Please Note: Breast Plates are Not “In”

carrie_underwood

Readers, I need you to understand in no uncertain terms that the “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an age of technology” was a one time event-driven theme exclusively for the Met Gala.   It is NOT a thing.  In the immortal words of Regina George, “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen, because it is not going to happen.” Except in this case 86 ‘fetch’ and sub ‘robot clothes.’

Carey Underwood’s weird gold breastplate also reminds me of this woman who used to live near me in Park Slope (Brooklyn).  For some reason that I could never figure out (and believe me, I consulted medical professionals) she used to wear a hard plastic breastplate OVER her clothes and all the time.  Making things odder, she often decorated it.  For instance, when it was Christmas time we might see some wreaths taped to the front or perhaps a gentle nativity scene.  Any way you look at it, if you are being forced by your doctor (or some sadistic sicko) to wear what is tantamount to an exoskeleton, you might not want to call additional attention to it in the form of tiny flashing white lights.  This is just common sense, people, but apparently Carey Underwood needs me to spell this out for her and so I have.  With that, please let this end the chapter of unnecessarily protecting our ribs through fashion.

 

Manus x Machina: Let’s Talk

Met Gala Nicole

To many, this year’s Met Gala theme (and corresponding wardrobe requirements) were confounding (much like the invitations people send out for their weddings). I think the idea of Manus x Machina was to explore the different methods of creating fashion – Manus (by hand) and Machina (machine made) and how, over the years, those lines have blurred.  For instance, ready-to-wear these days often features hand sewn elements and, by contrast, haute couture sometimes features machine-made elements. But it seems that many of the attendees either punted and wore whatever they damn well pleased or interpreted this year’s theme quite literally as in “I”m going to dress like a machine (or a robot) which is chrome.  So I’m going to wear silver and call it a day.”  Witness:

Met Gala Kylie

met gala kim

met gala rita

Personally I preferred the folks who had more fun with the idea and focused on what can be produced when both hand sewing and machine sewing unite. Nicole Kidman (featured in the lead photo) is a perfect example.  Her Alexander McQueen is exquisite and, to me, a perfect interpretation of the theme.  There’s clearly a ton of hand-beading on that dress but the sides are laser-cut which is done by machine.  Here’s another shot of the dress and its (and HER) wondrous beauty:

met gala nicole 2

And here’s Zoe Saldana in Dolce & Gabbana (GLORIOUS!!) doing the fashion equivalent of a mic drop:

met gala zoe

I don’t think Katy Perry’s Prada look is GORGEOUS, per se, but this is a COSTUME party at its core and no matter what you think of Katy, girl knows how to DO a costume.  This one is incredibly on theme:

met gala katy

I’ll have one of what Stacy Martin (in Miu Miu) is having:

met gala stacy

Only a human being could ensure a gown meets the floor as precisely as this one does.

 

And then there’s Claire Danes in Zac Posen which, for me, was one of the most thrilling and unexpected interpretations of the night:

met gala claireNow for the pièce de résistance!!  This is what happened with the dress when the lights went low:

met gala claire 2NAILED IT!

If this is the Halfback, bring on the FB. Please.

half shirts NFL

This glass is half empty.

I know, I know there are more current fashion events to blog about – The White House Correspondents’ Dinner (What in thee heck IS the WHCD other than an opp for the Pres to mug with celebs?? I haven’t seen a single photo of an actual journalist yet.), the Met Gala (TONIGHT, PEOPLE, TONIGHT!!), or Princess Charlotte’s First Birthday but, frankly, I’m having trouble ignoring Ezekiel Elliott.  I gather that was his point when he painstakingly pinned his button-down to look like a half shirt for the 2016 NFL Draft.  I understand that he’s wearing it to refute the NCAA’s decision to ban cropped jerseys but can we all just agree that the ban is in everyone’s best interest?

I think this look is particularly disturbing to me because the outfit is otherwise well composed and it rankles to acknowledge there are folks in existence who can appreciate a lavender bow tie/white trousers/blazer combination and also, on the other hand, appreciate male crop tops (MOPS?).  It’s like finding out that John Wayne Gacy sewed couture in his spare time when he wasn’t out strangling kids.  I’m having a hard time believing these ideas can co-exist.

Temper(ley) Your Requests

kate temperley1This is a fashion column, not an etiquette column.  Frankly, though, I have no other platform on which to express my views and so I’ll sling them about as I see fit.  First up: Dear readers, when you send out an invitation it is cruel to the common invitee to request dress codes like “Festive” or “Creative Black Tie.”  Most people (read: those without a stylist) do NOT want to spend oodles of time decrypting your sartorial expectations.  Most people have go-to items for “Black Tie,” “Cocktail” or “Casual” but not for “Smart Casual” or “Elegant Casual.”  Have mercy, people, the masses still cannot wrap their heads around “Business Casual.”

