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Posts tagged “Michelle Obama

New York Fashion Week Spring 2013 – Part I

Every season I’m at a loss as to how I should approach the fashion show reviews. There are so many that I don’t know where to start, how many I should try to review, or how to justify which shows I choose over others. It’s oddly stressful considering I’m sitting in front of my laptop in San Francisco and NOT running around the cobblestone streets of New York City in stilettos with a 50 lbs handbag.

So this season I have come up with a plan of attack. I’m going to publish four separate pieces for New York Fashion Week:

  1. The NYFW Institutions – i.e. Oscar de la Renta, Diane Von Furstenberg & Carolina Herrera
  2. The more reasonably priced or secondary designer lines – i.e. J.Crew, MARC by Marc Jacobs & Alice+Olivia
  3. New up & coming brands that I’m just discovering or which are new to the tents – i.e. Z Spole by Zac Posen, Thakoon Addition & Victoria by Victoria Beckham
  4. And finally the street style & front row fashion of the NYFW attendees

So without further ado – Welcome to the fabulous runway fashion of the New York Fashion Week Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear shows:

BCBG Max Azria:

This collection was an interesting juxtaposition of hard against soft. The dresses all had a harness-like construction on the bodice, evoking a tough, bad-girl vibe that contrasted with the softer colors and flowing silhouettes.

Black, white, grey, and coral were the colors de jour and all the looks were paired with a wide ankle strap adorned heel in black or white. The fitted, midi and maxi-length skirts were equipped with high slits in the thin, wispy floral, lace, and paisley prints, making them utterly perfect for hot summer nights.

Peter Som:

This sweet collection was filled with great prints, bright colors and pastels, florals, flowy silhouettes and just a touch of lace. It was structured and well put together, but relaxed and fun – New York City girl meets boho chic.

The prints were chic and I loved the cropped pants – of course – and the hippie vibe throughout. I don’t think that I can say it any better than The Man Repeller: “Peter Som is punk rock tea party infused with tigers and ponies.”

Derek Lam:

I heard the phrase “sporty luxury” to describe Derek Lam and couldn’t get it out of my head – That’s the perfect description for this master of chic sportswear and exquisite tailoring. These clothes were modern and chic, I can easily picture them on streets all over the world.

Interesting fabrics and textures, bold prints, and slouchy silhouettes were the hallmarks here. Knee-length skirts and sheath dresses in brightly colored leather, all-over geometric prints, separates, and the retro-inspired midriff baring tops that were all over the runways in New York all made an appearance.

Calvin Klein:

The collection that Francisco Costa presented may have been primarily black and white but it was a far cry from boring. And a far cry from the slinky pastel numbers favored by Hollywood starlets on the red carpet last season.

These looks were sleek, body conscious, and strikingly sexy with dramatic cuts and a variety of reach-out-and-touch-them fabrics and textures including lace, satin, mesh, and leather. No florals or pastels for the Calvin Klein girl this coming Spring, she’ll be breaking out killer heels and wowing everyone with her confidence and daring.

Ralph Lauren:

The Ralph Lauren show was a combination of make-believe and reality. There were costume-like pieces inspired by Spain and Latin America – fringe, matador jackets, and ponchos – and there were chic, wearable pieces that I’m sure we’ll be seeing soon on the red carpets and sidewalks of Hollywood.

I absolutely loved the flowing, ruffle-adorned maxi dresses and skirts in stripes and bright florals, as well as the vaguely Parisian looking prim A-line skirts paired with fitted jackets, and the double-breasted, oversized suits with dramatic shoulders.

Ole!

Thakoon:

If I had to pick a single word to describe the Spring 2013 collection presented by Thakoon it would be beautiful. The cuts & silhouettes were flattering, the fabric & textures were interesting, and the prints & details were nothing short of divine.

From pretty, colorful, whimsical prints for daytime outings to daring but still utterly chic lace, eyelet, and sheer fabrics for nighttime.

A collection like this one really illustrates the difference between a designer like Thakoon and one like Lee McQueen – While I’d call them both artists the wearability of a collection like this one is unparalleled. I wait with bated breathe for the McQueen shows and gasp at the artistry and showmanship, but I can picture every single piece of this collection in my wardrobe, not something most of us mere mortals can say about McQueen.

