Monday, August 28, 2006

Hot Fall Trends to Invest In

Hi there She She girl! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the She She Blog! Now I have a forum for my fashion challenges, which seem to be happening with more and more frequency! Current dilemma: I am on a somewhat limited budget, but want to be au courant in my style. Which of this fall's fashion trends would be the best investment for me? xoxo, Rochelle

Well, dearest girl, I'm putting my money on the ever-chic black & white trend. The best part about going with basic black and uber-chic white is that the separate pieces can easily be integrated into future fashion trends. Take, for instance, the LBD. What twirty girl can live without one (or two)? Just remember the rules: the perfect LBD is classic and timeless, of very good quality and makes you feel like the most glamorous/sophisticated/sexy woman in the room. My favorite LBD has taken me from my class reunion, to a hoity-toity press junket to the company Christmas party - with the proper accessories of course! For the black & white trend, I would suggest the following separates:

A black pencil skirt. Watch the length - too short and it is virtually impossible to sit (not to mention dangerous to bend over) and too long makes you look like Miss Moneypenny.

Crisp, white blouse. Luckily, the menswear style is also very hot this season, so a crisp white buttondown is practically mandatory. Also, a fluttery, romantic blouse. And a classic tee (or three!)

Black narrow-leg trousers, wide-leg trousers, a great pair of cuffed jeans. (Not black, not white, just regular denim. New jeans every season - this is a given.)

Belted jacket, or classic blazer. A wide-collar peacoat.

A white, sleeveless sheath dress. This is another classic item. Go for really good quality - make sure it is lined from neck to knee.

Platform pumps, (chic spectators are also a great choice), sexy slingbacks or T-straps , classy flats and a pair of canvas skimmers. If your budget allows, a great pair of boots.

Accessories: a waist-cinching belt, a metallic or chain belt, white hobo bag, black tote bag, leather-band watch, bead necklaces.

While black & white is chic, timeless and oh-so-sophisticated, you can always spice things up a bit with a bold accessory: a red hot handbag, oh-so-chic metallic shoes & large link necklace (also hot this season), luxurious leather belt. Happy shopping Rochelle!

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Search is On! Saucy Shoes & Stylish Shirtdresses!

Hey dearest, I`ve got a challenge for you. I`m going to be a sophomore in high school and I`ve blown almost all my back-to-school money on...well, back-to-school clothes. But there are two things on my [still quite long] "desperately need" list that I can`t seem to find. Perhaps you could help me out?

1. Pumps a la Christian Louboutin, like these. The SINGLE problem with those is the heel height. I mean, I could rock them ;], but not for school. 4 inches is a bit much for more frequent use.

2. Reasonably priced and very cute shirtdresses. Like...$35-and-under-reasonable. Haha. Eagerly awaiting any of your expertise!-- XOXO,Victoria

Well Victoria, (love the name by the way, channeling Mrs. Beckham!) I completely understand your footwear dilemma. While 4 inch heels are very stylish, make your legs look absolutely endless and put a saucy little swing in your step, they are a bit impossible for traipsing about campus with a 40 lb. bookbag tossed over your shoulder. Take heart though my dear, a thorough search (keeping a budget in mind!) has unearthed the following:

This lovely little open-toed number from Zappos. Still a gorgeously sexy patent leather, but a much more manageable 2 3/4" heel.

This luscious eel-skin pump may have a 4" heel, but the angle in the arch is less severe (platform sole accomodates height) and the stacked heel is more substantial and stable. The padded footbed also makes this shoe a much more wearable height for the long haul.

Another exotic, this ostrich skin pump has a criss-crossed vamp and scalloped topline for a touch of sophistication. The platform accomodates some of the height and the 3 1/2" heel makes for comfortable wearability.

My personal fave, by Bandolino, this peep-toe has a more comfortable heel height as well as a padded footbed. The buckle detail also gives it more of an edgy, yet sophisticated feel.