Kate here is attending a Garden Party for the Queen’s 90th Birthday.  (Why Do I Feel Like Anything Referring To The Queen Has To Be In Caps??)  Truth be told, I’ve been asked many times but I’ve never advised a client to wear a long gown to a garden party.  Chiefly this is because most garden parties are slightly less formal than this one appears to be and also because long gowns work best with heels but heels don’t work best with grass (although wedges do!).  However, if we are still telling the truth, I have never advised on a garden party wardrobe for a QUEEN’S birthday extravaganza.  In this case, given the Royal element, I think this Temperley number works wonderfully.  It’s intricate but not overly so, it’s sheer but not scandalous, it’s white and detailed and fitted and lovely.  I’m not over the moon for the chandelier earrings but their role is not prominent so I forgive them.  But, WAIT:

kate temperley2For the Queen’s pleasure, Will slices Kate’s gown in half!?  This alternate photo was a surprise to me because I thought we were viewing a gown, not a skirt and top.  But I actually prefer this notion.  It’s modern and even more appropriate for being less formal.  It’s “Queen’s Birthday Slightly Formal” or maybe “Royal Garden Dressy Casual.”  Whatever the invitation said, this is a damn good interpretation of the request.

Standing O? Hell YES!

nicole_mcqueen

I’m not even going to toy with your emotions and pretend I debated over this look – because I’m already standing for the O.  I am mesmerized.

Thank heavens for ZOOM because I’ve spent endless amounts of time on every quadrant of this stunning Alexander McQueen dress.  It is supremely interesting, exquisitely fashioned, and completely WOWing me.  As a result, I’m falling in love with Nicole Kidman again.  As is her husband.  Witness:

Nicole and keith

Seeing N.K. in this dress makes me think of a conversation that I regularly have with my clients who are actors.  And it goes something like this- It is incumbent upon you, through your clothes, to put ideas in the heads of casting agents and directors.  In other words, if you want to be a leading man/woman, then DRESS like one.  And I feel like Nicole had that notion in mind when she chose this dress.  She was out to remind folks that indeed she’s always commanded leading roles and that she’d be a superlative choice for some more.  Let’s face it, she’s not had a huge movie since the early oughts (The Hours and Moulin Rouge) and it is time for a come back!

Side note: if IMDB is to be believed, she’s turning 50 this year.  I would gladly drink a potion composed of eye of newt, salamander toes, and the pulverized bones of small deceased animals to look like this at 50.  Readers, please pin any such recipes you see.

Apologies but Keith and I need to get back to ogling Nicole now.  Thanks.

It Can Be Wrong Even Though It’s White

RTwhite

Rebecca Taylor White Sleeveless Crochet Lace Dress

One of the things I love best about the spring, besides it being perfect mojito weather, is wearing all white on the regular.  It’s cool, crisp, polished and, as a hue (or lack thereof) it works with everything.  Sadly, though, “universally flattering” does not appear on the list of its virtues.  So unless you have Jessica Alba’s body, here are the two most important things to consider before wearing white:

  • Sheerness: White tends to be see-through which, especially in the work place, can be damning (as in DAMN, what is she wearing up in here?).  For a top or a dress sheerness often mandates a camisole or a slip, and for pants it often mandates that they be burned (or at the very least have their pockets cut out and sewn up).  The idea is that you want to make it impossible to glimpse what is under the fabric (undergarments, tattoos, skin texture, etc).  If anything can distinctly be seen, this is not the garment for you.  Or anyone except, maybe, Jessica Alba.
  • Structure: White is most flattering when it comes in the form of a structured garment.  (Jessica Alba, why are you even still reading?) This holds the most true for white pants which tend to be the toughest to get right.  Even white denim, which is inherently structured, can be difficult.  Light colors, and white in particular, are not very forgiving so it’s necessary for you (even better – get an honest friend to assist) to do a thorough inspection of the pants in natural light while you are wearing them to make sure lumps, bumps, and other imperfections are being mitigated and not enhanced by said pants.

And if these two things scare you, try a white mani instead, and get back to that mojito.

