Playing Dress-Up for the Holidays

November 24, 2009

The temperature in LA has dipped low enough to keep me snuggled up indoors for the majority of the day. Despite the chilly weather, I’m excited for the coming holiday season! I love seeing all the stores decked out in Christmas decor and it reminds me that it’s a good time to start thinking about picking up some fun holiday dresses.

BCBGMAXAZRIA One Shoulder Satin Dress ($248) BCBG dresses were always a staple at my college banquets and this one is absolutely perfect. It’s clean-cut enough to wear to office holiday parties, but still offers a sassy kick with the gorgeous zipper-lined shoulder bow and pockets (still loving pockets oh so much!). One shoulder anything reminds me of this horrific red one shoulder shirt I wore back in high school and  as such, I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back to that style ever again. However, this dress just might be enough to quell that memory. Being that 20-something in the office means we have to walk that thin line between classy and youthful–this dress manages to promise both!

Arden B. Taffeta Ruffle Front Dress ($78) The strapless mini is my fallback for all my evening wear dilemmas. The silhouette has never failed me in presenting a fitted, slim, and mature look… even when I feel like over-indulging at those holiday gatherings. The added touch of the pleated ruffles (for that GORGEOUS neckline) and banded high-waist also sets this dress apart from the other strapless dresses I already own. This is my favorite must-have for the season based on look and price. Can’t wait to see how it looks on!

Despite how much I love my dresses, it’s a shame that us girls can’t wear them (usually) to more than one main event. That leaves me thinking twice before spending too much on a dress I’ll never see again. Luckily, I found some more affordable options for the social butterflies out there who need a few options for the season.

66586327-02Forever21 High Sheen Dress ($22.80) It’s easy to think of red as being the go-to color during this time of year, but this deep violet dress would be a great contrast on anyone’s skin! The sweetheart neck and layered skirt are fun and flirty. Pair this up with some gold strappy heels and a long strand of pearls for a dressed up and sophisticated look. My only concern about this dress would be that sometimes F21 tends to make their frocks awkwardly too short, so hopefully it’s not the case with this one! I suppose we must give up something for not paying $322 for the Foley + Corinna version.

Forever21 Sparkling Tiered Dress ($24.80) This is another take on the tiered skirt, but the high waistband and sequined layers are perfect! This dress mimics another dress I have from the summer and I’m loving that this would be a comfortable choice for dancing the night away. Since it’s black, I wouldn’t have to worry about the sequins looking tacky as long as I don’t over-accessorize. The key would be to balance out the dress with some colorful heels and a simple long necklace.

Happy dancing, ladies!

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Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale

July 18, 2009

It’s here! Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, which only happens once a year, and is different from all other sales because the prices drop BEFORE the season starts. Which means there are actually all sizes and colors available! But you gotta act fast, because the sale ends August 3.

The Anniversary sale features the newest fall styles at lowered prices, so you can nab that coat/jeans/sweater/dress/boots you would’ve bought ANYWAY right now! Usually, I like to buy for the season, and am terrible at taking advantage of stocking up on pieces for the opposite season. Yes it’s what you’re should do, but who can think about puffy jackets when I want to do is run out to Central Park and soak up the kisses the Sun generously gives out?

Maybe I’m growing up, but I’m learning an adult skill called planning ahead. It’s smart to start collecting for the fall/winter while the getting is good. I picture myself as a squirrel boarding up acorns for the winter haha. Here are my top picks for the Anniversary Sale:

papell

Adriana Papell dress in Deep Blue.

Beautiful and work appropriate dress. I love the neckline – mandarin collars are so flattering and the V isn’t too deep.

floral

A girl needs to have some florals in her closet.  The dark background and chiffon material makes it less casual, and underneath a leather jacket would edge it up even more.

mk

Michael Michael Kors double breasted jacket

Thinking ahead to winter, need more jackes and I like the color, but am wondering if this is too similar to my Theory jacket? That one is dark blue, also double breasted, with three rows of buttons..

leather

Omg if there were a perfect little leather jacket, this would be it!! The collar is perfect, and I think the collar is the most important part of a leather jacket.  The color is unique, it’s cutely cropped, it has epaulets, and slashy zippers! $300 is a little steep though… hmmm.

