Stylist Tip of Week

Stylist Tip of the Week

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Lacer Vision

Some trends seem to last and last, like waiting for mascara to go out of style. However, it's truly a pleasure to relish in the beginning, height and hopefully carefully avoid the dénouement of a well-formed fashion trend. "This is still ok, right? Kate Moss wore it on Tuesday?"

Like the Palestinian scarf (recently re-Ghesquire-approved), the chunky heel or the substantial bag, black tights are still in for Fall 2007. Its staying power is there in black and white--or mostly black. The slimming noir keeps gams in a slender silhouette, the essential bottom-half canvas for a voluminous top finish. Black hosiery might be this decade's dark boot-cut jean.

It's not entirely boring, there's a new experiment emerging--lace tights. Fashion-nerds are whispering about their primordial emergence from the Japanese Goth-Lolli trend or anime/manga scene. Personally, I recall Madonna flouncing about in Like a Virgin, but I must admit Lagerfeld debuted the lacey things in his Spring 07 RTW Collection. Whatever the inspiration, lace stockings are a playful accessory and one that looks delicious tucked inside the new shoe-bootie.

Experiment with black and white versions or try the de rigueur aqua-marine Balenciaga look that is everywhere right now. The peek-a-boo cutouts break up a once-solid monotony and set off your oxford inspired booty with a nod to proper schoolgirl tights.

-Lauren Osterstock

Previous Tips of the Week

Tally Ho

I'm fascinated with words and rarely come across a new term not in within my fashion vocabulary, so to much delight when I heard the buzz about "Jodhpurs", I did the only thing a good new-millennium-girl would do… Wikipedia!

As I recall, the Wiki said Jodhpurs are named after a city in India and are equestrian pants that flare out just above the knee. I say "recall" because since a few days ago the "jodhpur page" has sadly been removed… no idea why. Perhaps they were receiving too many hits from curious stylephiles looking for the next sartorial phenomenon and imagined some horrible Jodhpur-conspiracy?

Anyways, I am thrilled the Jodhpur is making a grand entrance (per my vision, with a riding whip and a feather hat or turban of some sort) but it made a more real debut on the Balenciaga Fall 07 RTW runway. It was difficult to see at first, one blink and the Jodhpur was overshadowed as a mere skinny pant lost amidst tribal makeup, printed scarves, proper military frippery and oversized fur wraps. Now that the cloud of Simba-inspired eyebrow makeup has cleared, the Jodhpur remains.

To much delight the Jodhpur trend is baking up nicely in the most permanent (as permanent as fashion can be) avenue possible-the GAP has knocked off the trend in their European stores. So, fair warning, look for a Jodhpur pant near you and give them a try, their coolness is basically undeniable and who can resist the precocious safari look?

-Lauren Osterstock

Vested Interest

Autumn's must have staple? --The impossibly small vest. The vest has been in renaissance for a handful of seasons now, touched off by high-end denim designers, the well-fitted vest has gotten smaller and smaller until now, when the tiny thing might be confused for a corset or even a bra! In fact, some of the styles are so succinct in fabric, they seem more reminiscent of the Shakespearean bodice or Steve McQueen pistol holsters than a proper vest.

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. You can wear the tiny vest over most any ensemble, taking jeans and a tee to fashion-forward in an instant.
  2. Score your favorite vest now to get the most mileage from your purchase. Segue from summer into fall with the lightweight accessory.
  3. Impeccable fit is absolutely necessary. Err on the small side and choose a vest that hugs your curves. If you find a vintage treasure consider having it tailored to your torso for a more modern look.
  4. This trend is easily unisex, translation: steal your man's/keep tabs on yours.
  5. The smaller the better.

Check out the Karen Zambos Cropped Vest for the essential vest. For a longer version, try on Johnson's Suit Vest, it's a perfect fit.

-Lauren Osterstock

Cold Feet

There aren't too many experiences as painful as breaking in a fabulous new pair of heels. The lengths we, the fashion-obsessed, will go to flaunt foot accoutrement are unknown to man (literally). This week's Style Tip is an ingenious approach to stretching snug pumps so your toes will be as happy as a new shoe purchase.

