Pantless On A Prayer

I’m all for slim and skinny when it comes to jeans, and I like comfortable clothes too, but how did skin-tight leggings replace pants altogether for many women who should never wear the look in the first place?

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I’m noticing more women of all ages going pantless these days, and mostly, it’s not an attractive street or work sight. Unless you have almost no curves and stick straight legs with slim thighs, wearing leggings with a top that barely covers (or doesn’t) your bum should not be an option.

It’s also a bit of a tawdry look, especially those leather-lookalike leggings that everybody and their grandmother has gotten the fashion message they should try.  So much for the democratization of punk.

I mean, you can just look at a person and tell whether they are subversive enough to authentically wear leather-ish things. Many mass brands have marketed their cheaper semi-shiny black leggings as a leather jeans replacement that bestows “rebel cool” and women of all stripes have slavishly bought a pair.  Word to the wise: a fashion trap to avoid — this kind of false “cool” can easily become ‘fool” on the wrong person.  NG.

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Sperry-licious

IMG-20130314-00090     I have to say that I love chic classics, but as a high fashion editor and stylist, I’ve learned to beware of some older prestige brands purporting to re-invent themselves. What they do is often just not enough to make them really modern. But, happily, not so with Sperry, of classic topsider sailing shoe fame.

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     Last month at the launch of their new Fifth Avenue NY flagship  store, Sperry unveiled some of their newly colorful and wildly patterned spring offerings. Pizzaammm!

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     Care for a leopard or zebra-striped topsider? A bright, abstract print or yellow (or cobalt or hot pink) soled “classic”? Tri-colors, metallics, glitters, patent and sequined versions?  And who knew Sperry did such great flat sandals?  Totally chic, and up there with some of the best names in luxury shoes.

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     Comfortable, cool, and casually retro in a fun way, the newest topsiders look great with skirts and dresses as well as the obvious shorts and jeans.  I love them for men with summer suits– and with more work-like jackets and pants for women. (Go against type is my #1 fashion rule.)

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So, put your fashion boat in the water for Spring and set sail with a pair of Sperrys (www.sperry.com). Humor and great summer style are your co-captains!

Gather Some Hunters

Hunter dark gray rubber heeled boot

This past winter you saw them coming and going. This spring you’ll see them in bright colors and patterns for wet weather .  And next fall, if you love

Hunter spice lace-up rubber boot

your Hunter Boots, you’ll have a chance to move the trend on to some totally new and super cool styles.  I went to their fall presentation a week or so ago, and I must say their niche line hits just the right mark.

Their  ubiquitous flat rubber rain boots deserved their huge success, but almost became this year’s Ugg, when they were worn by every woman from five to seventy-five, sometimes in not so amazing ways.  (It was sort of like when women wore athletic sneakers to work with knee-length skirts and clear pantyhose.  It  kind of gave you a twist in your fashion gut.  Not the boot’s fault – after all, they are a great product – but seeing so many  made you leery for a while after a bad sighting. )  But, even I  totally get and love their super style plus function appeal – I recently styled one of my celebrities for an editorial in an platinum Alexander McQueen satin evening gown and silver Hunters!   (I just love juxtaposition!)

Hunter berry and black cuffed rubber boot

But the Hunter folks are smart enough to stay ahead of their own game,. and have moved into completely new territory for next fall.  Their new boots are really good-looking, cool and classic with a twist.  Some could almost be called fashion-y, but still tow the classic line.

And they have THE BAG I would not hesitate to call the absolute chic-est tote of the year.  I want to own it (or

Very berry Hunter tall rubber tote

several!) in black, dark green, spice orange …  It is rare for me to walk into a store and fall in love with a bag – I’m very anti “It” bag — but this one is sleek, just plain enough to keep  people guessing its origin and it’s rubberized material gives it a cool, luxe look.  Very smart, and not just for wet weather.

Hunter orange spice tall rubber totoie

Got to LOVE great design-it’s what keeps us fashion folks going!  So, bring on the rain, mud, snow, sleet, puddles, sprinklers, surf, and even the sunshine, and gather some Hunters.

