and B) I have saved an Oprah-like amount of money ever since The Choker returned to trendy fashion sensibilities. There is something about a piece of jewelry tightly wrapped around your neck that instantly transforms any given outfit more than any other accessory can.
I don’t need new blouses, blazers (OK, maybe some new palazzo pants), just a jewelry-tree full of chokers (trust me, it’s much more cost-effective than a shopping cart full of clothes) and each lends every ensemble a brand-new edge and brand-new personality.
Here are excerpts from my Choker Chronicles. Watch my neck 😉 :
Click on collage images to expand (and in no particular order):
Taylor Swift, you’re not the only one who can rock a tassel choker (except hers cost $2,500):
A jewelry-tree full of chokers is much more cost-effective than a shopping cart full of clothes and each choker lends every ensemble a brand-new personality.
MY LI’L STYLE HAS GROWN UP. It was a big day for me when I donned the above-“2010s Annie Hall” outfit this week. It was not only one of the most fashion-forward looks into which I have ever slipped (I usually lean toward a more minimalist outlook on accessorizing and layering), but that was the definitive day on which I matured from a fashion-loving young-adult into a fashionable adult.
When I was just five years younger, single or not, I always utilized the clothes I wore to seek out attention from everyone, both men and women (of all sexual persuasions), but always with one eye firmly planted on their effect on heterosexual men.
THAT WAS THE DAY ON WHICH I MATURED FROM A FASHIONABLE YOUNG-ADULT INTO A FASHIONABLE ADULT.
I look back on that little girl, sitting pretty and dumb-but-so-focused in her early 20s, who dressed, consciously or not, primarily for men. I was afraid to not conspicuously show off at least one part of my body on a daily basis, whether this was achieved through baring skin or bearing skintight silhouettes.
WHAT WAS I THINKING? I WAS SO. TERRIFIED. OF NOT LOOKING “HOT ENOUGH” THAT I REFUSED TO WEAR SCARVES TO INSULATE MY COLLARBONE, EVEN IN SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES.
Little by little since that age, I have gained more and more self-possession and learned “hot” really doesn’t have to entail running around in a miniskirt. There are many more subtler ways of simultaneously getting on “Best Dressed” lists and men’s dating radars. I would love to personally mentor any young Padawan who finds herself in a similar situation and guide her toward the light of her own adult, stylistic path.
STAR WARS has many legs to its commercial empire, but style is one of the more understated elements. Fashionably speaking, in retrospect, Princess (now General) Leia’s costumes in the original trilogy may have showcased her curves but were hardly news for the pages of Women’s Wear Daily. Aside from the repeatedly copied buns, Leia was more dressing for the men (especially pubescent boys) than the ladies.
Iconic and schoolgirlishly sexy but not style-statement-making:
Rey, however, as played by English newcomer Daisy Ridley in the new movie, is already making fashion waves based on her signature outfit– a futuristic amalgamation of cropped harem pants, a bandaged top and a DVF-esque wrap, all cinched with an edgy leather utility belt. For more accessories, she rocks ankle-length boots and minimalist shoulder-baring sleeves accented by leather wristcuffs.
Even smeared with Jakku’s sand, Rey is dressed sharper than most women of Earth. Ever since I’ve laid eyes on the crisscross dimensions of Rey’s scavenging uniform, I’ve been hungering for a Ready-to-Wear (RTW) version of my own (i.e. NOT a costume, but an actual everyday outfit). Expect to see haute couture and RTW adaptations of it on the runways in Spring 2016:
BABY, IT’S (NOT THAT) COLD OUTSIDE…Here in New York City, it has been unseasonably warm in the low 60s this December. We are not optimistic, however–not after last winter’s toll on most cold-sensitive regions around the U.S. January, February, and March fully look like a 100% chance of snow (and slush), hail, and nose-chomping winds. Cue Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend.”
To brace yourself for what is coming, we have synthesized a list of our most valued tips for surviving a city winter with style and grace:
1. REMEMBER YOUR TOP 3 COLD SPOTS
Your HEAD, NECK, and HANDS scientifically retain the most heat for your body, so keeping them fuzzy and cozy is the first and most crucial lesson in fashionable warmth.
SHROUD YOUR HEAD (and especially your ears) in a winter beanie or head wrap. If your jacket or coat shows too much bare neck, layer on the scarves.
Sick of the ennui of putting on that same down jacket simply for warmth’s sake EVERY. SINGLE. DAMN. FRIGGIN’ DAY? Your solution? Instead of multiple trips to the Burlington Coat Factory, enliven your signature winter coat with a variety of scarves in your favorite prints and patterns. Save hundreds in wads of cash and exercise your sartorial creativity in the process:
You don’t have to part with your uber-chic and uber-flimsy leggings and skinny jeans. Yes, most skinnies, no matter the material, are not quite gust-proof. Our easy solution to you not having to stow them away until St. Patrick’s Day? Slip on lightweight pantyhose underneath for insulation.
