Show of hands!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Who will be SATC-ing it this weekend?

I've purposely avoided all the reviews and as many photos as humanly possible so I'll be (somewhat) surprised by whatever happens when I catch the new Sex and the City movie this weekend. I couldn't get tickets for tonight, so the girls and I will be taking it in tomorrow—along with fruity cocktails and poufy skirts, of course. (What? It's no weirder than the kids who get dressed up every time there's a new Star Wars! Hmmm… though perhaps that's not the most helpful comparison.) Still, in summary: Wheeee!

A little bit of cyber-concern

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Well, slap my name to the incredibly lengthy list of fashion bloggers and blog readers who have been missing Agathe of Style Bytes for more than a month now. I was hoping some of the impassioned pleas thus far might end in a resolution – but all I can find is that she's been spotted around her neighborhood, looking happy and well and characteristically stylish. (Which is a good thing! But we here on the Internet demand answers! Or at least goodbyes…) I got a little more curious today when I noticed there was an error on my bloglines feed and realized her entire site had been taken down. Luckily, I always save the photos of my favorite pictures online for style inspiration – including this bow-tied string of pearls she sported awhile back. Love it! And miss it!

I'll add my voice to the mounting wail: Agathe! Where are you? Will I ever see you and your amazing tiered vintage skirt again?

{Update} Susie calls for an end to the Agathe-hunt and we'll go along with that. It's hard -- because, after years on the internet together, it seems like we're friends! We were there for her wedding! And the adoption of Molvin! And the 20s-themed parties! And so much more... -- but I guess Internet friends are not quite real friends, and so we will wish Agathe all the fashiony best and turn our attention elsewhere. Like to shoes...

Making me excited for summer

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm kind of dying (in a good way) over Jenny Gordy's new summer collection for her label, Wiksten. These amazing photos by Hannah Huffman just seem to perfectly capture the airy, fresh, sunkissed-yet-sophisticated style of Jenny's designs. Swoooon.

Pretty, pretty things

Coquette turned me on to some fabulous summer-y necklaces, including these great pieces from Anthropologie. They're not all budget-friendly, but the two multi-bead ones are under $45 and really bright and fun.

Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo…*

So during my New York trip the other week, I had the opportunity to head over to the enormous Chelsea T.J. Maxx -- one of my regular stops back when I lived in NYC -- for an event aimed at showcasing some of the great finds to be found in the store. T.J. Maxx execs had commissed the highly adorable Dr. David Lewis (below), a respected neuroscientist from Mindlab International in England, to do a study on women's physical and chemical reactions when they find a really good deal. Dr. Lewis, in turn, strapped a bunch of women into some funky headgear and set them loose in T.J. Maxx to see what kind of responses they had when they uncovered a really good bargain find.

The results, if you're a shopper, weren't altogether too surprising: Turns out our juices start flowing and our endorphins jump when we pounce on an awesome deal. I had a ton of fun hanging out with Dr. Lewis, who was full of amusing tidbits (did you know that the Chelsea T.J. Maxx building used to be the city morgue?), interesting stories (he also works with film companies to put together mentally engaging movie trailers) and didn't even seem to mind when I started playing with his fantastic model brain and accidentally dropped the cerebellum under the couch (um, oops).

A couple of the other attendees volunteered to try out the brain waves caps themselves (see below) – I personally skipped it, but followed for awhile as they headed around the busy store in search of thrill-causing bargains. (At least, I followed until I got distracted by a really great Marc Jacobs bag. My own thrill radar went off, even without a little cap. Unfortunately, it was $500, so my budget radar went off too.)

I'm pretty sure if I'd been wearing a little swimcap, my brain waves would have skyrocketed as soon as I saw these Eleanor Grosch peacock Keds. If only they'd been in my size…

Same goes for these orange buckled patent wedges. Again, not my size! Sigh…

All was not totally lost: I did score an elegant little Betsey Johnson diamante watch with a black satin band to wear with cocktail dresses…

*Is it weird that I can't say "T.J. Maxx" without their little jingle instantly running through my head?

