Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lights, Camera, Fashion!

So I just finished watching "Shopgirl," a Steve Martin film that was surprisingly good: contemplative, bittersweet, darkly funny, and thought-provoking. Claire Danes does her "I'm about to cry" face where she screws up her face into several different contortions before sort of smiling, a la Angela Chase, and it still got to me. She's got that one down, boy. But the movie is incredibly detail-laden, and deeply stylish, such that I was struck, scene after scene, by her outfits. She pretty much wears nothing but awesome dresses throughout the film. And so I'd like to officially add this to the list of Good Fashion Movies that Ms. Spinach posted a while back. Danes's character is a classy gal with great taste but not so many dollars, so I think many of the dresses she wears (before Steve Martin's character starts buying her Armani gowns) are supposed to be vintage. They are fabulous. Here are some shots I found of some of her outfits:

Costume designer Nancy Steiner has an impressive resume; she's also worked on "Little Miss Sunshine" (which I still haven't seen), "Lost in Translation" and "The Virgin Suicides," "Elizabethtown," "The Good Girl" (remember Jennifer Aniston's genius mom jeans?), "Reality Bites" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." She's also designed the costumes for a ton of music videos, ads, and editorial. I think I'd like to be her, actually.

A Little (Too Much) About J Seacrest

I’m the NKOTB here at Fashion Binge. Since the ladies were lacking in their coverage of sartorial opportunities for the modern man, they graciously decided to allow me to throw my two cents in on occasion. But in keeping with the gender proportions of Bloomingdale’s SOHO, I’ll only be contributing about 1/6th of the content (give or take), and the quality will only be basement-level compared to MKH and TL’s consistently excellent posts.

Just so you know a little about me, my fashion icons (in no particular order) are Ralph Lauren, Beck, Max Fischer and Alan Flusser. I spend way more time going to and thinking about sample sales than any straight man should. And more than anything, I love a good fashion quest, which is why I’m constantly rifling through bins at Daffy’s or Googling things like “bib-front shirt.” Which reminds me: check out this site if you like really, really dope shit.

Thanks for listening. Carry on…

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Vera Wang Jumps on the El Cheapo Bandwagon! (And Possibly Jumps the Shark?)

Vera Wang is the next in a now-long line of celebresigners to go down market (NOT that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, as I LOVE my Paul and Joe for Target polo top!)

... As she just announced her partnership with Kohl's, where she'll bring her goodies to the huddled masses.

But, possibly due to lack of direct interactive experience, I don't have much love for Kohl's. All I really know about it is if you rearrange the letters, you get "Shlock" (minus the C, but still). And Vera Wang's goods don't really strike me as the type of stuff that the public NEEDS! Of course, I'm willing to be proven wrong.

Yet check out this quote from Ms. Wang herself:

"Wang said that 'it has troubled' her for quite a while not to be able to offer her designs to all women. 'We have been quite elitist in terms of price points,' she said. (Word -- ed.)

The designer added that she doesn't believe expanding her designs to a midprice retailer such as Kohl's will taint her reputation as a designer, citing names like Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani, both of whom have developed fashion empires that have appealed to a broad base of shoppers.

'In all honesty, I have weighed everything,' she said. But what's important is that there's good quality, trust and value at all levels of merchandise, she said."

Uh... Armani may have created a line of department store jeans, but he also created an entire brand of more affordable, accessible apparel. Vera's simply hocking her crap at the nearest Gold Circle! Something tells me the woman hasn't lost much sleep over the fact that the unwashed can't afford her froufy gowns. I smell a rat. And by rat, I mean BLATANT e-zee revenue opportunity!

Make Face-Mask by yourself! homemade face-mask

Funky Face-Mask Formula:

1) Mix a 1/4 cup of powdered clay with,
2) 3 teaspoons of corn starch.
3) Then mix in a blend of:
herbs like peppermint, jasmine or calendula. (About 3 teaspoons total per 1/4 cup.)
Essential oils like sandalwood, lavender or tea tree. (About 8 drops total per 1/4 cup)
For dry skin - add 4 teaspoons of sweet almond or jojoba oil.
For oily skin - add 4 teaspoons of Brewers Yeast.
4) Add enough water to form a paste.
5) And your done!