Winter = Holidays Galore and Holidays = FOOD. Yep, dollops of it. Yum, right? …But if you’re not careful, the consequences could be dire when the time comes to confronting your spring wardrobe. So that you do not balk at your scale and go through the Five Stages of Grief for your pre-holiday feast body (Denial is scrutinizing the mechanisms of the scale and Bargaining is rationalizing to yourself that it must be on the fritz), there are two breezy life hacks. The first is to wear your TIGHTEST skinny jeans to every holiday meal.
Eat to your heart’s content but beware the increasing tightness of your jeans’ waistline. Use that discomfort as a gauge.
5. SELF-POLICE YOUR HOLIDAY WEIGHT -PART TWO
Kate Moss cooked up quite the politically incorrect controversy with her statement that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Whether she is right or not, Kate did inspire a tip for keeping your portions controlled this holiday season–Set your favorite full-body shot of yourself from this past summer, decked out in your shortest Daisy Dukes and teeniest top, as your phone’s wallpaper. This way, you couldn’t eat in blissful ignorance even if you wanted, no matter how salivating the offering.
WHAT’S THAT EXPRESSION? “Once you go white, you don’t go around spilling wine and spaghetti on yourself.”
Well, we have stumbled upon an inadvertent trend in WHITE SOCKS when Lillian randomly grabbed a pair one day and wore it with her blue Topshop loafers. The surprising result? It was much more handsomely stunning than if worn with socks by any other color:
Don’t just take our word for it (although our word on style should be enough. Just saying!). Peep these fashion-forward idols who had the same idea:
Chanel Runway 2014:
Sarah Jessica Parker wore dotted ones with distressed denim and cut-out clogs.
AND GENTLEMEN, WHITE SOCKS are the signature look of the boyish elder statesman of Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio:
FREEZING AS IT IS IN NEW YORK CITY this late October, it may be officially long past due to dust your Autumn-Winter kicks off the shelves. There are some new booties on the market I am really craving, but the time of the boot has dawned and set. Boots, whether ankle-length or thigh-high, will always be around, but it’s time to usher in the Age of Sneakers… They’re warm, sartorially versatile and meant to tread the harsh terrains of winter. Lemme show ya how I stunt:
THANK YOU, CARA DELEVINGNE. Thank you for proving that oh-so-comfortable-looking sneakers can be chic as hell, as well. Maybe singlehandedly so, in fact.
As someone who’s always hated wearing high heels, I have limited options for footwear and get bored of my low-heeled booties and ballet flats time to time. Sneakers are sooooo comfortable but even the androgyny look of the 90s did not embrace them. I’m not talking Keds or Toms. I’m talking straight-up running or jogging Nikes, Adidas and Converse All-Stars.
Even the androgyny look of the ’90s did not embrace sneakers. No more.
Ways to cool up an outfit with sneakers, à la Cara:
Warning: This post is iPhone-prejudiced. I am sure any app recommended here links to some murky equivalent in your world, my beloved Android-using readers (get an iPhone, please).
I WAS STRUCK BY A CAR a few summers ago while crossing the street with my toy poodle, Caesar, on a leash (long story short: 100% the driver’s fault/my sweet, gentle soul decided not to sue/also, I was too lazy).
The second I rolled onto the hood of that car, I did two things in this order:
I screamed, “CAESAR!” (He was fine, thank God. His reflexes are faster than mine, as it turns out.)
I checked my iPhone, which had spilled out of my purse, along with my wallet, keys and a few other bare necessities. Now, by “checking,” I mean I thoroughly examined every inch of my phone for dirt, scrapes and cracks. Likewise, THANK THE LORD, not a scratch on my baby.
This is definitely the order in which I love things in this world:
1. My dog
2. My iPhone
Whether it was the iPhone 4 I had back then or the 6 I own currently, I adore my Apple smartphone first and foremost for its plentitude of handy apps. Apps make my world go round, whether they are allowing me to alter my selfies to the fullest potential a telephone can or check bus schedules with just a single downward swipe upon my screen. My photo-filtering apps (hint: not Instagram) shall remain a well-guarded secret, so I’ll simply share my four other favorites that make me appreciate sooo much my existence in the 21st century. The following apps are all either free or, at worst, have killer extra features that require only a very inexpensive upgrade. In no particular order:
1. “NORDSTROM” by Nordstrom, Inc.