Standing O, So-So or Hell No: The Obamas in Cuba

Obamas-Cuba-JR-032116

Little known fact: one of my best friends and I sneaked into Cuba a number of years ago.  We didn’t even attempt clearances because we knew we had no grounds on which to obtain them.  We simply left from the Bahamas, didn’t get our passports stamped, and then prayed to our merciful Lord all would be well when we tried to re-enter our country.  Somehow on the greatest stroke of luck ever, we came back to the US on a day when hordes of spring break college kids were returning from their various debaucherous trips.  They were so rowdy and feral that the customs agents never paid us a lick of attention and barely peeked at our passports prior to stamping them.  In retrospect I should’ve played the lottery that day because, indeed, it was true luck that a $10K fine and imprisonment was avoided.  Orange jump suits and limited showers would not have been a good look for me.

And now Cuba is receiving slightly more distinguished guests – the Obamas!  My guess is that they have the proper paperwork.  But I digress – let’s cut to the chase and talk about the most important aspect of the trip: the fashion of the Obama ladies.  I feel Michelle made a wise choice with her easy-breezy Carolina Herrera shift.  It’s weather appropriate, white based, and the flowers work well in this setting.  Malia looks fine to me -I value that she looks age appropriate and I like that she also chose color and flowers but overall her look reads a little to “Target-designer-collab” for me.  Mostly, though, I take issue with Sasha’s Shoshanna shift.  I am whole-heartedly against wearing near solid black in Cuba considering it is a country of such vibrant colors.  You don’t see black on many folks there and it’s because it simply doesn’t fit.  The occasion and the country both call for color and patterns!  And so, as usual, I will call it as I see it:

Michelle = Standing O

Malia = So-So

Sasha = Hell No

Here’s another view so you can decide for yourself.  Wardrobe Whisperer encourages freedom of thought:

obamas cuba 2

WW and Business Insider Talk Button Downs

whitebuttondown_1_topcropfront

Sometimes it feels like the Keebler factory in here.  Except that instead of making cookies, which would be delicious and appeal to everyone, I produce fashion content which sometimes is completely unappealing.  Case in point – this article I wrote with Linette Lopez where I bring down the gauntlet on the vast majority of button downs I find in my clients’ closets:

The No. 1 thing men need to throw out of their closets

Don’t shoot the messenger.  Or the cookie maker.  Or me.  For the love of God, won’t you just put your guns down already?

Standing O or Hell No: 88th Annual Academy Awards

cate oscar 2016

Cate Blanchett proving that she has bartered her soul in exchange for flawless beauty

As a girl who grew up in rural PA with 7 brothers I am (perhaps overly) familiar with such things as shooting skeet, riding dirt bikes, and quoting The Who.  Regarding the latter, this lyric from Eminence Front was on a loop in my head last night:

Won’t you come and join the party

Dress to Kill.

Cate killed (clearly) in Armani Prive.  As did the rest of these lovelies in their glorious dresses all of whom receive a Standing O:

Naomi oscar 2016Naomi Watts in ombre Armani (I am still catching my breath)

Saoirse oscars 2016Saoirse Ronan in custom Calvin Klein (Turning it OUT for Ireland)

alicia oscars 2016Alicia Vikander in custom Louis Vuitton (Hush up, haters, she looks divine!)

charlize oscars 2016Charlize Theron in Dior (Retain your wardrobe stylist, fire your hair stylist)

gaga oscars 2016Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell (Somehow pulling off pants AND a dress and making it look chic)

Time for yet another Who lyric: The drinks flow and people forget.  Please let that be the case as it relates to this atrocity:

 heidi oscars 2016Let us not forget, however, that the viewing public used to allow this woman to host a FASHION show on actual television.  Perhaps what comes around really does go around and this is some kind of negative karmic reciprocity for her smug condescension on Project Runway.  If so, WOW, the universe really knows how to get even.  I’m sorry, universe, for any wrongs that I have committed.  And Heidi, Hell No.

It’s Monday and I don’t really feel like dwelling on the negative so let me leave you with this thought:.  I don’t feel I am alone in my secret wish that this will somehow still happen:

leo and kate oscars 2016If there was a game like Fantasy Football but for relationships, these two would be my top choice.

WW Prediction: Oscar Will Not Make It to the Oscars

oscar1This outfit brings to mind a favorite saying of my grandmother’s which I will tailor for my own purposes:  Oscar de la Renta must be “turning over in his grave” right now.  With the exclusion of that luscious little fur collar, this outfit from the Fall 2016 collection that just debuted at NY Fashion Week is an ill-fitting and mismatched atrocity.  And, unfortunately, it was not alone in its egregiousness:

 

Oscar WhoOscar Who??

 

oscar whatOscar What?? I feel like Peter Copping will be made to pay for this in his next life.

Having expressed my general dismay over the collection, I AM extremely keen on shimmying into this look:

oscar 2

Oh! And even though I insulted you and everything you stand for, Peter, would it be possible to send this look too, please:

oscar 3Thank you.

 

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