Thursday, September 28, 2006

America's Next Top Model vs. Project Runway
Project Runway seems to be dragging out as long as possible--last week was a rerun, next week is the "get the contestants together and have them talk shit about each other" episode, then the final episode airs in two parts, with the grand finale, finally, on October 18th. I think nearly everyone has seen the photos from New York Fashion Week by now, so now we're just waiting, waiting, waiting for a winner to be announced. Based on the pictures alone, I'd say Jeffrey wins, but there are all of these rumors about him outsourcing his sewing, so who knows. Uli's collection was very...Uli, Laura's was very elegant but a bit boring, and while Michael's seemed to be the most cohesive, it was not really my taste, sadly. So whoever wins is anyone's guess. In the meantime, in this week's challenge, the designers were given $250 and free reign to create whatever they wanted, so long as it represented their signature style and was "editoral"--in a way that would be fresh to the judges, of course. The amusing part of this challenge was that after so many weeks of having strict rules, Uli and Michael seemed a bit lost as to what to do. And while Uli's signature-Uli-with-a-twist minidress was the winner, Michael faltered with a satin charmeuse dress that was sexy but unwearable. Laura's dress was nothing new, and while Jeffrey challenged himself with a more "romantic" look, it looked kind of sans culotte. And unflattering. The "twist" at the end of the episode, however, was that all four designers would be showing at Fashion Week. Which, um, we already knew since it happened two weeks ago. So, here we are, back to waiting.

And last week America's Next Top Model debuted on its new network the CW. Every season, I tend to get fed up with the show and vow not to watch it anymore, but that's not going to happen this year, because I've decided the show is just so over-the-top and campy--and it's not like the winner is really going to become a top model of any sort anyway--so all I can do is sit back and enjoy it. This week was the makeover episode, which is always one of my favorites because for every girl they make look good, they make one look awful. I actually like Brooke's new brown hair--it makes her skin glow--but Megg's wild fro for some reason now emphasizes the fact that she looks like Mayim Bialik. The twins' red hair is actually not bad (I was a little nervous about it at first), but I don't really like Melrose's blonde hair, because now she looks like a cross between Courtney Love and pre-makeover Ashlee Simpson. And while I loved Jaeda's short haircut, I was not a fan of the platinum blonde on Megan--and I don't think she was either, since, well, she ended up going home. I was a bit surprised by it, and I'm wondering if it's because she was too much like Kim from season four, even down to the lesbian part (did anyone else notice her talking to her "girlfriend" on the phone early in the episode?). I mean, I didn't think her photo was that bad. Of course, I have some early favorites, namely, the twins (yes, I like both of them, mainly because I can't tell them apart). I think AJ is going to go far, too--in the poster for the show, she totally stands out--but she seems to have a bit of an attitude problem. Next week, Ms. Jay teaches the girls to walk, but in the meantime, I highly suggest taking advantage of the "send Tyra Mail to your friends" feature on the CW's website. I spent an entire afternoon doing it last week and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The week in shopping
...And now back to regularly scheduled Cheryl Shops features.

Find Outlet is hosting a Bluefly sample sale, where you can score designer merchandise for up to 90% off. 9/28-10/1; noon-9 Thurs., 9-9 Fri. & Sat., 9-5 Sun.; 72 Greene St. (Spring & Broome Sts.).

Gorgeous wedding gowns by Angel Sanchez are 50-75% off. You can even write a check! 9/28; 9-7; 526 7th Ave. (at 38th St.), 9th fl.

Great-fitting pants, plus gowns, coats, and separates are 50%-85% off at Alvin Valley's sample sale. Through 9/30; noon-6; 552 7th Ave. (at 39th St.), 3rd fl.

Calvin Klein Collection
clothing and accessories for men and women at 60%-85% off. Need I say more? Through 9/29; 10-7; 260 5th Ave. (28th & 29th Sts.).

Be a downtown gal and get a Mika Inatome bridal gown for up to 90% off. Through 9/30; call 212-966-7777 to make an appointment; 93 Read St. (at Church St.), 2nd fl.

In the retail biz, we call this a presale: Henri Bendel is taking 25% off all merino-wool sweaters. Through 10/15; 10-8, noon-7 Sun.; 712 5th Ave. (56th & 57th Sts.).

Prepare for winter with Giuliana Teso fur and shearling coats, jackets, and accessories at 85% off. 9/27-9/28; 10-7; 584 Broadway (Houston & Prince Sts.), ste. 501.

Get free shipping when you buy any boots at Urban Outfitters through 10/1.

Bloomingdale's is having a private sale in stores only 9/27-9/29, 10-10.

This week, Clothingline has a random assortment of Chilewich woven mats (sold at MoMA store), Milly samples, maternity, and kids stuff. Um, okay.

