I’m off for a little style R&R at the Cape Cod National Seashore. Nothing quite says beach vacation to me (at least shoe-wise) like a pair of flip flops. But why not class it up with a pair of colorful Missoni flip flops (in collaboration with Havaianas)? Sure, it’ll probably be the most expensive pair of flip flops you’ll ever purchase, but by Missoni standards, it’s sure to be a bargain. Hey, it’s vacation time! You’ve earned it!
Bra shopping can be frustrating. It’s not bathing suit shopping frustrating. Or maybe even jean shopping frustrating. But it’s up there.
At first pass, it seems like finding the right bra size should be pretty straightforward. After all, unlike most sizing in women’s clothing, bra sizes include an actual measurement in the band size. But then there’s the pesky cup size. Back in familiar women’s sizing territory, cup size seems to be an arbitrary measurement made up by each manufacturer. Some women hold fast to the old rule of subtracting your band measurement from your bust measurement (each inch in difference equally one cup size). Some say this is useless. And manufacturers confound us all by producing bras in the same cup size with widely different fit (Wacoal, in my experience, usually runs large; Elle Macpherson, as befitting a former super model, runs absurdly small). Also, good luck finding any informed saleswomen to help you out, unless you go to a specialty boutique. (Intimacy, for example, which does a great job with fittings but also only sells fairly pricey bras. Though, I think it’s worth the trip for the fitting and a splurge on a gorgeous French bra. You can always buy more bras in your new size elsewhere).
As a petite but larger-chested gal, I’ve all but given up shopping in stores for bras. It’s the rare, and invariably very expensive, lingerie shop that carries anything in my size. (Why most stores assume that the larger your cup size, the larger your band size, I don’t know. They’ve never seen small women with large breasts?) So, I shop online and resign myself to ordering multiple bras to find one that works and returning the rest. (Luckily, there are some lingerie sites with great selection and range of sizes and free returns; barenecessities.com and figleaves.com are two of my go-to spots. I recently discovered curvykate.com — the bras look fabulous but I haven’t ordered anything yet).
Now a new website, True & Co., tries to provide an online experience that both addresses the bra fitting conundrum and the pain of purchasing bras just to try them on (knowing full well you’ll return a large number of them). True & Co. starts you off with a bra fit quiz that asks general questions about your figure and specific questions about your current bra size and fit. It then generates a personalized “shop” with recommended bras based on your answers. You can select up to three of the recommendations and True & Co. will select another two for you. You then receive all five bras to try on. You can keep the ones you like and return the rest and will only be charged for the ones you keep. (Note that the other bras need to be returned in seven days, so if you are busy and forgetful like me, this could be a challenge.) And all bras are reasonably priced at $45.
I gave the True & Co. online shopping experience a test run (though I haven’t purchased any bras at this point). At seven months pregnant, my bra needs are, shall we say, a little out of whack. (As an aside, StackedDD+ is a great blog about finding bras and clothing for the fuller busted and has a whole section of posts on maternity and nursing bras that I’ve found very helpful). So I tried the quiz three different ways: first, based on my pre-pregnancy bra size and shape; second, starting with my pre-pregnancy size but indicating that the fit was too small; and third, based on my current bra size (or at least my best guess as to what that is).
I got the best result from my first attempt. True & Co. recommended eight very pretty bras, most of which my pre-pregnancy self would love to take for a test drive. On the second round, while True & Co.’s quiz allowed me to specify that I’m pregnant and I made clear my pre-pregnancy size no longer fits, it’s algorithm didn’t quite know what to do with the information. While it correctly concluded that my current bra “might not fit,” it offered recommendations in sizes from my pre-pregnancy size to slightly larger, but none were large enough to accommodate my third trimester figure. This might be a nuisance that’s hard to capture in an algorithm, but by letting me indicate a major change like pregnancy (or significant weight gain or loss), the quiz implies that it can factor it into its recommendations. On my final run through with my current bra size, True & Co. came up with only two bra recommendations, which leads me to suspect that the site might not be so helpful for the truly larger busted among us.
All in all, I give True & Co. serious credit for recognizing and tackling the downsides of online bra shopping. The site’s approach puts into practice the best of the personalization and tailoring that the web is capable of offering and that, ironically, is almost completely devoid from most brick and mortar stores these days. And I love the ability to try on a bra before committing to pay for it (and having to go through a refund process). Hopefully, as the company grows, the site functionality will continue to improve (I found certain parts of the user interface to be a wonky) and the bra selection will expand. Because the site has the potential to make bra shopping less frustrating. Now, if they’d just come up with a bathing suit option.
- Bra-fitting tips every woman should know (blogs.vancouversun.com)
- Bra Algorithm from True & Co. Takes Lingerie Shopping Online (HuffingtonPost.com)
- Zappos for bras: True & Co. to take on Victoria’s Secret (cnet.com)
Shoes have been in the news a lot lately, and not just the fashion news. Which is great for me because I get to pretend I’m dedicated to being a well-informed, educated citizen while really just indulging my passion for shoes.
