TOMS Shoes: A Spring/Summer 2010 Preview of Friendly, Fashionable Footwear

Today my homegirl, and fashion industry insider, invited me to a preview for the TOMS Shoes Spring and Summer 2010 Collection at the SoHo House. For those of you who aren't hip to the brand yet, I'm about to get you up to speed real quick: Founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 (don't let the youth of the brand fool you), TOMS shoes were initially inspired during a trip to Argentina when Mycoskie was struck my the poverty and health issues that surrounded him. Compelled to take some personal responsibility, Mycoskie set out to create a shoe inspired by the traditional Argentine alpargata, and for every pair of shoes sold, one pair of TOMS Shoes would be given to a child in need.

And it ain't going unrecognized. Homeboy has had a documentary made about him, For Tomorrow: The TOMS Shoes Story, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in '08, in 2009 alone he's given over 150,000 pairs of shoes to kids in Argentina, South Africa, Ethiopia and the US...not to mention the fact that he's been featured in Vogue, Time Mag, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine...the list goes on and on.

Suffice to say I was thrilled not only to be invited to the preview, not only to meet the designer (who is not just a do-gooder but also kind of a fox), not only to get a pair of free TOMS Shoes, but to know that for my pair of shoes, a lucky (and soon to be very fashionable) kid was receiving a pair as well. I took some photos for you to enjoy.

For you parents out there they make kid's shoes too!

Preppy stripes: can't go wrong in flats or wedges...

Are they doing a line for Bergdorfs and Neimans's? Uh yes they are! Some of them look like they're made out of silk ties and I can't get over it.

Holiday looks - sparkles and hightops...I'm a fan.

Loving all of it. Want more? Check the website or later this month you can run into Bergdorfs or Neimans. Fashion can't be all self-indulgence...can it? Well maybe it can, but don't let it! We all buy shoes anyway, we can't help ourselves - why not sneak in a little do-good-ing in while you're at it. A little love goes a long way...and so does a little style on your feet. Win win.



In Defense of the Skinny Girl

There has been a significant amount of press these last few weeks regarding the disastrously skinny frames of models in the fashion industry. The Ralph Lauren airbrushing scandal caused quite a stir, as did Karl Lagerfeld's statement that he didn't want to see curvy women in fashion. To aggravate matters, we are in The Season - models are prancing down the catwalks daily in New York, Milan and Paris - and with each step, media heads continue to gawk and criticize the frames that bring them the fashion.

What I don't understand is: why are we still, after all these years, acting like the reverence of the skinny girl in the fashion world is any kind of news? Models have been tall, skinny and waif-like for several decades now. Twiggy started it, Kate Moss pushed it along, and at this point it is here to stay. Yes we have a few curvy exceptions here and there - but in my humble opinion - actually, no, in my totally self righteous opinion - it would behoove people to stop whining about it and start understanding it.

Fashion is not about the person...(if you think it is, then you're thinking of style). No, fashion is about the clothes - the garment itself in all its glory. The higher up you go in the fashion world, the more attention is put into the detail of each garment. And like a chef at a restaurant, each detail must be put together a certain way to create the ultimate presentation. Is a chef going to spend 5 hours on a meal and serve it in tupperware? Getouttaheah! The skinny model is the serving plate to a chef's fancy feast. It displays the hard work, it is impartial, and it allows the focus to be on the main course. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with tupperware in the grand scheme of things! Nobody is insulting tupperwear! It is truly appropriate and welcome on many occasions...but for some it is simply not. The skinny model is a walking, talking hanger for the clothing. It doesn't stretch it or ripple it or crease it where it is not meant to. It doesn't speak or give its opinion, it doesn't overemphasize certain parts or underemphasize certain parts. The skinny model allows the garment to speak for itself - no distraction, no confusion, no nothing.

Some might think that the fashion world is making strides away from its obsession with the skinny model. Trust me when I tell you that Glamour Magazine putting a naked "plus size" model on their website is only giving you false hope. Wake up and smell the rice cakes. Skinny is in and it ain't going anywhere. Why get angry? Why take it personally? The fashion industry doesn't give an eff how much criticism they get from the mainstream - they run things. Have you ever been to a fashion party?! Unless you're in the biz nobody even knows/cares you exist. So go ahead, protest, get mad, get false hope, but it won't get you anywhere. Fashion is for the skinny and this is not inherently catastrophic. It's simply an objective truth...like eggs taste better with salt. Some people might disagree and enjoy really bland eggs, but it's basically just fact.

