Friday, September 30, 2011

Black Magic

I was talking with a male friend the other day, and he asked me what I'd been blogging about recently.  I'd just finished editing my "RED" post, so I told him about it.  He replied, "I love red.  It's hot, and it's firey, but you should do black.  Black is sultry.  It's sexy.  It's
Avedon
mysterious. Women look beautiful in black." So Frank, this post is for you.

Of course, my friend is absolutely right, so perhaps it's time to indulge in a little bit of BLACK magic. Black is the color nearly every woman - from Hollywood starlets to housewives - has gone to when she wants to feel her most glamourous.

There's a reason why the "little black dress" is legendary.  Black looks good on every woman regardless of complexion, haircolor, or age.  Black is slenderizing.  Black is dramatic.  Black can conjure a range of moods like perhaps no other color.  It can be demure or sensual.  It can be worn at the most formal of occasions, but also works for the office or with blue jeans.  It never goes out of style or falls temporarily from fashion's favor.
Lillian Bassman by Richard Avedon
Who can forget the iconic style of Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's?"  A classic black dress has a certain timelessness about it.  The clothing that Ms. Hepburn wore fifty years ago in the movie is just as stylish today as it was when she debuted it to the world.  So consider a great black dress an investment.  Consider splurging on a classically designed black dress because it will pay you back in style dividends for many years to come.

Of course, if you can't afford to pluck a fabulous designer dress right off the runway, there are gorgeous options to be had at all price points.  The hardest thing is simply choosing a favorite.  The dresses below are my picks.  I've grouped them by mood, and labeled them as "Investment," (four figures); "Splurge," ($400 - $999); "Deal," ($101 - $399); and "Steal," ($100 or less - some much less).
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" 1961

The Little Black Dress


INVESTMENTINVESTMENTDEAL

D
E
M
U
R
E
NMNordstromNordstrom
Valentino
Rose Shoulder Dress
$2,450.00
Neiman Marcus
Lanvin
Silk Collar Wool Jersey Dress
$2,735.00
Nordstrom
JS Boutique
Sleeveless Sequin Shift Dress
$179.00
Macy's

DEALSTEALDEAL

C
L
A
S
S
I
C
MacysKohlsNordstrom
Calvin Klein
Long Sleeve Feather-Cuff Dress
$129.00
Macy's
Jennifer Lopez Collection
Pleated Ponte Dress
$70.00 $49.00
Kohl's
Alice + Olivia
Ponte Knit Dress
$220.00
Nordstrom

STEALINVESTMENTDEAL

C
L
A
S
S
I
C
VSSaksNordstrom
Victoria's Secret
Turtleneck Sweaterdress
$79.50
Victoria's Secret
Akris Punto Jersey-Bodice Wool Dress
$1,460.00
Saks Fifth Avenue
Lauren by Ralph Lauren
Tweed Knit Dress
$219.00
Nordstrom

STEALDEALSTEAL

F
L
I
R
T
Y
MauricesCuspKohls
Maurice's
Tiered Tank Dress
$39.00
Maurice's
Free People
Gypsy Lace Dress
$128.00
Cusp
Ronni Nichole
Lace Asymmetrical Dress
$100.00 $90.00
Kohl's

SPLURGEDEALSPLURGE

A
L
L
U
R
I
N
G
NMCuspNM
Blumarine
Off-the-Shoulder Beaded Dress
$995.00
Neiman Marcus
Mily
Adrienne Lace Dress
$345.00
Cusp
Carmen Marc Valvo
High-Neck Lace Dress
$725.00
Neiman Marcus

DEALSPLURGEDEAL

E
D
G
Y
CuspCuspCusp
Free People
Faux Leather Downtown Dress
$138.00
Cusp
Nanette LePour
'Ambrosia' Lace Dress
$428.00
Cusp
Ali Ro
Scoop-Back Sequin Dress
$265.00
Cusp

SPLURGEDEALDEAL

S
U
L
T
R
Y
NMCuspMacys
Jean Paul Gaultier
Long Sleeve Lace-Inset Dress
$495.00
Neiman Marcus
Alice + Olivia
'Aerin' Metallic Blouson Dress
$297.00
Cusp
Maggie London
Long Sleeve Lace V-Neck Cocktail Dress
$135.00
Macy's

SPLURGEINVESTMENTSTEAL

R
O
M
A
N
T
I
C
NordstromNMMacys
Jean Paul Gaultier
Ruched Convertible Tulle Dress
$575.00
Nordstrom
Redux Charles Chang-Lima
Lace Sleeve Gown
$2,980.00
Neiman Marcus
Speechless
Strapless Gown with Rose Detail Waist
$99.00 $79.99
Macy's

AvedonWith such a wonderful array of dresses to choose from...


