Search Results for: label/Coach

Glenda Bailey Book Signing at Coach DC

Last night I walked almost two miles in pouring rain (and 4” heels) for this:

“Please excuse my dampness, it is such a pleasure to meet you!”

Glenda Bailey, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar was at the Coach store in Georgetown, signing copies of her book, Harper’s Bazaar Greatest Hits. And you know, Bazaar is by far my favorite fashion magazine. I had plans to leave work around 4:30, take the bus from Dupont to Georgetown, meet up with my sister who works there, go together to Coach and have a book signed by the wonderful Ms. Bailey.

And then it decided to rain. Rain so much that there were flood warnings. And then there was Occupy DC who shut down many streets near my office. Unable to get a bus, cabs scarce due to the rain and lack of buses, I started walking towards Georgetown hoping to hail a cab. Halfway there, I called my sister and said, “Screw it, I don’t really need that book that bad. Let’s go get dinner and some drinks instead.” She offered to drive towards me and find a warm cozy restaurant where I could dry my feet and get a nice buzz off a couple glasses of wine.

And then I thought, why? So I am wet, it’s not as though I will melt. It was a surprisingly warm evening, and I was wearing my Miss Sixty booties which kept my feet high above the puddles and pretty comfortable. I felt pretty blessed to work in such a beautiful city, and if it weren’t raining the walk down M Street would be very romantic. So instead of cursing the rain and lack of cabs, I enjoyed my walk. And I walked all the way to Coach, where I met my sister.

Of course along the way my feet got drenched, a car splashed a puddle all down my left side, my mascara was down to my cheekbones, and my previously-wavy hair with bangs became a wet matted mess. But I arrived in one piece and with plenty of time to say hello to my fellow bloggers, have a sip of champagne, and meet Glenda Bailey.

For you RHODC viewers (and local yokels who watch the CW) you’ll recognize Paul Wharton

Thanks to my sister for snapping these pictures!

As luck would have it, my camera was near the end of the battery, so my pictures aren’t that fabulous. However, my beloved blogging buddies Comme Coco and So Much to Smile About were there with their DSLRs and captured many excellent images.  A few shots from Comme Coco:

The event was wonderful – once I arrived they checked my soaking trench and umbrella and offered me a glass of champagne. Waiters walked around the store offering petit fours and mini whoopee pies. All of DC’s fashion elite were there (made me feel self-conscious being a drowned rat but I got over it). My sister and I each bought a copy of the book and stood in line. Glenda was so gracious, looked each person in the eye and wrote a unique and personal message in each book. My inscription?

Alison you have a great smile – and style. With love Glenda

Totally made the whole evening worthwhile!

A big thanks to Coach for organizing this book signing, and thanks for Glenda Bailey and Harper’s Bazaar for visiting our city. Washington DC is full of those who are passionate about fashion, and it was a pleasure to have such an event in our hometown!

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Ask Allie: Should I Go to Coachella?

A friend of mine has an extra ticket to Coachella and asked if I want to go. I’ve never been to a music festival in my life, though I do objectively think I like good music. Is it all going to be “kids” and not my scene? What should I wear/pack? We aren’t camping, we are staying in a hotel.

Though I have been to many different music festivals, I have not attended Coachella. However my good friend Nicole has been the past couple of years and has had a blast. Like you, she stays in a hotel instead of camping. And like you and me, she is not a “kid” and isn’t into the stereotypical festie scene. I say go, you’ll have a great time and have a great story to share with your friends and your kids once they’re old enough to consider attending a similar event. You will see people of every age and walk of life. Don’t base a festival by the photos you see on the Internet, photographers love to capture that which will increase pageviews or look crazy/cool/fashionable.

Since you’re staying in a hotel, packing is far simpler. Treat it as if you were going to a day festival like Columbia’s Wine in the Woods or Virgin FreeFest. You want to dress and pack to be able to be away from your hotel for the entire day but no need to act as though you’re going on an expedition to the wilderness. But again, don’t base your fashion on the pictures you find on the internet of half-dressed college kids and celebrities. You can seriously wear anything and look fine; dress to fit your current closet and for comfort.

Shop similar: top | shorts | sandals | hat | sunglasses | bracelet | bag

This outfit embraces the boho style of California without looking like a costume. Wear a tank or bathing suit under the top when it’s warm, put it back on when in the shade or when the sun goes down. Denim shorts are a popular choice for music festivals because they can take a beating, but be sure they’re a bit slouchy and loose so it’s easy to slip them on and off when you’re sweaty in a hot cramped porta-potty. Sandals are fine for a festival, I wear them often, but be sure they are well broken in beforehand to prevent blisters. A hat and sunglasses are a must; a crossbody bag or backpack is the best choice to carry your essentials as it leaves your hands free to hold a drink, take a picture, or dance.

