Admittedly, in the summertime, it takes a hell of a lot to get me to look up from my Tanqueray and Tonic. Kids are screaming, doors are flying open and closed and open and closed, ice pops are being demanded, and I mostly am trying to transcend the craziness with a cocktail and a beloved book. Today, however, my IG feed came to a screeching halt (and the world may have stopped turning on its axis) when my eyes landed upon these square-toed hybrid boots from the Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2018 collection. They are so perfectly pretty and modern and badass that I'm almost willing to bid the summer adieu just to have a reason to wear these beauties. If we can agree collectively that I may don these every single day, then this might be the first year of my life when I do not attempt to cling to summer, like a 3 year old on the first day of preschool, by stubbornly continuing to wear open-toed shoes well into October. Discuss among yourselves then please, dear readers, make this allowance for me.
In all of the vast coverage of the royal wedding my favorite observation was someone celebrating that the world has been given an opportunity to unite over LOVE. Among the many reasons this stunning couple have to be proud, for me, this is foremost and I consider it a great gift. Thank you, Royals, for elevating the human condition if even for a brief time.
Now for a few other observations beginning, obviously, with THE dress. My money was down hard on Roland Mouret as the designer (British, an obvious front runner) and was shocked she chose Givenchy - until it donned on me that the (female!!) creative head, Clare Waight Keller, is British. Stellar choice given the outcome.
If I had three words to describe Meghan they'd be: dignified, modern, and refined. These attributes were brought to form in her gown. Her style always puts her beauty at the very center and this design followed suit. Meghan, the woman, shined most brightly. But that tiara - GASP! We have all dreamed of that very tiara sitting atop our heads.
An overhead view perhaps?
Something else worth pointing out is that Kate Middleton paved the way for this paired-back look. While her Alexander McQueen was definitely more embellished, it was still very spare compared to royal wedding looks of the past. At the time I was on the fence about it because somehow I wanted MORE; but I think what Kate did was introduce us to the modern bride and how restraint can be so refined. That being said, Meghan made her own mark as she so clearly is her own woman. She is an amazing ambassador for the monarchy.
Look at the LIGHT on her in this photo:
And her after-ceremony Stella McCartney!!!:
Those shoulders!! This dress is exquisite and, again, very on brand for her. I'd be remiss not to mention that Harry looks like Bond here. He's a beautiful man.
It's a damn shame I don't have the time to discuss this ALL DAY LONG but alas, my kids don't seem to be watching themselves. Quickly, though, I need to shout out props to the Clooneys as they added to the beauty of the day:
And last but not least, Meghan's super dignified mother, Doria Ragland, in Oscar de la Renta. She is gorgeous and glowing. A tip of the hat to her for dropping her daughter off onto the royal grounds, walking in alone, with pride, and quietly, quietly, letting her daughter shine:
Tons can be said about the Cannes film festival but I would like to say, first and foremost, that it really does bring out the pun-ster in all of us. In my opinion, it benefits everyone if we get full mileage out of the Cannes/can (Also Can-can!) homonym situation. Secondly, this particular festival also seems to bring out the extreme glamour in all of us. It is such a romantic and fabled setting that women attending have historically been moved to don some of the most extraordinary gowns. This year's representation has not disappointed thus far. Shall we?
Cate Blanchett, AKA Madame President, has been turning up the fashion volume as evidenced by her Mary Katrantzou gown in the above photo - the print, the color, the asymmetry are all exquisite! Another favorite was her rainbow Givenchy:
What a glorious confection! Cate is clearly allergic to boring. More evidence in Iris Van Herpen:
Lest you think only Cate Blanchett is allowed to attend the festival, let's review a few other stunning looks of which there were many.
Aishwarya Rai's Michael Cinco butterfly gown is quite simply a masterpiece. I read that it required 3,000 hours to make. I feel this was time well spent. Let's peek at the back:
Cannes also seems to inspire bold color choices which never fail to delight me!
Polka dots anyone?
Bruna Marquezine looks lovely in this Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini gown. Polka dots are the salve for all that ails me.
One last look. This from my fashion muse, Diane Kruger:
Can Cannes con someone into raging on for another week?? (I'm sorry but I'm sure you can see the necessity.)