The Longer Short Short

Gap railroad stripe bermuda

Along with the success of “Classy”, Derek Blasberg’s recently released tome on more desired ladylike social

Banana Republic boyfriend denim shorts

behavior, can another sign of a new 21st century propriety be that the ubiquitous short shorts have become a little longer on modesty (or at least, on not being teenage sexpot trash wear)?

If my observations from this past July 4th weekend were correct, Daisy Dukes are headed the way of super, legging-tight  jeans (despite 2 very visible launches of “jeggings”  this week)– only on clueless style Neanderthals releasing their inner slut. Longer “boyfriend” mid-length shorts, “roll-up” shorts, bermudas, slouched and neat, pleated shorts all made their triumphant sartorial return along the parade route in our sleepy, but oh-so-chic hamlet not far from the big city. From what I saw on the best-looking watchers, a quintessential moment of summer style truth (just like the swimsuit try-on) –when you look at your legs and rear in last year’s favorite white short shorts — no longer has to be a bad experience.

Topshop's ivory cuffed shorts

Topshop's crossover short

All Saints grey long boyfriend short

These longer shorts look easier and slouchier and very cool. They are great  paired with a boyfriend jacket, short blazer, tunic top or bare cami top, or a bigger, slide-y tee. J. Crew, American Eagle and Gap all have terrific boy fit mid-length denim shorts, and great Bermudas in white or blue denim, khaki, faded army green, and some colors. They look sophisticated and much less obviously sexy, though still very appealing. The better to notice how crackerjack smart your mind is, not the other kind of crack, girls…

Club Monaco, Vince, Banana Republic and Zara also have more polished versions of this slightly longer, easier short in interesting variations.  These are city or party or work shorts (if your job is casual some of the time).  They make the silhouette intriguing and the wearer a subtle kind of gal.  Even shorter ,more traditional shorts are pleated and cuffed for a more finished look

And what’s not to love in this dog day heat about a look that helps you stay and be — cooler than cool?

Chasing Summer (Skirts): It’s All In The Details

The original Burberry Prorsum loop knot skirt

Alexander Wang drape skirt dress

The very best skirts of summer 2010 add tons of chic to an outfit, but are fun and even a bit whimsical. The reason? The coolest have great, interesting details or shapes that give them some volume – ruching, draping, pleating, layered asymetrical panels, gathering, or just a fuller cut. (Burberry Prorsum‘s, left, was one of the first down the runway for spring and an inspiration for many.)

This slight fullness makes them much more interesting than the plain old straight and narrow pencil skirt. These skirts can function almost like an accessory, adding zest and flavor to an outfit, giving the eye something to land on in the silhouette.

And, interesting skirts are also everywhere you turn at retail these days. I took a walk down lower Broadway yesterday– absolutely every store is there — and spotted windows focused on skirts from at least six or seven cool brands, and some great skirts even from brands not so cutting-edge. Then, I scrolled through some of my favorite websites to cull the right pieces for you, too. Here are some of the best to punch up your summer look:

Reiss draped skirt at asos.com

Nanette Lepore skirt at bloomingdales.com

Alexander Wang, above right, added his own version of a twist and drape that makes the wearer actually look narrower – huh? We’ll all go for that–even at $395.00, on Net-a-Porter. Club Monaco has an absolutely amazing draped skirt of their own that I have on my must-have chic and affordable list. Zac Posen for Target — quite the launch party!–has a ruched side black skirt that’s an unbelievable $34.99. The British website, ASOS, fairly new to the US, is a web-only collection with their own label designs, as well as carefully selected pieces from other lines. They have a knock-out draped pocket skirt from Reiss at about $130.00 at today’s exchange rate. At Bloomingdale’s website, Nanette Lepore’s minimally pleated skirt shows how even a little interesting detail can make a work skirt look totally up to the minute, $118.00. Elizabeth and James also have a super skirt in the most brilliant shade of yellowy-gold that’s really elegant and slightly gathered. Loft, too, has a very nice subtly side gathered beige tailored skirt at $69.50 that will get you noticed in the office, or a silky front drape one in navy or pale stone that’s $39.99 and super-attractive. (Check these out–they are well worth it, even if I don’t have pics.)