Now, for the shirtdresses. I have just one word for you - Forever 21! (Actually, that's two words, or one word and a number, but I digress.) Hands down, the best source for affordable dresses. Add a bit of a funky style to this versatile little number with layered necklaces, a metallic belt and comfy yet very stylish slides. Or this striped shirtdress, paired with saucy Mary Janes and understated accessories is the epitome of sophistication. Give it a little edge (and achieve an entirely different look) by pairing it with leggings and black ankle boots, a skinny leather belt and bold accessories.

I, however, have found the most perfect shirtdress of all time. It is a little pricier than you are looking for, but well worth it (yes, I bought one!) because it is chic, excellent quality and will pass the test of time. And it looks great with platform sandals. Happy back-to-school shopping darling girl!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chic Fashions for the Mama-to-Be

A question from Katherine:

Yikes! Just found out I'm pregnant (good thing) and have to totally rethink late-summer fall wardrobe. Problem is, I have already gained 4-6 lbs but am not supposed to start showing - or go public with the news - for another two months! Any suggestions on a few pieces I could add to hide the new weight that might even transition into early pregnancy clothes? I'd also love any advice on where to buy fashionable maternity clothes, once the time is right. Thank you!

First of all, Katherine, Congratulations!!! A new baby is always a cause for celebration. My dear friend, Pretty Mama, is the perfect source for info on all things maternity and she has oodles of ideas and suggestions for you. If you've already gained a few pounds, chances are your regular clothes are probably getting a bit snug around the waist, and that can be uncomfortable for a growing baby-belly. You can keep wearing your favorite jeans by using a little trick called "rubber-band-through-the-button-hole" to not only keep your pants from falling down, but also from digging into your tender tummy. (This little trick can carry you right into your third trimester!) Also, super-low-rise jeans are great because they hit low enough to accomodate a growing bump.

Today's maternity trend is to embrace the belly by wearing form fitting and figure enhancing styles. However, if you are trying to camouflage the bump for a little while there are a few basic easy-to-follow tricks. Luckily, current styles are ideal for your situation: peasant tops are perfect, as are empire waistlines. Tunics are also fabulous. You can also buy your blouses and tops in one size larger than you would normally wear; that way your overall style doesn't change drastically (which would be a blaring signal that something was afoot!) Pretty Mama told me that she wore button-down oxford tops and loose, lacy blouses over her jeans and trousers for the first five months of her pregnancy and no one was the wiser! Stay away from any clingy fabrics (remember Katie Holmes in the ice-blue silk top? Belly-button at half mast?) 'Nuff said.

When the word is out (along with your naval) there are many great online sites as well as maternity boutiques. Mother's Work is a great maternity mall type site with links to Destination Maternity, Mimi Maternity, Pea in the Pod, and Motherhood Maternity. There is also a link to Edamame Spa for fabulous pregnancy pampering! Best of luck darling mama-to-be!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Accessories for the Chic

Hi shesheme! Well I just bought this super cute white button down linen dress. It has safari-type sleeves, you know, the ones that roll up. They hit at the elbow. The dress hits below the knee. Although I love the dress, I don't quite know what accessories to pair it with. I mean, I just turned 18 and I worry that it will make me look too old or something. I do love more sophisticated styles, but I don't want to look too -- grown in it, if that's the word. What accessories would you suggest to make it look younger?

Well girly girl, this type of dress, chic yet understated, calls for accessories with a little more attitude. I would suggest going with a necklace and bracelet with some substance to them; perhaps wooden and metal beads, chunky sea glass or antique coins. Earrings that are rustic, yet not exactly matchy-matched to the other jewelry. I would also add a wide leather belt and cinch it low on the waist. Finish off with a pair of platform leather sandals. Sophisticated, yet edgy. And for the finishing touch , a distressed leather bag.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Dressing Professionally on a Budget

A question from Clarissa:

Dear She She, I’ve been a huge fan for years now. My sister first subscribed me when I was having the blues, and ever since then your advice and product reviews continue to pick me up and give me a dose of girly sunshine. I am 28 and I work for a non-profit org in Los Angeles (read: I don’t make very much money!) I have been trying to keep the credit cards down, but I feel my style is paying the bigger price. Facing that “twirty” zone, I’m wondering what looks I should be going for? I’m somewhat-single, and want to be sexy (to seal the deal), yet not dress like I forgot I’m not in college any more. I need a professional look, but not drab. I want to be stylish with a good fit, but again, pieces that won’t break the bank. I’m 5’4”, and a pretty solid size 4, with a lot of curves (read: I MUST wear a bra). You’re guidance is much appreciated!

