Haute Couture, International Style

(image courtesy of bombayelectric.in)

PCP reader (and dear friend) L emailed me a few days ago pointing me in the direction of bombayelectric.in. She writes, “Not only are these pieces completely avant garde and reminiscent of haute couture but are extremely reasonable when converted to American dollars!”

While browsing the Indian-based site, I must agree. Even with the somewhat steep $30 flat shipping worldwide, there are definite steals (and splurges) from Bombay Electric. Among my favorites, the Handwoven Khadi Scarf. $28 and for a good cause. The site reads, “Women Weave is dedicated to empowering and improving the lives of women in rural India, helping them create a self sustaining business & livelihood.”
For those who love a splurge when shopping for good causes, the Nag Armlet (pictured above)does the trick. $720 and maybe worth every penny for those who desire an Angelina Jolie aura.


A Lesson On Seasons

(image courtesy of http://strengthinbodymindandspirit.blogspot.com)

Newsflash. There are four seasons. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. As the weather changes, so does one's wardrobe. Obvious? I thought so, until my eyes set on what I think I saw this morning on the subway.

Spotted. A woman. Late 40s or early 50s. Wearing: A Pucci-inspired tee dress that was sheerer than a burnout tee. Paired with black Reef flip flops. No jacket.

I once fell into the mistake of wearing flip flops year round. But I was 20 and in college, and personal couture consisted solely of Juicy sweats. Times have changed, and because of that here is a lesson for what is to be stored away in antique trunks during summer's offseason. Some fashion rules are meant to be broken (hello navy blue and black in the same outfit). These, however, are non-negotiable.

Do's: Dark denim, suede boots, peacoats (post-Columbus day), turtlenecks, long sleeved tees, drapey cardigans, leggings and moccasins.

Don't: Pastels, tees or tanks with no sweater or jacket, lightweight dresses, flip flops, cutoff anything.

It's fall, so love it! Enjoy the crisp air (and apple crisp)! Embrace cashmere and please dismiss the flops (until spring break vacation, at least).


The Three S's

(image courtesy of thefashionrow.com)

I tend to avoid fashion advice from men in my life (no offense, but do you see what my brother and boyfriend wear?). However, today, roommate K's boyfriend summed up what a woman needs in her style. Three words. Sexy, slimming and simple. I must agree.

Sexy: Feeling sexy feels great. I don't mean lucite heel sexy (that's another s word, for another conversation). I mean the confident, power-exuding, I-can-take-over-the-world-if-I-want-to sexy. Exemplified by a curve hugging V-neck cashmere sweater. Sexy can mean heels that scream classy, a blow out, mani/pedi and a Gucci bag splurge. Wear and do what it takes for confidence to ooze out of your OPI painted nails. Your sex appeal and confidence thank you.

Slimming: I've received loads of comments and questions on what's slimming. There is no universal answer, but there are worthwhile suggestions. Anything black that creates a flattering silhouette. Long cardigans, long sweaters and turtlenecks in a quality fabric. Absolutely nothing cropped. Wrap dresses work as slimming perfection for the work week. Accessorize strategically so attention goes to a beautifully awesome cocktail ring rather than any self-conscious areas.

Simple: Simplicity is key, but simple doesn't mean boring. Simple means investing in an array of the basics that will last for seasons and seasons. This foundation should be the core of an outfit. A luxe Vince white tee. A black DvF cashmere wrap sweater. The pair of to-die-for dark denim jeans by Citizens of Humanity or Seven for all Mankind. Accessorize without making accessories a mask. My rule? No more than two eye-popping accessories at once and no more than two rings on a hand.

As I start cleaning out my wardrobe, the three s's will stay in the back of my mind. Frayed denim minis? Not so sexy. Cropped tees from 2000? Not so slimming. That crazy printed coat colllecting dust in the back of my closet? Not so simple. Even I learn something everyday.


It's The Remix!

(image courtesy of v-moda.com)

It's happened to each and every one of us. We're enjoying a perfect girls night out at a local club when the most intoxicatingly wonderful remix of a Britney Spears song comes on. While the original song is good, remixes make it great, and so catchy that you're humming the technoized beat for the next work week. Dying to listen to it again, you search iTunes and Google with no luck finding a download link. Where have all the remixes gone?