It's no surprise that...

From the sidewalk....


To the catwalk...

 The fabulous "Little Black Dress" is here to stay!

Badgley Mishka - catwalk
Photo: Richard AvedonBadgley Mishka Collection Fall 2011
Photo courtesy of Elle magazine.

I think that probably all of us have had a favorite "little black dress" that we've gone to time and time again. Thinking back on my own wardrobe, many of my favorite, and most memorable pieces have been "little black dresses," so perhaps it's time to take a cue from my friend, and add a new one for fall. Choose a style you truly love and you'll have a fashion favorite to enjoy for quite some time.


Stylishly yours,





Tuesday, September 27, 2011

RED

Chanel Red Lipstick
RED.  It's the color of passion.  It's the color of blood.  It's the color of fire.  Of all colors, it invokes the strongest emotion.  It symbolizes courage.  It symbolizes revolution.  It symbolizes danger.  It is bold.  It is important.  It is rich.  It is powerful.  It is exciting.  It is juicy.  It is hot.  It is intense.  It demands attention.   It's dramatic.  It's sexy.  It's sultry.  It's seductive.  It is love.  It is lust.  There is no other color in the spectrum like RED.
From RED lipstick to RED nail polish...
Red Nail Polish Red Rose.
To intoxicating RED roses...
There is no other color quite like RED.








AND RED IS BIG FASHION NEWS THIS FALL


From subtle blush tones to deepest merlot, all shades of red are once again in vogue. Think garnets and rubies. Think cherries and pomegranates. Think tomatoes and fire engines. When choosing red, you really can't go wrong. For the purpose of this post, however, I decided to focus primarily on classic lipstick red. You'll see if from the runways to the red carpet.
Red Dress- ValentinoHeidi Klum at Oscars
Valentino CollectionHeidi Klum at the Academy Awards
I've found some fantastic reds in the world of retail, many head on with the most popular trends; others are classics with real staying power, and I've grouped together as splurges, deals, and steals,  so choose your favorite look, find the style that fits your budget, and have fun with RED!

Classic Trench Coat

SPLURGEDEALSTEAL
Splurge NM Deal NordstromSteal
Diane von Furstenberg
Mikhailia Bell Sleeve Trench
$745.00
Neiman Marcus
Lauren by Ralph Lauren
Double Breasted Trench
$249.00
Nordstrom
M2M Red Trench Coat
$32.70
fashion4us.com

An all-weather coat is a staple that should be in almost every woman's closet.  Choosing a red one will add a pinch of spice to the wardrobe, not to mention a rainy day.  The Diane von Furstenberg "Splurge" is an investment piece that will last a lifetime.  The styling is classic.  It would have looked great 50 years ago and will still look great 50 years from now.  The "Deal" from Lauren by Ralph Lauren is another coat with staying power and quality.  It's a bit shorter than the "Splurge", but not a big deal.  This coat is also an investment piece that you would enjoy for years to come.  The "Deal" comes by way of a Korean company, M2M.  The styling is trendier and it is doubtful the quality is comparable to the other two, but for the price, it would be a fun piece to wear for at least a few seasons. My pick - the "Deal"


Wide Leg Pants

SPLURGEDEALSTEAL
splurgedealsteal
What Goes Around Comes Around
'Gardner' Wide Leg Silk Pants
$379.00
Neiman Marcus
Spiegel Signature Matte Jersey Wide Leg Pants
$79.00
amazon.com
Shape FX
Hold You In Pants
$69.00 $34.00
Newport News

Figure-flattering wide leg pants are an important trend this fall.  Double the impact when you choose red.  Contrary to popular belief, if you stay with a darker shade, you won't make yourself look bigger, but you will get attention, as red has that power!  The splurge comes from Neiman Marcus and is also available at other high-end department stores.  The 'What Goes Around Comes Around' pant is one of the most popular items in the online catalogs, and will make quite a statement when you wear it.  Unfortunately, it's not exactly easy to find a lower-priced counter part, but I did some searching and came up with two very good options.  The deal is from Spiegel, sold via amazon.com.  It's an attractive matte jersey pant, and though not silk, comparable in appearance to the "Splurge".  The steal is from Shape FX.  It's a knit pant, but the style is quite similar to the high end pant, giving a similar silhouette if not a similar feel.  It also has the advantage of a Shape FX tummy control panel.  The regular price for this one is similar to the deal, but since it's on sale, it's a definite steal at $34.00.  My pick here:  the splurge if you can afford it, otherwise, go for the steal.

