Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In These Shoes: June Ambrose by theme® Freda Sandals


I recently expounded on the joys of black platform sandals, but now that sale season has begun, it's a great time to buy some crazy fun shoes too. You know what I'm talking about: Shoes so impractical, you'd never pay full price, but once they hit 40 or 50 percent off, how can you afford to pass them up, amiright? I've been meaning to write about June Ambrose's HSN line for awhile, and before you start laughing so hard you can't finish reading this post, let me just say that HSN has some amazing exclusives, and they're really courting a more fashiony customer such as yourself. Case in point: the June Ambrose by theme® line of shoes; if you're not familiar with Ambrose, she's basically responsible for styling every fly music video you watched in the '90s and is thus worthy of her own shoe line. There are a bunch of fun styles in the line, but my favorite is the Freda, a sandal with bright blue suede, sexy mesh, and, best of all, a bold peacock print. (There's also a practical all-black style and a chic nude and leopard, but come on, the peacock is fun, and that's the point of this post.) Would I ever pay full price for them? Probably not, but they're on sale at the moment, and that's good enough for me—good, cheap fun.

TheFind Guest Post: Nordstrom's Juniors Department Unveils New Lingerie Line, BP Undercover



From their totally revamped (and more budget-friendly) Savvy department to the introduction of Topshop clothing, Nordstrom has had quite a few tricks up their sleeve in recent months! Now, they're appealing to every girl's appreciation for pretty, comfy things with their brand-new, in-house lingerie line, BP Undercover. BP is technically the department store's juniors department, but that hasn't stopped me from spending most of my shopping budget there, even well into my mid-20s (and I'm not exactly skinny-mini either). And now BP Undercover gives me more reason to take advantage of the department's lower price point. The collection includes everything from lacy thongs to cheeky boyshorts (and everything in between), as well as comfy loungewear like leggings and lightweight camis. Serving as an affordable alternative to Nordstrom's main lingerie department (which boasts a broader range of both affordable and luxe undergarments), BP Undercover is the perfect blend of sexy-meets-lazy-Sunday, and comfy-meets-cute. What do you think – are you a fan of BP's new lingerie line, or is it too cutesie for your taste? Let us know in the comments! - Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Want It Now: Peasant Tops


Peasant tops were really popular about 12 or 13 years ago—one of my first summers in NYC—and I wore them so much, I completely OD'd on the trend. Even though they kept coming back from time to time, I just couldn't go there again. Until now. Maybe it's the Joseph Altuzarra influence, or maybe time simply heals all wounds, but regardless, a good peasant top sounds like something that will totally hit the spot right now, especially considering NYC has gone from spring to subtropical rainforest in sixty seconds and Memorial Day weekend kicks off in three days. I plan on pairing mine with cutoff shorts, platform sandals, and a frosty beverage. Cheers!



1. This Etoile Isabel Marant Dumas top is what got me started on the peasant top kick. I saw it at the Steven Alan store in East Hampton a few weeks ago, I fell in love, and it spoke to me. What did it say? "Cheryl, I may be 100% silk, but there's no way you're paying $445 for me." And thus began my search.

2. This Mango peasant top has a similar shape, with short sleeves, a yoke, and a fuller babydoll silhouette, but with a more trendy addition of neon embroidery. I always forget about Mango, which tends to be overshadowed by its better-marketed compatriot Zara. Items like this one remind me I should shop there more (especially since it's a mere $40!). 

3. Nordstrom has a bunch of peasant tops on sale at the moment, including this embroidered Bellatrix top (here's another fun one from Free People). It's more of a traditional peasant top, but I find the black-and-white color scheme to be a bit more refined and grown-up. 

4. Of course you can find peasant tops at Forever 21, and of course they're cheap: this embroidered style is under $20. The detail on this one isn't as, well, detailed as the others, but as they say, you get what you pay for...

5. Which leads me to my actual selection, the J.Crew embroidered gauze tunic. The color scheme and Mexican-inspired embroidery are similar to the Isabel Marant, and unlike most of the other styles here, it's made of a natural fiber (in this case, cotton gauze), which will make it nice and breathable in the summer heat. Ole!

