Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not so much: pegged trousers
At the 3.1 Phillip Lim sample sale last week, this incredibly chic woman walked into the sale, and she was wearing a look that I'd only seen thus far on The Sartorialist: a cropped blazer and cropped, pegged pants. Proving that everything really does come around again, pegged pants were last popular in the '80s; I had a mean pair of Z. Cavaricci's that I taper-rolled to emphasize the effect. And while I still kind of cringe when I think of my Z's, this woman at the sample sale looked so stylish that I was willing to give them a try. So I headed over to H&M, where I found multiple pairs of pleated, tapered pants: some were cropped, some were full length; some were high-waisted, some were low-rise; some were belted, some were not. Fits were all over the place, but one thing is for certain: These pants are not at all flattering. That is, unless you have the body of a 12-year-old, which was the age at which I had my Z. Cavaricci's. Hips, thighs, belly--these pants do none of those body parts any favors. See, even Rihanna barely pulls them off, and she's like 6 feet tall and gorgeous. Stay away, ladies. Stay away.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The week in shopping
The News has in-the-know downtown labels like Rogues Gallery, Cheap Monday, and Band of Outsiders for 50%-75% off. 5/29-5/31; 10-6 Fri., 10-5 Sat.; 495 Broadway (at Broome St.), 5th fl.

Replenish your work wardrobe at the women's Theory sale (the guys' sale starts next week), where suit separates, dresses, and knits are 50%-75% off. 6/1-6/5; 11-5 Sun., 10-6 Mon. & Wed., 10-7 Tue. & Thurs.; 261 W. 36th St. (7th & 8th Aves.), 2nd fl.

Samples for (eco)mpassion is hosting Atrium's warehouse sale, featuring LAMB, Development, and other hot labels. 5/29-6/8; noon-8; 2 Great Jones St. (Broadway & Lafayette).

Before her new line turns up at Wal-Mart, score Norma Kamali's final collections for Everlast and Spiegel for $10-$100. 5/30-6/14; 10-6 (closed Sun.); 11 W. 56th St. (5th & 6th Aves.).

Opening Ceremony
's awesome mix of merch--think Topshop, Grey Ant, and their in-house label--is 30%-60% off. Beginning 5/30; 11-7, noon-7 Sun.; 35 Howard St. (Broadway & Crosby).

Colorful bags and accessories are up to 75% off at Felix Rey. 5.29-5/30; 10-7 Thurs., 10-6 Fri.; 611 Broadway (at Houston), ste. 838.

Noir's fun costume jewelry is $5-$70 (originally $90-$500) at this sale. 5/28-5/30; 10-7; 350 W. 38th St. (8th & 9th Aves.), 5th fl.

Temple St. Clair jewelry, Richard Ginori dinnerware, and Christofle stemware, plus dinnerware from Missoni and Oscar de la Renta Home is up to 70% off. 5/28-5/31; 9-6:30, 9-5 Sat.; 317 W. 33rd St. (8th & 9th Aves.).

Wifebeader, Bliss Lau, Cara Landy, FORM, and Sir Hayes are combining forces for a collective sample sale. Or, shop online at lauradahl.com, wifebeader.com, and caralandy.com and save an extra 30% when you enter code stylemaven through 6/15. In-store sale 5/30-6/1; 11-7 Fri., noon-6 Sat. & Sun.; 425 W. 13th St. (9th Ave. & Washington), ste. 401.

Save 40% on new spring markdowns at Cheryl Shops fave ShopJake.com.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On Whitney and America's Next Top Model
Pardon me for being a week late on this topic, but since I was out of the country, I missed the ANTM finale. I finally got a chance to watch it (I knew who the winner was already, it being nearly unavoidable on the Internet), and if there were any doubt as to the artifice of the show, I think the finale proved it. I am not opposed to the idea of a plus-size* model winning; I have a feeling, however, that Whitney won only because Tyra wanted to make a point (which I agree with--models are too thin nowadays, and it's important to recognize that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes). I think Tyra kind of missed the boat though--Toccara, who is arguably one of the most famous and successful contestants in the history of the show, probably would've made a more exemplary choice back in the day, but, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. Whitney was consistently in the bottom two, whereas runner-up Anya was repeatedly called first and won a bunch of challenges. Yes, Anya's Cover Girl photo was odd (you can't tell me they didn't pick that photo on purpose), and her runway walk was severely limited by the, um, two skintight gowns she wore, and there's always something to be said for editing, but, seriously, you can't tell me that Whitney is a better model than Anya. Which, on second thought, kind of makes sense--rarely does the best girl actually win. So I'm taking comfort in the fact that Anya will most likely be signed by another agency and have a successful career (hopefully the same goes for Lauren and Katarzyna too). In the meantime, at least Whitney's "My Life as a Cover Girl" segments should be more exciting than Saleisha, who delivered her lines with the enthusiasm of a dead fish. Who knows, maybe Whitney will be successful. Thoughts?

