Sunday, December 30, 2007

Our Adult Prom

It's almost New Year's Eve, and I want you to remember that usually the most fun happens when there is little pressure and expectations are low. My best New Year's Eves occurred when my plans and clothing were both not so well thought out. So you have nothing to wear? Get out your favorite jeans and put something on your feet that make you feel almost streetwalker-y.

Just my little public service announcement, like don't drink and drive. But we live in New York City so if you do that you're really not thinking. Happy New Year's to all.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Granny Feet

At Forever 21 this weekend? Check out these retro shoes, which strike some chord from my past. An angry older sister? A shop-happy mom? Anyway, I want these 70's shoes (below, $20.80). I don't care if they look like death to all of the skin that protects your delicate feet. Personally, my foot retirement plans consist of embracing scary "granny toes," including bunions, hammer toe, corns, heel spurs, and other grossly-named foot ailments. That's what I get for rocking 5-inch spikes all through my 20's. Totally worth it.

And look for this dress while you're at Forever 21, a good alternative to the shiny, sequined New Year's Eve dresses that are sure to be everywhere. The clasp/pin detail on the shoulder really makes it.

Forever 21, 50 W. 34th between 5th & 6th, 212-564-2346

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Family Jewel

I dug up a favorite piece today, my Robert Indiana LOVE ring, discovered in a PA antique shop and born most likely at the mall in a Spencer's. I bought a Beatles belt buckle at the same shop and you know that was a Spencer's staple.

So my ring is tarnished but still old school rap-fabulous. For those of you who buy a new one on Ebay for $200, expect the gold veneer to slowly disappear. But my "gold" ring reminds me to do some jewelry shopping on 34th Street. I haven't looked much because I am a sadly under-accessorized woman. Can't help it, the bling just isn't in my genes. If I had any nice bling I'm sure I would have pawned it by now. So I must force myself to open up my jewelry-blind eye and see if there's anything worth buying, particularly in this post-Christmas sale frenzy.

Speaking of under-accessorized, I'm also lacking a purse gene. I know this is sacrilege to most oxygen breathing females on the planet Earth, but I've always thought it crazy to spend thousands on a bag. I now must admit that I need a decent bag. The Junior Drake bags at Macy's caught my eye. Their website description? "Classic but edgy style." Oh, well, I'm still going to see if they're on sale today, along with the Level 99 wide-leg jeans I blogged about months ago. They, unfortunately, have been annoyingly sale-resistant.

LOVE for the new year:

on a ring, and in Philadelphia.

Macy's Herald Square, 151 W. 34th between Broadway & 7th Avenue, 212-695-4400

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What We Know

The word is in, people, no more trapeze dresses for 2008. Toss them if you bought them cheap, wrap them up if they cost you a fortune, but do not bring them round for spring. Instead think structured, clean lines and color, big bold colors. Keep your flats and high-waisted pants. Which are all things we could have told anyone, right? There are few surprises in fashion anymore except for the rare, bold runway show. And lord, fall shows are right around the corner which brings up the real question: will Marc still be showing hats and gloves, and emphasizing the waist?

But hold up, fall shows, what about New Year's Eve, have you got something to wear?

KT doesn't, so we went dress hunting on 34th Street. We think we found a live one, something sexy but not trampy. This can be a thin line, but one we can teeter on for New Year's, the head-turning holiday.

This Zara dress ($79.99) is the best candidate yet. KT and I searched many usual suspects like Daffy's, Banana Republic, and Forever 21. But nothing was quite right. This shiny, gray wonder, however, is perfect for KT. The bubble skirt isn't outrageous and is just short enough to show off a curvaceous figure. And the shine highlights the beautiful color. This dress will last past next season with its cinched waist and contemporary shape. Zara also has other styles in this lovely gray hue.