I need to be honest with you. This weather isn't doing much for your reputation. I've been hearing your name a lot lately, but in unfriendly, and often aggressive, contexts. Perhaps a few more degrees will increase your approval rating? In the meantime, because I like you, I'll attempt to distract them with images of pretty shoes. In my experience, this technique rarely fails. Feel free to use it when necessary. Here goes...
Hey look everyone - SHOES!!!
(While we wait, let's admire a few other beauties from this same extraordinary collection which is a true homage to the man, eight years gone on 2/10.)
Last week I was just trolling along (the internet) minding my own business when I was accosted by this Alexander McQueen flared cape dress. She was so boldly confrontational - I mean, look at that stance! Typically I'm not one for drama unless that drama comes in the form of a cape and then I am ALL IN. As you can imagine, we tussled, she won and now she's in my closet. I barely stood a chance. I need to remain vigilant at all times or she might stab me in this back:
I feel as if this particular struggle will be enduring, yet I'll find a way to make my peace with it.
- Having a meeting in the epicenter of Halloween shenanigans: the West Village (I have one tomorrow!)
- The general lack of courteousness and, more to the point, SOBRIETY in the West Village
- The general lack of Ubers in the West Village
I have a secret fear that I will get down there and not be able to get out due to the expected bedlam in the neighborhood. Everyone takes to the streets under the guise of watching or participating in the parade but really it's just an excuse to get wasted and fall down in the middle of an avenue. I am wearing sneakers and I will be prepared to run if need be - whether from ghouls, from ghosts, or from a bevy of young girls in "sexy nurse" costumes.
I have attempted to suppress my fears by turning to something I find very calming and therapeutic - pumpkin carving (AKA Styling a Pumpkin). I know this will shock many of you considering I am not one who has ever been able to CRAFT on any level with any medium. However, pumpkins and I understand one another. They are surprisingly yielding if you have the right tools; I wish I could say the same for the West Village. Alas, this year I fell in love with an image of a unicorn and executed the above pumpkin. No stencils were used in the making of any of these pumpkins:
My cute sisters came over for the carving session and turned out the two beauties on either end of mine. Tomorrow, no doubt, I will be drawing upon the Zen act of creating these. Happy Halloween, dear readers. I wish you loads of candy, and most of all, a detour away from the West Village.
Many MANY things can go awry in the course of a day but if you find yourself kicking it in your favorite boots somehow you feel impervious to these outside forces. Boots are like krypton. More accurately, boots are like a woman's security blanket. There is something so satisfying and comforting in the way boots embrace your legs (if they are tall) and envelope your feet. What is not to love about a footwear that HUGS its wearer? Not to mention that they provide heat when the temperatures dip and, as we all well know, coziness equals love. I'd be hard-pressed to identify a woman who does not get PUMPED to shop for boots each fall. In fact, it's the number one thing I've been discussing with my female clients this month: which ones, what heights, and which colors. The good news is that there exist so many correct formulas.
One detail I am demanding this fall is a covered heel. I don't want a stack nor do I even want a novelty heel. I want that bad boy to blend and provide an ultra sleek aesthetic. Case in point is the Aquazzura Brera Tall Boot in tan featured above. This boot is my number one favorite at this moment for its simplicity, color, and heel. Let it be known that I have seated myself front and center on the tan/cognac bandwagon that's been cruising around. It is my preferred neutral of this season.
Another current favorite:
That studded Y is for YASSSSSSSSSSSSS PLEASE! And also for YSL obviously. More specifically the Saint Laurent Studded Grace Knee Boot.
If you're in the market for a bootie...
this little lady is stealing my heart. Look at that demure pose! She's so lovely. And the patent leather covered heel? Dreamy! This Stella Luna Ruffle Trimmed boot needs to become part of my life this fall. And perhaps yours as well?
Lastly, but not leastly (?!), I am FEELING a white boot:
These Gianvito Rossi Laura Knee Boots are so OF THE MOMENT. Please, Forces of the Universe, let it come to pass that I wear these very boots as soon as possible paired with my white shadow mink fur coat. Is that too much to ask from you? (Don't answer that question.)
First bullet point - Zoe Kravits of Big Little Lies in Dior (above). The degree of complexity on this dress is HIGH. On the wrong girl this gown would read Fraggle Rock but on Zoe its transcendent. An excerpt from a text I sent to my SISTER-girl, Venessa:
Girlfriend looked like a 2 year old cut her hair then slapped Vaseline in it and she's still a straight 10. Standing O, Zoe!
