Archive for April, 2005

Trendscape: Of Stripes and Sailors

One of the things I like most about this nautical-inspired trend is its inherent timelessness. Sailor stripes were chic even before Sarah Jessica Parker wore them in the final season of Sex and the City. And who can resist the understated elegance of knotted embellishments? Chances are, these items won’t be relegated to the back of the closet when the fashion magazines move on to the Next Big Trend.

A few items worth a look…

For women:
Stripe Camisole
Stripe Tissue Camisole | $14.50 at JCrew
I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I just love navy + green!

Whitney-Stripe V-Neck Tank
Whitney-Stripe V-Neck Tank | $28 at JCrew
Tiny horizontal stripes can be more flattering than wider ones.

Bridget Mesh Wrap Polo
Bridget Mesh Wrap Polo | $88 at Blue Label Ralph Lauren
Love the knot detailing!

And For Men:
Striped Lisle Polo
Striped Lisle Polo | $79.50 at Polo Ralph Lauren
For a similar style at a lower price, try the Trapper’s Gorge Polo ($49.50)
at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Champlain Valley Polo
Champlain Valley Polo | $39.50 at Abercrombie & Fitch.
A touch of pink, for those men who are comfortable with their masculinity!
Be careful, this one can come out a little "jailhouse."
Cotton Maritime-Stripe Crewneck
Cotton Maritime-Stripe Crewneck | $58 at JCrew
Feels French, somehow.

3 comments April 15th, 2005

Ready Made Outfit: Prep School Meets Casual Friday | Men’s Edition

Fashion Formula = Polo + Contrast Tee + Novelty Belt + Casual Pants

I highly recommend this look for a casual, yet pulled-together ensemble. It has enough polish to make you stand out, yet it is casual enough to be comfortable and fun. Great for casual workplaces, and Casual Friday at those workplaces with stricter dress codes.

Repp Pique Polo
Repp Pique Polo | 2 for $48 at JCrew

No Tag Fitted Cotton Crew
No Tag Fitted Cotton Crew | $16.50 at Banana Republic
3-Stripe Ribbon Belt
3-Stripe Ribbon Belt | $55 at Polo Ralph Lauren
This belt also comes in blue, orange, and black.
For a less expensive alternative, try the belts at Club Monaco, another RL company.
Their color combinations can be a little more sophisticated as well.

Holman Fatigue Pant
Holman Fatigue Pant | $97.50 at Polo Ralph Lauren
Love the zipper detailing!

Add comment April 14th, 2005

Ready Made Outfit: Prep School Chic | Men’s Edition

Fashion Formula: Pullover + Button-Up Shirt + Flat Front Pants

What I love about this formula is that it’s so simple. It’s a very easy look to wear—great for those days when you need to look pulled together without looking as if you’re trying too hard.

The trick in upping the style factor of this formula is the color combination you choose.

My recommendations:

  • Green + Navy + White. For a sporty preppy look.
  • Sky Blue + Coral Orange + Purple Tinged Grey. Check out Club Monaco for these colors. Their coral color was spot on.
  • Khaki + Sky Blue + Lime Green. Use the lime green as an accent color.
Summer Weight Cashmere V-Neck
Summer Weight Cashmere V-Neck | $158 at JCrew
More choices abound at JCrew: a similar Pima Cotton sweater for $58, and a regular weight Cashmere one for $178. I love JCrew colors for a nice, preppy look. Check out the emerald (pictured) and navy sweaters in particular.

Summer Stripe Shirt
Summer Stripe Shirt | $65 at JCrew
A clean stripe that’s nice enough to get noticed, but not loud enough to call attention.

Tissue Chino Prospect Pant
Tissue Chino Prospect Pant | $59.50 at Polo Ralph Lauren
This versatile pant comes in a variety of colors to suit your mood and your outfit.

Check the Style Intelligence Report tomorrow for more men’s fashion!

Add comment April 13th, 2005

Ready Made Outfit: Prep School Chic

For a fresh preppy look, try combining greens and/or blues with white in classic shapes: cardigans, camisoles, and knee-length skirts.

Fashion Formula = Cardigan + Camisole + Circle Skirt.

Stripe Camisole
Stripe Tissue Camisole | $14.50 at JCrew
Love the color combination (green+navy) created by the stripes!

V-Neck Pocket Cardigan
V-Neck Pocket Cardigan | $68 at JCrew
The pockets give this cardigan an extra special something.

Gabby Halter Top
Gabby Halter Top | $24.50 at Abercrombie & Fitch
The white striping detail makes this top all the more special.

Doublefaced Cotton Skirt
Doublefaced Cotton Skirt | $455 at Ralph Lauren
Elegant, clean, and feminine!

Add comment April 12th, 2005

Be ShopSmart: How To Recognize Garment Quality

Part of being smart about shopping is knowing how to discern clothing quality.

You may wonder why the clothes at, say, Forever 21 can be less than half the price of those found at Club Monaco. One word: Quality.

