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Playing Dress-Up

For nearly a year, I’ve been on “wedding spree.” I basically went from zero close girlfriends who were married to four! And while some people may bemoan the mandatory wedding festivities required of guests, I cannot lie: I love them! So, while this point of view doesn’t necessarily make me unique, it does allow me to relish in what others may not appreciate…a chance to play dress-up!!!

Each wedding is a true challenge for me (stylistically-speaking, that is). I believe finding the appropriate wedding garb to be extremely difficult, even for someone as patient as I am when it comes to finding the right look. Typically, I need two dresses: one for the rehearsal dinner and one for the wedding/reception. Finding not one, but two dresses is a deliciously difficult task for any woman, but for me, I’ve found it to be mindblowingly challenging.

Here are some photos of what I’ve worn to the recent weddings:

Jess & Brian's wedding in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. (I'm on the far left.) I'm wearing a purple silk frock from Bebe that I got on sale...a very good sale. *I don't typically shop at Bebe (not my style), but was desperate after months of searching. I aimlessly wandered into the store on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach and left with the dress. It also came with a yucky beaded belt that I immediately cut off...

This is one of my favorite finds of all time: a Catherine Malandrino dress from Neiman Marcus's New Year's Sale. (I actually don't think this photo is very good, FYI, but you can really see the ruffle details on the bodice, which are so beautiful.)

I’ve enjoyed both dresses, but am dying to find a new one for my dear friend Connery’s wedding in Boston in June. I’ve been toying with the idea of renting a dress from Rent The Runway for months and I just haven’t been able to take the plunge. I think I’m going to do it for her wedding, just to try it out!

Here’s the concept: You reserve a dress you want to wear to an event. You input your dates into a calendar, the site lets you know if the dress is available, and it’s shipped out to you. As soon as the event is over, you return the dress in a prepaid envelope. The website features designer dresses (Halston Heritage, Escada, Diane Von Furstenberg, D&G, etc.) that would be extremely hefty to purchase for a one time donning, but can be rented for $50+ dollars, depending on how many days you rent it for and how much the dress actually retails for. You can also rent accessories likes purses and jewelry.

The concept is wonderful, but I’m always contemplating whether or not a dress will actually fit me. If it doesn’t, I’ll be left without anything to wear as the rental is usually for four days (so you receive it right before the event of choice) or for eight days, which is more expensive. They do allow you to order the dress in two sizes or to order a backup dress as another option, to be sent with the original, which is nice.

Check out RTR’s How It Works in further detail here.

Here are a couple of dresses I’m thinking about renting for the wedding in June. I’d LOVE to know your thoughts on which one you like better and why. Post a response in my comments! (Click on the image below to make it larger…)

Dress option 1: Halston Heritage (Snapshot courtesy of Rent The Runway)

Dress option 2: Badgley Mischka (Snapshot courtesy of Rent The Runway)

Bright and Beautiful

Who What Wear is one of my favorite blogs to read. I get their daily newsletter and I’m usually itching to open it up and see what their focus is for the day. Yesterday, I opened my email amidst an overload of schoolwork (I’m nearing the end of my first semester at Georgetown) and to my delight, it was a compilation of Bright Bags!!! Being a collector of bags, especially ones that are brightly colored, I was stoked to see what spring and summer must-haves the ladies at WWW deemed essential to my wardrobe.

The bag I’m most coveting is the pink Anya Hindmarch drawstring, which is a great size and a beautiful color. It retails for $550.

Who What Wear Daily's April 12, 2011 posting

As I was perusing their suggestions for the most perfectly hued purses, I realized that one thing I have yet to do on this blog is share any of the handbags I own. I have a fun collection of mostly vintage pieces that I love to wear and change up often. So as I stood in front of my closet this morning, I realized that I have quite a few that are very striking in color and that I’d love to share a few photos of my faves!

Once I am finished with the semester, my treat will be to spend a day or two going thrifting and to vintage stores. I can’t believe I’ve lived here for a few months now and have only visited one vintage store. (But it’s a fun one…Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown!)

I’d love to know where the best places are to go thrifting/vintage-ing in the D.C. area…suggestions are welcome!

So, below checkout some of my favoritas!

