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Workin’ Day and Night . . .

MJ never said truer words.  How many times have you planned to go home after work to change clothes before going out only to realize that there’s no way you’re going to make it home AND make it to the restaurant, bar, or your PTA (sorority, board, [you fill in the blank]) meeting on time?  The thing about going from work to play is that you don’t necessarily want to look like you just came from the office when you meet your blind date for the first time.  You want to look professional, but more like a night time version of your professional self, right?  We’ve all seen the woman at the bar or restaurant, waiting for friends or her date, who looks like she must work at an ad agency or in PR because there’s no way she could be that fly and work at a law firm or a consulting firm.  You might be, right, she may have one of those cool creative jobs or NOT.  She just may be one of those people who knows how to go from day to night in a jiffy.  You too can be that woman.  All it requires is a little planning on your part.

Rule No. 1 – The IT Factor.  If you cant afford the latest “IT” bag, find a small funky purse or clutch bag to hold your essentials.  Check your tote or briefcase when you arrive at your destination if leaving it in the car is not an option.

Rule No. 2 – Get a Leg Up. Bring a pair of heels with you (no, not your work heels. Going out heels).  Take those Manolos, Jimmy Choos or Jessica Simpsons out of the box and bring them to work with you.  A nice pair of heels gives shape and definition to the leg and immediately dresses just about any outfit up. (If heels aren’t your thing, try Insolia shoe inserts to take the weight off the ball of your foot and make standing in heels much more comfortable).

Rule No. 3 – Change the face.  There should be some distinction between your daily face and your going out face.  If you don’t wear make up regularly,  put on some blush, lip gloss and mascara to brighten up your face a bit.  If you do wear make up regularly, re-apply and do something a little different – rather than a nude lip, go with color or go with a smokey eye, for example.

Rule No. 4 – The Sweet Smell of Success.  Spritz on a bit of perfume stashed in your Desk S.O.S kit to freshen up a bit.

Rule No. 5 – Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize.  Let go of the safe “work” jewelry and funk things up a bit with a cool necklace, headband, bracelet or earrings that might border on wrong for work, but will be great for going out.  JCrew, H&M, TopShop and Forever 21 have some great moderate to low priced options to select from.

Rule No. 6 – Go out and have fun.   “Easy breezy” is your mantra.

What’s HOT for Spring 2009, part 2

6. What’s great about a lot of the clothes coming out this Spring, is that there’s detail, detail detail – beautifully intricate blouses, sequin embellishment, ethnic accents, coral and turquoise stones on the t-straps of high and low sandals, ruffles, you name it.  You can find this sort of detail from high-end to low end designers – Anne Fontaine, Caroline Herrera, Jason Wu, Tracy Reese, Malene Birger to the Gap, Ann Taylor, JCrew and Banana Republic.

 

 

7. Bling-a-ding-ding!! If you like metallics – this is your season to shine – silver, gold, bronze … they’re all over the place.  Dresses, tanks, anything that glimmers and catches the light.  If bling’s not up your alley, or if you’d prefer to tone it down a bit, add a bit of “WOW” with your accessories.  Find a great metallic clutch, a pair of strappy sandals or some beautiful bangles to take your uniform of dark jeans and a white t-shirt from good to great.  Metallics are here to stay – and you can always put a good metallic clutch to use!  Designers like Prada, Yves St. Laurent, Lanvin, and Zac Posen have some absolutely fabulous to-die for bags out.

 

8. April showers bring May flowers and this Spring is no exception.  Florals are all the rage and can be found on just about everything.  The most popular floral print items are dewy romantic dresses, but there are blouses, and jackets, skirts and even Capri pants.

 

9. Add a POP! of color to brighten any outfit.  Look for hot pinks, bright yellows, beautiful corals, neon greens – think of the new Louis Vuitton Tribute collection to Steven Sprouse (the Punk Glamour God who did the original graffiti bag collaboration with Marc Jacobs in 2001) with the bright roses or orange/fuchsia/neon green graffiti.  The traditional brown monogram canvas takes on a whole new persona with the bright pops of color – and so will your wardrobe with a bright pink cardigan,an  orange bathing suit or patent leather green wedge sandals.

 

10.  This Spring there’s a trend that appeals to the taste and budget of just about everyone.  If color’s not your thing, neutrals and metallics not in your budget this Spring, florals a little too girly for you and lace – even the edgy kind – isn’t to your liking?  No worries, because the staples black & white are going to be more popular than even this Spring.  If you want to look polished, chic or sophisticated and don’t have the time or wherewithal to navigate the hot new trends, you can’t go wrong with classic black and white combinations.