Building a stylish professional wardrobe does not have to put you in the poorhouse. Just start with the basics, and build from there. Remember, quality over quantity. Since you are entering the twirty zone you definitely need to go with a more sophisticated look. Look for top quality basics in a classic, timeless style. There are many online sources that carry great quality apparel, shoes and accessories, many of them actually designer goods. Try Bluefly, SmartBargains and Overstock. For shoes, you can't go wrong with Zappos or Solestruck. I have personally purchased items from all of theses sources and can highly recommend them.

Since you are petite, yet curvy, check out the following: Ann Taylor, Donna Ricco, J. Jill, J. Crew and Petite Sophisticate. Also, Nordstrom, Macys, Bloomingdales, and Banana Republic all carry entire lines of petite clothing. Style tip for the petite: a good tailor can alter just about anything! (As long as it isn't two sizes too big in the first place.) Now, for the goodies. Choose items that can be easily mixed and matched. Stick with the classics, keep them in the same color family, then add your personal style with well chosen accessories. This is what I would suggest as a good starter wardrobe:

A blazer, skirt and trousers in a neutral color.
A tailored blouse in a neutral tone to go with the trouser/skirt suit.
Another blouse in a color to complement the trouser/skirt suit.
Additional trousers in a color/pattern that can coordinate with the jacket.
Another skirt in a different length and color that will complement the jacket.
A dress that can be paired with the jacket, blouse, or both.
A pair of classic, black or brown pumps. A pair of wedges, with a little more funk to them.

Now go ahead a mix it up! Choose accessories wisely--make sure they can go with several different outfits, i.e. a scarf that can be worn as a belt, a long necklace that can be doubled up or wrapped around the wrist several times as a bracelet, etc. Word to the stylish/wise - your handbag and your shoes determine your style. Don't skimp here. Buy the best quality that you can afford. Remember, it is an investment in your future!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fashionable Lunch Box

Amanda's dilemma:

So I’m in my first “real world” job. I’m trying to save money by eating lunch at work. But I hate carrying around a kids lunch box. Can you recommend anything cute and trendy that I won’t be embarrassed to parade around my collegues with?

I have the perfect little lunch tote for you! It's chic enough to look like a handbag, yet it's also insulated and has plenty of room without looking like you are toting a picnic for the whole office. The Milano Tote. with its heavy-duty, form-fitting neoprene fabric has an insulated lunch compartment and an insulated drink compartment, which holds two small cans or one 0.5L water bottle. A zippered closure keeps items secure and also has clear acrylic handles and an attractive, exterior utility pocket .

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oh No! Not Skinny Jeans Again! Quelle Nightmare!

A question from Lolita:

Dear She She, I am 27 and want to look fashionable without buying into every single trend each season. To my horror, skinny jeans are coming back, and look super cute on stick skinny girls. I'm a pretty curvy size 12 and don't think I can get away with doing the skinny jean thing, (at least I couldnt in middle school in the 80s). Will I be horribly out of date wearing boot cut styles? I remember when boot cut became fashionable and replaced the tapered leg; and anyone still wearing the tapered leg was sooo out of style. What's a girl to do?!

Hello Lolita,

I know, I know, everyone on the runways is parading around in the ├╝ber-chic skinny jeans - the only problem with that is that there are only a very small handful of women who can actually get away with wearing that style (and kudos to you for figuring it out in middle school!) Fortunately, even though that is the stated trend according to all the fashion mags, it is not the only trend out there for fall - and the foreseeable future! For a girl with curves, there are several options, and joy of joys bootcut totally makes the cut! The trend this season is away from embellishments - just simple, clean lines.
Other popular jeans styles this season are:
  • Cropped jeans. Cut a little fuller, almost a gaucho. For fall, trade the espadrilles for a platform pump or a strappy slide.
  • Flares. The style this season is very flattering, not a huge flare, but very sophisticated. Bump up the chic factor with a ladylike blouse and heels.
  • Straight leg styles. Great if you are petite, or packing a seriously sexy booty.
  • Denim skirt. Don't forget to get one! Just above the knee length or right at the knee. With a stylish pair of t-straps and a swingy jacket you're sure to be a fashion hit!