Vintage Christian Dior, an eBay score on one of my luckier days 🙂

Vintage Stuart Weitzman, I didnt even realize he made bags! I bought this one a few years ago, before studs were so on trend. I loved having it early, of course!

Purple snakeskin Beirn bag. If you dont own a Beirn bag, you should! Theyre amazing! (I may even do a post just on their bags...stay tuned!)

Vintage yellow straw clutch. Its large and roomy and one of my favorite things to pair with all black ensembles.

My cherished vintage Rodo purse. I found this at a thrift store and its definitely one of my favorite finds. It was in perfect condition and its boxy, yet angular shape is unique. Love!

Inspired Whimsy

Dear World,

I’ve been working nonstop trying to decorate my new apartment to perfection. This is for several reasons, including the fact that having a serene and beautiful home is very important to me. (I think this has to do with the fact that I have moved around a lot, but more on that some other time!) And of course, because I’m dying to throw a housewarming soirée where I can serve champagne cocktails and cupcakes (from Lavender Moon, if you must know)!! I’m endlessly perusing site after site, searching for inspiration on how to make my little abode comfortable and chic. I’ve also spent an unnecessary amount of time looking at shower curtains, throw rugs and drawer pulls…

So, I thought I’d respond to a post from one of my favorite blogs out there: The Tail (it’s Aprizi‘s blog). The Tail hosts guest curators (members of Aprizi’s team) who create “lookbooks” filled with things they find inspiring, featuring “new and emerging designers, artisans and independent brands.” Each post is chock full of beautifully curated pages with a tons of ideas for its readers. What I totally love (and just discovered!) is that they encourage outsiders to participate too…

An excerpt from their About Us section of the blog:

Guest Curating Lookbooks
If you want to guest-curate a lookbook from your favorite things on Aprizi, we welcome your participation. Just drop us a line at info@aprizi.com to learn more or to suggest the theme you want to focus on.

*I can’t wait to see if I can guest-curate for The Tail, how very, very cool 🙂

On March 30, The Tail introduced a new member to the team: Alexandra Burr. She’ll be contributing home-inspired lookbooks full of things she loves. Here is a screen shot of the post, but definitely go and check it out in its entirety here:

In her “lookbook” she included a bracelet by Bing Bang that I am now OBSESSED with:

Boyfriend Chain Bracelet by Bing Bang, $54. Photo courtesy of Bing Bang.

I’m trying to figure out a way to convince myself that I really and truly deserve (to buy) it…suggestions are welcome!

The Long and Short of It

I really need shorts. This may come as a surprise for those who know I recently moved from Miami to D.C., but it’s true (I swear)! I have been much more of a dress girl during the past five years and I’ve decided that my shortage in mini-pants is unacceptable. (Pun completely intended. Seriously.)

Fast forward to Monday afternoon: I was exploring Tyson’s Corner for the first time since I moved. Many people who know me well know that I have a (very strong) dislike for shopping malls. I love shopping. I hate malls. I thought I’d give Tyson’s a try, but as soon as I set foot in the massive, escalator ridden, teenager fortified, enclosed space, I knew it would be trouble. And though I did try with all my might, my mall experience was still, well, not my cup of tea.

But back to the shorts dilemma: I have been on the hunt for the perfect pair of leather shorts for spring. Upon sharing this with my friend Kelli, she proceeded to look at me like I was a crazy and then waited for an explanation. A good one. I forget sometimes that clothing items I deem as “must-owns” are not necessarily the case for everyone! I tried to explain to her that I wanted a pair of tailored, leather shorts in a tan color, or black. But I’m not so sure I convinced her…so I’ve decided to list the few I’ve found and see if I get any responses on which ones others like. But first, I’d love to know what you wear during the summer months…

Here are some leather shorts I’m considering/coveting:

Basic Line Up Leather Shorts from Queen’s Wardrobe, $72

Photo courtesy of Queen’s Wardrobe

Maje Expo Leather Shorts from NET-A-PORTER, $275

Photo courtesy of NET-A-PORTER

Plastic Island Midnight Faux Leather Shorts from Shopbop, $62

Photo courtesy of Shopbop

And, while this is TOTALLY random and unrelated, I want to share a song that I absolutely love that I thought of as I was perusing Shopbop.com today (you’ll see why when you listen)!