Shop similar: dress | sneakers | hat | sunglasses | shirt | bag

I love wearing cotton dresses to music festivals; they float away from the body, dry quickly, and are comfortable in the heat. Consider a pair of bike shorts underneath for both modesty when sitting on the ground, and to prevent chafing. A pair of canvas sneakers like Chucks or Supergas are great for a festival and look adorable with a girly floral dress. Such a dress looks great with a big sun hat and tortoise frames, carry a denim shirt to put on when the sun sets and the temperature drops.

Shop similar: top | pants | shoes | hat | sunglasses | jacket | bag

I love how flowy lightweight trousers and track pants are in style, they are comfortable in the heat and perfect for a music festival. In a breezy fabric, a pair of pants like this protect you from the sun, from chafing, and are uber comfortable. Pair with a drapey tank or tee for breezy style, lightweight shoes like TOMS or sandals will finish the look. A well-worn denim jacket stuffed in your locker or bag will not only keep your warm later in the day, it makes for a pretty good groundcover when sitting on the grass.

As for a bag, look for one that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time and leaves your hands free. I have a small backpack I take to festivals, but I have also done a crossbody purse and even a fanny pack. Each person has different needs when at a music festival, but I think these are the essentials:

reusable water bottle (take in empty) sunscreen | wet wipes (to sanitize hands before eating as well for gross porta-potties) | bandana (sun and dirt protection as well as much more) | extra hair ties or barrettes | ear plugs (you can get the disposable ones, I have these Hearos and they’re great and come in a carrying case) | cash (as well as a credit card and your ID and insurance card) | Sharpie and notepad and/or business cards (get autographs, write email of a new friend, etc.) | gum or mints | lip balm with SPF | cell phone with a battery case or a juice pack

For more information, visit my previous posts on music festivals:

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Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?


Fit
If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.


Style
Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.


If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.


Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.


If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.


Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.


Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.


At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.


In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Tee – LOFT (similar)
Blazer – The Limited (similar)
SkirtAnn Taylor
Necklace - c/o Ann Taylor
TightsDKNY
Shoes – Jessica Simpson (similar)
Coat - Lands End
PashminaNordstrom
Gloves – Coach (similar)

Happy 2012 everyone! Back to work, and back to true winter weather! Boy today is cold, but it’s nice to be able to wear the red cashmere pashmina and matching red cashmere-lined leather gloves from Coach that my sister got me for Christmas!

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How to “Read” Fashion Magazines

Pre-pubescent women below 100 lbs. showing off dresses in the thousands. Ads for Armani, Versace, Missoni, Chanel and any other brand you couldn’t possibly afford (and possibly couldn’t even find for sale in your neck of the woods). Crazy outfits of sheer blouses without camisoles, plaids with polka dots, turquoise false lashes and 6″ platform wedges. How are these magazines supposed to help the typical woman in America? How can Vogue, W, Bazaar and Elle assist you in your journey to the suburban shopping mall?

Some fashion magazines are more helpful than others. Lucky magazine not only tells you what is hip, but where to purchase these hip items. They categorize trends, with a page dedicated to the lace trend, a page dedicated to wedge shoes, a page dedicated to croco bags. While encouraging the shopper to visit New York boutiques, a few chain stores are mentioned. Even if you cannot afford the Prada skirt, you can see the length, fabric and cut and can look for a similar version at Macy’s.

Bazaar is one of my favorite magazines. They show celebrities and socialites in what’s hip for the next season, have all the hot new ads from the most luxurious brands, but also breaks fashion down for the Every Woman. So the trends for Spring are a bit of cowgirl, a bit of nautical and a bit of safari? Bazaar will show how a woman in her 20’s can wear the trends, a woman in her 30’s and all the way up to her 70’s. They also will have a spread informing the reader about the hot new trends. As always, they have a What’s Hot/What’s Not on the very last page.

Every fashion magazine can be beneficial to you, no matter your age, dress size or income. It’s not about going into debt for a Dior bag or even for trying to replicate a Dolce and Gabanna ad with pieces from Target. No, it’s getting concepts.

Look at the ads. Really examine them as you would a painting in a museum. What colors are being worn? What does the shoe look like? What kind of fabric? Is there a specific print that is the theme? Now flip the page and look at the next ad. Is there any similarity? Though each high-end designer has their own signature style, there is often a theme for each season that resonates on the runway and in the ads. Maybe it’s lace trim, maybe it’s wood heels on the shoes. It could be a lot of black – it sure was this winter. Don’t look at these ads and roll your eyes over the age or weight of the models, the astronomical prices and ridiculousness of the garments. See it as art, and then break it down.