*Yes, Whitney is not a true plus size; I'd put her at about a 12. And, contrary to the conspiracy theories you read about the fashion industry, true plus size models actually are about a size 14 or 16.
Comptoir Des Cotonniers is coming to NYC!
Buried in today's WWD is the best news since Topshop: One of my favorite French stores Comptoir Des Cotonniers is opening a store in Soho. Because WWD is subscription only, I'll let the article speak for itself. Here's what it said:

Comptoir des Cotonniers, the Paris-based sportswear brand that's part of Fast Retailing, the Tokyo-based retail group that also owns Uniqlo, is set to land in New York. The brand, which is known for featuring real-life mothers and daughters in its campaigns, will open a 1,000-square-foot store at 155 Spring Street in SoHo in September. "We like being in Soho," said Nicolas Bertrand, communications director at Comptoir des Cotonniers, at a presentation of the brand's fall collection at its Notting Hill, London, store Wednesday. Comptoir des Cotonniers operates stores across countries including France, the U.K., Germany, Japan and South Korea. Bertrand said the company is looking to open two more New York locations in the future. And the brand has further openings planned for this year, in Bath, Kingston and Cambridge in the U.K.; Ibiza and Palma, as well as Majorca in Spain, and in Rome, Berlin and Hanover, Germany.


Yay! First of all, I was kicking myself for not having bought anything at CDC in Germany, so this makes me feel a lot better. Also, I had no idea that it was owned by the same company as Uniqlo, but that makes sense, come to think of it--both chains carry chic, well-made basics at reasonable prices (hopefully CDC's prices will be adjusted downward for the weak dollar). September can't come quickly enough...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

MasstigeWatch!
Today, Target confirmed the rumor that Scot Jonathan Saunders will be the next Go International designer (that is, after Richard Chai, who's up next); his line will hit stores in October. And if you haven't already heard, Rogan Gregory's collection is now available. When I first looked through it, I thought it was kind of boring, but on closer look, the pieces are sophisticated and modern--and most of them are organic silk or cotton, making it all eco-conscious as well as style-conscious. There's a lot of black and beige, yes, but the animal prints make it fun. I have my eye on the romper, the crocheted sweater, and the printed silk blouse. After a few misfires, the Go International collections are back on track; now I can't wait for Richard Chai.

The latest Kate Moss Topshop collection is now available too, and I think it's one of her strongest lines yet; I am lusting after this pansy dress, and since it's sold out in my size online, I'm hoping it turns up at Opening Ceremony.

Finally, Alexander Wang's Uniqlo line hits stores next Friday; based on the pictures here, I think I might have to ditch work in order to wait in line.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cheryl shops...Berlin and Prague
When I told people that I was going on vacation to Berlin, almost everyone said, "Oh my god, the shopping in Berlin is amazing." So I arrived with very high hopes. Our hotel was on Friedrichstrasse, right in the middle of East Berlin's posh shopping stretch. I was the most excited about the mini Galeries Lafayette, since I hadn't had a chance to visit it when in Paris last year. Berlin's Galeries Lafayette is in a very modern building designed by famed architect Jean Nouvel, and it connects to the mini-mall next door, Quartier 207. I didn't have a ton of time to shop (more on that later), but the perfume and cosmetics selection on the first floor are fab, mini-boutiques from designers like Paul & Joe, Sandro, Sonia Rykiel, and Manoush are on the upper floors, and the lower level is a French-food wonderland (I stocked up on Mariage Frères tea and Laduree macaroons). Clothes-wise, all I bought, however, was a scarf, because the dollar is practically worthless, and I couldn't talk myself into splurging on anything else. Even my beloved Comptoir des Cottoniers seemed exorbitantly expensive. In fact, the shopping gods were definitely not with me on this trip. We arrived in Berlin on a Saturday, stores were completely closed on Sunday, and Monday turned out to be a national holiday, so everything was closed again that day; that left me with about three hours on Tuesday morning to shop the rest of the city before our train left for our next destination. I dragged MW (and his friend CK, whom we met up with in Berlin) to KaDeWe, which is supposedly the biggest department store in Europe. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's definitely big--so large, in fact, that I felt too overwhelmed to shop there. So I gave up and bought some chocolate for my coworkers and neighbors on the top floor, which is an impressive food market. We then hightailed it down Kurfürstendamm, a.k.a. Ku'damm, West Berlin's main shopping drag. I felt a bit let down--the street (at least, as far as we got) is one chain store after another, and since we have H&M, Zara, and now even Mango in NYC, it was kind of pointless. I had also heard that Berlin has excellent vintage shopping, but I didn't get a chance to hit any of that either. But what I found really disappointing was the (lack of) shoes--granted, I am not ashamed to say that I own a pair of Birkenstocks (I do, and I love them very much), but Germans take practical footwear to new levels of frumpiness.