Zara, 39 W. 34th between 5th & 6th, 212-868-6551

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Positive Returns

One of my favorite gifts, besides a check (yes, so not in the holiday spirit but blame it on New York City rents), was a wonderful combination gift: eau de parfum and a nice bottle of red wine. I know some of you hate getting perfume as a gift, but ever since Donna Karan discontinued "Chaos" (the name drew me in, the very original scent kept me coming back), I've been lost and lonely in fragrance world. WHY, Donna, why? She should look at its price on OverstockPerfume ($1,499!), and seriously consider bringing some Chaos back. Unless, of course, she's the one stocking Overstock. So I'm currently happy to play around with other fragrances. And free fragrance that comes with wine? Must remember this inspired gift combination for loved ones next year...

If you're not so happy with your gifts, you're returning. And those midtown streets are busy, people. But if you're not working the rest of this week, why not join the crowds and find yourself something you really want? Tomorrow we'll do some New Year's Eve shopping. And today? Drop by Strawberry on 34th Street and get this blouse, my favorite recent bargain buy:

The pinstripe tunic top made in India, soon to be worn at your midtown job. I bought mine a little big as it's 100% cotton and I'd rather shrink it than squeeze into it. I've already worn it and been complimented, so buy one for $12.99. Yes, just $12.99. I love it so much I'm willing to hawk it like a bad car commercial.

Strawberry, 14 W. 34th between 5th & 6th, 212-279-8696

Friday, December 21, 2007

Shop All Night

Ok, it's not like you haven't been shopping, you just haven't been doing it for other people. Here's a couple little gift ideas to be found on 34th Street:

Daffy's seventh floor by the registers for some handsome cuff links, wallets, and hats for your guys. Also, the plaid Calvin Klein bathrobes are around $20 and cozy soft. The jewelry on the sixth floor for the ladies is also worth a look.

It's called Macy's, gentlemen, and go right up to the sixth floor, take a deep breath and ask a salesclerk for help. Everyone loves lingerie, and you'll both benefit so it's worth any embarrassment you may briefly suffer. Good news, I was up there this morning between 9-10am and was practically alone. Look for Betsey Johnson intimates, the Jenni boy shorts, and for comfort, the Nautica plush robes for $67.

Le Chateau has nice hats. Look for the English riding cap and the plaid menswear hat, around $20.

Forever 21 is full of cute and inexpensive accessories on the 2nd floor. Look for the mod red shoulder bag and the wooden bangles.

Get a silk necktie with sequins trimming the bottom at Banana Republic, a store that is also a great source for scarves. And look for the bowl full of belts by the dressing rooms. Dig out the super narrow black belt with a silver catch for $20.

At Zara get your fashionista the brown bag with the long fringe and she'll be loving you come spring. Then pick her up a pair of Zara's gray skinny jeans.

Finally, some stores that are keeping it open late for you this weekend:
Macy's Herald Square: open 24hrs till 6pm Christmas Eve
Old Navy on 34th: open 24 hrs till 7pm Christmas Eve
Victoria's Secret, Herald Square: Sat. & Sun, 8am - 11pm, Christmas Eve 7am - 5pm
Gap, 34th & Broadway: Friday and Saturday 8am - 11pm
Game Stop, 1282 Broadway: Sat. 9am-10pm, Sun. 10am-9pm, Mon. 10am-8pm
Both H&M's open till 11pm this weekend and close @ 8pm Mon.
KMart at 1 Penn Plaza: open 7am - 12pm till Christmas Eve
Steve & Barry's, Manhattan Mall: Sat. 7am-11pm, Sun. 9am-8pm, Mon. 7am-7pm

Very happy holidays to all, we'll be back later next week.

Macy's Herald Square, 151 W. 34th btwn Broadway & 7th
Daffy's, 1311 Broadway @ 34th
Le Chateau, 34 W. 34th between 5th & 6th
Forever 21, 50 W. 34th between 5th & 6th
Banana Republic, 17 W. 34th between 5th & 6th
Zara, 39 W. 34th between 5th & 6th

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Great Ugg Debate

I've engaged in the Ugg debate for many a winter moon, and there is still no resolution. There are lovers and there are haters and no one is in between. Meanwhile, Uggs still tramp our city streets. Unfortunately, I even saw a male-female Ugg couple in Williamsburg one winter and will never be able to wipe the memory of their perfect, matching Ugg-ness from my brain. Yet, still, when it snows, I pull on my nasty, old pink Emu's (regifts, thanks my sister). Why, when they look like pink plates on my feet? Because they are a comfortable and functional winter boot. And I can't bring myself to buy new ones because they are ugly* and expensive (I'd rather save my money for a really obnoxious winter boot, like the moon boot because moon boots are so ridiculous they totally rock). So I'm looking at fake uggs to get me through another winter. Fake uggs have multiplied like bunnies in the district.

