Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Runners-Up

Okay. First off, I love y'all, thanks for your input, but... NOT! HELPING!!! My two jacket candidates are running just about neck & neck, especially given how many of you are just telling me to keep them both! Enablers!!

Since I lot of people seem to be liking those two, I thought I'd show you some of the runners-up that I found while shopping for them. (The ones I ordered can't be had -- I got the last one of each of them.) So check these out -- clicking on the photo should link you to the product.

IRO Zaken Jacket

This is just what Bill Cunningham was talking about in the NYT photo essay that got me started on the whole idea, but I think it's a bit too shiny for my taste. (Also, if it's cold enough for a jacket, shouldn't you be wearing pants that don't have holes in them?) At this point, too, I was still resisting black.


Well, this is certainly not black. But maybe still a wee bit too shiny. (Also -- shorts??? Really?? Who is styling these photo shoots???)

This is quite nice & classic. Maybe a bit too classic.

This I absolutely adored -- it was on the short list. Click on the link and look at the back , it's absolutely wonderful. Problem is, I need an all-purpose jacket. No matter how bad the color reproduction is on Yoox's photos, this is still not an all-purpose color. It's a color I love, goodness knows, but believe it or not, I already have a coat in this color.

Hot pink velveteen vintage coat. I adore this silly thing, but how many pieces of fuchsia outerwear does a gal -- even a slightly off-kilter one -- need? So I reluctantly crossed the pink jacket above off the list, but I wish one of you would buy it. It was a great price, and so very, very adorable.

I like this, but in the end found it a little too sporty. I need something I can dress up a bit.

This was also a VERY close runner-up. Wonderfully cuddly-looking but still modern and cool. I still wish I could have this jacket, and it was also a great price.

MICHAEL Michael Kors 24-inch Ruched Down Jacket

I really like the waist on this one -- if you're going to wear a puffer, the tailoring (if that's the right word) is important. I do, however, have a prejudice against hoods. I find hoods childish-looking. Also, I wear hats -- I don't need a hood.

Oh, this was another one I lovelovetyloveloveloved. REALLY loved. But the ones they have left are too big for me, so I had to cross that one off. That hurt, because I love this a bunch. It's two pieces -- a vest and then a little bolero that goes over it. And it's Aquascutum, so it's super well-made. AND it's a fantastic price. Someone PLEASE buy this jacket!!!


This is very similar to the black one I wound up with. Love that big ol' collar.

Here's another one I didn't go with because I ultimately wanted something less shiny. But. That is a wonderful jacket. This is another one you should click on so you can see the back -- what a great-looking coat. I might should have risked it, given that it's Yoox, and as we've seen their photos cannot be relied upon. J'adore that dramatic collar, don't you?

The neatness and coolness of this appeal to me, but it was just a wee bit too motocross-y. Not that motocross-y is a bad thing, I really like this, but for an all-purpose jacket I thought it might have been a little too specific. It's super-cool, though, ain't it? Borders on downright badass.

Steve Madden Metallic Quilted Bubble Jacket

Great shape, wrong color (for me). Had this come in another color, I would have snapped it up. If you can wear gray & silver, I really rec this. Super jacket. Love that collar -- it would keep the neck nice & warm.


This, on the other hand, was exactly the right color, but too expensive. Gorgeous coat, though, huh? Oh, it looks so sooooooooft...

Here's another one I really loved the shape of, and I thought it was wonderfully interesting, but eventually I decided against the navy. I know navy is a neutral, but I've never liked the combo of navy & black, and as much as I struggle against it, the reality is that a lot of my wardrobe is black.

Calvin Klein Women's Short Hooded Down Jacket

Another one that lost because of the hood. Great shape though.

Kenneth Cole Women's Down Fill Scuba Jacket
And had this red one been in my size, it would likely have been ordered. I also considered the possibility that the misspelling of "amethyst" was the Shoeniverse telling me to order it, but again -- much as I like purple I think it wouldn't be as useful. I've added a lot of purple to my wardrobe the last couple of years, but it's still not exactly a neutral for me in the way that black or even red would be.

So there you go. If you like my taste in outerwear, here are some pre-shopped options for ya. I do believe that all of these are on sale, and most of them are really, really good prices, so if you could use an extra jacket to get you through the rest of the winter, check out some of these.

Stay warm!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So Much for My Cunning Plan

Well, crap.

As I mentioned a while ago, I'm looking for a good new jacket -- something to keep me nice & toasty when the temperatures drop, but that looks good enough to wear out for dinner, and is hip-length or shorter. I had originally felt that I didn't want any sort of a puffer jacket, I really wanted a cloth coat, but then I saw this great feature from Bill Cunningham at the New York Times and I got to thinking that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. I have noticed that filled jackets (both poly- and down-) have gotten a lot sleeker and chic-er over the last few years. And after all, if one of the things I like least about cold weather is having to be weighed down by a big, heavy coat, then a nice light puffer might be just the ticket.

So I opened up my brain again and went looking for a filled jacket I'd like. I hit the jackpot on YOOX.COM.