I should mention here that I'm not a tall skinny girl (how many times have I mentioned food in this post so far?) - and I feel like this is worth mentioning to show that it is possible to love fashion for fashion's sake, and accept that skinniness is a fundamental part of all of it. I suggest you join me in my love (or maybe just strive for a bit of acceptance) and embrace the thin limbed ladies who grace our catwalks and magazines. Allow the garments to speak for themselves...support the designers in their quest for perfection and romance and freshness! Give props to the industry for continually reinventing the aesthetics we put on our bodies every day! And if after all that you still can't see that the skinny girl is simply a product of this vast web of ideology, clearly I have not made my point and you will always be a hater. Good luck to you, it takes more energy to hate than to love.

Warm fuzzies to everybody out there, and in defense of skinny models everywhere...you have my support and I thank you for being so tall and skinny.


Love Child

Rihanna's new album cover:
My take on it?
Love love child of David Bowie and Grace Jones:

I mean, c'mon.



Life imitating art...imitating life...

I mean, kind of. More like shoe imitating shoe imitating original shoe...imitating itself...wait, what? Observe:

Christian Louboutin makes a pair of leopard print pumps:

Nike copies it with the Stiletto Pack leopard print high top sneakers, red sole included:

Christian Louboutin copies the leopard print high top sneakers, which are actually imitating the pumps that he himself designed!
Are you loving this? Me too. And if you are a man and you would like to win your way into my heart - you would own this last pair of shoes and hook me up with the first pair...and the second pair.



5 Tips: How to Dress Against the Weather

I don't know about where you are, but here in the Northeast, winter is definitely upon us. And when the temp begins to drop, it only means one thing in the world of fashion: Winter Clothes Sales and Marketing. Countless morning shows, magazine covers and window displays advising the best way to stay warm on the inside when it's effing frigid on the outside - the most flattering coats, the right winter hat for your haircut, what your winter gloves say about you - the bottom line being: How to Dress For the Weather.

Well here's a thought. Maybe winter and cold weather aren't things you have to protect yourself from, but rather, elevate your style to. Just because it's frigid doesn't mean you have to retire all of the fabulous pieces in your closet until the 60's come back (Fahrenheit, that is). Screw bundling up! Forget looking like a tortured marshmellow! The days are upon us, people, and I'm about to give you a few tips on how to dress against the weather.

1) Boots are your friends, but socks are your lovers. Yes, as winter approaches closer and closer, everybody knows it's time to put away the flats/loafers/ankle booties etc. that were your staples in the fall, and break out the boots. Nobody can deny that the colder months are ALL about boots - mid-shin length boots, knee length boots, and this season more than ever, the thigh-high boots. But let's talk about our little friend the sock. He can do more for you than you know, all you have to do is get a little funky with him. Forget storing all the shoes that don't cover your foot or ankle completely. There's nothing cuter than a little argyle or striped sock peaking out under your cuffed pant. Yes, the cuff is more of a spring/summer/fall trend, but with a little help from the sock it can keep you sassy all year round. This brings us to our next tip...

2) A little wool goes a long way. Be it socks or tights or a nice cardigan, when wool is around you can be assured that you will be properly braced for the cold. There's a reason sheep use it as their only source of warmth...it's really effing warm! So there's no need to set aside your cute tanks, pair them with a nice wool cardi and be on your way. Don't forget about your skirts and dresses...a pair of wool tights will save the day. This of course brings me to my next tip...

3) Wear skirts in the winter. Yes, winter is cold - but this is no excuse to not see anything but pants for a solid 3-5 months. In my opinion there's nothing cuter than a micro mini in the winter - slap a pair of wool tights under that badboy, a nice oversized sweater, and a pair of wedge booties (may be substituted for any closed toed shoe that makes your legs look extra long - I'm generally not a fan of open toed shoes with thick tights). When worn with a winter coat that's longer than the skirt it's totally sassy and sexy - you're covering up but still suggesting a bit o' nakedness...kind of like seeing a hit of a lacey bra under a blouse. Hot.

3a) Three part two. This tip is part of #3 but I feel like it's important enough that it should be its own section. If your wear a skirt with tights in the winter...or summer...or any other season...for God's sake don't wear them with Uggs. It's atrocious and is guaranteed to make you look like a confused teenybopper.

4) Accessorise - but don't be predictable. The top 3 winter accessories are scarves, hats and gloves. Yes, they are all necessary and I use them all, but let's talk about how to go beyond the predictable with them. Standing in line for a concert the other night in the cold, my girl Melissa was wearing a coat with 3/4 length sleeves - most of us have one or two of these that we rock in the fall, but once winter comes around we switch them out for the full length ones. Not Melissa. This girl keeps the cropped jacket in rotation and breaks out the long gloves to compensate for the missing fabric. Moving onto the hat. Nobody likes hat hair and everybody likes scarves. Lots of retailers have something equivalent to American Apparel's Unisex Circle Scarf (it's kind of irrelevant but worth mentioning that this scarf can also be worn as a dress/skirt/shawl...the list goes on. See website). A piece like this can be worn as a hood, a scarf, a hood and a scarf at the same time - it's cute, affordable and has multiple uses - every shopper's fantasy. And while we're on the topic of accessories I'm going to jump on over to makeup real quick - just because it's dark and dreary out, there's no need to put away those bright summer eyeshadows and lipsticks. In winter more than ever it's important, if not essential, to liven up your look in whatever way you can. I'm a fan of the hot pink lip...to each her own though.