/edit: I took the plunge and bought the leather jacket, buuuut it was disappointing. The picture doesn’t show just how flashy shiny the buttons are, and also that the zipper is actually asymmetrical and goes diagonally across the chest. Those features, along with the epaulette shoulders and slashy zippers on the front make this jacket entirely too much to handle. A leather jacket is already calling out for attention, so I prefer more toned-down details. Back to the warehouse this one goes.

I miss California and all the Nordstrom stores. There are none in NYC, how tragic!


Kensie: Party Pretty

March 30, 2009

I took the day off from work to run some errands and see the dentist today! It’s amazing what one extra day in a weekend means–I am definitely looking forward to only working 4 days a week in May.

One fun thing I got to catch up with on my day off was the stacks of magazines which have piled up over the past months (yikes!). I must confess that after spending 70% of my week in business casual clothes, I haven’t really added much to my “normal” wardrobe lately. While checking out the March issue of Elle, I came across a gorgeous advertisement for Kensie.

The Spring ’09 collection focuses on fun and flirty dresses, all priced under $200 (most are $158). I’ve never seen any of the pieces in person, but the line is carried at a multitude of boutiques, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. As the weather gets more and more beautiful each day, any of these dresses would be cute for spring outings or warm summer parties. Most of the designs utilize a soft bone color and their high-waists and full skirts offer some figure-enhancing shapes (something I desperately need at the moment). I love that the brand is very focused on a light and romantic essence which is carried out via its ads, website, and mantra. As I become more and more bored with seeing the same dresses on people, this is a refreshing choice for the months to come!

Who says we can’t still have some fun now that we’re working? In the words of the brand, “We love to play.”


Tights R’ Us

January 29, 2009

The past few years have seen a boom trend in tights – opaque black, bold colored, patterned, textured, etc.  You name it, somebody’s wearing it.  Personally, I love it – what a great way to keep wearing your pretty dresses and skirts in the cold winter! Even in balmy California, where tights were an accessory rather than a necessity, I liked opting for tights to complete a look. Whether paired with a shorter hemline and boots, or a knee skimming line with heels, tights help with the transition of an outfit while being cold weather appropriate.

dvf 

proenza

The beauty of tights is the variety that it comes in – take advantage of the choices to complement the rest of your outfit. With a lighter spring or summer color and fabric (like chiffon), pairing a matte black leg can tone it down and make it go out-worthy.  If your ensemble is all black and you want to stir things up, try a colored tight for a change.  At work, paired with a conservative pin stripe or black skirt, I like a textured pair, something with a cable pattern, or a striped pattern. It lends a more interesting aesthetic than a smooth black leg. If it’s really cold, I like thick knit tights as opposed to the thinner nylon versions – sometimes I’ll wear these under my jeans for warmth!

Due to the neutral palette of my closet, I mainly own darker hues, and haven’t been brave enough to try a brighter choice.  If I were to be more adventurous however, a cranberry/burgundy or a deep purple plum would be my top picks.  Since I’m less likely to wear colored tights often, I’d get mine from a cheaper store, like H&M, or Target.

A note: I am strictly a fan of tights only for going out, not leggings, not footless versions. Some people may be able to rock that look, but I’m quite conscious of my disproportionately large calves, and wearing a clingy pair of leggings that hit right in the middle would make people laugh. At me.

transitionMy favorite pair of basic black tights are Capezio Transitions ($14.50). What gives these a special kick is the ability to transform from footed tights into a legging version if I don’t want my tights to show (i.e. if I’m wearing open toed strappy shoes).  It looks like a large hole in the bottom of my foot, but it doesn’t stretch out. Capezio is a dancer brand, so these techy tights are even more legit, since dancers require durable tights that last for a long time.  I also like the waist band because it stays put and doens’t have to be pulled up, as is the case with other brands.

For the Cadillac of tights, Wolford is reputed to have the best, most opaque black tights.  Nina Garcia of Project Runway fame mentioned it in her book. Of course at $50/pair, these things better come with free drinks or something. If on sale, these are justifiable, but otherwise, my Capezios and DKNY pairs will suit me just fine.