Be Realistic. If the magazine says every woman needs the new Fendi purse, don’t buy the Fendi purse if you don’t make enough money to buy a Fendi purse for fun. The purse will be passé in a year. Don’t go on a street corner and buy a faux Fendi purse. It will look fake, and it will look tacky and desperate. Don’t wait two years and buy a cheesy knock-off of what the Fendi purse was shaped like from Wal-Mart. Again tacky and desperate. Instead, break it down. What makes that bag new and hip? Is it the oversized shape? Use of silver hardware? A short handle? Croco leather? White with black trim? Take those details with you when you go shopping. Look for something that is beautiful on it’s own, fits your lifestyle and needs, but may incorporate those details. I for one adored the Balenciaga Motorcycle bags that celebs like Nicole Ritchie and Jessica Simpson were sporting. I couldn’t afford the bag, and didn’t want to look like an idiot with a faux silver or turquoise pleather wanna-be bag on my wrist. Therefore I analyzed the look of the bag. What about it did I like? The hardware. The large size. The short handle. The way the leather looks a bit crackled and a bit glazed. When I went to buy a new purse I found a slouchy oversized purse with lots of hardware and metal detail in a similar leather finish and a color that complimented my wardrobe. Not Balenciaga, couldn’t be mistaken for a Motorcycle bag, but receives many compliments, holds all my stuff and keeps my image current.

Don’t be a Label Whore. I was in an elevator yesterday with a woman. A gorgeous woman with a gorgeous figure. Her beauty was not the first thing I saw. She was wearing a puffy Baby Phat coat with a faux fur trim in a weird olive/taupe color. She had on extremely tight Seven for All Mankind jeans that were too low on the waist and too long on her ankles. She had on a Tiffany bracelet AND a Tiffany necklace. She had on a Coach logo purse – quite large and quite pink. Under her coat was a black fitted tee with “Bebe” in rhinestones across the chest. She had on false eyelashes, very pink glossy lips and barely any other makeup. Her hair was in a formal updo with tendrils around her face, her hair obviously meticulously highlighted, lowlighted and streaked on a regular basis. And then on her feet were those high-heeled Timberland-esque dress boots. Her outfit probably cost a ton of money, but she looked terrible. Her clothes didn’t compliment her figure, or one another. She was a walking fashion victim, a slave to the name brands. By caring so much about the names, she lost sight of what the brands were trying to create – FASHION. I highly doubt you are going to the Academy Awards any time soon. No one is going to stop you walking down the street and say “Who are you wearing?” Even if they do, how cool would you be by saying, “This old thing? I picked it up at Target last season.” Think Sharon Stone when she wore a Gap tee shirt to an awards ceremony. No one wrote her off as cheap or tacky. Instead she was celebrated for that fashion move.

It is understandable to want to buy luxury, to splurge on designer. You work hard, you want to reward yourself. I respect that, and I indulge in that as well. Just when you do, think about the rules you hold for all other aspects of your life:
Does it fit into your life?
Does it flatter?
Will it work for the long haul?
Is it worth it?

If you got that promotion, go ahead and buy a Coach purse, but buy one that will go with your current wardrobe, and will still be beautiful next year. My friend has a Coach bag that she bought herself after getting her degree in 1998. She still carries around that camel colored tote, and still gets compliments all the time. She bought something luxurious, something obviously a brand name, but something that fit her lifestyle, fashion style and something that works in the 90’s as well as the new millennium. A few years ago I found a beautifully tailored black wool coat from Calvin Klein. I put it on and felt like a socialite. I felt elegant, tall and slim. It was at a discount store, but still out of my price range. It was the first item I ever put on layaway. When I made the final payment, I still adored the coat. Now a few years later, I still love the coat, it’s cut, it’s feel. To me, it was worth the money. I wear it and look expensive, but I am not shouting “This is a Calvin Klein coat from 2001!” I am whispering “I am wearing an expensive, well made garment and it is designer.”

Again, look in the magazines. Look at the spreads of celebrities at galas and fundraisers. Are they showing up in head to toe labels? Unless you’re Kimora Lee Simmons or Missy Elliott, the answer probably is no. The women who look polished, elegant, sexy and expensive do not flash their designer labels. They wear what is stylish, flattering and beautiful.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read. When a magazine totes a certain top or moisturizer as great, it’s not always because it’s great. Magazines receive free stuff all the time, and are encouraged in different ways to promote this stuff. These freebies end up in fashion spreads, articles about great new things for the season, or advice columns. Don’t take what one magazine says as gospel. It’s best to have something to compare it with. Don’t worship Vogue if you won’t also pick up In Style. Don’t read Lucky without W. By reading more magazines (even in the line at the grocery or at the pharmacy while waiting for a prescription) you get a more well-rounded view of what is hot, what is trendy, and what is utterly ridiculous.

