Thursday, August 13, 2009

Holiday/Resort: Looking Ahead

As I sit here typing away in the unbearable humidity of an August summer, naturally, my thoughts are turning to Holiday and resort dressing. Ah, the sacrifices I go through for your benefit. Listen, pretty soon I’ll be checking out the Spring fashion shows in and around Bryant Park. While it’s too soon to concern yourself (unless you regularly make a habit of planning your wardrobe that far ahead), with next year’s stuff, lets concentrate on more immediate dressing. Before you know it, these resources will be in store around October, November.

While I did schlep around and about the trade shows and attended various press previews, I’ve broken it down to a couple of my personal favorite retailers and designer collections that I feel offer the most bang for the fashion buck.

Numero uno on my list has to be Talbots! Yes, you heard me, Talbots! If you’re thinking that this is the same old fuddy-duddy retailer, well, guess what, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Not only are the offerings a lot more fashion forward thanks to a very savvy design team, the boutiques themselves have gotten a fresh makeover. If the store in your area hasn’t gotten updated yet, give it time, the powers that be are working on it.

Now about the extensive merchandise. Personally, I’d opt for the black satin belted trench coat (also available in sapphire) and a stretch satin twist neck sheath. Both items will take you anywhere for many years to come. At $189 and $179 respectively, these are a steal at more than twice the price.

Wear it again, Sam!
Casablanca Never Looked So Chic!

If you have the guts to wear white in the city (personally I’m a slob), check out Talbots’ luxe ivory hidden placket coat. It will set you back $499, not to mention the dry cleaning bills, but the wow factor alone could be worth springing for it. As far as sportswear pieces go I love the $79. bias cut tartan plaid silk cowl neck blouse and the adorably preppy (very Ralph) shrunken navy blazer in basketweave wool, nicely detailed with gold crest buttons for $189.

Only the Brave Wear White in NYC!

Talbots didn’t neglect the accessory area either. Personally, I want the ivory faux fur toque hat especially when it’s accessorized with a crystal snowflake brooch. The hat’s $39 and the pin, $69. If you’re feeling generous, you might want to consider giving your best bud a pair of glamorous rhinestone buckled hostess slippers in platinum… or keep them for yourself. Either way, they’re a terrific buy at $99.

Can't Toque That!

Love Ann Taylor but want to get the same look at even better prices? The answer is Loft, the brand’s more moderate sister line. While fall looked good, holiday looks even better. Want to add a little sparkle to your wardrobe, look no further than the sleeveless gold sequin tank. At $59.50 it’s a steal. Don’t think that this will only work for late day,. I’m here to tell you that you can layer this item over a black or cream color turtleneck and slip it under a suit etc. The possibilities are endless so don’t limit yourself. Definitely on the cozy, casual side is the Loft’s snuggly grey, ¾ length, waffle weave cardigan with toggle closure. The price here is $108. I also love the slim metallic leopard jacquard skirt at $89.50 paired with the $49.50 cascading ruffled shell. I have to admit, the Loft did an amazing job with accessories for holiday, especially the long gunmetal jet knotted necklace ($49.50), the adorable feather trimmed headband ($18.50) and faux fur neckwarmer ($29.50). If you want to be a sport give a pair of jewel trimmed grey knit ballet flats that will run you a measly $24.59. Here’s the thing, both of these retailers offer on the money looks for a lot less than you’d pay for a brand that’s spending a small fortune to advertise in Vogue and other fashion mags.

As I said in the beginning of this blog, I checked out some of the designers that showed holiday and resort collections at the trade shows. While it’s no fun to slog through miles and miles of booths to find great lines I did narrow things down to a few designers that I think you should check out when they hit the stores. Style, quality and price were my key priorities. Two were diffusion lines and the other a nicely styled collection from an up and coming designer whose background included stints as part of the design team at Prada and Gucci. Not too shabby!

By now you must be aware of Tracy Reese. Her collections cater to the girly-girl in all of us. Well, if you want that pretty look at a more affordable price range check out her Plenty collection. For holiday (which starts shipping to stores in Sept), there are some fabulous clothes, from the not so basic black dotted lace full skirted “little frock” (which should retail for about $295.) boat-neck tee and full skirt, to a magnificent embroidered wool “Cossack”coat in ivory or black wool. If you only buy one coat this season get this beauty. Suggested retail price is $325 and it’s a bargain at twice the price. You will definitely make a fashion statement in this number. If you feel that you simply must get in on the wide ‘80s shoulder trend (think Rihanna at the Met Costume gala) opt instead for a much more wearable version with Plenty’s draped shoulder pocket tee in printed jersey. It’s cute, trendy and a only $85. The tee shirt dress version will go for $125.

Moving on to resort we check out Adam by Adam Lippes who is already on every fashionista’s radar. The line will hit the stores in November so you might want to cut back on Xmas gifts and treat yourself instead. I love his perfect little stretch cotton deep V-neck cinched waist sheath in black, white, citron or cloud. This will set you back $325. But it will never go out of style. Upping the price to
$495 will get you a gorgeous long satin chiffon dress with back loop detail in the most glorious water garden print. Another charming number is the rope print chiffon gathered tank dress with self belt in dreamy shades of milk/grey and will retail for $395. While I do love Adam’s separates I still have to say that his dresses while not cheap offer more value and fashion for the money unless you have $225 to throw away on a pair of draped shorts that will only work on 18 year old stick thin models.

Demoiselle is a brand you’ve probably never heard of – I certainly haven’t. Finding this hidden gem in the vast recesses of the Moda trade show made my trek worthwhile. The collection’s styling had all the earmarks of a sophisticated designer’s hand at work, quality craftsmanship, trendy (but not too) styling and best of all very friendly prices. The resort/spring line is extensive so I won’t bore you with every item, just the highlights. Starting with a cute dotted cotton crop jacket, I moved on to an abstract print jersey skirt, cotton blk/white bold check sundress and ended with the knockout cotton/metal blend db belted ombre trench coat that shaded from white to gray. Everything in the collection will run you about $100 give or take a few bucks.

Coming up, my report on Steven Burrows and his fabulous resort collection!


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Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row