Monday, May 20, 2013

TheFind Guest Post: Trend Alert! Printed Bomber Jackets



Although the weather's been getting a head-start and heating up in anticipation for summer, there's still plenty of spring chill left to necessitate stocking up on some season-friendly jackets for those cooler days and nights. And let's face it – you'd have to be on a serious shopping hiatus for the past couple months in order to avoid noticing the newly-resurfaced bomber jacket trend. But this time, the sporty style isn't stopping with just leather, suede, and other predictable takes. This season, bomber jackets are getting the printed treatment – from your typical springy florals and colorful watercolor prints to quirkier patterns like skulls, camo, and more! A tomboy-chic silhouette keeps things casual while still leaving plenty of room to inject lots of personality. Is it weird that these lightweight jackets are actually making me look forward to the colder off-days this summer? Check out some of my favorites in the links below! Pictured above: Nasty Gal Skull Bomber Jacket, Thakoon Addition Liberty Print Bomber Jacket, One & Only X Urban Renewal Printed Bomber Jacket, and Maison Scotch Camo Nylon Bomber Jacket. -Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Buy It: Chantelle Sensua Strapless Bra

Now that it's finally spring in new York, I have a bunch of cute little strappy sundresses waiting to be worn. But today I remembered I can't wear them yet because I need to get a new strapless bra. Shopping for bras falls into my trifecta of the three most annoying things to shop for —jeans and swimsuits are the other two—but strapless bras are even worse, especially because they are hard to find in my size. I made somewhat of a mistake going to a department store to shop for one; they had just two styles in my size. (Note to lingerie manufacturers: There are many women out there with small band sizes and large cup sizes, and they need strapless bras!!) One of the styles was heavily pushed by the saleswoman; it had that sticky, gummy stuff around the top, which supposedly helps it stay up, but I felt like it actually forced the bra down. Also, I felt like I was wearing armor; Brienne of Tarth I am not. Thankfully the other was the Chantelle Sensua bra, and even if I had tried on 20 styles, I think it still would have been my favorite. (Side note: Chantelle is generally my bra brand of choice; stick with what you love, right?) The cups are a bit stretchy and come up high enough so that you don't have that low, smushed effect that tends to happen with strapless bras. It's well constructed too, with underwires but without annoying side boning that digs into your ribs after a few hours. It also comes with detachable straps, so you can halter, crisscross, or one-shoulder it up. I loved it so much, I bought two: one in nude, and one in black. Which means you'll be seeing a lot of my strappy sundresses for the next few months.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In These Shoes: Black Platform Sandals Under $150

We fashion bloggers like to swoon over shoes, the more outlandish the better. Six-inch heels! Rainbow colors! Studs and buckles and straps and spikes! And yet, the shoes I end up wearing the most are the neutral ones.* I don't know if that's a sad commentary on my dreams versus my reality or what, but generally at the beginning of every summer, I buy a pair of black platform sandals and I wear the crap out of them. In spite of all the tempting summer colors out there, black is important in New York because, hey, it's New York! But also because NYC is disgusting in the summer, and all of those pretty candy colors are going to be gray with filth by the second or third time you wear them. Platforms are also key, because they keep you elevated several inches above said filth. (If you want to conduct a really gross experiment—at your own risk!—walk around the city in flip-flops for a few hours, and you'll see what I mean.) So here are five options I'm considering, all under $150. Let's discuss!



Clockwise from top left:

These Via Spiga Novia sandals were featured in Lucky a few months ago, and I've been obsessed ever since. I'm happy to report that they're now on sale at Nordstrom, which is making them a strong contender. I like the rope detailing at the sole, as well as the sculptural shape of the heel. 

If you've never had the pleasure of wearing a pair, Corso Como makes incredibly comfortable shoes, but ones that you'd never mistake for "comfortable shoes." These Marleen sandals have a nice, clunky wooden platform wedge that's lightened up by a fun cutout at the heel (note: do NOT be tempted by the pretty pink or green colors this style also comes in!). 

This may be the one pair of Jeffrey Campbell sandals that isn't a crazy platform, and since they're missing said platform, they don't really belong here, but I've had these Amity stud sandals on my radar for awhile. Really, you can't go wrong with a 2-inch heel, especially when it's decorated with subtle faceted black studs.

I've been stalking these Zara wooden sandals for a few months now, and I'm amazed they're not yet sold out. They look like the kind of shoe Fashiontoast would wear, you know, before she started wearing Céline and Balenciaga all the time. They're kind of '70s-trashy, but in a sexy summer way.

