Posts tagged ‘fashion’

November 3, 2013

Leggin’ It

Getting a Leg Up!

Generally speaking the skinny pant or legging is one of the toughest looks to wear well for any but the most twig-like among us.  They tend to make us all look a bit like carrots or in my case, an ice cream cone.  But even so, the skinny jean, skinny pant and legging seem to be holding fast to the top of the fashion must-have lists season after season.  So much so that even the most resistant, including wide-legged pant loving me, have succumbed to their ubiquity.   

So yes, everyone is wearing them.  But wearing them well?  Uh….yeah…not so much. 

Usually made with lycra or other nifty stretchy stuff to make them more comfortable, these form-fitting pants tend to lull us into a false sense of confidence regarding fit, and since they make our legs look pretty awesome we can neglect to note that they may not be doing our behinds or tummies any great favors.  Worse yet, as these pants have become more and more mainstreamed most women have drifted away from wearing them with bottom-covering tunics and now wear them with just about anything.  The results can be disastrous.

We have probably all seen a “don’t” example or two.  You know the looks – garments clinging far too tightly to intimate areas; shiny material creating a very odd moiré effect across a generously proportioned bottom; flimsy jersey wretchedly highlighting one’s cellulite or, even worse, being basically transparent wherever it is stretched beyond its relaxed state.  And while a longer top or jacket will hide a few of the main sins, they cannot hide them all!

To make the skinny look work a girl needs to take fabric and construction into careful consideration and style looks to best suit the garment and how it looks on an individual body.  Not all pants are created equal.  And even the most expensive among them can turn on you – just ask Lululemon about transparent yoga pants!

The cut of skinnies and leggings are not forgiving to ones figure, no matter how comfy they may feel.  Construction and fit are crucial.  While some skinnies are actual pants, with seams, darts and curves meant to create structure and shape, others are more like a piece of hosiery – with very little shape or seaming, relying solely on the fabric’s stretch to conform to the body.  If you want to be able to wear a pair of pants with short tops as well as long ones, choose pants with more structure and make sure they aren’t too tight. 

Selecting darker colors and heftier fabrics will also help make a skinny cut more forgiving.  A ponte knit is going to have a little more substance without being too bulky.  While many retailers have ponte offerings, JJill is my favorite for great fabric quality at a moderate price.  They are showing several options in both pants and leggings that are great weight and have cool details like zippered ankles and front seams.    

Fabric changes when stretched over your body so be sure to try things on.  Check to be sure a print or texture doesn’t turn on you when and where you least need it.  This is especially critical with any sort of shine or anything with a stripe or geometric pattern, which can get a bit wonky when they are adorning one’s curves.  On the other hand a well placed color block can be terrifically flattering.  And if you are loving shine but its not loving you try some cleverly placed shine rather than an all over shiny fabric.   I really love the flattering effect of a tuxedo stripe like these options from Vince Camuto and NYDJ.

 To test for sheerness I like to do the “white panty” test.  Try pants or leggings on in a well lit room, while wearing white panties – granny panties are best if you can bring yourself to do it – and see how they look, especially from behind.  Can you see the white coming through?  If so then I would steer clear, go up a size, or at the very least NEVER wear them without a very long top.     

Never forget that true leggings are meant for layering rather than for being worn as full-on pants.  Even if you find a pair with “control” to be truly flattering they really do need to be paired with longer tops, tunics and even skirts.  Eileen Fisher has a pair out that are actually a short skirt and legging in one.  I was skeptical about these babies until I saw a woman wearing them and they looked super chic.  I now own a pair and I am finding they really are the answer when you want the legging look with tops that simply don’t go the distance in terms of bottom coverage. 

There are soooo many options out there from jersey to leather, fast fashion to haute couture.  Selected and styled with care, even the curviest among us can rock the skinny look and show off our best assets without ALL of our…ahem…assets  being on display!

 

 

October 20, 2013

No Sweat!

No Sweat!

 

Recently I have been obsessed with the embellished sweatshirt – and this is quite notable since presently I don’t even own any sort of sweatshirt.  They just haven’t been my thing.  This obsession all started this summer when I saw one on Pinterest, pinned by my very fashion savvy 12 year old niece, Darby.  This wasn’t some basic Hanes sweatshirt emblazoned with a sequined pumpkin or other seasonal or cutesy motif.  No this was a super-chic fashionable sweatshirt – navy blue with sequined sleeves in silver, gold and copper. 

After that first one I began seeing them everywhere, especially as the pre-fall and fall seasons rolled out.  Tarting up a comfy sweatshirt is hardly a new concept and nearly every fall season sees one verion or another, but lately there have been more than a few versions that are fashion far beyond the sequined kittens octogenarians wear at bingo.  It’s tricky to articulate just what combination of color, cut, and embellishment elevate the lowly sweatshirt past cute or fun and right on to chic, but every once in awhile one does with a bang.  I pulled together a sampling of my current favorites – from couture to fast fashion:

  1. This confection from Lanvin, is without question a fashion statement – the color, the cool cut of the raglan sleeve, and the sequins in varying sizes, the whole thing is fab.
  2. This is the one that renewed my interest – its a sweatshirt and doesn’t hide the fact, but it does so in a super cool way.
  3. With the embroidered bell sleeves this particular number is so much more than a sweatshirt. Can’t you just see this with white jeans and a sparkly statement necklace?
  4. I am especially drawn to designs where the embellishment is thoughtfully placed – like the lacy patterning on the shoulders of this Dorthy Perkins Collection piece.
  5. This cutie, in traditional grey jersey graced with lady like pearls, in a cropped cut is…like..totally eighties, and since its from Delia’s its also totally affordable.  

