Category Archives: dress

going gatsby

i’ve spent the last hour browsing shopbop, in the vain hope that i’d be able to find a little something to splurge on to make myself get excited about the impeding warm weather.  but as usual, i’m having a really hard time getting excited about spring & summer fashions.  must everything for warm weather be either crotch-grazingly short or unbearably frumpy?  sigh.

my warm-weather whining aside, i’ve said before that i think maxi-dresses are on the way out, and wouldn’t generally advise them as an investment buy these days.  but even so, i’m seriously wishing i had a great gatsby party (how fun would that be?!) or maybe just an outdoor wedding on the agenda to justify buying this beautiful jersey frock:

i’m in love with the sheer elegance of this A.L.C. nadine dress, and it would just be oh-so-easy to wear to any summer festivities.  it’s not a maxi-dress in anything other than length – it’s utterly flattering, perfectly figure-skimming, and the cut of the bodice is just the right degree of sexy to balance out this floor-length style.

if it were $100, i wouldn’t even care that i had nowhere to wear it…but at $473, it would have to be a “necessary” buy, i fear.  anyone have summer plans that could justify buying this beauty?

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styling your summer frock: the how-to

i’ve been meaning to show you all this dress since i fell for it a month or so ago at anthropologie.  this might just be the most flattering, most versatile summer dress i’ve come across this season – though the photos on the website just don’t do it justice.  well worth your $98 for the accessorizing options alone, but the fact that this manages to simultaneously enhance the decollette, hide tummy troubles, provide a miniscule waist (even if you don’t normally have one) and be ultra-comfy makes this a definite must-do for summer.

if you stop by the store, they also have the dress in a stunning, universally-flattering shade of cobalt – my personal favorite.  but the gold and periwinkle are really lovely too.

sadly, i actually ended up returning mine…it’s best on ladies 5’7″ or shorter, unless you either have a super-long torso or are riskier with your hemlines than i am.  but if the growth chart fits, you absolutely can’t go wrong.

i loved it paired with that fab leafy necklace i showed you recently and some studded gladiators, but i was also planning to pair with…

a loose, unstructured vest (left open, please) and the biggest, baddest chain necklace i can find, and perhaps even…

a boyfriend blazer and booties, come fall.  ooh, or a leather moto jacket (as long as the length worked…keep it at least a couple of inches below the waistband on this one!).

of course, most of these styling ideas will work with whatever your favorite summer dress is this year…after all, it’s nearly time to start thinking about those summer-to-fall styling options.

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random friday finds

as usual, today’s finds are a collection of the random lovelies i’ve come across in my travels this week.  happy friday, everyone!

it’s going to be a while before a $400 box to hold very tiny things is on my actual shopping list.  but this is so beautiful, i just keep going back for another peek.  by r & y augousti (of course), and constructed from vintage penshell and bronze.

my dishware fetish continues unabated, as does my love for grey/yellow color combinations.  they seem to have collided in this collection from up in the air somewhere, and i’m heartily crushing on the results.  i’m thinking my world would become so much simpler and more sophisticated if i could serve my morning juice from this pitcher and these glasses.

going through my etsy favorites can be depressing business…since most things are one-of-a-kind, it’s basically just a way of browsing all of the things i loved and missed out on buying.  so, i’m grateful for the ones that stick around.  i recently happened on lirola’s beautiful, made-to-order clothing line, and am patiently biding my time until i can indulge in the closest thing i’ll ever get to couture.

so, did you happen across anything especially lovely this week?  have a great weekend, everyone!