I saw a woman wearing these sandals the other day in my deli near work, and I followed her around the store until I could corner her and ask her where she got them. The answer: They're the Madewell tri-buckle wedge. I almost knocked over a stand of Pop Chips in the process, but it was totally worth it. See the lengths to which I go to find shoes for you?


*I should note that in my mind, animal prints are considered neutrals.

Monday, May 13, 2013

TheFind Guest Post: Dare to (Almost) Bare in Sheer Peek-a-Boo Pieces, Inspired by Georgia May Jagger



The whole cut-out and "peekaboo" trend has been around for awhile, but just recently, when Georgia May Jagger wore an LBD featuring a lacy panel that is now famously known as a "thigh window," it's like she suddenly breathed all new life into the see-through trend. And while I would personally never advocate for "thigh windows" to make it big in the fashion world, I have to admit – these peekaboo sheer panels are an interesting way to show off your favorite feature. So, I've compiled some more interesting on-trend pieces that provide a "window-like" peek at your secret weapon (or whatever makes you feel sexiest). Side boob? Check. Obliques? Check. Abs? Good for you, and check! And if you've got killer abs like Ms. Jagger, we've got a couple new takes on the "thigh window," too. Check them out in the links below! Pictured above: Dion Lee White Sheer-Paneled Topographic Skirt, Bailey 44 Mesh Panel Contrast Tank, Charlotte Ronson Sheer Panel Sheath Dress, and Vent My Thigh Leggings from TOBI.

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Lazy makeup, no brushes required!

I will gladly entrust my hair to professionals, but I hate having my makeup done. This is because makeup artists almost always make me look like a drag queen. ("Oh, look at these cheekbones!" they exclaim, eight layers of bronzer later.) I even did my own makeup for my wedding. I prefer a "natural" look, but as any woman knows, achieving that "I don't have any makeup on" effect requires, well, a lot of makeup. That said, I am incredibly lazy about doing my makeup, to the point where I avoid using brushes. So, in an effort to balance speed with actually looking like a presentable human being (ha!), this is what my daily routine looks like:

My makeup regimen begins with Clé de Peau concealer, which comes in a handy stick form. I dot under my eyes and on any pimples, then blend with my fingers. I know what you're thinking: $70 for concealer? Not only is it worth it—the texture is creamy, it doesn't sink into your wrinkles, and yet it manages to reflect light and make you look fantastic, no matter how little sleep you got the night before—but it lasts forever. Case in point: I am just coming to the end of a stick I bought in 2011. Yes, as in two years ago. 



Next is Laura Mercier foundation powder. I know everyone and her mother raves about Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer, but if you've ever seen me without makeup (and I'm sorry if you have), you'd know that my pores need the big guns. This powder has sheer but buildable coverage, giving my schnoz a starlet-like airbrushed quality. I apply it with the sponge that comes with the compact. 



In spite of an overplucked period in the '90s, I have pretty decent eyebrows, so all they require is a quick coating of Benefit Speed Brow, which comes with an indeed speedy mascara-like wand. 



One of my least favorite things is when you read an article (or watch a video) on natural makeup that requires like six different eye shadows and four different brushes. I use one item, and it comes in pencil form: Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow. I like 28E, which is a pearly beige color, kind of like the natural shade of my skin but a little more glowing. I smear it directly onto my eyelids (it's like a big crayon!) and blend with my finger if necessary. 



I'm blonde, and in spite of having brown eyes, if I don't wear eyeliner, it strangely looks like I don't have any eyes at all. Thus you will rarely see me (pun intended) without Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in matte black. This is my favorite eyeliner in the world—it stays put all day, it doesn't smudge, and it comes off easily when you wash your face. If they ever discontinue it, I will cry inky black tears. 



When it comes to mascara, I generally grab a tube from my never-ending swag stash, but in the rare times when I run out, I will gladly pay $9 for L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes, which has a nice, non-clumpy formula that thickens lashes and doesn't flake. 



Every once in awhile, I get a knowledgable makeup artist; one told me that I shouldn't wear blush—my skin is naturally quite flushed—and instead I should use highlighter on the tops of my cheekbones with bronzer in the hollows for contouring. As annoying as it is to use two different colors, Nars The Multiple is a genius product, and also comes in blush-ier shades too. It has a lovely creamy texture; I smear Copacabana on my cheekbones (and also on my brow bones) and Laguna for contouring, then I blend with my fingers*.