Eero, my hero*

My brother came to town this weekend, which seemed like a great opportunity to do all the D.C. things I never get around to on a regular basis (The Lincoln Memorial! The Smithsonian! Ogling tens of thousands of Harley Davidson enthusiasts who apparently invade the city every Memorial Day weekend with their motorcycles! …Okay, so that last part was kind of unplanned and a tiny bit unpleasant, due to some serious biker-heavy traffic jams.)

One of my favorite parts was checking out the Eero Saarinen retrospective at the stunning National Building Museum (though August 23). It was a great, comprehensive review of his architectural career (along with his famous contributions to furniture design with that iconic pedestal table and chairs for Knoll) and was chock full of oversized photos of his sweeping, futuristic designs from the post-WWII period. Also: Did you know he designed the St. Louis Gateway Arch? Because I did not. In summary: Highly recommended! Four stars. Better than Cats! You get the point…

Um, can we say fabulous conversation pit?

{Photos from here, with thanks.}

*Actually, it's pronounced more like "Air-o", but let's just go with it.

The Summer of Living Frugally

I recently came to a Major Fashion Milestone. I looked at my closet and not come up with anything I needed. Skinny black pants? Check? Range of well-fitting denim? Summer day wedding ensemble? Slinky black cocktail dress? Dress to wear to Important Meeting in the winter? Summer? Plus shoes/bag/outerwear to go with? Cheeeeeck. It's a good thing too, because I ran out of closet space in my little apartment about three months ago.

On Sunday – the eve of the Official Start of Summer here in the U.S. – I reached another milestone: I gave up my credit card. In a shopper's life, this is kind of a major deal – not the least of which because it completely cuts off those spontaneous, I-can't-believe-I-just-found-this! splurges. But, it's been something I've been thinking about for a while – for starters, the buzz surrounding the "consume less stuff" movement has reached a deafening roar and I couldn't help but start to earnestly listen – and now just seemed like the right time to make a change and really commit to it.

So until Labor Day (at least), we will be working on Responsible, Less Impulsive, Smart Spending. What does this mean for the blog? Not much. Perhaps an emphasis on appreciating and experimenting with what I already own (more outfit shots! Whoooo!). Maybe more exploration of low-cost resources, like thrift stores and secondhand shops. And perhaps some regular updates on my progress and what I've learned during this little experiment. That's probably about it. I just wanted to let you know, in case future posts about Very Cute Shoes were accompanied by some rather loud, frustrated grumbling.

Okay, then. Bring on the savings!

{Photo borrowed from here.}

A bunch of flowers

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oooooh. Love this: Aesthetic Outburst highlights various collections of gorgeous vintage enamel flower pins. (You might remember I own a few myself.) This picture above is my favorite set.

Currently Smitten with: Ivana Helsinki

Friday, May 23, 2008

I love those moments where you pass a store window, spy something gorgeous and just have to go in. Which is exactly what happened to me last week in Brooklyn while walking by Atlantic Avenue boutique Legacy, where I spotted the hot pink-striped Ivana Helsinki dress above beckoning me through the window.

Ivana Helsinki, a Finnish design company with an emphasis on cool textiles, got a ton of buzz (including from me!) for being totally on top of the Russian nesting doll craze last year. But the spring/summer collection shows plenty more to be in love with: I totally heart the classically simple rugby stripes, tiny details (a ruffle collar, a shirt-tail hem) and the eye-popping colors they're using. Legacy also stocked a great cream dress with this amazingly subtle hearts and guns design woven into the texture. The only problem? The pink-striped dress was something like a budget-busting $400. Boo.

Shoes! Shoooooes!

Here's a little tip on something I've noticed: Steve Madden often stocks some of the same shoes as Topshop. (I offer as an example: Steve's Betsey bootie {what a coincidence!}, that I bought last fall at Topshop, where they called it the Ruched Bootie. The main difference is that mine has a natural wood heel – otherwise, they seem to be the exact same pair.)