Make it Age and Shape Appropriate. Anyone over 27 and a size 4 should not be wearing dress shorts. Mischa Barton and Nicole Ritchie and Lindsay Lohan are all wearing short creased shorts to red carpet events. Well good for them. Are you built like Lindsay Lohan? Are you the age of Mischa Barton? If you answered yes to both, God Speed and Good Luck. For the rest of us, STEER AWAY FROM THE SHORTS. Just because it’s hip, doesn’t mean to wear it. We don’t live in the era of cut and dry fashion. My mom speaks of circle skirts, piped charcoal blazers and cigarette pants while growing up. They weren’t flattering on her, but she wore them because EVERYONE wore them. That, and nothing else. Fashion has changed and has become more flexible and forgiving. If this season is all about olive green and you look terrible in olive green, then don’t wear it. If magazines are telling you that leggings are hot this season (which they are) but you are over 25, you’re over 105 lbs. and you wore in an office setting you shouldn’t pick up a pair your next trip to the mall. If the new look is nautical, that doesn’t mean you need to go buy a navy and white striped boat neck shirt to make your torso seem twice it’s size. Instead consider pieces that may be more appropriate. Crisp white trousers with a solid navy sweater. A navy blazer with gold buttons paired with a white shirt and vintage washed jeans. There are different ways to incorporate trends without looking like a fashion victim or worse… unflattering.

Make a List. So you like the polka dots featured in Bazaar. You like the new width of jeans seen in In Style. You love how navy is coming back into vogue on the pages of Vogue. Write these things down, or tear out pages from your glossy magazines and take them with you on your shopping excursions for inspiration. When you get overwhelmed in a sea of fabric at Lord and Taylor’s pull out your list. It will keep you centered and less overwhelmed.
And finally, See Fashion as Art. If you stop looking at fashion as the unobtainable, you’ll despise it. The majority of our country cannot afford a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes, a Prada dress, a Chanel suit. That’s okay. Just look at that Chanel suit or that Prada dress in the magazine’s fashion spread and try to figure out why they chose to display it. Is it the color? The cut? The fabric? What about makes it less insane (because much high fashion is totally insane and unwearable in normal society) and more beautiful? Take that one thing with you as you go shopping this season. If you try to see the beauty and detail in fashion, you will be more likely to buy what makes you look more beautiful when you wear it.

Ask Allie: Handbags for Corporate America

What types of handbags should the average career woman have in her closet? Also, could you advise me on a classic, plain, black everyday bag?

A career woman should have some sort of tote or satchel that is preferably black and can carry the unexpected – materials for a presentation, swag from a conference, a change of clothes for an after-work event. I wrote about commuter totes here, they are a good choice for this.  I also wrote about career essentials and what to put in your work bag.

I also recommend a subtle and polished looking purse that is big enough to tuck in a tablet, notepad, or even your laptop. Leather is a good choice for it can look great for many years with care and conditioning. A few bags I have seen lately that would look classic now and a couple years from now.  While I show different colors, all the bags featured come in black.

For purses and totes, it’s good to choose a classic color that works with the majority of your office attire (black, gray, camel, dark navy or brown if that fits your wardrobe and personal style). Don’t choose styles with obvious logos or weird textures or color accents because they can look tacky to some and dated far more quickly. A bag with structure will look more professional, and will also do a better job of keeping the contents organized. Test the strap to be sure it will fit over your shoulder even if you are wearing a bulky winter coat.

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My Wardrobe Today – Friday

TeeStyleMint
Skirt – J. Crew via eBay ($6.00!)
Bracelet -Moschitto Designs
TightsDKNY
Shoes - Nine West (similar)
Belt - Lauren Ralph Lauren
Peacoat – Calvin Klein (similar)
Pashmina - Nordstrom (similar)
Gloves – Coach (similar)

I keep saying I need to get a black patent skinny belt, all the while forgetting that my leopard-print haircalf belt is reversible! Always nice to shop within your own closet!

I am still feeling crummy, but doing better. Went to work a bit late to get some more rest, and I hope to rest up this weekend. We have a dinner/playdate tomorrow evening with a family who has a little one who is friends with Emerson, and I will be hitting the mall with my sister on Sunday (getting her back into the game!). Otherwise I plan on sleeping, drinking lots of fluids, and healing! What are your plans for the weekend?

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Blogging Love – Interview!

