Charles James: Beyond Fashion

This past weekend, I went to see the new fashion exhibit at the Met, Charles James: Beyond Fashion. With the recent renovations to the Costume Institute and renaming to the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the exhibit was truly amazing. First and foremost, I love the fact that the exhibit was held in two different spaces, on two different floors, and on opposite sides of the museum. It broke it up allowing for double the enjoyment, and gets visitors to take in more of the museum as opposed to just the fashion exhibit. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for going to the Met to view special exhibits, but even when I waited in line for an hour and a half for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (to then be in the exhibit for another hour), I still made a point to see more of the museum…but that’s coming from someone who can spend hours walking around in there.

Another aspect of the exhibit that I really liked was the staging of it. I remember from the McQueen, how there was so much packed into multiple rooms, and how it felt a bit closed in (perhaps partially because of the mass amount of people), but James was different. Both the upstairs and downstairs galleries were open and airy. The gowns and clothing displayed in such ways that you could see them from different angles if not walk all the way around them. There are also monitors for many of the pieces which show the painstaking steps that were taken to create these works of art. I only watched a few as they didn’t catch my eye as much as the clothing, but they were fascinating.

Then there were the garments themselves. They. Were. Fabulous. Breathtaking, really. It was hard to pick out just one favorite, although his Four Leaf Clover ball gown was definitely in the top five for me.

Charles James was a truly great couturier, but part of what makes him so amazing was that he was a perfectionist. I, who sometimes walk away from my writing mid-sentence because I just cannot find the right word, can completely understand. Part of this could be due to the fact that James started off as a milliner, and carried-on that approach into his clothing. He even went so far as spending years on one dress until it was exactly what he had envisioned. According to Voguepedia, he was even known to “don a finished gown and dance all night in his apartment above the Chelsea Hotel before handing it over…if he handed it over at all.” I could go on and on, but really, the exhibit speaks for itself. Charles James: Beyond Fashion opened at the Met just last week and will be on display through August 10th. I caught it opening weekend, but I will definitely be there many more times.

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Met Gala, White Tie & Charles James

As the fashion obsessed person that I am, my love for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Met Gala should come as no shock. Every year, I scour social media and the internet (mostly Vogue) to find images of the event, gasping in utter amazement at the gowns and tuxedos that are worn by those who attend…dreaming of a day that I will get to attend. This year, with the Met’s new fashion exhibit, Charles James: Beyond Fashion opening today in the Anna Wintour Costume Center (formerly the Costume Institute), and the dress code for the gala being white tie, I knew I was in for a rare treat.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the rules of a white tie dress code don’t fret because I wasn’t clear on them either. I knew what white tie was, I just didn’t know that that was the name of it. The rules for men are much stricter than women, who aside from having to wear full length dresses (ie ball gowns) have no other restrictions with the exception of white opera length gloves, an accessory that is not always required. Men, on the other hand, have to get decked out, from evening tailcoats, white bow ties and white low-cut waistcoats, down to the type of shoes (court pumps or Oxfords) and socks (silk). In other words, this is the most formal dress code and not something that you see every day. If you still can’t picture it, think about the Victorian Era, think about Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, think about the formal dances that took place in that time period. If that doesn’t help you, google pictures from this year’s Met Gala and you will immediately know what I’m talking about.

Beginning in 1971, the Met Gala continues to serve as both a fundraiser for the Costume Institute and the opening of the annual fashion exhibit. It is considered to be more prestigious than the Oscars and is mainly invitation only with individual tickets that are rare and boast a hefty price tag. This year, tickets were $25,000 per person. The new exhibit, Charles James: Beyond Fashion examines Charles James, an American couturier best known for his ball gowns (hence the white tie dress code) and will be open at the Met through August 10th. I haven’t even gotten there yet, but already I am in love…and I feel this is worthy of purchasing an exhibition catalogue (I have not purchased one since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty back in 2011).

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Sundress Weather is on the Horizon

I don’t know about you, but I have been dying to shed the rest of my winter wardrobe in favor of the less is more approach, otherwise known as summer clothing.  Now, I know that that phrase is usually reserved for covering up and showing less skin, but with warm weather on my mind, you’ll have to forgive me.

For a long time, I was under the impression that the more money you spend on clothing, the nicer they will be and the longer they will last.  For the most part that is true, but there are a few things that you definitely don’t need to spend a lot of money on.  T-shirts and tank tops come to mind.  After years of spending a lot of money on these items, I ventured into Aeropostale and have been shopping there ever since.  Their tees and tanks are so inexpensive that you can purchase multiple pairs, they’re comfy and they last.