I've been watching patiently for Topshop's gorgeous Frill platform to make its way Stateside in some form for months, and while the exact cousin hasn't shown up yet, my frilly T-strap needs might just be met by the new Steve Madden Impereal (above). Even better – I've been searching for a cute navy heel for years, so I get to kill two birds with one very stylish stone.

Trends I Never Thought I'd See Again, part 1

Imagine my surprise to see this bowl of beribboned barrettes in a chic Soho store last week. (They were selling for an unbelievable $12. Per barrette!) I had a slew of these in every possible color combination as a six-year-old. Hmmmm… I wonder if they're still around my childhood bedroom? Because it actually might be kind of fun to wear them again, under occasional circumstances, just for old times sake. They do kind of match perfectly with spring's colorful, whimsical vibe.

Goodwill Hunting

I came home with quite a haul from Goodwill yesterday (the South Dakota Avenue location = great vintage housewares!), including these star-emblazoned cocktail glasses and a few pretty plates (the pair of retro graphic flower ones were originally from Saks. They're a great addition to my Lisa Congdon plate wall aspirations.)

Other finds: '80s teal prom dress with an *enormous* bow on the front; a pair of vintage carry-on bags; and a couple of new My Little Ponys (for next year's Steeplechase hat, of course).

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack…

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My dad and I hit up the new Nationals stadium a few weeks ago for a Sunday afternoon game. If you're a fan of baseball and sunshine and glorious Technicolor days, you might enjoy the pics

Your Public Transit Read o' the Day

I'm sort of endlessly fascinated with this entertaining and well-written article by Amy Larocca in New York Magazine about Russian teen fashion queen Kira Plastinina. (I actually passed by her new Soho store, above, while in New York last week, but resisted any tiny urge to go in. Had I read this first, I might've had to out of sheer curiosity.)

The clothes aren't for me, but it certainly begs the question: If you have enough money, can anyone build themselves into a brand-name? And, will customers – especially U.S. customers -- buy into it? Guess only time will tell…

Gossip Girl: Out with a Bang

Oh, Gossip Girl. We hate to say goodbye. You were just getting really good again! It's only been one season, and yet it feels like we've had a long and involved affair, what with that pesky writer's strike and all. But I suppose all good things must come to a summer hiatus, and so, we look forward to seeing you in all your style-y goodness come fall. (And now, we move on to other fashiony things...)

{Update} Even more of my GG fashion-related ramblings on this episode can be found over here.

8:38am: We kick things off with Serena in a gold lame trench coat and enormous shoulder pads! Wow! It's a little '80s resurgence in Central Park! Where are the disco roller people when you need them?

8:41am: Chuck and Blair, asleep in cocktail ensembles and surprisingly totally cute.

8:43am: Ooooh! A Georgina-Dan-Serena-Gold lame coat showdown!

8:45am: A really touching moment between Dan and Serena and The Coat.

8:50am: Georgina gets seriously less cute/more tranny-like with each evil deed.

8:52am: A Lohan-rehab reference! Snap.

8:53am: "Haven't you heard? I'm the crazy bitch around here." Love it! B is back, and her outfits are cuter than ever. (That green print jacket! Over the red floral dress? And the daffodil yellow silk hankie? Glad to have you back, B!)

8:55am: Oh Jenny, please don't go into fashion design. That tulle-tie-dye concoction you've put Vanessa in is *hideous*. With all your ranting and raving and Valentino-stealing, don't you profess to have a good sense of UES style? (Or, do you hate Vanessa? That must be it! There's just no other explanation for that orange hideousness.)

8:56am: Blair in pink floral? We are way over the bubble hem concept, but she looks completely cute.

8:58am: Chuck's bow tie? Love!

8:59am: Oh my god, Serena's chartreuse floral high-necked dress? There's a lot going on for one outfit, but: Gorgeous!

9am: Rufus weirdly jumps through a partially opened door! Creepy. Don't rich people have security?

9:02am: Oh, see, rich people do have security! But Rufus is just too wiley for them.

