Month: August 2010

Tweet, tweet, tweet

One of the most useful things about Twitter (and, frankly, there are not many as far as I can tell, not yet) is the stream of tidbits I pick up following the dozen or so people on my list. The most useful by far, at least for purposes of my blogging, is InStyle‘s Twitter feed. That thing is non-stop! They must have a dedicated team working round-the-clock on it … not that I’m complaining. I have to admit that I’ve picked up more than the occasional style (and post) idea from their updates. I mean, some of their tweets are irresistible; for example, last week they tweeted about both “10 things every woman should own” as well as “how to wear fall’s hottest colours”. I can’t resist anything list- or colour-related. Of course, I had to check these out … and blog my thoughts to you. What else is a blogger to do?
Although I find the idea of “10 things every woman should own” a little random (why 10 specifically?) and presumptive (not every women will need the same things), I was intrigued by InStyle‘s list. I agree wholeheartedly with some of the choices (though, again, not necessarily for everyone), and I find others puzzling. Here’s the list, along with my 10 x 2 cents:

1) Black blazer. I don’t disagree with this one, per se, but I go through phases with blazers – you could say I have a love-hate relationship with them. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I find that they remind me of a straight-jacket, comfort-wise. Personally, I would say a nicely-tailored black (or cream) cardigan is equally useful.
2) Leopard print scarf. This one’s a head-scratcher. I like leopard print as much as the next gal, but is a leopard print scarf a necessity? Not really. A nice pashmina-like shawl is probably more practical and versatile. I have gotten a ton of wear (and compliments) out of my pale pink one.

3) Red flats. I love red flats! Red shoes can be a little “look at me” flashy, but they’re sobered up by the flat heel.They’re a good way to jazz up a casual outfit without giving up the casual factor.

4) Striped (T) shirt. Again, I have nothing against them (in fact, I love my white-and-red striped tee) but I’m not sure they’re a wardrobe “must” for everyone. I will say that the nautical look is frequently recycled, and a striped T-shirt is a key piece of that look. A striped T-shirt with a pair of cropped pants can also project something of a “jolie Parisienne” vibe.

5) Statement necklace. I am the queen of statement necklaces – need I say more?

6) Little black dress. Of course. Unless you hate black, having at least two is a good idea – one for day/office wear, and one for evening/special occasions. Finding the style most flattering can be a little more challenging, but this is one case where your options are generally pretty extensive. The LBD ain’t ever going out of style … or stores.

7) Black opaque tights. Um … sure? OK, they’re awfully useful, but I don’t know that I would rank them in the top 10 of, well, anything. Except hosiery.

8) Oversize watch. I love this idea in principle, but I kinda hate it on me. I have weedy wrists, and an oversize anything always makes me feel a little self-conscious. Having said that, this list reminded me of the ridiculous watch I once bought on a whim. How dope is this:

9) The classic trench. Agreed.

10) Flared jeans. I don’t hate flared jeans; I really don’t – unless we’re talking about 70s flare. I’m just more of a boot cut person. But as long as the flare isn’t excessive, I take no issue with flared jeans. Honestly.

Some of my personal picks for essential items? A “nude” shoe; black pants (you know my preferences); a crisp white shirt or T-shirt; the perfect shade of red nail polish (not a wardrobe item, but a classic nonetheless); a pair of diamond studs (or CZs); a black pencil skirt; a high-quality, structured leather bag.
The InStyle tweet about the hot colours for fall was a bit disappointing. It didn’t offer any revolutionary ideas for mixing/matching colours – the most frequent suggestion being to pair everything with black. Duh! But I’m always interested in knowing which colours are hot … if nothing else because I might get inspired to look at clothes in my closet in a new (more favourable) light. So here are InStyle‘s top picks:
1) Cobalt blue. Love it —  and it goes really well with yellow (as well as the usual black).

2) Gold. Too high maintenance for me — it usually involves sequins or lame’.

3) Purple. Fantastic colour that, in the right shade, flatters most complexions.

4) Camel. Wonderfully versatile. A camel-coloured sheath dress is a modern twist on the LBD.

5) Sheer black. Hmm, not really a colour … but I love anything sheer, so I’ll let this one pass.

6) Emerald green. Finally! Being a redhead offers an advantage.

7) Bright red. Sigh! Being a redhead kinda takes the fun out of it.

Your turn — what are your must-have items? Any fall “it colours” you’re intrigued by?

GAP’s new illusion*

One of my favourite purchases of the year has to be my pair of black cropped pants. It’s one of those pieces whose utility can easily be underestimated at first; I knew the pants would be useful when I bought them, I simply didn’t know just how useful they were going to be. Considering how often I’ve worn them this summer alone, the cost per wear is minuscule – far less than the $3/wear which People Stylewatch suggests makes for a great bargain. The thing I love most about them is the cut – skinny, without being leggings-tight; straight, without being tapered. I find this style much more flattering on my body than the usual boot cut, which often has a little too much flare for my taste. As a result, I’ve been looking to find a similar cut in full-length pants.

