Friday, September 28, 2012

Hot Looks Of The Week & My Faves

Image via Tom & Lorenzo
Jaime King In Jason Wu

I'm a little disappointed that Jaime King didn't have a reason to go to the Emmys because she would have been one of the best dressed in this amazing Jason Wu dress. Jaime wore this dress to the opening night performance of The L.A. Dance Project. I don't have a clue what that is, but it required a Jason Wu dress so I'm okay with it. This dress is from Wu's Resort 2013 collection and when I originally saw it I earmarked it for Emma Stone. Jaime does it more than justice, though. I like that she chose a Jason Wu heel as well - a platform sandal from his Spring 2012 collection. Perfection! (And this dress is still up for grabs for Emma ;)
Image via Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images North America
Anne Hathaway In Valentino Couture

Technically she wore this last week, but I need to discuss. This may be one of my favorite looks of all time. FOR REAL. I think this is the best Anne has ever looked and I am completely obsessed with it. It's from Valentino's Fall 2012 Couture collection, which just happens to be my favorite Valentino Couture collection in recent memory. It's floaty and sneakily sexy since the top is actually sheer. The high neckline goes perfectly with her cropped hair and her make up is flawless. Anne wore this to the New York City Ballet Fall Gala which included a performance in which the dancers wore costumes designed by the legendary Valentino Garavani. Mr. Valentino does not design his ready-to-wear or couture collections any more (that honor went to Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli a few years ago), so that's pretty special. What's also pretty special is that Mr. Valentino is designing Anne's wedding dress. If it looks anything like this she will be a stunning bride!

My Faves

I've been watching Nina Garcia on Project Runway since it debuted and I've always been a fan. I admire her minimalist chic style of dressing so it should come as no surprise that her home looks the same way. Architectural Digest recently featured Nina's Upper East Side NYC apartment in its pages. I honestly expected it to be a tad more modern, but it's very Nina. And of course there is a shot of her coveted closet!

Speaking of fashion editors, Refinery 29 has a fun gallery of illustrations done by Joana Avillez of the top editors (Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld, Grace Coddington, etc.) in the business today. The illustrations include all of their style quirks and some fun quotations. How fun would these be as art work? I'll look into that!

Aside from being one of the most stylish women in the world, Julianne Moore can also style the heck out of an apartment. And she did just that for her stylist, Leslie Fremar. Fremar's Tribeca apartment is featured in the October issue of Elle and I would like to live there. This also makes me want a chalkboard wall really bad!

Did you all know that Zara sells home goods in Europe? And that they'll be available for purchase at on October 9th? Now you know! I love Zara's clothes and accessories (even if their sizing is BS sometimes) and I look very much forward to checking out their home goods.

I think I buy a new pair of black heels for work every fall. It's a staple I can't live without. These Deena & Ozzy pumps from Urban Outfitters came on my radar yesterday and I will make them mine soon enough. I like that they're just a little bit different than your average black pump.

Lastly, do yourself a favor and buy the new album from Mumford & Sons. It's called Babel and I've had it on repeat since it came out on Tuesday. Who doesn't appreciate a good banjo?

Tomorrow I will be participating in one of the great fall traditions - Oktoberfest! Happy weekend all!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Emmys Red Carpet: Color FTW

Awards show red carpets are in my top ten of favorite things. Maybe even top five. Behind the Oscars and the Golden Globes, the Emmys round out the trifecta of celebrity fashion extravaganza. I really care little about the awards themselves since my TV viewing is basically limited to Real Housewives, cooking shows, and soccer and I see few good movies, but I will bake a cake and throw a party to watch couture parade down a carpet.

I love celebrities who take risks at awards shows. Even if their look is hideous I will probably appreciate it anyway just because they didn't step out in the same old cookie cutter black strapless, formfitting thing that I could buy at David's Bridal.

Top Picks:

Leslie Mann In Naeem Kahn
Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
This dress walked down Naeem Kahn's Spring 2013 runway just two weeks ago, but we're lucky enough to already be able to see it in action. I Pinned this dress as one of my favorites of New York Fashion Week so I'll be smug about that validation :) The color of the skirt is amazing and the styling with the blue earrings is gorgeous and brilliant. The look is stylish and not too out there so as to put off the masses. And it has pockets!

