Sunday, November 29, 2009

Solutions to Tznius Eveningwear

This will be the first of a few posts I will publish on finding dresses for events and weddings etc. about finding or having made dresses that are both covered up and fabulous. It is really a big challenge to do eveningwear where you are draped in one color from head to toe and make it look not too dense or poofy. I have started to compile runway looks were a tznius solution is achieved.
Above: Thakoon, Dries Van Noten, and Ralph Lauren, all Fall '09 collections.
The elbow length sleeve is very in style right now. I think that the Dries dress with the engineered print in the center is so chic and interesting. I think that women should utilize interesting prints more often in eveningwear. It gives a certain unique quality and personality to a dress.
If you are having a dress made, don't think that you have to have a full skirt or a fitted sleeve or anything that people always do. Think about what looks good on you and what you love. It helps to look through photos on or other websites to find runway looks from which to be inspired. It helps that this season was so big on long sleeves and skirts!

Thrifty Shopping Tips

It's been a while! Life has been busy but I want to get back to blogging.
I wanted to post some tips for buying clothes second hand. I realize that the majority of my clothing is second hand, usually from the Salvation Army or other similar stores. Many people tell me that they have difficulty finding anything nice or wearable at thrift shops, so here are some hints to help you out! (This is a great way to pump up your wardrobe with some fun pieces without spending too much money.)

1. Try to find a second hand store outside of a large metropolitan area. You will often find that thrift stores in cities like New York are well picked through in addition to more expensive. If you have the money to spend they often have nicer things, but there are certainly great finds for less out of town.
2. I love that these stores are generally organized by color. Walk through quickly to see if anything catches your eye and then go back and sift through more carefully. Look for interesting fabrics and colors and don't only stick to the women's' section! Sometimes you can find over/undersized gems in the children's or men's sections. More on that later.
3. Go in with an idea of some things you would like to look for but don't have your heart set on anything in particular. It's best to keep an open mind.
4. Unless you can easily fix something which is ripped or missing a button, don't bother picking it up. It's not a bargain if you never wear it. Check for tears, broken zippers, and especially stains. Most of these places wash their garments first and if it didn't come out then, it probably won't come out later.
5. Many thrift stores have a half off day or days when certain things are on sale. If you're really wanting a deal, look into that ahead of time!

Good Deals in Thrift Stores
1. Look for bulky sweaters, cool belts, and hats in the men's section.
2. Look for small vests and blazers in the boy's section.
3. Check out the shoes. Often you can find shoes that someone decided didn't fit after they got home and are never worn.
4. Belts and hats in general. Also jewelry and scarves and any other accessories.
5. Sometimes you can find a heavy women's blazer that would make a good winter coat.

Keep in mind that some shopping trips will yield many purchases while others will be less successful. Shopping after spring cleaning or at the end of seasons is a good time. Don't go shopping if you don't have a lot of time to peruse. Keep in mind that they have good turnover and you can go back fairly regularly to find new things.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Few Long Skirts

Long skirts are great. They're comfortable, versatile, and warmer in the winter months. To keep you from falling into a black slinky skirt rut, here are a few options of long comfortable skirts by designer Rachel Pally which incorporate interesting textiles or details to add interest. All are available at

1. (Right) Striped jersey maxi skirt, $198.
2. (Center) Fortuna long jersey skirt, $194.
3. (Left) Tye-dye jersey skirt, $220.
The striped skirt is a great option for a bright color top, or, if you are feeling bold, a printed top like a bright floral with a jacket or cardigan. The black skirt has great detail at the waist and is a good way to go if you want to maintain a more conservative look. The tye-dye skirt combines an organic feel with a neutral pallette, making it relatively easy to wear.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Great Etsy Accessory

I really recommend perusing the website because every time I look I discover another gem. Most recently I came across an artist who works under the store name zippinning and creates these fantastic floral brooches with vintage and recycled zippers. What a great find and a piece cool enough that you could just leave it on your winter pea coat or your bag or hat. She also uses every color imaginable so you can easily find something to match or compliment. These would make a fantastic gift!

