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The Chic Shop
by shop girl
issue no. 94

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Featuring: Avon Smooth Minerals, HauteLook, The Good Wife

Fall Fashion Must-Haves

Back in the mid-nineties when we all started wearing knee-length skirts with high boots, I asked my mom why she wouldn’t wear the look herself. She has great legs, and was looking for a shoe option for a new skirt, but when I suggested high boots, she laughed and said, “I did that look once already. I don’t have to do it twice.”

Flash-forward fifteen years (how can it have been that long?), and based on my mother’s principle of no-fashion-trend-twice-in-a-lifetime, I’m wondering what on Seventh Avenue I’m going to wear this fall! So many of the hot trends are nods to the ‘80s that if I follow Mom’s lead, I’ll be sporting trouser denims and a white button-up shirt through the New Year. While a classic look like this allows me to showcase my favorite new accessories and my extensive footwear collection, it is definitely NOT going to live up to my style potential. Maybe I’ll give the ‘80s another go. And no, I don’t want to talk about how old this makes me feel.

Blazers: I have always relied on a blazer as a reliable, classic way to tie together an outfit, add some class to a pair of jeans and boots, keep my shoulders warm on a nippy fall day. Now, it seems, all of the fashion world is as crazy about blazers as I am, whether the long, v-shaped boyfriend variety, with sleeves pushed up, or the nipped-waist schoolboy look á là J. Crew’s preppy disciples. (Keep your eyes peeled for big shoulder pads: although the sleeves are slimmer than the Knots Landing variety, they’re back, and on tees and knits, too.) A blazer is a no-miss third piece that will really flatter your figure in addition to giving you pockets for your ID and keys on a night out (hate having to find a place to put that darling clutch on the sticky table while you dance!).

Side Corollary: Double-breasted: The cut that once screamed Gordon Gekko (and we all ran quickly in the other direction) is back with a slightly more relaxed outlook. I do recommend that those with large busts steer clear, as not only do double-breasted looks lie most smoothly on flatter chests and increase the visual width of your torso, but on many occasions those top two buttons have been known to fall in, er, awkward locations on the bosom. American Beauty at

Proportion Contrast: While in my adolescence I was a little more, um, how shall I say this, amply fleshed than I am now, and thus this area was a bit of a non-starter for me. Ergo, now I am quite excited about the extremes of proportion taking over all areas of fashion this fall, either huge over skinny, like a great big shirt with a belt over equestrian-inspired skinny pants tucked into tall boots or short; or slim with baggy: a chunky scarf over a ribbed poor-boy sweater tucked into triple-pleated, paper-bag-waisted wide-leg trousers with solid-heeled oxfords or pumps. I am, however, having a bit of trouble getting into the tapered- and harem-trousers look – let’s reserve this one for the cutting-edge urbanista string-beans, shall we?

Distressed Denim: I remember the consternation expressed by moms everywhere when we all took our $80 Guess? jeans (ha, designer denim for under $100? How quaint) and poured bleach all over them and shredded them with scissors. Dads in suburbs across America shouted, “Why would you want to ruin a perfectly good pair of dungarees?” Parents just don’t understand. Show them you’re still a rebel in a distressed, bleached, slashed pair of skinnies and the rest of your outfit can coast on their roguishness. There have even been some acid-washed sightings, although pigs will fly before I’ll go there again. Stuff these stunners into a pair of stiletto booties (I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep until I own this pair – they’re perfect for everything I have) and toss a chain bag over your shoulder.

Which Goes Perfectly With: Aggressive Heels: Never since the Dynasty days have I seen such pushy pumps. The higher the platform, the better, especially if it’s broken. The strappier the sandal, the sexier. The killer booties, for day or night, are especially provocative with a short skirt or dress and tights or, if you dare, bare legs.