The answer: masterbeat.com. Roommate K pointed me in the direction of this site and I am now hooked. Every remix, new and old for sale at iTunes comparable prices (about 1.29 per song). Need that Kelly Clarkson remix of "My Life Would Suck Without You" to work out to? It's there. Randomly want a 90s remix? It's there. Sources tell me that the site's creators have exclusive rights to remixes that can't be found anywhere else plus rare remixes of older songs (think vinyl that's been turned over to a digital copy). I'm holding out to find the techno remix of some 80s goodies. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" anyone?

Bonus if you check out the site asap. Free Lady GaGa remixes of "Paparazzi." Don't worry, you can thank me later.


We Have Mail.

Today, reader mail.

Dear M. Please blog about what styles of sweaters to wear and how to wear them without making a stomach look pudgy!

First things first, I love sweater season too. Comfy and warm - a good sweater serves as a decent substitute for a boyfriend. For me, sweaters are favored when long and ever-so-slightly chunky. Preferably over a pair of leggings (long not cropped) and a pair of patent ballet flats.

For a slimming effect, remember that chunky doesn't camouflage. Just because a sweater fits like a devastatingly large Hefty bag doesn't mean it slims me, you, or anyone out. My suggestion for a slimming sweater: try a long fitted cardigan. It creates a fantastic silhouette.

Another tip: a sweater should never be a focal point of an outfit. Accessories make an outfit and can draw attention away from worry spots (and thus boost confidence!). Try a Blair Waldorf-esque headband, a pair of golden aviators, daytime cocktail ring, or a flashy Sir Alistair Rai wrap.

Ideas? Questions? Can't figure out what to wear for your Friday night date? Hit me up. popcultureparadox@gmail.com


Crisp Fall Coats For Crisp Fall Breezes

(image courtesy of fashion-era.com)

Reason number three to love fall (behind leggings and spiced apple cider). Coat season. And I'm not talking North Face jackets (although I love their functional and always-acceptable wear). I'm talking knee-length, thigh-length, hip-length, single or double-breasted peacoat season. Wool and warmth. It's all a city girl needs to put a bounce in a bootie-covered step during a morning commute.

Roommate K and I justify coat shopping for the singular reason that coats are worn every day in Boston. Every single day. Would I dare expect anyone (let alone myself) wear the same pair of Seven for all Mankind jeans everyday? The same Vince white t-shirt? The same pair of Minetonka moccasins? Never. To any hesitant shoppers, there is justification in any and all warmth-loving jacket purchases. Rest assured, and pull out those American Express cards.

Tonight's personal purchase? The navy blue military coat from Victoria's Secret. Little known secret. The outerwear at VS.com is stellar. Stellar. I buy at least one coat from them every season. Not such a secret? The lustworthy outerwear choices from Neiman Marcus. Atop my list of wishful thoughts: DvF's black ruffle military coat and Burberry's check coat. Dear friends and loved ones, are you taking note?


Ungaro: An Example Of The Mighty Fallen

(photo courtesy of elle.com)

I wanted to refrain from touching on this subject. But as I sit, sipping my cup of tea at the end of this long weekend watching reruns of the Rachel Zoe project, I ask myself, "What happened to Emanuel Ungaro?" In this episode, my wishful best friend, Rachel Zoe, gushes at Ungaro's synonymous nature with fun and flirty party dresses. I love party dresses. Poofy. Bubble. Sleek. A-line. Tight and form-fitting. I'll wear them all. Black. Blue. Pink. Plum.

This does not scream of party dress couture to-die-for perfection. I do not blame la Lohan. Prior to her continual trainwreck nature, I was a Lohan fan. I have Confessions of a Broken Heart on my iTunes. I listen to it occasionally. I even enjoy it. Unlike her designs. Heart-shaped pasties do not amuse me (or the NYT). I beg Ungaro to pick up the pieces of this collection, and wow me for spring 2011. If that happens, everyone can pretend this never happened.


File > New Playlist

(image courtesy of: http://www.techdigest.tv/)

New iPhone (the 3GS, and yes, it's amazing) calls for a new playlist.

