Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mad About "Men"

Everyone loves "Mad Men." We love it because it's a great show filled with compelling characters, terrific acting and snappy dialogue. We love it because it reassures us that whatever craziness we might wrestle with in our lives, there was someone else wrestling with the same thing 40-plus years ago, which means we can probably survive it, too. We love it because it's a painstakingly truthful reproduction of a specific point in the past, so accurate that it's like time travel.

And. We love it for the clothes.

Oh, the cloooooooooothes!!!


I. Could. Just. Die. Seriously, almost nothing on this beautiful Earth makes me happier than a crinoline.

The second season of the show premiered this past Sunday and it's set in 1962, two years after the first season. This period in fashion is positively brilliant. The enormous skirts and wasp waists begat by the post-war New Look and iconic of the 50's are still with us, along with a narrower, more body-conscious shape perfectly embodied by Jackie Kennedy in her Oleg Cassini shift dresses. There is a neatness, a put-together-ness about these clothes that I think most of us are finding really appealing right now. They look sophisticated and adult, and after the last few years of having babydoll-shaped minidresses and navel-revealing blue jeans meant for pre-adolescents stuffed down our throats, we're really longing for The Grown-Up.


Like this lovely thing. Great body-conscious shape without being skin-tight, flattering wrap bodice with straps wide enough to wear a bra under it -- what else could you want?icon Wear it with these
Women's shoes: Lauren by Ralph Lauren Amaya - Royal patent

for a great pop of color. If that look is too literal for you -- too perfectly 60s and you feel it's a little costume-y -- how about these?

Women's shoes: Calvin Klein Bonnie - Black, cream and birch

(The more I look at this shoe, the more I like it. That is great-looking! I'm still having my big chunky heel thing, so these are really appealing.)

Much more modern. Definitely not something you would have spotted in the steno pool at Sterling-Cooper.

The sheath dress has never gone out of style, nor will it ever go out of style. This is because it's easy, it's classic, it's dead useful. Get one in a good neutral color in a good neutral fabric (a nice silk twill, for example, or a high-quality gabardine) and you can do a million things with it. Fancy jewelry and sparkly shoes for cocktails. Under a blazer with your best career-gal pumps for work. Boots and a cardigan for meeting a friend for lunch. Depending on the fit, it can be even more versatile by wearing it over a turtleneck or a blouse. Funerals, wedding, graduations, job interviews, tea with Her Majesty -- a sheath is never wrong. Best of all, if it fits properly, it's one of the most flattering things you can have in your closet. A sheath creates a nice long line, skimming over the body -- it gestures toward sexiness, but it doesn't scream about it. There are many, many variations on the theme, depending on how your curves actually work.


Feeling a little less sleek than you'd like? The gentle gathers in the skirt here help to disguise a tummy or hips that you're not feeling perfectly confident about, and the wide belt emphasizes your waist. Also -- what a wonderful color.


A bit pear-shaped? This bold abstract print will help to disguise that, and the wide-set straps draw the eye upward and help to balance the hips.


Classic. Straps nice & wide for a good supportive underpinning, and the belt can be moved up & down to sit at your actual waist, wherever that might be.


Need a little help creating an hourglass shape? Then you need something like this. Extra emphasis on the slimmest part of you comes from the gathered waistband, and the gathers under the bust and at the hip will help create curves where you don't have them. (Or, conversely, ease the dress gently over curves you do have.)


Slightly more modern, but still a great shape. I lovelovelove the graphic element of this dress. Do note, however, that the white trim provides emphasis and where that emphasis falls. If you want to create more of a waist, this is a great dress. If you are trying to disguise hips that you're less than thrilled with, this is not.


Very nearly perfect. Love that cowl collar, it's so ladylike and such a great detail.

With a sheath dress, I like a heel. It doesn't have to be a sky-high heel,

Women's shoes: Nine West Nuncio 13 - Red

but I think a heel looks best with this shape. Classic pointed-toed pumps are a great match.