A number of news outlets reported on the brouhaha over the Adidas JS Roundhouse Mid sneakers. I’ve heard of being a slave to fashion, which for me usually means a pair of too-narrow, towering but stunning stilletos, but Adidas apparently decided to take the phrase literally and planned to market sneakers featuring a a rubber orange ankle shackle attached to the shoes by a plastic chain.
Shockingly, the sneakers’ design raised a public outcry. Numerous critics, including Reverend Jesse Jackson, decried as shameful the marketing of a product glorifying a symbol of African American slavery. Shoe designer Jeremy Scott insisted the shoes were a reference to a favorite childhood toy of his called My Pet Monster, who sported orange plastic wrist chains (which strikes me as a really weird thing to give a child as a toy, but whatevs). In any event, Adidas responded to the PR fiasco by canceling the shoe.
I’ve seen some leather and chain ankle cuff shoes that arguably evoke shackles, but at least they require a leap of imagination. The Roundhouse Mid looks like a crazy Halloween cartoon shoe gone nightmarishly wrong — and not in a fuzzy, pet monster way. So, what’s your thought? Offensive, insensitive exploitation of slavery? Just ugly? Amusingly ironic and fun?
If you can break free, tune in next week for some Shoes in the News closer to my own intellectual-property loving, shoe-obsessed heart: Christian Louboutin’s ongoing efforts to protect that luscious, iconic red sole (soul?) of his.
- Adidas Cancels ‘Shackle’ Shoe That Critics Say Evokes Slavery (abcnews.go.com)
- Adidas Pulls ‘Outrageous’ Shackle Shoes [Omg Shoes] (gawker.com)
Leigh and I were incredibly excited to attend our first Seersucker Social, especially since it came recommended by Leigh’s friend Victor as one of his favorite events of the year. Since Victor never seems to miss a good time or an opportunity to dress to the nines, we figured we were in for a treat.
Saturday’s event at the Hillwood Estate did not disappoint. The Georgian-style mansion and immaculate gardens were the perfect backdrop for an old-fashioned garden party. Our fellow partygoers certainly got into the spirit of the day in a stylish array of seersucker and vintage outfits. Walking past fountains and carefully groomed shrubbery, we felt like we’d died and gone to fashion heaven, finding ourselves suddenly surrounded by a sea of suits, bow ties, fedoras, silk gowns, colorful fascinators and, of course, seersucker. A good friend of mine often fantasizes about getting to dress the entire world for a day, and if she ever gets her wish, it might look something like the Seersucker Social! And what better compliment to the crowd of beautifully dressed people on a summer day than St. Germain cocktails (of which I only have second-hand accounts), picnics, and old-fashioned music and lawn games (Croquet, anyone?).
I had a serious challenge picking my own outfit for the day. My current maternity wardrobe doesn’t lean toward Gatsby-esque celebrations. So, after looking longingly at some dresses in my closet that would have been smashing back in the day when I had a waist, I did what any modern gal in need of new party frock would do. I got online and bought the only maternity seersucker sundress I could find. I was disappointed when the dress arrived to find that “seersucker” was just a fancy word for red and white striped cotton twill and that the dress ran big. At least I had my newly purchased Goorin Bros. straw cloche, which was just made for a 1920s afternoon party. Not without some regret, I passed over my tan Prada pumps for the eminently-more-practical-for-pregnant-feet espadrille wedges. A vintage red, carved cinnabar bead necklace rounded out the look.
Leigh had an easier time of it. His closet has been more or less waiting for this day for years. He looked even more dapper than usual in his blue and white striped rowing club blazer from Brooks Brothers, striped cotton knit tie (which, believe it or not, was actually his high school class tie), cream wool Ralph Lauren slacks, pink striped socks, and vintage brown and white spectators. Oh, and his brand new Panama hat. His outfit was such a smash that he spent most of the day posing for pictures and even got some press coverage from neonVmag.com and the Washingtonian.
All and all, it was a delightful day both for admiring the fashions and enjoying the company of great friends, new and old. We’ll definitely be at the Seersucker Social 2013, by which time I hope my vintage dresses and Prada pumps will be out of the closet and ready for their close-up.
- Seersucker Social 2012 At Hillwood Estate (PHOTOS) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Seersucker Bike Ride (thatkelliegirl.com)
- 3rd Annual Seersucker Ride and Picnic (buffalorising.com)
- Seersucker Season (curatingstyle.com)
- Seersucker, White, and Madras, Oh My! (theprepcrew.wordpress.com)
- Seersucker Thursdays! (superconductor.voltage.com)
I’ve never been a fan of sneakers. Oh, sure, when I’m working out, then I love them. But if I’m not jogging, at the gym, or at least walking to a yoga class, I’ve never really been been on board with sneakers as day-to-day fashion.
