issue no. 90
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So, the chief problem that I can see with having lunch with Tory Burch on Friday (yes, that Tory Burch) is that it has thrown my fashion dichotomy into harsh relief. See, there’s this war inside me when it comes to buying clothes, and it seems to have reared its ugly head with a vengeance this spring. Tory, as you probably know, emphasizes a sophisticated, Upper-East-Side sensibility that I love; more chic than preppy, but with classic overtones that make her pieces sure-fire long-term investments (a definite plus in this economic climate).
But then there’s my other fashion persona, the Agyness Deyn wanna-be, runway-watching, trend-hopping envelope pusher, always looking for the newest shape or color to add to my collection, with a downtown, urban edge (which may or may not be appropriate for my not-so-downtown life, but that’s another story). Hey, life is short — I can’t ignore that side of me, either.
How to strike a balance? Some days I dress one way and some days another, usually depending on my plans (don’t really have lunch with my grandmother in 4-inch gladiator platforms, and the Lilly palazzo pants are just wrong for dinner in town). It does mean a bit of a jam in the closet, and occasional schizophrenic packing, but with concentration it can be done. There is another benefit (besides always having the perfect outfit no matter the location): because the preppy stuff tends to have more wardrobe staying power, I don’t feel bad spending a little more per-piece for it, while the trendiest pieces I can pick up for a song (because let’s face it, am I really going to shell out $700 every season for the Louboutins-du-jour?) at more reasonable prices. Are you still with me? Here, I’ll illustrate.
Work: Tread lightly in the trendy department here, unless you work for a progressive employer (read: PR firm, major fashion mag, ad agency, etc.) A runway-fresh look would be a slouchy menswear jacket and a soft silk scoop-neck in a delicate pastel over a loose, wide-leg linen trouser, accented with a dynamite statement necklace and chunky sandals. A more uptown look (read: academia, legal, finance) would be a sleek navy pinstripe trouser with a watercolor floral high-necked blouse and a bright-colored cardigan sweater. Pop a different color from the blouse for a platform heel and add a status-y tote for your daily essentials. (Love this bargain one!) Another day, dare to wear a black shorts suit with a crisp white blouse and red pumps, or trade the shorts for a pencil skirt and keep it classic.
Lunch Almost Anywhere: Dress up in a little silk shift dress, in a bright abstract print which is hot this spring. A loose silhouette with long lantern sleeves and a peasant neckline is fresh and trendy; with a sleeveless, fitted, pencil-skirt shape it’s an uptown classic. Pair the downtown dress with chunky wood-soled strappy gladiators, the uptown dress with peep-toe pumps in a bright, clear color. Or pair either dress with metallic flat sandals for a more casual lunch.
Evening/Dinner: The nighttime is where I seem to have the most trouble choosing between uptown chic and avant garde. It really depends on the crowd I’ll be with: some of my friends will “get” what I wear if it’s skinny abraded jeans pulled down at the heels over silver sandals, topped with a slouchy silk halter top and a pile of aggressive chains; with other groups I’m likely to wear cropped white pants with an embellished tunic and sandals with jeweled details. Or the ever-present knit wrap dress – always a safe bet.
Weekend: Here’s where I get a little looser with my style, and I tend to fall on the uptown chic. My maxi-dress will probably have an ethnic print, not an animal one, and I’ll wear it with flats, not big wedges; my shorts will be cuffed and topped with a boho embroidered shirt, not attached to a silk jumpsuit. (Unless that weekend-on-the-Cavalli-yacht invitation comes through…)
Leather goods: I really hesitate to jump on the hottest trend in handbags, because I just can’t bring myself to devote such a substantial chunk of my wardrobe budget to one item. But if you simply must have the look of the season, I recommend something in patent, large-ish but not as big as last year (thank heaven), possibly in navy blue or an Easter-egg bright. A more uptown choice would be a chain shoulder bag in a soft neutral like beige or grey – you’ll have it forever, even if it’s not always on the cutting edge.
So what’s the prescription for my addled outfitting dilemmas? The solution here is to double my shopping efforts, and broaden my list of sources. (Aren’t I clever?) But I’ll make the sacrifice: anything to ensure that I will have exactly the right thing to wear no matter the venue or the crowd. As they say in those ads: Wardrobe options: expensive. Sartorial security: priceless.
Oh, and since fitting into those gorgeous fashions is very high on my list of priorities, when I do indulge, I indulge wisely!
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One of my favorite accessories is a gorgeous silk scarf. I adore scarves because they are so very versatile, and just have a way of making a girl feel feminine. So when I was introduced to these exquisite silk scarves and wraps, handmade by the women of the villages of Vientiane Province in Laos, I just had to share them! These scarves and wraps are available at Orijyn.com, a fair trade, eco-conscious website offering handcrafted silk goods from the women of Laos.
The silk scarves and wraps sold at Orijyn.com are eco-friendly, made from only natural dies derived from seeds, leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, bark and insects.
Unlike Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese silk goods, Lao silks are 100% handmade, from cultivation of the silk worms to weaving the finished piece.
With prices ranging from $50 - $100, all the proceeds from Orijyn.com go toward supporting the women weavers, and a local nongovernmental organization called Saoban. Saoban offers technical tutelage, marketing guidance, and small loans to alleviate poverty in Laos and empower rural women.
For more information visit Orijyn.com
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