I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!

You can check out the interview here.

I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)

Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!

Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog

Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.

Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!

Favorite Web site to visit: FabSugar.com. They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.

Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:

1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.

2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.

3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.

Christmas 2011 in Photos

Christmas Eve we go to my sister’s house for dinner. It’s just immediate family – my mom and her boyfriend, my sister, and the three of us. Each year she makes a fabulous meal and this year was no exception.

I wore my black merino turtleneck from Ann Taylor that I have had for eons, along with new red cropped pants from Ann Taylor and my Nine West leopard haircalf pumps.

Red lips, black liquid liner, and my chunky gold and crystal Anthropologie bracelet.

My sister wore a gorgeous silk dress from Maggy London with a chunky black statement necklace, black opaque tights and heels.

Emerson wore an adorable pink floral dress from BabyGap that my sister got her for the holidays.  She LOVES this dress, and would wear it every day if we let her.

Debbie had traditional Christmas crackers at each place setting, which was fun – little random gifts and crowns for everyone!

Emerson opened her stocking from “Santa” and then my husband read The Night Before Christmas.

Christmas morning, we went to my mom’s house to eat breakfast…

And then open presents!  Emerson LOVES her new dollhouse and has been playing with it non-stop since yesterday morning.  Today we went out to drop off a gift at a friend’s house and I was able to test drive my new red Coach leather gloves and pashmina! I haven’t yet opened my Tom Ford book – afraid I’ll mess it up, it’s so gorgeous!

Today has been very low-key – other than going to drop off the gift we have stayed in the house just relaxing and spending time together.

How did you spend the holiday weekend?

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Merry Christmas!

While Emerson and my husband nap, I thought I would take a moment to log in and wish those of you who celebrate the holiday a very merry Christmas!

Last night we went to my sister’s house – she hosts Christmas Eve dinner each year and it’s always an amazing meal.  This year she made Cassoulet, salad, and a trifle for dessert.  Emerson opened her stocking and had a blast with a Dora puzzle and toy dinosaurs.

We started Christmas day at my mom’s house where we opened presents and had breakfast of mimosas, coffee cake, bagels and lox, coffee, and fruit. Emerson got this dollhouse from us, this computer from my mom’s boyfriend, and tons of goodies from her Aunt Debbie and Grandma.

Santa was good to me as well – I got this book, a red cashmere pashmina, red cashmere-lined leather gloves from Coach, some white serving dishes, and a bottle-cutting kit. Can’t wait to play with that kit, make some new vases and cups from old bottles!

Tonight we are meeting up with family for dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant – we started a restaurant Christmas dinner tradition last year and love it – no dishes to wash and margaritas!

Will have pictures in a future post, but for now I need to get in a disco nap prior to this evening’s festivities!

I wish all of you a day of happiness!

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My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

Tee - LOFT
Skirt – Gap (circa 2000 – similar)
Booties - Miss Sixty (similar)
Bracelets - eBay, random boutique, UTAC, cuff I have owned since ’97

When I left the retail world, I gained weight slowly but steadily. To go from practically walking and climbing ladders for 50-70 hours a week to sitting on my butt for 40, it really changed my metabolism and clothing size. Over time I gathered quite a collection of pieces from my smaller me, hoping they would fit again. Pieces I felt were classics, well-made, worthy of real estate in my small home. This skirt was one of them. I got this in 2000 or so on the Gap clearance rack at Columbia Mall in Maryland and I remember paying $50 for it because there was a stain on it (which came out with a little Coach leather conditioner I already had on hand).

I forgot about this skirt until I saw Vahni from Grit & Glamour wear the same skirt on her blog this past spring. So I went up to my attic and found it. I couldn’t believe that the tag said it was a size 8 – was I really ever that small? I tried it on… and couldn’t get it up over my hips. I decided to hang it in my closet for inspiration. This weekend I grabbed it, thinking it was my Ann Taylor leather skirt. I pulled it on, and once it was up to my waist I realized it was the Gap skirt. And once it was up to my waist I realized IT WAS UP TO MY WAIST! I needed my husband to finish zipping it for me, but IT FIT! However, it was still too tight to wear in public.

So this week I have put it on after work to stretch it out a bit. I did the Denim Squat Dance a few times, and some times just hung out wearing it while sitting on the couch. Tried it this morning and it zipped up no problem. Hooray! So while it is technically a size 8, it’s more like a 10 after my wiggles and dances.

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Marshalls Shoe MegaShop Does it Again!