Of course, I realize fashion sneakers have made some serious advances in recent years. And I admit that a couple pairs of old school sneakers (New Balance in purple and orange and Nike in lime green and blue) made their way into my workday wardrobe a couple years back when I injured an ankle and had to spend months in a walking boot and then on crutches. I wore them with my little lawyer outfits and hobbled around the office, much to the consternation, I’m sure, of at least one partner. Since the cast came off, though, they’ve been relegated mostly to weekend errand runs and jaunts to the yoga studio.
That might all have to change now that I’ve discovered these Nike Free Running Spotted Sneakers. Not only do they come in coral and turquoise….they have polka dots!! Polka dots, people!! They’re just too much fun to save for a run or a trip to the grocery store (although they might help me pick up the pace doing either). So, who knows, maybe an old fashion dog really can change her spots…er…or something like that.
I woke this morning to an NPR story marking the forty-fifth anniversary of Dorothy Parker’s death. Parker has long been an idol of mine, both as a literary wit and as a smart, independent woman who struggled to live life on her own terms in a time that did not appreciate smart, independent women.
She may not have been your typical fashion icon, but then, there was little if anything about Parker that was typical. In almost every photograph I’ve ever seen of her, she wears the same wearily bemused expression — eyes wide, eyebrows high, mouth slightly grim, her hair just this side of tousled.
Her outfits always walk a delicate line between bohemian eccentricity and simple practicality, nothing too conformist but nothing fussy. And usually there’s a hat. Preferably with a wide brim. There’s a certain charm to her clear effort at achieving her own look without being too bothered. And no doubt, hiding behind the brim of her hat when she wanted. If only, I imagine, to conceal a smirk.
Fashion wasn’t often the subject of Parker’s famous wit, what with so many cultural foibles to bash. But when she did turn her attention to fashion, it’s clear she understood both the power and often undelivered promises of clothing in women’s lives.
There’s, of course, one of her most famous quips, “Brevity is the soul of lingerie” and one of my personal favorites “A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika,” which isn’t necessarily about fashion, but I like to think that it is.
Parker’s poems were more biting on the subject, juxtaposing the romance of beautiful clothes with her trademark skepticism of men and love. In “The Satin Dress,” which Parker admires for its delicate design and bold fabric and likens to a woman’s dreams, she ponders “Where’s the man who could ease a heart like a satin gown?” In the similarly titled “The Red Dress,” Parker compares her youthful fantasies of love with her heartbroken adult reality. A young Parker imagines herself in “a gown of reddest red, as fine as you could see” meeting her lover on a warm summer day. But the grown woman Parker knows the dress isn’t enough to fulfill the fantasy: “Now I am grown to womanhood….I have the silly gown.”
Dorothy Parker broke into an all-male circle, vicious though it might have been, long before anyone seriously talked about equality and smashing glass ceilings.
She did it too with a sass and style that was all her own. That’s a fashion icon to which we can all aspire.
So take some time today to raise a martini glass (no more than one or two) in her honor. Or at least grab a wide-brimmed hat and make snarky remarks under your breath. As Parker herself said, “A girl’s best friend is her mutter.”
- How Dorothy Parker Came To Rest In Baltimore (wnyc.org)
I had a great time at ThirstDC last night, even if my social secretary/husband had to cajole me out the door initially. As happens often in this town though, I met a lot of friendly and fascinating people.
I was super excited to see Elise Peterson of It’s Vintage Darling, who, of course, looked stunning in (what else?) vintage and inspired me to make a vintage run to Columbia Heights as soon as possible. I also got to meet (briefly) Kate Warren of gokateshoot.com, who also looked smashing in vintage and gave a great talk on the ways we all use one another and how she puts that knowledge to constructive use in her street photography. Thirst founder, Eric Schulze, was incredibly welcoming, and he and my husband, Leigh, had a charming men’s fashion mutual-admiration-society moment.
In between chatting and listening to the night’s speakers, I was, as always, checking out what everyone was wearing. In particular, I was struck by the number of women wearing head-turning, colorful suede shoes.
Now, I love suede. It’s so lush and textural, but it always seems so impractical in autumn and winter when it may be seasonally appropriate to wear, but so likely to get destroyed on a rainy or slushy day. Yet, I never think to wear suede in spring or summer. I guess it’s the traditionalist in me. I’m the kind of person who still waits until Memorial Day to pull out my white cotton sundresses and puts them away promptly on Labor Day.
But the women I saw last night definitely rocked it in their suede shoes. In bright or pastel colors, suede offered the perfect counterpoint to a cotton or silk miniskirt and blouse — not too heavy but giving the outfit grounding, or gravitas, in a way that a strappy sandal never could. I just may need to make some room next to the espadrilles and linen oxfords in my summer closet.
So what do you think of suede in the summer?