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Archive for April, 2013

Preaching to the choir

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Every time I put together a post on plus size clothes—like this one on spring dresses—I am amazed afresh at how completely the apparel industry is blowing an opportunity. Why is there this mass misconception that every woman over size 12 just magically ceases to care about fit, style, and quality? The mind reels. Please, plus size ladies, if I’m missing any good resources, send them my way. Help me work harder to serve you better. Meanwhile: as I’ve stated before, my most important criteria when evaluating pieces for this category is to select only items that I would absolutely wear myself—not just pieces I think are good—for plus size. And I can say without reservation that I would die for this floral  confection. It may look intimidatingly body-con at first, but all that strategic ruching provides brilliant camouflage for lumpy bits.

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Another floral, this one with with more daytime potential and a little more breathing room.

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The print on this waisted, retroish dress feels like a kind of geometric/art nouveau hybrid, which shouldn’t especially work, but really kind of does. And the pops of lavender keep things fun.


I’m not typically a big fan of the maxi, but this works for me: there’s not an excess of volume, and the way the print fades out toward the bottom keeps it from coming off too loud.


This scarf print is probably completely insane, but it amuses me. And I like that it’s kind of arbitrary and and fashiony, because you don’t get a whole lot of that in this category.


A nice, diaphanous cowl neck dress is easy and simple and hard not to love. And the sophisticated print keeps things from getting too sweet.

Posted on April 30th, 2013 27 Comments

Anatomy of a core wardrobe: Part 2


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Several winters ago, on a Sunday night so frigid that under normal circumstances nothing would have made me leave the house, I traveled to the farthest reaches of the Upper East Side for an impromptu dinner party. It was at the home of a friend’s recently deceased godmother—a fearsome/beloved fashion world eminence of whom there are a very few each generation;  a woman for whom scholarships are named, and short documentaries are made. My friend was having people over to pay tribute to her famously  sprawling Park Avenue duplex—and by extension, the woman herself—before movers came the next day. The evening was memorable in many ways, and highly instructive in one. Most of the woman’s important clothes had already been sent off to the Costume Institute, so there wasn’t much to see in the way of flash. But my friend directed me to an unassuming-looking hall closet, and when I opened the door, I saw something truly amazing. One long rack of  no less than forty versions of the same exact quite simple shift dress, executed in every fabrication and color you can imagine: cotton, silk, tropical wool and charmeuse, houndstooth, black, fuchsia, and simple dove grey.  Here is what she wore for the last decade or two of her (very long) working life: pretty the exact same thing, every day. This discovery overjoyed me, and whenever I feel like I should be taking more and bigger chances with my wardrobe, I think of that closet, and that woman, who knew exactly who she was.  And it is in that spirit that I present my second installment of the things I wear all of the time—but sadly, do not have in multiples. I’ve extolled the virtues of the Clare Vivier messenger bag on more than one occasion, and I’m very fond of this tote shape, too. And of the blue and the black, which is an unstoppable combination always.


A slouchy black dress with just a little bit of something unexpected going on never lets me down. And I love the sleeve length here—just a couple of extra inches throw a lot more sophistication  into the whole enterprise.


Tops with some interesting drape to them are a cornerstone of my wardrobe—because they’re cool, but also of course, because of their superior powers to camouflage one’s less desirable spots gracefully. I’ve got a Helmut Lang top from another season that’s very much like—but not identical to— this one, and I wear it so much I hate when it’s time to send it to the dry cleaner.

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A V-neck cashmere cardigan, and a companion super-lightweight cotton version. They make a nice counterpoint to all the drapey asymmetry of my favorite tops, and do so without creating too much bulk.


The jacket that makes the outfit interesting.

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Walkable platforms—inevitably quite 70s-inspired in design, although that’s never really a conscious choice.

Posted on April 29th, 2013 13 Comments

Monday links

2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

  • So many famous faces at the White House Correspondents Dinner! Here’s who wore what. I do like our girl Julia Louis Dreyfus in a purple. (The Cut)
  • Also: the president got off some pretty good lines. Watch here. (Slate)
  • I never tire of  seeing what people in the past thought the future would look like. Here are a number of rather interesting—and some quite prescient—predictions for the future of newspapers.  (Smithsonian)
  • RIP to Mary Thom, author, early Ms magazine editor and all-around big deal feminist of the second wave. Thom died as she apparently lived, on her beloved motorcycle, and sounds like she was just all-around badass. (NY Times)
  • Really quite unfortunate sex sex conditions.  (The Stir)
Posted on April 29th, 2013 4 Comments

Bag heaven

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I’m not quite certain how Roztayger—an e commerce site devoted entirely to bags—escaped my notice for so long. And I’m also not entirely certain it’s a good thing I finally discovered it, because I want pretty much every piece in its small, well-edited selection. They’ve got familiar names like Clare Vivier and Utility Canvas, but a lot of new ones too, like  Meli Melo, Ro, and Frrry. The selection is on the clean and utilitarian side (lots of totes and cross-body bags) hardware is kept to a minimum, and there is nary a logo in sight. But in no way does that equal boring: could you die for this quite polished—but simultaneously deeply cool—little number?

