Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mindful Fashion

A couple weeks ago, while getting dressed for a meeting and trying to figure out how best to complete my outfit, a voice rang out: "You have too many shoes."

I looked behind me to see if perhaps my husband was talking to me or if either of my dogs had suddenly been blessed with the powers of human speech. Nope.

"And, while we're at it, too many jackets," the voice continued, clearly taking on a strident tone. "And what's up with all the cashmere sweaters? Christ on a cracker, you could clothe yourself and probably a few of your friends for an eternity on what you have hanging, stacked, and piled in this closet."

It was like being hit on the head with a pair of Frye Harness Boots, but there was no way around it. The Voice was right: I have too much shit in my closet.

Don't get me wrong. Madonna's "Material Girl" was written for me. As an unabashed materialist, nothing makes me happier than discovering, touching, holding, buying human-being crafted items, in all their infinite incarnations of usefulness and beauty. And when it comes to fashion, my Add to Cart mentality is alive and kicking. Dancing, even.

Still. How much of it do I really need? Not only that, how much of it do I really like? Wear? Want? Finally, how much of it is of a quality high enough to provide the folks who make it with a decent living? (Yes, Virginia, semi-socially conscious epiphanies are possible with Dolce and Gabanna trousers hanging in your closet. Okay, D&G, and they were on sale.)

So here's where I took that epiphany: We are rapidly approaching the time of year when people make resolutions to change certain aspects of their behavior. What if I resolved to change the way I approach fashion and what would that change look like?

Here's what I came up with:

1. Buy less, spend more. You read that right: SPEND MORE. Not just on quality, but also on wearability. Yes, we Bitches are loathe to pay retail, but we are also familiar with the dirty little flip side secret to the so-called bargain bins: that 10 you clutch to your breast at 2 can quickly morph into a 2 at 10 when you find yourself dealing with split seams, pilled wool, shrinking, stretching, fading, and other hidden horrors to which your endorphin-flooded brain was totally blind because it was busy sending signals to your clutchy lil' hands to grab, grab, grab!

Instead, what if I took those dozens of times a year I spend "only X amount!" and tuck it away until I reach a big pool o'cash for something totally covet-worthy and well made? I can hear the Voice now: "That's right, Bitch, do not spend your money on anything that isn't of the utmost highest quality, I don't care if it is only a tee shirt. Or that doesn't play well with the other children in your closet. Don't tell me you need a pair of patent leather Mary Jane pumps, even if they are only $45 at Payless, when I can clearly see everything else in your closet is rock and roll boho.

2. Apply the reduce, reuse, recycle principle to my wardrobe by shopping primarily consignment. You know, those shops where another gal's discarded wardrobe—freshly cleaned and in like new condition, of course—is now your new treasure. And where you can sell your own cast offs and make extra cash to boot. I've been shopping 2 Time Couture here in Albuquerque since they first opened and the place is a revelation. As is Act 2 in Santa Fe. A few consignment-scored items currently hanging in my closet include an ivory cable knit Vince cashmere sweater, an Atelier slim-cut black wool blazer, an Anac By Kimi jersey tunic, a Hugo Buscati cropped silk tuxedo jacket, a whack-on-crack-patterned silk Diane von Furstenberg dress, and a pair of never-worn black and white Ferragamo Alerja wedges. All of which I nicked at prices between 50 to 80 percent off original retail.

The sucker who paid retail for these Ferragamos: $400. Moi: $90.

3. Finally, I will try to buy only from those designers who are committed to manufacturing in the United States or their country of origin and who pay their artisans a decent wage as a result. Why do politicians make so much noise about revitalizing America's manufacturing industries? Because they create and keep jobs here at home, and the lack thereof is one of the most pressing economic issues we face today. It can be done. I just completed a book on a U.S. founded, owned, and operated manufacturer of industrial equipment who for the past 75 years has not only sourced all their materials locally, but has manufactured their final product right here in the U.S., even though they sell all over the world. Yes, that product is priced at a premium, but it lasts forever and it allows the company to provide their over 100 employees with a compensation and benefits package nearly unheard of today.

