A print from hubby’s dresser drawer

I guess it’s the cabin fever, but I’m already looking ahead, past the 8″ of snow, and into the sunny future. Here’s one item that sparked a warm weather print obsession for me, I literally can’t stop thinking of new ways to wear this.

…Because I never thought I’d ever really fall for camoflauge print, or “cami” as it’s called in our house. My hubby, former Marine, wears it regularly. My sons both love cami. It’s one pattern I see plenty of, and yet? This XCVI brand, full-length skirt stole my heart, why? I don’t know.

The fabric is silky smooth, and the ruched panels add a delicacy to the masculinity of the print — I do like to play with blending masculine and feminine in my wardrobe. And I can’t seem to get away for long from my love of a long hem, be that a maxi dress, or a skirt like this.

First, I imagined myself in my black camisole, black & chunky Candies sandals, and my bright yellow Choo purse. Or my black ankle booties, a white wife beater, and a black purse. Then, I imagined my thin yellow tshirt over a white camisole, and yellow wedges with a white purse.

And that’s about the point that the beauty of cami finally hit me. It can be worn with nearly any color, not just a “jungle palette,” and you can make it work. I guess I’m channeling my inner Gwen Stefani (circa 1994).

It’s the only camoflauge I’ve got in the closet for me (so far) but I have to admit to loving it, for some odd reason, right now. Urban chic? Military street wear? Not usually my cuppa. Curious, I looked up more info on the designer.

Here’s a quote from the XCVI website, “Itching to expand her horizons beyond theater direction and acting, Gita Zeltzer began conceptualizing XCVI in the mid 1990s. She was influenced by the multi-layered cultural element of Los Angeles, California, and she saw the “urban chaos” as a muse. …It was in 1996 (or XCVI, in roman numerals) that Gita introduced the first season of XCVI from a storefront on the famed Melrose Avenue.”

Well, I do love to find new designers. For now, I’ll stick with just a hint of cami in the closet. (Although, I was daydreaming today of a harem pant/drawstring capri in cami. Something I could wear to show off my calves and high heels? Pair it with a halter style top?)

When I can’t stop thinking about it, that tells me something.

Published in: on January 29, 2010 at 11:19 am  Comments (3)  

2009, a look back

I had a few homemade photo ops this year, but I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of my (good & bad) outfits from this past year. 

This was from last winter, and it was the winter I used this Dooney & Bourke almost nonstop. Black Annalisa leather, I thought it sounded like my name. Here’s a black kitty sweater with Levis, that are too loose. Tighter would be more flattering. And (dusty!) black Michael Kors suede booties. (Our dog is such a camera hog, ain’t he? Getting in my shot, sheesh).

This spring, I fell in love with Hermes’ Birkin bags. But I don’t have $10K to spend on a bag (yet). So this cute inspired (Never Counterfeit!) Birkin became mine and here I am taking it out for errands. Levis are too loose again. Can’t see them, but I thought my Vans shoes with Chinese dragons were the bomb. The dog chewed them shortly after this pic was taken. This New York and Co. olive blazer is another go-to item of mine, especially with the boyfriend look so prevalent this year.

My first Chanel! A vintage double flap in black patent, which I save for special occasions. This no-name leopard dress is a favorite, I wore it a lot this spring and summer for dinners out. The leopard shoes are cheapies, but I love how the black patent detail on the toe sets off the Chanel’s black patent. Usually I’d shy from matching a leopard dress with leopard shoes, but something about the color change makes it work, in my mind. Love Thy Flap!

Never wore this outfit, actually; the dress is too tight, but maybe next summer I’ll feel differently. Those Chanel inspired shoes get me so many compliments, and I love my white Jimmy Choo which I used a lot this summer. Let’s not forget the cutest “accessory” of them all, my youngest.

Got this killer Marc Jacobs Softy Tote last summer too, and here I am on the day it arrived. It’s rarely taken out though because it weighs over 5 pounds when filled! I carry the baby, I don’t need to carry my handbag-baby too. I threw the olive blazer (mentioned previously) on for the picture. Too hot to wear it out that day. But it dresses up a camisole and jean shorts real fast and easy. White Candies wedges… another victim of the dog’s teeth. I rarely leave shoes out, but if I forget even once? Forget it.

My anniversary gift! The vintage Chanel tote in black lambskin. I’ve not yet worn it out of the house, I’m petrified of using it while out with the kids. I know this phase will pass once the toddler becomes a boy, but for now? It’s an art piece. The Banana Republic top, which I thought was Missoni-esque, became an instant favorite for the fall, and I loved it with this Charter Club skirt I had from last year. Paisley skirt and strong patterned top? Sometimes fashion risks pay off and actually work!