Ginnifer Goodwin In Monique Lhuillier

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
Ginnifer Goodwin is always a risk taker and I love her for it! This dress is part of Monique Lhuillier's Resort 2013 collection and I think it's a total showstopper. Orange is a hot color right now and it's great with her fair skin and dark, cropped hair. I love the peekaboo hem because if I was wearing Louboutins like that, I would want to show them off too. I think she and her stylist made a smart move by not doing an orange lip like the model because it would have been a bit of overkill. I love everything about this!

Julianne Moore In Christian Dior Couture

Image via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America
I'm pretty sure I'm going to be the only one that likes this, but I don't care. It's Dior, it's couture, it's chartreuse/yellow, her lip color is perfect, her hair is perfect and she is perfect. This is a striking look and I'm so, so happy someone had the brass to wear it. Julianne is a true fashion lover and it shows in her taste and selections. Slow clap.

Julianna Margulies In Giambattista Valli Couture
Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
Another risk, another pay off! This dress is part of Giambattista's Fall 2012 Couture collection and I think it's stunning. I would expect this on a best actress Oscar nominee, but if I had the opportunity to wear this work of art, I would wear it to Trader Joe's. So fair play, Julianna. She kept her jewelry simple by just wearing earrings. A necklace would have been totally unnecessary with such a strong print. The dress should be the only focus and it was. Also, pockets!

Claire Danes In Lanvin

Image via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America
I debated this one for a while, but upon waking up this morning I decided that I like it. Blonds can wear yellow! As long as it's a bright yellow/green hybrid. Claire is pregnant and while I have no issues with pregnant women wearing form-fitting clothes, I like that she went a little more modest and chose something drapey from the best draper in the business (Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, natch). Plus, Claire said both "holla" and "baby daddy" in her acceptance speech for Homeland so she's automatically cool.

Tina Fey In Vivienne Westwood

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
There were many stars in burgundy, but I think Tina Fey did it best. This might be the best she's ever looked on a red carpet before. The lack of necklace is, again, a smart move and I like that she went with a nude lip color and made-up eyes. It would have been so easy to match her lipstick to the dress, but that would have been overkill. It annoys me that her make-up artist didn't do a better job at covering up her tan lines (a HUGE pet peeve of mine), but I'll let it slide. Well done, Tina.

Kerry Washington In Vivienne Westwood

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
My taste right now is definitely skewed more towards colored dresses with more high fashion details, but this is a sequined dress I can appreciate. It is absolutely perfect for her skin tone. I wish she would have worn a lipstick with a little more pink in it, but that's not a deal breaker. She does not look country in this (name that movie).

January Jones In Zac Posen

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
I should amend this to say "from the neck down." I think this is a gorgeous dress! I'm not sure, but I think January was the only star to wear black. A black dress will always be my last choice, but this one is special. January loves high fashion and 9 times out of 10 she's on the best dressed list. That one time being the scary red Versace car wash dress at the 2011 Golden Globes. I'm not sure what's happening with her make-up and hair, but it's too severe for this dress. I get what she was trying to do by going for goth make-up with a feminine dress, but it doesn't work for me.

Bottom Of The Barrel:

Sofia Vergara In Zuhair Murad

Image via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America
Sofia needs a style intervention as far as I'm concerned. She doesn't look bad, per se, but I wish she would try something different. Every red carpet look of hers is form-fitting, strapless (or close to it), with her hair down in curls. She is a curvy, sexy woman, but we get that by now. Shake it up a little! This dress is far too tight for her anyway as evidenced by the fact the it SPLIT UP THE BACK later on in the night. Also, maybe you should not tweet pictures of your ass cheeks. Just a thought.

Zooey Deschanel In Reem Acra

Image via Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America
I LOVE Zooey Deschanel and I think New Girl is hilarious, but I have a real issue with how she dresses. I get her schtick, but I would much prefer that she dress like an adult on a regular basis. This dress was custom made for her by Reem Acra with the idea that she had to look like a princess. Why? Look like a 32 year-old woman! She wore a gorgeous high fashion Prada dress to the Golden Globes last year (that I don't think anyone but me liked.. whatever) and I wish she would do that more often. She also needs a new make-up situation because a red lip and black eyeliner does not go with everything.

There are only two in the bottom of the barrel this year! That's not so bad. I think on the whole everyone looked pretty good. I'm thrilled that there was a lot of color and a lot of couture and I hope that continues throughout awards season! I'm surprised there was no Elie Saab, as he is the red carpet king. His most recent couture collection was one of my favorites of his in a long time. Maybe we're just saving them for the Golden Globes and the Oscars?