Please enjoy my first audio file, yay! Okay, UPDATE: This is going to make me look like a total amateur (which, well, I AM) but I can’t seem to insert an audio file. Apparently I have to purchase a space upgrade or use an MP3 file from the internet and input HTML code. So in the interest of saving my sanity (and another hour or two spent trying to figure it out myself), below is the music video, courtesy of You Tube.

Sébastien Tellier is a strange and very cool dude. Check out his song “Divine” from the album Sexuality

ReFashioner.com = Happiness

I am composing this post as a direct response to my OBSESSION with ReFashioner.com (and its blog by founder Kate Sekules) for my Social Media class. I have been DYING to do a post on this particular Web site and there just hasn’t been a good week to cover it in my postings for class. This week isn’t any more relevant, but fearing that the semester is nearing an end and I am running out of time, I have decided I’m just going to write about it, as I want to share the site with as many people as possible!!

Being a true collector of all things fashion-related (especially vintage), this site is like a dream for me, and here’s why:

About ReFashioner:

“ReFashioner is a curated, invitation-only fashion swapping site. Here, the haute one-wear-wonders, also-rans and wrong sizes that clog the backs of the best closets are united with their true owners. After all, your mistake is another girl’s treasure. Our pieces are vetted for quality, and we’ve done away with the need to find the “other half” of a swap-trading isn’t tit-for-tat, but takes the form of actual shopping. Since we get attached to our clothes, Refashioners can tell their garments’ stories, customize their own space, link with others whose style they like, and generally obsess about designers, details and dressing. Questions? Email us: info@refashioner.com. To apply for an invitation: membership@refashioner.com.”

Basically, this site allows me to pass along designer garments I am no longer stoked about to others by putting them up for “swapping” in my virtual closet. I can peruse other people’s closets and they can shop mine. Each garment is given a value, ReFashioner dollars, and you use that money to purchase other items you want on the site. Once you purchase an item you pay a small fee to ReFashioner and for shipping, usually totaling less than $20 each time. If someone purchases one of your items, the ReFashioner Team notifies you via email and sends along a pre-paid mailing label. Though it is an invitation-only site, you can shoot the ReFashioner Team an email with why you think your closet should be included on the site and they’ll let you apply for an invitation to join.

The site is super helpful in explaining its unique concept, so make sure to click here to see How It Works and here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Below is a screen shot of their home page, to give you a sneak peek:

I have scored so many special things from this site, including an amazing vintage Donna Karan silk skirt for my Mom (for Christmas), several fantastic handbags for girlfriends as gifts, a gorgeous Moschino silk scarf, a sweet tulle and glass necklace, and a truly FABULOUS vintage winter coat that fits me perfectly.

I’m in L.O.V.E.

The MADness Ensues!

Mad Men.

Okay, so maybe I’m a little late to the (cocktail) party. But I often choose to contemplate (and thus forgo) things that are trendy and of the moment in favor of exploring it later and forming my own opinion. I’ve convinced myself that this way I feel less pressured to like something just because everyone else does. This specifically applies to Mad Men because I had heard about the show for such a long time, but had decided that since it was SO in, I probably wouldn’t like it. I did the same thing with Glee, too. And while we’re at it, Uggs (they are a cold weather staple), dark nail polish (Hello, Essie. Nice to meet you…) and embracing my naturally curly hair (on certain days I do indeed love it). Clearly I need to rethink my theory…

The truth is that I initially didn’t like Mad Men when the first three episodes arrived in my mailbox via Netflix. I watched them in greatly touted anticipation and was immediately saddened: the show was depressing! I sent back the DVD after a couple of days feeling disappointed. I even discussed it with another girlfriend who also felt like the show was too dark for her taste. It seemed that we were the only two people I knew who were not immediately charmed by the show.

AND THEN: A few months went by and I decided to give the show another try, watching it for free with an online streaming site (no commitment if I didn’t like the subsequent episodes). Somewhere between episodes four and five of Season 1 I had a complete epiphany. Said epiphany? That I was afraid to like MM because it would mean being hooked on yet another show that would take me four seasons of catching up to in order to be up to speed. The truth was that I had become utterly obsessed with the show’s fashion (not a big shocker, I know) and was immediately ensconced in the characters and their lives. It made me want to be transported back to the 60s, stat. And it still does.