THIS dress. This DRESS. THIS DRESS!! I would not have pegged this as a Calvin Klein but sometimes his genius prevails. The rhinestone elements are making it necessary for me to breathe into a brown paper bag. Not to be negative but I would say that Nicole's head has looked more perfect in other applications but obviously she is still killing it here. Maybe it's just that her hair is a wee bit limp. No matter: Standing O!
I rarely think that pants are as effective as a dress on the red carpet but this is the clear exception. Claire Foye in those rhinestones and shoulder cape are winning on the red carpet and at life in general. Standing O!
One thousand points for Effective Use of Color. Viola Davis wearing this orange Zac Posen is an image I will be holding on to when it is cold and dark and I need something to comfort me in a time of deep distress. Standing O!
There were so many good looks but people I HAVE A DAY JOB and my clients are waiting. Not to end on a sour note but wha-wha:
Remember that time of deep distress I mentioned moments ago? Witness Ariel Winter. Hell No!
Whether or not it is intentional, your watch communicates things about you. Leslie Albrecht from the Wall Street Journal's digital finance site, Market Watch, asked me to translate what is being said. (Keep reading, mom, most of my quotes are in the last third of this article):
A few years back I was hired to style a finance expert who regularly appears on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, etc. What I learned while working with her is that, although they supply commentators with nada wardrobe-wise, these networks are relentless with their wardrobe requests. One news giant (allow me to be evasive) was particularly unscrupulous and would send direction of this flavor: "Please no pants, and wear shorter skirts." It's worth noting that after this appeal, they switched their format to round-table (vs behind a desk) to ensure lots of leg-shots. Good times.
While all were guilty of putting the "direct" in direction, typically the organizations had more reasonable (and less exploitative) requests. For instance, a different news outlet that shot primarily from the torso up asked this client to distinguish herself by creating a "signature look." For her, this was akin to receiving a wedding invitation that specified "garden casual attire." The point is that people who are not stylists rarely want to think that hard about what they need to wear. My immediate instinct was to try incorporating a brooch/pin into her look because I couldn't remember ever having seen a commentator wear one. My go-to, of course, then and now is Alexis Bittar. The lucite pins we chose were a HUGE success and not only garnered kudos from the network, it registered in her viewer appeal ratings. Which leads me to the point of this post: YOU TOO SHOULD WEAR PINS. As evidenced by my experience, they are NOT for old ladies only and ARE an easy way to distinguish yourself from the masses. Lucky for you I recently previewed AB's stunning fall collection I have identified next season's IT pin. It's a diamond-encrusted snake acting as the pistil of a lucite flower and it is to die for (above). No link yet as it has not yet been released but will be soon!
For the briefest of moments this morning I considered acting like a normal mom and going to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk. Then I remembered I'm not normal and bought a swimsuit instead. This beautiful Zimmerman suit to be exact. I subscribe to the mode of thought that when Life serves you lemons, make lemonade. Except for future reference, Life, I'd prefer you serve me lemons rather than 24" of snow. Thanks. Other pretty and forward-looking-suits I considered:
I chose mostly one piece swimsuits because perhaps subconsciously I'm afraid of being cold; but I understand that this reasoning is akin to my mom wanting to be buried in a mausoleum because she's afraid she won't be able to breathe underground.
the odds of you being unattractive are extremely slim. But given all of her inherent advantages in life, need Lily-Rose Depp have been created quite this flawlessly:
Could she not have one merciful imperfection from which the rest of us could take comfort? The answer, clearly, is no. Not only the unbelievably good genes and the famous/rich parents but today she got to wear the gown in which I regularly float in my dreams to CLOSE THE CHANEL HAUTE COUTURE SHOW (see lead photo). I'm sure you gleaned from my excessive use of capitals that the most heralded position in a show's line up is the close. She is only 17. Is it possible that she has figured out how to channel all of the magic left in the universe directly to her house? Regardless, let us marvel at the back of this gown and enjoy the proportions of vast ruffles juxtaposed with the tiniest conceivable waist:
Which leads me to my only criticism of this look and it is not of her but rather of the fit of this piece on her. She is so incredibly tiny that the thick satin belt appeared to orbit her waist like a star to the sun. But I have a solution for this and it's called a milkshake. Problem solved.
