October 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
Oh, New York is a horrible place to have feet. You have to walk everywhere and if you feel, as I do, that dressing nicely gives your day A Lift, the shoe thing is a Thing. So, since a good friend of mine asked me what I like for comfortable but stylish shoes that actually let you to walk — especially in the cold — I thought I would share some of the highlights with you. Here we go!
Fantastic but comfortable shoes are NOT a myth. (“Volumizing” mascara is though, I think.) So here is my list of favorite kinds of comfortable shoes to wear when I am not yet in full-on winter boots, but cannot get by thermally-speaking in a ballet flat:
– The classic gucci loafer, which is worth the expense because they go well with so many things and really never change all that much. I like them in suede year-round to keep them looking relaxed and fashionable.
– A lace-up. I swore a few years ago that I would not wear them, but that black patent pair (https://somecozynight.com/2012/10/16/am-i-really-wearing-these/), and the nude and gray leather ones that followed are all up-to-date and make more conservative outfits feel fresh. Ex: I have this black crepe dress with a kind of boat-neck collar, that hits nicely above the knee. While most women who own this dress probably think heels are what is called for, I love them with the patent lace-ups and tights because it takes the whole look down a level. And, someone did ask to take my photo once last spring when I was wearing said combo. (But I was also with the dogs, so maybe it was them and not the cool outfit…) This week, I walked from 98th and West End Avenue to 70th and Amsterdam in said shoes and aside from my knee bugging me, my feet were fine!
Go for it! There’s lots to choose from:
– Smoking Slipper. So chic. So comfortable. I LOVE my blue velvet ones in the winter and have a great pair of light gray suede for every season but winter. These are also great with dresses, but totally fab with pants…and everything else for that matter.
Just pick a pair:
I have also determined that finding the shoe maker that seems to work for your foot best allows you to wear 2 – 3 inch heels without too much of an issue. That said, for walking, pumps are a troubled category unless it is more of a bootie or has some kind of strap or detailing in the front that keeps the foot in the shoe. Or, for non-winter, slingbacks (sexy ones) are perfect. And I wear them to death provided that it is somewhere between 80 and 60 degrees.
June 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
This post is a small tribute to Marjorie Hillis, former Vogue editor and author of several excellent books of her day, including Live Alone and Like It, Orchids on Your Budget and a number of delightful others. While a few of the titles have been re-issued, I prefer the originals from the 30’s and 40’s, which are easily found on Alibris and other vintage book sites and shops. They are completely charming and rather radical for their time. They are also hilarious.
Ms Hillis was a writer with an intoxicating combination of chic and practicality. Sort of a Dorothy Draper of Living. (In one of her books, she asks her readers to think about whether or not they can “afford a husband”. Ha!!) Given the times she was living in, when women were supposed to be attached and raising children, her’s was a novel idea: be single, be married, whatever you decide, just make sure that you are happy and confident in your choices. Oh, and don’t be a schlub.
So, why all this chit-chat about Ms Hills, the married lady who happened to write about being a single woman waaay before the idea of “Carrie Bradshaw” could have been imagined? Well…for the last several days and for the next few as well, I am on my own at the beach. Mr. H is in the city working on finishing up a major project, and I am here for the sole purpose of having a new dishwasher installed at the house. (I know, it’s all glamour, glamour, glamour with me.) I am also working remotely on said Big Project, but still, I am on my own. And it is reminding me of all the truly wise things Marjorie has to say about living on your own. One of them is that you should always eat your meals at a properly set table — or tray — even when you are alone. No “Soup for One” in Hillis-land!
And so I have been making an effort to do so, including setting the table for myself and choosing some new music to take in while “dining”. I’ve also made sure that I have entertainment between reading copy and approving things, fresh flowers all over the house, and have even gone so far as to make sure that I look less than insane when leaving the house for grocery shopping and dog walks. And I must tell you, it makes the whole Being on My Own much nicer than if I were just kind of being a Sad Girl. A lesson for us all, I think. Even if you aren’t a person who loves their solitude, Living Alone and Liking It is completely achievable.*
* And yes, I still miss Mr. H
(Photo of this evening’s dinner: Some Cozy Night)
June 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
A pressing question as the temperatures begin to really rise and I have to pack for a short trip to Scottsdale this week. Out of all the things that one must shop for, I find the bathing suit cover-up to be the worst. Why? Because most of the ones I find seem to be some combination of: (1) Totally sheer, (2) Too expensive to get sunblock all over, (3) Bedazzled and (4) Made of fabric that is better used for throw pillows.