The higher priced Club Monaco shirt will likely have more expensive detailing—say rows of topstitching, or the addition of higher-priced fabrics. More care will have been taken in “dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s,” so to speak, and you won’t find large numbers of unsnipped threads hanging off the shirt. Any zippers will have been put in correctly, and they’ll likely zip and unzip better than their counterparts at Forever 21. The garment from Forever 21 may have slightly mismatched seams and/or loose threads hanging off it, and it will likely be made of lesser quality fabric.

Perhaps most importantly, the Forever 21 shirt, while probably cute, will likely not last more than one or two seasons. The Club Monaco shirt, however, will likely be sticking around in your closet for more than a few months.

That’s not to say that there’s no place for value-priced clothing—sometimes it’s nice to hop on the trend bandwagon with a low-priced investment. I do it all the time. I just think it’s important to know what you’re paying for each time you make a purchase. After all, nobody wants to invest a lot of money in a piece of “quality” clothing that’s going to fall apart after a couple of washings.

What do I look for in a quality garment?

  • No Loose Threads: Loose threads hanging off of a garment are a red flag signal of poor quality in a garment. If the manufacturer couldn’t be bothered to finish the sewing job by cutting off the thread ends, what else did they skimp on?
  • Stitch Length: In general, the shorter the stitch length on a garment, the better the quality.
  • Linings: The very presence of a lining tends to signify a garment of better quality. However, not all linings are equal, so check the quality of the lining, just as you would check the rest of the garment.
  • Seams: In general, the greater number of times a seam was sewn, the better the quality. I generally look for topstitching and/or interesting seam treatments. I also pull on the seams in the store to test their strength.
  • Patterns: Patterns should match at all seamlines. For most garments, patterns should be parallel or perpendicular at the seams. If the pattern matching looks haphazard, and not in the “I meant to do that” designer way, put down the garment and walk away.
  • Fastenings: Zippers should move smoothly—it’s a good idea to test them in-store. Buttons and buttonholes should be sewn tightly with plenty of thread.
  • Pockets: They should lie flat and not pull or pucker in any way.
  • Seam allowances and hems: Seam allowance is the width of fabric extending from a seamline to the raw edge of a garment. For items like suits, in particular, wider seam allowances are preferable because they allow for greater flexibility for alterations. Wider hems are also preferable for the same reason.

FYI: Starting this week, I’ll be adding to my men’s fashion coverage. Look for men’s fashion ideas on Wednesday and Thursday this week!

Add comment April 11th, 2005

Trendscape: Tiered Skirts

I’ve just been seeing these skirts Everywhere. Department stores, chain stores, boutiques, and most importantly—on people. Kind of reminds me of that time when Everybody and their mother was wearing a peasant blouse.

Tiered skirts are one of the latest takes on the Full Skirt phenomenon that’s hitting the stores this season. And while they are fun, I feel responsible for telling you that they won’t be around forever—I predict they’ll be around for the next year and a half, maybe two. Wear them now, have your fun, and then be done with them until the fashion people decide that they’re “the thing to wear” again in ten years, plus or minus a few.

The plus side to the tiered skirt is that its full shape can be forgiving to many figure types. If you happen to have big hips or ample thighs, go for a slightly draped cut that skims your figure. If you’re petite, steer clear of ankle-length ball-gown-esque skirts: they’ll only make you look shorter than you are. Instead, try a skirt that ends at the knee. Another note for petite girls: avoid skirts with loud, large patterns. There’s a very real chance that those skirts will wear you, instead of the other way around.

A few tiered skirts worth mentioning:

Banana Republic Tiered Skirt
Ankle Length Tiered Skirt | $118 at Banana Republic

Urban Outfitters Tiered Skirt
Dip Dyed Tiered Skirt | $59.99 on sale at Urban Outfitters

The Urban Outfitters skirt looks like a shorter version of an ankle-length dip dyed skirt by Candela. You can find the Candela version for $150 at

American Eagle Tiered Skirt
Crinkled Silk Tiered Skirt | $44 at American Eagle

2 comments April 9th, 2005

Ready Made Outfit: Streetfresh Urban | Men’s Edition

For a cool, sporty look that rises above standard casual fare, try the following combination:

Jeans + Tee + Button Up Shirt + Track Jacket

To make this combination your own, look for garments with visual interest—through pattern, texture, and/or color.

7 for All Mankind Jeans
7 For All Mankind Relaxed-Fit jeans | $143 at Nordstrom

Banana Republic Fitted Tee
Fitted Crewneck T-Shirt | $16.50 at Banana Republic

Twin Brook Striped Shirt
Twin Brook Striped Shirt| $69.50 at Abercrombie and Fitch

Ben Sherman Track Jacket
St. Petersburg Track Jacket | $69 at Ben Sherman

You may want to add some sporty-casual sneakers to round out the outfit.

Puma Sneaker
"California" Puma Sneaker | $60 at Puma

Apologies for the delayed post: had some technical difficulties with Blogger last night. Check back for more Men’s Fashion looks in the next "Adapt This Look: Men’s Edition" next Thursday!