And, most all of these slightly fuller skirts are fairly short, from micro-mini to a few inches above the knee. This range has the right length in it somewhere for every body, every age.

J.Crew summer tweed gathered skirt

ASOS purple pleated and tied skirt

Fuller Burberry Prorsum skirt

The waist-gathered, pleated or”paper-bagged” skirts that are around again run the gamut from the lusted-after Burberry Prorsum to a great ladylike J.Crew summer tweed for $138.00, to an ASOS light purple pleated and tied waist version that’s about $37.00 at the current exchange rate. They’re fun and figure-forgiving if you choose one that’s not too extreme in its details. (You can also find a bit longer versions.) A-line shapes like the super J.Crew gold a-line inverted pleat skirt below are also a way to get on the fullness bandwagon.

Gathered red skirt at Opening Ceremony

Diane Von Furstenberg olive fuller skirt

Marc by Marc Jacobs fuller plaid skirt

Gathered skirts can be fun and easy, especially on hot summer days. Opening Ceremony has a charming fuller red summer skirt for $230.00 that would look super with a smaller top and a boyfriend jacket. Zara has an all black slightly gathered version, as well as a cool black and white large-scale abstract print, both for $39.90. Diane Von Furstenbergs gathered and rick-racked fuller skirt at $235.00 is fun for weekend/going out, or for work with flats and a jacket or shorter cardigan. And MARC by Marc Jacobs full plaid skirt at bloomingdales.com could be a new wardrobe staple with a narrow tee, sweater or shirt for any situation.

JCrew A-line skirt

A detail that also looked great was the tiered skirt — usually ruffled layers, sometimes panels. There are really good ones at Zara, Club Monaco, Loft and Express. And these tiers needn’t be only for high school kids. They can be a fun way to add interest and are great paired with a tailored jacket. Remember – don’t be afraid to show your whimsical side.

The good news is that there are so many of these newly-detailed skirts at every price point, you can be sure to find one that’s the right length, fit and degree of whimsy to suit your wallet, comfort level and your fun threshold. Dressing with individuality should always be this easy!

Hats Off (On) To Summer!

Now hear this — the man’s fedora is absolutely cool and looks great on women. Madonna, Marlene

Lola for J.Crew Tasseled fedora

Roxy by Quiksilver Apocalypse hat

Dietrich, Kate Moss, Keira Knightley and Lindsay Lohan all have made the man’s hat their signature look at different times. It’s sexy and bold, but, playful and coy at the same time. And we all want a little of that sly chutzpah…

It is THE hat of summer 2010 — there is an absolute deluge of quirky and charming versions suddenly appearing at the most stylish mid, and

less expensive, retailers. Several hip lines have hooked up with great, cutting-edge hat designers like Lola for JCrew and Eugenia Kim for Target. Club Monaco, Uniqlo, American Eagle, Quiksilver/Roxy also all have their own versions of the classic straw or cotton men’s summer standby

American Eagle men's hat for women

for women. Meanwhile, iconic hat line Stetson has gotten hat genius Albertus Swanepoel (2009 CFDA award winner) to design several hats for them, available on its website www.stetson.com.

Eugenia Kim for Target blue ribboned fedora

These great hats look especially charming with the right softer feminine dress or top, and not always a boyfriend jacket/blazer or pantsuit– though the simplest and cleanest of lines can look amazing on the right woman. (For the most part, remember to mix your masculine and feminine pieces in one outfit – it’s the mix that makes it fun and interesting.)

Love the man’s hat look …. and the sun protection for all… I just hope it’s not too much of a good thing. Nothing kills a cool trend more quickly than when you see yourself coming and going…in a fedora yet. So, let’s have fun with this, ladies, but if you are starting to feel every high school kid has a bad one on — run the other way, and wait for the sartorial dust to settle. The fedora will always have it’s sexy place…

Chic, Flat-Out Comfort, Part Deux

It’s Shoe Week at Styl-d, and, yesterday, we focused on the newest flat shoe shapes for summer (see Part 1 in 3/5 post). The reason? It’s for those of us fashionistas who move too fast to hobble on the beautiful, but painful, four-inch, creatively heeled runway shoe sculptures designers showed for spring. Love’em, but hate’em.