Chic Fall Styles for the Petite Girly Girl

Elizabeth asks:

Dear She She: I am a 25 yr old girly girly, who loves the newest trends, but alas, I am petite but curvy and I feel like many of the new looks for fall just aren't for me (aka skinny jeans?!?!?!?!) How can I still be chic in my own little petite way? - think pink

Hi Elizabeth!

Yes, it is frustrating that all the latest, hottest fashions seem to be geared toward girls of statuesque proportions. However, most of us here in the real world deal with real girl issues (like hips and thighs and gravity). Take heart, however! There are still oodles of gorgeous styles out there for the chic and petite! First and foremost, find a great tailor! It's all about the fit. More often than not you will find the perfect trousers, dress, or skirt but it is 3 or 4 inches too long. A good tailor can take care of that in no time at all and keep the overall proportion and effect right. Also, many of the better department stores offer in-house tailoring at little or no extra cost.

Some general rules of thumb for petites:

*Stay away from anything oversized. No big shoulders, no chunky belts, no wide trousers, no bulky sweaters. You'll end up looking like a box.
*Stay away from cropped trousers and cropped jackets. Instead, go for a capri style.
*Stay away from big, busy patterns or bulky clothing.
*Skirt length: As a general rule, either 3 inches above the knee, at the knee or 3 inches below the knee. Try several on to see what looks best on you.
*Low-rise pants are fabulous. They tend to elongate the torso and give the impression of a little more height.
*Subtle patterns, vertical stripes, herringbones, all good.
*Heels! Embrace the girly girl look and feel of a great high heel. Luckily, platform pumps are all the rage this fall, along with girly Mary Janes.
*Boots: stay away from the knee-high styles - they tend to make a petite girl look like she is a doll on a display base. Opt for ankle-high or calf-high.
*Jeans: for a curvy petite, go with a straight leg style. Stay away from most boot-cut jeans because they tend to make your thighs look heavier and your legs shorter. Joe's Jeans Provocateur is one exception - they are more straight leg than boot-cut and they are specifically made for petites. Buy jeans in a darker wash, watch out for distressing in places you don't want to draw attention to i.e. thighs, hips, etc. Blue Cult's Kate is a good choice.

Some great sources for petites: Anne Taylor, J. Crew, La Redoute, Nordstroms, Gap, Macy's, Bloomingdales's, Banana Republic. Also, keep an eye out for these designers or lines: Kenzo, Miyake, Ellen Tracy, INC, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Mango.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Teeny, Tiny Closet

Susie said...
I love your suggestions! However, my closet is tiny and narrow (2ft wide x 3 feet deep). Any suggestions for best maximizing the space in a tiny closet??? I'd KILL for a closet like yours, She She Me!!!

Wow, that is a tiny closet! Your best bet would be to maximize your stacking space and minimize your hanging space. By that I mean hang only those items of clothing that absolutely must be hung. (Nice dresses, gowns and blouses, etc.) Anything at all that can be folded and stacked should be. Get a free-standing coat-rack for all of your coats, jackets and sweatshirts and put it in the corner of the room. Make use of closet floor space by using stackable shelves and cubes. Your closet is a little deeper than normal, so one thing you can do is get deeper portable shelves and stack things double-deep, putting off-season clothes behind current season clothes, then rotate them as needed.

Another good idea is to get those over-the-door shoe hangers for the inside of your closet door. Because your closet is so deep, you won't smush your clothes by having your shoes hanging against the inside of the closet door. This frees up floor space and shelf space for folded sweaters, trousers, tees, etc.

