Check out the new Style Therapy-focused blog See Your Style! It's street style generated by you...with a bit of Style Therapist knowledge thrown in.
E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) a head-to-toe picture with your first name, occupation and city, as well as identifying each item that you're wearing.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I have a bit of a conundrum. I purchased a beautiful, black drawstring bag online a while back. It's made of a lovely pebble grain texture and holds just the right amount of excess. There's a bit of hardware, too, but it's a tasteful amount. The problem is that wherever there is hardware, there's the company name engraved in sizeable lettering.
I only have a couple of bags with logos or names as a part of the design—and I tend not to wear them terribly often. But I'm not sure if I'm more concerned about the name being there because it's so large or because of who made it. The company is known more for rain mackintoshes, not fine accessories. It's not Burberry, either. At least they've successfully executed a full lifestyle brand with Christopher Bailey at the helm.
Since this mystery company just entered the leather goods universe within the past couple of years, they haven't established themselves as purveyors of luxe looks. Their trench coats are ok, but they're more high school principal during a rainstorm than Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
I've been considering taking it to my cobbler to have him turn the offending grommets inside out. I thought my days of Labelwhorism were over. Perhaps your local Style Therapist isn't as above the nonsense of associating worth with labels as once thought.
I've worn the bag in public once, but it was dark and raining. It's certainly not fair of me to tell my clients not to get caught up in designers and brands if my Labelwhorism isn't totally cured. I've taken a couple of extended release It's Not That Serious pills—prescribed by me, of course. Let's see if they work.
Monday, October 12, 2009
The other day I was shopping with a client in SoHo, and despite the throng of people crowding the sidewalks, I was able to witness one of the most egregious outfits I'd seen in a long time. Now, I never project my own personal taste onto my clients, but I do stress the importance of wearing clothing that is flattering on their individual frames.
A young lady, who couldn't have been more than a size 2, had created the illusion of a massive gut, à la Patrick Starfish. I first noticed her from behind because her silhouette was so extreme—not in an avante-garde or Talking Heads manner, either. She had on a charming tweed peplum style blazer, but she went down a treacherous trajectory when she decided to wear it with a billowy, bubble-style top and low-rise jeans.
Ladies, and you gentlemen, too, it's ok to create curves or definition where they may not exist to create balance. However, when the result is off-scale to your natural proportions, you can come off as a scorching, sweltering hot mess. Please check yourself before you wreck another outfit!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Years ago, when I was barely into adulthood, I suffered from an acute case of Labelwhorism. I purchased items based on designer name, no matter how atrocious or unflattering. I'm embarrassed to mention the Cavalli jacket in a putrid mint green that made me look sallow or the Moschino nylon "leisure" jacket in a similarly nauseating color. Think Mike Brady office wear.
I wore each of these items only a handful of time, but never truly loved them. I moved on to sunglasses because they were less obvious. Oh! The marvelous, deep navy Dolce & Gabbana darkers that I was happy to wear, except for the fact that they crushed my temples because they were too small. I ended up losing them at the Metropolitan Drugs on 14th St. I'd popped them on top of my dome while cruising the aisles and didn't even realize they'd fallen off until they were long gone. Clearly I didn't miss them that much.
But the ones I remember most are the Fendi shades I bought so I could get the case with the signature Zucca print. FFFFFFFFFs for days. Like the Dolces, they weren't the greatest fit. The bridge was too wide, but I managed to balance them on my face for a minute. However, when I lost these, I was a bit more miffed because they weren't lost, they were purloined by some tweens in New Jersey.
Picture it. Giants Stadium. June 2001. I was attending the 'N Sync Pop Odyssey Tour. My friend had tickets and the group put on a marvelous show. I have no shame in admitting I had a great time. When we arrived, it was still sunny, so I kept my darkers on. As dusk came, then eventually nightfall, I tucked them in my tote bag, which had no closure.
I kept my bag either on my lap or at my feet. Somewhere in between It's Gonna Be Me and the closing song Bye Bye Bye, one of those screaming brace-faced youngins sitting behind me snatched my little conspicuously consumed item. Bye bye bye was right.
Admittedly, the constant sliding down my face made me not miss the glasses terribly, but the fact that some gals sitting directly behind me could snatch them with such ease was unsettling. Those girls are young women now—around the same age I was when I attended the concert. I'm not one to indulge in schadenfreude, but I certainly believe in karma. Hopefully they got good wear out of the glasses...someone had to! But I do hope they didn't graduate to stick-ups or grand larceny.