Gold brocade -- so beautiful.
Women's shoes: Nine West Barbe - ocean patent

Fantastic deep blue patent.


I have these shoes in another color and they are beyond. An unbelievably sexy iteration of the pump -- it's amazing how just a few small tweaks, like the depth of the scoop at the side, and the curve of the heel, can take a shoe from basic to Katiebarthedoor. You will not walk in these shoes, you will sashay. Trust me.

I've found lots & lots of other wonderful ways to get that "Mad Men" look, but I'll bring you the rest of them next week. Until then, put on some sexy shoes, go have a martini or a champagne cocktail and flirt with someone you probably shouldn't. It'll do you good.


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh, Poo!

Here's a new favorite thing I wanted to share with you.


This is my new favorite shampoo. Actually, it's a no-poo, which means it doesn't have the sulfates that are usually added to shampoos in order to make them lather. Apparently, if I'm getting my information right, lathering agents aren't actually necessary to clean the hair, they're just something added in because we as a culture are trained to associate suds with cleanliness. Those sulfates are actually pretty hard on the hair, especially curly hair (like mine), and especially color-treated hair (again, like mine). Red is the single hardest color to hang on to, and when your hair is curly (which means it's extra porous) it's even harder to keep the color from fading. Until recently I've been devoted to a color-depositing shampoo made by Wella, but like seemingly all the good stuff in my life, it has been discontinued. (Isn't that always the way?) So since my last visit to the salon, I've been using this product, and I have to tell you, I really, really like it. My hair is feeling very healthy and the color has held up really well, much better than usual.

Now. It is not easy to get used to this stuff. Basically, it's like washing your hair with conditioner -- there are no suds. There is a little peppermint in the formula, so you can feel it on your scalp and that feeling helps make up for the lack of suds. I find I'm using a little more more of than I ordinarily would, and I have to work a little harder at it, to get the stuff down into my roots at my scalp. Also, I'm washing my hair every other day instead of every third day. Part of this is that it's hot outside and I'm running almost every day, so my head is just skanky (Style Spy is not a pretty sight when she gets back from her three-mile run. How not pretty? The words "drowned rat" come to mind.), and some of it is that currently I'm using a silicone product to smooth my hair, which according to my current research, is also a no-no because the silicones are stubborn little critters that require strong measures to wash them out. (I'm on the lookout for a styling product that will replace my silicone goo.)

But all things considered, I highly recommend this stuff. If you have curly hair, if you have dry hair, if you have color-treated hair or just any kind of hair that needs a little bit of babying, I'd say give it a try. Deva Curl also makes a product called Low-Poo, which might be easier for some to transition with rather than going cold turkey on the suds. Deva also makes color-specific products, which I will be looking into, and I know there are other no- and low-poo products out there.

So how about you guys? Anyone use this stuff, or something like it? What do you think about it?

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Shopportunity -- July 26

Woo-hoo!! For a limited time, eLuxury is offering an additional 25% off their already-marked-down sale items! (This is going on until August 1.)


Many wonderful things, including this really adorable t-shirt:


Click on the link to check out the back of this, it's darling. (Note: I own this shirt and it's itty. Order a size up from your usual -- I should have gone with the medium.)


I love this sweater. So retro-sexy. Put it on with a pencil skirt and pretend you're a character on Mad Men (which returns this Sunday -- hooray!!). These kinds of looks are going to be HUGE and EVERYWHERE this year, because this show is a monster hit and has been nominated for a squillion Emmys, including one for Best Costumes. (I started harping about how influential this show was going to be last winter, and I still think I'm right.)

Also available is this wonderful, wonderful dress:


Its a pale lilac color, and you should really click on the link to get more photos of the detailing on this dress. It doesn't look like much in the picture above, but when you get a closer look at it you realize how lovely it is. That color is not the easiest for everyone to wear, but that's why the Fashion Gods gave us Hermés scarves -- to wrap around our necks and bring color close to our faces. Or, you could wear it with the neck opened further and a colorful t-shirt or cami underneath it. Put a bright belt around the waist for contrast, if you'd like. Wear it over a turtleneck once it gets cooler. This dress is not cheap, but it's a bargain for what it is and I promise if you invested in it you would not be sorry, because it's wearable in a lot of ways and for years to come.