Marshalls Shoe MegaShopCompanies spend so much on advertising and marketing… I love it when they do it well. This time last year I posted about a fabulous truck I saw on the DC streets – Marshalls filled a glass box with tons of covetable shoes. I know it stopped me in my tracks and had me look up the address of my nearest Marshalls location…

Thursday as I was heading home from my job in DC I experienced another brilliant campaign for Marshalls Shoe MegaShop! A giant red stiletto car, and a bunch of cute guys with fab shoes on silver platters! They were all over Connecticut Avenue at every intersection passing out cards where one could win a shoe wardrobe from Marshalls. Brilliant contest cards where you have to visit your closest location to see if you have won.

Click on photos to see them larger…

Marshalls Shoe MegaShopMarshalls Shoe MegaShopMarshalls Shoe MegaShop

And so, Allie headed to Marshalls on her way home!

I didn’t win a shoe wardrobe, but I was impressed with the shoe collection in their MegaShop. The perfect shoe for fall – a pointy-toed black patent high-heel pump was available from popular brands like BCBGirls and Impo for far less than department stores. Amazing riding boots from Coach and Cole Hahn, oxford booties from Nine West, round-toe flats from Aerosoles and more were there at reasonable prices (and with plenty of sizes available!). If I was currently plagued with swollen pregnant feet, I would have been grabbing boxes left and right!

It’s awesome to see a company not only get their marketing right, but also their product. I commend Marshalls for a job well done – and an awesome place to find current footwear styles and hot brands for less!

What I Wore: Late Summer Style

wardrobe oxygen what I wore silk dress nordstrom Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Kendra Scott Necklace Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore Halogen Silk Dress

Dress: Halogen | Shoes: Vince Camuto ‘Effel’ | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (now on sale at Gilt!) | Cast Cover: c/o CastCoverz! | Bag: Coach (vintage - similar) | Necklace: Kendra Scott c/o POPSUGAR Must Have Box | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

This summer has been all about dresses. Not only are they easier to wear with my cast (tucking in, structured jackets and shirts haven’t been easy and a knit top with pants can easily look too casual or schlumpy for work), they’re far more comfortable in the DC heat and humidity. I’ve become a dress connoisseur of sorts, quite picky with what I want. It can’t be too tight, it needs to be able to transition between seasons, I’d like it to be able to dress up and down (work and weekends), and pockets are a mega plus.

Enter this dress from Halogen, a Nordstrom brand. I wanted a change from my ponte wardrobe, something that can look crisp at the office, but also look smart with sandals for a casual date night or cocktails with my girl friends. I have another dress with a drawstring waist and find it flattering on my current post-Whole30 body. The silky fabric is comfortable in the late summer heat, but will also work in early fall and spring thanks to the navy color and classic look. I think this dress will be great for travel as I can steam out wrinkles by hanging it in the bathroom during a hot shower. The look can be altered easily with the addition of a wide belt to cover the drawstring, or opening the placket to showcase a camisole in a contrast color. By the way, though this dress is black and coordinates with other black pieces it for some reason reads navy. I had two people ask if it was navy and I even thought it was until I went back to the Nordstrom site to link here on the blog.

I chose a Regular Large to have the length appropriate for the office, and while I am glad I did, I do find the waist to be a bit big and the dress, especially if ANYTHING (we’re talking even a hair tie or driver’s license) is in the pockets, wants to be drop waist. While it is a drawstring waist, the drawstrings end at the side seams so you can’t cinch it to your heart’s content. If I went petite, it likely wouldn’t be an issue. If you’re not very curvy and between sizes you may wish to size down to be able to customize the waist to your liking.

What I Wore: Back in the Saddle

duo boots santana wide calf review vintage coach bucket bag brown duo wide calf boot review wide calf boots curvy blogger reviewDress: Old Navy | Bag: Coach via eBay (similar) | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Boots: Santana c/o DUO Boots | Cast Cover: c/o CastCoverz

Well hey there everyone! Thanks for your positive vibes regarding the cast, while I’m still in a cast at least now it’s a short one and I regained use of my elbow! It’s okay, I’d rather be safe with the arm than sorry (again!). Thanks to CastCoverz who sent me a few covers to work now and when I’m in a brace (check out the other fun ones on Instagram); the goal was to have this one for the 4th of July but since I was still in a long cast at that point it’s now a great choice to better blend with denim and navy outfits! And this dress, well I wrote about the black print one here but liked it so much (and it went so low on sale) I got a second one!