9:10am: Um, I don't get it. "I didn't sleep with her, but I may as well have."

9:14am: Still pretty much digging Serena's dress.

9:15am: Lily awkwardly ascends the steps in her wedding gown. Um, Eric? A little help?

{Also, did anyone else think that when they started playing the rock music in the background right then, that it might be Rufus and his band playing across the street? Because that would have pretty much killed me with cheesiness.}

9:16am: Also totally digging Serena's smoky, I'm-about-to-cry eye makeup and pouty pink lips.

9:17am: Oh wait. I thought that was the end of the episode. But actually, we're only halfway through! Coffee break time.

9:21am: Augh! Blinded by Vanessa's dress!

9:22am: Did Chuck just admit to being in love with Blair? Awwwww. Kind of sweet.

9:26am: Blair rubs Vanessa's nose in the fact that her dress is seriously ugly. And that Nate loves Serena.

9:28am: "I am the most understanding person in the world." Um, not the most humble though, Dan.

9:29am: All these contrived "summer break" plot developments are getting old. Rufus goes on a surprise last-minute tour? Serena and Dan agree to just see each other back at school?

9:32am: Blair and Chuck, together at last? I'm surprisingly touched.

9:33am: Is this the wedding planner? Because he is way pastel-y and kind of ridiculous.

9:33am: Dan, if you were my boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend, whatever), I would be seriously annoyed by your wishy-washyness. A long slow dance in the ballroom does not scream "I need a break."

9:34am: My favorite part! Mini-dance party to the Sunsilk commercial.

9:35am: Followed by a delightfully colorful SATC commercial! Did you get your tickets yet? Because they're selling out everywhere.

9:36am: Nice "one week later" announcement flashing across the screen. Very subtle.

9:37am: Oh my goodness, Jenny *does* want to be a fashion designer? Obviously the Parsons committee did not see Vanessa's wedding dress.

9:38am: Blair's sailor dress, on the other hand? So cute! But Serena's shimmery shrug? Eck. Also, we continue with these awkwardly contrived "how we will pass the summer" explanations.

9:40am: So what exactly did happen with Nate and Vanessa?

9:41am: Oh, B. The straw hat is a little bit overly Madeline-ish with that sailor dress, no?

9:42am: Chuck's plaid vest is not exactly flattering. In fact, are those man-boobs I see?

9:45am: Oh my god, that is some seriously great primary colored luggage being taken to the helicopter.

9:46am: It's over! Nooooooooooo!

A few quick things…

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

+I finally found that great orange crane dress so many of us loved from the Steeplechase pics. It's from Anthropologie and $168.

+Did you see the big fashion chat? It's like 900 blog posts in one! (And, most aren't DC-specific.) We barely made it through half the questions, so I think there will be another one soon… Stay tuned!

+Plus! Don't miss the adorable Morgan and her fab new online mag Panda Head Magazine, a big denim sale, great new shops and more over on my DC weekly fashion picks list.

+Be back soon with a big ole Gossip Girl finale recap!

Bloggety blog blog blog…

Monday, May 19, 2008

So, lots of you often leave me comments and e-mails asking me to be added to the blogroll at the right, and I'm having a very hard time keeping up. So, here is your chance – if you would like to be considered for blogroll inclusion, please leave your blog URL (or, if you're not a blogger yourself, feel free to suggest a blog you think I'd like) in the comments of this post. I'm going to do a blogroll update in the next few weeks and will try to take the time to consider the tons of blogs I've missed so far.

A few notes, while I'm at it. I like to include as many blogs on my blogroll as I can, but I have a few basic criteria:

1) I usually don't add blogs until they've been up-and-running for at least a few months. Too many blogs (including past ones of my own) can die out pretty quickly, and I like to be sure the blogs on my blogroll are established and going strong and not likely to end up having to be removed soon after they're added.

2) Same goes for blogs that don't get updated very frequently. If your last post was in February, you'll probably get nixed.