Wear that dress with these shoes:


Which also come in red, by the way, and are delicious either way. We're still not done with platforms and wedges, I don't think, so enjoy them.

There's tons more stuff on the site to make you swoony. Boy, I really hate my No Buy right now...

So, go!! Shop!!!!

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Long Arm of Miuccia Prada

Last February, my girl Miuccia Prada presented us with a collection that included these sorts of things...



(This coat was at the Saks outlet not long ago and even though it is not a practical item for me and even though it is still way too expensive, I had to take a deep breath and talk hard sense to myself about leaving it on the rack. I. Just. Love. This. Coat.)


(I could, however, get a lot of wear out of the skirt....)

Not everyone loved this collection, but I thought it was gorgeous. It also gave us these darlings:

Oh, the magic is still as vivid as the day we met...

There was also this line of bags


I didn't see a lot of these in the States, but I was in the Prada boutique in Paris with a friend while she bought one. Hers was a different style, much larger and more of a briefcase/tote sort of thing, and it was gorgeous. There were a ton of versions in the boutique, and they were all gorgeous. I was surprised that these didn't become more of an "It" bag here.

So while not everyone loved the clothes, the thing the collection most unquestionably begat was the rage for all things ombré, degradé, dip-dyed, whatever you want to call it. For the last year, ombré has been the go-to detail and has showed up on every sort of clothing and accessory you can think of. My latest obsession is this:

Vince Ombre Grandpa Cardigan

I am besotted with this sweater from Vince. It's cashmere, and it also comes in blue and I can't decide which one I like better. I'd probably go with the brown, because I already have a couple of blue cardigans. (Of course, I have a brown cardigan, too, but no matter.) I really, really love this thing, it's definitely going into the Luxury Tithe queue after the next Hermes scarf.

There are also lots of degradé dresses

ADAM Flounce Sleeve Dress

and blouses

ADAM Ombre Flounce Sleeve Deep V Blouse

By the way,, which is where the above three items can be found, is having a big ol' sale that features Free U.S. Ground Shipping. You should check 'em out, there is a lot of great stuff on sale.

Don't want to commit to a whole body's worth of ombré? How about these very wearable little honeys?

Women's shoes: Franco Sarto Acre - Camel patent

Or this great Elliott Lucca bag?

Women's handbags: Elliott Lucca Aruba Large Drawstring - Black ombre patent

I would be seriously thinking about this bag if I didn't already have a black patent slouchy bag that I love. Elliott Lucca makes great bags -- they're good-quality and not exactly cheap, but they're also not crazy-designer-bag expensive. A good investment bag to carry for a few years. (Click for links to any of these products.)

So we've all been seeing lots of this trend everywhere we look, but one day last week I saw what I'm thinking must be the apotheosis of it and a signal that it can only decline from here. I was at the grocery store picking up a few items and on the way back out to my car I saw this:


I didn't see this very one, actually, because I oh-so-regrettably did not have my camera with me, but it was one just like this and it had a specialized ombré paint job, from black to silver-gray.

Now, I try to stay away from this sort of topic on this blog, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to go on the record here and state that I find these vehicles, and all vehicles like them, a vile obscenity and a loathsome abomination. (And if you feel the same way, you may be entertained by this site, which is adults-only, thank you.) (And if you don't feel the same way, have you seen this?) This thing seriously stopped me dead in my tracks and I stood there for a moment with my yawp hanging open as I tried to imagine what sort of person not only chooses to drive one of these gas-guzzling, road-hogging, parking-lot-colonizing, tugboat-shaped signifiers of too much money and not enough sense or taste, but then spends even more money to personalize it all up with a trendy paint job. And then I decided I didn't want to know. It's just indecent.

Me, I need to save my money for stuff like this



Photos:, Style Spy,

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