If you only want to make a little bit at a time, just reduce the quantities of each ingredient accordingly.

Mix These Materials To Make Your Own Lip-Gloss:

1) 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil.
2) 4 tablespoons of grated beaswax.
3) 1 tablespoon honey.
4) 6 capsules pure vitamin E oil.
5) 1/4 teaspoon cocoa butter.
6) 2/3 drops essential oil (peppermint or sweet birch are nice.)

Just mix all the stuff together and scoop the goop into some 1/2 ounce tins which you can buy at a craft or dollar store. And c'est fini!

Make soap by yourself! Homemade soap.

Funky face-masks, smashing soap and lovely lip-glosses are awesome products but they can be really expensive. If you aren't afraid to get your hands dirty, I have an easy way for you to get the goods this summer without the high costs.

You can make all these products at home if you have the right ingredients. These recipes are easy and cheap to make... and make rad gifts for your friends.
Follow these directions to make some dope soap:
- Bars of natural fragrance or color free soap
- Essential oils of your choice (Lavender, rose and jasmine work well)
- Food coloring
- Oats
- Vitamin E Oil (Optional)
- Almond Oil

1) Grate soap in a blender or food processor.
2) Boil a pot of water and put a glass bowl over the pot, (like a double boiler.)
3) Add some almond oil into the bowl.
4) Add the soap into the bowl.
5) Take the water from the pot and add it into the bowl until soap changes into paste.
6) Add oils, color, and vitamin E as desired.
7) Let cool in molds of your choice. You can use anything for a mold - ice cube trays, cookie cutters or your own hand.
(To make hand soap, flatten soap paste to approximately 1/4 inch. Trace your hand on to the surface of the paste and mold accordingly. Finish by writing "hand soap.")
8) Air out on wax paper for a day or two.

Experiment! Make different shapes of soap or don't mix the color all the way in. Oats are great for exfoliating. Lavender pieces and rose petals can sometimes mold or rot if you don't air the soap out properly, so be careful. Your utensils should not be used for food afterwards but if you need to, wash very thoroughly.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Uniqlo = Unique? No!

Ok. When I first heard about Uniqlo opening not just its 730th (!!!!) store but also its flagship in Soho, I was like "Woo!" Cheap stuff designed with the wearer's individuality in mind, not just for the sake of plastering some lame logo like, oh, I don't know... "Young Army" or "Hommy Lilfinger" or "Crap" ... across my chest. See, Uniqlo is sort of a (ahem) Gap-like one-stop fashion retailer in Japan. And apparently -- or not -- it's all that and a bag of Combos over there, which I find hard to believe... Read on...

So, as I said, I was totally psyched! Rrr... until I actually checked it out. Um... WHAT? I couldn't have been more disappointed. Shapeless shirts. Bland, boring colors.

(Way boringer than these!)

Come on, Japan. I've never been there, but I KNOW you can do better. Not that it ever claimed to be, but Harajuku this certainly is not. (As an American who's not only SEEN "Lost In Translation," but also harbors a secret, shameful love of Gwen Stefani, I FULLY expect my Japanese exports to be FULLY kawaii, k?) The ONLY thing I could even fathom wearing was MAYBE their workout cropped yoga pants, but why on goddess' green earth would I even bother braving the riotous shoppers on Broadway when I could easily go to ... oh... I don't know... "Young Army" for the same pants, same price, possibly even cuter design? No reason I can think of. I know it's just a pop-up store -- the real deal launches later this year at a far larger space -- 546 Broadway, to the tune of over 36,000 square feet! -- but if it's just 36 times the same basics -- and I DO mean basics -- then I'll fully embrace the actually catchy jingles of Young Army (I actually think that "Get Your Fash-On" rap is pretty cute -- it's about 1000 times better than those performance fleece jingles, no?) and do my basics-shopping there. Oh, and speaking of... I was there the other day, and I was very surprised to find, much like Urban Outfitters, the F/W '06 stuff is actually quite cute -- Old Navy's even moreso than Urbs, dare I say? FINALLY well-fitting (read: tops longer than 20 inches) pieces:


And look! Cute jeans!
($25, And available in Short, thus saving me a trip to the tailor!!!)

