Long Tall Sally

It's such good news that wide legged pants are being offered by stores this season -- I think they are so elegant and flattering. If you are short, just as I advised about midi skirts, don't be put off. Just pay attention to proportion, choosing something with less volume, and be prepared to hem. One thing that's great about these pants is that they are great for hiding some platform heeled shoes for that stilt-walker look.

I prefer high-waisted versions. The proportions look all wrong to me otherwise. The point here is to lengthen and make you look like a loooong drink of water.


A good place to start if you are new to this style and a very practical pair of pants for every day. Looking sharp in dark denim with very clean lines. Not SUPER wide but enough to give that flattering line.



  

From Dear Fieldbinder, this pair gets the proportions just right and even comes with a belt. Made of Tencel which will give them a nice graceful drape. 




Houston, we have a problem. Some stylist at Madewell didn't get the length right for the model on these ones so they are looking a bit silly in my opinion.  Still, with a 31.5" inseam these will likely be just fine for most people (the model was probably on the taller side). Very 30's movie star on Catalina Island. These are in rayon, another great fabric for this style that won't add bulk and will give a nice sense of movement.




What a pretty English floral print from Topshop! These look like something Miss G would wear, with a headscarf and red lipstick, of course.


Ahoy! Here's a pair of wide legged trousers that's taking inspiration from sailor pants. A light cotton/rayon chambray with extra wide legs and flattering angled pockets. Keep your eyes on Koshka -- they are offering such fun styles at friendly prices. 

***

And now a couple tips for wearing this style:

1. Pay attention to length and figure out if you plan to wear flats or heels before hemming. Take it from me, I've tried to wear heels with trousers that are too short and I looked like a clown. The hem should reach the ground or be just a hair above it. 

2. Tuck your shirt in. Or wear a cropped shirt. Or tie your shirt ends in a knot ala Lucille Ball. Or wear a fitted tunic. Or wear a relaxed shirt that's nipped in at the waist by a belt. Basically you will look like a schlump if we can't see your waist.



Dress Of Dreams



I'm giddy. Isn't it too perfect? Lovely inky blue. Shoulder baring neckline. High waist and a-line skirt. This is a style that shows off everything I want to highlight and hides everything else (like the burrito and margaritas I'm going to eat for lunch while wearing it).

Breaking News: Tobi Closing Men's Store

I reported last month on the closing of online men's retailer Clad and now the online super boutique Tobi is clearing out their Men's selection. As before, sizes are limited but there are quite a few styles to choose from and the prices are drastically reduced from retail.

Read on for some of my top picks...








Spring Trench Coats: The Men's Edition


I think it can be hard for a guy to pull off a traditional khaki trench coat these days--there are so many strong connotations that it can look almost costumey. You don't want to be called Columbo or have to endure "Play it again Sam" comments all day. Yet it's still one of the most flattering and useful garments ever made and so my solution is to go for a different color. This inky blue option from ASOS is a good bet and works well whether you tend to wear a lot of black OR brown.




Houndstooth Trench, Supreme $228

Here's a very simple option from Supreme NY, single breasted in classic cotton houndstooth. To me, the clean lines and 50's era tailoring make it read a touch Teddy Boy or first wave Mod, always a good thing in my book. 

Wedgewood Trench, J Crew $218

Naturally J Crew has a very wearable option, this time in a coated cotton which will come in handy if you live in a particularly rainy climate. This is a belt-less style that's gently tailored. The contrasting black buttons will look especially sharp if that's a color you wear in a belt, shoes, or tie (as styled in the photo).


Raincoat, Zara $99.90

This was the best deal I could find on a worthwhile trench right now--wait until the end of the season if you can, to find a real bargain. This is the only short version of the group and it's also the only double breasted one. I love the look of the rich tobacco brown, which pairs well with navy (it would look great with jeans).


Hamana Mac, Allsaints Spitalfields £295

Allsaints has made a name for themselves with their trenches and hailing from London should know a thing or two about dealing with inclement Spring weather. Here is an option for the edgier guy in black in a specially treated cotton that should avoid wrinkles.

Dark Denim Trench Coat, A⎮X $228 $139

At the sale price this black twill cotton jacket is a great bet that would work for a lot of guys. It has a removable belt so you get two looks and the black makes it just a bit edgy but the style details are simple and classic. Oh, and added bonus, it's machine washable. From Armani Exchange.

A Special Deal at Beklina


Beautiful Beklina is having a special sale. Save 25% store-wide on orders over $500 through March. The code: 25now500. 

While I was looking through the site I think I felt some sunlight on my eyelids, a gentle warm breeze blowing through my hair, the sound of Cesaria Evora playing in the distance. 