Sharp. Fitted, sleek, interesting. It looked like something I could wear with jeans but also with a nicer outfit if I wanted. It was in the sale section, so it was a really good deal. I love the way it nips in at the waist and I really dig the big collar. Black wasn't my first choice, of course, but it is often the most practical. Oh, I really like this jacket. It's by a label called ILARY, which I believe is Italian. I don't know it, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Unfortunately, while I was on YOOX.COM looking at filled jackets I also stumbled across a wool one that I had somehow missed during my previous search:

Oh, boy. How cute is that? This is C'N'C COSTUME NATIONAL. I worry, of course, about that cream color, but hey -- that's what Scotchgard is for, right? It's a classic shape without being boring and it's sharp as hell. Oh, I really like this jacket, too.

(And, not for nothin', there were several others that I also really liked. Those were the two I narrowed it down to after a lot of dithering.)

I cannot decide between these two jackets, I just cannot. So that's when I came up with my cunning plan: I'll order both of them and return the one that doesn't work. One of them is bound not to fit -- I'm ordering online and it's always too much to hope that everything in a multiple-item order from an e-tailer is going to fit -- that never happens. It's also rare that something is as good in real life as it looks on the screen.

Well, so much for my cunning plan. I am hoist, as they say, on my own petard.

Here's the black jacket:

I love this. I love the shape of it. It fits perfectly -- Here I'm wearing a blouse and a cashmere sweater underneath it, and I could definitely get another layer or a heavier sweater on under it and it still look neat and sleek. This is a poly-filled jacket, not down, but it feels like it would be plenty warm for Austin, and best of all -- it weighs nothing. My unlined denim jacket weighs more than this -- I love how easy it is to move in.

The collar cinches up, although I'd probably still need a scarf to keep my neck warm. My neck is my cold place -- if my neck is cold, I cannot get the rest of me warm. I think everyone has a cold place, it varies from person to person. Of course, I nearly always do wear a scarf, for that reason, so it's not going to be an inconvenience.

Another bonus is that the snap closures are neat enough that when the jacket is open it doesn't look sloppy or wrong. The jacket will probably spend more of its life hanging open than completely done up (I think we all do this), and I don't like when the undone fastenings of a jacket or coat are sloppy or ugly or distracting. I wish more designers would take that into account.

And I really love the shape of this -- that waist is fab. The hardware is good & heavy, the pockets are in the right place, and there are some other great small details, like the horizontal padding on the sleeves is only on the top of the sleeves, so that there isn't extra bulk between the arm & my body. All in all, this is a great jacket, and if I had bumped into this bad boy on one of my many fruitless & frustrating jacket-hunting shopping trips, I would have snapped it up and called myself both lucky and thrilled.

Here's where the cunning plan fell apart:

Look. More fabulousness. Omigoodness, this jacket is great. The wool feels soft enough that I'd think there was some cashmere in it (the label just says 100% virgin wool, although the description on the website did say there was cashmere) and, as you can see, the color is actually not cream -- it's more like a milky latte color, in between camel & cream, which is even better. (YOOX.COM photos are SO inaccurate for color -- I love this site because they have great prices on interesting goods and their CS is great, but unless it's black, order with the knowledge that the color of the garment may bear only a passing resemblance to what you saw on your computer screen.)

That great collar does up all the way and then rolls down neatly, making a nice toasty neck funnel. The sleeves are a bit too long, I have them cuffed and I don't think it looks all that bad because of the way they are seamed. And speaking of the seaming -- it's just gorgeous. This is a beautifully-constructed coat -- the lining is really nice and the stitching is neat and smooth and the seams are double-stitched.

This coat also fits really well and still has room for another layer or two underneath. It is of course heavier than the filled jacket, but the armholes are well-cut and don't restrict, and the coat itself is nice & short, so I can scoot in & out of my car without struggling with it. (The other important thing about a short coat is that I have to deal with it when I arrive where I'm going. Here in Austin, we don't usually have coat checks at restaurants and bars, so unless you want to leave it on the whole time, you have to drape it over the back of your chair or fold it up & sit on top of it on your barstool. As anyone who knows how I feel about my clothes can probably imagine, I do not exactly love seeing my coat dragging across a dirty floor or getting stepped on by the busboy as he drops off the bread basket.)

This coat is a wee bit dressier than the black one, of course. Not too dressy, it's still okay for jeans, but might work better with a nice skirt or day dress than would the filled jacket. If I had bumped into this bad boy on one of my many fruitless & frustrating jacket-hunting shopping trips, I would have snapped it up and called myself both lucky and thrilled.

So. Now you see my dilemma. Which of these jackets am I keeping? They were both great prices, but I really only need one jacket. So help a redhead out, wouldja? Vote in the poll in the upper right corner of the blog and tell me which jacket you like. And why, in the comments, if you're so inclined. State your case. Provide me with some clarity. Because it's supposed to get cold again later in the week and I'm going to need a jacket. HELP!!!