Zipper Brooches, pieces above range from $22-$40, by Zippinning at

Interesting Take on the Turtleneck

I just wanted to share this interesting take on the turtleneck from Liz Claiborne. A criss-cross turtleneck is an interesting concept and has a slight Mandarin vibe which is really interesting. This is a great piece because it is very versatile; it can be worn with denim, a suit, a cardigan, or any other quirky collection of layers. It is also sold in black, white, and dark green.

Stretch Surplice Wrap Top, $39, by Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne at

Sunday, October 18, 2009

All About Texture

I know many of you love to wear black all the time. You'll be glad to know that many designers were showing runways full of black for Fall 09. I wanted to post some ideas about taking black to the next level.

(Left to Right) All from Fall 09 Runway Shows: Ralph Lauren, Junya Wantanabe, Michael Kors

What makes the looks above interesting is the play of texture and sheen in the different black garments. Ralph Lauren uses sequins and wool, Junya Wantanabe uses a black knit with sparkle and nylon, and Michael Kors shows simple knit with leather.

Below are a few pieces you can use to texturize your blacks:

1. Cropped Jacket, $79, Signature Silk Velvet Collection from Spiegel at

2. Stretch Sequin Skirt (sale $98) by Donna Karan at

3. Braided Leatherette Belt ($6.80) from Forever 21 at

4. Textured Black Neckwarmer ($28) by Fuzzy Lumkin Crochet at

5. Cable Fingerless Gloves ($125) by Vince at

Sequins, velvet, chunky knits, and braids are just some of the ways to add texture. This works well in any outfit in a single color.

Attention Accessories

I was exploring, a fantastic website where you can buy handmade goods directly from artists. It's a great set up because Etsy allows the artist to get themselves on the market and the goods are generally high quality and there is some very cool stuff. It's also great to buy from and support young designers and artists.

Tonight I came across one artist in particular tonight who makes very interesting accessories which are definitely worth sharing.

This Etsy shop is called Giia Neckpieces and Accessories and the artists makes fantastic bib necklaces which are very on trend this season. Designers such as Donna Karan and Jason Wu were showing them on the runway for Fall. These particular pieces are handcrafted by the artist in her studio in Italy. They are made from felt (great for fall!) and layered so that they have depth, interesting especially in the piece on the left which is made to resemble inlaid stones. She also carries colorful pieces but these three show a range of her available styles.
Bib necklaces are also a wonderful solution to a shirt that is just a little bit too low at the neckline. They are so cool and are much more interesting than a crew neck shell.

1. (Left) Mask Stone Bib Statement Necklace, $95

2. (Center) Wien Hex Bib Statement Necklace, $75

3. (Right) Organic V Bib Statement Necklace, $90

The link for her Etsy shop where you can view and purchase her pieces is

If you get the chance, do take a look and look around the rest of Etsy too. It's really a lot of fun and you would be suprised at how cool some of the things are!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Runway Styling Tips

A lot of looking fabulous is about your styling technique. Fashion designers hire professional stylists to style their shows so looking carefully at what is being done can teach you a lot.

For instance, here is a look from the Fall 2009 Lanvin runway show.

Her outfit is simply a basic blouse and knee length pencil skirt. What is unique is the styling and accessories that accompany the look.

Here are some similar items to consider:

1. Ann Taylor Long Leather Glove, $110,
2. H&M Faux Fur Scarf,
3. Steve Madden S405 Sunglasses, $38,
4. BCBGeneration Women's Bristol High Heel, $79.98,
5. Vintage Victorian Gold Pin, Judy's Gems (, $55

I love the idea of the gloves and the fur. Fur is very big this season and if you can't afford or would rather not buy the real stuff, faux fur is great!
I showed a brooch because I'm not sure that the H&M fur has a clasp so you can always substitute with a nice pin. Vintage is great. Thrift stores are a wonderful way to find old jewelry and style your wardrobe! Alternately, you can always sift through your mother's jewelry box.

Rethinking the Cardigan

Cardigans are great, especially when you need some extra layers. This season, however, classic preppy style cardigan is stepping aside to make way for the new cardigan which is much looser, draped, and just fantastic.
The new cardigan looks great with a pencil skirt or alternately you can wear them belted with a fuller skirt.