The crazier, the better, as fashion secrets go and this one is no exception. Attempt at your own risk. Fill a small Ziploc™ bag halfway with water. Seal the bag inside another bag securely making sure neither leak. Put the bags inside one shoe. Repeat for the other shoe and put the pair in the freezer to freeze. The water in the bags will expand slightly stretching the shoes along the way. Now your shoes are slightly roomier and hopefully much more comfortable.

-Lauren Osterstock

Bootie Shakers

In 2006 we heralded the resurrection of a sexy eighties fave, the Bootie Boot. This year the trend is staying strong if not gaining momentum with some new twists on the short shoe. Make sure to take notes before this Fall's shopping extravaganza.

Three interpretations are emerging:

  1. The Peep Toe Boot: Pretty obvious, the cropped boot has a peep toe, strange for ill-weather accoutrement if not completely impractical, but when did that ever stop us (remember Press-On Nails?) Perfect for showing off your pedi or brightly colored stockings (see last week's style tip) beneath a delectable autumnal boot.
  2. The Barely Boot: Streamlined, ultra-modern and dipping so low to the ankle it straddles the fine line between boot and high heel this ankle boot is as cheeky as they come (check out the blue-grey Louis Vuitton pictured).
  3. The Shoe Boot: Looking as a pair of penny loafers were left alone with some sassy pumps until they made babies-the Shoe Boot is hybrid of two distinct styles with a decidedly proper twist a'la Oxford pedigree. We love the refined sartorial details like laces and loafer tassels set off by one sassy spike heel.

Choose your weapon(s) wisely but remember you can't go wrong. This boot is ultra versatile, making nice with everything from ultra-skinny skinny jeans, skirts, stockings, and wide-leg trousers.

-Lauren Osterstock

As models pranced out from the Prada Autumn/Winter 2007-08 runway one could hear the sound of a niche industry getting its knickers up in a knot, or more precisely their hosiery. Yes, the hosiery industry must have been turned inside out overnight thanks to Miuccia's colorful foresight. Looking like Piet Mondrians or Ellsworth Kelly paintings, these knee-highs sported to-die for color combos like mustard yellow paired with chestnut or rust and with periwinkle. The color blocked rainbow menagerie opens up a whole new fashion arena for sartorial nerds-leg accoutrement.

You might fake your own pair with two pairs of colored leggings snipped and layered just so, but if you can't get your mittens on Prada's tights, I suggest giving the likes of Forever 21, TopShop and H&M a week or two to knock-off this incredible look. The possibilities are endless really, I can't wait to play up shoe options and pair the pop of color with a fresh handbag. Perhaps an all over monochrome look with the leggings in centerstage and a matching barrette as touchstone color.

-Lauren Osterstock

Still Waisted

Fashion Flash: Accessory de riguer, the 2006 essential belt is still cinching runway waists everywhere. Last year's darling of designers, sartorial giants such as Balenciaga and Armani Prive (which I'm sorry to keep mentioning but their show was a watermark to be sure) can't let go of the belt's shapely effect. The Fall 2007 runway sees a new twist on these chicly waisted belts; namely that the belt must be entirely unusual-decadent in shape, size, design and detail. The cinch is peaking; literally taking center stage on gamine fashion plates everywhere.

Choose your belt wisely or at whim--Just make sure it's a showstopper. More feminine and detail-obsessed than Nicoloous Ghesquire's now somewhat perennial Heavy-Weight-Champion-inspired cinchers (back again, pictured) look for bright colors, gems and sensual contours.

CoutureCandy belts to try: Elegantly Waisted's Ruffle Belt with unique chevron frill. Her Double Wide Patent Leather number flirts with corset-status. Julie K.'s space age gold Claire Belt comes in a kaleidoscope of New Wave hues and her toned down take on runway glam is a fetching Vivian Belt with lace-up detail.

-Lauren Osterstock

Getting Knotty

Summer tresses are getting knotty with an ultra-modern interpretation of the classic chignon. Popping up like charmingly untidy rosettes amongst fashionista coifs everywhere, this trend is spanning the gamut of high-low fashion from Armani's Fall '07 catwalk to throbbing clubs across major sartorial cities.