It hasn’t been an easy search. As mentioned, the boot cut pants I’ve come across tend to be, to some degree or other, flared. Meanwhile, the straight cut pants I’ve found (mostly at Banana Republic) are not quite as streamlined as I’d like. I was running out of options when I heard about GAP’s Black Magic launch – a new collection of all-black (what else?) dress pants for women, boasting an impressive array of styles. Basically, GAP is trying to do for dress pants what it did for jeans last year with the 1969 collection. 

You can check out the various styles here. I was really excited about the “True Straight” which, judging by the promotional pics, had potential to meet my exacting cut standards. I was right … sort of.

Time for a minor gripe. I haven’t bought pants at the GAP in a while, so I’m not all that familiar with their sizing. Having eye-balled a few pairs, decided to go with a size 4 on my first try. I then had to decide between the “A/C” (ankle cut) and “L” (long) version and, for obvious reasons (shortness, to be precise), settled for the former. I lucked out, size-wise – the 4 fit well. The only problem: the length. On me, the ankle cut stops right below the ankle. Thus, it’s neither a true cropped pant, nor a regular one. Basically, it’s a flat-shoe kind of pant – a limiting proposition. As a result, I decided to try the 4L. Needless to say, it was extremely long (even with my 5 inch heels on). But the annoying thing was that it was also bigger on top than the 4A/C. Why? When I finally managed to get my hands on a pair of 4R (regular), I encountered the same problem – too long, too big. [I’m not sure what inseam they’re using for the “regular”, but let me tell you – you’d better be taller than 5’11 if you want to wear it.] I understand the concept of differing inseams … but shouldn’t the size itself remain constant? Gah!

OK, gripe over. While, I did really love the cut of the 4A/C, it was an inch-too-long into ‘awkward’ territory, so I decided to go with the tried and true … what else, the cropped pant (or “Slim Crop”). Although I did not succeed in my search, I am very happy with my new pants. 

Here’s a pic:

Here is a side-by-side with my old pair of cropped pants — by comparison, the “True Straight” looks a wee bit tapered. 

Old                                                         New

And here is a more traditional (flared) cut.

I should mention that I also tried on the GAP “Curvy” style, which is a good basic boot-cut pant – with a slight flare. Judging by the way it accommodated my derriere, it seems to be true to its name.

* Much as I tried, this was the closest I could come to incorporating an Arrested Development reference into a post about pants. While this might be seen as a failure, I see it as a challenge to try harder.

Emmy red carpet

I didn’t get a chance to watch the Emmy’s tonight, but that’s why we have the internet, after all. Coverage of the red carpet has been extensive over at Red Carpet Fashion Awards, and lots of fun to peruse. I’ve been doing just that myself, and I have to say that I was quite impressed by the variety of styles on display last night. Here are some of my favourite, and not-so-favourite, looks:

The Mad Men ladies were out in force (great episode tonight, by the way), arrayed in 3 very different colours. Perhaps it’s a sign that my “Betty hate” has reached an all-time high, but I’m not crazy about January Jones’ Atelier Versace dress, even though the colour is fabulous on her. I blame the cone cleavage.

Elizabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks brought it, though. And how! I’ve found EM to be rather hit-and-miss on the red carpet in the past, but she’s a knockout in this Donna Karan. And I f-love CH — this lavender Zac Posen is such a cool take on the mermaid silhouette one would expect.

I also loved the simplicity of Rose Byrne’s Grecian dress. It’s one of those styles that can easily devolve into “I wrapped a bedsheet around myself on the way out the door” territory, but this is absolutely gorgeous. I love the gold detailing on the straps and belt. I can’t say I feel the same about her hairdo, though.

I was blown away by the colour of Kyra Sedgwick’s Monique Lhuillier gown, which I’ve seen described as “wine”. Not usually a fan of darker reds, but I couldn’t resist this one. I may have been unduly influenced by her hair, which had that haute beachy vibe that my own hair never seems to be able to copy.

Diana Agron’s lacy Carolina Herrera left me torn. On one hand, I think I kinda love it — it’s lace, after all. On the other hand, it kinda reminds me of a giant doily. Hmm … I have similarly mixed feelings about her castmate, Lea Michele’s Oscar de la Renta dress. I love the flamenco feel of the ruffles, but I wonder if it’s not too much of a dress for LM. I can’t help imagining this dress on Penelope Cruz.

Dresses I didn’t like: Anna Paquin’s breast-plated Alexander McQueen; Heidi Klum’s black-tissue-encrusted Marchesa; Jewel’s fussy Zuhair Murad; Mindy Kaling’s 80s-prom-dress revival; Emily Deschanel’s fringe-y Max Azria Atelier; Tina Fey’s grey Oscar de la Renta.

What were your favourites on the 2010 Emmy red carpet?