Photos:, Style Spy

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sternum Is the New Black

or, Triumph of the Double-Sided Tape

(I had a lot of other headlines I could have gone with, believe me)

So the big neckline at the Golden Globes (other than black and strapless) was this one:

Very low, very deep, very wide. This is Anna Pacquin in Alexander McQueen and she is pulling it off, although I'm not just crazy about the dress. I was actually pretty surprised by how much of this I saw Sunday night. The usual m.o. for Hollywood breasts for the last 10+ years is Cantaloupes 'R' Us. Goodness knows I harp on Support Garments and how no one wants folks to break into a spontaneous chorus of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" when a woman walks into a room. But by the same token, neither is it normal to worry about whether the poor dear is going to suffocate herself if she has the misfortune to sneeze or yawn. Your breasts should not approach your clavicles. Nor should they look as if they were outlined by one of those protractor thingies that you had in your school supply box in sixth grade that mainly served as an instrument for carving your name into your desk.

This neckline is for the woman with the smallish bust. I don't like to hand down ironclad fashion fiats (okay, yes, I do), but if your bra size is anything over a smallish B-cup, I really don't think you can get away with this without looking vulgar beyond belief. I don't care how beautiful or elegant you otherwise are, how expensive your dress and jewels, how accomplished or intelligent you might be -- if your big ol' boobs are hanging out of a dress slit down to your navel, you look like trash. There is no soft-selling it or getting around it: just trash.

Back to Anna Pacquin's dress. I like this less than I feel I should, for some reason, even though she looks nice. I have a feeling I'd like it much more in person, where I could get a better idea of what's going on -- the fabric looks so detailed and the pictures aren't doing it justice, probably. Also -- Anna, would it KILL you to wear a little lipstick?

Here's Olivia Wilde in Gucci. This is gorgeous. She's gorgeous. This dress teeters perilously close to the edge of tacky, but she's pulling it off and that's because it fits right (not skin-tight) and she has the body for it (small-framed and small-busted). Wilde is not particularly curvy, so the sexiness of this dress doesn't take it into extreme territory. Imagine this dress on oh, say... Beyoncé. It would fit like a scuba suit and they probably would have cut a slit up to the waist in the damn thing and our jaws would drop in horror. But this? This is just about perfect. Also -- bully for her for wearing a fabric that doesn't show A) wrinkles, B) sweat stains, or C) raindrops, which was a big issue at this event this year. (Seriously -- no one at the Golden Globes knew where to track down a tent or a tarp in all of Los Angeles??? Someone should have been fired for that.)

Felicity Huffman in I don't know who. Flicka's a gorgeous woman, and also has the body to carry this off. I almost didn't notice the neckline, distracted as I was by the weird neckpiece that looks like something from the Arms & Armor Wing at the Met. I do love the softness of the fabric, but I hate the color on her. I hate both colors -- neither that pinkish almost-nothing nor the silvery gray of the neckline do her any favors. Also -- too much earring. They're fighting with the dress.

First off, let me say for the record that I ADORE Lisa Edelstein. I think she's gorgeous and talented and I am right now volunteering to be her stylist -- gratis -- for her next red carpet event because the one she has? Is a joke. I don't know how you find a dress with a neckline this low-cut that still manages to be matronly. She looks like a twice-divorced cougar mother of the bride who drinks too much and then comes on to one of the groomsmen at the reception by dancing way too suggestively with him. Gah. Also, she's right at the edge of too much boob for the dress. Back away from the edge, Lisa.

File under Enough, Already:

Okay. Is there ANYONE ON THE PLANET who isn't aware that Halle Berry has a slammin' body? Please oh please, if you know of any, get their addresses to Halle so she can just send them nude photos of herself and we can be done with it. Honestly, this dress (which is by Kaufman Franco)... I know your career is in the toilet, honey (seriously -- look at her IMDB page) but is this really how you want to get work? Good tits ≠ "relevant" in Hollywood -- there are plenty of sweet young things out there with bodies just as good who will only require a fifth of your salary. When you wear stuff like this you might as well just parade around with a sign that says, "My Oscar was a fluke."

And now...

Sweet jesus in a jeep... I don't really have to expound upon this, do I? It pretty much speaks for itself. Actually, her boobs speak for themselves, and they speak in loud, booming, foghorn-like tones. Sweetie, the 16-year old husband that you're carrying around like your latest Gucci handbag is plenty of proof that you've still "got it," now put those things away! I'm all for embracing the body you have, but there is a difference between self-esteem and self-delusion. And what's even crueller is that she does have a great body -- she's certainly curvier than your average Hollywood star, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Unless you pack those curves into something like this (which is Hervé Leger for Max Azria). Well, mostly pack. Some stuff didn't actually make it all the way into the packaging, as we can see. So instead of looking gorgeous and womanly, she looks... well, she's a joke. She's a joke and everyone is laughing and I feel bad for the poor dear. Although it did result in my very favorite moment of red carpet coverage for the Golden Globes -- Jay Manuel on E! keeping a straight face as he extolled the virtues of the "shoulder detail" and how it "balanced her silhouette." God love ya, Jay, you deserve a Golden Globe for that performance, because anyone with eyes can see you'd need a crane to balance that shit.

Goodness. I haven't even gotten around to the really bad stuff yet. Stay tuned!!


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