Tag Archives: shopbop

Fall 2010 Trend Alert: The New “It” Fabric, Velvet?

28 Aug

I know you’re scared; I’m scared too. But just because velvet is trying to be this fall’s “it” fabric doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of it.

I don’t know about you, but my biggest fear is that I’ll look like I’m really moody, I’ll look like I’ve forgotten my top-hat at home, and/or I’ll look like I’m wearing drapes. Not a good look for me–actually, the drapes-as-clothes-look doesn’t really work for anyone, unless you’re a one of the Sound of Music children, or else Scarlet O’Hara. So, while I understand W’s argument that velvet is the perfect way to add richness, drama, and romance to your wardrobe, I think to be on the safe side I’ll be careful about how I wear this luxe fabric. If you’re cautious about velvet too, here’s one thing to keep in mind: the more velvet being used, the simpler the shape should be. That should be a good rule to keep us both from looking over the top.

If you like the idea of a little bit of velvet going a long way, look for pieces of clothing that use velvet as a trim. Case in point: this T by Alexander Wang velvet trim pencil skirt, $99 at Nordstroms. The touch of velvet at the waist is subtle, and I love the gently twisted hem of the skirt–it’s flirtiness prevents the velvet from being moody.

A little bit of velvet goes a long way.

If you want more velvet in your skirt, check out this Savant skirt from I Don’t Like Mondays, $196 (60% off, originally $495):

The dark teal velvet in the skirt has a caviar beaded detail that camoflagues the velvet in a way. This detail, along with the great pleating of the skirt, gives the velvet a lightness that this material doesn’t usually have. It looks like a patterned fabric, and loses it’s heavy moodiness while still retaining a hint of richness.

A velvet purse can be a great way to get a lot of mileage out of the velvet trend because it’s a piece you can use with lots of different outfits. I like this crossbody version from Nine West, $69. The smaller size of the purse and the ladylike bow makes this piece a great fit for velvet.

Very, very girly. But what's so bad about that?

Along the same lines, a jacket is another way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to investing in a trend–find one that’s versatile so you can throw it on for different occasions and you’ll get a lot of wear out of it. JCrew has several velvet blazers. I prefer this one, with its feminine details and soft color, to the more masculine “School Boy” blazers in black or brown.

For $168, it’s not cheap. But, if you’re going to buy one new jacket this fall, you could get a lot of wear out of this one–in early fall it’d keep you warm in crisp fall weather, then throughout the season this blazer could finish a look for the office, or, it could add some polish to a casual weekend outfit. JCrew calls it “buttery” and I have to say, that’s a good word to use.

If you’re looking for a velvet shoe, I wouldn’t even kid yourself and try to keep a velvet boot clean. Instead, go for velvet slippers you know you’ll be wearing inside (hopefully!) so you have a chance to keep them in good shape. If you like the feminine feel of velvet, Kate Spade doesn’t disappoint with these “Jaylee” flats, $250:

I like the constellations of sparkles in the velvet. But, if you think they’re a little too precious (not to mention expensive), try these simple House of Harlow “Baron” velvet ballet flats in forest green, $148:
If you do get your velvet shoes dirty, here are a few cleaning tips:

  1. Use a dry, soft, unused toothbrush. Don’t scrub hard, just brush any dirt or stained area repeatedly.
  2. If that’s not enough to clean the shoe, mix a teeny tiny amount of mild facial soap with some water until you create suds. Scoop some of the suds onto your toothbrush and gently wipe them on the stained area. Do not get the shoe wet–only use suds–then, blot the shoe dry with a clean cloth. Let the shoe dry for 20 minutes. If the stain remains, repeat.

Fall 2010 Trend Alert: “Mermaid” Asymmetrical Jacket and Dress Hems

28 Jul

No one wants to look like a fashion victim.

But, if you’ve ever watched “The Devil Wears Prada” you’ve probably familiar with that irrational feeling that if only you had a trendier wardrobe, your life would somehow be more exciting and glamorous. Unfortunately, it’s that feeling that nudges you towards buying those expensive designer cage heels that have been sitting in your closet for the past six months.