Don’t fret if your ability to keep up with the trends is a little more Ugly Betty than Carrie Bradshaw – you can still wear the latest trends without depleting your bank account each season … How? It’s simple, be picky.  Flip through a few catalogues and the Spring books (that’s what the publishing industry calls magazines) to figure out what the new trends are and what tickles your fancy.  Identify items that will work with your figure and can easily be incorporated into your current wardrobe.  Maybe it’s that new pair of deliciously high 5” heels or maybe it’s that fabulous necklace made of silver chains and beads that will upgrade even your most basic t-shirt.  Whatever it is, it should make you feel good when you put it on.  If it looks great in Vogue but not on you, leave it at the store and find something that makes you feel like a million bucks.  The worst thing about the changing seasons is that the latest trends aren’t for everyone.  Don’t buy something just because it’s in, buy what you love.  And if you don’t fall in love during a given season but feel the need to purchase a few items, shop sparingly at stores that wont charge you an arm and leg. 

 

 

The Art of the Sample Sale

I know, we’re in a recsession and no one’s shopping.  The economy is tanking and everyone is doing his or her part to save money by staying away from the stores. Got it.  But, on the off chance that more than a few folks are trying to maximize on the economy’s effect on the retail industry, take note.  Sample sales continue to flourish, both in Manhattan and online for those of you who dont have the pleasure of living on our lovely isle.  Ever go to a sample sale and wonder why you wasted your time? Lied to your boss? Skipped lunch?  Finally got around to logging into Hautelook.com  or Gilt.com only to find that the 1 item you really wanted has “SOLD OUT” emblazoned across it?  Here’s the truth, and if cornered any fashionista worth her weight in Prada will tell you the same, there’s a definite art to sample sale shopping …. Go early.  I know, the sale is going to run for 3 days so what’s the big deal, right?  If you really want that Hermes scarf, Missoni dress, or Kooba bag you’ve got to play the game by the unwritten set of rules.

  1. Go early.  If the sale begins at 10 am.  Get there no later than 9:30 to cue up.  Diehards will be there at 8:45 or 9 am at the latest to ensure they get what they’ve come for.  Bring something to read and be cognizant of friends meeting up with you – depending on the sale (Tory Burch or Kate Spade for example) a cat fight may ensue if folks feel that your friend is cutting the line.  If it’s an online sale, set a reminder for yourself so that you’re signing onto the site just a few minutes before the sale is slated to begin.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the brand’s merchandise.  Know what is, or was, in the stores.  This way, once the sale begins, it’s just a matter of locating your item rather than browsing through racks or pages online.  Trust me, while you browse others are making a beeline for the items they’ve already identified.  This is a sure way to walk out of a sale empty-handed and dejected. 
  3. Remember, lots of sample sale places don’t have individual dressing rooms if they have a changing area at all.  Wear your nice underwear … enuf said …. and wear clothes that are easy to get in and out of to make trying stuff on easier.  
  4. Pay attention to the fine print.  Some sales are final, some take cash only, some will only accept credit cards (and certain ones at that) …. Online sales usually permit returns but instead of getting your money back, your account will be credited once the shipping costs are deducted.
  5. And lastly, and most importantly, don’t buy something for the sake of buying something.  There’s nothing wrong with a little retail therapy every now and again, but if you don’t see what you came for  and/or if you dont find something that makes your heart sing – back away from the racks … Go home or back to work and try again next time, ‘cuz you know what, there will absolutely be a next time.

Gild the Mistletoe – Spice up the holiday season by adding a little bling!

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Elizabeth Cole

Conventional wisdom from the styling gods dictates that one should twirl in front of the mirror before leaving home, take off whatever catches your eye and not look back as you sail out the door in a cloud of perfume.  Throw caution to the wind for the month of December and sparkle until you cant sparkle anymore!  You should be the belle of the ball whether entertaining chez vous or heading out for a nite on the town.  Jewel tones were all the rage this Fall, especially purple, and can be easily dressed up with a little bling.  Caution and the wind don’t mix in your world?  The LBD is foolproof, chic, and downright sexy when worn with the right attitude.  Faux fur, fun fur, or the real deal, if it comports with your politics and your budget, is a must for any fashionista worth her weight in platinum.  Whatever you wear, wear it well this holiday season and you’ll be sure to turn heads wherever you go.