How to wear the look?  Well, clearly these babies are meant to glam-up your Friday casual or weekend looks so don’t kid yourself into thinking they are appropriate for dressy occasions like a cocktail party.  Just as critical as where you wear it is, how you wear it is even more important.  When you are creating an outfit around one of these fancy pieces it’s all about balance

 First off, choose jeans or slouchy boy-friend cut pants, or pair with a maxi skirt for some season transiting fab.  Solid colored bottoms are the safe choice, but if you are feeling adventurous you can absolutely go with a print or texture as well.  Just be sure to balance the visual impact of print and embellishment carefully.  If you want a narrow pant, make sure it is a true pant and not just a jersey legging unless the top is tunic length.  Actually, this advice applies to EVERYONE – Leggings are meant to be worn with longer tops since jersey doesn’t cover as well as you hope it will when it is stretched across even the tiniest bottom!!  

Sweatshirts can be bulky and make you look wider and shorter than you might want so select both the top and your accompanying bottom with fit and the overall silhouette in mind.  If the top has that traditional banded bottom, make sure it fits well (no over stretching or riding up) and hits you in a flattering place.  If you aren’t loving where the band hits you, you may be able to have a tailor remove the band which will be a more forgiving boxy swing silhouette.  

You will want to keep the rest of your accessories balanced and complimentary rather than matchy matchy.  To avoid looking like a Christmas tree keep shoes and bags on the simple side without going too sporty (or it will just look like, well, sweats.)   Select jewelry that doesn’t compete with the embellishment but balances it.  What does that mean?  Well, if you have “fancy” sleeves and a plain body, you don’t need tons of bracelets, but a sparkly bib necklace or pendant might be just the thing.  Conversely, if the embellishment is on the front or all over than leave off on the necklaces but maybe toss on a sparkly cocktail ring for a cheeky pop. 

With winter and the holiday season coming up I am sure you can find quite a few occasions for a tarted-up sweatshirt, I certainly know I can.  Also, before you write this off as a single season wonder, Jason Wu showed a light version with almost floaty embellishment in his Spring 2014 Runway show that was gorgeous.  So if you love this look as much as I do you stay tuned for more opportunities in the months to come.  Now I just need to find the perfect version to add to my own wardrobe!

 

September 15, 2013

Go Team, Go!!!

goteamgo

Watching college football on television got me to thinking about just how silly most sports fans look on game day – it’s part of the fun I think.  But sometimes you do have to up the style quotient a notch.  I have had a recent experience that is an excellent case in point.

As I have mentioned before, the hubby and I have season tickets to the Los Angeles Clippers that happen to be in a very prominent location for photo ops.  This has always meant being a little bit self aware lest you find yourself getting texts from friends who see you scarfing up popcorn, wearing a baseball cap and track suit  on national television. Oh yeah, sooooo not good for one’s fashion cred.  

This year the stakes got upped another notch when we found we have new folks sitting in front of us in the next row  – the very gorgeous Gloria Govan, star of Basketball Wives and wife of the handsome LA Clipper Matt Barnes, and their adorable twins Carter and  Isaiah.  She is engaging and lovely, and the little boys, along with their good buddy Chris Paul Jr., draw a lot of player and therefore camera attention.  

The Barnes family members are quite the Fashionistas – Matt, always well dressed off court, was even a guest on Fashion Police this summer and his taste and knowledge were impressive.  Even the twins are always nattily dressed – so adorable and on-trend, even at four!  Gloria has great style and the girl can rock skinnies and Louboutains like nobody’s business.  But it’s not all NBA Wife bling.  I complemented her at one game on a really chic necklace and she giggled and shyly told me it was from Forever21.   

Needless to say, I have found myself making a bit more of an effort to look my best when we are at the games – not so easy this particular year.  And it got even trickier when, miracles of miracles, my beloved team made it to the playoffs.  Why you ask?  Well besides increased media coverage, the arena gives away free shirts for every playoff game in the Clippers team color – red.  They want you to wear them or wear you own red fan gear to show a sea of red on national television (see pic above).  It makes a great visual impact and would be great if the freebies weren’t too small to go over my chest. 

I wanted to represent my beloved team – and I wanted to look chic doing it.  To make it more challenging, there are a LOT of games (stretches of two, three or four home games in a week) and frequently I am going straight from the office to the game, so clearly the one hand-sequined tee I made wasn’t going to cut it.  Game on! 

I started with some fun shoes – it took some hunting but I managed to find not one but two cute and comfy pairs of red shoes on sale – adorable sparkly metallic Cole Haan ballet flats and some Dansko’s that look like platform Keds – no tottering about in ridiculously high heels for me.  Next I found two great layering cardigans (one long and drapey, one cropped and classic),  an a-line cashmere tunic and a ballet neck tee all from JJill in a gorgeous color called “True Red” and all on sale!  Whahoo!!!  Lastly, because I simply can’t go anywhere without great accessories, I fashioned up a bold statement necklace in silver and gorgeous red glass beads.  Add trousers, leggings, or jeans in blue or white, layering pieces like my white leather jacket, et voila – a Clippers fan capsule wardrobe!

I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on the “fan” looks – even one from Gloria.  And in case you are wondering, the lovely Gloria is NOT wearing free tees either– she and the rest of the team wives showed up for the playoffs in super-cute customized team jerseys, with matching ones for the twins, of course.  Go Clippers!!

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