Try Strawberry first, they have the cheapest Ugg knockoff yet by Bamboo. For $19.99 you get an ugg that looks even bigger on my foot than my emu. Buy the darkish tan. Strawberry also has this Bamboo boot, the Zen, for $29.99, left. Looks practical, not hideous.

Baker's has loads of uggy things, like pairs by Rocket Dog ($79.95), Bearpaw ($69.95, right), and their name brand ($79.99 for the tall ones). While you're there check out the tall Baker's moccasin boot with the piping in several colors, even pink, blue and yellow ($119.95). Nice job, Baker's.

Last for today is Foot Locker, also full of Bearpaw uggs. They have a wider selection than Baker's and lots of mid-calfs for $64.99. I'm attracted to the winter white. I know, they'll be so gross by spring, but I think the white is close to pretty.

More uggs coming up because debate as much as we want, no one can win this one. Except the Uggs of course.

*we're talking traditional Uggs here, not the new pretty styles

Strawberry, 14 W. 34th between 5th & 6th, 212-279-8696
Baker's, 358 5th Ave, on 34th @ 5th, 212-279-7016
Foot Locker, 45 W. 34th between 5th & 6th, 212-971-9449

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grow Up, Barbie

Now that we're grown up and no longer play with Barbie (it's time to move on, girl) doesn't mean we can't pay homage to her influence on a young girl's sense of chic. Start with this T-shirt from Patricia Field's Barbie Luxe! line at Macy's:

Flashdance meets Barbie, I can see it on her now (with a ponytail of course). And here's the back: I love the Barbie silhouette logo. The T-shirt is $58. This or this light pink logo T is a perfect holiday gift for your closet Barbie fan.

For those who are out of the closet, here's some full-on Barbie. I can't help it, I'm drawn to the graffiti track jacket ($108); it appeals to every ghetto-fabulous molecule in my body. I want to wear it with this, the Barbie logo necklace, $28 and worth every fake bling-y cent. The long-sleeved T's are $58, and yes, the hot pink one says "I Want My Dream House." Thank you, Ms. Field, for expressing our true inner desires on your Barbie Luxe! T's.

Macy's Herald Square, 151 W. 34th St between Broadway & 7th, 212-695-4400

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter Romance

Finally, soft mix of brown cashmere and silk, I can parade you and your hoodie around;

Yes, bone wrap, I'll layer your light cashmere blend even through Spring;

And eggplant, the elegant purple cashmere, you're luxurious and professional at once;

Bell-sleeved and woolly sweetie, I'm your biggest fan;

But don't worry, cheap wool and acrylic blend, you will always be my $24.99 trendy savior (well, until you get all pilly).

top three Daffy's, then Macy's and Strawberry

Daffy's Herald Square, 1311 Broadway @ 34th, 212-736-4477
Macy's Herald Square, 151 W. 34th between Broadway & 7th, 212-695-4400
Strawberry, Manhattan Mall levels 1 & 2, 6th Ave & 33rd, 877-762-9444 & Strawberry, 14 W.34th between 5th & 6th, 212-279-8696

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bitten Blues

Sigh. My 4 remaining, lonely Bitten dresses are like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of the blogosphere. Free dress, anyone? Honestly, the vote is still out in the office. Many like the shape, the pockets (dresses with pockets are DESIRABLE) and the long tie. Everyone wishes the fabric was nicer, and some suspect the fabric of the dress on the show was higher quality. It appears to drape better in the Project Runway picture. Let's review:

Project Runway model, left, and real time, right. Hmm, maybe it just needs a good steam. We have few styling tools in office, but I love how Sarah looks in this with the tie in the back, and without the vest.