A Sexy Dress

SPLURGEDEALSTEAL
splurgedealsteal
Ports 1961
Gathered Jersey Dress
$695.00
Nordstrom
MICHAEL Micheal Kors
Belted Shoulder Dress
$120.00
Neiman Marcus
Shape FX
Convertible Control Wrap Dress
$34.00
Newport News

There's nothing more alluring than a woman in red.  Songs have made immortal "the lady in red," and I can vouch from personal experience that men definitely react to that mesmerizing color.  The dresses I've chosen here are all appropriate for a special night out; each is form-fitting and beautiful.  The splurge, the Ports 1961 dress has a beautiful cut and is made of a cashmere jersey.  At $695 it's definitely a splurge for many of us, but well worth it if the budget allows.  The deal comes by way of one of my favorite designers, Michael Kors.  The dress has a flattering cut and is quite well made.  It's a great value at $120.  The steal is all-out va-va-voom!  It's made of a polyester jersey with a built in figure control slip.  The wrap allows you to wear the dress several different ways, changing the neckline or waist at whim.  You really should click on the link to see how many looks this one dress can pull off!  All three these dresses rank a "10" in my book and it was hard making a pick but I finally choose the deal.  Of the three, I do feel it is the most figure enhancing.  If you're very trim, or have a very flat stomach, the steal could be your best bet, but unless you do have a model's figure, the control slip can't give you one....maybe subtract a few pounds, but that's about it, so for my body type, I'm sticking with the Michael Kors because of the cut.


A Captivating Suit

SPLURGEDEALSTEAL
splurgedealsteal
RED Valentino
Lace Jacquard Bow-Waist Suit
$1,045.00
Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus
Asymmetrical Front Suit
$225.00
Neiman Marcus
Le Suit
Long-Sleeve Metallic Tweed
Pleated Jacket and Skirt
$200.00 $99.99
Macy's

These suits are all quite different; really, their only commonality is the color red.  Each suit would be a wonderful wardrobe addition, each offering its own flair.  The splurge, appropriately from the RED Valentino line, is a dream concoction of lace jacquard and signature Valentino ruffles.  It features a short skirt and a highly fitted bodice which is accented with a black bow.  Another Valentino signature.  I'm going to say upfront that this one would be my pick if I had the body for it, but since I don't and many others share my dilemma, we'll examine the other two.  This suit features a flattering knee-length skirt and a longer, belted jacket with a large face-framing collar.  It is constructed of a red stretch-sateen, that guarantees that the woman who wears it will be noticed.  And will probably be a force to be reckoned with as well.  The steal picks up on one of the season's hot trends, metallic tweed.  This one in a beautiful ruby color.  This suit boasts up to the minute fabric with classic styling.  Both the deal and the steal pick up on the  'Shimmer & Shine' trend, the first through the luster of the sateen and the second through the metallic threads woven into its fabrication.  It's a tought choice between these two.  Though I prefer the lines of the deal, I'm going to have to go with the steal this time because I feel the fabric is a bit more versatile.  The fact that its selling for half-price doesn't hurt either!


The Perfect Pump

SPLURGEDEALSTEAL
splurgedealsteal
Jimmy Choo
Peep-Toe Patent Platform Pump
$695.00
Neiman Marcus
Style & Co.
Celine Pump
$59.00
Macy's
Deb
Open-Toe Sueded Platform Pumps
$27.99
Deb

All three of these pumps feature a similar style; that of an peep-toe pump.  Jimmy Choo shoes are legendary, and this pump does not disappoint.  I love the balance of the shoe and the red patent leather on this one.  The deal from Style and Co. is a good pump that will last for several seasons, and the more muted shade of red is a great color to have in the closet.  The Deb pump is strictly fashion.  It has a great look, but is not as well made as the deal.  I do prefer the vibrancy of the steal, over the more muted deal, however.  On this one, I'm going to have to go with the splurge.  The high-end shoe will be a great deal more comfortable than its lower priced counterparts, and the classic style means that it will be a wardrobe staple for many years.

I hope you've enjoyed this little exploration of the color RED.  I think any of the items featured would make a wonderful wardrobe update, and add that special magic that comes  
with the color RED. Of course, I can't let a discussion of RED end without mention of one of my favorite REDS: that fabulous signature sole on Christian Louboutin shoes.

The shoe at right is one of his newest designs.  A piece of art in its own right, "Bianca" is covered in black and RED sequins that add a bit of bling to anything you care to wear with it, from formal gowns to blue jeans!  Until next time...




Stylishly yours,

Christian Louboutin

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