The Czechs, at least, have Bata, an equally Euro but more chic Camper-esque chain of shoe stores. Their flagship store in Wenceslas Square was one of the few shopping highlights of the Prague portion of my trip, but since the exchange rate was still bad in Prague (yes, even in Prague, which isn't even on the Euro yet), MW managed to talk me out of buying a cute pair of patent kitten-heel shoes that I didn't need anyway. There are two main shopping areas in Prague: Wenceslas Square along Na Porici and Vaclavske Namesti is where the department stores and chain stores like Zara and H&M are; the fancy stuff like Hermes and Louis Vuitton is along Pariska Street in the Old City. And, everywhere you go, there is Bohemian crystal and amber; I was pondering buying an amber necklace until I realized how much they cost (a lot). So, alas, I did not have much shopping luck in Prague either. Again, due to the exchange rate, this was probably for the best.

I should note that both ways, we had layovers at Heathrow. On the way over, we got to experience the new British Airways Terminal 5 (a.k.a. T5), which has a mini Harrods and a bunch of other duty-free shopping. T5 is all glass and steel and light, and because of the layout, you can shop pretty much up until your flight starts boarding. On the way back, we were in Terminal 3, which has a truly annoying, outdated layout, but perhaps the most fabulous duty-free shopping I've ever experienced: Chanel, Gucci, Bvlgari, plus a perfume-and-makeup section that puts Sephora to shame. Of course, this part is almost worse, because even minus the VAT taxes, everything is still way expensive, because prices are in pounds, which are worth even more than Euros. After a while, you start to understand why Brits and Europeans are coming to NYC just to shop. Still, I was happy to see stylish shoes and clothes again; however, I settled on an issue of Grazia and some Cadbury chocolate.

All in all, now is not the best time to shop in Europe, but if you must, I still think Paris is the way to go. But MW and I decided our next trip will be to Italy, so I hope in the meantime that the dollar gains a bit of strength. That, and I am going to start saving my money now!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

And I'm off...
I'm taking a well-earned trip to Berlin and Prague. I will be gone next week, but I will return on the 20th, so please check back then. In the meantime, please refer back to Monday's posting for some of next week's sales. Auf wiedersehen!
Spring Shopping Guide: Yellow Bags
There's no question that yellow is the new green--in other words, this spring's hot color. I used to hate yellow, but all of a sudden it looks very fresh and vibrant too me (or maybe I'm just a lemming). Sadly, it does not look fresh and vibrant on me; yellow makes me look like I have the flu. But the further away from my face, the easier it is for me to wear, which brings us to handbags. Nothing makes me happier than a brightly colored spring bag, and so here are some of my favorite options.

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Lanvin's handbags, like the Odette here, are appealing to me, because they don't shout "designer handbag!" but they're obviously incredibly well made, and they're so stylish, they're almost seasonless. Which, if you're dropping $2k on a bag, is something to consider.


Treesje is a newer line of bags made in L.A., and I like the attention to detail in their Metro pleated tote--it's a great update on a basic shape, with enough pockets to be super-practical.


When did Kooba bags get so expensive? Yikes. Regardless, I like their Nelli shopper because it has a totally distinct shape, a sunny color, and, yes, lots of pockets.


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In these days of ever-increasing handbag prices, Cole Haan is really starting to stand out for me, because their products are incredibly well made for the price. Their Aerin satchel isn't reinventing the wheel, but it's a smart pick nonetheless.


One of the more affordable Botkier bags out there, the Lita mixes satin and leather in a totally groovy hobo shape. Tres chic.


