Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Dad, My Fashion Muse. Kind Of...

I have watched my dad wear his Bean Boots and Woolrich Wool Coat for years. It never even crossed my mind that my dad had great style. You could ask my mom about this, and she wouldn't always agree, because my dad has also been known to wear his slippers and fleece pants out and about for more than a day. What can I say, he's a creature of comfort.

This is my dad here...
But I have always admired the simple style he often presents; how it really works on him, his subtle plaid button downs with his slightly baggy Girbaud Jeans. He's a man of practical fashion, which is very much the person I am becoming.
I love over the top fashion, don't get me wrong. I still love outfit changes, playing with accessories, and dreaming of those amazing black wedge ankle boots that I have yet to find, but I also enjoy down to earth style. There is no patchouli oil in my future, but there may be a few more plaid shirts.

For Christmas this year, I asked for some Bean Boots from L.L. Bean. I love the classic look they offer with either skinny jeans or relaxed, opened or laced up, and they also protect your feet! Believe me, I am not just now realizing these boots exist, its just that I have taken a whole new approach on them as a fashion item. L.L. Bean grew their business solely on their Bean Boots ( no pun intended there...), but it took me years of seeing my dad wearing them and older, more conservative women rocking the moccasins to make me realize, they are awesome. Kind of like how at first Lady Gaga really bothered me, now I cant get enough of her.

I also am obsessed with these wool coats from Woolrich. In years past, I would cringe at the thought of wool on my skin. Whenever I would see a movie or TV show where someone fell into ice cold water, and then get rescued and covered in a green wool blanket, I would gag. I would rather freeze than dry off with that. However, I experimented and found that with layers, you can't even feel the itchiness of the wool, and low and behold, it really does keep you toasty warm!

Not everything in a closet has to be designer or expensive. Taking a page out of the 60's or the 70's can really enhance modern style. Opening Ceremony does a great job with this philosophy ( though they are a little pricey.) This vest and flannel work well together, like a perfect marriage. However, separately, not so much.

Branch out, dig through your moms ( or dads) closet and see what you can find! I bet you will be surprised!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Somewhat Random Gift Guide

Over the years, I've had to get creative with my gift giving. For one, I don't like just buying a gift because its what you're supposed to do. Another reason is that in years past I really didn't have money to spend on my five other family members and their kids. These two predicaments have brought upon some good and I have come up with some great ( I think) ideas that have made a lasting impression:

If you are broke, food is the way to go. Back in my early twenties, I made everyone I knew chocolate and butterscotch covered pretzels dipped in sprinkles. They were a hit! Its very basic, because that's the only way I can cook. You melt the chocolate or whatever flavor chips, dip in the little pretzels, sprinkle sprinkles, let them harden... and voila! ( They could look like those there on the left. I used mini pretzels, more bang for your buck!)

If you want to really do something different, make a plate! (or at least hire someone to do it). My sister's family is growing and I wanted to get one big thing for all of them. I found this company online that made all sorts of great plates and platters. I was able to tell the artist exactly what I wanted and she made the most adorable platter that they use all the time! It was under $100, which I thought was pretty fantastic. ( That's it over there on the right... yeah, that's my spray paint censor. Privacy Act.)

I enjoy giving gift cards, but only if they make sense. I mean, when does Starbucks not make sense, but all the others I try and stay away from. Aside from Starbucks, I think gift cards are great for the right person. Podcasts and Audio Books are all the rage, but the cost of buying them adds up. I found some pretty appreciative recipients of this one.

Anything photo related for the grandparents or parents. Seriously, I know its stereotypical, but its true. I actually just framed a picture of me at Mile Six during the NYC Marathon for my dad on his birthday, and he cried. Mission accomplished. Shutterfly has a whole store of ideas, as well as others like SnapFish.

And how excited would you be, if someone gifted you US Weekly or People? Magazine Gift Subscriptions are always a winner.

The bottom line for me has become about practical gift giving. No one wants a bunch of stuff they don't have room for or have to go into hell, also known as the mall, to return the thing. When I was younger, I of course asked for dolls and clothes, and watched as my older siblings opened pots and pans and housewares. I swore I would never ask for such boring gifts, but here I am, asking for these exact things, and I tell ya, they really fill a need.

Don't get me wrong, the lavish stuff is fun. But in the end, I most remember the small, more creative gifts that stay with me years to come. Feel free to shop off my list and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Knockoffs: Not Just Canal Street.

I always thought knockoff fashion happened only in places like Canal Street and in small corners and alleys of major cities. It got so bad once that Kate Spade ( and others) took out an ad in WWD calling out those thieves and threatening them with a law suit. I expect this type of behavior from the vendors down on those streets, not from someone like Anthropologie.

I was in the store this weekend and did buy a fabulous dress. And while I was in line to pay, I browsed the jewelry. What caught my eye was their Corvus Earrings. Many times on this blog, I have highlighted Objets d'Envy. They have been a client of Kick PR for over a year and the collections get great press and a lot of buzz. So, its no surprise that someone at Anthropologie probably saw the Objets d'Envy Crystal Ball Earrings. It should have ended there, but it didn't.

Click HERE for the Corvus and HERE for the Crystal Balls.

The Corvus Earring is the exact replica of the Crystal Ball Earring that Kirsten Goede, designer of Objets d'Envy, hand made five years ago! The difference? Price of course, and most important, quality. The Corvus is made of metal and glass, whereas the Crystal Ball was again, handmade and uses Swarovski Crystal and gold fill. Oh, and these were the original design.

I know when you are up against someone like Anthropologie, you don't have a leg to stand on, but this really upsets me. I get to know my designers really well, and I get sad when something like this happens, because the credit can be taken away. Small designers work so hard day and night to create special and unique collections, and then someone like Anthropologie comes in, copies the design, and takes the credit.

So, the message I guess is to keep shopping emerging designers. Often, the inspiration in many big stores comes from someone whose not getting the credit. I know it happens all the time, and maybe I'm most upset because its something close to me, but it gets me thinking more about this industry. Of course there will be cross over in trends and designs, and that's normal. But to copy something exact, not cool.

Shop Objets d'Envy this holiday season. Support emerging fashion and help give credit where its due.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Holiday List Scares Me.

My birthday is two days before Christmas, so its natural I spend a lot of time in December wishing and wanting. Well, actually I wish and want all year. Every week or two I like to go on to and play. Some people play video games, I play dress up ( and so does my dog Elton.)

Anyway, this year the tally for my wish-list is a mere $15,420. Don't you think that's justifiable? Take a look! We've got a fabulous coat that I can't stop thinking about from Preen, a luxuriously silky blouse from Donna Karan, wool twisted pants from Aminaka Wilmot ( they surprised me, I love them.) funky suede wedges from Osman Yousefzada, leather chain gloves from Causse, oh, and a Rolex, to help me tell time. Anyone want to loan me their credit card?