3) There are other things I look for (attention to grammar, editorial integrity, good writing, pictures of pretty things that get me all excited!) that couldn't possibly all be listed/articulated. Please don't take it personally.

4) Um, and if I add you to my blogroll, it would be pretty nice of you to add me to yours.

That said, I'm looking forward to finding some more good reads! Suggest away!

{Painting of roll via here.}

Permanent rainbow

Is it just me, or is a cupful of multi-colored Sharpie pens not the greatest thing ever? After months of looking at the longingly, I finally caved at Staples and bought the assorted 12-pack today. All my packages are now being addressed in hot pink. Love!

Notes & News

Thursday, May 15, 2008

+I'm busy running around a beautiful, warm, sunny NYC today. But I promise, lots of very good stuff to come soon to make up for all this quiet time! In the meantime…

+Don't forget! I'll be co-hosting a fashion chat over on the site on Friday at 3pm. Lots of good questions have been submitted already, so check in at 3pm (or afterwards; the whole chat will stay up on the site) for plenty of style-y goodness. {Update} The chat is over, but it was really fun! Read all our fashion-y Qs & As here.

+Plus! There's a bunch of fun fashiony events going on this week in D.C. See my picks here.

+Also! My more concise thoughts on Gossip Girl fashion can be found here. (The rambly play-by-play is, of course, here.)

+And! Guess I shouldn't have skipped out on the Sunglass Hut party early (my little brother was in town for the day, so we met up for burgers at the famously shabby Corner Bistro). Turns out Michelle had a bit of a fainting spell shortly after my departure. Get well, G!

+Oh! Much thanks must go to the commenter who alerted me that my favorite dress has gone on sale at Anthropologie. You're the best…

Team Johanna!*

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The first clips from Elle's new reality show Stylista are out, and yup, that's definitely D.C.'s very own Johanna (formerly of the sorely missed fashion blog A Serious Job is No Excuse) making Anne Slowey breakfast in an incredibly cute orange and cream Marc Jacobs dress. (We love that dress!) There's an unsatisfying amount of Johanna time in these clips (see part two and part three here) but it all looks just ridiculously awesome.

*Oh, I am SO getting t-shirts made.

The only thing that tops hanging with Georgina.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

OMG. Could that really be my very favorite former blogger I see over here and here?

A Very Special GG Recap: Up Close with Georgina!

I was a little worried that this week's recap might be without some of its usual vim and vigor, because I wrote it at 6:45am this morning, just before heading up to New York City for a few days. I shouldn't have worried, because the first stop on my New York itinerary (after a bagel, coffee and a quick stroll through Soho, of course) was the launch of the new-and-improved Sunglass Hut in downtown Manhattan (now without those pesky locked cases!), hosted by none other than Georgina herself, Ms. Michelle Trachtenberg.

I might have prepped a little more if I'd realized that this party was going to be so small – as it were, there were only about 30 of us crammed into the Sunglass Hut, so I basically shoulder-to-shoulder with G. as she gushed sweetly to other reporters about what was in her Chanel 2.55 bag (a Shu Uemura eyelash curler and a Blackberry) and also the details on her handmade jewelry line, Bella Veritas.

Naturally, she was wearing blue – a floor-length Diane von Furstenberg dress with an amazing black lace back. (Plus: Navy nails! I guess when you know what works…) She also had the most insanely creamy skin ever, which is making me feel that much worse about the terrible sunburn I'm suffering with (damn you, pony races!).

And with that, we head to our offical GG play-by-play. Be warned: There are spoilers!

6:58am: Hmmm. Well, Georgina, I have to say that the more evil you get, the worse your outfits get. I'd start lobbying the costume department to get you back into the blue.

7:00pm: Oooh! Nice eggplant Vespa, Vanessa! But your enormous lime green and gold earrings and huge gold chain necklace… I mean, c'mon. Has the accessories department just never stepped foot in a outer borough?

