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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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…

Noticed

At Retail:  When More Is Too Much

In my line of work, I get to go shopping a lot. But, that doesn’t mean I buy a lot.  In fact, I could have the smallest wardrobe of anyone I know. Really. (Maybe writing about the great stuff I find makes me feel like I already own the item, and I’m over it. Sad, but better for my wallet.)

But, it does mean I really know what’s out there right now. And what’s out there are  lots and lots of  bells and whistles:  sequins, beads, ruffles, embroidery, lame, lace, studs, jewels, pleats, drapes, twists and gathers — the whole teen/twenty-something pop star get-up gone mass market. Lindsey, Britney, Mary Kate and Ashley and a host of others started this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink/all-in-one-outfit idea, and retailers love it with its “more is more”, trash is cash, bling-y message. Seems you can’t pile on too much right now….

But, really, you can — do you want to look like the tree you put up for the jolly man in the red suit — complete with a flashing red lights that spell out “victim” ? Then, beware the glittery glut of extras that awaits you on every rack from high end department stores to discount chains. Every store, every line, is trying to be so hip it hurts.

Now, I’m all for being unconventional, and I  like juxtaposing surprising textures and ideas, but a few of these twists go a long way.  You could end up walking out of the store with the very bad idea you can’t go wrong with more, more, MORE…

So, ladies, please understand that too many “individual touches” look forced – like a third rate stylist got a hold of a first rate stylist’s original flash of sartorial brilliance and multiplied it. Doesn’t work like that.

A sequinned skirt can look great with a chunky turtleneck and boots for day, but would be questionable with a fake fur vest, lace blouse and leather leggings, no matter what time it was. A great beaded top can look amazing with jeans and a simple blazer, but add a draped lame skirt, faux Mongolian coat,and ripped “air conditioned” tights and you’ll look like nothing but “trying too hard”.

When basics weren’t selling any more. it seems retailers decided consumers only responded to the unusual, or individual-looking, piece.  So, everyone got on board — and I mean EVERYONE, thinking a sequined tank could fix the economy.

Well, it hasn’t yet — and until I see Barack and his economic advisors decked out in them at his next speech — spare my stylish eyeballs and wear only one piece of “specialness” at a time!  P-U-H-Leeeeeeze!