However, I have done quite a bit of legwork and am happy to report that there are a few companies that are making downright adorable things. My favorites of the season:
Items here go fast, but there are many things to love, including this little dress that I picked up a few months ago:
Founded by the fantastically beautiful model, Liya Kebede, Lemlem’s wares are made of handwoven fabric from her native country Ethiopia. The fabrics are just great and while the prices are a little higher than most, I think the good cause and cool designs make it worth it if you want to splurge.
Joie (available everywhere from Piperlime to Nordstrom)
When they feel like making a coverup, they go Bohemian, but not too far. Super soft cottons that breathe but longer sleeves for extra coverage makes me a little nuts for them. These are two of my favorites — same basic cut, two different fabrics:
They also made an off-white one this year that I adore, because sometimes plain white it just nice…
And, they made this great maxi that isn’t really bohemian at all — I think it is kind of sporty:
Considering the mixed bag of quality at J. Crew overall, they seem to keep the cover-ups pretty consistent. And there are some awfully nice ones this season, including collaborations with Lemlem and Nili Lotan!
Ella Moss (http://www.ellamoss.com/)
OK, they don’t really make cover-ups, but I use this kind of crazy dress as one:
I think the print is happy and perfect for poolside. Beach, less so. But that is just me.
And that is all I have for today.
(Photos, which could be better, I know: Some Cozy Night)
April 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
So there are days when you feel like you Just Can’t. Alas, you have to anyway. May I suggest that you put on something that makes you really, really happy and feel pulled together? I believe it takes the edge off.
Today I decided on these crazy black and white floral jersey pants with my favorite slingbacks and Hipper-Than-Me gray overcoat. Feeling better already.
Don’t give up the ship! Or at least be dressed with confidence so it doesn’t feel like you might.
(Weird photo of my new favorite pants: Some Cozy Night)
April 5, 2013 § 2 Comments
OK, I am having a major stress-related sleepless night, so I thought now would be a great time to talk the Fall Collections that were shown in February. I know not everyone cares about these things, but I love the art of it when done well, and the trends you see here are things you are going to see everywhere come late summer, so assessing your about-to-be-put-away fall pieces from this season with an eye on next year isn’t entirely stupid. Also, please note that there are way too many shows, and I therefore tend to stick to the designers I personally adore and make sure to check out the ones that everyone is talking about. So, these comments aren’t coming from someone who has seen everything…just enough to have an opinion. 😉
So, we’ll start with New York:
I think I mentioned that I loved Narciso Rodriguez (http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/new-york/rtw/narciso-rodriguez.html), which was full of crisp jackets, spare-but-snuggly coats and trousers that you know you can wear to work and evening events that require a little more than jeans. Beautiful palette of inky blues, rust, classic black and cream and a fantastic pop of fushia here and there. Narciso isn’t really trendy, but his artful cutting that makes Minimalist interesting was on fire this season. These are Keeper Pieces that feel right now and will for a long time to come.
Marc Jacobs was actually my favorite New York show this season (http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/new-york/rtw/marc-jacobs.html). I am not usually a Marc girl, but for over twenty years, he has always been a force. This collection was a great mix of Cool Chick and Ladylike. The metallics had a comfortable and liquid-like effect, that when pared with more matte things (like cloth jackets and cozy, fitted sweaters) made them viable for day. The cloth coats and jackets were very desirable and perhaps a good way to get the look without it feeling too “Fall 2013″…more keepers, I think. The handbags were also kind of perfect, but I must ask: As much as I am enjoying the clutch these days, how practical is it, really? Also, Marc, WAY TOO MUCH FUR. No fur is best for me, but heavens, why would I want to wear a dead animal around my neck? I don’t even like it when my dogs jump on me and they are alive and wonderful creatures.
Proenza Schouler, in spite of their awful new logo (it is killing me) made me want to dress like a grown up again http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/new-york/rtw/proenza-schouler.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.new-york.rtw.proenza-schouler.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00001). So much so that their Look 2 is on preorder for me. Hopefully it will fit and I won’t spill anything on it right away. Black and white was big again, as were relaxed but not slouchy jackets that you can totally wear with jeans and smart flats for a less dressed up look. I loved how tight they kept their palette and how so many shapes seemed to build on things they’ve been trying in prior seasons. I know the P.S.1 bag is the bread of butter of this business, but damn, these guys make great clothes.
The Row. There was nothing I did not want in this show. I even love the pants over the dresses — a trend to look for and consider provided that the pant leg is very slim and the dress feels more like a tunic. I especially loved looks 17 – 19, but would need to be about seven inches taller to pull them off. Still, I am certain I’ll find a thing or two, be horrified by the price, but wind up with anyway. The heart wants what it wants. And this stuff is also designed for the long-haul. http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/new-york/rtw/the-row.html#
OK, London…I’ve got to be honest with you: I didn’t like anything. And I usually love Jonathan Saunders, Preen, and Peter Pilatto. But the only thing I kind of dug was L’Wren Scott’s show, which was great for tall, pin-thin women who like a lot of gold and ruffles. This is not meant to be disparaging. I actually thought it was great..just not really for me.
Milan is where things start getting serious. For the palette alone, Jil Sander was a knockout: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/milan/rtw/jil-sander.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.milan.rtw.jil-sander.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00006 But I love the longer skirts, trim but not tight tops, and all of those delicious coats! I was surprised to see plaid here, but the nineties is back…so it is to be expected. The sweaters did look kind of great with the long, flowing skirts, but one needs to be careful to avoid looking like Elaine Bennis. Still, I loved this show.
There was way too much fur at Marni this season (http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/milan/rtw/marni.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.milan.rtw.marni.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00019), but Marni Girls like me will always find something irresistible in the collection. More roomy coats and jackets were on offer…this is a trend that I suspect is here to stay for a while, but do be careful: we don’t want to revisit Working Girl again, do we?
Very interesting at Prada, but it almost always is. This is why I still wear pieces that are old enough to take their PSATs. I LOVED the coat sleeves when they weren’t done with fur. (Again…can’t we stop with the fur??) And the sharp, asymmetrical hemlines could be something that will trickle on down. Keep your eyes open.
And now on to the end of the road: Paris While an acquired taste, Ann Demeulemeester’s show had some interesting play with flowing fabric that still felt urban enough for an Indian Summer Situation in the city: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/ann-demeulemeester.html And I liked how some of it was paired with tougher and more substantial fabrics that would work well as the temperatures dive. No bowler hats, though. I beg you.
Like Jil Sander, Phoebe Philo at Céline (yes, yes, I love this line) was playing with longer skirts and high waists: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/celine.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.celine.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00001 And the softly boxy tops, jackets and coats were all in my face, strengthening my desire to be a Tall Person. That said, there were plenty of dresses and tops for a Wee Person like me to adore and wear without looking like a fool. So, Phoebe, thank you again!
Chanel is Chanel. Enough said. Oh, except I really dug look number 5: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/chanel.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.chanel.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00005
I love me some Chloe, but only look number 7 really melted my butter this time: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/chloe.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.chloe.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00007
Oh, God, DIOR!!!!. I just knew that Raf Simmons was going to be brilliant there, and he is, without making hay of the archives. Raf, I was in from look number 1: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/christian-dior.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.christian-dior.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00001 That said, there isn’t a ton here to really wear every day. And I do kind of need that more than anything else. Oh, and before you think I missed it: those bags were bad.
After years of resisting, Christian Wijnants got me into a jumpsuit this spring. He is new on the scene, but I think he has a great way with draping and the looks are youthful but still sophisticated: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/christian-wijnants.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.christian-wijnants.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00001 Look number 28, I love you.
No one, except maybe Galliano, does color like Dries Van Noten: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/dries-van-noten.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.dries-van-noten.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00008. And this wasn’t anywhere near his strongest in that regard. Still, there were things to love. I don’t feel like there are very trendy things in his collection…just things that call out to you and say “take me home and love me forever”. Look 11, deep crush. Less feathers and fur would have made this one more appealing to me, but I am still enjoying the pants under the dress trend. And the proportions here just look really fresh and wearable, even for a Wee Person.
I will always love Giambatista Valli: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/giambattista-valli.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.giambattista-valli.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00009 I do find it helpful to mix with more casual pieces, but look number nine is heaven, no?
And we must finish with the show that all eyes were on: Alexander Wang’s first collection for Balenciaga, which was perfection. There was so much talk of Wang being more of a street designer, but this collection was so respectful of the heritage, while being totally NOW, I was jumping in my seat (at the office, when I should have been working). I want to date looks eight though eleven, and once again wish that the fur wasn’t used in the later looks. Still, wonderful. http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/balenciaga.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.balenciaga.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00008
So, what have I gleaned from these shows? Well, solids — especially black and cream — are big this year, as is the relaxed shoulder, pants under carefully chosen dresses and long jackets that look like dresses are all What’s Next or still going strong. I would also say that even when the tailoring is more fitted, things looked more comfortable overall. “Ladylike” here and there, “Modern” here and there, but this season seems to be saying “go ahead, finish the pasta and I swear you won’t have to unzip anything before you get home”. Enjoy!
March 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
So, I am gearing up for spring and summer with a few more casual items, and found myself having a grand old time at A.P.C. today. As I have mentioned, A.P.C. has a way with slightly throwback but very cool garments. I even love their pared down bag…
As opposed to some other lines that are aggressively pushing brights (in which I have indulged), A.P.C. seems to be going a tad lighter. Lots of pinks and other pastels, a few sweet prints, all cut with a trace of very early eighties, “Sloane Ranger”* feel. Somehow, I was In. My loot: One pale pink, striped cotton top with a tunisian neckline, a silk blouse in a darling little fleuron print with a hidden placket and slightly billowy sleeves and…wait for it…super-pale blue jeans.
Each piece I tried on reminded me of Lady Diana and how adorable she looked before her engagement, with her pink cheeks and billowy frocks. And somehow, I decided that this wasn’t a problem, but a fresh look for now. (Hair excluded.)
I suppose it was bound to happen with the new Royal Baby in process and a trip to the English Countryside planned for the spring. But rather than adhere too closely to the look, I plan to make it a little more 2013 with some very sleek, gray suede sling backs (single sole!), cool cardies and a fitted trench from last fall.
I know what you are thinking: She’s nuts. But I urge you to give the look a whirl in a local dressing room before you say “pass”, if only to keep me from being all alone out there. 😉
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
February 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
Greetings from the Sea of Cortez. While it may be a little chillier than usual, I am making excellent use of my time away by sleeping, reading, reapplying sunblock and eating some more. I have also been thinking about the latest things I’ve been into and thought I would share…
New York Collections for Fall
Yes, Fall, but you know the drill by now. From my iPad, I didn’t see much that knocked my socks off, but Narcisco Rodriguez, Proenza Schouler, The Row, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta presented some of my favorite things. Check them out at nymag.com for a little inspiration and please note those shoes at Proenza: low heeled and to die for.
K. Jacques Sandals
This little obsession started last summer and it is only growing with my new “hippie” pair that I’ve been wearing with my more bohemian coverups…
I have even been wearing some gold jewelry with the look. A little outside my comfort zone, but only for like five seconds. Yay.
The band. I discovered them on Nowness, and find that while they aren’t as interesting as Goldfrapp, they are great to run to.
The Eye Has To Travel
Goodness, just watch it and get sucked into the fairy tale that Dianna Vreeland created and lived in. Sad to say that she could never be today, at least not in magazines. But maybe in some other way…here is hoping.
And that is all I have for today. Happy weekend!
January 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
Breaking in the Shoe Department: The Single Sole
I suppose I should have seen it coming, as we have been teetering — “comfortably” — on our platforms for more than a few years now. But still, I was focused on reduced heel hight and my new love of the velvet slipper, so I wasn’t thinking too much about it.
Then I arrived home to my January issue of Vogue which contains a story on “Breaking the Platform Habit”. Apparently, Vogue would like us to practice walking in — and start buying — stilettos. (http://www.vogue.com/magazine/article/stride-into-2013-breaking-the-platform-habit/#1). I would add that a single sole shoe with a lower heel height and deep vamp might be just as great and more comfy.
Next, an email from the good people at Net-A-Porter stating that they were now obsessed with the Single Sole Shoe, along with a link for me the think about (http://www.net-a-porter.com/am/Shop/List/The_Single_Sole?cm_mmc=EmailDedicated-_-ShoeHotlist030113-_-am-_-Position1&cm_em).