Diane Von Furstenberg:

Who knew being a techie could be so darn stylish? DVF went geek chic this season and sent her girls down the runway in brilliant colors, prints, and flowing caftans paired with the brand new Google Glasses.

Glasses aside this collection had a classic DVF feel – Great 70’s styles & prints, flowing silhouettes that would be right at home in Saint Tropez or Marrakech, and eye-catching accessories like oversized earrings, brightly colored sunglasses, and matchy-matchy handbags. The whole collection had a delicious retro vibe that made me nostalgic for the heyday of Miss Diane herself.

Victoria Beckham:

I always look forward to the Victoria Beckham show, I adore her personal style and that chic, timeless style always shows up in her collections. And while I love – and would die to own – all of her sexy, second skin sheath dresses, I was thrilled by the amount of separates and slightly less body conscious pieces that she sent down the runway for Spring.

Everything was still sleek and sexy, with little color or prints per her usual aesthetic, but somewhat more relatable for the non-Hollywood set. I especially liked the A-line skirts and high-necklines, and the black, white, and the brilliant orange color scheme suited the austerity of the designs.

Well done!

Tommy Hilfiger:

Stripes! Stripes! Stripes! But we’re not talking about your basic, boring stripes for Spring, these are chic, retro stripes adorning flowing suits, maxi dresses, and separates in red, white, and navy.

The devil was in the details of this collection – The drama of a double-breasted, oversized suit jacket, delicate chevron prints, bright piping on a two-toned blazer, contrasting denim on denim pockets, thick weave cable knit sweaters, gold rope detailing, and flowy silk shirt-dresses. You’ve got to admit, nothing says All-American quite like Tommy Hilfiger.

Jason Wu:

Jason Wu may be best know for dressing Michelle Obama, but when a runway show starts with Carolyn Murphy strutting her stuff in a black leather mini dress you know the collection is heading in a different direction than usual.

While the primarily black & white collection was filled with leather & lace, his red lipped models also wore some killer separates and pieces with exquisite tailoring. But even the prim looks amped up the sexiness with mesh, sheer panels, studs and animal prints.

Donna Karan:

City girl Donna Karan presented an unusually soft and sweet collection pulling inspiration from the ballet which gave the pieces ethereal undertones that were further emphasized by the pale color palette.

The soft, gauzy looking fabrics, flattering drapping, sweater-sets, and pastel satins were sugary sweet and picture perfect for good-girl actresses like Reese Witherspoon, Ashley Greene, or Nicole Kidman. Among the draping and flowing fabrics were two numbers that caught my eye though – A sharp white sheath dress with a matching cropped jacket and a sexy sheer panelled navy gown perfect for a siren like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley during her next red carpet appearance.

Zac Posen:

Calling all supermodels!

The Zac Posen show was the place to be when the audience was surprised by Naomi Campbell, Angela Lindvall, Karolina Kurkova, and Coco Rocha all hitting the catwalk in his gorgeous, retro-inspired designs.

The dresses were phenomenal – From floral fifties inspired day dresses with sweetheart necklines to second-skin suits with his trademark dramatic bodice cuts, to sleek gowns in satins, florals, and chiffons. I could picture the likes of Eva Mendes and Emma Stone wearing the chic, but prim daydresses, and I guarantee that the rest of these gowns will be all over the red carpets come awards season.

Marc Jacobs:

There’s a reason that no one could stop talking about the Marc Jacobs show – It was amazing. Fabulously retro and evocative of the stylish Warhol girls of the 60’s, without appearing costumy or over the top, the kind of clothes you can really picture yourself wearing.

Loads of stripes – from thick to thin & horizontal to vertical – interesting lengths, cute separates, matching handbags, low-heeled shoes, and chic outerwear. I loved the long jackets with the high collars, the tiny shifts that us non-supermodels would need to wear slim trousers under, and the adorable pointy toed kitten heels.