Above are some of my favorite fantasies (all prices are before the discount):

1. Lina Rennel Snap Top, $290.
2. SWASH oversized silk pillow in Honolulu Canary & Cream print, $440.
3. I. Ronni Kappos Gold Earrings, $175.
4. Cordula Kehrer Bins, $65.
5. African Straw Fedora, $85.
6. E. Factor Bustier Dress, $510.

At Last! Club Monaco's Online Store

One of the last hold-outs (you can even buy Isabel Marant online now--sheesh), Club Monaco finally has ecommerce. A very exciting day. Here are some favorites from Spring 2012 for men and women...


 Fagan Blazer, $249

This is such an unusual yet versatile, unstructured blazer in a wool blend knit.  It's like a blazer masquerading as a casual jacket which makes it perfect for all sorts of occasions. Perfect for Spring and Fall. Goes great with jeans or slacks or shorts. I love that it buttons all the way to the collar. There's a hint of French farmer's jacket AND a hint of British ship yard. See, it's a real shape-shifter.


Don't miss it--it's not often you see a bandana in a dusty Weimaraner shade of brown. Goes well with tweed blazers and white shirts and Donegal sweaters and probably a lot of other things that you will figure out.


Club Monaco is carrying a small selection of outside brands including Clarks, Ray-Ban, Archival Clothing (good on them for supporting a small American-made company), and Havaianas. I'm really excited to see the London Undercover line of umbrellas which are really the creme de la creme of brollies. The underside of this one is printed with a flock of grey pigeons. Duck! Get it?


Another example of their outside brands, this one made in the USA. A rugged and classic messenger bag, no black nylon here, just waxed canvas with heavy leather straps. I'm sure it will age with grace.


***



What a goddessy dream of a dress. I love the halter neck--show off those collar bones and shoulder blades. An absolute stunner in a shape that will work well for many body types.

Such an adorable print. I'd love to see this headscarf worn while bike riding with sunglasses ala Grace Kelly. The print also comes in a blouse.


 Micah Trench, $329

There are such great details on this trench and the fit looks really sharp. Usually I would prefer a solid color, but I'm liking the contrasting piping here, especially the way it highlights the collar.

I always feel torn about clutches. I like them in theory for more formal occasions but then I worry about setting them down somewhere and forgetting them (you're usually holding a drink in one hand and shaking hands when carrying them).  This is one you wouldn't be able to pry from my fingers though. It's such a work of art. Could be a great one for brides too.




A slouchy sweatshirt in whisper-weight cashmere. Nothing better. Nothing. Easy to dress up too, as evidenced by the photo. I think it would look cool with some chunky bangles.

40's Style Pansy Dress


Stop Staring by Alicia Estrada is a line that's well known to lovers of the rockabilly and swing scenes but a lot of their simpler styles can also be worn by people who favor a more modern look. Their dresses are great for hot dates (these are the kind of dresses that guys love), weddings, and other formal occasions. And they really know how to make a plus size dress that fits amazingly.

For their Spring 2012 collection they have introduced this cotton pansy print dress in a more relaxed 40's fit. There is also an accompanying tie blouse and high waisted short--the perfect thing to wear when eating a bowl of cherries on the porch, don't you think?

Look for these styles to launch on their site soon. 





7 Billion Hearts

"There are now or will shortly be seven billion people on this planet. Seven billion souls hoping and dreaming. Seven billion hearts beating. One of them inevitably beats for you. As Elizabeth Bishop so rightly put it, somebody loves us all. When we feel despondent or lonely and in need of some comfort, we need to keep this in mind."
                          -Christopher Brosius, CB I Hate Perfume


CB I Hate Perfume has a created a new perfume called 7 Billion Hearts inspired by vanilla, that universally beloved scent. No synthetics here, just the finest vanilla absolutes with a subtle smokey warmth.


Prospector & Co. Burroughs Beard Oil


If you have a beard, you should have this. Tested and Lovejoy endorsed. Smells just right, neither too strong nor too faint. Gently invigorating with a fresh woody scent and leaving the whiskers nicely silken and groomed.

The Most Beautiful Shoes In The World

A.B.K. makes some of the most beautiful shoes and bags I have ever seen. These are custom made leather goods: hand-cut, hand-dyed, hand-sewn, and all crafted of the most exquisite domestic leathers. Having worked under Barbara Shaum and at E. Vogel, Belarus native Alya B. Kazakevich now makes her home in Chinatown, NY where she lovingly crafts these storied leather goods that look like something you might unearth in Grandma's attic. But modern. Sort of. Let's just say her styles are timeless...



