Fashion

Crazy for Culottes

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I noted a few months ago right after the Spring shows that I would never wear a pair of pants that fall somewhere short of ankle length. During fashion week, I was touting the virtues of the Proenza Schouler version of the wide-leg trouser, the culotte, but only assumed that as a woman who doesn’t soar to the highest heights, it just wouldn’t work. Too wide, not figure flattering. Well, I was wrong.

Begone skinny jeans! Three-quarter length hems might be tough to wear, but it was just a matter of time before culottesneither pants nor shorts, nor a midi skirt, would stream into our fashion consciousness. With all the elegance of a ball skirt and all the comfort of sweatpants, the culotte is going to be your go-to pant this summer, especially after consuming that highly desirable pint of ice cream. Trust me.

culottes

culottes

Why would I wear a sliced skirt? Here are my two reasons.

1. Comfort. Comfort is a state of mind, a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.With a higher rise and cropped length, it makes my waist look tiny, gives my hips some wiggle room and my legs look miles longer. and I can eat what I want without sucking anything in.

2. Freedom. To do my various spring and summer activities. Surfing excluded. Can’t you see gardening in these?

culottes

Unassumingly in vogue, this silhouette, loved by many and hated by some, has its naysayers. But whether this trend is universally accepted or not, I’m taking the plunge. These culottes, known as “panties” in French, raison d’être is just to clear up the confusion about its actual appearance and how they lie on the wearer.

I love this look and am thinking I might have just discovered my new uniform. What do you say about wide-legged freedom?

culottes

mother of pearl culottes. These are pre-fall get a similar pair here //  opening ceremony laser-cut leather top // sama eyewear get a similar pair here // zara clutch and sandals

Photography: Lydia Hudgens

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The Virtues of a White Shirt

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white shirtwhite shirt

isabel marant shirt // theory shorts // converse high tops // reed krakoff bag

Over the long holiday weekend, while away in a different city and totally out of my comfort zone, I felt lost without my jar of almond butter. AB is readily available, a reliable source of nourishment, and tastes good on everything from an apple, to matzoh, to eaten plain with a spoon right inside the jar.

In a similar fashion, I like to compare my love for almond butter to classic white shirts. As a creature of comfort, wherever I am, I like to have my white shirts, as they can be worn as a cover up over a bathing suit, belted over skinny jeans, or when you feel like you have nothing to wear. I have been rotating my favorites on a weekly basis since my love affair began a few years ago.

In a closet full of season-specific trends, the white dress shirt is the great equalizer, the bottom line, the very definition of a wardrobe staple. Paired easily with anything from boyfriend jeans to printed trousers or a ball skirt, it instantly adds a touch of cool masculinity. I’d like to think that has been true of my inclination since before Stella McCartney or Phoebe Philo reinvented the wheel, but those chances are slim. It’s effortless fashion at it’s best. See the above way of styling my shirt from work to weekend by adding a pair of Chucks.

If the spring runways were any indication, it’s a look that consistently interests designers too—from Altuzarra’s unbuttoned-to-there striped versions, to clean and crisp at Balenciaga, to Alexander Wang’s pajama sets.

There are three important facts about the white shirt that make it just awesome.

1. Versatility. It can be worn from work to a lazy Sunday to a red carpet and back again. Don’t forget the Tide stick.

2. Compatibility. It works with basically everything and nothing, all at once. Variety, is the key here.

3. Always in Fashion. No matter what the trends, nor the season, the white shirt will always be your friend, forever. The difference is you will have to replace it every year.

Everything I’ve see on the runways is in the stores and it’s time for action. I made a little selection of my favorites down below.

Bring on the almond butter.

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Fashion Formula

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rag-and-bone-sweater Rag and Bone Varsity Sweater, $395.00

The Real Deal.

When this tennis sweater on steroids hit the runways last fall, I wasn’t sure how it would translate to real life. I knew that I couldn’t wear the oversized sweater with a short skirt, as I am vertically challenged, but I knew that I could put my own spin on it. Hailing from the 80′s, this v-neck look is reminiscent of a dad sweater, but that’s cool with me.

Why I bought it.

I wanted to add a sporty twist to my wardrobe, forgoing the standard white T-shirt, without looking like a tennis pro. I added universally liked boyfriend jeans and open-toe sandals to the sweater equipped with a real plunging neckline. Easy, chic, flattering, and perfect for my end goal.

The Test.

The test of whether a piece is worth its weight or its hefty price rage, is calculating how many times you wear the garment divided by the price. So if the sweater in question is $395., I would need to wear it way over 10 times for it to be a worthwhile purchase. To date, I have put on this uniform five times, to meetings, to parties, and to hang out, and the simplicity of this three-piece look is what I was after here.

Truth be told, I see myself doing everything but sleeping in it.

rag & bone varsity sweater

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rag & bone varsity sweater

rag & bone varsity sweater

rag & bone varsity sweater

rag & bone varsity sweater

rag & bone v-neck sweater // acne studios jeans // tibi sandals

Photos: Lydia Hudgens

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Alexander Wang For H&M

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Over the weekend at Coachella, Alexander Wang sneakily announced his collaboration with power-retailer H&M over instagram causing tidal waves over the fashion community.