It's not exactly my style, but for what it is, I adore J.Crew. One of my favorite things about the company is that they offer some very luxurious items that seamlessly blend in with its rumpled khaki pants and tissue tees. This fabulous Las Palmas bag, with its bamboo handles and Italian leather, looks like something Jackie O would've carried.


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The bargain version of J.Crew's bag is the Suzy Q Tote from Alloy, perfect if you want a bag that doesn't need to last past August.


I like the size of Roxy's Good Time bag, and the fact that instead of being made out of pleather, it's simple cotton canvas. Great for the beach too.


While I'm sure he'll do great things for Liz Claiborne, I'm kind of sad that Isaac Mizrahi is leaving Target. Where else would you find a chic bag like this hobo? It reminds me of Marc by Marc Jacobs, at a way more tolerable price. It's chic personified.
Spring Shopping Guide: Sheer
There is nothing practical about sheer fabric, so of course the fashion community wholly embraced the trend after last fall's Spring 2008 runway shows. There is no question that sheer fabrics are beautiful--they're floaty, they skim the body, and they're airy and diaphanous. Oh, and they're sexy. But in order to wear sheer pieces in public and not look like a hooker, layering is key.

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If I were incredibly wealthy and fabulous and went out to places like Bungalow 8, I would wear tops like this Nina Ricci tank. Its layers are constructed so that your bra isn't hanging out, but it's still sheer enough to be sexy.


I like that this Vera Wang dress looks kind of like a fancy toga. I think the leaf detail at the front will cover the bust, but if not, a camisole might be in order.


This Marc Jacobs dress is fully lined, so it's modest enough, but the flyaway panels reinforce the sheerness of the fabric.


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This organza dress from Thread Social is one of the most practical executions of the sheer trend that I've seen. The contrasting lining is the perfect way to play up the sheerness of the fabric, and the parts that are unlined are the right ones to expose.


This Riser Goodwyn blouse has a definite naughty-nice dynamic--the high-neck cut is definitely prim and proper, but its sheerness is quite racy.


This 3.1 Phillip Lim blouse is the same sort of thing--conservative cut, sheer fabric--but the fact that it's white instantly makes it more innocent.


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Every once in awhile, Forever 21 really surprises me. Case in point: this blouse is 100% silk, and the embroidery at the neckline is gorgeous. Obviously, a tank is needed underneath, but at this price, you can afford to pick one up.


I think this Topshop chiffon blouse is perfect, with the studded inset adding a bit of rock-and-roll to the frilly ruffles and tie neck. The obvious thing would be to wear it with a high-waisted skirt; I think skinny jeans are definitely in order.


Another variation on the sheer trend is burnout, in which a pattern is formed in the fabric by heat. This PETE top is one of my favorites of the bunch, due to its interesting texture and details, and I love the gathers in the front. It's casual, but you could probably get away with it at work (with an under-layer, of course). Done and done.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

As seen in Cheryl Shops...
Last night's Gossip Girl was awesome beyond words, but one of my favorite parts was the dress Blair wore to Jenny and Asher's party. I knew I had seen it before, but I couldn't quite place it. Turns out, I wrote about it back in December, in this post about holiday party dresses. The dress is by Foley + Corinna, and is sadly no longer available, but maybe they'll bring it back with all of the GG exposure. Hey, a girl can dream...
Costume Institute Gala fashion roundup
Considering the theme of this year's gala was "superheroes," I was waiting with bated breath to see what kind of wacky getups the crème de la crème of the world's fashionistas would come up with. And, for the most part, I was not disappointed. This year's gala seemed more star-studded than usual; Style.com has a whopping 162 red carpet pictures. Armani and Versace appeared to score the heaviest hitters, but Vera Wang, Zac Posen, Pucci, and Dolce & Gabbana made respectable showings as well. I had a hard time picking my favorites; if this were the Oscars, a lot of looks that didn't even make my honorable mention list here would've been among the best. Before I start, however, I will note that the quality of these photos is a bit strange--most likely due to fear of rain, there was a tent over the red carpet, and it had the effect of making everyone look very tan and really washed out at the same time. Odd, yes, but don't pay any attention to anyone's makeup (like you would anyway--this is a fashion blog!). Onto the dresses, each with a succinct one-liner from yours truly.

Best
Lou Douillon has more style in her wrist than the rest of us have in our entire bodies; the short-sleeved leather jacket is genius (the whole ensemble is Marni), and I can only hope that one day I will look this cool.