I simply do not see why the same thing cannot be done in the fashion industry. And not just with luxury goods like Hermes and Chanel or high end designers like The Row, but at the pret-a-porter level, too, everyone from companies with name brand recognition like Frye, LL Bean, American Apparel, and Nanette Lepore to boutique designers like Filly and Angel Court Jewels (how badly do I want that blue velvet Lonely Hunter dress or Waters necklace? Thiiiiiiiiis badly.) Both are among a handful of designers who manufacture their goods right here at home. You can check them out here.

And then go listen to your own Voice.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beauty For a Cause

It's that time of year again. Yes, to shop until you drop, but also to give until it hurts. This year, Beauty Bloggers is holding a charitable auction of dozens of covet-worthy beauty products that runs from November 28 until December 12. All proceeds go directly to benefiting Doctors Without Borders.

Check it out.

Of course, you can always donate without bidding on a single product (see info at the top of the page). And keep your hands off Moi's Shalimar :o)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall Essentials: The More Things Change . . .

Ah, fall, when a young(ish) woman's fancy turns to cashmere and leather . . . and while it's not completely time to mothball the sandals, there is a distinct cooling breeze and lack of daylight in the sky. Let's not forget that it's also green chile roasting season and State Fair season. Really, fall clothes are a must since the eating yummy food trend also starts about now.

Meanwhile the fashion-waves are full of helpful advice on stuff you absolutely must have right now if you're going to survive fall without looking like a has-been, and we have noticed a trend among those who are telling us what we should wear. The short version: if you snapped up some staple fashions during last winter's close-outs, you're still good to go!

Two years ago, you might have secured yourself a pair of Over-The-Knee boots (AKA OTK boots if you're into TLAs, or Three Letter Acronyms). Had you done it two years ago, you might have felt very self-conscious on their first wearing. And possibly their second. And third.
BCBG Dedra Over-The-Knee boot, in a subdued flat heel

The Bitches are overjoyed to find that the OTK boots are once again "in" for this fall. Pirate is particularly pleased, since this fall's fashion trend will bring her cost-per-wear (CPW) down to single digits for her favorite big-girl boots.

Also back are riding boots—and we've seen some good ones.

Vince Camuto's Karena riding boot.
These are way too pretty for the stable.

Moto boots are also still tres chic. Moi is shopping furiously for the ne plus ultra moto boot to perfect her ladylike-yet-bad-girl wardrobe. So far, Born's Tessa boots are running numero uno:

These are just BEGGING to be worn with a silk peasant dress and chunky sweater.

Most funnest of all, hiker booties are back again. We saw these many years ago gracing the feet of J-Lo and were a little chagrined to see them return again last fall. This fall, the hiker booties are back, and the utility chic trend is still trendy.

The Boutique 9 "Barrow" hiker bootie is tres very J Lo

Faux fur is still de rigeur. Moi is hugging herself for purchasing her faux-coyote vest last season, whilst Pirate will be scouting for her own faux fur favorite wardrobe addition.

Trina Turk Faux Fur vest, part cave-girl, part RAWR

Last year Pirate searched high and low for the most exactly right awesome leather moto jacket, and struck out repeatedly. Missing the end-of-season sales due to emotional hardship will haunt her for the coming season, since a lady-like leather moto jacket is still well and truly haute.

Pirate is stalking the interwaves waiting to pounce on the next Karen Millen sale.
If you have $500 to donate to her cause, she will gratefully bake you cookies.

"Menswear Chic" is a term we've seen in use for the coming fall season. If you've saved up your penny loafers from high school (or even if you've never really put them away) now is your chance to trot them back out and look cool doing it. Loafers can easily be worn with a pencil skirt or trouser or one of this season's pleated midi skirts. You might try out a loafer with a rolled-up khaki trouser, or a cropped slim-cut trouser, a menswear inspired button-down shirt, and a glammy sweatshirt. Yes, I said glammy sweatshirt: as in, a slouchy sweatshirt made from cashmere or merino.

jCrew "Isabel" cashmere sweatshirt, shown with pencil skirt, would look fab with loafers.

