I hate to be the bearer of bad news as we head to the hot season, but most women do not look good in shorts. As I often say, why do you want two “a..es” when one is plenty enough. Shorts accentuate the backside of women in a way they do not with men. So here are a few dos and don’ts on shorts.
Do: Wear neutral colors. If shorts are the only way to go for certain activities, go with blue, khaki or off-white.
Don’t: Go extreme with cut-off jeans as in the American Eagle design with the pockets drooping down in front and silly distress holes.
Don’t: Wear shorts with cuffs, they only accent the thigh.
Do: Wear a belt with shorts. Gives them a nice sophisticated look even over a T-shirt.
Don’t: wear anything gathered at the waist – no drawstrings even if the fabric is really lightweight.
Do: Consider a jeans skirt as an alternative. Nordstrom’s has a variety from a mini by Rag & Bone @ $225.00 to a Levi’s @ $68.00. They even have a cute Plus Size by JUNAROSE @ $79.00.
I’m not really a “bag” person but I think I have the potential to become one. However I have a few stumbling blocks to overcome. I have a good friend who sells handbags at Neiman Marcus so I often stop in to see her and look around. I like a lot of the bags, especially some of the small Chanel ones for spring. But I just can’t get past the price. Who pays $3900.00 for a small beige shoulder bag or $5,900.00 for the pink quilted one? Apparently a lot of people do, but I’m just not there yet. About 4 years ago a guy who used to do some personal shopping for me at Bloomingdales picked out a “Nancy Gonzales” bag that was on sale. I had never heard of Nancy Gonzales so it didn’t really impress me much when he said the bag was a steal at $985.00. I ended up buying it but I really don’t like it. It weighs a ton and the compartments are hard to find stuff in. But now I’m looking at a used Nancy Gonzales green crocodile bag online for $899.99 and I’m thinking, I could dig it. But then I remember that two summers ago I bought a white no-name bag at Marshalls for about $37.00. I loved it, so much so, I resurrected it for last summer . When I mistakenly carried it into Gillette Stadium last September at the beginning of football season (they have a no bag policy) I emptied the contents into a plastic see-thru Ziploc and put the white bag in the trash. Then, on my way out, I fished it out and took it home. It’s “had it” but I’m hoping to find a bag I like as much for this summer. So Kate Spade, Fendi, Marc Jacobs – what have you got? Otherwise it’s Marshall’s here I come.
One of the reasons I really like going west to ski is because it’s one of the few places in the country where I feel comfortable wearing my western gear. Lucky for me, my summer home in the Adirondacks is also western-friendly as the area is loaded with dude ranches, one which hosts a rodeo every Tuesday and Friday night. Then there’s the upstate New York place we go for Christmas, a store called The Westerner in Greenville that is everyone’s dream come true for last minute shopping – everything from cowboy hats to belts to horse blankets.
Meanwhile, I was thrilled in 2005 when Brokeback Mountain was nominated for best picture because it gave me the chance to go all denim and fringe to my neighbor’s for a party. I’ve got the hat of course, a great little fringed purse, boots, belts and of course some western style skirts and shirts.
Kristen Stewart and Ashleigh Good for Chanel 2014 — Pre-Fall
And now I’m here to launch an all out campaign to go western in New England. I’ve got a good friend – a guy who wears western all the time, including the hat, a bolero, and great white shirts and he never leaves home without the boots. Women, we need to give it a try. I know Christy Cashman can pull it off for sure.
When you think of the synthetic rubber-like substance Neoprene – developed by chemical giant DuPont – you likely conjure up things like laptop sleeves, knee braces or electrical insulation. But not any more – the form fitting fiber is now the fabric of choice for some high-end designers including Clover Canyon, Ted Baker and Alexander McQueen. And here’s the deal, it’s much more forgiving than you might think. I know – when you grab hold of it while the dress is on the rack, you are thinking, “No way – I’m not wearing a wetsuit to a cocktail party.” But the truth is the thickness of the fabric smooths and conceals a multitude of body sins – it’s almost like pulling on a full body “Spanx” but much more comfortable.
Clover Canyon – a Los Angeles based company – first burst onto the scene in 2011 with its bold Neoprene shift dresses that look like paintings. The line first started showing up in niche boutiques around New England more than a year ago but now it’s mainstream and can be found almost anywhere including Saks, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. In fact the problem with Clover Canyon is that its designs are too recognizable and the dresses have become common to the point where you might find yourself at that destination wedding next to a gal from Dallas wearing the same piece.
Now though, other designers are taking a crack at the synthetic rubber scene with more subtle designs. I wasn’t crazy about the Ted Baker pieces, but Alexander McQueen knocked it out of the park. Look at it this way, if you don’t like it, cut it up into round circles and give it to aspiring musicians, I understand Neoprene makes a great drum practice pad.