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how-to: the stylish strapless edition

ed. note: if you haven’t entered our fab contest this week, now’s your last chance.  entries close at midnight tonight…click here to enter!

i was all set to rave about the cutest skirt i saw at anthropologie on my coffee/retail therapy run this morning.  but online, it’s looking a bit like a lampshade, so now i’m thinking perhaps not.

instead, let’s talk strapless dresses.  i’ve never been a huge fan – being relatively well endowed in the (ahem) bosom area, i always seem to spend all of my time frantically yanking on the top of the dress, fearing (however irrationally) the inevitable.  and i tend to think of strapless frocks as either swim-coverup-casual, a la juicy couture, or exceedingly formal (my wedding gown).  it just seems to be too much skin exposure for an average day.  but lately, i’ve been seeing strapless looks done in such a perfectly modest, tailored and stylish way that i’m beginning to reconsider.


it all began with a post from superstar french style icon garance doré extolling the manner in which lovely italian women put together the strapless dress and the flat sandal.  and truly, the look is lovely, don’t you agree?  sophisticated, simple, and undeniably stylish, without being overly dressy.  oh, and did i mention it’s also incredibly easy to duplicate?   any black strapless will do – i’m actually a fan of this version at target.  add something like these chic braided sandals from modern vintage (check out that detachable strap…and on sale, no less!), a black belt you almost certainly already own, and some of that perfectly tousled hair, and presto: chic and so very simple.


shortly after spying this look, i was browsing anthropologie’s latest catalog, and saw the most clever styling of a strapless dress ever!  i love the jersey v-neck tee beneath – the neckline gives such interest, and it looks like an entirely different dress!  i never think of layering things underneath a strapless, but i just love this look.  definitely office-appropriate, and again, so simple!  i’m guessing you already have the tee in your closet, and the dress is just a click away.  i’d love to see this with a patterned tee and a solid dress, perhaps layered with a cropped denim jacket…the possibilities are, if not endless, definitely varied.

so, what do you think? are you ready to reconsider going strapless?

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floaty frocks at calypso st. barth

i honestly can’t remember how i ended up on calypso’s site…i followed a link there long ago, and started browsing.  however it happened, i’m definitely a new fan, particularly of their light-as-air summer dresses.  wouldn’t you just love to head to the hamptons or laguna beach with an overnight bag filled with these frocks?


i especially love the kimberly dress (center) which is available in short or maxi lengths and a pile of fabric choices.  i love that it’s one of the few maxis i’ve come across this season without an empire waist (not always the most flattering look), and at $150, it’s a great all-purpose summer party dress.  the short version in that fab purple madras plaid is very high on my list for the ultimate day dress.

and how can you resist that sweet, ruffle-y juno dress (right)?  i love the staggered ruffles (which, by the way, also make excellent tummy camouflage), and the fact that the styling is so easy, but still fitted enough to give you a shape.  so perfect!  for something even simpler, the piar style (left, by matta) is the ultimate option when it’s just too hot to care what you’re wearing.  with that airy cotton and wide flounced hem, you’ll look much cooler than you feel, even in triple digits.

if you’re on the hunt for summer dresses, calypso is a great place to start – besides their house line, they carry a few gorgeous styles from designers like chan luu and matta, so you’re sure to find some fabulous options.

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stylish surprises from…garnet hill?


just goes to show, you can find style anywhere.  before i go too far, let me just say that (a) yes, i realize garnet hill is for old people, and (b) therefore, i may now be old.  but i was bored enough to flip through their latest catalog, and there were some pretty do-able pieces to be found, most of which were pretty darn cheap to boot!

this knit dress ($68) is such a perfect summer staple.  i hate having to think about what i’m wearing when it’s hotter than hades out.  yes, it’s basic, but the ruching at the neckline and the bow give it enough detail to keep it stylish, and the washed-out grey makes it look lived-in, which i love on dresses like these.  

i’d pair it with flip-flops (2 for $70, and they look exactly like my $60 j.crew flips) and a chunky necklace. or, even better, this great euro/indian scarf ($52), which is exactly what i’ve been looking for to get me through the summer:  lightweight, neutral, and effortless.

so, what do you think – have i lost my mind completely, or are you on board?

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LBD heaven: rita by black halo

i find it all but impossible to resist a classic, regardless of what’s going on with my wallet, and this has to be one of the most perfect LBDs i’ve seen in ages.

the cut is so flattering and timeless, and the strong pleating on the bustline adds such unique, beautiful detail.  if you happen to be a size 4 or smaller, this might just be the best $244 you could possibly spend on your wardrobe.

buy it at ssense on sale – or, you can get it up to a size 8 over at revolve clothing (something tells me you could convince them to price-match ssense without too much effort).  while you’re over there, this one’s pretty amazing as well.  black halo – who knew?