Also cool is the loafer heel, which totally girls up the menswear chic look. The loafer heel has been seen worn with cute little ankle socks. Yes this is a brave look if you've never tried it. Yes we think it's adorable.

This super cute 9 West loafer heel is but one option this season.

Midi is the new skirt length trend for the season—long enough to cover your knees, but not so long as to hide your calves. Pleated or pencil, this skirt length is flattering on most, and a welcome relief to those who were not so crazy about showing off so much leg.

"Tucker" midi pleated skirt, signaling the return of the Sexy Librarian look.

Animal prints are still totally cool, and the bitches are in favor of treating Leopard (or any animal print) as a neutral. Wear it around your neck, on your feet, head to toe.

BCBG Leopard Pencil Skirt. Meow, baybee!

Finally, sayteth Moi, python. Or, anything snake, really. Snake—whether as a theme, print, or a skin—plays a huge role in her wardrobe. Currently, she is stalking a DVF Vintage snakeskin print silk jersey wrap dress on eBay, which she believes she has, oh, about a 0.567 percent chance of winning. So she will most likely have to succor herself with this envelope python print envelope clutch by BCBG instead:

At $68, the deal of the season!

Tell the Bitches: what are you coveting for this fall?

Monday, July 11, 2011

No Excuses

This ain't the way to do it, y'all!

Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what drives people to decide to look good.

Notice I said "decide," since I think this is a choice, not an accident.

My ruminations were sparked by a girlfriend who recently confided to me about a pair of heels that she bought and loved and wore to her office. An unapologetic tomboy, she didn't often make forays into girl clothing - so this was a big deal for her. She was shocked when her co-workers openly ridiculed her for dressing up. I consoled her by saying that sometimes people express their own insecurity by lashing out and making fun of others . . . but that doesn't make it OK.

We Bitches have discussed this at length, and it struck us that the idea of strapping on the tall shoes or putting on a nice dress, or even buying something new and flattering and pushing out of the Fashion Pyjamas comfort zone is not something everyone chooses to do. We know plenty of people who will put up multiple defenses, describing why they decide not to make an effort. Or worse, they openly judge others who choose to go to the effort.

Excuses For Looking Bad
It seems absurd to expend calories to justify laziness, or otherwise explain why to choose to not choose. Why would anyone make a case for failure or laziness on purpose?

We know you will cling to your defenses. As Homer Simpson said, "trying is the first step to failure" and we have heard many a story about how much trouble it is to try to look good. Some excuses for Not Trying we have heard include words along these lines:

- It's too expensive
- It's too much trouble
- It's uncomfortable
- What I have is just fine
- I don't have time
- Nothing will help
- I don't know what to wear
- Dressing in a feminine way will mean that I am buying in to the paternal hegemony, therefore objectifying myself and all other sisters
- I don't want to (AKA, I don't care)

We Bitches like to think that we can show anyone why these excuses are not doing you justice. We are living proof that looking good doesn't have to take a lot of money: you do have time, it's not too much trouble, you can be comfortable and beautiful, and it's totally worth it.

However, we can't help you with your political leanings. We don't have an outfit for that.

Why Bother?
The most troubling excuse we encounter is that last one: I don't care. We're stuck on that. Why not care? Why would anyone not want to look their best? Is everyone chronically depressed? Do we not love ourselves anymore?

There are plenty of reasons in favor of looking one's absolute best as often as possible. We'll discuss some really big ones here:

Other People Will See You
We know your mother told you to never judge a book by its cover but let's face it: in everyday life our "cover" is all that most people will ever see. When we are shopping at the grocery store, we don't take the time to get to know each individual snowflake that passes by - we look at each other, look at what we are wearing, and we start making up stories about each other. And, uh, Judgey Lady at Trader Joes? By that tongue clucking sound, I can tell you made up some good stories about me in those hooker boots.