They're totes doing what Urban should've been doing if they hadn't gone off the deep end and come out with a F/W line of stuff that looks like it took a bad trip back to a Seattle and crawled out of a circa-1991 Dumpster:

But I digress. Back to Uniq-no: It looks like their stuff (or at least their ads) in Japan is way cuter:

Or at least one would hope, right?

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Misshapes' Fashion Mistake

I find it pretty humorous that Leigh Lezark, the pretty face at the center of the Misshapes DJ crew who's been pictured in a few fashion magazine spreads, is held up as some kind of arbiter of downtown cool, getting invited to go personal shopping at Barneys with the New York Times and garnering an Edie Sedgwick comparison for her trouble, and yet--and yet! Here she is pasted up all over the corner of Houston and Avenue B, hawking not even DJ bags, but shitty-ass messenger bags. Sold not at Barneys, mind you, but Wal-Mart. Considering how much they cost, I wonder how much she and her identical-tool minions got paid to sell out in such an obviously, spectacularly uncool fashion. Or maybe they just want to live like common people....

East Sport Shiny Wrap Messenger bag, $12.96 plus the sum total of your scenester cred.

Tennis, Anyone?

With the U.S. Open coming up and tickets in my pocket (or at least in the mail), I've been inspired to hit the courts. Some of this Nike gear makes me want to go pro. Or just look cute while I'm acing my partner, and then after, while we're having coffee or smoothies or whatever.

Seriously, this is supposed to be for sweating in? This flowy jersey top with the cutout shoulder and intricate print on the back? No way. It's way too pretty for sports, even "fitness dance," which is its intended use, according to the helpful folks at Nike. $45.

Ditto this precious faux-fur-collared vest with quilting, which looks like it'd show off your waist quite nicely. $100.

This funky little dress is by Serena Williams. I think the racerback, uh, back means you couldn't wear it as streetwear, but maybe you're cooler than I am. $100.

The same print is available in track-jacket form, though. Yay! With matching pants for 175 bones.

Here's a shirt that would look great at the gym or just hanging out. I don't know why anyone needs "vents" in the nebulous region between shoulder and boob, but it's just weird enough to be interesting even in a non-athletic environment, I'd say. There's also some fun feathery detailing on the back. Not bad for $40.

This track jacket is pretty basic, and busty ladies might not appreciate the asymmetrical zipper, but I loooove the color. Flushing Warmup Jacket, $80.

And it goes with my self-designed shoes! You can customize a bunch of different styles of sneaks over there for the reasonable sum of $100.

And then finally, a cool bag to stow your tennis balls, extra sneakers, Gatorade, brass knuckles, etc. Leather duffel, $50.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Attention, Shoppers!!!

I've been neglectful of the Binge lately because I've been busy shopping for a new job (holla at me here if you gots something for me -- something creative and fun and can afford me the EXTREMELY rich, lush lifestyle to which I've grown so accustom) but, I MUST take stock of my priorities, specifically, shopping for things I cannot afford.

That brings me to today's topic: BAGS! Don't even so much as entertain the thought of leaving your modest, cramped apartment this fall carrying a bag that isn't a.) a shopper, b.) a tote, c.) a hobo/ satchel or d.) some amazing hybrid of all the aforemtioned. Why would you even bother carrying a bag -- especially if you live somewhere like NYC, where your bag takes the place of the trunk of what would otherwise be your car -- that doesn't allow you the luxury of carrying around a book of at least 400 pages, a bag lunch, snacks, maybe a metal tape measurer, no less than 8 lipsticks, your drycleaning, at least two or more pair of shoes and possibly kitcheware all at the same time? So I'm totes psyched that there are so many great shoppers, totes and other practical yet OF COURSE cute and stylish bags for fall... Let's take a look, shall we?