Britney Spears - 3
From The Singles Collection, my favorite pop princess delivers again. Available today on iTunes, 3 is essentially everything I love about pop music smushed into 3 minutes and 22 seconds. True story, reviewers say that, "3 is more of a surefire dance-floor stomper than anything Brit loaded onto Blackout or Circus." Agreed.

Dragonette - I Get Around
This song was the highlight of last week's episode of The Hills. Catchy and the only thing that perks me up during my morning commute.

Dashboard Confessional - Belle of the Boulevard
My emo guilty pleasure band unveils a new album on November 10th. This first single screams of the Dusk and Summer era. Essentially I'm thrilled. Songs like this make me feel like I'm 20 forever.

Kris Allen - Live Like We're Dying
It's catchy and he's cute. Enough said.

Jay Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind
I wonder why Jay Z ever said he was retiring, but with songs as good as this (and let' s be honest, the entire The Blueprint 3 album), I don't really care.


Legwear Dilemma

I faced an issue this morning with my closet. As fall brisks in, leggings are rapidly becoming my legwear of choice. Stretchy and comfortable, I stocked up on black ankle-length pairs from Forever 21. They pair best under trouser shorts or long tunics. At home, with a hoodie and moccasins.

Yesterday a girl on the T wore her grey leggings with a layered long sleeve tee. Bottom uncovered, but didn’t look ridiculous or pantsless like Lady GaGa. This morning, I woke up and attempted to emulate. Long black leggings. Dark grey tank top. Green and grey long sleeved tee by Vince. It looked messy with negative effort. I felt conscious of the shirt length and exposed, but, legging-covered bum.

Leggings doubled as pants at age five. Stirrup styles. Long styles. Short styles. Does a heightened level of self-consciousness come with age? One thing’s for sure, I’m longing the acceptance of leggings as pants that I had as a kindergarten student.


East Coast. West Coast. The Drama’s All The Same.

(image courtesy of tvguide.com)

I’ve been holding off on this post. I can’t quite articulate how I feel after watching the premieres The Hills and The City this week.

In short. I miss Lauren Conrad. I hate Spencer Pratt’s cowboy hat. I wish Lo Bosworths’ Ray Ban aviators fit her face properly. I think Kristin Cavallari trashes up The Hills (don’t blame me for saying it, I’m merely agreeing with other bloggers), but her Missoni bikini gave her a point or two in my book. Audrina bores me. Justin Bobby’s facial hair scares me.
I found myself texting more during the episode than watching. Does that mean The Hills is boring? I'm frustrated after watching them. I know that I could make a more amusing reality show, and I know all the drama on the show is faker than Audrina's tan. Plus, I’m tired of the drama. When The Hills was a staple in my (and my best friends’) lives and we spent nights watching television in my dorm room, our drama paralleled theirs. Friendemies. Exes. Boyfriends. Since, my friends and I have all bid adieu to the drama in our lives. Goodbye relateability. Hello Heidi and Spencer house-hunting. No thanks.

On page two, The City continues to be the worst show ever. Highlights include Kelly Cutrone’s attitude, the theme song and the look on Whitney Port’s face when her new “roommate” throws a “small get together.” Why do I keep watching these shows? Does MTV slip subliminal messages into the programming? If I play a DVR’ed episode backwards will I hear Heidi Montag’s voice coercing me to keep on watching?


Shoe Obsession

(image courtesy of thelook4less.net)

Last night, while shopping in downtown Boston, I ventured out of my shoe comfort zone and fell in love. My feet are used to comfort. Minnetonka moccasins. Ugg boots. Havaiana flip flops. Heels happen, but never all day, and not without a grimace.

Introduce the bootie. I scoffed at the trend a few years ago. I couldn’t conceive how they could be comfortable or flattering. Apologies, dear booties. I retract all former statements, because I (and my feet) are in love.

Booties have been hugging my feet since 7:30am. No pain. No blisters. No discomfort. No need to switch out into my moccasins (that yes, are inside my tote here at work). I am four inches taller. I stood next to someone on the T shorter than I. Yes, I am officially obsessed with this shoe.

Bootie recommendation from bootie veterans? Shoot them over to me at popcultureparadox@gmail.com.


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