Are you an awards show junkie like me? Tell me who your favorites were! US Weekly has a pretty comprehensive gallery here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

London Fashion Week: Prints Charming & A Bit Of Inspiration

I hope the city won't take offense, but London has really only reemerged as a major fashion hub fairly recently. We'll call it a rebirth because London certainly has a significant fashion history that was somewhat stalled by grunge and faux Burberry-clad football hooligans of the 90s.

New York, Milan, and Paris have always been and always will be the top three, but editors and retailers have helped turn the fashion hierarchy into a top four. The London-based luxury online retailer has been amazing at championing UK designers that may not have had another avenue for exposure. Brits take their fashion very seriously and it's exciting to see them getting validation.

When viewing the collections that were presented in London for Spring 2013 I noticed that most designers fell into one of three categories: 1) Crazily printed; 2) Ultra feminine; and 3) Ridiculously unwearable (but able to be appreciated). I'm going to delve into the crazily printed trend because it's been on my mind lately and I will explain why in a bit.

The king and queen of prints are Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou, respectively. I certainly don't say crazy with any negative connotation. These two are breaking ground like general contractors and it's so exciting to see. These looks aren't going to be for everyone, but that's fashion. First, Pilotto's brilliance:

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These are my favorites from the collection and the rest can be viewed here. They're a lot to handle! I know. I always tell people who struggle with prints to wear the color, not the print. Baby steps. Pilotto's designs work, though, and he and his design partner Christopher De Vos have had much success on the red carpet and editorially.

If you thought Peter Pilotto was wild, then brace yourself for Mary Katrantzou. She's a true artist who usually takes one inspiration, in the case of Spring 2013 it's stamps, and manipulates them in abstract and colorful ways.

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Have a look at the rest of Katrantzou's collection here. I think the last three dresses in particular are stunning and I can easily see them working in formal settings. The first two? Maybe not so much, but we have to appreciate the art! On the heels of her very successful collaboration with Topshop, Katrantzou and denim giant Current/Elliot have just announced a Spring 2013 partnership, which means you can get a piece of Mary for considerably less. I'm in! 

And now onto why prints have been on my mind. Last night I had the pleasure of attending an EventBrite class called Lessons In Style: Color, Texture, and Pattern that was taught by the lovely and stylish Chelsee of We Are Not Martha and her own creative consultancy business. Mixing prints and patterns is an art form, but it really is an easy one! As I said before, wear the colors not the prints. One of my favorite combinations that Chelsee put together last night was a green and navy striped shirt and a paisley print scarf with the same colors. Kinda like this:
Green/Navy Combo

Since each garment has the same color family, it works. She also brilliantly paired a sheer cropped floral t-shirt over a striped tank in the same tones like this:
Floral/Stripe Combo

Floral/Stripe Combo by melissah528 featuring a striped tank

Are you picking up what I'm putting down here? Just because garments aren't traditional partners doesn't mean you have to keep them apart. Prints and color don't have to be scary! No one is going to point and laugh at you for wearing something bold and fun. And if they do they're probably a miserable person and you shouldn't be friends with them. Putting together outfits in the way can make your closet twice as big. 

Fashion is FUN and it should always make you happy. If your happiness isn't a Peter Pilotto dress with six different colors and four competing prints, that's okay. Start small with combinations like those above. Hopefully seeing fashion like this will trigger your inspiration button instead of immediately turning it off.

Do tell me - what is your reaction to seeing clothes like those designed by Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou? Have you been successful at mixing prints?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

I've never really liked pretzels. They're kind of boring and tasteless and I can't really eat them unless they're flavored or dipped in something. Preferably Nutella. There's just something about adding chocolate to pretzels that makes them a little more bearable, correct? Which is why putting them in a chocolate chip cookie is a complete stroke of genius.

I found this recipe on Pinterest (obviously) and thought it would be an easy little baking project on a lazy Sunday. It turns out I was right. Here my slightly adapted version:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup of butter at room temp.
1/2 cup tightly packing light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup broken up pretzel pieces
Pretzel salt or sea salt

This recipe makes exactly 24 cookies. 

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and whisk them to combine. Or you can sift them if you're into that sort of thing. 

Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until they're fluffy (about 2 minutes).

Lower the speed and add in the egg and vanilla and beat until they're well combined. With the speed still on low add the flour mixture little by little until the dough comes together. I don't think I'll ever be able to do this without spilling or covering parts of my kitchen in flour dust. No one ever said baking was a clean sport.

Next, break up the pretzel pieces. I thought about putting them in my food processor, but I didn't want them to be pulverized. I used the much more primitive method of putting them in a plastic bag and beating the crap out of them with a pestle.