First of all, I totally fell in love with this:
($589, Dunun,

However, the price comes dangerously close to the cost of my monthly rent, so what did I do? I went out and bought this PERFECT knockoff:

It's even way cuter in real life. Not real leather BUT it's still buttery soft. I don't remember how much it was -- around $11 or something! -- but it doesn't matter because it's SOLD OUT, HOS!! (Tee!)

Ok. Next... I totally did the gay inhale when I saw this:
($19.99, Olive N Figs,
What? $19? And it's soooo fall-ilicious! I just wanna stash some cider in it and go hide in a pumpkin patch and wait for the Great Pumpkin! Oh, and unless you've been living in a flyover state for the past six months, you know that bows are TOTALLY in for F06. PERF!

This also elicited the gay inhale!
($242, Ananas,
Also deliciously fall fabulous. It's very Banana Republic, which isn't usually a selling point for me, but if you're going to spend $250 on a bag, it might as well NOT be from BR, nomesayin?


($656, Goldenbleu,
Soooo gorg! And SOOOOO expensive! Almost worth finding yourself a sugar daddy over.

($575, Lauren Merkin,
A, um, Slightly... More? Realistic $575?

($39, Moni Moni by Cinzia Moniaci,

($238, Aaneta Handbags,
This totes gives me the Etienne Aigner tinglies!

Case in point:
($35, vintage Etienne Aigner,

K. Now for some bolder colors 'n stuff for those who like such things...
($30, Loop,
So cute! So cheap! So practical! A celebration of adjectives followed by exclamation points!

($152, Crystalyn,
Normally this might be a bit too dear for me, but this designer embroiders vintage fabrics onto her bags. Um, rad. Check her other similar bags in rich earthy colors and similar suh-weet old-tymey fabrics. You'd have to be a sicko not to love that... Sorry, but you WOULD!

I KNOW I may be in the minority here, but I really love this bag:
($53, Melie Bianco,
Unique and classy, just like ME (except for when I'm real drunk). If you don't like it then MAKE YOUR OWN BLOG!

On that note, go and bag yourself a nice night.

Oh, and P.S: Notice that NONE of these bags has any sort of FRINGE? Yeah? Well, that's for A REASON! A very good reason. Fringe on bags is just the worst. And I shouldn't have to tell you that. But now that you know, talk to your friends about not carrying fringed bags. Knowledge is power!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Daily Candy Say Wha??

You've gotta be kidding me, right? Ladies' boxers, for real? And I'm supposed to wear them under what, exactly? Did the new trend of bloomers somehow escape my notice? And I get to pay $33 for 'em? I really just do not get this.

I kinda like these ruffle panties, though. Just as impractical, but at least they're colorful and feminine and don't look like I'm wearing my boyfriend's old drawers. I'd wear them for lounging about whilst eating banana pancakes (prepared by said boyfriend, of course: I'm too busy looking cute in my undies!). I would not, however, pay $37 for the privilege.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Das Bootie

It's becoming clear that we can no longer ignore the curious trend of ankle boots, especially when the cuteness factor getting pretty high, and double especially when my partner, Ms. Lohan, and I just discovered today that we recently purchased the EXACT same pair (read on to find out which!). It's just that I'm confused: what in the name of all that is holy does one wear with them, besides a miniskirt? Pants is just a waste, and I guess you'd have to really find the exact right dress (any suggestions?). So I guess with fall coming up, I guess it's skirts and tights, baby, tights and skirts. I can live with that. For those about to rock the ankle boots, I present: booties and the beasts (sorry).

Hey, what's that sound? I think it's a bootie call! Well, helllllooo, little red-hot slouchy leather number with a tiny kitten heel! Where you from? Bakers? Does that even exist in New York anymore? I dunno, but I might just drop the 90 bones it'll take to get these suckers, which also come in a bunch of other (more boring) colors.