Today, we look at the classics you’ll likely to already have in your closet — but may want to add a new version or color to. Yes, there are …

Still Chic Shapes

The Ballet Flat:

Always top of the list for comfort, there are more ballets than ever in tons of adorable permutations. Color is a great way to add a new ballet to your wardrobe and a nice finishing surprise to an outfit. Skin

Bloch cerise ballet slipper

— any lizard or snaky looking texture is terrific (ours at http://www.ralphlauren.com), and animal print is (and will be, those of you already looking ahead to fall) really prescient and fun.

Donald Pliner leopard flat

Ralph Lauren snake ballet flat


French Sole multicolor toe cap flat

Metallics and multicolors are an especially playful way to vary your ballet look, and toecaps add an expressive spot, too.

Marc Jacobs gold ballet

But you can’t beat the buttery feel and look of the terrific neutral basic like the Michael Kors, or the chic Delman classic. And Repetto, French maker of real ballet slippers, has entered the everyday shoe market with its own rainbow of colors in patents and suedes, and metallics. (In America, at bergdorfgoodman.com.)

Repetto aqua toceap flat

Michael Kors brown ballet slipper

Delman classic ballet

French Sole, too, a terrific ballet flat resource (www.frenchsole.com), specializes in the shape, and has more colors and variations than you can possibly dream up. Tory Burch, of course, made her name with her famous “Reva” ballet flat, which is still the gold standard of the company, but has added a wonderfully shaped, just terrifically chic-simple new ballet. And, naturally, our best American interpreter of current popular chic, J Crew, has some delicious new versions of their ballet, including a pom-pom’d toe metallic flat that’s just charming. (We bet Michelle Obama has more than a few pairs…) (At http://www.jcrew.com.) Ballet flat are around at every price point, from Target to Lanvin, so pick your brand, and revel in all the choices!

Tory Burch simply chic ballet

French Sole neon abstract print ballet

French Sole’s cadet blue piped version

Sneakers:

These will never be out of style in the American fashion vernacular — or for that matter, in the world’s style repetoire. They are too comfortable and too full of stylistic and design possibilities to ever give up. What varies is just what looks the most the most current to the fashion eye. We’ve all been in love for several seasons now with Converse high-tops, low-tops, destroyed or laceless Converse versions and they’re still great, but what looks a little newer again are the simple tie Keds, Toms and Superga shapes. You’ve got to choose the right moment, but a classic white Superga can make a work trouser outfit summer-chic on a busy day. And the colors are enough to make your day on the weekend. These three companies make enough variations to make your head spin!

Alice & Olivia for Keds sequinned sneak

Keds colored linen classic

Superga's quintessential shape

Thong and T- Strap Sandals:

Nine West knotted thong

There are naturally some amazing new variations of these popular shapes, and they are still very much a good flat option from casual flip flops to high-end softest leather and patent. But, the ones that are too thin and strippy should be saved for the weekend, or an after hours casual or a going-out look. Too bare and insubstantial on a work day just doesn’t cut it. There are also some amazing jewel and stone decorated sandals in this category too — just don’t look like you’re wearing the vault contents on each foot for day. More can be more, but on your feet, it looks like they are walking you into the room. Overdone is still just that — overdone.

Calvin Klein thong sandal

Michael Kors thong sandal

D&G thong sandal

One other important style note: When you buy a flat, buy a real flat –with no tiny heels or sliver wedges. They can really look matronly and slightly dumb. No one would want to ruin such a confident look with that note.

So, summer girls, celebrate having your feet on the ground! You CAN be as COMFORTABLE and STYLISH–as you want. Isn’t that what the season is supposed to be about, anyway? Yeahhhh…

(Note: Zappos.com was the resource for all looks not otherwise attributed.)