You Could Be A Fashion Inspiration
We'd like to think that we can inspire other women to be brave about what they wear (we certainly take inspiration from what we see when we venture out into the wilds). Even if a judgey so-and-so at Trader Joe's makes tsk-tsk noises because she doesn't approve, doesn't mean we will stop being brave. In the wearings of the Big Girl Boots, we have counted small numbers of disapprovers and dozens of raving fans - women openly complimenting us on wearing those very boots.

The World Treats You Better
It's true, there is a causal link between physical appearance and how one is treated. In simple terms, the more physically appealing you look, the better you get treated, the better you feel about yourself. We did not make this up, there's sciency researchy stuff to back it up.

Look Awesome, Be Awesome (and, as Moi says: Don't pollute the pool.)
Then there is the personal confidence one gets from looking awesome. When you look good, you know you look good. This is a nice self-boost. And when you feel good, you're nice to the people around you. And then they're nice to them people around them. And then pretty soon, we're all holding hands and singing Kumbaya. And, we take another step towards cleaning up our visual environment.

Yes, we know it's scary.
For those of you still feeling defensive about sticking with the comfortable, we get that the "Own Your Awesome" thing is no trivial mindset. It's easier to understand after watching this Ted Talk (everyone would do well to watch that link). We have formed a hypothesis that for some people, dressing up is a huge risk: it means being noticed. It means being seen. It means being authentic. It means someone might come up to you and talk to you. In short, dressing up means standing out, which means exposing vulnerability. For women in particular, we have a whole separate range of issues about dressing up, because it invokes our sexuality. We get this.

The Fashion Risk thing is a characteristic we have viewed from many angles over my years. In the teenage years, we may have made looking weird a personal mission - we wanted the attention and didn't care how we got it. As college students, we didn't care about anything but surviving school - please notice us for our brains. In our overweight and feeling-less-attractive periods, we want to sink back into the background and disappear - we would ask you not to notice us when we don't feel good about ourselves.

Take Risks, Grow, Be Happy
Just to be clear, we're not saying put your high heels on to do your grocery shopping. Or wear an evening gown to work. Not at all. We're saying a little effort will go a long way: love yourself a little and Give a Shit about what you look like. You may not care how you look, but we care - because we have to look at you! Buy yourself something that fits, that is flattering and comfortable, that won't break the bank. And please don't "save" it in the closet. Wear it outside and show the world your awesomeness!

At first it can be disconcerting to be approached by others after having taken a huge risk (g'wan, ask Pirate about wearing the baby-duck yellow tutu out in public). Some of us have never quite felt like we know what to do with a comment or a compliment. Sometimes we may question the sincerity - do they mean that? Are they just saying that because they think they are supposed to? Is he hitting on me? Fear not, we say: we have found that people usually mean well by their nice gestures (and yes, he probably is hitting on you. so what?)

Pay It, Bitches

And then give as good as you get: notice others when they look good. We know how much time and care we put into our appearance, it's not hard to tell when others are doing the same. Even if her style is not yours, it costs you nothing to genuinely compliment someone for making an effort. We say, be good to your sisters - you never know what they went through on their way here.

And by the way, Lady At Starbucks Who Usually Looks Awesome? We want you to know that we're totally not faking it when we say, "Wow. You look great today."

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer and the End of Ennui

Hello there. Yes, it's been a while.

We Bitches, we have been busy. With life. With love. With dodging this oven furnace, fire-riddled, seventh layer of hell of a summer that, for me at least, has made the prospect of putting actual clothing on my body a near-depressing idea. Unless it's a swimsuit. Because did I mention? It's hot. I also had toe surgery back in March and since then have been relegated to wearing mainly flats. Or, rather, anything with a wide enough toe box until this lil' sucker finally stops swelling.

Right? Talk about "near depressing."

At least it's summer, which means those flats can be cool gladiator-style sandals instead of traditional ballet flats (yawn), which never fit me right because my feet are wide at the forefoot and narrow at the heel. I need a completely closed shoe or something with a strap(s) of some kind or I tend to flop out of my shoes straight onto the pavement.

