Sunday, August 15, 2010

A cut above

I say this with intentions of expressing as little narcissism as possible, but I was kind of fashionably precocious as a high-schooler. Precocious meaning I was just very aware of what was out there, beyond Greenville's pastel-grosgain-ribbon-lined gates of Lilly Pulitzer and Trina Turk. That being said, when my friends were browsing prom dresses from the familiar lot of BCBG, etc., I wasn't satisfied, looking to shopbop and Singer22 for inspiration. I finally settled on the ever-statement-making alice + olivia Poof Paillette Dress in canary yellow.

My graduation dress, though, was another story. I remember feeling helpless when presented with the mission of finding a simple white dress, and making it my own. It sounded easy enough, but how would I find a dress that so perfectly conveyed my blossoming transformation from awkward, ugly duckling to Wake Forest-bound success story? After browsing endlessly online and in local boutiques, I fell in love with the Deep V-neck dress by Catherine Malandrino. With its thick pintuck straps and laser-cut flower cutouts at the hem, this delicate little number was perfect for my petite frame and its babydoll fit accentuated my tiny waist.

My graduation dress, shown here in black.
 Deep V-neck dress in black
Catherine Malandrino, $400

"Successfully merging Parisian flair with New York cool, Malandrino's clothes are intricately cut, colorful bursts of subtle sophistication." 

Since then, I haven't been able to associate the Catherine Malandrino brand with anything but fashion-forward elegance. Browsing her Pre-Fall 2010 collection, I am in awe of how inspiring the separates and dresses are. The line ranges from neutral beiges and creams to some popping reds and canary yellows to keep fashionistas' interests. I would wear variations of a number of looks in the collection, as they most notably employ the use of heavy and light layering and a mixture of textures. The skirts vary from dancer-chic swingy silk to gladiator-inspired pleated leather, so Malandrino has gone above and beyond with her creativity for this season. Featuring some lighthearted floral resort pieces, it's apparent that there is still a hint of summer involved with this collection, coupled with the more serious black jumpsuits and fringed leather vest. All in all, looks 22, 31, 33 and 64 are my favorites, but all of my top selections stated here convey my basic principles of balance and understated luxury.


Long live Malandrino.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer's last hurrah

So as summer winds down, I'm at the annual transitional crossroads between summer and fall. It's not quite Indian Summer or autumn yet, but my favorite seasons are approaching and I can hardly wait. The only dilemma I have is exactly how to allot my budget. I've been dying to get a solid pair of cognac gladiator platform wedges. Should I give them a chance now that it's mid-August, or move on to black tuxedo stilettos, something that can be paired with a peacoat and opaque tights? Wow. Maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself.

Regardless, there are still a good lot of sandals that I've been lusting over, the majority of which are by Dolce Vita. I recently purchased a pair of black/gold ecoté flat gladiators from Urban Outfitters for under $30. These will get the job done for pulling together my usual homeless-chic outfits (a term of endearment), but don't provide the extra oomph that a pair of leather wedges do. After searching obsessively for the past three days and nights, below are my options to celebrate the last leg of summer.

Dolce Vita >> Raleigh >> $170: Raleigh wins the "Most Likely to Be Purchased" award. I'm hell-bent on making the cognac color mine, but they're sold out almost everywhere in my size. All three colors are great neutral shades to tie together any outfit combination. I can easily envision myself wearing a simple black crop top with my Joe's Jeans jean shorts uncuffed carrying an oversize satchel and aviators and sporting any one of these shoes. Then again, these wedges could also go well with J Brand cigarette leg dark jeans and a slouchy wool sweater for fall and winter. Sooooo many options, therefore, a must-have. And I'm not just being impulsive.

Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent >> Luella >> $405: I am obsessed with Cynthia Vincent's line of wedges for S/S 10. Every single pair makes my heart smile because of all the versatility it could provide to one's wardrobe. These shoes look like they'd go great with cuffed boyfriend shorts and a wrinkled plaid button down as well as any pair of jeans for fall. These pictures make the shoe look a little more rugged than I'm sure it really is, but even then, it gives off a tough-girl vibe and is ready to be paired with more lighthearted pieces for a to-die-for outfit.

Dolce Vita >> Helix >> $173: These shoes are something else. A hybrid loosely reminiscent of grommet-studded clogs, buckled gladiator sandals and espadrille wedges, the Helix is the genius creation of Dolce Vita to serve as the ultimate versatile shoe. These shoes are brilliant, gorgeous, playful and structured-- all at the same time. With the "x" straps at the toes, the parallel buckle straps and the side cutouts, the designers clearly employed shapes as being an important concept to the finished product. I love.