Get free shipping on a $100 order when you enter code FSHIP at checkout through 10/19 at Victoria's Secret.

Get free shipping on a $50 beauty order at Macys.com when you enter code BEAUTYFREESHIP at checkout through 10/3.

Save up to 50% on items at West Elm's fall sale.

Anthropologie
is having a late summer sale.
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Frame Bags
Another trend Marc Jacobs pretty much jump-started (with his much-knocked-off quilted Stam bag), the frame bag is typically kind of a grandma-ish shape, but the handbag used to be too and now we all carry them. You can go for washed leather for more of a bohemian look, or a chain-stap handle and quilting for a ladylike look. This also seems to be a trend that hasn't totally filtered down yet, so the best bags are the most expensive ones--but isn't that always how it is?

Madison Avenue

Marc's gorgeous Karen bag is reminiscent of the Stam, but in python for a kind of '80s look. It is also significantly more than my monthly rent. But, hey, it's called luxury for a reason.


I remember, about 6 or 7 years ago, when Miu Miu used to be affordable. Ha. This frame bag is now up there in price with big sister Prada, but it's still a lot younger looking, and I can only imagine how soft that buttery leather is.


I have a vintage Dior bag very similar to this Flight bag (yes, it's real, and it was a ridiculously lucky find), and depending on what kind of fall jacket I end up with, I might just have to bust it out. This one is slightly prettier than mine, however.


Soho
Ignore the name Ellen Tracy (it makes me think of elastic-waist pantsuits in drab colors); this frame bag has a Marc Jacobsy look with a much more tolerable price tag.


This Hype handbag is a more blatant Stam ripoff, but with contrast stitching and no chunky chain strap or hardware. In other words, it's Marc for the more practical gal. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Betsey Johnson is building her empire with a nice line of bags. They're a little rock-and-roll, which is a nice complement to her crazy clothes. This bag has a lot of hardware, but I like the slouchy shape, and it doesn't look like it's trying too hard.


34th Street
This Isaac Mizrahi for Target bag is kind of half hobo, half frame bag, but I think it's one of the cuter purses he's designed. It's PVC, of course, but a cute choice nonetheless.


You can find a lot of bags similar to this one at vintage and secondhand stores. True, the rose print is a little precious, but the color palette is neutral, which you'll have a hard time finding in the thrift store, home of the ornate tapestry bags.


This bag
from Delia's is a straight-up Stam knockoff, but with a more Chanel-inspired strap. I kind of like it, and for $34.50, you really can't go wrong.
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Plaid
Plaid, like pinstripes, is an old standby for fall--every other year or so, it tends to get a big push from the fashion magazines. This is one of those years. However, I think plaid is important this season because of the whole Grunge revival, led by Marc Jacobs. So far I'm not so sure that it's taking off (it will be interesting to see what happens when the temperature really dips), but as I've said before, I enjoyed Grunge the first time around and I'm more than happy to dabble in it this time. With a more elegant take on the trend, of course.

Madison Avenue

If you're going Grunge, why not go straight to the master? This Marc Jacobs sarong skirt evokes the iconic flannel-shirt-around-the-waist look, but with a slightly more flattering fit. Well, and it's wool, not flannel.


Tartan plaids are also popular this season, and it's always fun to kill two birds with one stone: This plaid jacket from DSquared2 also has a slight trapeze shape. It's also one of the most refined things I've ever seen from the Caten brothers, so good for them.


The soft, faded plaid and crinkled texture give this Chloe minidress a grungy look, but I saw this shape of dress all over the tents in Bryant Park. Chloe doesn't seem to be in a huge rush to replace Phoebe Philo, but as long as the design team keeps turning out awesome dresses like this, who cares?


Soho
Earnest Sewn now makes non-denim items, like this cute plaid jacket. It kind of has that British foxhunting look about it, and I like the cropped fit too.


This plaid shirt is really cute--a fitted, French take on the plaid shirt. A.P.C.'s clothes are tailored very well, so you can be assured this isn't going to gape in the bust or do other weird things. Please go to A.P.C.'s website to look at it though, because for some reason I can't see the bigger version.


It takes a brave soul to wear plaid pants, and it takes a freakin' fearless warrior to wear plaid skinny pants. So if you've got the gams, please wear this awesome pair from Alice & Olivia. Accordingly, they're availble only in size 8 and below.


34th Street

Another example of killing two birds with one stone, this plaid jumper from Delia's is, well, both plaid and a jumper. I love the mod look, and it's a durable wool blend, which is a nice little surprise.


Forever 21 has all manner of cute plaid things, but this dress stands out because it's not a jumper, a jacket, a kilt, or a shirt--i.e. other traditionally plaid items of clothing. I like the babydoll shape, and it would be supercute with a black tee underneath.