Last but not least, lipstick, which is inherently an item you can put directly on your lips. (I always laugh at makeup artists who tell you to use a brush. As if!) I am forever in search of the perfect my-lip-color-but-better shade; lately I've been alternating between Nars' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita and for an even more bare look, Dior Addict Lip Glow



So that's it—like I said, a lot of products to make myself look like I didn't use any, but the whole routine takes about five minutes, no brushes required. Added bonus: more time for sleeping in!

*As you may have noticed, I'm a big fan of blending with my fingers. To be completely honest (and to probably sound a bit paranoid), makeup brushes kind of gross me out, thinking of all the germs they carry. I figure my hands are always clean, but for smudging purposes, Q--Tips and cotton balls work well too, as does the miraculous (and washable) Beauty Blender

Monday, May 06, 2013

TheFind Guest Post: Mel x Forever 21: Summer Jelly Flats


High-end plastic footwear retailer Melissa has been revamping everyone's favorite childhood summer shoe staple for the high-fashion world with the help of designer collaborations with the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Jason Wu, and even Karl Lagerfeld. Now, the Brazilian footwear brand is ready to bring all its jelly fabulousness to the bargain-friendly babes out there. Melissa's more wallet-friendly diffusion line, Mel, has teamed up with Forever 21 to create a six-style capsule collection, just in time for summer. From bow-adorned ballet flats and sliver wedges to strappy sandals and studded slip-ons, Forever 21 and Mel are determined to help us revive our summer childhood memories without the buyer's remorse that might normally come from splurging on a designer pair of plastic jellies. Each pair retails for a very reasonable $19.80-22.80, and they're officially on sale in stores and online as of April 26th! Snag a pair (or several) before they're gone for good! —Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Spring Shopping Guide: Cutout Dresses

Fashion is having a crop-top moment. It's really having an early-'90s moment, and crop tops are a part of that, but same difference. The first time this look was in, I was a teenager with low self esteem and too much baby fat. Now that it's back, I'm in my mid-thirties, and while I'm in pretty good shape, I'm not in Gwyneth Paltrow shape. Hence I will not be wearing a crop top, but I might just try the age-appropriate alternative, the side-cutout dress. It's a look that achieves the summery, skin-baring look of a cropped top, but in a more modest, flattering way. You know, for old ladies like me.

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Stella McCartney has built a very nice career for herself making clothes that women with imperfect bodies can actually wear. And because of this, many of her looks get knocked off to high heaven. But take one look at this gown and you can see why: It emphasizes the positive in the sexiest way and cleverly uses illusion fabric to create a daring cutout look—without the actual cutouts.


This sexy Reem Acra gown was part of her stellar spring 2013 runway show, of which I was a big fan. Ok, so this is not an everyday look, and considering the back (or lack thereof), it's definitely not a look for everyone. But it is a look.


If you're not walking a red carpet anytime soon, the key to pulling off a cutout dress is achieving a balance between demure and sexy. This Carven dress has a high neckline and a below-the-knee hemline, and the cutouts are high enough on the ribcage so that you won't have to worry about your love handles spilling out. Win-win!


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This Opening Ceremony dress takes the demure look a step farther with an even higher collared neckline and full, flirty skirt. Expect to see it on moneyed Williamsburg hipsters all summer long.


This Three Dots dress is one of my favorites here. If you're like me, you probably own something similar already—something easy and unassuming, in striped jersey—but the cutouts give it an unexpected look, as well as a hint of sexiness.


Another one of my favorites is this Rachel Pally maxi dress, and it appears Shopbop customers agree: As of this post, it has 89 positive customer reviews. The top is more bare than most of the styles pictured here, but it's tempered by the long, flowing maxi-length skirt. Could you find a more perfect vacation dress? I think not.


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As you might imagine, ASOS has many options when it comes to cutout dresses. But if you don't have the body of a 22-year-old, I recommend this Oasis little black dress, whose cutouts are so discreet, I almost had to zoom in to see them.


This Topshop sundress is a bit more obvious, but it gets points for the cheery color and well-placed cutouts above the waistline. Cool exposed zipper too.


Finally, I am clearly not the intended audience for Nasty Gal, but with all the media attention the site's been getting lately, I thought I should check it out. Most of its clothing would've been far too revealing for even my boundary-pushing 18-year-old self, but every once in awhile, you hit upon something sweet, like this Summer Breeze dress, a perfectly named and designed example.