Somehow these never seemed right for the office, trips to CVS, or Trader Joe's.

Friends, I had that feeling today. I was in my Happy Place (Nordstroms)–their Anniversary Sale is going on now and I was on the hunt for a good deal. I went first to a Nanette Lepore rack and what did I see but an adorable tweed jacket that was 40% off:

business in the front...

Immediately I fell in love with the texture of the lightweight tweed. What is really striking (in person) is the deep cobalt-blue-purple color that has just a hint of shimmer thanks to a subtle gold thread running through the fabric. More than anything, I love the jacket’s fit. Two small snap buttons close it in the front, while the exposed zipper belt cinches the waist. Very light shoulder pads define the shoulders and helps to create a flattering silhouette.

So far, I love it! I’m beginning to imagine it with different blouses in my closet. Then, I turn around and get a big surprise. The back of the jacket has an asymmetrical hem with an off-center ruffle:

...party in the back

I catch the name of the jacket printed on the tag–“Mermaid.” This must be the inspiration: a flouncy little tweed mermaid tail.  It is so striking and weird…I find myself strangely drawn to it. But is it too weird to wear in my day-to-day life?

One things for certain, Nanette is taking the business-in-front/party-in-the-back approach to all of her jackets:

Nanette Lepore Hush Hush Leather Jacket, $848

Nanette Lepore 'Maddalena' Jacket, on sale at Nordstroms for $329 from $498

Other designers are on to this “mermaid” trick too. Turns out this asymmetrical hem is a full-on trend that appears to be coming to stores near you. Exhibit one, an Alice + Olivia “Clarissa” dress with a dramatic asymmetrical draped hem, $275, was not far away from Nanette’s rack on Nordstroms’ floor.  Here’s the front:
And the back:

We’ve seen asymmetrical hems many times before on skirts–and we’ve seen them on jackets too (in the front, as with zippers on leather jackets)–but the gathering/ruffled/draping look, as well as the placement over the hip, gives this trend a new twist for 2010. It-kid designer, Thankoon, plays with a similar idea in this dress, 50% off right now on shopbop.com ($395, originally $790):

The dress features asymmetrical smocking and pleating that drapes the fabric on the diagonal. Like the Alice+Olivia dress, it draws the eye flirtatiously across the bum and down the legs.  So, if this is an area you are happy to draw attention to, this trend may be for you.

Returning to jackets, I found another example on Net-a-Porter.com–this asymmetric “Anglomania” wool coat from Vivienne Westwood for $930:

ummm I kind of sort of love this...have I lost my mind?

I really like the sassy kick of the asymmetrical hem.  Wool coats are rarely so energetic and fun–this one has personality. Here’s a view from the back:

Look closely and you can spot the oversized button right under the model's hand.

Vivienne Westwood understands that butt buttons really make a jacket--for men and for women.

The oversized-button at the top of the asymmetric vent is a great detail that draws attention to the flounce of the diagonal line. Along with the oversized lapels, it’s also is a bit of a wink and a nod to the Mr. Darcy-esque dinner  jacket feeling of the piece.

So, back to the main question: is this a trend worth investing in? I couldn’t commit earlier today in Nordstroms, but the more I think about, the more I think I’ll be going back to purchase my very own little “mermaid” jacket. I have to say, I love the art of juxtaposition that this trend offers. In the Nanette jacket, for example, you get the tailored structure of the jacket and the prim feel of the tweed playing off of the flirty, unstructured drape of the asymmetrical hem. In each of the pieces in this post, you can see the asymmetrical hem adding visual and textural interest through the diagonal line created by smocking, pleating, or draping.

Still, this is not something I’d buy online. If you’re considering buying a piece that exemplifies this trend, make sure you try it on in person before you purchase. My sense it this kind of asymmetrical hem will be most flattering on top-heavy women, as the diagonal line will draw the eyes downward, shifting attention away from large shoulders, while adding a little volume to just below the waist that will balance out the upper body.

