Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Acceptable in the 90s

Is too much of a good thing, well, too much? As much as I heart the neo-grunge thing happening right now, the ubiquity of the plaid shirt is making me nervous. Will fashionable flannel pass its prime before the mercury starts to dip? And if so, what is one to wear on those dreary winter days? Thankfully I need not fret--wunderkind Alex Wang gives us plenty of punk rock options sans tartan and Givenchy has made goth absolutely divine.

Final Word: Since I'm not ready to give up the 90s renaissance (was I ever?), I will definitely be rocking some lumberjack-chic a la my Contempo Casual days, but perhaps it's also time to start looking at other Generation X fads that still smell like teen spirit. Doc Martins? You're up.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Band of Outsiders

Fore-headgear girls meet your new love-- Marc Jacobs' furry headband. One part Jane Fonda aerobocize queen, one part Space Odyssey goddess, these bold halos are so intriguing they could make even the most skeptical stylista reconsider.

With crowns becoming the new canvas to express yourself (it's no longer about the it-bag as it is about the it-hat), perhaps this new accessory is the chapeau-shifter we've been waiting for!

Final Word: Don't dilly dally picking up your own foreband, because eventually, all tete-inspired fads from berets to bowlers become, well, old hat.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Rise and Following of the Hipster

My brother recently introduced me to a new blog, hipsterrunoff.com. On the genius site, they discuss “Entry-Level Alts” AKA novice hipster chicks who have jumped ship from the mainstream and have dove head first into the music-festival filled, Beatrice Inn boogying, Cobrasnake-courting five-ring circus that is the alternative lifestyle.

It got me thinking. As more clones of whippet-thin andogynes shod in Chuck Taylors and American Apparel hit the streets, every day the hipster becomes less alternative and more mainstream, begging the question, when will the bubble burst? It’s almost cool, not to be hipster. Well almost. Unfortunately as long as our general cultural malaise (and economy troubles) remains, there will be dissenters. So, I guess if you can’t beat ‘em…join em?

As someone in her twenties going full out hipster is just not cute. I’m grateful that (sometimes) I can recognize trends that can work for me, and those that do not. I mean, I enjoy my bubble gum electro-pop just as much as the next girl, and although I loathe do and don't lists, there are some rules and regulations for post-pubescent aspiring alternistas that you just cant ignore. Here’s a quick run down of guidelines on the acceptable and the plain old frightening:

Acceptable in the 80s (and now):
-Headbands worn on head
-Skinny Jeans
-Ray Bans
-Jumpers on the beach
-Neon in doses
-American Apparel
-High-waisted jeans, skirts, and shorts
-Liking Agyness Deyn

Not Acceptable, Ever:
-Top Hats
-Headbands on foreheads
-Jumpers in the city
-Head to toe neon
-Dressing like Agyness Deyn
-Using any of the acceptable items simultaneously

Final Word: Rule of thumb? Think comfort zone. If you feel like you’re reverting back to your outfits from gymnastics class, you probably look as ridiculous as you think you look. But then again gymnastics were so much fun...

Bizarre Bazaar

Harper’s Bazaar confuses me. The fledgling glossy always seems to reach too high on the edgy barometer, maybe because it’s just not edgy. Whether it’s juxtaposing a fashion-clad Lindsay Lohan next to costumed superheroes, dressing toddlers up as renown designers, or casting the polarizing Tyra Banks as the First Lady In Waiting, the spreads look like bad publicity stunts similar to the now cancelled, Kutcher-produced show, Pop Fiction where B-list celebrities try to fake the paparazzi out. The problem? Fashion is not pop fiction; it’s the opposite, an entity above popular culture dealing in fantasy rather than pure fiction.

In Bazaar’s September issue, they went too far. Here the infamous Ronson offspring, which includes a music producer, a celebrity DJ and a fashion designer, are photographed in a family portrait dressed as the Royal Tennenbaums from Wes Anderson’s iconic film opus on upper crust, family dysfunction and entropy. But the Tennenbaums are everything the Ronsons are not.

Sure they both come from silver spoon upbringings, schooled by the best Manhattan's teachers, churning out a factory of eccentric stepsiblings co-existing as bohemian alternistas, but where the Tennenbaums fail as members of society suffering in existential bordering on suicidal crises, the Ronsons need only worry about which Pinkberry is less paparazzi-populated. The Tennenbaums are a symbol of crumbling New York City aristocracy, a beautiful endangered thing.

Final Word: Perhaps I’m over-analyzing but I think Harper’s is better served in sticking to clothes than social commentary...I prefer my fiction in the weeklies, thank you very much.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

American Apparel

Remember right after 9/11 everyone started rocking “I Heart NY” shirts? I even trekked to Canal Street to purchase one fully satisfied in knowing I was indulging fashion forwardness and political correctness all in one shot.