Loved this outfit so much that when my birthday present arrived, an orange Birkin inspired leather bag from my favorite Italian bag maker, I used it to show off the orange colors of the clothes with the POP of a bag. This bag I used for over a month straight this fall; typically I change bags nearly daily. I’m allowing my face to stay in this pic, even without makeup, to show off the new Chanel frames I got this fall as well. I live in these glasses. Love love love!

People think you can’t wear orange without wearing orange colored clothing, but here I am in gray, navy and black palette clothing, and the orange bag pops the somewhat drab colored outfit. New York and Co. paisley skirt, Alfani blazer, and cheapie gray, suede midcalf boots. The only color palette I couldn’t rock orange with were pastels.

 Alright, it was my birthday and my face underwent makeup therapy, so here’s a full shot of me and my birthday DVF dress, with an Oscar de la Renta black blazer over it, before leaving for the theatre and dinner with hubby that night. A rare occassion, to be kid-free! I celebrate by wearing some high heels, and bring out the beloved Chanel flap. The cheapie heels have red soles, but they’re not those red soles. Also, I did my hair in a French twist, with a spill of curls from the top. Easy and pretty! 

 The dress is a gorgeous and slinky jersey knit that just hugs the body and feels so comfortable. The assymetrical shoulder was another big trend this year, but for me? I was all over the animal print and the DVF style. On trend or not, I’ll wear it for years to come. The jewelry was a set of pretty topaz stones, and matching earrings.

Here’s an October day and I’m goofing around for my Bravo girls, showing off my new Rachel Zoe oversized sunglasses. Christian Dior houndstooth blazer, Tommy Hilfiger jeans (back in my pre-pregnancy jeans! ones that fit!), Colin Stuart black suede booties. I’m seriously working it, with kid leather gloves, blingy bracelets and the fox fur scarf my best friend gifted me. I went to breakfast and then out to buy tires that day, but damn. Didn’t I shut the tire place down?

And that’s it for 2009! More blog posts in 2010, and until then… stay beautiful, you gorgeous people!

Published in: on December 18, 2009 at 12:12 pm  Comments (2)  

My best fashion steals of the year

After saving and waiting, I’ve been doing my Christmas shopping early… for me!  Landed this $445 Jean Paul Gaultier skirt, new with tags, for under $50! I can’t wait to unravel the print and hold it in my hands. I love how the paisley pattern dissolves into the bold waves and back again. Pair it in summer with solid color camisoles and black mules, in winter with a turtleneck in a complimentary color, and throw a black blazer on over it all for warmth. Black boots, white purse for a pop (or red!). Voila!

 I couldn’t stop thinking about these Roberto Cavalli jeans, love at first sight. $365 retail, new with tags, but not for me. Another under $50 masterpiece.

 I once had a dream I had beautiful Art Nouveau tattoos all over my legs, and when I awoke I was actually saddened to discover it wasn’t true. I love the peacock tail, I cannot even begin to imagine all the colors and looks these jeans can help create. They’re wearable art. Extravagently Cavalli. 

 I’ll start by wearing them with my lime green, Kelly inspired handbag.

 And these I couldn’t resist… John Galliano “Soldat” (solider) style jeans, not new and not exactly vintage either, but only 99 cents!!! Winter, summer… dress them up with heels or booties to show off the asymmetrical hem which is shorter in front than back, or tuck them into my knee-length black boots during winter. I wore them for Thanksgiving dinner with our relatives.

And, the piece de resistance… because I actually don’t have a little black dress in my wardrobe. Until now!

 Zac Posen with just a hint of stretch, retail $1500. Mine for under $100. That’s nearly 95% off! I did the happy dance after this auction ended. I have no idea where to wear this incredible dress, but when the occassion arises I will be ecstatic.

 Check out the fabric’s cross grain effect beneath the hips, which breaks up the expanse of blackness. The dress makes a perfect canvas for a statement necklace, and the strap is removable for even more glamour.

Not that I have any red carpet moments coming up… but listen up, Universe! I’m prepared! Besides, all the world’s a stage, and why not make an excuse for a night out with the hubby (without the kids in tow for a change)?

I know it’s only the 1st, but Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good buy!

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm  Comments (1)  

Fall closet cravings

I crave clothes… maxi dresses in the Summer, and for Fall? Seasonal prints to help me coast into Winter, with boots and booties galore.

 Let’s start with my leopard print addiction. In my defense, this is one trend that comes around so often you can be sure classically-styled pieces will serve your wardrobe for years to come. This is true more than ever when you find something vintage — be that a scarf or hat, to full length swing coat.