Judging by the success of Isabel Marant’s H&M collab o ‘ lab, it can only make sense that this marriage will work out. Wang is part of the new breed of designers that have managed to become household names while retaining their status among the downtown-cool set. To top if off, his energy is infectious.

Field lights cut on as a countdown clock appears, check out the cryptic take on the basketball shot clock, ended with the numbers 11:06, see: 15 second video below. When the timer runs out, “WANG X H&M” pops up alongside the numbers 11:06 — it’s probably safe to assume this means the line will hit November 6 of this year.

I can feel the excitement buzzing already, (I know it’s only April), but I’m not sure I can wait this long to get first dibs on this collection. Whose with me?

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Blue Crush

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Now that we can peel off our winter layers and revel in the fact that today will be in the mid-50′s!, spring has finally sprung. My closet is as clean as a whistle, and although I wonder what mother nature will pull on us next week, I won’t put away my lightweight coats just yet.

The good news is, I can finally see what has been hiding in the back of my closet, now that I have some space. The state of this affair always had the added bonus of finding fresh new pieces to fill that empty space. If that was the motivation behind my cleaning, so be it. Somebody, somewhere will be happy to own my stuff.

My threads have had to deal with the shock of normcore, and now they are going into garbage bags into somebody else’s blank box. Welcome to consciously uncoupling.

Now onto the topic of shopping, my drug of choice, how can I add my favorite pieces without breaking the bank? I like to raid other people’s closets for those special pieces that I am crushing on. I have a crush on all things blue, iridescent, and denim and want to add those basics to the mix. I recently purchased the Phoebe jean, and love the extra long cuff on the bottom. Paired with a pair of sandals, lose the jacket, it’s the perfect combo for the warmer months.

Blue faux fur

blue denim

blue faux fur

 marolli blue jacket, bag and top // MiH jeans // fitbit // rag & bone booties // gabriella artigas necklace

iridescent bag

blue denim

 photos: Lydia Hudgens

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Test Driving a Trend

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Among one of the great questions of life is should one ever wear a skirt over pants? I have been deliberately eschewing this Spring fashion trend of wearing skirts over pants, but let’s focus a minute on this layering technique.

I can distinctly remember the look of tiny bondage skirts over tight black pants worn in the 90′s, better known as S.O.P, which always looked a bit trashy. The combination of ball gowns worn over pants seen on the red carpets of late, can only be rocked by Emma Watson and none other. So where does that leave us mere mortals?

It is an unwritten rule that petite women should never wear skirts over pants because a. vertically challenged in the calf and thigh department, mine measure at a mean 31 inches, don’t warrant all that attention and b. working out on the elliptical machine and doing multiple FlyBarre classes may help firm up those calves and thighs, but who wants to draw attention to a body part that isn’t our best feature. For the record, Naomi Campbell’s lengthy pins clock in at or around 37 inches long, certainly making for better eye candy.

As the trend filtered from runway to red carpet and filtered to the streets of New York and Paris, I had a A HA! moment. Trying something way out of my comfort zone means experimenting with the stuff that I was otherwise afraid to try. I put on this long high low sheer top over wide leg pants and when paired with a simple white jacket it imitates the entire look. Breezy, with an additional lift in the back, this is how you will find me wearing the S.O.P. Tricky, tricky, tricky.

sheer top over pants

sheer top over pants

rag & bone chiffon high low top // h&m jacket get a similar one here// chloe pants // pierre hardy shoes // laura vela clutch

You will either love it or hate it, that’s the wide-spread truth of fashion polarization. For me, the jury is still out on the S.O.P.  Frankly, just another way to ignore the fact that I can’t stand to put on another pair of skinny jeans right now.

Where do you stand on this? I’m teetering on heels on those cobblestone streets in the Meat Packing District.

photos: Lydia Hudgens

You can shop my look below or on the above photo:

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Transitions

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I spent the rainy March weekend cleaning out my closet. My mantra is it shouldn’t take me longer than 10 minutes to get dressed but I have struggled of late to make this happen. The challenge stems from not being able to find items quickly and efficiently in my closet. Are you with me here?  It always amazes me how when I de-clutter the stuff that just lingers in my closet, I don’t miss it. I started purging my clothes, and then moved to housewares and old CD’s.

I found this picture for inspiration to start.

color coordinated closet

photo: The Container Store

Then I started tearing it apart. But before you do anything drastic, there are certain rules of thumb that I abide by when I start my Spring cleaning. Here are my tips:

Start sorting.

Make one pile for items to move to a winter closet, one to sell, one for donations, and one for giveaways to people you know, and then one for throwaways. I also make a pile that I let “marinate” in my room. It is for the items that I think I might want to grab, but haven’t touched in over 6 months. I label it and date it six to 12 months hence, and if I don’t open it by then, I toss it.

Set the rules.

Decide what you are going to do with stained, worn, or wrong-size items. We all have them! To streamline the process even more, hang all remaining items backwards, and turn them around each time they are worn. If anything is still backwards in a year, out it goes.