Sometimes all you need is a good accessory to convey the trend. This wide headband from Urban Outfitters does the trick for a mere $16. True, it's more Greenwich than Grunge, but not all plaid needs to look like it came from Salvation Army.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Final two Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide posts coming tomorrow!
Plus sales too, I promise!
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Long Skirts
For those of you who know me personally, you know that I wear miniskirts. A lot. I may hate my stomach, but I do like my legs. However, I fell in love with the ground-sweeping long skirts that Olivier Theyskens showed in his last collections for Rochas, so I'm looking for at least one long skirt for fall, preferably in black. They were a bit hard to find (I'm assuming this is because long skirts tend to be in fashion during recessions, and no one really wants to encourage one of those), but I did come across some strong contenders.

Madison Avenue
There are few things you can count on in life, but one of them is that anything Donna Karan makes in jersey is going to be both comfortable and flattering. So behold this long jersey skirt. It doesn't have the fullness I want, but the sleek shape makes up for it.


I love the plissé texture and shape of this chiffon skirt from Gaultier--it's kind of 1920s rich gypsy. It's not as long as I'd like, but it's gorgeous nonetheless.


This chiffon skirt from Armani isn't really a daytime skirt, but with its lovely trumpet shape, who cares?


Soho
I saw this Marc by Marc Jacobs skirt at Barneys last weekend, and I must have it. After all, it totally fits into Marc's glam-grunge aesthetic for fall--it has a crinkly broomskirt texture and cuts a totally dramatic silhouette.


Of course, this jersey skirt from Love by Ya-Ya is a bit more laid-back, more affordable, and probably more comfortable too. It's a totally different look, though--kind of California girl...well, if California girls ever ditched their minis.


The Daisy Miller skirt from Anthropologie is more in the vein of the Marc skirt, but with a more streamlined look and an easier-on-the-wallet price.


34th Street
Newport News has all manner of long skirts; here's a nicely shaped one in black corduroy--cute and warm too!


This mesh skirt from Alloy has the broomsticky look of a Marc Jacobs skirt, but with a shorter and slightly less full silhouette. And, um, a much more tolerable price.


This Alex Evenings skirt is meant for, well, evening, but I think it can pass for daytime--after all, a sheer panel of chiffon at the hem does not necessarily an evening look make. And, hey, it has an elastic waistband--after so many constricting skinny jeans, I'll take it!
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Ankle Boots
Now that you have your black or gray stovepipe jeans, they're so tight in the ankles that you can't wear them over boots. (Aha, there was a practical aspect to boot-cut jeans after all!) One solution is to wear them with platform pumps; the other is to tuck them into an extra-cute pair of ankle boots. Voila--the boot lives on!

Madison Avenue
Zac Posen's first foray into footwear produced this dandy-esque ankle boot, which looks like a super-upscale version of something you'd find at Anthropologie (I mean that as a compliment). The slouchy shape is right-on, and there's even a subtle platform, as well as a more practical stacked heel.


This awesome wedge ankle boot from Tashkent has big cutouts on the side, but it's lined in luxe lamb fur (okay, lay off, animal rights activists), so you can go sockless. Well, maybe not sockless, but at least your feet won't totally freeze.


And to appease all the card-carrying PETA members I just pissed off, here's a 100% vegan boot from Stella McCartney. Granted, I think $650 is a bit much for pleather, but I love the ribbed cuff and the round toe and, well, this is probably the most stylish pleather boot in existence.


Soho
Dolce Vita is one of those brands that's suddenly everywhere--and since their shoes are very stylish and not too expensive, I'd say that's a good thing. I love this cuffed boot--it's like a more feminine, sexy cowboy boot.


Anthropologie has all of these quirky boots, many of which look like they came straight from the set of a period costume drama. This cuffed boot looks kind of 1700s (or is it 1800s?), but I think it's pretty darn cool.


This Kors Michael Kors boot is pretty traditional as far as boots go--it's designed by the master of American sportswear--but I think the drawstring detail is just edgy enough.


34th Street
I think this suede wedge boot is quite a good deal. The wedge heel is low enough to be comfortable, and the studs give them a little rock-and-roll edge.


This boot from Urban Outfitters has a faux foldover, but it's real leather and it's affordable, so it'll be our little secret. Plus, you can get one in black and one in gray for the price of one pair of contemporary-priced boots.


At $39, it's a near-miracle this boot is made out of suede and not synthetics. But I'm not going to argue--the wrap details in front are cute, as is the bow in the back.
Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Skinny Jeans
Depending on what area of the country you live in, you've probably already had skinny jeans for at least a season now. And, let me guess, they're a dark indigo, right? Skinny is still here for fall (and most likely will be next spring too), but you can broaden your horizons with a gray or black wash--very Kate Moss. So far, I've only been able to handle straight-leg (about a 14-inch leg opening), but I'm feeling adventurous, so I'm looking for the perfect pair of 12- or 10-inch stovepipes. Here are some contenders.