Michael Kors:

Another show that emphasized stripes and had a Mod feeling to it was Michael Kors, which was brightly colored, bold, and very sporty. While it may not have been innovative, this collection showed piece after piece of very wearable clothing – For both men and women.

Stripes, colorblocking, contrasting collars, flats, wide low-slung belts, matching suits, tank & shift dresses, and separates all made lovely appearances. I may not be able to live without the green tunic & matching shorts set, it’s one of my favorite looks so far from the NYFW collections.

The menswear was fabulous – Full of color, great silhouettes, and classics styles. The men also got the stripes treatment and he showed great suits, white boat shoes, separates in the form of slacks, shorts & sweaters, and killer outerwear.

Carolina Herrera:

This light airy collection was filled with pale hues – from peach and aqua to olive-green and daffodil yellow – All perfectly ready for Spring. There were shorts, midi length skirts, trench coats, maxi dresses, gowns, and some sweet separates.

As gorgeous as CH’s gowns always are, the separates and short coats were what really caught my eye. They were chic and well-tailored, but more approachable than her collections have been in the past. The wide strap heeled sandals worn by all came in every color imaginable and thin belts cinched all of the waists. And interestingly enough, not a piece of jewelry could be seen!

Oscar de la Renta:

What I love about ODLR is his consistency – Each show will inevitably cater to a handful of crowds, from high-powered businesswomen & ladies who lunch to the fashionable young things & “It” girls that compose the celebutant set.

The splashes of colors in this collection were shocking yellow, pink, and teal – An interesting choice that worked surprisingly well. The collection was vibrant and fun with lots of beautiful textures and fabrics, and a great separates that I can imagine a few fashionistas in. Personally I’d be first in line for the thin striped dress paired with the black & white plaid coat and the sequin encrusted retro tunic & slim cropped pants – Tres chic!

Jill Stuart:

I’m always excited for a collection that pulls from Kim Basinger’s Veronica Lake look-a-like character in LA Confidential as it’s inspiration – The old school, golden age of Hollywood was such an extravagant and glamorous period fashion-wise.

You could really see that in the boudoir-feeling of the silks and slinky satins, and in the sequins, lame, and metallic brocades. While this wasn’t a “real woman” collection, there were beautiful dresses, gowns, and a few separates that will cater perfectly to a certain set.

Alexander Wang:

Wow.

Cut outs, netting, mesh, beading, lucite, sheer fabrics, leather, and garments that glowed in the dark when the lights went down. Cool club kids of the world unite! The pieces were minimalist and simultaneously dramatic and eye-catching, a feat few designers can manage.

Architectural and structured, but still fun and irreverent, all of the looks were paired seamlessly with strappy sandal-boot hybrids in black, white, or clear lucite. Definitely not looks for the average woman to wear walking down the street, but something that the cool girls that love Wang dearly can wear for a night out on the town.

{Sources: Style.com, Fashionologie, The Sartorialist, & Tom & Lorenzo}

Previous NYFW Collections: New York Fashion Week Fall 2012, Pre-Fall 2012 Part I, Part II, Part III, and NYFW Spring 2012 Round-Up.

Additional reviews, photographs, shows, and videos: The Man Repeller – NYFW Day I, The Sartorialist – Boy by Band of Outsiders, Tom & Lorenzo’s Tadashi Shoji Spring 2013 Collection, Late Afternoon’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Diary, or check out IFB’s Spring 2013 Pinterest Board.

What’s your favorite collection that I’ve reviewed so far? If you could go to New York City for Fashion Week what would the number one show on your list to see in person be?

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Real Girls Need Real Closets

I don’t know about you, but I adore closets. Adore. I’ve been keeping scrapbooks filled with magazine clippings for years {Fashion Inspiration} – Clothing, home decor, art, handbags, accessories & jewelry, hairstyles, fabulous photography, hotels & vacation destinations… And closets. So many beautiful closets. I may be alone in this, but I genuinely get the chills when I look at a well-organized closet.

And on that note, today I want to discuss closet basics with you. The building blocks – if you will – to a creating your very own, chill-inducing closet.