Nate! You're back! Looking good! {Which reminds us: Did anyone see the People Most Beautiful issue with the Ashlee Simpson-Pete Wentz q&a? And Pete alleges that all pretty boys with big eyelashes are wearing falsies? Our Chace Crawford-Zac Efron dreams are slowly being crusssshed.}

7:03am: Tensions mount as Chuck Bass and Dan face off in a grandpa cardigan showdown. Who will win? Will it be Chuck's overly buttoned-up mustard version? Or Dan's casually unbuttoned burnt orange? Only time will tell, but we've definitely got money on Chuck's plaid pants. They'd kick Dan's skinny dark jeans anyday.

7:06am: Oooh, Blair, I really don't know about that tiny little bow on your dress. It's like someone shrunk your bowtie. Your low ponytail, however, is really Audrey chic. Also, is everyone trading in brights for muted, mustardy tones this episode?

Mini dance party break! I do love these Madonna-JT Sunsilk commercials.

7:11am: That Rolling Stone picture of Rufus? Does it not look like he's wearing the worst Halloween wig ever? I thought he was supposed to be *hot* in the 90s!

7:13am: Ooooh! Grandpa cardigan throwdown!

7:14am: Wow, hangovers look pretty incredibly awesome on Serena. As do cute purple bathrobes.

7:17am: Is it not seriously weird that the housekeeper is making clandestine phone calls?

7:25am: Sober flashbacks necessitate sober outfits, I guess.

7:27am: Rehearsal dinner chic! Plus, this silver wide scarf with silver flowers might be Blair's best headband yet.

7:29am: A Lisa Loeb cameo? Oh Lisa, I think you and your black and white mini-dress are both pretty cute, but agreeing to host a VH1 has-beens concert on GG has probably been your worst career move since that reality dating show you did a few years ago. Which I watched an embarrassingly large amount of.

7:38am: Quickest Resolution of a Murder. Ever!

7:39am: Clearly, Rufus was just the worst '90s musician ever. And his lip synching just sucks. And why is no one rocking out anywhere near the front of the stage?

7:42am: I'm sorry, but that was an incredibly anticlimactic and passionless kiss, Lily and Rufus. Look alive, kids.

7:45am: So wow, there was just an incredibly lack of eye candy! Luckily, next week's wedding looks like it will be formal-tastic. Plus, now that this pesky murder business has been neatly taken care of, we can move back to more frivolous pursuits. Like dresses!

DC-ish stuff

Monday, May 12, 2008

In case you missed it:
+Bethesda-based interior designer Sara Tuttle was named one of The Domino 10 and she was nice enough to tell me some of her favorite easy decorating tips for, uh, those of us who probably can't afford her services. My personal favorite? Her suggestion to DIY your own Pollock- or Rothko-esque modern artwork – she swears she's done this lots of times, and the results are always spectacular. I'm completely intrigued.

I'd have to suggest you use the amazingly fun to get your creative juices flowing, a la the art above, via here.

+And! Rachel of Project Beltway and I will be hosting a fashion chat on the site on Friday, and we want your burning style questions! Feel free to submit questions in advance about anything fashiony, such as where we're shopping right now, or what our biggest summer fashion pet peeves are, or what's on our Desperately Coveted wishlists at the moment, or even what kinds of vintage finds I scored in Nashville (because you know I did!).

Really, anything remotely stylish is fair game. Plus, it will be doing me a big favor, because hosting an online chat brings out all kinds of fears not unlike throwing a party in sixth grade and wondering if anyone will actually come.

More from the races

If you read my other site already, then there will be quite a few repeats below, but honestly, Steeplechase was so fashionably prep-tastic that it seems necessary to show them again over here.

And what did I wear? I took a serious cue from my Eliza Doolittle fantasies and went with black and white for the day (and bright pink for the afterparty). Really, it was the poofiest vintage dress I could find, and this picture doesn't really do justice to its seriously gauzy rufflyness. I added an extra touch of Southern-style ridiculousness by pinning an oversized flower to my shoulder that has left me with some very unusual tanlines. The hat – which I love and am totally going to wear around all summer – is from H&M; the sunglasses are my oversized freebies from Meeps.