Anyway, so uninspired and lethargic is my fashion temperament these days, I've only had the energy to work with two items of clothing: a dove grey, fine ribbed cotton jersey maxi skirt and a pair of olive green J Brand Houlihan skinny cargoes. Top both with a no-brainer of a crisp white tee and a cropped blue jean jacket, stick some sandals on my feet, maybe something shiny around my neck, and call it a day. Hunker down until fall when the prospect of all that cashmere and leather and wool should rouse some interest. Until then, crickets chirp, dust gathers . . .

Or, maybe, just maybe, before then, the prospect of something like this:

Accordion pleated chiffon-textured skirts are big for summer, and I think I want one. The one above is from Zara, a reasonable $60, and also comes in navy. I really dig the mid-calf length, too, (is it just me, or are all y'all over too-short skirts?) Too long, and, well, let's just say there's cool, hip maxi, and then there's you may as well stick a daisy in your hair and sing "Suite for Judy Blue Eyes" on the nearest street corner for pocket change maxi.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Barbie is a Boy

This crossed my channels today, and I felt it necessary to break the radio silence for a public service announcement: here is a story about a beautiful young man who is a catwalk model for high profile designers of womens' clothes.

No shit.

On the one hand, I find it very eye-roll worthy that the fashion industry is still so very obsessed with body model types who are un-sustainably skinny, with boyishly narrow hips and no boobs. Anyone who has watched a fashion show knows that this is not news. The fact that they are now openly using a man's body to promote a fantasy of the ideal feminine form is, at the very least, ironic.

On the other hand, who bloody cares? I personally know no one who either has that kind of haute couture in their wardrobe, or the occasion to wear it to. I know these people exist but they're like unicorns (and they probably fart glitter). When was the last time you actually saw, in the flesh, a person who had legs up to their throat, and were a size -1? This is not a common occurrence—if anything, I would think that a person with these proportions would find it hard to dress every day. The rest of the world is filled with "real" people with butts and boobs, who wear real numbered sizes. We can always find clothes to wear without a lot of effort. In fact, I note that vanity sizing is still very much alive and well at many of my favorite clothing haunts—if you think you magically got smaller in one season, think again: the '"real world" fashion industry wants to keep you as a customer, and they sometimes do this by supporting your fantasies about your own image.

Thirdly, I can only think of a small number of fashion designers who aren't gay. Is anyone really surprised that the industry has found a beautiful, androgynous male to model clothes designed by men who are in love with other men?

I suppose that so long as everyone is clear that this is a very pretty male person, with male plumbing, we can safely continue to view haute couture as art, or a pre-cursor to an industry, and not as a political statement on the subjugation of women.

Discuss, whilst I await the throwing of rotting fruit.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Even though I'm going to spend the next 20-25 days semi-laid up, it still doesn't mean I've left off my spring fashion scheming. Not when my morning in-box is filled with so many tempting offers from retailers around the world all vying so craftily for my fashion dollars—it's like being in some exotic bazaar in a land far, far away, only I'm in my jammies, sipping coffee, and my office doesn't smell like camel dookie.

High on my list for spring? A haute hippie wedge or shoe. Since I just received a coupon from the Gap family of stores for 15 percent off, I decided to see what Piperlime has to offer me, in the realm of under $100.

My first pick is the Vince Camuto Edo, which the line should have just gone on and called the Christian Louboutin, because they are an exact dupe of the version put out by CL, only at a tenth of the cost. I'm not proud, though. Until someone starts paying me Louboutin wages, a knock off will do.

The Camuto.

The Louboutin.
Commence to cartoon double take.

Choice number two is the Harlow by Seychelles. I like the delicate ropey detail at the forefoot. A wee bit more feminine, more 1982 than 1972.

Another Seychelles offering, the Purr. Very pretty, and I like the neutral hue. (Remember: no nude is good nude, unless it's on a shoe.)

I also really like these cork-soled babies by Frye. Not a wedge, but definitely haute hippie, and you know they're going to be comfortable and well-made. But they're close to two hundred and fifty smackers, so let's just move along, shall we?