A few years ago, I decided to do the same thing with sundresses.  One of my reasons for this is that it enables a more diversified wardrobe without making you go broke.  Also, the summers seem to be getting hotter, and I’ve found that sundresses are comfy no matter how much you spend on them, though, the cheaper they are, the thinner the material is, which I think is great for those exceptionally brutal days, the ones where, no matter what you do, you cannot stop yourself from sweating.

The trick with sundress shopping is that you need to know what styles you like, and where to go.  I started with Forever21, and although I have some dresses from them, I was never completely satisfied – some fit me pretty well, but others just looked terrible on.  I have some cute dresses that I got on sale from Victoria’s Secret, but for the most part, their prices are more than I want to spend.  I’ve gone back and forth between stores, not finding what I want, then an idea crept into my head.  If I love the tees and tanks at Aeropostale, why not try their dresses too?  The prices range from $40 to $60 (for a maxi), but always seem to be on sale.  I purchased a cute yellow floral, originally $39.50, on sale for around $18.85 (that dress is now only $11.85 btw).  When it arrived in the mail, I tried it on and loved it.  There are a few more that I have my eye on and will probably be purchasing in the near future, guilt free.

 

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Experimentations with Lip Color

I have always been one of those girls who likes neutral make-up.  I have loads of lip glosses in a palate of different pinks, shades light enough that you can see a difference, but not so much that you pass by a mirror and think, wow.

Recently, I’ve gotten a bit bored of these pale colors.  I’d made multiple trips to Sephora without any luck, mostly due to the fact that there is just too much to choose from, but also because nothing seemed to ever be the right shade.  You can only try on so many colors before you get disgusted with all of them.

I was about to give up when I remembered the Body Shop.  Most of my make-up (save for mascara…I am addicted to Dior mascara) comes from there, but I had forgotten all about that place – tells you how much I buy make-up.  The Body Shop has a location nearish to my office, so I took a stroll over there a couple of weeks ago and was immediately glad I did, despite the fact that all of my colors seemed to be obsolete.  I walked away with a new shade of lip gloss (and a few other things) and have since returned and bought a lipstick.  These colors aren’t extreme, but they have more pigment than I usually do, and I love them.  I’ll definitely be going back there again sometime soon.

Spring Colors

With the unseasonably warm temperatures that have been hitting NYC (and a good portion of the country) recently, I have been thinking twice about my beloved wardrobe.  Dark colors are fine to wear in the winter, and year round, but this season, pops of bright colors seem to be in.  A little over a month ago, I purchased a pink trench from Banana Republic, of which, I finally got to wear this past weekend, and again today.  I am in love with it and have gotten compliments off of it.  I walked out of the subway this morning to a sea of black coats and my pink one.  Talk about making a statement and standing out in the crowd.  I even got stares from the receptionist who, for some reason doesn’t talk to me, as I pranced into the office.  Definitely one of my best impulse purchases ever. 
 
Today I am contemplating a ballet flat purchase.  I was at The Shoe Box yesterday and tried on a very comfortable Vince Camuto shoe (in gold, they did not have my size in the color I wanted).  I have never actually owned anything by this brand, but I really like these.  This morning, I decided to go online and see if they had the beige-ish color in my size there.  They do, but the shoes also come in a pink hue that I think would be nice for the summer.  Alas, I am torn between practicality and style!  The beige-ish color will be good with everything and will never go out of style, but the pink is just so pretty and bright that I do not know which one I want.  Hmmmmmmm 🙂

Nail Color Obsession

For as long as I can remember, I detested polishing my nails in any hue other than light pink or, a french manicure. I’m not exactly sure why this is, because it’s not that I didn’t like it on other people, and it’s not like nail color is permanent. Within a week it starts to chip away and, if you’re not happy with the color, you can take it off, no problem.

A few years ago, I decided it was time for a change. I started buying bold shades of pink, or, what I thought were bold, but in reality, they really weren’t. One day, I even decided that I wanted a shade of red. Of course, all of these colors were strictly for my toes…my fingers were reserved for the same colors as before, or more often than not, nothing at all. I told myself that I would never get anything extremely dark; I didn’t want the color to be mistaken for black, or me to be mistaken for something other than who I was…people tend to sometimes look at you differently if you are wearing black nail polish. And also, I felt that it was rather goth.

About a year ago, my friend Melissa and I stumbled upon a shade that would forever change my thoughts on nail color. It wasn’t a shade of pink or red, but brown; a dark brown to be exact. I love the color brown, but I never had thought of wearing it on my nails. I told myself that if I didn’t like it, I could take it off right away. So, I polished my toes with it and instantly, I fell in love. It became my go-to polish for my toes. I even wore it through the summer, despite the fact that that is the season for bright colors.