Madison Avenue

This pair from Alexander McQueen isn't exactly a black or gray wash, but the back-pocket embroidery and side scroll detail makes it not your ordinary skinny jean. Neither, of course, does the $695 price tag. But McQueen is a master tailor and, after all, he's the one to thank for low-rise pants, having designed the infamous "bumster" pant.


While we can thank Alexander McQueen for low rises, Stella McCartney has been a leading proponent of skinny jeans. I can attest that hers fit quite well, so if you have the money, this gray-wash pair is a good investment. And, of course, I love the butterfly detail on the back pocket.


The hard-to-find Tsubi jean has its own level of cachet for that very reason; it has another level of desirability, however, for its supposedly awesome fit. I don't know firsthand though--they're sold out everywhere!


Soho
Imitation of Christ has entered the denim fray, and the fact that this black-wash pair is named after Scarlett Johansson is somewhat promising--after all, the starlet is a bit more curvy than, say, Kate Moss.


Even True Religion has a skinny jean now, and while I'm a huge fan of how their jeans fit, I feel like the coolest part of the jeans is their back pockets, and since this black pair has tonal embroidery, you can barely see them. And thus I'm not quite sure if they're worth the $200-plus price tag.


And then there's J Brand, which, at the moment, seems like the front runner to me. I tried this pair on at Barneys on Saturday, and while they don't make my legs totally look like sausages, I find them to be ridicuously tight--if they're not too tight in the thighs, the waist is butt-cracky. I hate to say it, but I might have to cop out and go with their straight-leg, non-stretch style.


34th Street
If you want something trendy, affordable, and thus disposable, the teen catalogues are often your best bet. This Piper black skinny jean comes in many different inseams, but, based on the picture, I say unless you have the body of a 17-year-old, order up a size.


The Casey jean from Delia's looks slightly more forgiving, and I like the ankle length--perfect for tucking into boots without all the bunchiness, or for wearing with flats.


Urban Outfitters has quite the selection of skinny jeans--in every wash you can imagine, pretty much--but my favorite is the Outlaw by, of all things, Levi's. I think the pockets are pretty cool and, at $68, you really can't go wrong with a classic.
More Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide coming Monday!
Sorry, I got a little sidetracked toward the end of the week. I'll post the remaining five must-haves early in the week. Please come back soon!

In the meantime, check out my sponsors and click on the ad banners to the right. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Wide Belts
Wide belts are nothing new. Nor is wearing wide belts at your waist--that look has been around for at least a season now. But I've recently discovered the joy of wearing a wide belt just below the bust. This look is particularly effective when you have a babydoll or voluminous top, because it provides definition and prevents you from looking top-heavy. Now, if you have a tiny waist, by all means, you should wear the wide belt there. But for those of us who are a little thicker through the middle--especially those of us who fall into the "ruler" body-shape category--it's incredibly flattering.

Madison Avenue
Because this Proenza Schouler double-buckle belt is all leather--without stretch--I'd recommend ordering a small to wear it just under your bust. Then again, if you're spending nearly $700 on a belt, maybe you'd want it to fit your actual waist. Regardless, it's beautiful, and an investment.


This Sass & Bide leather belt comes in just one size, but looks to have many notches, so you can wear it wherever you like. Even--sacre bleu!--at your hips.


I'm a sucker for croc, both real and faux, so I'm a fan of this (faux) croc belt. It's meant to be worn at the waist, but Vivre conveniently gives the measurements, so based on where you want to wear it, you'll know what size to get.


Soho
Now, this corset belt has a lot of elastic, so you can wear it wherever you want (although I wouldn't recommend around your hips, only because it's such a snug fit, it's going to slide up toward your waist, to the path of least resistance). Since it's so wide, it's definitely a statement-maker.


This perforated belt is very rock and roll. It's also meant to be worn on the hips, but again, the perforations allow for more room in the adjustability department, so, really, you can wear it wherever you want.


Anthropologie gets the thumbs up from me for being more adventurous with their accessories lately. This wide leather belt reminds me of cira 1980s Alaia, and for all leather, the price isn't too bad.


34th Street
This patent belt is kind of a watered-down version of the Fendi B belt, which pretty much started the whole wide-belt trend. It's faux, and it's shiny, so this is not the best choice for wearing at the waist if you're a little thicker through the middle. But if you have a tiny waist, go for it.


Remember what I said about faux croc? I absolutely love this belt from Amici Accessories, and at $22, you really can't go wrong. Plus, with the elastic, you can wear it wherever you like. I totally dig the red, too.


This bow belt from Urban Outfitters is a little more feminine, and I think it's pretty cute. I like that it comes in red and white (in addition to black), so you can wear it with a black top and it won't get lost. After all, the point of the wide belt is to draw attention to something, not camouflage it.