App Category: Shopping
I HATE SHOPPING–but I love buying stuff. I only recently discovered the enlightening addiction of online shopping that grants this predilection the permission to proceed.
The physical action of browsing through sections of products, be they clothes or cosmetics, is nauseating. I get easily overwhelmed by choices and shopping is filled with those.
To find out one of my favorite department stores, Nordstrom, had its own 5-star iPhone app was a game-changer. Once you log into your store email-registered account, you can add (and remove) multiple items to your wish list before your shopping cart as you browse, effectively narrowing your choices down further and further. The app enables you to sort products according to standards like item category, pricing, and customer rating. Even after you directly purchase with the app’s shopping cart, there is a Saved for Later section of the cart that holds un-purchased items so other stylish jackals can’t get their paws on it… Heaven on Earth.
In addition to practicality, the app’s home page offers Daily Style Scoop, official Instagrams and digital video content. OH! Did I mention–Nordstrom ALWAYS has free shipping and free returns? Download before they start charging this app. Do it. Now.
2. “TV SHOW TRACKER 3″ by Pixel-Perfect Widgets
App Category: Entertainment
I WATCH A LOT OF TV. Why? Because I am an American human being currently living and breathing in the Golden Age of Western Television. Network dramas like The Blacklist are, at the very least, aspiring to be HBO-smart. Basic cable shows are so rich in substance that they are spawning spin-offs running at the same time as the original (i.e. The Walking Dead begot Fear the Walking Dead on AMC). Let’s face it–even late-night programming is GREAT again–Jimmy Fallon dominates NBC nightly and Stephen Colbert has now invaded CBS with his particular brand of quirky and intelligent funny.
So… I am sure many fellow Americans (and citizens around the world) face this dilemma:
How do I even keep track of all the awesomeness?
We have our DVRs and TiVos to tell us which recorded episodes of our favorite shows are unseen, but we would need to actually sit and manually scroll up and down/left and right with the clunkiest modern device out there: the remote control. (Site-note: why do we still have something like the remote control in the same era as iPhones and Google Glasses?) ENTER “TV Show Tracker 3.” It allows you to organize all seen and unseen episodes of favorite shows and alerts you to the number of unseen episodes left in your cache:
My very own show-tracking list (Go ahead… judge my choices):
3. “MIRROR” by Contrast
App Category: Tool
HOW MANY PEOPLE carry a compact mirror around with them at most times? Not many–certainly not more than those who clutch their smartphones with them even to the toilet:
“Oh sh*t! I have a meeting with this big shot. No mirrors in this bathroom. Need to check my teeth for spinach in a pinch!”
OR, SIMPLY: “Let me check my lipstick before my date shows up!”
What do you do? You open this app and it immediately transforms your screen into a mirror reflecting, well, you to the depth of your desire. You can zoom in to an extraordinary degree and tap once on the screen to freeze it and snap a selfie if you are liking what you see. Surrrre, you can use the iPhone’s front-facing camera as a mirror substitute, as well. To access that, however, you have to manually select the front-facing camera. Even with a selfie-catering app, you must tap on the camera icon to activate this feature. The mirror app is as simple as it gets–tap to open and see yourself. Tap again to take a selfie. Then, save the selfie to your camera roll with literally two more taps. The app embodies what the iPhone has emphasized about itself from the start: user-friendly.
With a $0.99 upgrade, the Mirror app will automatically adjust to your environment’s lighting and turns on a Flash setting as needed, as evidenced below (the Flash is incredibly bright–it only looks reddish below because of the pink walls of the room I was in).
4. “HANGOUTS” by Google, Inc.
App Category: Social Media/Communication
LET’S FACE IT–FaceTime remains one of the iPhone’s most primitive built-in applications. Let’s also face it–Skype, even on a fully operational computer (laptop or desktop), SUCKS SO BAD.
The iPhone Skype app is horrid. It, like its computer counterpart, is known for a lackluster connection signal enabling you to miss Instant (ha!) Messages from acquaintances at the time they were meant to be seen. Its poor signal also allows for many dropped Skype video chats and phone calls. And just like FaceTime, one cannot alter the size of the thumbnail in which one appears.
You could have a booger hanging out of your nose during a Skype video chat and never know because you can’t see yourself (and because your friend’s an asshole).
The “Google Hangouts” app is almost as flawlessly versatile and reliable as its computer counterpart. It does not crash like Skype and its signal is strong as the connecting Wi-Fi will allow it. Its greatest thrill, personally speaking, is that you can adjust your own thumbnail without having to switch your side of the video call to the main screen. Adjust how? With filters almost as diverse as Instagram’s, goofy special effects such as Fish Eye and Vignette and the ability to enlarge, minimalize, and even drag around your thumbnail.