More office pictures: Bitten Twins prove all heights can wear the dress and check out Lindsey's shoes, it's cute with flats, too.

Racquel loves the dress. No wonder as it suits her even when she throws it on over work clothes.

Everyone (in the office and online) is disappointed the dress comes only in black and burgundy. I did see one gray on the mannequin in the Manhattan Mall store. Obviously I should have torn if off and sold it where? On Ebay, where prices go for $39.99 for the black. People not in the know, please remember Steve & Barry's sells this for $19.98 (thus the fabric dissatisfaction, so potential winners keep those expectations low).

Generally, side comments from the men in the office mean you're pushing the fashion boundary. Give yourself a little pat on the back if you're a recipient. Bitten Dress got:
"It's the Witches of Eastwick."
"What time's the graduation?"
Perfect, right?

Steve and Barry's, Manhattan Mall level 2, 6th Ave & 33rd St, 877-762-9444

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Daffy's

The men's Triple Five Soul coats may have been sold out at Daffy's, but the women's? Laura scored a vest and jacket. She had seen the vest online just the other day but for the full price, $198.

Fake fur hoods & green plaid is too cute on Laura. Full disclosure, that vest is a large and Laura is no large. She's going to take it in herself along the side seam. The travails of discount shopping...but she did get it $59.99. Plus I like a vest big as you can layer sweaters under it. Another style option is to get all new wave retro and throw on a suit coat (right). I may be crazy for digging this grunge-meets-Talking Heads look.

Here's the jacket version for $89.99 in medium. Laura ended up returning it because, as the checkout lady at Daffy's said, "These are all yours?" Only so much fake-fur-hooded plaid should grace a girl's closet.

Don't be Triple Five deprived, men. Get a TFS hat at Daffy's as there are a lot lying round the 7th floor. Also Ben Sherman wallets are by the checkout on 7, next to the Ben Sherman cufflinks. All are great stocking stuffers. And lastly, look what I found in ladies shoes, our good friend Smlatte! I rode a roller coaster of emotions, ecstatic to see Jeffrey Campbell's Smlatte discounted to $69, crushed to find her only in small sizes. I curse my size 9 foot.

Daffy's Herald Square, 1311 Broadway @ 34th, 212-736-4477

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Magic Coat

Young guys these days, they think they're indestructible. Derwin was walking round town last week (28 degrees! And windy!) in just a corduroy jacket. He did have a very cool scarf (more on that later*) to help keep him warm, but action needed to be taken. After all the women in the office got all "Derwin!" on him, I was able to drag him down to 34th Street.

We started at Daffy's as they had loads of Triple Five Soul just the other day. But by the time Derwin and I got to Daffy's, there was nary a one in sight. I'm impressed with the shopping temerity of the midtown man. I've bumped into the same fashionable young man trolling Daffy's aisles on several occasions. He's stiff competition. But, as the fashion fates would have it, Derwin was meant for Italian wool instead. He bought a 3/4 length, hooded navy wool. We did a little comparative shopping, but anything comparable in quality was pricey. Young men in their early 20's are not allowed to spend hundreds on winter coats. That's why God gave us Daffy's.

Beautiful, right? When you can, go with the Italian. This coat is by Gazzarrini, or, per Derwin's moniker, the The Great Gazzarrini. Great quality and great looks for $139.99, it is magic.

*And check out this, right: Derwin buys scarfs on the street and silkscreen prints his original designs.

Daffy's, 1311 Broadway @ 34th St, 212-736-4477

Monday, December 10, 2007

Style Basel

New Yorkers attending Art Basel Miami are easy marks. At the airport, in the hotel lobby and poolside, New Yorkers v. non New Yorkers is an easy game to play. We're the pale faced, tattooed, and impatient ones rolling our eyes and tapping our fingers at the desk clerks. Another give-away is the clothing. At Scope, the fashion was sophisticated, monied, and cleanly put-together:

The black dress is lovely. Could that belt really be a rope? Doubtful, but make a note: Rope belt for spring = CHARMING. And I've seen a couple girls really rock this lucite heel on black lately. OMG I think it's a wedge.