I admit to having a lot of weaknesses so try not to be too judgey. Let's narrow things down by focusing on my fashion weaknesses since, frankly, they are easier to classify. These include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Polka dots
- Patterned shoes (hell - patterns in general)
- Anything that is "mixed media" (i.e. a piece that incorporates more than one medium)
- VELVET VELVET VELVET
- Did I mention VELVET?
To quote Oasis: I don't believe there's anybody who feels the way I do about you now.
To quote George Costanza: I would drape myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable.
I'm having trouble restraining myself over all of the velvet options presently available. As long as we are talking about weaknesses, I have an especially severe weakness for this antique rose colored velvet that I'm seeing everywhere. Witness the Hachiro Velvet Bootie by Joie pictured above. To hell with the fact that the mere suggestion of rain will ruin these lovelies! I will throw caution to the wind! (Dear God, please only send wind. No rain. Or anything else wet. Thank you.)
Some other options in this dusty pink shade:
Recently I was called a "temptress" by one of my clients and it delighted me to no end. Perhaps this was because in my role as temptress I can focus on YOUR weaknesses instead of mine. And that's about as deep as the Wardrobe Whisperer will ever get with you. The end.
My 91 year old grandma lives in an area of the country where camouflage is its own clothing group like, say, tops or trousers. This is a place of (VERY!!) informal dress. And yet to a recent dinner event she wore the above. (There should be no question who the Wardrobe Whisperer takes after.) Not only did she just "spruce up" (her term) she went the extra mile: SEQUINS, people, and MINK and FINE JEWELS!!! It's a wonder she didn't pull on her opera gloves. I adore this woman. Let's get another look sans mink stole so we can experience the sequins in their full glory:
Further, there are few people from whom I'm excited to receive hand-me-downs but my gram is at the top of that list. Of my favorite pieces bequeathed from her closet:
- A white shadow mink coat with ice blue satin lining and - added bonus - ice blue VELVET lined pockets (PURE LUXURY)
- A floor length cheetah print gown with side slit that I have worn on more occasions than I can count; Given the dress's silhouette, the last time I wore it there was a lot of speculation over how hot my grandmother must be
- A black silk crepe de chine cocktail dress with silk voile overlay
- A matching leopard print hat/muff both of which are exquisite and timeless
There are no more beautiful words than these spoken by my Grammy, "Jessie, let's go to the attic and find some treasures!" Let's end this post with a closer look at this darling creature. Here's me and my girl this summer on an outing for cool treats:
It feels like 99% of girls under the age of 6 dress up as a princess for Halloween. As a mother of a 4 year old who has chosen to be a princess for the last three years, I've questioned the imagination (or lack thereof) in this choice. Recently, however, its wisdom is becoming evident as I've been feeling the need to dress up as the Duchess of Cambridge. In this Alexander McQueen dress specifically. With those red shoes (RED!! She never does red). And also that bag because it ties in perfectly with those darling shoes. I may go bolder with my earrings but I am privy to the latitude granted by not having a Queen constantly breathing down my neck.
I love this photo because Kate seems stoked to be pimping this outfit. I feel like she's going to take one more step and then jump and click her heels together. (Is it possible that I'm projecting??) Her recent Royal Canadian Tour, from which this photo was taken, was such a sartorial success and I attribute this to the incorporation of red in her travel wardrobe. (Thank you Canada for having super national colors!!) In addition to the McQueen above, we saw her in a red Carolina Herrera coat, a red Preen cocktail dress, and even a red Really Wild sweater. (Her D&G wasn't red but it WAS gorgeous so peep it here!) It's my belief that the red infusion made her this ecstatic and therefore she should wear it often.
Dear Disney, please note that real princesses wear red. Your next princess must don this royal color. Thank you.
A few weeks ago I did a post on the dreaded plantar fascitis (micro tears in the foot) and how, frankly, it is ruining my world. Well, dear readers, I'd love to tell you that I am STRONG and that I have OVERCOME but you all know me by now and so it will come as no surprise that I am still wallowing in my fashion grief and misery. It's becoming an obsession. Instead of accepting this condition gracefully and handing over my extensive pump collection to my size 7 footed friends, I visit them (the pumps) in my closet daily as if they were prisoners.
To mix metaphors, I have become like a woman on a diet, circling the chocolate cupcakes at a party. I spend an inordinate amount of time online and in stores drooling over shoes that will never be mine. Want to join me? No? Too bad, you're coming along anyway:
This 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:
For 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.
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:
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.