Dolce Vita >> Reno 2 >> $80: Different from many non-espadrille wedges, these shoes don't feature buckles or side straps because of they're basically the girly sandal cousin to high top sneakers. I love these shoes for a number of reasons, number one being that they're totally unexpected. It's certain shoes like these, that are strange upon first glance, but warrant a second look upon turning away. Like the Raleigh sandal, these shoes have those interesting Dolce Vita cutouts on the side that add an extra hint of fun. The platinum silver color is most definitely my favorite-- the black, white or tan are just too Robin Hood for me.

J. Crew >> Cleo >> $165: There are always those families of products, that when presented together, complement each other so well that a customer is rendered helpless but to want to buy the whole lot of them. That's exactly what these wedges do to me every time I look at them together. These shoes give off a much more refined look than the other trendier sandals, but they still reflect summer, romance and femininity. The grey sandal is definitely the underdog here. I first overlooked it, then realized how unbelievably cool that white heel was. The light brown is pretty self-explanatory, but the dark brown might look a little too earthy unless paired with riskier pieces.

Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent >> Mason >> $350: These are my dream shoes right now. Literally everything about this shoe is perfect (besides the price, ouch). I would wear these shoes every day if I got them; they're that versatile. These shoes are totally channeling petite celebs like Rachel Bilson and Nicole Richie, and that's why I love them. The buttery camel leather paired with the tougher gold buckle detailing is what makes the shoe so high-quality and perfect. Definitely my favorite in this set.

Dolce Vita >> Rozene >> $199: I know, I know. These shoes are crazy at first glance, but when you take a step back, they're definitely more refined than you'd expect. The shoe is covered with cresenct-moon cutouts and studs, but that doesn't detract from its versatility at all. I can totally imagine petite girls wearing this shoe stepping out on Melrose in two long, layered barely-there tanks and jean shorts for daytime, or a vest and skinny jeans bar-hopping at night. This is such a vest shoe, and it's amazing that one look can determine that. It's like being fashion-psychic... definitely a resume booster.

So yes, a loaded post indeed. Now that I've finished raving about all these shoes, it's time for me to go and do something about it. The outfit combos are endless, and I'm just getting started.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inflection point

It's miserable and embarrassing that I'm going back to school, yet have only posted a total of twice this summer. I guess my 100-mph lifestyle this summer has finally caught up with me - Exhibit A being a comment my uncle made (partially at my expense), gingerly describing my appearance as "partied out... but good" because it seemed I had found my niche in New York City after only a few months... "Sorry I'm not sorry."

My style has evolved quicker than ever interning in Chelsea, the neighborhood so saturated by portfolio-toting models that style anywhere else just can't compare. I've permanently traded in my sad Rainbow flip-flops for Sam Edelman cowboy boots as my footwear go-to's, and frat function crewneck tees for oversized, slouchy v-neck tops. Honestly, a white Fruit of the Loom undershirt paired with my exposed-pocket 7FAM shorts and the boots, accessorized only with my Ann Taylor LOFT single-strand gold necklace and Diesel sunglasses, is good enough for me to down some Colombian roast and be out the door. This look involves loads more substance than does any given Lilly polo or Tory Burch logo sweater matched with some yawn-inducing J. Crew 3-inch inseam chino shorts. Bye.

Carolina Cup 2010 AKA Preppy Heaven

As I went on my annual before-school spree, I noticed I was still being drawn to monochromatic pieces that complete a more androgynous look, the style I've nurtured after being constantly exposed to girls and guys exuding the textbook definition of effortless downtown chic. I thought to myself, if this is my look now, why stop? Why allow Wake's suffocating style palette of Jack Rogers sandals (vom) and Vineyard Vines everything to dictate the pieces I appreciate? I'm more certain than ever in my style and the aesthetics I appreciate; naysayers can kindly go fuck themselves.

This entire set is comprised of items I own (the necklace and mini-satchel are the only stand-ins), so this is a taste of a typical outfit on my end these days. I do find it ironic, though, that the outfit's main pieces both seem to channel borrowing from your boyfriend's wardrobe when in reality, I feel this is a uniform to convey newfound sentiments of confidence and control.

 V-neck Boyfriend Tee
Forever 21, $5

Boyfriend Shorts with Liberty Pocket Lining
7 For All Mankind, $160

Nile Short Cowboy Boot
Sam Edelman, $189
DS 0194 HAI
Diesel, $120
Vintage Snake Chain Necklace
Bop Bijoux, $98

Totally Turnlock Percy Cross Body Bag
Marc by Marc Jacobs, $198

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.