclaimed “see, then peas aren’t a food you don’t like, they are a food you haven’t learned to like YET!  Try them and give them a fair chance.”   Said petulant toddler grimaced his way through a few bites in high drama but when the adults weren’t watching determined they weren’t half bad, and finished them up.

Thinking “huh, Mom may have a point there” I decided at the start of this year to apply the same logic to myself and I have challenged myself to broaden my sartorial preferences and give more stuff a try.  And not just a half hearted, “look-I-tried-on-an-ugly-color-and-it-still-sucks” try, but more of a “I’ve-never-worn-something-like-this-but-lets-put-it-on-and-play” sort of try.  I selected garments in colors besides black, I stepped away from my tried and true cuts and revisited different silhouettes – leggings, skirts, longer tunics, even skinny jeans.        

At a recent “play date” at my favorite local boutique, Curve Couture, I tried on a bunch of stuff I typically would never have considered.  It took some extra time, an open mind, and a willingness to fail.  Let’s face it, no matter how great a piece is on the hanger, it has to be equally great on your body.  But if it doesn’t look great, its not YOU, it’s the garment and you shrug and move on.  So…that super cool shiny leather-look top I loved? On me, tragic!  But the funky asymmetrical tunic was awesome.  As were the cute swingy tops I would have previously left untried, written off as unflattering.  However, another funky asymmetrical top by the same designer was…well, not so much.  Clearly trying stuff on is still the order of the day, especially when you veer from the tried and true.    

Granted, I have to push myself to try those things that don’t look all that great on the hanger, and when I work with someone else, I challenge them to do the same.  Let’s face it, there are some terrific styles that will do terrific things on the body that look simply horrible on the hanger.  This has been especially true with a couple of recent trends, notably ruching, ruffles, asymmetrical cuts and new stretchy fabrics – all of which can look amazing on….but downright wonky on the hanger.  

I have a close friend who, with some none-too-gentle coercion on my part, tried on a Herve Leger bandage dress.  While it had fabulous potential, it looked absurdly miniscule and restrictive on the hanger.  But when she put it on, it turned out to be one of the most amazing things she has probably ever worn.  It hugged and shaped her curves, elongated her where she wanted it to, and generally looked incredible.  And it was even pretty comfortable too!    

Given the success of that dress I have continued to challenge my friend and on a recent excursion we really pushed some boundaries.  First we found a ruched dress that looked limp and sort of, well, misshapen on the hanger but on her was simply stunning.  Then we found a sequined beaded ponte dress which had similar hanger challenges as the bandage dress and was in a color I have never seen her wear. Modern and cool, it was simply a WOW moment when she put it on.  On a roll, I excitedly brought her BCBG’s foil printed “power skirt” – a ridiculously small square of neoprene overlaid with metallic that looks simply un-wearable.  Holding up the slightly stiff garment her expression indicated that yes, clearly she thought I had lost my marbles – where and how would she wear it?!  I rattled off a couple of suggestions and then I gave her spaniel-like pleading eyes.  She tried it on.  It was terrific.  I knew it would be.       

Hanger appeal not withstanding, not everyone has the body, confidence, or lifestyle that will make some of these garments work.  But you won’t know if that is the case until you try them out and see what you think.  Equally, there are also some garments that look amazing on the hanger and still find their way to the clearance rack because once on a human, they look dreadful.  It happens. 

Granted, I still find some cuts and colors work far better than others for me and buying what I know works is easier.  But I think its FUN to try new stuff, and every once in awhile I find a new silhouette or look that becomes part of my go-to collection. So now my closet has a pair of skinny jeans, a pencil skirt, some swing tunics and the color cobalt blue – all of which have garnered me compliments.  Gosh…maybe mom was right, some things just need a chance.

PS – Curve Couture, in Solano Beach, just launched their online store – http://curve-couture.com/shop/ – YAY!!!!  Here is a great source for truly unique pieces you won’t find everywhere else and you don’t need to come to Southern California.  (Although their store is so terrific it is well worth the trip)  For those of you who aren’t plus-sized, they carry quite a few European designers with sizing that runs rather small in some cases, as well as some absolutely fab accessories so do check them out!

December 5, 2011

Gifts for the Fashion-Mad

Santa Baby

I am always told that I am impossible to shop for… firstly, because if I really want something, I buy it for myself (true), secondly that I have very expensive tastes (also true) and lastly I am quite picky (not…okay…yes, true).  I know those close to me think my wish list comes straight from the Eartha Kitt version of the song “Santa Baby” but that is not the case and I truly do have a hard time coming up with requests when asked!  But it’s genuinely not on purpose, it just sort of worked out that way. 

Lucky girl that I am, despite all the grumbling, my beloved Mr. Commando seems to nail it EVERY time. Now admittedly it is very hard to go wrong when you buy oh…say a Chanel wallet, a Valentino bag, or just about anything from Tiffany and Co., where Mr. Commando does rather well.  But he hasn’t always just opted for the expensive and obvious.  No, he has gotten pretty creative and thoughtful.  Last year he simply amazed me with the just-released Alexander McQueen tribute book.  Brilliant!  How did he know?  Well, clearly he hears more of my relentless fashion drivel than he generally lets on. 

Yes, shopping for a beloved fashionista can be a daunting task.  Buying actual clothes or accessories, unless you know them incredibly well, can be fraught with questions – will they like it? Is it really their style?  Will it fit?   Aaahhhh….so hard!!!  Then there is the whole budget question – clearly most of us can’t just spring for Louis Vuitton bags for everyone, or even a special someone.  This leads us inexorably to gift cards.  But while gift cards to favorite stores are always great and appreciated, for me they aren’t all that satisfying to give.  Surely I am a bit more creative than that!  I LOVE to give great presents that are truly about the recipient and will trigger a positive emotional response.  Gift cards don’t always do that, and they aren’t nearly as much fun to see opened as a pretty and intriguing package with a thoughtful gift inside.   

So here are a few gift ideas for those fashionistas in your life:

  • Goodies for their closets – sets of matching hangers or super luxurious ones for their special pieces.  Fancy shoe trees.  Cedar sachets.  Coordinating garment bags and sweater boxes.  These may seem mundane, but for the closet worshipper in your life these will be treasures.
  • Gift Certificates for an appointment with a personal stylist or a closet organizer
  • Good Books – There are tons of fashion-related reads out there.  Here are a few that I highly recommend:
    • Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Style – for the teen or tween in your world
    • Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style – a fabulous read
    • The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own by Nina Garcia
    • The Sartorialist by Scott Schuman – great favorites from the best fashion blogger/photographer of all time
    • Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion by Alan Flusser
    • Eccentric Glamour – Simon Doonan – a fun read, you can’t help but smile along
    • Freakin’ Fabulous by Clinton Kelly – more than just fashion, pure fun.
  • Great coffee table books – besides the nifty Alexander McQueen book, there are some other amazing fashion photography books including a comprehensive Chanel book, and best cover books from both Harper’s Baazar and Vogue.
  • Fashion Documentary DVDs for an inside look – my two favorites are Valentino – The Last Emperor and, of course, The September Issue
  • Fashion-related and just Fashionable Movies
    • The Devil Wears Prada
    • Funny Face
    • Coco Before Chanel
    • To Catch a Thief
  • Reality TV Series on DVD
    • Project Runway
    • What Not To Wear

Hopefully one or more of these will produce that much sought after “Oooohhhh”.  And of course, when all else fails, there are gift cards.  Repeat after me…Nordstrom, Saks and Neimans…Nord…

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