And the boots… oh the boots! Anyone who has read this blog for a few months knows I’m a mega DUO Boots fangirl. I bought my first pair of wide calf boots from them back in 2007 and have always been impressed with their fit, quality, and stellar customer service. So when they approached me to do a collaboration I was psyched! I chose the Santana boot, which is an updated version of my old DUO Bern boots (now discontinued, and my pair is now my trusty music festival boots). The Santana is more sophisticated with a distressed finish and stacked wood heel. While I’m wearing them now with a dress, they’ll look great this fall and winter over skinny jeans or cords, and would also look great with tights and a dress or skirt. If you’re unsure of size, do contact them. I had a great phone call with DUO where we discussed the size of not just my calves but shins to ensure a great fit. While I love DUO for wide calf boots, their boot shafts are sized by centimeter, so it’s a great place to find quality boots for those with narrow calves or average legs!

Ask Allie: How to Clean a White or Light Leather Bag

I just splurged for a gorgeous cream and beige leather bag. But now I’m wondering, how do I best care for it? I’m almost afraid to take it outside for fear that it would get dirty. Is there a way to treat it so that it lasts longer? And what if I do get a spot on it? Are there any products that I should avoid using on leather?

I have a gorgeous off-white leather bag from Banana Republic, got it for an insanely low price on eBay. A year later I was embarrassed to carry it because it was so dingy and stained, mainly from propping a newspaper on it during my Metro work commute, but also denim dye transfer and a few splashes of coffee. I researched ways to clean it, and if I can offer any advice from my experience, try spot test cleaning the bag now in an inconspicuous spot to see how it reacts so you’re prepared when dirt happens. Below are processes I tried that didn’t ruin the finish of my leather bag:

  • Dish soap diluted in water, gently applied with a soft cloth and quickly blotted dry. This is a good method for occasional cleaning to prevent set-in stains since it’s gentle, easy, and you likely own all you need to do it. Err on the side of too little soap, and the cloth should be slightly damp, not soaking.
  • Spray hair spray and wipe off with a cloth – the hairspray often grabs the stain but not the dye; be sure to wipe off while it’s still damp
  • White Wizard Stain Remover – this stuff is amazing and good to have on hand for all sorts of stains in the closet and around the home
  • Ink stains can come out with a bit of plain white toothpaste and a soft toothbrush (I have a child’s toothbrush just for this); be gentle and try to scrub only the spot because it could affect the finish
  • Equal parts Cream of Tartar and lemon juice (fresh lemon juice seems to be gentler and doesn’t smear as much as bottled) gently rubbed into the stain, left for 10 minutes. Use a rag damp with diluted soap to remove and buff dry with a soft cloth
  • Chamberlain’s Leather Milk – This stuff is gentle and conditions as well as cleans. It’s another great product to have on hand, I’ve used it on our couches, vintage leather coats, boots, and more.

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Little Bits of Luxury: The Series

With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.

And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.

I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!





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Friday Through Monday

Hello everyone! Back and slightly rested from my beach getaway with my mom and sister!

Friday we left around 11am and made really good time. For the trip down, I didn’t really focus on my look – I hadn’t showered and spent the morning packing and getting the house ready for my departure so I only really cared about comfort.

When we got to the hotel and settled in, we decided trekking to the beach with chairs and all was too much so we took advantage of the hotel’s pool and sundeck. Took a nice nap and then we headed out for dinner, drinks (water please!) and roaming around town.

Attire:
Old Navy: Gray jersey maternity dress
H&M: Silver necklace
Callisto: Tan heeled sandals
Silver hoops and cuff

Hair:
Washed and conditioned with Pureology Volumizing
Matrix Curl.Life Conditioning Milk
Dried hair with hotel dryer (no diffuser) so it wasn’t super curly
Straightened bangs a bit with curling iron

Beauty:
Cover Girl: Tinted Moisturizer in Light/Medium, LashBlast mascara in Rich Black
Cargo: Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife
Clinique: Shadow Duo in Mink
Avon: Luxury Eye Liner in Black
L’Oreal: Infallible lip gloss in Coral Sands

We had dinner at a really nice Italian spot, and then went to one of our favorite bars where we had some cocktails (I had water), and we got to see the Olympics opening ceremony with a crowd of patriotic folks (and a few making it into a drinking game). It was a cool experience when the US came out, the whole bar stood up and cheered and clapped.

Saturday, we had breakfast and got an early start at the beach. The weather was gorgeous – a cool breeze, few clouds, and the water wasn’t freezing. We left the beach for lunch, but otherwise stayed out there all day thanks to an umbrella and SPF 30 sunscreen.

No picture, but I wore my black Liz Lange for Target tankini, my orange “Kate Dress” by J. Crew as a coverup, and my Reef flip flops.

Saturday night, we went to dinner at a really eclectic restaurant where I had fabulous tomato artichoke bisque and zucchini fritte and a “Nojito” alcohol-free cocktail that was utterly delicious! Oh yes, I took a picture of it – it tasted as good as it looked!! :)

We did a bit of shopping, lots of walking and People Watching, ice cream for dessert and back by midnight (we were all exhausted). The weather was so lovely, we really enjoyed walking around town seeing all the pretty homes.