If you have the space in your bedroom or somewhere else out-of-the-way in your apartment, a mobile laundry center is a fabulous solution for extra hanging space. You could even put it in the corner of your bedroom and screen it off with a folding room screen.

Another storage idea, instead of having a nightstand by the side of your bed, use a small dresser. This gives you drawer storage as well as tabletop area for alarm clock, phone, candles, etc.

Hope this helps!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Closet Helper

Darling Myriah has a dilemma!

Sigh*..... hi She She, I have a little dilemma. I just bought these two new pairs of jeans. No, this does not look like a problem, but it is. I simply don't know where in my closet to put them! Do I hang them? Do I stack them? My only stack-able surfaces are drawers, which means that I can't really tell which jeans are which. But if I hang them, they sure take up a lot of room, and I find myself squishing items that really should not be squished. If you have any advice, I would sure appreciate it. Hearts! ~Myriah

Well Myriah dear, I do have a solution for you! In my very own closet I have recently doubled my storage space -- yes, doubled it -- by creating my own closet organizer-type solution. I am completely hopeless with a hammer and nails, so I opted for totally portable units that would fit in my existing closet without having to make alterations (or hire a carpenter with a tool belt and butt-cleavage. ) I went to my favorite store on earth - Target - and bought a hanging canvas sweater shelf, two hanging canvas shoe organizers, and a set of stackable wooden shelves. Home Depot had the perfect set of wire mesh storage drawers (one shallow drawer, three deep drawers). I then divided my closet into thirds. One third is for hanging long items (dresses, coats, long skirts, etc), one third has the wire mesh storage drawers on the bottom, with additional hanging space above for blouses and tops. The final third has all three hanging canvas organizers for shoes and sweaters. Since they only hang down 48" I was able to put a set of stackable wooden shelves on the floor below for additional shoe/boot storage.

Now for the jeans: you now have several different options for storing your jeans. Personally, I would fold them and put them in the wire mesh drawers. Since they are obviously now your two new favorite pairs of jeans, I would assign them each their own permanent home/drawer; that way they are always exactly where they should be and you don't have to root around through everything to find them. In fact, that should be a rule of thumb for everything in your closet. Assign each item a home location. The old addage "a place for everything and everything in its place" is a rule all She She girls live by when it comes to storing our gorgeous fashions!

Well, dearest Myriah, I hope this helps!

Friday, August 04, 2006

What Shoes to Wear to Work

Mandy writes in with a question about shoes:

Hi SheSheMe,
I'm happy to see you have a blog online now! I have a shoe question.
I walk a lot to get to work, so wearing high heels is out of the question. I've been wearing flats, but sometimes they don't look very professional. I still like a little height and support when I'm running across the street and down the stairs to catch the train. What kind of shoes do you suggest? Thanks!

Hi Mandy!

This seems to be a problem that a lot of us working girls have. Personally, I have a difficult time with the whole wear-trainers-to-work-carry-pretty-shoes-in-a-tote thing. It's hard to take a girl seriously when you see her on the street in Armani and New Balance.

What you should look for in a good corporate/professional shoe: First, look for a shoe with a stacked heel, no higher than 2 to 2 1/2 inches, 3 inches max. Any higher than that and you tend to teeter. Stay away from stiletto or kitten heels. Stilettos are a bit too sexy for corporate wear and it's hard to take anyone seriously in kitten heels. Open toes, peep toes and sandals are usually a no-no in the general business world. Nothing metallic or flashy. Shoes should complement your outfit, but not overpower it.

Depending on your industry, your shoe choices vary. Advertising and fashion tend to allow for a bit more personality and sense of style. Banking, investments, or the corporate world tends to be more conservative. You'll never go wrong with a basic pump.

Here are my suggestions for fashionable footwear that can get you out the door, to the bus/train/cab and into the office in style and comfort.

This is a great shoe to wear with opaque tights and a skirt, or with pant suits.

The V-shaped cutout and leather strap give this basic pump an elegant line. Great height for all-day wear.

Another option is a wedge. Wedges are a bit more informal, but give great support because there is no balancing on tiny heels. Stick with leather—stay away from canvas or anything with a rope, cork or jute covered heel.