TOMS ShoesAnd That Brings Me To: Rock ‘N’ Roll: Really, if you look like you’re with the band, you’re right on the money (no pun intended). Micro-minis (or cutoffs!) in aged denim or tight black over tights and vertiginous heels with burnout tees, leather jackets, multi-textured chain necklaces, and plenty of black. Sequined t-shirt dresses with Frye harness boots and sunglasses at night. Contrasting fabrics are de rigueur, and the stronger the disharmony, the more perfect the ensemble. Tulle with t-shirts. Velvet with shredded denim. You get the idea. You’ll have groupies falling at your feet wherever you go like backstage pass hunters at a Madonna concert. (It goes without saying that this look should be reserved for extracurricular hours unless you actually ARE with the band.)

Bright Colors: As a sophisticated, sumptuous counterpoint to the ubiquitous black, the selection of reds this fall is positively heady. Burgundy, merlot, raspberry, aubergine (okay, now I’m thirsty and hungry)… even crimson. The mere hint of one of these colors adds such panache to an all-black outfit: a slim belt under (or over) a suit jacket. A suede handbag with a terrific overcoat. Bright silk peeking out from under a cardigan. For those of you who aren’t red fans, regal hues like purple and peacock are also popping up all over.

The Legging: Where previous seasons have brought us the Skinny Jean, Fall ’09 plants a stake firmly in the territory of the slimmest leg of all. Leggings cropped, long, or even stirrup are a wonderful foundation for a big sweater, long belted shirt, or tunic dress. (But take a lesson from past offenders: stirrups are not meant to be seen; tuck them into boots!) Choose ribbed faille, denim, embellished, or lacquered, painted-on spandex. The bad news: this proportion needs careful planning and figure analysis; full thighs should steer clear, and top-heavy shapes will look like lollipops with too-slim trousers. The way to prove your fashion-conscious status is to choose the trends that work for you; thank heaven “apples” can find great boot-cut or wide-leg trouser options to balance their shapes.

Well, there you have it. I’m betting a pair of Pet Shop Boys Reunion Tour tickets that the most aggressive ‘80s looks will be adopted by the girls who didn’t wear them last time, i.e. those who were born in the ‘80s. But even ladies who remember the Reagan administration can rock the trends without looking like mutton dressed as lamb. Just remember to choose the trend that suits your figure, and make sure you’re wearing the look, not the other way ‘round.

Happy Shopping!

Shop Girl

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The Good Wife

Anyone who reads newspaper headlines has seen this play out time and time again. But what we have never seen is the wife's struggle, until now. Enter, The Good Wife, a fabulous new series from CBS starring Chris Noth and Julianna Margulies:


THE GOOD WIFE stars Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies as a wife and mother who boldly assumes full responsibility for her family and re-enters the workforce after her husband's very public sex and political corruption scandal lands him in jail. Pushing aside the betrayal and crushing public humiliation caused by her husband Peter (Chris Noth), Alicia Florrick (Margulies) starts over by pursuing her original career as a defense attorney.

As a junior associate at a prestigious Chicago law firm, she joins her longtime friend, former law school classmate and firm partner Will Gardner (Josh Charles), who is interested to see how Alicia will perform after 13 years out of the courtroom. Alicia is grateful the firm's top litigator, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), offers to mentor her but discovers the offer has conditions and realizes she's going to need to succeed on her own merit. Alicia's main competition among the firm's 20-something new recruits is Cary (Matt Czuchry), a recent Harvard grad who is affable on the surface, but will use any means to ensure that he, not Alicia, secures the one full-time associate position that's available. Fortunately, Alicia finds an ally in Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), the firm's tough in-house investigator.

Gaining confidence every day, Alicia transforms herself from embarrassed politician's scorned wife to resilient career woman, especially for the sake of providing a stable home for her children, 14-year-old Zach (Graham Phillips) and 13-year-old Grace (Makenzie Vega). For the first time in years, Alicia trades in her identity as the "good wife" and takes charge of her own destiny.

The Good Wife premieres Tuesday, September 22 on on CBS.


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