Add comment April 7th, 2005

Trendscape: So Fresh And So Clean

White on white looks especially fresh this Spring. However, a plain white outfit can feel monotonous. To mix things up in a monochromatic outfit, try adding texture through embellishments (e.g. beading, sequins, embroidery) and/or fabric treatments (e.g. pleating, smocking, etc). Or try an unusual silhouette with features like asymmetry or cutouts.

Some items worth mentioning:

Kenneth Cole Pleated Dress
Pleated Dress | $118 at Kenneth Cole
A gorgeous, classic shape embellished with small pleats.

Kenneth Cole Pleated Top
Pleated Top | $89 at Kenneth Cole
A shorter, more versatile version of the above dress.

Banana Republic Cutout Dress
Cutout Dress | $148 at Banana Republic
Jersey dress with a sophisticated back cutout.

Armani Exchange Draped Top
Chiffon Draped Top | $58 at Armani Exchange
Chiffon + Knit = Very Pretty!

Robert Rodriguez Tank Top
Robert Rodriguez Crystal Tank | $143 at
Tank top with crystal trim at neckline.

Marc Jacobs Eyelet Camisole with Ruffle Detailing
Marc Jacobs Top | $188 at
Eyelet camisole with ruffle trim.

Add comment April 6th, 2005

Inside LA Textile: Womens Trends and Colors for Spring/Summer 06!

Just when you thought that the style landscape for this season was complicated enough, here I am telling you what you’ll be seeing in stores Next year. How’s that for getting ahead of the fashion curve?

Here’s the scoop from a presentation from Promostyl, a leading fashion trend reporting company. Coming to stores near you, in Spring/Summer 06:

We’ll be seeing hippie-folk items: think of a 21st Century revision of the 1970s. You’ll see embellished items, tiered prairie skirts, and an explosion of prints on voluminous proportioned tops, skirts, and even pants. Think flowy airy tops, long voluminous skirts, and wide-legged (and even pleated!) pants. Men’s suiting will take a bohemian turn as it blends with folk-inspired silhouettes, in the season’s spirit of contradiction.

Look for cool violet colors matched with blended brights, reminiscent of the colors of a parrot. Be on the lookout for orange and yellow, in particular. Saturated pastel colors will continue to be stylish, as will the color white. So hold on to your white items from this year—they’ll work nicely with the clothes you’ll see in stores next year!

Eastern European Avant Garde
The trend is strict, graphic, and tailored. Picture industrial Berlin, with its dynamic graphic influences and focus on efficiency. It’s a tough underground look that’s simple and streamlined. Uniform-looking clothing will be seen, along with severe looking suits and shirtdresses. A standout item in my eyes: a tank top updated with a men’s tie. Look for graphic shapes and architectural lines, both in colorblocking and seaming.

Colors will be gray-based shades, but fuchsia and green, reminiscent of the 1980s, are standout colors.

Refined Nostalgia
This is a delicate, elegant trend that blends today’s tastes with those of the past, particularly the 1940s and 1950s. The feeling is ladylike chic with a slight country feel. Detailing on clothing will include sleeves puffed at the shoulder, lingerie touches, and the use of boudoir fabrics. Fabrics will be pintucked, smocked, and shirred. One interesting silhouette involved tops with open backs—these shirts fastened at the top near the neck. These tops can be worn alone or layered over another shirt.

Colors include scarlet, ochre, and watered down pastels.

Fantasy Refuge
The Fantasy Refuge style is a trend that revolves around emotion and the want for escape from reality. Youthful, naïve looks feature, though the glamour factor is turned up. Look for empire waists, stylized waistlines with belts, shrunken jackets in unexpected materials (e.g. terrycloth), and an emphasis on softness, volume, and transparency. A convergence between activewear and sportswear will also be seen: think of the Adidas/Stella McCartney collaboration.

The color palette for Fantasy Refuge combines strident, acid brights with innocent pastels. Think: cotton candy pink, rosy pink, red, lime, spring green, and sky blue. Neutrals combine with pastels, and the pink/grey combination I mentioned last week in Style Q&A will still be seen.

Now go impress your friends with your insider style knowledge!

Add comment April 5th, 2005

Trend Alert: Hardware Trims on Knit

On the radar: a natural extension of the textured embellishment trend I discussed last week. Hardware trims such as zippers and metal snaps are turning up as utilitarian embellishments on clothes for both men and women. I love the contrast of the hard details on a soft piece of clothing, especially when done with a subtle hand.

I saw a couple of nice examples while trendscouting at Armani Exchange:

Zipper Placket Crew Logo
For Men: Zipper Placket on a Raglan Sleeve Knit Shirt.
$49.99 at A|X.

Snap Detail Scoop Neck
For Women: Snap detailing on a scoopneck tee.
$38.00 at A|X.

FYI–I’m taking a long weekend in LA for a mini-break and a fabric show (*sighs of happiness*). Expect a report on fabrics/colors for Spring/Summer 06 when I’m back on Tuesday!

Add comment April 1st, 2005

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