For a change from typical basic black. Great heel height and comfort.

T-straps are also a good choice, and a change-up from basic pumps. They offer great support, and if you go with a platform you can also go a little higher in the heel.

While flip-flops are an absolute no-no and sandals are still frowned upon in the business world, it seems that slingbacks have received the nod as appropriate corporate footwear. Just watch the heel height, and the toe box - slingbacks tend to be pointy, and that totally defeats the purpose in comfort.

If you want to push the envelope just a bit, these Mary Janes would do the trick. They would look fabulous with a sleek, black pantsuit.

Hopefully, this will give you a head start on finding the perfect shoes! Best of luck


She She Me

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back to School Fashions

From one of our young readers:

I am a student and am honestly at a loss as to what to wear for the first day back to school. I am 5'3 and wear size 3. I want to be fashionable, not too trendy, just very classic - I LOVE classic looks! Also, what kind of make up/skin cosmetics would you recommend? I have tanned, asian skin, oily-ish nose with blackheads - EEK - and my acne is toning down. Thank you much!

Classic looks are just that - classic and classy. The individual pieces can also be more easily mixed and matched for even greater wardrobe possibilities. For a great back to school look, bump up the volume a bit with a wrap dress - it will accentuate your waist without cutting you in half. Another possibility would be a strappy or halter-neck dress worn with a tank or cami. (A classy girl never exposes a lot of skin - especially at school!) Pair either dress with skinny leggings and platform sandals, or opaque tights and heeled ankle boots (not only stylish, but adds height to your petite frame!) Another bonus with leggings this season - they allow you to wear shorter skirts without the possibility of flashing half the studentbody, the lunch ladies and the teachers.

Another option - instead of the old standby (denim jeans), opt for a more updated bootcut twill with a skinny tee. You could even top this with a cotton peasant cami. For the perfect finishing touch, try chunky slides or wedges.

As far as skin care goes, I swear by ProActiv products. They are great at keeping breakouts under control and also help clear pores to alleviate future problems. Also, to control shine and absorb oil, Boscia Fresh Blotting Linens are great. They won't smear your makeup and they are small enough to tuck into your bookbag. For makeup, Bare Escentuals is hands down the best! Their mineral base is also SPF15 so it protects your skin along with making it look fabulous. Also, a little goes a long way. It comes in tiny jars, but they really do last.

Hope this gets you back to school totally sassy and in style!

Best Tote Bags

One of our readers wrote in with the following question: So excited about your blog! Have a question for you: I just found out that I'll be teaching a college class this fall, and I need a chic-but-useful bag to tote my work essentials in (binders, papers, etc). Any suggestions? Thanks!

There are so many stylish totes out there, but sometimes it takes a bit of extra effort to find the Goldilocks of tote bags (not too big, not too small, but j-u-u-u-st right!) Here are a few of my fave picks: This stylish tote is great for use as a computer bag/business tote. The computer compartment is completely detachable, and the tote also comes with a matching cosmetics case. Both computer compartment and tote have an abundance of pockets and sleeves so there is ample space for computer paraphernalia, files, folders and accessories. The straps are long enough to carry the tote comfortably over the shoulder, yet short enough not to drag the bottom on the ground when carrying the bag by the handles.

This sleek Italian business tote has a 3-way zip which opens to one large main compartment which will hold a laptop, files and even a book or two. There are also smaller pockets for cell phone, PDA, sunglasses. etc. It has the added bonus of being very light weight and the smooth Italian leather is scratch resistant. The handles are long enough to be able to slip over your shoulder. Plus, the fire engine red color makes it a total standout. Has more of a purse feel than a business bag feel.

This gorgeous business bag by Hobo International is perfect for the professional on the go. It has pockets for everything and the cell phone pocket is actually large enough for a Blackberry. It is large enough to hold a laptop and still have room for the power cord due to the wider bottom. The zippers on the side allow for paper and file storage, without crinkling and crumpling. Has dual handles, plus a padded shoulder strap for comfort and convenience. The platform bottom with feet make it stable when you set it down.