Then, a little over a month ago, I was at the salon with R and Z, and we were searching through polishes to choose colors for manicures. I automatically migrated towards the light pinks, but something told me to look at the rest of the colors. As I was searching, I found my brown (little brown dress, Essie) and considered if I should try it on my fingers. I went back-and-forth for a few minutes and ultimately decided that I was going to do it. It was time for a change…and I have been polishing my fingers with it ever since.

Shop Less…with Exceptions

So, this year, I plan to shop less and…pay the credit card companies more, hahaha. Subletting in the East Village over this past summer, I made way too many expensive purchases but, I do not regret any one of them. Since I have vowed to curb my addiction this year, why am I still trolling the internet in search of new items pray-tell? Multiple reasons, but really, it’s because old habits die hard.

Right now, among the items that I am coveting at the moment, there is this skirt at the Limited that I absolutely must have (item pictured below). As you can see, the print is bold and, not for everyone. I love the yellow, especially since I don’t really have many yellows in my wardrobe. A full skirt is always nice because, although it doesn’t “show off” certain assets, it does create a nice silhouette. The selling point for me…the matching belt. I don’t know why, but I feel like without it, the skirt would be too much, but with it, it’s perfect!

Now, I know what you’re saying, the Limited?  Is that still around?  It is!  Unfortunately though, synonymous with the name, the store locations are in fact, limited.  There is a location that I visit when I go home to Long Island, but that is not often; I mostly shop their online site, which, has a lot of items.  The Limited is such a great store, especially if you’re looking for some conservative pieces.  I have a bunch of dresses from them.  Even though I have decided to “take a break” from shopping, there still are certain pieces that are a must. Luckily, my mom is buying me this one (along with some other items from the Limited) as a belated Chanukah present☺.

Autumn is Finally Here

I don’t know about you, but from time to time I get bored with my wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong, I love the clothes that I have, but after a while, they lose their awe and I’m stuck wearing the same outfits over and over again. Sometimes I find myself running for the bus in the morning on the way to work because I had been trying to put together a new look with my old stuff. Needless to say, when I am running for the bus, more often than not, I always end up wearing something that I didn’t want to wear.

I love getting dressed in the summer mainly because it’s so easy. All I have to do is throw on a dress, or skirt and tee shirt, cute sandals and I’m good to go. It’s a carefree attitude that leaves the minute the first crisp day appears. I had thought that after the snow we had at the end of October, the end of warm weather was upon us, but it is not until now that I think fall has officially arrived.

Gone are the days of sundresses and sandals; scarves and gloves are on the horizon.  No more bare legs…its stockings all the way.  I never used to be a fan of stockings.  Either they were too bold or too plain, but they are finally making ones that are just right.  You can get them in so many different patterns, it’s just uncanny.  Even my plain sheer ones have a thin seam that runs down the back that gives them a retro look.  You can literally buy stockings almost anywhere, but I like to shop for mine at The Limited.  Even though it is primarily a clothing store, and primarily hard to find for that matter, their stocking quality is fabulous.  My favorite stockings from them are my argyle ones.  I think that they’re a sexy spin off of the classic, preppy pattern.  Plus, when it is raining out, like it has been a lot lately, wearing a dress or skirt with rainboots and a cutely patterned stocking can add cheer to your day.  So, until the warm summer comes back to me, I will not be discouraged.

To Purchase or Not to Purchase

For those of you that don’t know me, I am extremely picky when it comes to, well, anything…so it should come as no shock that I have been looking for the perfect casual boot for the past few years, sadly to no avail. There are so many options to choose from and nothing had caught my eye, until now.

Recently, I had narrowed my list of choices down to riding boots. Having grown up with an interest in horses and getting the opportunity to ride them for two summers, I had always liked the simple yet timeless look of the riding boot. The sleek, smooth lines uninterrupted by much detail exude class. I have finally found the perfect one! The Frye Phillip Harness Tall. It is my dream boot. From the soft vintage leather to the barely there heel, it screams to be worn. Now, I am definitely a bit girly when it comes to how I present myself and although these Frye boots possess a certain ruggedness, I feel that they will be a good addition to my style rather than emasculating it. I love the cognac and dark brown, and honestly would have a hard time choosing between the two. They also come in black. At $328 before tax, they’re a bit steep, but Frye boots aren’t just any boots; they’re an investment. Not sure if I will in fact purchase these, but I will dream about them until I do!