I’ve read countless books, blog posts, newspaper pieces, and magazine articles on what the essentials of a woman’s wardrobe should be. And while I adore Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Rachel Zoe’s Style A to Zoe and the like, their recommendations can seem like they’re geared towards a fantasy jet-setting lifestyle or an heiresses’ allowance.

Neither of which I have.

Below is the real girl’s guide to picking out the key elements to incorporate into your wardrobe, including suggestions for where to look for these items, hopefully everyone can find something that appeals to both their personal style and their pocketbook!

Button-down:

A white button down is quite versatile and a great piece to have in your closet. It can be worn tucked into slacks or a pencil skirt for work, or you can wear it with a pair of shorts or slim pants on weekends. This is an especially key piece given all of the menswear inspired collections the last few seasons.

{I love the pristine formality of this tuxedo-style button down, it makes me feel like Fred Astaire when I wear it!}

The key to the right button down is a combination of fabric and cut. You want to make sure that the fabric isn’t too thin or overly see-through – unless that’s your goal, you little minx – and that the buttons don’t gap when it’s done up. I would suggest trying a few on in stores to ensure the fit. Great places to find a good, basic button down? In the past I’ve had success finding good versions at Gap, Banana Republic, and Zara {the version above is Zara}.

Trench Coat:

No matter how frumpy I’m feeling all I need to do is throw on a trench and I feel like Audrey Hepburn.  Tan, black and navy are all good choices for your closet, or red if you’re feeling daring.

The trench above is one of my favorites, I especially adore the polka-dotted lining. I got it at H&M in London YEARS ago and am still wearing it to death. Trench coats can really run the gamut price wise. You can find a decent one for under $150 at Nordstrom or online at bluefly.com, while the Ferrari of trench coats, Burberry, will cost you closer to $1,500. I recommend keeping an eye out for sales at department stores like Bloomingdale, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and even Macys, since they’ll have a larger selection and you can find exactly what you’re looking for (double-breasted, wool, knit, flared, cropped, ankle-length etc).

Jeans:

If you’ve been following MCLV for a while you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m not much of a jeans girl by now. That being said, I do believe that everyone should have, at the very least, a pair or two of nice jeans in their repertoire.

Just in case.

My current favorites are these cropped black Juicy denim pants – They’re cute with pumps or flats, can be dressed up or down with ease, and fit like a dream. Jeans are another article of clothing that I believe must be tried on rather than ordered online. Fit, length, snugness… All these aspects are crucial to finding the right pair. Stores like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom are great because they have large denim departments so you can try on various pairs and have your very own Goldilocks moment. Too big. Too tight. Juuust right!

Pearls:

A pearl necklace is a must and instantly adds a touch of Breakfast At Tiffany’s to any ensemble. Don’t panic though, there’s plenty of costume jewelry on the market that will perfectly suit your needs and wont break the bank. Macy’s, Ann Taylor and J.Crew have great classic versions and Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Jay Lane and Max & Cleo have some funkier versions if you’re looking for something with a modern edge. And don’t worry if a single strand, a la grandma, isn’t your style. Try multiple twisted strands, versions with metal and stones intertwined with the pearls or even a drop pendant.

{Kenneth Jay Lane for Bergdorf Goodman}

LBD:

Originated by Coco Chanel in the 1920’s, the Little Black Dress became an overnight sensation and an instant classic. Whatever your personal style, there’s a LBD with your name on it out there. Strapless, long-sleeved, knee-length, mid-thigh, lace insets, sheer panels, cutouts, interesting fabrics and textures… So many choices, only 7 nights in a week! I love a little lace for nighttime, so I was thrilled when I found the Jill Stuart dress above, which fulfilled all of my current loves: flattering cut, eye-catching details and a design that is just a little bit naughty. The nude panels and lace make a relatively conservative cut younger and more fun. Paired with booties and a fitted blazer, parfait for a night out on the town! You can find a LBD at most stores, but my recommendation would be to keep an eye on websites like shopbop.com, theoutnet.com, bluefly.com and Zappos Couture for steals on designer frocks.