Giovanna Torrico

The other day I was stopped dead in my tracks by the most striking jewelry at Paxton Gate in Portland. Bold, graphic, colorful, with a slightly ethnic vibe I couldn't quite place. They told me it was from Bay Area artist Giovanna Torrico who often works with vintage sequins. Looking closer I could see the earrings I was admiring were indeed composed of impressive stacks of tiny sequins.

Following are a couple pieces from her Spring 2012 collection. Her jewelry can be found at Paxton Gate (the Portland and SF store) and SF MOMA as well as online at Dish Boutique.







Midi To The Max (And Three Non-Rules For Wearing Them)

 Daisy Dress from Fossil, $108. Isn't this terrific? Like that 1940's day dress you search for hours for on eBay and never find. Also in Navy. Have you checked out Fossil lately? More known for their bags, they've been putting out some great vintage-inspired clothes and shoes the last couple seasons.

I think maxi dresses are tricky and in most cases it's not a silhouette I care for except in wedding dresses or Jane Austen film adaptations. BUT I'm crazy about midi skirts and dresses and am so happy that you can find them in stores these days. Act fast though before the "trend" passes. To my eye this is the length that is most universally flattering and when worn right has a way of elongating the figure. But then the 40's is my favorite fashion decade--I love the balance of strength and femininity.

 Meadowlark Skirt, $94.50. From Madewell. I've been admiring this option all season, and the brick color is now marked down. It's crying out for a great belt and I love the slightly Western vibe and flattering slant pockets.


ASOS Summer Midi Dress in Boat Print, $57.30. Like a cool ocean breeze! Look at that back detail. Amazing. Will Summer please get here soon...


Cooperative Button Down Midi Dress, $69. From Urban Outfitters. Pretty much the quintessential sun dress. With pockets, which are always welcome. Go have a picnic already. 


Cape Cod Striped Midi Skirt, $49. From Lulu's. Now this skirt really puts the zig in my zag. Love that print. Navy and mustard, you go together like peanut butter and jelly. 


ASOS Midi Striped Knit Dress, $71.62. ASOS is kind of the Shangri-La of the midi skirt, offering all sorts of terrific skirt and dress options for very reasonable prices.

High-waisted denim pencil skirt, $98. From J.Crew. Very 1970's era Lauren Hutton. Comes in other colors. This style sold out right away when first introduced this Spring but is now back in sizes 24-32. 


La Garconne Moderne Artist Dress, $595. Pricey for sure, but so modern and elegant. How I love a shirt dress.


ASOS Midi Dress With Diamond Back, $71.62. ASOS again. What did I tell you? Here's an example to prove that not all midi skirts will have you looking like a cast member of That 70'S Show. This dress almost seems like cheating--as comfortable as a nightgown but so cool and edgy.

***

I hate fashion rules.

Here are 3 non-rules for wearing the midi lenth. Suggestions. Thought starters...

1. Prepare to hem. No matter your height, skirt length should hit below OR above the widest part of calf, but not AT the widest part. Hemming is a very quick and inexpensive alteration.

2. Watch your step. You can wear flats, brogues, sandals, tennies. Or chunky heels like a 40's style pump or platform. That volume needs a substatnital base. Stiletto or kitten heels look too precarious. Knee-high boots should be covered by the skirt hem.

3. Be tall or short, plump or thin. Personally I don't think it matters. What does matter is proportion. If you're aiming to minimize a full figure, choose a body skimming style like a pencil or a-line skirt. Voluminous skirts can be worn by the petite and plus-sized--just pay attention to the waist and top. If you have an hourglass figure, show off that waist. And choose a form-fitting top to balance the volume in the skirt.

Somewhere in a land far, far away, everything's on sale...


I'm going to share a great shopping tip with you today, something the internet has made possible.

See, just as we are heading into Spring/Summer in the US, people in Australia and New Zealand are heading into Fall/Winter. This works to our advantage because all of their Spring/Summer styles are on deep clearance just in time for us to stock up on new Summer sandals and floaty dresses.

An added boon as that some of the best designers hail from Australia and New Zealand and we have the advantage of being able to snatch up their often pricey styles for a great deal and not having to stash them in the closet until next season.

Here are some of my favorite picks. Shipping will naturally be pricier than shopping from comparable US-based etailers but with the deep discounts you're still way ahead. Prices are all in Australian or New Zealand dollars (today's rate: $1.00AUD=$1.059US).

1. Pleated Skirt by Karen Walker, $270 $189
2. Beatrix Lace Dress By Twenty-Seven Names, $484 $282
3. Bouquet Vava's Dress by Karen Walker, $814.00 $569.80
4. Daisy Lace Dress by Thurley, $579.99 $499.99
5. Perfect Day Floral Wrap Top by Karen Walker, $510 $255
6. Patti Blazer by Twenty-Seven Names, $427 $213.50




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