1. (Left) Convertible Drape Cardigan, $194, by Alice + Olivia at

2. (Center Left) Draped Knit Cardigan, $17.80, from Forever 21 at

3. (Center Right) Front Drape Cardigan, $435, from Les Nouvelles at

4. (Right) Ombre Open Sweater, $33.99, from Charlotte Russe at

The Alice + Olivia is great because you can style it freely depending on your outfit. The Les Nouvelles version is really beautiful and if you look at the website you can see all the small details that make it so special. I like the shape of the Forever 21 version and I think it is very easy to wear. As for Charlotte Russe, well, ombre's always fun. I also think that the angled hem is flattering.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tznius Spotlight: Tory Burch

Amid my online shopping I came across these lovely dresses from designer Tory Burch. They would be really fun to style and layer on top of and are great because they need no undershirts or other frum-wear. The patterned dresses especially would be great with patterned tights, either printed or crocheted. If you want to play it a little bit safer, solid but colorful tights are always a good way to go.
I do realize that these dresses are a little bit on the short side so if you are tall they might not quite reach your knees. Dark tights would help obscure the lack of length slightly.
All dresses can be viewed and purchased on
From left: Augustin Dress, $425, Port Dress, $425, Kareema Dress, $237, and Shawna Dress, $435, shown in both print and black.

Interestingly Frum Styling at DKNY

This is the DKNY ad campaign that is being printed right now in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, etc. It caught my eye because I thought it was so interesting that they were using a turtleneck under the short sleeved v-neck dress in the last look. It's a new way to layer a low cut dress that gives it an quirky twist, especially with opaque tights. Note also the belting over the suit jacket and the cowl scarves.

Upon doing a little extra research I found another fantastic ad which has a similar concept but is even more colorful and exciting!

Here are a few turtlenecks which can be used to create some of these looks.

1. (Left) Turtleneck Sweater, (on sale) $29.99 by Dana Buckman for Kohls at

2. (Center) Layering Turtleneck, $39.50 from Ann Taylor Loft at

3. (Right) DKNY Long sleeve merino turtleneck $145.00 at

Target also has some inexpensive options in addition to carrying striped turtlenecks which can bring your layering adventure to a whole new level.

This whole tznius extravaganza at DKNY might be because Donna Karan is Jewish, but it's more likely because they just have a creative stylist.
Either way, I'm a fan.

The New Pencil Skirt

Pencil skirts are all the rage this Fall and we are seeing both the traditional version and an interesting new breed which include a lot of drape to complement the recent trend of looser clothing and lots of layers. The good news about this development is that it holds the fabric away from the body slightly so it is flattering on most. It also adds just enough volume as to be more comfortable in the event you ate too much ice cream last night.

1. (Left) Egyptian Night Pencil Skirt, $208 by Fuchsia at

2. (Center) Rollin Skirt, $168 by French Connection at

3. (Right) Grecian Draped Skirt, (on sale) $9.99 by Mossimo at

Here are a few examples of interesting pencil shapes from the Fall shows. Notice in addition the Dries Van Noten and Haider Ackermann looks both include modest tops.

Left to Right: Haider Ackermann, Givenchy, Dries Van Noten, all from Fall 2009 runway shows. (

While the Haider Ackermann show was one of my favorite from that season, the Dries Van Noten look above is a favorite. The way the metallic is played against the dusty rose is very elegant.

Hold on to your traditional pencil skirts, however, and if you don't own one, now is the time to invest! They happen to be particularly on trend at the moment, but the look never goes out of style and is definitely a smart purchase. Depending on the fabric (of course) and how you layer and style your outfit, they can generally be worn either casual or dressy.

Left to right: Thakoon, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, all from the Fall 2009 runway shows. (

Here are some examples from the Runways about how the traditional pencil skirt is being worn and modernized. At Thakoon, we saw vivid hues and in this example a cobalt skirt to play off of the other bright colors. In both Thakoon and Calvin Klein, the pencil skirt serves to balance the full top, whether it be fur or a structured jacket. Carolina Herrera uses the skirt as a classic to accent her belted and layered look which could look too chunky with a fuller option.

1. (Left) Denim Pencil Skirt, (on sale) $29.99 from New York & Co at

2. (Center) Wool tweed Oona Pencil Skirt $128 from J.Crew at

3. (Right) Pencil Bandage Skirt (on sale) $79.99 by Marciano for Guess at