5) Hot Liquids. If all else fails...if it's mid January and you just can't stop thinking about the really cute summer dress you bought at the end of August and never got the chance to wear, or the open toed pumps you miss and hate the way they look with tights...stop by Starbucks, get yourself a hotass drink, and warm yourself from the inside out dammit! The winter does not own you. Carrying a grande soy latte (or whatever) will not only keep your insides warm but you'll look much more moody and important as you walk down the street.

Those are my 2 cents, hope you feel like you got your money's worth. And I'm going to make a disclaimer here, because I can just anticipate the comments: These tips do not apply if you live in Alaska or some other horrendously freezing area. These tips do not apply if you work outside in the cold weather all day long. And tip #3a applies to EVERYBODY...don't think you're the exception to the rule because you do it cuter...you don't.

Happy shopping.



Se7en Jeans: For All Mankind?

I work on the 8th floor of a building where a lot of events go down - fashion shows, corporate events, sample sales...and most recently a Se7en Jeans blowout sale. For those of you who live in a cave, Se7en's (yeah that's right, they combined the word "Seven" and the number "7"), more formally known as 7 For All Mankind, are a brand of what one might call "designer jeans". They retail from about $150-$250 and promise to enrich your life by giving you the gift of style and luxury.

Anyway back to my building. People stood in line for hours to make it to the denim-filled 5th floor. As I bypassed the line to get to work...as I rode the elevator with them on my way to and from lunch, and as I exited the building at the same time as them...I felt my judgment get the better of me. And not that this is any kind of new feeling - I'm overcome by judgment at least 4 times a day (and that's a modest guess) - but this particular judgment had a more visceral, profound affect on me. I think I can pinpoint several reasons for this.

For three days straight I watched as hundreds of 18 to 20-somethings spent half of their days dedicated to the purchase of COOL (but wait, didn't Se7en's stop being popular in like 2003?! Whatever...). They chattered among themselves as the elevator ride brought them one step closer to fitting in amongst the mainstream, shimmying their booties into fabric that would make them feel better, sexier walking into a room, and they could sleep just a little bit easier knowing that they saved $40 on a piece of clothing that would now make their wardrobes a little bit more designer. Topics like this will forever bring me back to my theory of fashion vs. style. Anybody can buy fashion - it's simply an understanding of what’s vogue, what’s in, what’s current. It's a following-the-leader game that requires little skill. Style, however, is a personal reflection; a personal rendering of fashion. The idea of the designer jean in general is pretty ludicrous. It's tough to find the right denim for you - buy what fits you right and makes you look hot. Period. Why complicate it by limiting yourself to particular brands deemed "designer" by Seventeen Magazine? I felt a mixture of sorry for these people, and also embarrassed that somebody might see me getting off the elevator with them and think we were all coming from the 5th floor together - I'm not sure which unnerved me more.

Secondly I think my judgment came from a place of trauma - namely, high school. I was brought back to the says when everybody wore Abercrombie and all I wanted to do was fit in...desperately. One day my mom and I went to the store together and there was a pair of pants for $70 that I HAD to have. She looked at me sideways, cocked her eyebrow and said "sure, if you pay half". So I did. Because even though I was only a junior in high school and probably had $100 to my name, I had to have whatever it was that made the cool girls so effing cool. (In case you're wondering, the pants didn't make me any cooler. I still had wild curly hair, a big Jewish nose, and wore leopard print bellbottoms on the alternate days). So I guess the concept of fitting in and the lengths people will go to do so is a sore spot for me. Which again, brings me back to feeling sorry for these people and also embarrassed that somebody might think I'm one of them.

My last round of judgment comes retroactively. When I saw these hundreds of people lined up in front of the building nonstop, day after day after day, hour after hour from 9am-7pm, I thought to myself: damn, maybe in the last few years these jeans have gotten really ridiculously dope! So I came home and looked them up online.
Sell for $165, $178, $198 and $245 respectively.

It appears my judgment was not out of order. I could go into it here - the cut, the wash, the price of the jeans - but I think the photos speak for themselves.

Well where does that leave us? I suppose they either need to change their tag from "For All Mankind" to "For the Cool Kids in High School", or the rest of us need to become a bit more discerning. A label does not make the garment. It's one thing if you're into a really hot, top designer because you can't get enough of his/her designs, but it's quite another to want simply want something because of the name...especially if said garment is heinous. I wish you luck in your quest for truth...and style.

Happy shopping.