I find myself wanting to take notes and photos of every scene, every outfit. I rack my brain (and my closet full of vintage) to try and recreate a look or use something I saw as inspiration for my next night out. And…I usually end each episode scheming and daydreaming of how I’ll make my way to Los Angeles to get a gig on the show assisting the costume designer, Janie Bryant. I mean, let’s face it: she has my dream job. She gets to shop, design and rework vintage clothing!!!!!! And she gets paid to do it. So as I perused AMC’s site recently, I discovered that there is actually a whole section of photos and a video with explanations of the costume choices from Season 4. Click here to check it out.

And just in case you’re wondering: Here are some of my favorite looks from the past four seasons…

Joan Holloway, Season 1. (The buckle collar KILLS me!) Photo by Carin Baer. Courtesy of AMC.

 

Betty Draper, Season 1.( I'm convinced this is the perfect shade of blue for a winter coat.) Photo by Carin Baer. Courtesy of AMC.

Betty Draper, Season 1. (The jeweled fan detail on the bodice and her stole are just out of control gorgeous.) Photo by Carin Baer. Courtesy of AMC.

Joan Holloway, Season 1. (The draping on this blouse paired with the tweed skirt is perfection.) Photo by Carin Baer. Courtesy of AMC.

Betty Draper in Italy, Season 3. (I'm obsessed with her hair AND her earrings.) Photo by Carin Baer. Courtesy of AMC.

Bethany Van Nuys, Season 4. (In this episode, Bethany models the dress for Don on a date. The black detailing is actually fringe and the back is ah-mazing.) Photo by Michael Yarish. Courtesy of AMC.

So as last week being Georgetown’s Spring Break, I took the opportunity to make my way through the rest of Season 4. I rationed out the most recent season because I knew I would be a bit heartbroken when it was over. And of course, I was. I’ve been reading that the show hasn’t been renewed for a fifth season and it is beginning to have me very worried.

*And on a note for class, I have found myself making a continual effort to tag, link and mention things that I think will be pertinent in a Google search, though I am still figuring it all out. I’ve sort of realized that until I have a very fine-tuned topic, it’ll be hard to try and get a steady stream of readers to frequent my blog. At this point, I’m still trying to figure out what topics produce my best writing and how to make it all cohesive.

**On another note, I have found myself conducting a lot of research for each of my blog posts for class, especially utilizing Google. It helps me see what is already out there for a topic I want to write about and gives me perspective on how I should approach my own blog entry. In order to produce a post that is both informative and unique, I know I need to make my blog interactive and relevant in order for it to be fresh.

New Discoveries

So as I delved into our new book assigned in my Social Media class, I began to think about just how much I’ve learned in the mere five classes that have been held so far this semester. It boggled my mind as I perused my notes and the things we’ve covered. It was exciting to think about, but also totally overwhelming! And cracking open Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail has just perpetuated my amazement of how expansive everything is becoming because of the Internet. And I mean EXPANSIVE!

The Long Tail is defined and coined by Chris Anderson as “the concept of using the efficient economics of online retail to aggregate a large inventory of relatively low sellers.” (Although he does note that the actual concept was created by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.) This concept, as outlined in Anderson’s intro (quoted here) and in the first few chapters of his book helped define a concept to me that I had never actually realized was a concept. It got me thinking about some of the obscure style-related Web sites that I use on a daily basis and how their success and popularity could really only be possible through this “Long Tail” theory. One site in particular, Aprizi, seemed to correlate directly to the words I was reading in Anderson’s book. Aprizi prizes itself on a concept concocted by its founders as a “Pandora for shopping” so to speak. Their  site stemmed from the idea that there really wasn’t a venue for independent/emerging designers on the Internet that made it easy to search for items (and tally your favorites) in one place. In reading their Mission Statement, you clearly see a connection between The Long Tail concept and Aprizi’s online retail concept.

Our professor asked us to think about how we’ll be utilizing social media tools within our blog. I plan to use Aprizi (though it’s not a traditional tool like Facebook) to share with my readers (all four of you!) the things I’m coveting from Aprizi. I hope to give these designers more coverage and to help perpetuate Aprizi’s concept to other fashionistas who haven’t discovered its fabulousity yet!

Click here to see my first set of “Likes” on the Web site. I’ve made my list of things I like public so everyone can see!