Think of it as a spice for your wardrobe, use it often but remember a little bit goes a long way.

 Another killer print… red plaid, or red tartan as the case may be. Beautifully classic for the holiday season, but it can also be worn year round. I’m loving flirty length skirts and dresses that fall just above the knee that can be worn in warmer weather with a black pump, or throw on a black leather jacket, black tights and black knee high boots, and voila. Winter wear without freezing!

 The over-the-knee high boot is another big trend this season, but I prefer boots that go to the knee instead. I’ll leave the thigh-highs to the 20-somethings. And it’s another wardrobe piece you can pull on any year, and feel great (and cozy) in. I like a chunkier boot heel to give me some solidity, while still getting the lifted look from the heel. Jeans, tucked in or out, or skirts and dresses. Very versatile, and practical once the snow arrives.

 Speaking of secure treading in winter weather, the lug sole trend has got me. I love how these booties marry masculine and feminine into one cohesive piece! Last year, a beloved Vince Camuto ombre patent leather, high heel buckle ankle bootie died a terrible death upon only the third wear. This season I found a Colin Stuart black suede, buckle ankle bootie to ease the sorrow of the one that got away last season. Great for jeans, great for black tights and that plaid dress, pictured above!

…But the lug sole just barely proportions out the danger of teetering on this 5″ heel. Icy outside? Not so much.

Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Henna body art designs

Let’s take a moment to talk about something I know a LOT about… henna! I’ve been a freelance henna artist since 2001, and I really love this little plant.

 Henna, or “mehndi” as it is known in Hindi, is a plant that is used to create temporary body art when made into a paste and painted on the skin. The paste releases its dye onto the upper epidermal layer of skin, and as your skin exfoliates, the design disappears. Typically, a henna design will last about 7-14 days.

This is what henna paste looks like, when painted on the skin. The paste appears black, and often can be istaken as a “finished” look. Instead, the longer the henna paste is worn on the skin, the darker and longer lasting the resulting stain will be. This is due to the dye within the paste having sufficient time to deposit into several layers of the skin’s “strata” of the epidermis.

This is what a henna design looks after paste is removed. You can see the resulting design is a reddish, terracotta brown color.

Natural henna is very safe for folks to wear, but unfortunately there is a product that calls itself “black henna” which is NOT safe. “Black henna” often contains a chemical known as PPD (Para-phenylendiamene) which is known to cause oozing lesions and chemical burns.

Listen to Alissa! Stay Away From Black Henna! (Click it for photo examples of PPD injuries).

If you decide to have a henna done, ask your artist what is in her paste (if she refuses to tell you, that is a BIG red flag!) Also, ask her what color your finished design will be. Real henna never results in a black colored design, and real henna only lasts about 7-14 days, because it disappears as your skin exfoliates.

If you buy your own henna kit, be sure to read over the ingredients (some kits contain black walnut powder which can be extremely hazardous to those with nut allergies). I recommend avoiding premade pastes, which can contain a host of chemicals, and to mix your own (it’s what I do). Once you are certain you’ve got the real stuff to play with, paint and enjoy!

[Henna designs in this post are works I have done for my clients, and are copyright to me.]

Published in: on September 26, 2009 at 9:13 am  Comments (3)  

Recessionistas, rejoice!

“Fresh,” “funny” and “inspirational” are blase descriptives, so instead I’ll let you pick the monikers to describe this blog which I created as a way to reach out to other fashion addicts who aren’t located in New York, Paris or Milan, but still yearn for the excitement and exuberance of the fashion world.

Is couture only for the elite? The price tags might be, but I’m a self-confessed ebay addict and lover of fashion (especially vintage) so although I don’t have oodles to spend, I’ve spent years making every penny count when investing in my wardrobe and myself.

So I’m not rich, and I’m not in New York. And I bet you aren’t either. And that’s why I started this blog.  The online world is my shopping mall of choice, so wherever I shop, you can too. Check back for updates on fashion finds that the discriminating recessionista can indulge herself in. Ebay won’t be the only online shopping outlet I’ll be scouring to find your killer deals and steals, but it will be featured often, so check back frequently to stay current on auctions, stores’ sales and the most current deals and absolute steals.

A woman needs more than clothes on her back to be her best. Makeup, perfume, beauty products, at-home spa treatments… I intend to tell you about my every great find. No paid endorsements, just an actual user’s opinions. Your contributions are welcome, so comment frequently (speak up, kittens!) and keep reading.

Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 1:47 pm  Leave a Comment