Perfect for the 85 degree Miami weather and art collecting/promoting are a pretty beige skirt with a black tank, sweet shoes and a big bag.

The Fountain Art Fair was full of young Brooklyn types, thus a different take on NY fashion flair:

My favorite in the big balls category. Not only is she pulling off the 80's hot pink/leopard print/fingerless gloves but she's wearing ONE pink sock. Remember, this is an art event and besides, the conservative hair keeps her in line. Crazy hair would have killed this for me.

A cornucopia of hipster looks. I love the spectator boots and the bright print bag, but not so much the ripped shorts with the jacket. It's too Miami Vice meets grunge.

A young Amy Winehouse, her hair is at once stylish but unkempt, a great long trend. Should have been a model scout...

Borrow these looks: braids with a sweet dress and great sandals, a print dress & white shoes (ideally with those block color heels), and the new skirt length which is heading mid-calf.

And last, high Miami fashion at the punk rock art show:
Surely she knows her shoes kick ass and the dress, well, the whole look makes any fashionista drool. Wish you could see her slightly teased hair.

I'm now committed to buying a maxi dress for spring. This local lady is a vision in blue butterflies.

Only at Art Basel Miami, a mother-daughter wide-leg look. Both are age appropriate and very chic.

And what did I wear? Jeans the grey Daffy's dress, bikini from Macy's, Payless wedges, and my Macy's denim skirt and black top. Go 34.

Daffy's, 1311 Broadway @ 34th St, 212-736-4477
Macy's Herald Square, 151 W. 34th btwn Broadway & 7th, 212-695-4400
Payless, 484 8th Avenue btwn 34th & 35th, 212-594-5715

Friday, December 7, 2007

Winter White

When one is going to a warmer locale with winter legs, one panics and wants to do things one normally would never do. Please, remain calm and do not visit a random tanning place and get sprayed. There are too many unknown variables that could produce a frighteningly dark or orangeish hue. Control your color with a good self-tanning product from a reputable brand. Try Clarins at Sephora. They have a decent selection of self-tanners, with or without sunscreen, and for body, face or just legs. I bought the Sheer Bronze Tinted Self Tanning For Legs, $29.50, but I'm putting it on my arms too (will I be breaking a beauty commandment and turn to stone if I put the leg cream on my arms? I'll keep you updated). The tint is key, advice I got from Jean Godfrey-June in her book Free Gift with Purchase.* The beauty director of Lucky Magazine and a devoted self-tanner, she notes that the tint makes application much faster and effective as you can see what's going onto your skin. And she's right. Just remember the tint color is not going to be the color of your tan.

The staff at Sephora also recommends Bliss's "A Tan For All Seasons." They say women love this spray's ease of use. It's a little more expensive at $36. I'm a longtime Clarins fan so I stuck with brand loyalty. Here are some application tips from Ms. Godfrey-June's book, which I recommend buying for your girlfriends as a holiday gift. It's not just funny but also full of great beauty advice and fashion magazine lore:

-don't sweat the pre-tanning exfoliation (unless you've got scary feet)
-blend, blend, blend
-go gently in nooks and crannies, like ankles and elbows
-don't sit in your bathroom waiting to dry - put on some dark clothes and go

And regarding that last tip, I was amazed at how quickly the Clarins dried.

*buy this book for insider beauty advice. It's very entertaining and is a great holiday girlfriend gift.

Sephora, 130 W. 34th between Broadway & 7th, 212-326-9461

Thursday, December 6, 2007

H&M Friends and Family

Thanks to Pam and Racquel, who reminded me to remind you that H&M's friends and family discount begins tomorrow. Just go to this site, sign up, and get 25% off from December 7th to the 9th. Racquel just got this pretty, empire-waist coat from H&M ($99).

And Pam helped jog my H&M memory with this cute blue dress, $24.90, and gray sweater dress, $59.90.

All these prices are before the F&F, so enjoy the savings.

H&M, 435 7th Ave @ 34th St, 212-643-6955
H&M Herald Square, 1328 Broadway @ 34th St, 646-473-1165