Resist using a storage facility.

If you have trouble discarding heirlooms or those pieces that you might pass down to your kids even though you’re not even married yet, forget about it. Take a picture instead and hold onto that for keepsake. It’s the memory you’re holding onto, not the thing.

Recycle.

It’s almost Spring, and who says that we can’t recycle old outfits that we once wore and loved?  I wore this outfit last August when it was just starting to get chilly, and will wear it again in March when it is just starting to warm up again. These are great transition pieces — a great leather jacket, a black and white striped shirt, and white track pants that blend seamlessly into Fall, and out of Winter. Perhaps on a day like today, I would wear booties instead of open toe shoes featured below. Don’t be afraid to recycle your fashion, I know I’m not.

black leather jacket

black leather jacket

Photos: Lydia Hudgens

black and white striped shirt

FYI, in a few weeks time, I will also be renting my clothes out, a cool new concept brought to you by Kookopa. Can’t wait to share the news!

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On My Radar

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Now that the heavy winds have blown over, I am clearly ready for Spring. Today I am sharing with you a few of my spring wardrobe wants and desires in the fashion department. Baby blue and a hint of yellow are a welcome addition to a softer pallete as the cold winter finally draw to a close.  I can’t wait for the forsythia to start blooming — one of the first true signs of Spring.

Spring wardrobe

Starting with the T by Alexander Wang shirt, paired with these Karen Millen patchwork denim dip-dye jeans and this polished silver bold All Saints  necklace. As for those accessories, these Stella McCartney cat-eye sunglasses are on my hit list and the NARS baby blue pencil from Selfridge’s and NARS nail polish are in my cart as I type this. This Edie Parker acrylic box clutch is a must-have for the season and if you really need a reason to smile, Del Toro can help you out by just looking down. :) And why not smell nice while you’re at it? Versace, Versace. BOOM.

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Spring Fling

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Spring weather may not be officially here yet, cue today’s 40 miles per hour winds. But springtime events occurring in April, May, and June are creeping slowly into our collective radars. If you’ve been to a mall recently, you know that prom season is upon us. Ah, prom. Graduation. they are rites of passage. How about Spring Fling? “What is Spring Fling?” I ask my daughter as she furiously searches the black hole that is the world-wide web for a dress. Just another reason to get dressed up, MOM.

Picking out that perfect dress though. that’s another story entirely. How about renting the dress of your dreams for the one night of fairy-tale promises? I bet Cinderella would have been psyched. The want: An all-white sheath with a little bit of edge.

Enter Rent the Runway, a one-stop shop for that one special night that turns into a pumpkin at midnight.

Rent the Runway

I hit upon Rent the Runway many times before but this time my daughter was on the hunt so she came on board. She initially set on this Hervé Leger white dress featured down below. The deep V was too low-cut for her liking and so was the price. But she like other girls entering adulthood might not otherwise get to wear high-end designer dresses for another 10-20 years. A positive experience in an otherwise unaffordable designer’s dress can – and usually does – lead to future purchases. It also creates buzz around the hot, new designer’s creations. With “fast fashion” retailers like Zara  and H&M selling designer knock-offs for less, Rent the Runway has found a way to reverse the trend toward commoditization of designer labels while simultaneously helping the environment. And an added benefit, designers who rent their gowns through Rent the Runway get exposure to a core group of new customers, mostly in their mid-twenties.

Herve Leger

After trying on several dresses, this Opening Ceremony was a top contender.

Peter Soronen

Rent the Runway

dannijo necklace and bracelet // manolo blahnik shoes

And the winner was…this Peter Soronen white-hot sequined dress.

Peter Soronen

Rent the Runway is just starting to tap the teen and college market, but this is only the start – their new bricks-and-mortar store in Manhattan brings Internet retail to the streets. With 50,000 unique inventory items, Rent the Runway aims to be your closet full of clothes. There is no doubt you’ll surely find something to wear like my hard to please teenager.

 

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Cool Culottes

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We are “technically” into spring now and although New York is predicting another darn snowstorm tomorrow!, it’s not stopping me from doing some major spring cleaning. Although I haven’t quite hit that warm-weather stride just yet, as what was 60 degrees on Saturday, is a freezing a high of 30 today. So,that leaves us wondering what will be the key power players in our wardrobes when it does warm up?

I am officially sick of my skinny jeans by now but I also can’t seem to warrant wearing sweatpants either. I will do a pencil skirt for going out, but as for pant options.. remember those split skirts back in the day? I had a few pair in light denim; they were awesome then and are even better now. Culottes are officially the new must-have pants for spring. They were originally developed to provide women more freedom to do activities such as gardening, gardening, cleaning, bike riding, etc. and still look like one is wearing a skirt.

I especially love these cropped flare pants from Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler

I faced this dilemma over the weekend when I wanted to wear a crop top but wasn’t loving the current bottom pairings in my closet. Truthfully, I’m on the fence about whether or not a vertically challenged girl like me, can rock this look but only time will tell.

Check out my picks starting with the Alexander Wang crop top, and let me know whether you can challenge your style and your wardrobe by adding one of these babies down below.

culottes

 

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