Blazer:

A well-made, fitted blazer in black or navy is crucial to a girl’s wardrobe. Paired with slacks or a skirt, or worn over a dress for work, over jeans or a cocktail dress during your off-hours. I love the juxtaposition of silhouettes when a cropped blazer tops off a short, flirty frock. As with trenches, a blazer come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Boyfriend length, shrunken, ruffled, embellished, linen, knit, tuxedo-inspired. The options are unlimited.

If you get a quality piece and stick with a more classic cut, a blazer can truly last. The one above was purchased during my first mom-sponsored work shopping trip before I started the interview circuit my senior year of college and in the last six weeks I’ve worn it with black slacks and a sweater to work, and over cropped, slim black pants and a tunic on a weekend. This one is from Banana Republic, I would also check out Zara, Anne Taylor and J.Crew for other classic versions.

Handbag:

I should probably preface this section by confessing that I have a slight purse problem. Don’t worry though. I’m looking for a 12 step program.

Every girl needs a good, basic handbag. Something that will go with virtually any outfit, during any season. It’s fun to switch up your bag as seasons and trends come and go, but having a well-made bag that you can always count on is a must.

The first picture is the love of my life, found on super-sale at Barney’s New York. There are many shapes and sizes out there, so heading into a store to see how a new design looks on your arm is a good idea (you wouldn’t take your arm candy out for a night on the town without seeing how he looks in the mirror, would you?) I recommend keeping an eye on the handbag sales at Bloomingdale, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue for great deals.

Clutch:

The perfect way to accessorize your LBD is a clutch. There are many choices out there, crystal and stone embellished satin, jeweled, envelope, metal box clutches, classic black snake-skin… There’s something for everyone! The black beaded clutch above was handed down to me from my grandmother and I love the old-fashioned glamour it evokes.

And luckily for all the purse-lovers out there, clutches aren’t just for nighttime anymore. Day clutches have been making appearances over the last few seasons, especially in lighter colors and fun patterns. And as much as I love my giant carryalls, it’ll probably be good for my posture, shoulders and neck if I stop carrying around half of my apartment with me each day. The Asos Portfolio Clutch pictured above is currently en route to my apartment and I plan to love the lining out of it all Spring!

Black pumps:

The right shoe can change your life! {At this point my mother is reading this and shaking her head sadly, wondering where she went wrong with me}

But really. It can.

There was a time when I did not believe this and *gasp* wore cheap shoes. But I have seen the light! It is worth the time, effort and money to find shoes that genuinely fit your feet and are well made. Always try on shoes before buying them to make sure. My favorite brands for work heels are Franco Sarto, Cole Haan, BCBG, BCBGirl, Max Studio, Fendi and Calvin Klein.

My number one tip for picking the right shoe? Know your limits! Have you ever seen a woman shuffle-strutting down the street with tiny, delicate steps? Her heels are too high. Don’t be that woman! Stay in your comfort zone so that you can walk easily and naturally.

Boots:

I think that a woman should have a few different types of boots in her closet. Booties to wear with pants or a cocktail dress, knee-high black boots for dresses and skirts, a neutral colored boot that can be worn during non-boot seasons and, if necessary for your region, rainboots.

{As a semi-aquatic resident of the lake formerly known as San Francisco, rain boots are a must. I tested my new Hunters out a few weekends ago in Sonoma, splashing and wading through puddles and generally making a nuisance of myself. And I’m happy to report that they are, in fact, waterproof.}

{The booties below are my current favorites, I always feel a little rock n’ roll when I throw them on}

{This is a Spring look that I put together with the help of Shopstyle to show lighter colored boots worn in a non-Wintery way}

Flats

From Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe to Michelle Obama and Carla Buni-Sarkozy, everyone loves a good pair of flats. My personal favorites are Ruby & Bloom, J.Crew, H&M, and, yes, Jessica Simpson. For me, breaking in flats results in drastically more blisters and uncomfortable moments than heels, so the key for me is to find flats that are soft. Below are my not initially soft, but finally broken in sparkly Dorothy flats from the Vera Wang for Kohl’s collection.

And with these tips, I leave you. Go forth and conquer your closets!

Veni, vidi, vici!

{Photographs are mine unless otherwise cited – Click on the images from other sites and you will be taken to the original source}