I normally am not so enamored with Emmy Rossum, but, by god, this dress by Phi is gorgeous. Note to Emmy: take more chances on the red carpet!


If Christina Ricci's dress is any indication, Givenchy is finally getting its act together, thank god.


When I die, I want to come back as model Jessica Stam. Extra points for wearing a minidress to a black-tie gala.


Need proof as to why Ashley Olsen was named to Maxim's Hot 100 list when Mary Kate wasn't? Check out this va-va-voom dress (and in MK's defense, I like her dress too, but not quite as much).


Honorable Mention
Taylor Swift
, in Badgley Mischka (with Badgley and Mischka), is wearing something that Beyonce would wear, except she makes it look so much better.


Katie Lee Joel is wearing Yigal Azrouel, and she looks completely comfortable and at ease, which is totally appealing to me. Bonus points for her arm candy, Oprah's fave decorator Nate Berkus.


Lake Bell gets major points in my book for wearing a Balmain dress with a clear superhero inspiration and actually looking pretty cool in it.


In spite of her uncomfortable-looking pose, Teen Vogue's Amy Astley is wearing a dress so awesome, it has to be vintage (so far, the designer is unidentified).


Not only was I completely excited to see motherfucking Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, but check out her pose--she's wearing awesome cuff bracelets! (I wonder if they're bulletproof.)


Dishonorable Mention

Dear Mulleavy sisters, please stand up straight, especially in the presence of cameras and supermodels. Sincerely, Cheryl Shops


Doutzen Kroes
is a gorgeous, gorgeous model, but even she cannot make this metallic hefty bag look good.


I wonder if anyone told Naomi Watts that Marylin Monroe wasn't a superhero.


I love Rachel Bilson, but I do not love her in this Calvin Klein dress. It's a bit too much fabric, but I'm convinced that if it were sleeveless, it would've worked.


I think Armani needs to hire new seamstresses, because both Tom Cruise's pants and Katie Holmes's dress are about an inch too short, which, especially in Tom's case, has the unfortunate effect of making him appear even shorter than he is.


Worst
Georgina Chapman's dress looks like a '70s key party reject, poor Dita von Teese looks like the belongs in a jewelry box, and Keren Craig's dress was worn by JLo to the Oscars last year (what, like she thought we'd forgotten)? All Marchesa, all bad.


I get it, Vera Wang: You don't just want to be known for your pretty wedding dresses. Done.


I feel like Donna Karan used to be the best advertisement for her own brand. Now, maybe not so much.


I am shocked that such an incredibly ugly dress could come from Chanel. I actually feel bad for Kate Bosworth.


I am not shocked, however, that Kimora Lee Simmons wore this monstrosity. What, like you thought she was going to wear something classy?
Spring Shopping Guide: Ombré
There are different names for pretty much the same thing. The pedestrian name is dip dye, the slightly more sophisticated name is ombré, and the hoity-toity name favored by Prada is dégradé. No matter what you call it, the effect is either a fully saturated color (or colors, in some cases) fading to white or to a paler version of itself. The effect is ethereal and gorgeous, and who doesn't want to look that way?

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The severe, tailored, almost '80s shape of this Alexander McQueen minidress provides an interesting counterpoint to its soft variations in hue. Love the belt too.


I was going to link to a gorgeous hot-pink Prada bag, but unfortunately, it's sold out. So here's a more mild version, in a peep-toe pump, that's also a bit easier on the wallet.


You know in the movie The Queen when Queen Elizabeth sees the stag and she says, "Oh, beauty"? That's exactly what I said when I saw this Badgley Mischka dress. This is what I wear in my dreams.


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Say what you want about Alice + Olivia; I think Stacey Bendet makes some of the best party dresses around. She has some great ombré looks for spring, but this sequined dress is one of my favorites. (Thankfully, it's also on sale.)


If all this etherealness is too much for you, this ombré dress from Vince has an allover scribble print, which makes it a bit more punk rock.


This Graham & Spencer dress kind of looks like they took a big swath of silk fabric and loosely draped it around the dress form, but I love how effortless it looks.


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Proving that ombré doesn't have to be in a floaty, fancy dress, Pencey's crewneck tee is low-key but still trendy.


This ombré boy tank has a lot of style, especially considering it's less than $20.


And while I love what Prada does, I think these Ombré peep-toe pumps are almost even better than Prada's. And at less than a tenth of the price, they're quite the bargain.