There is two distinct ways to attempt the romantic little bun, messy and fancy free or sleek, wet and futuristic. Messy coils will require dirty hair and a good spritzing of hairspray while the wet-look is achieved by running a deep-conditioner through damp hair and using lots of bobby pins.

A few styles to try:

The Rosette: Separate select sections of hair (the width of your pinky) and twist into a coil to form a small bun. Secure with bobby pins (a small elastic adds extra support). Coil in clusters of odd numbers by the face or ponytail. Add tiny clusters of flowers for a midsummer's look.

The Asymmetrical: Secure hair in a side ponytail close to the face. Twist and wind the tail around itself forming a flat bun. Secure with pins and finish with extra-hold hairspray to keep your smart new look. This looks especially fetching with sleek, conditioner-treated hair.

The Colorist: This one is a bit more adventurous but adds a bright POP! of color to hair, perfect for experimenting with this year's early-nineties glam-revival. Choose a bright pair of tights (acid-yellow, pictured). Some colors to try: electric blue, tangerine, magenta etc. Sweep hair into a high ponytail at the crown of the head, separate hair into two sections. Twisting both your hair and the tights, twist each section and pin securely.

-Lauren Osterstock

Cleopatra of the Style

I'm blaming this entire cosmetic phenomenon on Amy Winehouse; the sultry Nina Simon-siren who croons "from the kitchen floor". If you've been sequestered in a desert retreat somewhere and haven't heard the exceptionally cathartic album, Back to Black, I highly recommend obtaining a copy. Equally appropriate for car-signing and wild pashing, this album is perfect for steamy trysts.

Was it the chicken or the egg? Or in this case, was it the incredibly experimental, Boy-George-inspired makeup from across the pond that influenced Amy's eyes or Amy's signature cat eyes that spawned the UK makeup fad? Then again, it might have been Diana Ross, but I digress.

Back to the Style Tip, choose a liquid eyeliner (we like CoverGirl's LineExact) in either black or blue (love blue for blondes) carefully line the top lid only. If you've never tried liquid eyeliner before, comparable to walking in heels, this takes mega-practice. The first million times attempted, you will look like a gothic clown but just persevere. Newbies keep Q-tips and eye-makeup remover handy. Drag the line out as far as you prefer. Try experimenting with different shapes or add color a'la Alexander McQueen. Finish off lashes with mascara and your Cleopatra look is ready for her close-up.

Rock and Roll Ring

Just as fashionistas have been stackin their wrists with bracelets and bangles, the posh crowd is starting to stack up their fingers with equal amounts of accoutrement. The oversized ring was a must-do last year with the arrival of Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Prada and Lanvin's ginormous costume gems. This year we see the fad gaining strength in numbers. Part glam rock, part Barbie al'a Bob Mackie, if you are going to outdo yourself, please do it properly by loading up those crazy neon manicured fingers with excessive amounts of flair. Let's examine the evidence:

Exhibit A: Giorgio Armani's Couture Collection debuted July 4th in Paris. Along with a sophisticated-Jem!-does-outer-space air, these hard as diamonds gamines were stacked with BIG rings.

Exhibit B: Scenesters get chic with piles of jewels exquisitely considered and executed.

The Verdict: Just do it.

The Summer Scarf

The trend you thought was limping toward the land of embellished denim heaven (RIP lil boot cut guys) is staging a final coupe de etat with a boost from summer's hot, hot, heat. Yes, the soaring temps are keeping the eclectic lightweight scarf around for a whole 'nother season. So dust off your token printed gauzy/muslin/linen scarf (the one seen on everyone from Kanye to Angelina) because here's why:

Borrowed from Southeast Asia, these hand-woven lightweight scarves pull heat and moisture away from the body, keeping you cool on a balmy summer's day. For the fair-skinned among us, a knot at the neck keeps your décolletage from getting pink and saves the delicate skin from future wrinkles. So go ahead, sport that a barely-there tank because the scarf has got you covered.

Euro-Fash

Style Alert! All points fashion bulletin: after carousing pages and pages of Euro Street Style, party pics and testing the sartorial breeze * licking finger, waiting for Parisian waft of air *, this curious author has noted a little-known trend starting to bubble to the surface.