Attire:
New York and Company: Red jersey dress
Reef: “Sandy” Flip Fops
Vintage Red Stone Necklace
Silver hoops and cuff

Hair:
Washed and conditioned with Pureology
Matrix Curl.Life Conditioning Milk
Let hair air dry and left as-is

Beauty:
Same as Friday night

Sunday was horrific weather – rain off an on, cold, and even some hail!

Attire:
Old Navy: Black Bermuda shorts, gray knit wrap tee
Reef: Black “Sandy” flops
H&M: Silver necklace
Silver hoops and cuff

Hair:
Day 2, bangs straightened with curling iron

Beauty:
Same as the rest of the weekend

We did a bit of shopping around Rehoboth and then headed to the outlets. We planned the outlets ahead of time marking which stores we actually cared about seeing so we could save time and not spend more than we desired. On my list was Motherhood and Children’s Place (naturally), my mom wanted to see Coach, Jones New York and Chico’s, my sister wanted Coach and Gap Outlet. We also wanted to hit J. Crew and Banana Republic, but passed due to weather and time.

We got some $1.99 and 99 cent goodies for the baby, I got a sweater and dress from Motherhood (both were $9.99 each!), got my hubby some socks and boxers, my sister got a gorgeous purse and a sweater. We had a light lunch, and then got on the road.

The trip home was insane – that morning a poultry truck fell off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and all westbound lanes were shut down and there was over a 10 mile backup. We decided to head up Route 1 to Wilmington, DE and then take 95 South back home. Problem was everyone else was doing the same thing and it took almost seven hours to get back to the DC area (with a stop for dinner, gas and leg stretching). Through the whole trip, it rained off an on – often times very heavy and with hail. Insane! However I was in bed before 11:30 pm so I was good for today. :)

Monday:
Attire:
Motherhood: Matte jersey dress (my new $9.99 frock)
Silver hoops and cuff
Callisto: Tan heeled sandals

Hair:
Day 3

Beauty:
Cover Girl: Tinted Moisturizer in Light/Medium, LashBlast mascara in Rich Black
Cargo: Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife
Maybelline: UltraLiner in Black, Shadow quad in Mocha Motion – light huds blended on lid
Revlon: Shiny Sheer in Sheer Plum Drop

What I Wore: Real Red

Dress: Belle c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: “Erin” Satchel c/o Fossil | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson  | Bracelets: had forever, Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Coat: Via Spiga

Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!

I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape.  How can they move their arms?  Why not just put on the coat?  Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures.  This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair.  Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).

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What I Wore: Issa for Banana Republic

I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!

And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.

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Reader Survey

So tomorrow I am going to the theater (for those of you in DC, we are going to dinner first at Notti Bianche, and then walking to the Kennedy Center) to see Phantom of the Opera. I have seen lots of theater performances, but never Phantom (though I did see the movie but that doesn’t count). We are going with a couple who we have been friends with for many many years but haven’t seen in a bit since they moved to Virginia.

I spoke to my female friend in the couple, she said she would probably wear pants and heels; we both agree jeans are not theater-appropriate, but feel that in the summer getting super dressed up seems inappropriate. She is a petite little thing who carries off the very simple styles of J. Crew and Banana Republic with ease, I can see her in a soft blue tailored shirt with cuffs, crisp black trousers, very cute black kitten heels, a Tiffany bracelet, delicate necklace and a Coach purse. She has red hair and beautiful pale skin. As we all know, simple is not my middle name.

So what should I wear?

I was thinking the olive shift dress with the leopard-print heels, long gold necklace and gold bracelet, but we will be taking the Metro, so will be walking several blocks. Those heels are fabu, but so skinny of a heel they get caught in every sidewalk crack and wouldn’t be good for walking to the restaurant, walkign then to the theater, and then walking to the metro. My husband said we could take cabs, but I think the weather is going to be lovely.

I don’t mind walking in heels, and think any shoes would be fine except the leopard, the black and brown crocos in the same style, and my hot pink pointy pumps. Should I just be a commuter and tuck my black ballet flats in my bag for the longer of the walks? this is what I am currently thinking, to have them if the going gets rough. But I would love to hear what you suggest, since you always ask me for my suggestions! :-)

UPDATE: One should always check the Metro website before stressing. It is one block from the Metro to the restaurant, four blocks from the theater to the Metro come the end of the evening, and our friends are driving so they may give us a ride to the Metro at the end of our double date. but still, I would love to hear your ideas!