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the good, the bad and the fugly: oscar fashion 2009

first, a little confession:  i’m actually writing this before the actual awards show has even started.  as a style writer, for me, the awards are beyond secondary – it’s all about the pre-game red-carpet festivities.  while the filmgoer in me is rooting loudly for kate winslet and sean penn to win (update:  they did!), the fashion critic in me really cares only about the looks strolling down the red carpet.

this year’s fashions provided much less fodder for complaint than in years past.  there were some really amazing looks, and only a handful that caused my inner fashion police siren to start screaming.  the vast majority of the looks were understated and classic – a nod, i’m sure, to the drama in the economy.  fortunately, a few stunning stars took it upon themselves to remind us of what we love about hollywood:  the escapsim and glamour.  

picture-41      sjp

my favorite look of the evening was kate winslet, a perennial favorite of mine.  she never fails to deliver hollywood glamour in spades, and tonight was no exception.  her stunning gunmetal gown, by yves saint laurent, boasted an asymmetrical one-shouldered bodice, crisp belting at the waist, and then dripped drama with a delicate and detailed black lace overlay.  i loved that she let the dress speak for itself – her only jewelry was a pair of classic drop earrings and a diamond bangle.

sarah jessica parker’s gown ran a very close second in my book.  her gown, by dior haute couture, was everything we’d expect from this fashion icon.  referring to the color of her gown as “barely mint,” parker simply radiated style and stardom.  the gold accents in the fabric, that fantastic belt, and the extravagant, floaty ball skirt were a perfect combination.  in a perfect world, i’d have covered her decolletage a bit more, but…

other winners in my book:  amy adams took the prize for best accessory, with her stunning fred leighton choker, and marisa tomei‘s gown was museum-worthy in its gorgeous origami detailing (though i didn’t love how she carried it off).  and i loved the subtle detail on taraji p. henson‘s gown – it was the perfect blend of elegance and drama.

freida-pinto      jessica-biel

of course, there’s nothing like a night of glitz and glamour to bring out the cattiness in fashion critics everywhere…present company included.  i freely admit i used to feel so badly for the stars who end up battered and bruised in the hindsight commentary from the fashion police.  but the more i’ve learned about this incredible industry, the more i realize that with all of the hours of planning, shopping, prepping and primping that go into putting a star on the red carpet, there’s just no excuse for the worst of the worst.

i was so excited to see what freida pinto would do with her oscar look – her lovely skin tone makes her an ideal candidate for bold, bright color, and showing off a little skin.  sadly, while the color was there, the skin wasn’t…and the asymmetrical bodice just didn’t work for me.  the whole thing was made worse by a single long sleeve made entirely of lace….just far too dowdy and old-fashioned for her hip, sexy vibe.

jessica biel’s was another look that really disappointed me.  with a figure like hers, the possibilities are endless.  so, unless she’s hiding a baby bump, there was little to explain away the gratuitous draping on the front of her gown.  but the real crime was her footwear – a black closed-toe pump with a cream column gown?  i would have loved to see a metallic shoe, and open-toe seems so obvious…i just have no idea what she was thinking.  add on a very lackluster half-up hairstyle, and the look just fell flat.

as for other misses, i wasn’t thrilled about miley cyrus‘ over-the-top style, which just seemed to completely overpower her.  ditto for beyonce‘s look, which i wanted to love at first glance.  but it’s no small feat to overpower someone like her (not to mention the fact that the gown was completely unflattering, adding at least a couple of hours to her hourglass figure).  and then there was mickey rourke…but really, i think the photo just speaks for itself.  just as well, as i was left speechless.  

ultimately, this just wasn’t a year for shock and drama at the oscars.  but if you’re looking for trends to take to the bank, there was clear evidence that classic glamour is back, statement jewelry can make even a lackluster gown fabulous, and when in doubt – a belt provides instant structure and style to nearly any ensemble.  nothing we didn’t know before…but sometimes, a little validation is all you need.

*all photos courtesy AP and

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