Have you seen or bought something with this new “mermaid” asymmetrical hem? If so, let us know what you think!

Mad Men Countdown: Power Girdles and Joan Holloway-inspired fashion trends

9 Jul

The smoking. The drinking. The power girdles. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the third season of Mad Men to premier on July 25th!

Congrats are in order to the show, which received 17 Emmy nominations yesterday. In the two weeks left before the new season begins, I intend to add a couple of posts focusing on Mad Men fashion trends inspired by the show’s incredible female characters, Betty, Peggy, and Joan, who I’ll start with here.

Janie Bryant is the genius behind Joan Holloway’s killer curves and Mad Men’s costume design in general, and many are hailing her as “the new Patricia Fields” of Sex And The City fame.  I appreciate Bryant’s attention to small details, like Joan’s gold pen necklace, which she wears frequently (btw, this is a not unlike Field’s styling of Carrie Bradshaw’s signature “Carrie” necklace). This consistentcy in wardrobe and accessories is great, because it’s like real life, right? It makes the character real. Nicknamed “Red,” Joan’s appeared several times in the dress below, so much so that it’s become her signature piece:

Joan Holloway in her signature red dress and gold pen necklace

You can actually get a replica of Joan’s signature accessory on Amazon for only $20, sold by 1928 Jewelry Company.

It’s somewhat similiar, but I don’t know–the fact that it’s a replica that’s “vintage inspired,” and not actually a vintage item takes a bit of the fun out of it for me. And so, here is our dilemma: If you’re looking for a Joan Holloway-inspired look, there are two ways to go about accomplishing this. The first is to hunt for actual vintage pieces. Perhaps as you can tell, this is my preferred method. This is because while the second method–searching for modern clothing that’s “vintage inspired”–produces some great finds, the question is, can I afford them.

No matter what method you prefer, here are a few guidelines for your Mad Men Joan-inspired look:

  • For the 1960s sexy secretary pencil skirt, look for knee length or a bit below knee length skirts
  • To make sure you spilleth over, à la Joan, look for silhouettes that emphasize an hourglass shape, hugging your curves and narrowing your waist
  • Along those lines, cloth-covered belts are spot-on 1960s
  • Consider building your look starting with the underwear of the day, which is Bryant’s recommendation. One power girdle that’s on the less-severe side is a Long-line bras by Miss Mary of Sweden

I like to begin my hunt for Joan inspired vintage items online at Etsy where I found this red-hot number for $75:

Vintage 1960's Exquisite 3 Three Piece Suit Wiggle Dress Top and Jacket and Pencil Skirt for $75

Don’t you love the detailing on the shoulders and waist?

If you’re interested in wearing Joan’s actual wardrobe, I stumbled across some killer replicas made by Etsy seller shebycindy, who will take your measurements and produce a customized copy of one of several recognizable dresses worn by Joan. Take this one, which will cost you $98:

Definitely perfect for Halloween, or, let's be honest, I'd wear it any time

If you’re looking for modern pieces that are vintage/Joan-Holloway-inspired, Victoria Beckham makes gorgeous dresses that are very modern yet seem to have Joan’s name written all over them, just like this one:

What Joan Holloway would wear in 2010, designed by Victoria Beckham

If only I could afford Victoria Beckham’s dresses!  A more realistic option, perhaps, is this Lela Rose dress, on sale for 70% off right now on Shopbop.com, making it a great deal at $268.50:

Lela Rose's modern day Joan Holloway dress

It features an updated knee length a that’s a little shorter, and the coral color is a bit of a modern update on Joan’s signature red. But, the pintuck sleeves and especially the front darts, which create dramatic knife pleats, is all Joan, all the time. That is tailoring that’s made to show off an hourglass figure. My favorite detail is the exposed zipper in the back–a modern yet retro detail that draws attention to a woman’s assets…definitely something Joan would approve of: