For A-List Living on D-List Dimes......

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Castle And The Couture

I've always been something of a late starter when it comes to trends.  I was the last to rediscover leggings, I was oblivious to the notion of hipster chic and I still haven't quite wrapped my head around the comeback kid that is the clog.  But perhaps more shocking for most was my inability to jump on board with the hysteria that was the Royal Wedding.  This time last week I just couldn't have cared less about either Kate Middleton or Prince William and quite simply couldn't fathom the fever pitch hype over their pending nuptuals.  Nonetheless, when I woke up yesterday morning and my iPhone indicated that a Princess had been born I became instantly obssessed!  I guess all it takes is a little Alexander McQueen couture to grab my attention.

The Dress.  I have to say, I was at first a little surprised by her choice.  Kate Middleton definitely appears to be quite fashion conscious and tends to veer towards silhouettes that, while not spray painted on to her, show off her physique.  I guess I was expecting her to go with something a little more modern, a little younger and a little more fashion conscious.  That being said, The Dress truly was exquisite and a timeless piece.  The fact that it is so reminscent of Grace Kelly's is indicative of how classic a style she went for.  As you all know, I am a fervent fan of lace and the fact that she encorporated this fabric as part of her design means we'll be seeing even more of it!  I loved the juxtoposition of the high laced back of the dress versus how low the bodice was.  We got to see some skin without seeing any at all and I think this kept a more youthful feel to the dress.  I think the thing I'm most shocked about is the fact that she did her own make up!  If I was her, I'd have had employed seventeen separate make up artists to work their magic on me and I'd have made them all do party pieces to entertain me while doing so.  Another good reason why I should never be given any power.......;)

Not only did Britain gain a Princess yesterday they also gained a Most Eligble Bachelorette.  Kate Middleton's sister, Pippa, was elegance personified yesterday in her custom designed Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown.  I've a feeling we're going to see alot of brides trying to emulate her look.  The feel of the dress was young, fresh and modern and the button details on the back was simply stunning.  Click here to see who donned this design two years ago - I think you'll be surprised! For the evening reception hosted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, Pippa opted for an emerald green Temperley London design and Alice Temperley was quoted as saying that she was a pleasure to work with.  As Kate's Lady in Waiting I'm excited to see her style evolve.

And then there were the great unwashed - the guests!  Oh Tara Palmer Tomkinson - I'd almost forgot you existed!!  Just to fill my American friends in, back in the 90s TPT was the Tara Reid of the British socialite scene.  Her crazy partying ways lead to many a tabloid headline and ultimately resulted in her nose collapsing due to certain alleged "overindulgences".  TPT certainly continued to deliver the shock factor with this top to toe cobalt blue ensemble.  While she is getting slammed by many critics I have to say that I kind of love the look!  While she does look like she's going to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and not the Royal Wedding she certainly has managed to get tongues wagging over her Deborah Milner creation and for that I take my Fascinator off to her!

Another firm favorite was Victoria Beckham sporting her own design.  While heavily pregnant she still looks absolutely impeccable.  I love her sleek pony tail and can you get over those sky high stillettos??!  Now I'm a girl who likes her heels but I don't think I could ever handle seven inchers - especially pregnant.  VB is the ultimate dedicated follower of fashion.

The rest of the wedding was a blur of Philip Treacy Fascinators and dress coats but I'd be here all day if I were to try to go through them all.  I will leave you lovelies with a picture of Kate's second dress of the evening.  Another beautiful Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen design.

I guess the only thing we need to worry about now is what the hell are we all going to talk about now that this wedding is over???!!  Hmm........what's Lindsay Lohan stealing these days.......??!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bedazzled or Be Duped??

I’m every marketer’s dream.  Wrap it in pretty packaging and have some random celebrity endorse it and I will undoubtedly make a purchase.  Dita von Teese has a new brand of margarita mix (The Margadita!)?  I’ll drink it!  Brooke Burke is selling Skechers?  I’ll wear ‘em!  Julianne Hough has a new dancing-inspired fitness DVD?  I’ll use it!  Yes, I’m somebody who shops on my gut instinct alone and am never concerned about price or practicality until after the fact.  And when that gut instinct has been pre-disposed to some form of Hollywood hype my inner sensibility doesn’t stand a chance.
The wave of celebrity reality TV shows has had a traumatic effect not only on my savings account but on my sense of self. Every time I see a Kardashian sashay across the screen draped in designer duds I cannot help but feel a little pang of jealousy. Yes, I often feel like an extra from Carly Simon’s music video “It Should Have Been Me” (although I could never quite understand how anybody could really want to fight for some boyo in a lime-green striped polo shirt – then again, I salivate over thigh-high Loboutin boots so what the hell do I know?). It seems like whenever I turn on the TV or open a magazine I am fervently reminded about how unfabulous my life is, of everything I cannot afford and how in no capacity is anybody trying to keep up with me.

I’m already a slave to celebrity fashion lines at the likes of Target, Kohls and JC Penney and no doubt will be adding Sears to this list once the Kardashian Kollection launches this August but, I’ve been slow to jump onboard with the wave of celebrity endorsed fashion websites – until recently, that is. This week, Lauren Conrad launched a beauty inspired website which gives hair and beauty tips galore. Recently, the spawn of Hollywood’s sharpest tongued critic, Melissa Rivers, became editor for This is a pretty interesting website which promotes various daily deals from 60% off YSL sunglasses to discounted beauty treatments. Apparently Ms Rivers fervently scours the internet each day to bring us the best discounted deals of all things fabulous and fashionable. How magnanimous of her!

But of course, my favorite celebrity fashion website of the moment is that of my girl crush Kim Kardashian. I fervently ignored the postings on Facebook and Twitter about Shoe Dazzle for quite some time but relented this week. This website is fabu-less. Literally. Every single item on it costs a mere $39.95 and they suggest certain styles to you based on a personality test you take. What’s more, if you invite your friends to partake and they make purchases you can earn style points which ultimately result in further discounts. Loves it! Oh and did I mention how cute this website is? It is a haven for all things girlie – I was putty in their hands. I’m opening my wardrobe doors to these two beauties below and am awaiting their arrival with breath that is bated.

It’s easy for us to be seduced by star power and duped into departing with our hard earned cash for less than top-notch products. What I like about the shoes I was presented with on Shoe Dazzle is that they are definitely very current trends that probably have little longevity. Yes, you heard me right! But, this is actually a good thing. As I’ve said before, we should only ever invest big $$ in classic, timeless pieces which often leaves little room on our credit cards for the more fun contemporary items. I’ll be rocking these fun Shoe Dazzle designs like I’m partying on the Sunset Strip with enough money in my wallet to, well, actually party on the Sunset Strip.

Ladies, I encourage you all to bedazzle like a superstar with Shoe Dazzle.

UPDATE:  Received my shoes - love, love, love!!!!!!! 

Junie Shoe $39.95

Transit Shoe $39.95


Friday, April 15, 2011

Men Are From Mars, Women Are.......Crazy!

“How do I look?”

No crueler words were ever spoken from a changing room door. Indeed, when it comes to discussing a woman’s outfit men can never win. Whether this question is posed to your brother, father or prospective suitor they are instantly doomed. Boys, incase you weren’t already painfully aware, us women are so persnickety about our clothes it’s best to avoid going shopping with us at all costs. Even the slightest misunderstood word or wrongly interpreted glance can result in us going from nought to nuclear in a matter of moments and dissolving into a blubbering heap on the floor. I firmly believe that I have been called fat many times over. When I falsely accused my recent beau of taking a photo of my derriere one Sunday afternoon I fully believed he was doing so to show his friends evidence of the biggest, fattest ass he’d ever had the misfortune to expose his eyeballs to in his life. It transpired he wasn’t taking a photo of me at all. When I was asked one time why I preferred a Queen sized bed to a King I automatically assumed the gentleman in question was referring to the fact that surely such a small-sized bed couldn’t possible accommodate the mass of my beached-whale like body. He was a mattress salesman who worked on commission. And of course there was that whole awkward experience at Macy's when the sales assistant brought me a size 8 shoe instead of a 7.5 which I deduced was his way of telling me I had cankles.  I was later made aware of the fact that he was part of a special needs program.

Sane, I am not.  But am I unlike any other woman?  Not so much.

Indeed, even when we receive a compliment from a man we manage to draw the negative out of it. If I’m told a dress looks good on me I always feel the need to explain that it would probably look a lot better with sleeves that would cover up my bat wing arms. Words like ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ instantly lead me to believe that the eye of the beholder sees me as a real life fishnet-stocking-wearing-corner-skulking whore. And God help the poor fool who pauses for even a milli-second after being asked the question “do I look good in this?”. He may as well instantly start walking the last mile. A fairer scenario would of course be to furnish your partner with an array of flash cards with phrases such as “you look amazing”, “wow, have you lost weight?”, or “I’m the luckiest guy in the world”. At least if he’s given fair warning of what the expected response is he might have a fighting chance. Indeed, the same could be said of all aspects of our relationships. At the end of the day, when I ask a guy a question pertaining to how he feels about me I already have the EXACT response that I want to hear conjured up in my mind and any deviations from this are to me, unacceptable. If a girl wants a guy to tell her he loves her and he doesn’t well then, he may as well hate her. And the same is true when we ask a guy how we look. Should he fail to use the exact key word we are looking for we are crestfallen and ergo deem ourselves to be, amongst other things, fat.

Yes, we are complex little creatures who should be loved, feared and loathed in equal measures. The more amusing part of this equation of course is the myth that women dress to impress men. Nothing could be further from the truth. Women dress for women. At the end of the day, when I step out in a red-soled shoe few men will recognize the subtle hint of Louboutain wafting through my ensemble. No man will realize that the delicate pendant caressing my neck once came from a perfectly wrapped blue box. How can they be expected to know that a wrap-around dress is not just a dress but the signature look upon which DVF’s entire fashion empire was built? So given that this is the case, why should we ever care whether a guy thinks our outfit is hot or not??

In a perfect world, straight men would never go shopping with straight women.  A woman can only expect another woman to steer us along the winding road of fashion dos and don’ts and prevent any potential buyer’s remorse that we may teeter towards. Unfortunately in this day and age free time is more valuable than cash and the opportunities to partake in such acts of female solidarity are few and far between. So what’s a girl to do when the only other alternative involves posing that heinous question “how do I look?” to a lover??

Pose. Pose is the answer to all of our worries. Not only is this iPhone app free but it allows us gals to get an honest opinion while shopping solo. Simply snap a picture of yourself in possible purchases and share them with a group of predetermined female friends for fast feedback before saying yay or nay. Perfect. Not only will this app save you time and of course money it might also save your relationship.

Gentlemen – you can thank me later! 


Monday, April 11, 2011

Take A Walk On The Wild Side

Fashion fads may come and go but, we'll always have leopard print. Like so many other celebrities, the Kardashian girls are avid fans.  Whether it be boots, bags or beautiful dresses you can always expect to see one of these sisters sporting this family favorite look. Like so many other women, Kim, Khloe and Kourtney like their clothes to make a statement. Indeed, for those fluent in fashion it is understood that a pant suit indicates work mode, a maxi dress implies that summer is nigh and a polo-neck sweater says ‘not tonight, boys’. Nonetheless, donning this daring design can be a tricky business. As with so many things in life, often the image we are trying to portray does not end up being that which we ultimately convey. While a leopard print mini dress adorning the body of Kim Kardashian might ooze sex appeal in a magazine editorial, we must remember that those who pursue this sartorial endeavor and then trot out to the local pub often end up looking more whore than wholesome. 

Yes, there are few patterns which can create such controversy.  With leopard print, there is a fine line between the luscious and the lewd.  In fact, it's probably easier to identify  the cons to this jungle fever look  as opposed to the pros (although given the propensity to look like a day-shift hooker in the design perhaps 'pros' was a poor choice of words).  A prime example of the gruesomely garish side to leopard print was exemplified at the Grammy Awards this year.  When Nicki Minaj stepped on to the red carpet eyeballs everywhere started to bleed. Ever loyal to the shock factor, Minaj’s top-to-toe Bride of Frankenstein inspired leopard print ensemble was the epitome of what not to wear and the embodiment of fashion road kill – literally.

Nonetheless, it is possible to take a walk on the wild side without looking, well, too wild.  When I daydream about clothes of the leopard print variety my mind immediately turns to high fashion - Dolce & Gabanna satin shirts and Jean Paul Gautier bodices. I think of the myriad of Cavalli dresses we’ve seen adorn red carpets and influences from the fervently fallen from grace, John Galliano. Needless to say, the subjects of my musings are only ever pipe dreams.   At the end of the day, I’m a little more TJ Max than Milan so I've allowed my inner animal instincts to roar with pieces from H&M, Zara and Victoria Secrets.  Below are a few of my favorite things.  So what are you wild things waiting for??  Go get your grr on........Jimi would want you to.....
Zara Blazer
Betsey Johnson Shoes
Victoria Secret Draped Cardigan

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

You Can Stand Under My Umberella

When I packed my spotted handkerchief many moons ago and made the arduous journey across the Atlantic to the land of opportunity there were many thoughts that trundled through my mind. I thought of the family and friends I was leaving behind, I thought about the new adventures that lay before me but most of all I thought about the fact that I was venturing away from the dismal rain that torments my homeland and moving to the Californian coast where sun and surf would no longer be associated only with vacations. Foolish girl.  Today, for the first time in my life, I arrived to work and was able to physically ring rain water out of my socks. Indeed, my sartorial indulgences over the past number of years have always relied on the assumption that the weather in San Francisco is permanently chilled out. For the most part, it never gets too hot or too cold here and it’s only when venturing to the East Coast do I ever freak out and scour the internet for a warmer winter coat (we don’t tend to need them lined out here on the wild wild west). Nonetheless, unexpected weather days like today seem to constantly catch me on the hop. I just don’t own very many warm sweaters nor does anything in my wardrobe resemble waterproof. I thought my flat, over the knee black Zara boots were a smart choice for today but they are now lying damp and dejected beneath my desk being singed by a portable heater. Sad. To add insult to injury, there allegedly hasn’t been a drop of rain in Ireland for the last three weeks. Sadder again.

While I love the fast lights of Jay Z and Alicia Key’s New York City I’ve never been enamoured by its’ weather. I’ve sweated my ass off on the subway and slipped on ice in the fall but NEVER have I stooped so low as to buy rain boots. If I’m to be perfectly honest, I don’t believe anybody whose age is in the double figures realm should ever don such atrocities. My friends on the East Coast look completely ridiculous when wearing them and I am never afraid to tell them so. Nonetheless, desperate times call for desperate measures and I have found myself trawling through the internet today trying to find the least offensive pair of galoshes known to mankind. Why a grown adult would wear any type of boot with images of ‘Hello Kitty’ slathered all over them is completely beyond my comprehension – and don’t even get me started on rainboots of the Croc variety. In my opinion, a rain boot is like flesh colored underwear – it serves its purpose but best kept unseen. For this reason, some of the preferred choices that I came across are what I would like to describe as ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ rainboots.  This biker boot inspired rain boot below seem like an acceptable choice to me.  Just as a strawberry blonde is not easily identified as the spawn of a red-head so too does this not appear to be in the 'gum boot' family at first glance.
Chinese Laundry at DSW

But rain-proofing our wardrobes does not just end with a simple boot.  Finding a presentable rain jacket proved almost trickier than sourcing a rain boot - apparently this is a garment designed purely for the middle-aged.  Wannabe designers take note - there is most definitely a gap in the market for cool rain coats!  Nonetheless, I did come across this little cutie below from my favorite boutique Tar-jay (shhhh!!).      And what better way to finish off your ensemble than with this to-die-for Parisienne inspired umbrella from Distinctive Umbrellas.

Target $29.99

Distinctive Umbrellas $19.95

But if all else fails, just go DIY like this!!  FIERCE!!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

St Patrick's Day - Fashion Parade or Parody...???

There are few public holidays that can be associated with style and grace. Indeed, whenever I think of any bank holidays my thoughts tend to veer towards images of ‘girls gone wild’ as opposed to ‘God, what a country’. Any Fourth of July party I’ve ever attended could have been cast and directed by the illustrious Joe Francis. From the bad 'stars n stripes' t-shirts to the Statue of Liberty foam hats, people tend to present themselves as parodies of the festivities as opposed to actual proponents of it. But, few holidays can measure up to the fashion road kill that is St Patrick’s Day. Now I know, I know – this is not an official holiday in the U.S of A but, let’s face it – it may as well be.

Ah St Patrick’s Day. A Holy Day of Obligation for us Irish at home.  A celebration of our Patron Saint and one of the most unflattering colors known to mankind. To be fair, us Irish were never really given a fighting chance. With our pale skin and alcohol-induced red faces – supermodels we were never destined to be but the emerald tones so associated with our country must have been the brainchild of the British as another means to keep us down. Nobody looks good in it.  Throughout the years, I’ve collected an array of St Patrick’s Day accoutrements. From the ever classy ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ t-shirt to Heineken logoed braces and the always-stylish green cowboy hat (cos as we all know, the cowboy hat is a staple in Irish daily fashion wear) – you name it and I’ve got it.

So with the onslaught of Paddy’s Day emails (no, not Patty's Day - get it right, Americans) threatening various pub crawls and green colored alcoholic treats I got to thinking – how does a girl stay fashionable in the face of fashion road kill?? Let me tell you, if you are looking to don the color of the Emerald Isle but would like to steer clear of any items of clothing that feature imagery of either shamrocks or leprechauns there are slim pickings out there. The trick with this atrocious color is the old ‘less is more’ rule. Unfortunately the fellow I met en route to the Prince concert last week was blissfully unaware of this. He was sporting a green and white paisley jacket, green corduroys and a wide-collared green shirt. The ensemble literally hurt my eyeballs and that it was not an ode to this Irish festival was even more baffling. On St Patrick’s Day, I’m more interested in wearing a green tank under a chiffon black cardigan, or a casual little sundress with ballet flats. Here were a few of my favorite finds…….or if I’m to be a little more honest……these were pretty much the only wearable items I was able to find after trawling the internet for well over an hour.

Old Navy $14.50

Target $18.00

Old Navy $19.90

Zara $29.90


I repeat - sliiiiiiim pickings!  Try as we may, there are few real fashion trends that lend themselves to this day and it is fair to say that those who truly embrace the festivities of this holiday can only ever end up looking like St Patrick's Day  vomited all over them.  Nonetheless, when I look at the picture below I can't help but smile.  Sartorially savvy??  Absolutely not but the craic must have been mighty.........

Happy (almost) St Patrick’s Day!!

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Red Carpet Fashion or Faux-Pas??

Forget the casting couch, all it takes is a well-crafted red carpet look to propell a fledling starlet from relative obscurity to Hollywood's hottest commodity.  It is no coincidence that JLo's career went from strength to strength after she donned a super sexy how-low-can-that-neckline-go Versace number to the Grammys back in 2000.  Had you ever heard of Liz Hurley before she attended Hugh Grant's 1994  'Four Weddings & A Funeral' premier wearing THAT dress??  But with the fashion successes have come of course the inevitable faux pas.  Unfortunately for Hollywood, beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder but in the sharp-tongued quips of a certain Mz Joan Rivers (I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't looking forward to E!s Fashion Police tonight!).  Indeed, there are many stars whose fashion choices remained ingrained in our minds for all the wrong reasons.  Perhaps Lara Flynn Boyle and Bjork were anticipating the 2011 meteoric success of Natalie Portman's movie 'Black Swan' but unfortunately for them back in the early 2000s when they channelled a ballerina and a swan respectively their looks were deemed more duds than divine.
However, we can rejoice in the fact that no such atrocities graced the red carpet of the 83rd Academy Award Ceremony last night.  I'm guessing the A-Listers MUST have read my piece about loving lace as there was an abundance of the delicate fabric featured last night (yes, ScarJo - I'm talking to you).  I thought that I was going to find it difficult to choose just five of my favorite looks but when I woke up this morning I couldn't have been more certain of my choices.  Here it goes...........

Mila Kunis was undoubtedly my best dressed of the night.  This Elie Saab creation is simply divine.  Both feminine yet chic, understated yet making a statement I absolutely adore the soft chiffon fabric and draping detail.  Having not read the reviews today my only fear is that she may come under fire for the similarities between this silhouette and the red belted Alexander McQueen design she wore only a few weeks ago at the SAG awards (click here).  But I still love you Mila!!

Cate Blanchett is a woman who knows what looks good on her and this Givenchy Couture creation is no exception.  The simplicity of her hair and make-up juxtaposed with the intricacy of the beading and pleating on this dress is spot on.  She absolutely nailed this look from head to toe and I'm so glad we got to see this dress on her and not some other starlet.  She definitely wore it well and I love the fact that she took a chance with this dress.  I'll be interested to see what the other critics make of the flash of neon yellow beading but I give her two enthusiastic thumbs up.......!!

Gwyneth Paltrow definitely does not always get it right on the red carpet but this Calvin Klein choice was flawless.  She literally looked like she was shimmering down the red carpet.  I loved her straight hair and simple make-up.  This was a much more modern feel than a lot of the other girlier garments seen last night but she still managed to keep it feminine and sexy in an understated fashion.  And she's lucky - cos that performance an Oscar nomination did NOT make!!

Halle Berry in Marchesa - simply divine.  No.  Other. Words.  Necessary.

Being age appropriate on the red carpet is not something we always see.  Whether it be Miley Cyrus looking like a cigarette-smoking, martini-swirling divorcee or Sharon Stone shamelessly grasping at her former siren-like status, too often we see examples of mutton dressed as lamb or lambs draped in their mother's pearls and looking like mutton.  Fourteen year old Hailee Steinfield looked exquisite last night in this Marchesa gown.  The dress itself had layers of detail from the full-skirt to the delicate feather like beading and she looked every inch the Oscar nominee.  I love that she managed to look sophisticated yet true to her age and I can't wait to see what fashion choices she wows us with in the future.

And with that - award season has come to a close.  I've decided not to be a hater and to keep my thoughts on those who maybe should have considered staying at home to myself.  I do want to give a special 'good on ya girl' to the gorgeous Anne Hathaway and her meticulously styled looks that graced the screen throughout the evening.  I read today that on average, she changed every 23.75 minutes!  I thought she did a fantastic job as co-host and having Rachel Zoe as her stylist most definitely payed off.

Now, let's see how soon we can start getting some knock-off versions of these dresses!!!  Which was your favorite??


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maybe 'Copy' Was A Clever Cat.......???

I’ve often been told that imitation is the best form of flattery. I think this pearl of wisdom was first bestowed to me when my arch nemesis school mate stole my first boyfriend. “She just wants to be like you”, my Mother insisted, “you should really be flattered”. The idea was further ingrained in me when my little sister’s best friend frequently tried to steal my favorite thigh-length peach crochet sweater before finally pleading with me “when you die, can I please have that”. The aforementioned wannabe shall remain nameless but A.D. – you know who you are. These miscellaneous copy cats are often the bane of our high school existence. You know the type – the girl who latches on to any kind of group scenario and pauses to see how the leader of the pack is going to respond to a situation before vehemently nodding her head in agreement; the girl who just happens to produce a rhinestone studded denim jacket less than a week after you bought yours and who swears her mother insisted she got a matching bowler hair cut and the idea was never hers. Now, if I’m honest - I’ve always been deluded with notions of grandeur about myself. Namely, I’ve always believed that I have a unique sense of style but at the end of the day when it comes to fashion – does originality really exist or are we all just trying to imitate somebody else??

Whether it be the playground or the pages of glossy magazines, most of our fashion sense has evolved through emulating others. I’ve come to realize that my Mother’s pearls do not a fabulous outfit make however, thanks to a tip from Rachel Bilson (via InStyle magazine) I’m learning to once again embrace lace and have been adding little accents of it to my wardrobe. Indeed, proof that the bankability of the Hollywood star is a major force in the fashion industry has been seen in the increase of ‘celebrity designers’. If you want to dress like Beyonce, you can do so at ‘House of Dereon’, if you fancy looking like Jennifer Lopez check out her JLo line or if you want to rock out like Gwen Stefani you can flex your credit card at L.A.M.B. Indeed, these stars have realized that not only is imitation the greatest form of flattery – it’s the very foundation that second homes were built on.

Needless to say, the cost of being a copycat can downgrade a fashionista to a mere mortal recessionista which is why I have become a huge fan of celebrity lines at, dare I say it, Target (if you pronounce it like tar-jay it will make you feel better). Worse again, I recently made purchases at Kohl’s. I kid you not. While browsing aimlessly on the World Wide Web I stumbled across Lauren Conrad’s ‘LC’ line of clothing for the aforementioned ‘boutique’. What can I say?? I fell in love. How was I supposed to resist her black sweater with the lace panel in the sleeve that was 20% off on President’s Day?? Rachel Bilson TOLD me lace was going to be a big thing this season and LC seduced me with her rock bottom prices. Furthermore, her ballet flats pictured below are featured in this month’s In Style magazine are so cute and a great addition to anybody’s wardrobe. I know I will wear these for work all the time and at a mere $36 – how could I refuse??!

Yes, I do have notions of grandeur about myself. I do like to think I can rub shoulders with the elite and fashionable and roll with the high rollers but truth be told, I just don’t have the spending power. Therefore, I am delighted that Tar-Jay is introducing their ‘Go International Designer Collective’. Over the past number of years, Target has seen its fair share of celebrity fashion lines with guest designers including Jean Paul Gaultier (although I have to say – I hated every piece in his collection, namely the lame swimsuit). They have decided to launch a new line with 34 of the best-selling dresses from previously featured designers including the likes of Zac Posen, Libertine and Alice Temperely. Better again – all of these dresses will be under the $50. Ah, how I love the sweet sense of satisfaction that comes with getting a deal. Now I know that this line will not be launched until March 13 but just knowing that I am going to buy this gorgeous Rodarte design below gives me the same butterflies-in-my-stomach sensation as if George Clooney were about to kiss me.

Judge as you see fit – I’m off to day dream about hemlines and handsome men and how I can continue to copy cat my way through this fashionable life…….

LC Conrad for Kohl's
Rodarte for Target


Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Price Of Popularity

The SAG awards have been and gone, we’ve finally got the Grammys behind us but the crème de la crème of award ceremonies is looming ever so near and the question on all of our lips is - what the hell are WE going to wear to the Oscars??! Now, don’t be foolish. My Sunday night expeditions to these star studded events have solely consisted of cup cake parties at my friends’ homes with the award show on somewhere in the background. There’s been no red carpet, no Ry Ry Seacrest chomping at the bit to get the latest scandal and I’ve already worn the same pair of shoes twice. Joan Rivers would eat me alive. Nonetheless, us girly girls (and even girlier boys) have been donning our favorite party frocks, pumped up the wigs and all in the name of bringing a little Hollywood glitz and glam to the Bay Area.

Whether it be award season, holiday party overload or wedding after wedding after wedding – we all go through periods of time where the ratio of fabulous frocks in our closet versus number of events to attend do not an even match make. Facebook is intent on completely ruining my best intentions to recycle my wardrobe as social events are now not just confined to actual attendees. Instead even my virtual friends know that the LBD I donned at my friends’ birthday party in LA last year was the same that I threw a belt on and wore just two weeks ago in New York. Haters. Of course the logical thing to do is go out and spend, spend, spend but my W2 just gave me the finger and that highly anticipated tax refund just ain’t looking so big and juicy anymore.

I think my favorite store in the world is my sister’s wardrobe. It’s the only place where I can find designer brands literally for free. Throughout the years, I have been the proud cat burglar recipient of Pied a Terre shoes, Chanel bags, copious amounts of cosmetics and endless quantities of random t-shirts and sweat pants. It’s quite the Aladdin’s cave for a modern-day-money’s-tight minx like myself. But since that harlot has high-tailed it off to live in another country I am without the resources I have previously relied so heavily on. Now I can’t borrow her cocktail dresses, her shoes are no longer mine to take and worse again, I’ve actually had to start purchasing People magazine myself.

But have no fear my little Recessionistas, as I have found the solution to this heinous predicament. Rent the Runway. Yes, Rent the Runway is beyond a shadow of doubt my new BFF. Finally, cocktail and evening dresses from the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, D&G and Vera Wang to name but a few are within our reach. For a mere fifty bucks, I can now rent one of Herve Leger’s famous bandage dresses and compete against the likes of JLo and Kim K above to truly see who wore it best (note to self: I will not win). Perfect. And for a more complete look, you can even rent from their jewellery collection. I’ve abstained from doing so however as I fear a case of the Lindsay Lohans “I didn’t realize I still had it” would come over me and I’d never be able to pull of that Kimberly Ovitz white knit dress she wore to court the other day. Child bearing hips are a true curse.

So go, rent and be merry my friends. Rent the Runway is a true God send for those busy party seasons we often find ourselves in. Thankfully, the price of popularity doesn’t need to wave an angry fist at your credit card anymore.



Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Is it just me or has it been winter FOREVER??

For the last two months the San Franciscan weather monster has had an insatiable appetite for the cold, the dreary and the downright dismal. Never have I experienced such bitter conditions in the city before and what’s worse, this frosty feeling seems to be permeating its way through our bodies and souls. Pedestrians are bustling through the streets with their heads down and bulldozing through anything that crosses their paths, cyclists are even less likely to stop at a red light and as sale prices hurtle towards the ‘70% off’ world fellow shoppers are becoming even more ruthless. Somebody actually kicked me in Macy’s the other day. True story.

But fear not, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are starting to see the first sprinkles of Spring collection colors in stores. My gym is attempting to lure me back with promises of a ‘beach body’ and America’s favorite fame-whoring family are already promoting their new swimwear line (yes, the Kardashians for Beach Bunny Swimwear’s new 2011 collection is now available and yes, I’m just jealous cos I want their lives). Ah, summer is nigh and thoughts of flirty dresses and colorful tanks are tantalizing my sartorial senses.

But do not be fooled. Do not allow yourself to be seduced by BCBGs sassy summer window displays. Ignore the Victoria’s Secret swimsuit catalogue that is winging its way to you as we speak. For Recessionistas like us, now is not the time to start thinking about shorts and tees. Get your crystal balls out girls, cos we need to start thinking about NEXT winter.

Don’t you raise your eyebrows like that at me! I speak the truth. Just yesterday I was perusing through Betsey Johnson’s store admiring an array of stunning winter coats that were 60% off. Piperlime has an insane sale on their boots collection and Neiman Marcus is finally talking to me in a language that I can speak.  Right now, stores nationwide are a virtul winter wonderland of accoutrement delights at rock bottom prices.  Indeed, sometimes in life you need to take a step backwards in order to move forward. Well, as a Recessionista, sometimes you need to shop for this season after the fact. Just think about it, is there anything more priceless than finding a jacket or pair of boots that you have coveted for months on the 'Clearance' rack?? Doesn’t it just give you that extra swagger in your step when you really find a bargain? And think about it, as this season is (hopefully) winding down and the opportunities to wear winter clothes will dwindle you’ll find that come next winter you’ll have an array of virtually unworn garments adorning your closet walls.

And that’s when you start investing in swimwear…………see where I’m going with all this??! Tread carefully though – you don’t want to complicate your seasonal shopping too much and end up looking like Kim Cattrell below……

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Louboutins For Lunch.....

You’ve got the dress. You’ve perfected the smoky eye trend. Your vintage purse is simply divine but those clumpy old black pumps with the heels wore down just do not complete the look. So where does a recessionista turn to when you’re a shoe-aholic working off bad credit?? The Italians (and Claire Bear) say that you should always match your shoes with your bag. Indeed, this has been a simple fashion rule that I have followed for years. I always remember, many moons ago, marveling at this hot blonde wearing an LBD and rainbow striped pumps. I’m not joking – they were genuinely rainbow striped pumps of the Castro variety. I, in all of my nineteen year old wisdom, thought they were AMAZING but I was assured by my slightly more mature and infinitely fashion wiser friend that she looked cheap and nasty. It wasn’t much long after this that I learned this to be a fashion faux pas of catastrophic proportions on the streets of Milan. Indeed, sadly as one gets that little bit more mature and softer in the hot bod department you come to realize that less truly is more. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve never followed the advice of taking one thing off before I leave the house (were I to do this I’d probably join the ranks of P Hilton and Britney Spears in the unfortunate and unflattering angle-photo department). Nonetheless, I have realized that garish colors and mis-matching pieces can often look just that – garish and mis-matching.
A great dress is one thing. But there are few feelings that parallel donning a really sexy pair of heels. I HATE flat shoes. The best they can ever be is cute. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to strutting my stuff in them in a work environment or on a leisurely Sunday stroll but truth be told, us women all feel much sexier and stronger in a pair of killer heels. And men feel it too. There are certain shoes that evoke in men that ‘leave them on’ lust and trust me honey, that doesn’t come with a kitten heel.

So what I am about to disclose to you goes against the very ethos of this blog but here it goes – you need to spend money on shoes. There. I said it. Ladies, I do hate to admit it but it’s true. Now, I absolutely do not believe in spending money on fad shoes. A flowery espadrille or purple pump might go well with your specific look du jour but they’re not going to last you a lifetime. Think of Manolo Blahnik’s ‘Mary Jane’. Now that is a perfect shoe – sexy but still conservative, and above all insanely versatile. The only thing a shoe like that may not work with is a summer dress and let’s face it – there are a million $30 –a-pair of shoes at Marshalls or Target that will complete that look. Now if I were to pick a favorite shoe I’d have to go for the slick red-soled Louboutin. These shoes are simply – divine. I’ve been lucky enough to add a few of these babies to my wardrobe and wearing them is a guilty pleasure (I sometimes just wear them around the house). Now, I know – they are obscenely expensive but trust me, I get so much wear out of mine that it truly is worth it. One of the most sacreligious crimes a fashionista can commit is to not wear your more expensive items. Come on, we’re all guilty of it. You spend money on a pair of shoes and because they were so damn expensive you feel the need to only wear them on ‘special’ occasions. Au contraire, my friend, the reason why you bid adieu to your hard-earned American dollars is solely so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s not often that I truly splurge but the biggest pleasure that comes with splurging is of course to enjoy the item (or items in some cases) - even if it means wearing your Louboutins while doing the dishes.

My darling Recessionitas, if Carrie could live off Vogue for dinner, we can have Louboutins for lunch….

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