(However, do not think they have escaped my clutches just yet; there is always eBay.)

So tell the Bitches, are you feelin' the 70s wedge revival for spring?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hairless pets. Weird.

Between being a touch overwhelmed with work from my paying job, and the training load for a really really really big run, I can barely remember how to dress myself lately. I've fallen into a steep fashion backslide, relying heavily on the fashion uniform of jeans, jacket, scarf, boots. Not that there's anything wrong with that. As if that weren't enough of a brain-load, I have also recently added some new people to my household.

The first time I ever heard of a hairless cat was probably the same time the rest of the world heard of hairless cats: when Bill Murray hoisted up an odd-looking skinny critter on his paranormal talk show, World of the Psychic, in Ghostbusters II. I think I was 14 at the time, I can't say my reaction was any different than his.

When Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, people DIE!

You can see where this is going, can't you? But before you condemn me for doing something weird, you'll need context.

Way back when I had bags of time and no human children, I used to have animal-related hobbies, such as showing my cats. At the time, my cats were my children, so this worked out - I have a fabulous chocolate tortie point Siamese who is essentially my first-born. This was before I discovered that while I like cats very much, it's a short-lived hobby unless you're a breeder. I got to know a lot about cats during this period, and satisfied my curiosity about many breeds, since cat shows are all about presenting the very best examples available.

For the record, Maine Coons, Siamese, Abyssinian, Burmese and Bengals are all lovely breeds. In a room full of freaked-out show cats, the Sphynx stands out in a big way: not only are they not stressed, but they are the most easy-going friendly cat breed of any. And they're relatively maintenance free -- no brushing, grooming, de-matting or fussing for these guys at a cat show!

Although I take no shame in my girl-crush on Jennifer Aniston and her fabulous hair, she is not the reason I am taken with Sphynx cats. By the time Mrs. Whiskerson made her debut on Friends I was already totally smitten with the hairless breed. I vowed that one day I would have one for my own, and fast forward a decade and we finally have an opening in our herd. I did my research, found a fabulous breeder, checked in with my family, and...

What's that you ask? Did I actually bring home one of the world's weirdest animals?

No, I got two!

Introducing the new Bitches of Fashion, hard at work on the blog.

Even though they are hot little hotties (Sphynx run about 4 degrees warmer than their hairy counterparts), they do tend to chill a bit when it's cold, just like people. So to stay warm and enhance their fabulous looks, the Sphynx people like to wear clothes. Could you think of a more perfect animal for me? I think not!

In fact, they came to me wearing little fleece jumpers.

Mock me all you want, but I am warm, bitches. Toasty warm!

I've done a little kitteh clothing shopping, of course, and have discovered that Petsmart has an awesome Martha Stewart collection. It's obviously meant for dogs, but works fine on small naked cats (turns out my two hairless wonders are a size Chihuahua).

You wish you had a grey pelt so that you'd look this awesome in pink, don't you?

There I found little hoodies with skulls and crossbones embroidered on them, and this super cute t-shirt with a skull and crossbones detail - in sequins:

Does this t-shirt make me look like a rock star? Why yes. Yes it does.

I have also come to know a very fun shop called Sphynx Wear (naturally), a clothing designer especially for Sphynx, Peterbald, Cornish Rex, and other warmth-challenged cats. The entrepreneur of this store has fully engaged her sense of humor, recognizing that there really is nothing serious about putting clothes on cats. Her kitty couture is clever and fun. I wasted no time getting some fashion for my two naked babies, though it turns out my kittens are still a bit wee for adult cat-wear.

Everybody looks faster with go-faster stripes.

You can definitely tell Sphynx Wear is made for petite flowers - the same suit fits like a sausage skin on Catso.
Somebody's ready for his shot at the Biggest Loser. I am pretty sure this track suit makes him look fat.

And so, while I may be dressing myself without a lot of imagination for the past few weeks, there's some creative energy in the house being lavished on two small, naked, big-eared, lemon-eyed, hot water bottles with claws. When I get my brain back, there will be at least three fashion-starved people in the house.