Bakers also has this nice foldover platform bootie for $129.95. Plus has the added bonus of fulfilling your fashion-given need to have stuff that is gray this fall. Looks uncomfortable, though. To be worn only if your bootie is lounge-bound, I'd say.

Bakers rips off Tara Subkoff. Not really feelin' on these booties but every bootie is different. Some girls like a big, fat, bow-tied bootie. $89.95 for a piece a' that.

If you gave me $455 for a pair of these round-toe suede booties, by Tara Subkoff, in red or trendy gray or, really, any color, I'd totally shake-shake-shake, shake-shake-shake, shake my bootie for you. While mooning you. With the boots on. And let you put the vid up on youtube. Oh yeah. My paypal address is cat at catherinespita dot com. See if I won't!

If you like the round-toe thing (and I kind of think it's almost mandatory for ankle boots, for some reason), here's a more affordable option: These NaNa suede booties with somewhat odd piping, $113.95.

I have another rule about ankle boots, which has remained unexpressed, till now: No oxford-ish versions, and definitely no lace-ups. Schoolgirlish and ugly and horrible. The exception that proves the rule: This additional Tara Subkoff bootie, on sale for $247.50. Somehow, she just makes it work. The bulbousness of the heel is disturbing me, though. It's like the shoe thinks you'll be constantly bending your knees in athletic-squat fashion. What are you thinking, pretty shoe?

Meanwhile, this purple Dolce Vita bootie, $157.95, thinks it's riding on the back of hog, the wind in its hair, cool as all hellfire. Which reminds me of a t-shirt I saw this weekend upstate at a Harley/Red Cross benefit. The gentleman's chest read (and forgive me, I'm paraphrasing): "Some like the wind in their hair. Others can't get enough of the open road. Me, I just like the BOOBS IN MY BACK." (Emphasis t-shirt's. I sorta got a kick out of that for some reason.

Okay, the suspense is over. With apologies to Blowfly, here's what caused both of your humble fashion bingers to get on the bootie bus:

They are by Payless. Yes, that is how we roll. $24.99, bitches. I showed these to my boyfriend and he pronounced them "elfin" after an amused pause. I thought they might be a bit too Williamsburg and/or boring. Plus, I already have a pair of elfin leather flat boots, but it seems like those wanted to be ankle boots the whole time. So I purchased them. Thank you Payless!

A more squared-off version can be had almost equally as cheaply at Delia's. $39. Has anyone ever bought shoes at Delia's though? I have not. In fact, I don't know if I've ever ordered anything through a non-Web catalog. True fact. But these look like a good "basic" bootie, if you will.

Back to awesome, and not merely acceptable, shoes. Slouchy asymmetrical bootie, R183.95, by some brand called Report. The leather looks weirdly shiny, but I guess that's what "free shipping both ways" is for.

Love the lines on these Kenzie "tulip" round-toe wedge booties, $113.95.

And the detailing on these Moschino Cheap & Chics. Yep, I'd tap that. If I had $495.

Now we're moving into questionable territory. Could these possibly be used as rain boots, or are they just too out-there? Whatchoo think? I kinda think they're funky. Palladium patent-leather velcro booties, $114.95.

And what about these Merona surfer-inspired "elf" boots lined in fleece? Great in cold weather, no? I think they are totally cute, but not sure I'd think that when they're in my closet waiting to be worn. And really not sure they're worth $119.99.

We have rules for a reason. Urban Outfitters loses its mind, $150.

Baci tapestry boot, $78.95. Not bootylicious at all.

Bakers gets it tragically wrong, $79.95.

Recently Ms. Lohan noted that she "usually likes Irregular Choice." Interesting statement, considering these monstrosities. Irregular Choice buttoned booties, $127.95.

They also made these red white and blue snowflake knit things. To see all of their craziness, click here.

And that's all the bootie beauty this beholder can stand. Are YOU on the bootie bus?