Fold in the chocolate chips and the pretzel bits until they're well combined in the dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or just spray it with non-stick spray. Scoop out the dough using a tablespoon measure and place the dough about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on each cookie before they bake if you want a little more saltiness. I sure did.

Bake these for about 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. They will look like this:

And they'll taste like a salty, chocolately explosion of deliciousness. If you like chocolate covered pretzels then I guarantee you will love these. I've been told they're so full of win.

The original recipe I followed called for peanut butter chips in addition to everything else. If Trader Joe's was in the business of carrying peanut butter chips then I most certainly would have added them. Sadly they're not so I had to leave them out. These would also be good with a peanut butter cookie base. I can think of few things better than a chocolate covered pretzel dipped in peanut butter. For now, tough, I'll have to accept these sans peanut butter and I'm just fine with that.

Do you like salty with sweet? What are your feelings on pretzels? If you can think of another way for me to improve them, by all means share it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

New York Fashion Week: Highlights & Trends

Even though my involvement with fashion week includes little more than looking at collections and offering my unsolicited opinions, I love feeling like I'm a tiny part of something special twice a year. Also, I just really like looking at pretty clothes. My taste tends to side with ultra wearable feminine looks, even though that's not always how I dress. While I can certainly appreciate the conceptual and slightly more avant garde collections like Alexander Wang (who showed glow-in-the-dark dresses) and Rodarte, they're never going to be my favorite. I need to be able to picture myself in a look to really like it.

All of my favorite looks, ninety of them to be exact (!), can be found on my Pinterest board here, but of course there are a few things I want to highlight.

Black & White

I love LOVE black and white clothes. It's a neutral combination and can be accessorized in pretty much any way and I am delighted that one of my favorite color duos will be front and center next spring!

Marc Jacobs; Image via
This is probably my favorite look of any collection that was shown. It's timeless, it's youthful and it can be recreated in such an easy way. You know I bought a houndstooth skirt and a black and white striped top the Tuesday morning after the Marc show! Marc Jacobs' show was my favorite of his in a long, long time. Marc gets a little too gimmicky for me sometimes (Example: giant fur hats for Fall 2012), but this collection was so wearable and fun and the Edie Sedgwick styling was spot on. Marc is such a trend setter that I wouldn't be surprised if Fall 2013 took a mod turn.

My other B&W faves:

Calvin Klein Collection; Image via
Michael Kors - also so easy to DIY; Image via
Tibi - the tuxedo pant will also be big for spring; Image via
Prabal Gurung - You can't go wrong with ostrich feathers; Image via
Jason Wu; Image via

My favorite color is green and I love to wear it so it could just be a case of hyper-awareness here, but I saw a lot of green on the spring runways. And why not? Green is the color of growth and that's what spring is all about.

Proenza Shouler; Image via
I think this look from Proenza Schouler is an absolute show stopper. It's edgy and subtly sexy and I'd love to see it on someone like Jessica Alba or Diane Kruger for a film premiere.

Vera Wang; Image via
Ditto to this Vera Wang dress. She's most known for her red carpet gowns, but Ms. Wang's ready to wear has been so, so strong for the past few seasons. Elizabeth Banks could rock the bejesus out of this dress.

More green goodness:

Holmes & Yang - Yes, the Holmes is Katie Holmes; Image via
Michael Kors; Image via
Sachin + Babi - I love the mix of textures in this look; Image via
Derek Lam - I think this is a gorgeous plaid and would be great as separates too; Image via
Red Carpet Glamour

That's pronounced Gla-MOOOOOR. I love me some red carpet action so I'm always on the look out for the next Best Actress Oscar winner's dress. I really hope we get to see some of these during the next awards season!

Marchesa - This. Is. A. DRESS.; Image via
Rachel Zoe - This has Kate Hudson written all over it; Image via
Naeem Kahn; Image via
Badgley Mischka; Image via
Oscar De La Renta - automatic best dressed; Image via
Jenny Packham - I think this would look incredible on a redhead (Emma Stone, Julianne Moore); Image via

And if you're in need of a wedding dress and have a couple hundred grand available, then Zac Posen has you covered:

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This all makes me tremendously excited for spring, but I will be enjoying fall first. I mean, I haven't even worn a scarf yet. You can see each and every collection at and stay tuned for much, much more from London, Milan, and Paris.

Do you have a favorite collection or look? And if money were no object, would you have the brass to wear a wedding dress like that? Do tell.