At first it may have been mistaken for a mod pixie-cut, but upon closer inspection, this coif is entirely different! It's jen a sai qua originates from the perfectly considered details. Can we call it "Lost Boy Chic"? Love the Peter Pan reference.

It's been spotted a handful of times but never as elegantly captured as with this blonde specimen. Part Pixie, part boy next-door the long front locks are essential to the exquisitely beautiful androgynous look. We love the modern interpretation and the absolutely shiny clean hair requirement (suffering from post Mary-Kate dirty hair ennui?)

Now hit print and steal this gorgeous Swede's look before Victoria Beckham can say, "I want it."

Body Language

I remember my very first time. It was in 6th grade, Grunge was in its explosive nubile stage and if you didn't own an oversized plaid flannel shirt or Dr. Martens™, you were basically obsolete on the playground. Mom took me shopping to JC Penney (god help me) where I begged for the coolest piece of clothing EVER, a cream colored body suit that would look "so cool" under my cuffed denim Bongo™ shorts--I promise there is a point to this nostalgic tangent. Anyways I basically looked amazing the next Monday (even Wille Wulff noticed, le sigh!) What my naďve sartorial-6th-grade-self couldn't have foreseen was the awfully uncomfortable phenomenon I can only describe as "crotch snaps". Some JC Penney designer's stroke of genius-making the bodysuit more "bathroom convenient", as if any amount of inconvenience could keep me from rocking my Emily Valentine-inspired outfit!

So now you understand my instantaneous aversion to bodysuits. Enter 2007 and to great relief the bodysuits are snapless! And they come in a rainbow of brilliant colors (nothing as dull as Andrea-Zuckerman-Taupe).

Onto the Style Tip: So what I highly recommend is getting a black and a white bodysuit plus a brilliant neon one for an adventurous night out. They look stunning paired with most anything, but we love contrasting the skin-tight sleek suit against something that billows away from the body (see blondes pictured). Try matching your suit with a ridiculously wide-leg pant or flirty bubble skirt. High-waisted trousers look absolutely elegant as well. The best part is a bodysuit shouldn't be too pricey but will really set off more substantial pieces in your wardrobe. The black and white colors will last and last and look amazing under everything, excluding flannel.

Sunnie Day

Finally something we can agree on! After a long run as hotly debated fashion polarizer, oversized sunglasses (introduced at the dawn of Boho) have finally slipped away like so many too-distressed jeans into our mind's collective archives of Nicole Richie bug-eyed over a ginormous latte. Rest in peace lil accessory. We shall return to think of you in ten years.

Yes, unless you've been dead under a rock somewhere, the Ray Ban Wayfarer has led the pack for sunglass statements, albeit these bright sunnies are just as oversized. This author couldn't think of a better way to describe the aforementioned cracked out Audrey Hepburn look (Audrey you did it right!). Perhaps just as enormous, the loud, crass, cool experimental shapes are in-in the brightest most Mickey Mouse colors you can get your Post-Traumatic-Richie-hands on.

Regarding the Style Tip, the thing we love about these ridiculously cool shades is how ridiculously fast they take a drab, monochromatic ensemble from zero to hero; or at the very least, Celebutante. Yes, it's that morning you awake and frighten yourself in the mirror then attempt damage control by throwing on a suspiciously long tank (is it a dress?), some black leggings, sandals and a scarf to face the world that your obnoxiously stylish in-your-face sunnies save the day!

The moral of the story, look as drab as you like Miss "I only wear white and black!" then join the party with the rest of us when you slip into some brilliantly snazzy shades.

If You're Going to San Francisco

It seems the Summer of Love is back as a major style inspiration. Whether it's sparked by the balmy heat of Coachella, those irresistible Scarlett Johansson LV ads, or simply the political landscape, the nod to Haight and Ashbury makes for some out-of-sight style.

Try wearing your inner peace on the outside with a flower in your hair. No need to fuss about it, just pick a pretty one and let nature be your accessory (Groovy.) We love adding a small hap-hazard bun to the usual up-do and setting it off with a cluster of tiny blooms. Sticking a bright flower in a cool Panama hat adds a dash of romance. Use Bobbie pins to keep things in place and have an out of sight summer.