I have one pair of sunglasses now; they're Italian like the rest of them, but the name isn't worth mentioning. They're simple and inconspicuous, with the name ingraved in tiny lettering at the temples. They suit my face and, just as importantly, they're comfortable. I've had them for a good 8 years now and have taken them to different countries without incident.
The moral of the story is to buy based on how appropriate an item is for you, your body, your lifestyle, and your existing wardrobe. Roberto, Stefano, Domenico and Karl are not sponsoring you. They're not paying you to wear their wares. So listen to Mr. T. and "Table the label."
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I own a vintage, dirndl-style Yves Saint Laurent skirt that's one of the most cherished items in my wardrobe. It's from the designer's Spring 1980 Rive Gauche collection and it's constructed from a beautiful black cotton that's simultaneously sturdy and soft.
One would think, once you go ready-to-wear you never go back, but there's a little thing called cost of living in NYC. So I make due with what I have. One day very soon though...
The skirt is exactly the size of my waist—no bigger, no smaller. I'd been wearing it all morning two Fridays ago, and up until lunch time, I was quite comfortable. However, I stuffed an entire platter of Indian food down my throat. Let's not forget that nan expands once it settles into your digestive system...or at least it feels like that. Some bubbles from a bottle of San Pellegrino helped, but that didn't cure my overstuffed feeling.
Later that night I met up with Jess to see Fat City at Film Forum. After the film we noticed David Byrne in the lobby. And to strike up a conversation, I thanked him for all of his Brazilian Luaka Bop releases and kept it moving. Perhaps one day Mr. Byrne will be thanking me for spreading the Style Therapy message to the masses?
In any case, Jess and I (sans David Byrne) headed to El Paso on West Houston for dinner. Who does Indian and Mexican in span of 6 hours? Your Style Therapist, that's who. After downing the most beautiful chimichanga I've seen in a while, I began to feel the repercussions. You know those pregnant women who are in denial and insist on wearing their pre-baby bump clothes and belts tightened to conceal their condition? That's how I felt. How my skirt made it home without ripping at the seams is a miracle.
My natural waist had expanded by a good 3", and mind you, there's no elasticity, whatsoever, in my favorite skirt. The only casualty was a button that had been a little dangly prior to my gluttony. This is a cautionary tale to all of my beautiful clients. Please, when wearing your more more choice pieces that can't be replaced, stay away from the curry vindaloo.
This past Sunday I went to a christening at a local church. The interior was rich in religious motifs with biblical references showcasing lush colored stained glass windows. Frescoes on the ceiling beautifully depicted Christ, the Virgin Mary, along with angels and apostles. While it wasn't as vast as St. Peter's Basilica, it was comparable in its grandeur.
Despite this ministerial magnificence, I felt overdressed as opposed to underdressed in my simple, black knee-length dress with 3/4 sleeves and princess seams. The majority of the congregation, with the exception of the friends and family of the little guest of honor, were dressed in everything from swishy, nylon track pants, to camouflage printed sweats, and well-worn running sneakers.
Back in my day, before I became a heathen and went to church every Sunday, men donned suits and ties and women wore dresses or skirts. Now I don't believe that God cares what we wear when we worship Him, but I think we should. Some people looked like they'd just rolled out of bed. In fact, one woman I was sitting behind had bed head—literally. There was a big old section of her hair that had clearly been flattened out by her pillow. She didn't even run a comb through her head.
I understand the house of the Lord is meant to be all-inclusive. No one should ever be made to feel unworthy of being there. I know at times church can feel like a fashion show for folks. Some worshipers are more concerned with who's wearing what than the message in the sermon of the day. My point is that no one would ever go to a job interview in track pants or partying at the club in dirty, faded jeans.
I know it's 2009 and not everyone needs to wear a floral dress with an Easter bonnet, but can we pretend like we're someplace special? Church or temple or the mosque are not the same as a tailgate party at Giants Stadium or running to the bodega for some Ding-Dongs. If we're going to do the casual thing at our respective places of worship, can we at least be neat about it? Whether it's jeans and sneakers or dresses and pumps, let's make sure there are no wrinkles or stains. Forget about God saving the queen, I pray that He can save us from hotmessness.