After years of practicing the theory that one winter day is like the next, I’m on to the reality that it’s not true.
One day it’s dry but really, really cold. The next day it’s cold with 2-feet of snow. A day later the snow melts and there’s 6 inches of slush off each curb. Then four days later it’s 45 degrees and raining. That’s why we all need more that one pair of winter boots.
The following are do and don’t categories of boot wear.
Knock yourself out in this category because there are a ton of boots available everywhere you go – from over-the-knee, to knee high, to mid calf and bootie style. If you wear a boot like a shoe, you need several pairs of everyday boots, at least one pair with a heel.
DEEP SNOW & COLD
Ugg’s – they finally make a decent snow boot
All too ugly you say? Just try them. You’ll want to wear them every day.
Pajar – Cute but not all are fully waterproof and often only come in full sizes.
COLD & SLUSHY
La Canadienne – trust the Canadians to get a cold weather boot right, oh and the Italians aren’t half bad either.
Frye – who can wear these? Love the way they look, hate the way they feel.
Hunters: At your own risk.
La Canadienne or Aquitalia: Trust anything lined that’s waterproof.
Hunters: A lot of people swear by these boots for heavy rain and slushy snow. Me, I swear at them. They aren’t warm and they have no give, making them impossible to pull on and off, plus you can feel the water through the boot.
And that’s my tutorial. Boot-Up.
So you’re on your way to a hot holiday party, a black tie bash, an intimate house party or maybe one of those big drafty ballroom fundraisers and you know you’ll be freezing once inside because even though it’s winter you are wearing sleeveless. Meanwhile outside it’s either blizzard-like, or a wintry mix of sleet and ice, combined with a muddy mish-mash of turf and ice-balls to maneuver under foot. In other words, you need to bring a few extra clothing and footwear options with you but all you have is that canvas L.L. Bean bag and it’s really not all that festive and besides, it’s still carrying traces of last summer’s beach sand, which, quite frankly, is depressing since you don’t want a reminder of what you will not see for another six months. That’s the problem, now here’s the solution – a zippered sequined tote bag. The zipper keeps things dry, it’s got party-ready presentation and believe it or not, the sequins deflect water. Get one large enough to carry a warm cashmere pashmina, an extra pair of shoes and then your boots once you’ve made the switch, your evening handbag and whatever assorted items you might need. Carry it with you all night or store it with coat-check once you’ve made the shoe switch. Call it the evening big bag theory. Find sequined totes at Wal-Mart, on line at TheFind, DanceSupply – ranging from $10.00 to $59.00. Then of course there’s Prada for $1350.00.
An old boyfriend once told me “I like women in hats. It makes them look smart.” I was never quite sure how to take that remark, but I know I took it to heart. I’ve boldly worn hats and fascinators to both casual gatherings and swanky soirees for years. At the very least, it’s a conversation starter. But this year I’m pleased to report, hats are back big time and you and I won’t be the only ones wearing one. Not since the 1940’s have hats looked so good – and I’m not talking about pull over ski beanies. Specifically I’m talking about floppy brimmed hats. Rag & Bone carries a really snazzy series of floppy brim felt hats that are both “smart” and practical. Depending on the style, you can choose from a rich pecan, navy or black. While the Rag & Bone hat is $195.00, you can find cheaper versions of the floppy hat at Kate Spade, Urban Outfitters, and Nordstrom. One of my favorites is the Nordstrom two-tone for just $48.00. The hats are warm and double as an umbrella in light rain or snow. And it’s a good way to avoid too much exposure to the sun. Flop in anytime.
I know, I know. There’s still a lot of lace out there and it’s a lovely way to cover your arms if you don’t want to go sleeveless, but like I said last month, it’s tired and cliché. Everyone has that royal blue dress with the see-thru lace over a matching colored slip. So, let me suggest one of my favorite looks for the all-daunting upcoming holiday season–something literally kicky with enough variation in style that people won’t notice if more than one of you is wearing it. Try a pretty metallic dress with a steely fringe, or a simple Phillip Lim black cocktail dress with a feathery fringe. It’s an especially good look if you’ve got good legs and even better if you want to distract from your arms. Also, it’s a way to minimize accessories as the fringe is an accessory itself. I saw a really cute black Milly dress at Nieman’s with a sweet fringe or, your bank account permitting, you can go upscale with a Chanel fringe. Here are a couple of suggested designs. I’m partial to the cowboy look myself, but that’s just my thing.
Happy start to the fashion season everyone. There are a lot of new looks out there, many good but many to think twice about. As a self-confessed “shopper” I’m keeping an eye on trends for styleboston and don’t worry, it’s not all about my purchases. My favorite thing to say to myself is “That looks good, on her.” So as I tromp around the boutiques and malls of Greater Boston I’ll be posting regular observations and suggestions. We’re calling it “Emily’s List.” That title is taken you say? Too bad. Here we go:
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
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