Bring on the spring collections already.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I See Paris I See France

One of the adages we Bitches live by is that naked people have little or no influence on society (to borrow heavily from Mr. Mark Twain). Ever since God ejected Adam and Eve from the garden and said, "Go forth and get yourselves some Gucci for My sakes, you look RIDICULOUS with those fig leaves!" humankind has been trying to influence the outside world with the way it dresses itself.

Seriously. Just try getting a job wearing a bathing suit. Well, a respectable job anyway. Or holding back the Mongol hordes in your bathrobe and slippers.

Which is why I for one simply do not understand why the fashion world these past couple seasons keeps insisting that shades of nude are so gosh darn in style for spring. Like that baby poopie neon green that's trotted out every few years like crazy Aunt Martha at Thanksgiving, nude is the booger on the finger of the fashion world that just refuses to flick itself away.

From the Versace Spring 2011 collection.
I love everything about this dress but the color.
The color? It is booger.

Likewise, these dresses from Mango's Spring 2011 collection feature some lovely detailing and shaping. But you wouldn't know it because they are just so wallflower.

I'm not sure why this trend still persists, because nude is by no means an easy shade to wear. When it works, I suppose it imparts a certain jet-setting-off-to-Capri vibe. When it doesn't, it makes you look like you spent lunch hoovering down a platter of bad shellfish.

However, there are two exceptions to my fatwah on nude.

If an Hermes Birken bag like this one suddenly fell from the sky and clonked me on the head? You betcha I'm going to clutch it to my bosom like a newborn puppy and spend the rest of my life giggling over my good fortune.

I also loves me a neutral, dare I say nude, shoe. Like these Astors by Jessica Simpson. Which I spent all last fall stalking on eBay at a rock bottom price and now have tucked away in my closet just waiting for the weather to warm up enough to justify wearing without socks.

I'm also digging these Vince Camuto "Norda" perforated pumps and will most likely have to add them to my list of must-haves for spring:

So, tell the Bitches. What do you think of nude? Do you wear it? Own it? Want to riddle the trend with bullet holes and raise the clarion call for more navy, darn it, navy!?!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Got the Wardrobe Blues

I found a long wool fringey sweater with a hood—like this one—at a smokin' hot price on Ideeli. It was long, it was wool, I was sold. It was such a good price it would have been criminal to turn it down.

Everybody out there who didn't buy this? You're goin' to jail!

"Wow," you say. "That is a really nice bathrobe!" And you'd almost be right. I meant for it to be for weekend apparel when I bought it. However, due to a certain, shall we say, closet ennui, it's made its way outside and onto my body in public and at work. Oh, the horror.

This is the problem with having a closet full of neutrals: Black goes with gray goes with white, goes with a touch of red, goes with leopard. Suddenly there you are, in your closet of fashion Garanimals because everything goes with everything! Plus, it's been cold here, and on days when it's cold out, I want to wear a blankie.

Today, in a half-hearted attempt to dress up, I paired it with my most recent fabulous post-xmas sale acquisition booties.

BCBGeneration Clog Booties

As a matter of fact, yes, I do look like Stevie Nicks, thank you (except I'm about a foot taller).

This fringey thing is just a slippery slope to fashion hell. Soon I'll be wearing it to Wal-Mart, with a bud light t-shirt and Crocs. Like a Snuggie.

Thank you, People Of Walmart, I now need eye bleach.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rule Britannia

Note: this post is the last in a series in which the Bitches attempt looks from the Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style using clothes from our own closets.

Posh Eclectic - What's it mean?

If California Casual is quintessentially an American born 'n' bred look, then Posh Eclectic belongs squarely to the Brits. To me, it embodies a kind mad cap, devil-may-care-evening-gown-with-Wellies glamor that I imagine certain of Britain's upper crust likes to engender when:
A. Proving to the hoi polloi that they are most certainly not snooty, they're lovably dotty, why just look at how we pair our furs with tattered jeans! or
B. Embarking once and for all on the downward slope of the journey towards fun on mental instability.