Posted on April 29th, 2013 3 Comments

Department of: things that couldn’t be any prettier

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Were one to set a whole table with it, the new butterfly-themed dinnerware collection from Christian Lacroix might come off a touch too Lady’s Auxiliary. But I love the idea of buying just one piece of it—like, say, this dessert plate—and then deploying it as the most spectacular butter dish ever.   

Posted on April 28th, 2013 4 Comments

Friday links

this is punk

Posted on April 26th, 2013 2 Comments

Anatomy of a core wardrobe, Part 1

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One of the most overdone fashion magazine stories in the history of fashion magazine stories—and one they’ll just keep running, because we just keep eating it up—is the Fashion Uniforms story. There are women for whom clothes are a canvas, and every day is a fresh opportunity to Create anew—and that is fabulous and a gift; it is. But the notion of getting it all down to a science is vastly appealing to a lot of us. And not because we don’t love clothes or getting dressed any less, but because we want to be able to put our finger on a look—or even just a set of pieces—that we can say is identifiably ours. And to return comfortably to this as home base, even if we wander (and, in fact, precisely because we do wander). I definitely have a uniform—more now than ever, probably, although I would be hard pressed to name it. And it’s absolutely centered around a handful of essential pieces, although I could never have predicted which ones those would turn out to be. Do any of you remember  last June when I asked whether you thought this Nili Lotan top was worth $285? Reactions were mixed, and when I visited the store to check it out for myself, I decided it wasn’t even close. Then, on my visit to LA in January, I came across it in black, marked down 30%. I wear it endlessly. Here it is, also on sale.

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Madewell makes a lot of their tees with linen and—as I have said before—I can not say enough good things about this. They wear and hang so well, and much better if you hand wash them (possibly you have noted by now that I’m a touch obsessive on the topic of hand washing favorite t-shirts). This stripey one is in such regular rotation that it’s slightly embarrassing.

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I love a nice wraparound sweater, and own enough to outfit a small dance company. If I wasn’t holding myself to an indefinite embargo on buying more, I’d definitely go for this little number from Alternative Apparel, because it’s just $68 and lightweight cotton and would layer so well. 


This is the season that I walk away from skinny jeans with my head held high: more power to those who can still occupy that space, but I can’t take the jeggings-ness of it all anymore. I’ve transitioned to the slouchy skinny jean, which is a different beast entirely. Check out this pair from J Brand. They’ve got a  boyfriend shape, but then taper, which is so much more flattering. And I continue to like J. Crew’s toothpick jean, but sized up—for that all-important slouch.

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I thought you guys would make all sorts of diaper load jokes when I bought these R13 crossover jeans, but you were actually rather supportive. Even I had my doubts, but these are so flattering that a dear friend who came over for dinner not long ago made me change out of them so she could try them on, and then grabbed my laptop and ordered herself a pair on the spot.

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These Zara trousers are a nice spring-weight alternative to those, and mighty cheaper too. Although it’s always a crapshoot with Zara and pants when it comes to sizing, lord knows.

red clogs

Red clogs. I know. Nobody could have been more surprised than me. They’ve been sitting in my closet since the nineties, I’m pretty sure, and have rarely gone farther than around the block for milk, but suddenly I think they’re the shit. Go figure.

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 9.39.40 PMBig hoops for going out to lunch or a party. I have a nice gold pair, but live in fear one will fall out and I won’t notice until later, so usually they stay home and I wear a dirt cheap pair  like these instead. 


These excellent star studs the rest of the time. (Here they are in silver.)




Posted on April 26th, 2013 29 Comments

Print of the week

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Set aside, for a moment, that this dress is Marni and costs a squillion dollars and just riddle me this:

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What species of woodland creature have we here? Bear? Bird? Raccoon? Please share your best guesses.

Posted on April 25th, 2013 23 Comments

Thursday links

bling ring

  • Please let The Bling Ring be as good as this trailer.  (Atlantic Wire)
  • There’s nothing a hipster fears more than being out of the loop—which is what makes this Jimmy Kimmel segment featuring a bunch of them pretending to know all about various totally made-up bands so completely amusing.  (The Frisky)
  • Cool. But also: gross. (PSFK)
  • Eskayel’s having its annual pillow sale, guys. It’s your chance to buy some of  the same items I paid retail for at ABC just months ago for a mere fraction of the price! Not that I’m bitter.  (Eskayel)
  • Juicy tidbits from a new book about the morning TV just reinforces it: Matt Lauer is kind of a dick. (Daily Beast)


Posted on April 25th, 2013 3 Comments

Writing about sandals so sandal weather will come

Our summer sandals work hard for us—there is no time of year we are out and about as much, and often in shoes not built for the expedition. The key to finding a really stylish and also utilitarian pair is to search for something that looks like it could handle a week’s vacation in a very chic city where you’re going to be walking everywhere. Forget about flimsy and go for something with a little more heft—like these, all of which call out to me with their natural leather and their pops of color.


Posted on April 24th, 2013 20 Comments