Clearly, the Fashion Gods are speaking up. And they want us to change our shoes.
While I am not a slave to trends, I have been feeling like my platforms sometimes look a tad clunky. (And The Real Housewives aren’t helping.) Perhaps that is why I purchased these last spring:
The BB stiletto is sexy and I can walk it them for the most part. And they do add a certain lightness to a look, but still have a ton of presence. I tried them recently with a pair of rust colored velvet flares that stop just above the ankle (yes, I am going there, too), and that looked kind of perfect.
Obviously, I’m not suggesting that we toss out all of our Minnie Mouse shoes just yet, but I would put a “Hold” on them for Spring and a “Buy” — or “Dig Out and Start Wearing” — on the classic stiletto, a great kitten heel and a good, old fashioned flat.
(Photo of my BB’s: Some Cozy Night)
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
As you know, I am a great lover of fashion with a capital “F”, and indulge in it far too regularly. But I often feel as if attention is paid most closely to Ready-to-Wear and Fast Fashion, and very little in between. But there are so many In Between options that are just fantastic: great style, beautiful details and good quality. Here are some of my favorites:
Nili Lotan’s store in East Hampton makes you want your entire wardrobe to consist of about ten things. It seems as if there is nothing in her small collections that can’t take you through your day and into the evening without being comfortable and stylish. (Unless, of course, you must wear a suit…Nili can’t exactly help you there.) Fantastic sweaters, cozy coats, simple but beautifully cut dresses and a well-edited selection of cotton shirts and pants. Did I mention the scarves? Terrific. (www.nililotan.com)
Vanessa Bruno’s ATHÉ line is filled with more comfortable yet cool pieces. My latest love: a poncho-styled sweater that has all the best parts of the poncho (like adorableness and a new look) and none of the bad (arm use, anyone?). And it must be said, her signature line is one of my top picks for easy summer dresses and other items of wearable coolness. (www.vanessabruno.com)
Well, I hadn’t darkened the door of Joseph since sometime in the nineties. And after a recent trip, I have to ask myself “WHY???”. The pants are well cut and won’t make you feel like you are wearing something “for the office”, even though you can totally wear them there. (And they often have coordinating jackets should you need them.) I think I may have purchased the sexiest pants I currently own there the other day. They don’t look like much on the hanger, but HELLO! when on! Love. (www.joseph.co.uk)
I will admit that there was a time when I thought Phillip Lim was not a contender, but those days are long gone. After five or so years, he has truly figured out his own direction that frequently creates Desire in my heart, without that nagging feeling of “when am I going to wear this” in my head. Super pants, lovely dresses and smart sweaters, including another great “hybrid poncho” in black and a super cool heather cream sweater with a chiffon overlay on the front (above) that mixes Sporty with Special perfectly. (www.31philliplim.com)
Who doesn’t want to look effortlessly beach-y, even in the colder months? I got hooked on James Perse through the t-shirts that are wonderfully soft and last a good, long time. (Yes, J. Crew, I am looking at you — and The Gap, too.) Everything on offer tends to be in those fantastic non-color colors that make putting together casual outfits pretty mindless. And you can pop a more tailored blazer over any of their t-shirts and drawstring pants and somehow look all CBK* without even really trying. (www.jamesperse.com)
So, I know Gwyneth Paltrow is Gooping Chinti & Parker up a storm lately. But I want to go on the record as saying I loved them first. I am presently deeply in love with their hoodies, and never don’t want to wear their other cashmere knits and cotton pants. (Which, btw, they could make more of…just thinking out loud.) The kind of clothes you can run an errand in and be all “don’t I look cool and comfy” while waiting on an endless line. (www.chintiandparker.com)
Before there were hipsters, there were Cool French People. And may CFP’s always be with us, since it will require that A.P.C. never goes out of business. In that mysterious French way, they make clothes that are alluring, hip and above all, wearable. There isn’t a season that goes by that I don’t pick up an item of two from their beautifully authentic collections. And did I mention that the stuff lasts forever? It does. (http://usonline.apc.fr/colorama/women)
And I think that is all I have for now. Happy shopping!
*CBK: Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. I know I have mentioned her before, but really, even all this time later, her style was solid. And I am sorry that we didn’t get to see what was next for her.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)