Pirate: This look is all about blending styles - it's the name you give it when your dress is mod but your jewelry is rock and roll. . . or when your entire outfit came from Anthropologie. It's the look when things that don't look like they should look good together still look good together - like the fancy dress and the grandpa cardigan. This may sound like a catch-all style, but it's more polished than that. Posh Eclectic definitely takes a little time to think through.

Posh Eclectic Icons

Moi: To me, Kate Moss can serve double duty with this one, due in large part I think to her tendency to mix a variety of different styles into one look:

As well as to somehow manage to always look just a tad disheveled, regardless of the time of day or occasion:

I would also include Russell Brand in this category, although I'm sure he'd protesteth that, no, no, no! he is really rock and roll.

: She's probably an unfair posh eclectic icon since she makes her own clothes (and lord knows she's heavy on the eclectic), but I favor Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Her personal style and her fashion lines combine traditional glamour with far-out outrageousness in ways that are equal parts quirky and elegant.

Plus she is just cool. She is the mother of the Punk Rock movement, and at 69 is still a fearless couturier.

The Pieces

Moi: Posh Eclectic is just that: beautifully detailed items made from luxurious or luxurious-looking fabrics (velvet, silk, lace, satin, fur) that are put together with other luxurious items in a kooky or off kilter way. This is the time to pull out the ol' Edwardian-style velvet jackets, fitted tweed blazers, English riding pants, ruffled silk blouses, circle skirts, vintage silk dress, Fair Isle cardigan, and fur gillets. In fact, if there's one style that just begs for anything fur, it's Posh Eclectic. Footwear includes lace up granny style booties, Wellies, t-strap sandals, and retro-looking wedges. As far as accessories go, just about anything goes, but this is the time to show off your grandmother's velvet and cameo choker, that tangled metal and pearl necklace, and Victorian jet bracelet.

Pirate: . . . or, you could just go spend some money at Anthropologie. Pretty much all their looks embody the glamorous-paired-with-weird that inexplicably looks really great and well-assembled.

Putting It All Together


BB Dakota faux fur vest, unknown stretch lace ballet top, thrifted faux pearls, Gap boot cut jeans, Yellow Cab NYC silk satin pumps.

BCBG silk cropped kimono jacket, Tracy Reese lace pencil skirt, Jessica Simpson Astor slingback peep toe pumps.

BCBG velvet cropped jacket, unknown lace camisole, Anthropologie chandelier drop necklaces, Garnet Hill jersey ruffled skirt, Hue tights, Born riding boots.

Pirate: If yo're putting new things together in your closet for the first time and pairing styles you're not sure about, it can be a big risk. So, um, yeah: sometimes pulling off the Posh Eclectic thing takes some balls.

BCBG "Natany" OTK boots, BCBG runway tutu, BCBG sculpted jersey top, BCBG faux fur shrug

But sometimes, it's just a matter of pretending. As in, I'm pretending I'm going to the stables for my morning constitutional, but really, I'm going to work.

J Crew riding pants, Vince Camuto "Fivvy" boot, BCBG drape-front cashmere cardi, J Crew silk ruffled blouse

Rock and Roll + Gamine = Posh Eclectic

Vince Camuto "Fivvy" boots, Ted Baker asymmetrical kilt, Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater, J Crew "Professor" Blazer, Gap neck scarf

Final Thoughts on this Look

Moi: I am waiting for the day when I have occasion to pair a lame evening gown with my Frye harness boots and coyote fur stole. And when everyone at the grocery store shoots me weird looks, I will tell them, "Pfffft. What know ye of Posh Eclectic fashion! Now get that straight jacket away from me."

Pirate: Be fearless; take risks in your closet. If you think it might look good together, try it. So long as it fits you and looks good on you, chances are very good that you can pull it off. Even if you don't, there's nothing wrong with a good learning experience.

Up next: well, shoot. we're out of looks in the Lucky Book. Maybe it's time to field questions from the audience -- feel free to Ask The Bitches anything - we love questions!