Since then we really have not witnessed much collaboration between the politique and boutique sectors. Perhaps there’s something about the current administration that does not exactly inspire much fashion fervor. But Change with a capital C is upon us and armed with a new look that is perfectly packaged, infinitely marketable and flying off the shelves – Obama.

Beyonce and Halle have publicly pledged their allegiance, even Scarlett gushed like a Jonas Brother fan, only to be publicly denied like a Jonas Brother fan. And again, I trekked below Houston to a sweat suit shop to purchase a “Barack the Vote” tee; ignoring the embarrassing pun (it’s better than “Barack n’ Roll”), and based on the number of envious looks I attracted during Powerstrike class at Equinox last night, it was so worth it.

Final Word: The down side? Trends come and go. Case in point, going green has become a liability and major corporations are pulling out and going, um, plastic. We just hope this one lasts until election time. Shirts available at Shvitz, NYC.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Catch The Wave: Surf Lodge

I am not going to call myself a nightlife forecaster or anything of the sort, but I will say this; bottle service is on its’ way out. Paying $750 for a bottle of vodka or $6000 for a magnum of champagne has simply lost its’ luster.

Case in point; the success of this summer’s Surf Lodge in Montauk, a hotel/bar/restaurant venture by Jamie Mullholland and Jayma Cardosa, whose last joint project included Cain in New York and a few summers back in Southampton.

As former frontiersmen on 27th Street, this duo seems to be pioneering the next trend in nightlife by offering an option that is simultaneously high-profile AND low-key.

Within five minutes of walking into Surf Lodge last week I ran into a particularly Page Six-friendly publicist, and the owners of Intermix, while mildly “attending” a birthday party for seemingly, the most popular boy on Wall Street.

It was a scene without a being a scene, a near impossible balance to strike. But then again, that’s kind of the definition of Montauk, so the location is a major plus.
At Surf Lodge, surf boards adorn the walls, surf and skate films roll on plasmas, and Bob Marley dominates the soundtrack. Its’ design aesthetic is a complete Disney-fication of the town’s true surf culture roots, but the contrived d├ęcor doesn’t seem to bother anybody, including myself. Cynicism is not supposed to make it past East Hampton. And with that, Surf Lodge is free to flow.

Since Montauk is literally “The End” (of the Earth it feels like), here are my Surf Lodge words of wisdom before heading out:

*Montauk is not close to anything, and the hotel is booked until 2009. Start calling in favors from friends who have crash pads in Amagansett, East Hampton or anywhere close enough to be taxi-friendly.
*Having said that, don’t drive there. In addition to the heightened DWI-potential, the parking lot is increasingly over-capacity and has become a nightmare, soon be regulated by the town.
*Bring lots of cash. You don’t want to start a tab at the bar because you could be waiting 30 minutes just to close it out at the end of the night. And save enough to get you home. Regulated cab fare is a Big City notion and is NOT welcome in these parts.
*Since it takes a while to get a drink, pre-drinking is always a plus. So bring some booze and hot dogs to your friends place nearby in exchange for them letting you sleep in their living room.
*Try to coordinate with someone who is eating there, ideally with a later reservation. Seating is key, but the only way to snag a table is to inherit one from your friends who have finished their lobster rolls.
*Attire is cute and casual. Ladies, leave your heels at home.
Final Word: Surf Lodge may not be authentically “surf ” or authentically “Montauk,” but they are offering something authentically new to New York night-lifers. I would bet even Kelly Slater would have a good time. I certainly did.

Harold and His Purple…Pants?

The New York Times recently used a term that has been used by glossy magazines and industry insiders for years attempting to validate fashion’s sometimes bizarre and insane clothing: fashion warrior. The latter word literally means “a person experienced in warfare.” Is this what the majority has arrived at, where dressing oneself to avoid being nude literally means to enter into combat? The drop-crotch trousers, break-your-ankle high heels, western culture turbans—women have been doing it for decades and now, as is the case with most things beginning with women trailblazing the way, it's the men’s turn.

In the NYT last Thursday, the Styles Section focused on men and the new rules and regulations to dress. Along with big features on beach-ready short suits and Space Odyssey-esque metallic sneakers came a curious little column on the color purple. Sure men aren’t strangers to color. Palm Beach Pink or Nantucket Red are considered classic to some super-posh samples for the macho sex, but purple is a shade that carries less social stigma. From newscasters sporting violet ties, to my boss showing up in lavender polo last Friday, it seems purple has become the uniform for men in the know. Even dandy du jour Chuck Bass (AKA actor Ed Westwick) of Gossip Girl dares to wear purple next season.

Final Word: There’s no question purple is the trend for courageous men this fall, but the question remains, are they ready to go to war?