After seeing an Ideeli sale for Dana Davis loafers (just when I was thinking I needed a new pair of flats), I did a little research to see if the sale was really a good deal, having never heard of Dana Davis before. It turns out that Davis, like Taryn Rose and Chie Mahara, is trying to design fashionable shoes that are orthotically beneficial (or at least less detrimental) to your feet. Taryn Rose has always been a little matronly for my taste, and while I love Chie Mahara, her shoes are often more fun than elegant. Dana Davis may strike the right balance between scientific design and fashion. I’m in love with these blue suede pumps (yes, shocking, they have a ’40s glamour feel!). I ended up buying the loafers. If they prove really comfortable, I may have to think about investing in a pair of heels, where all that orthotic technology will really come in handy.
Finally! I’ve found the perfect pump to wear with my evening dress for the Inaugural Ball — and not with a moment to spare! These Robert Clergerie Evening Pumps are eye catching with a modern simplicity mixed with ’40s glamour. Now if only they didn’t cost more than the dress. But, there so shiny!! And really, how often does a girl go to an Inaugural Ball? Or really any ball for that matter?
I found this beautiful embroidered rayon 1940s dress at Rue 14, a great little boutique on 14th Street that I don’t know how I’ve been missing for so long. The embroidered parrots were absolutely stunning and in perfect condition. And, the dress’s slightly exaggerated shoulders and the charming yoke waist are just right to flatter and enhance an hourglass figure. I headed in to the dressing room ready to take this lovely piece home with me, but, sadly, admiring it from the hanger was as close as I got to wearing this dress. It turned out to be so tiny, I feared for the safety of the 70-odd-year-old seams if I’d attempted to actually put it on. One of the unavoidable dangers of vintage shopping — falling in love with something and wishing the store carried more than one size.
So, I’ve started my (almost) annual search for the pair of perfect boots. It’s autumn and finally chilly and sometimes rainy (notwithstanding that whole hurricane thingy). So, it’s clearly time to trade in my go-to summer sandals for my go-to boots as my daily stomping-around-town shoes. I’m not talking about the gray, suede platform bootie or the stacked heal, tall boots with the fancy tooling across the vamp. No, I’m talking about that comfortable boot with a low heel that’s good for walking city blocks, can hold up to a little rain, and still pulls together a jeans and sweater outfit but looks great with a skirt. You know, your basic fashion miracle maker.
My search is made all the more desperate by the sidelining of my current miracle boots — a pair of patent leather, waterproof La Canadienne riding boots. The waterproofing (and flat heel) made them ideal for all weather, while the patent leather gave them enough style to wear even to work. Like all boots I own, however, they’re a bit snug around the calf. Apparently, I have exceptionally large calves, at least as far as the boot industry is concerned. I blame it on my early years of ballet and Madame Chernonook’s relentless repetition of plies.
After a couple of seasons of me tugging the zippers relentlessly over skinny (but not skinny enough) jeans, the poor, over-stressed things finally gave way. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks trying to find a cobbler to repair them. Sadly, these days, cobbler is something only served with berries and cream. Which is tasty, mind you, but not so useful for fixing boots. Especially when you already have large calves.
So, I’ve resolved myself to having to find a new boot miracle. In addition to the usual difficulties associated with searching for miracles, including my wide foot and the aforementioned big calves, I’ve been seriously hampered by my perverse decision that I really want a boot in gray or blue when everyone knows boots are made in black or brown. Or at least according to the boot industry. I already question their judgment about the whole narrow calf thing, so I’m sticking to my guns on the color. And then there’s the demise of my favorite, go-to shoe shopping site, endless.com, which is now part of Amazon’s overall fashion site, and, sad to say, a shadow of its former self.
I thought I’d hit the miracle jackpot when I discovered (thanks to Zappos) that La Canadienne makes a boot very similar to my now zipper-challenged pair. And, miracle of miracles, they come in gray patent leather and (hold the phone) in a wide width. But alas, they are out of stock in my size. Just when I’d started to believe in miracles. So, now Google and I are on the hunt for another store carrying the same boots in the right size. It’ll take nothing sort of a miracle, I’m sure.
Everyone’s favorite yoga clothing line, Lululemon, is suing Calvin Klein for violating several of its patents relating to its yoga pants. Yes. Patents. On yoga pants. Not exactly sure how that happened.
In any event, despite Lululemon’s explosive growth and dominance of the yoga clothing market (evidenced by the fact that you can hardly walk down the street, much less go to a yoga class, without seeing Lululemon logos everywhere), the company has been feeling the heat of increasing competition this year. And apparently, the company isn’t planning on taking things lying in shavasana.
The patents in question relate to Lululemon’s Astro Pant, pictured below. Follow the link to see a photo of the Calvin Klein pants at issue in the suit.
I’m a huge fan of Jason Wu’s designs. But up until now I thought the Wu-Target collaboration was the only way I’d ever own any of it. So you can understand my excitement on finding out that, in January, Wu will launch a fun, flirty lower-cost line named Miss Wu. Since the line will be available exclusively at Nordstrom, I’m even more excited that I now live within a few subway stops of a Nordstrom store! The prices will fall somewhere between the Target line and Wu’s main collection (a rather large range), so I’m guessing any purchase will still be a bit of an investment on my part but at least within reach.
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)
Here it is Shoe Friday and I find myself with a new pair of shoes! I’m so excited about them that I had to share. I finally bought myself a pair of espadrilles. There were so many to choose from this season (“Hot trend,” anyone?), it was a tough decision. But after much browsing, I went with a practical choice: traditional espadrille style, 2 inch platform (comfy for walking), and black and cream neutrality so I can wear them with lots of outfits. Out of the box, they look and feel so nice, I fully expect these to be my go-to shoe for the summer. Which is not say I may not purchase another espadrille. The espadrille seems to fall in and out of favor, I sort of feel like I should stock up while I have the chance.
As I mentioned last Friday, my husband Leigh and I had a great time at ReadySetDC’s Spring Fashion District event at the Powerhouse in Georgetown, featuring D.C.-area designers and cutting-edge stores. The event offered us our first real chance since arriving in D.C. to see what’s happening on the local fashion scene, and I have to say we were impressed with the stylish designs on display and the incredible enthusiasm of both designers and attendees.
Fashion District was part fashion show and part pop-up shop, with a healthy dose of party mixed in. ReadySetDC posted some great photos of the event here (The blond hottie stepping out of the Uber car is my boy. The little blip of head on the other side of the car? Yeah, that’s me.) Even though we arrived early, the multi-story venue quickly filled up with easily the most stylishly dressed crowd we’ve seen in this town, sipping cocktails and enjoying the music. Leigh and I had a great time chatting with the featured designers and mingling with other guests. Not to mention, we did a little shopping.
We, sadly, didn’t make it to every vendor that night. We were a bit distracted chatting with all the lovely people we met, mostly about fashion and, ok, complimenting each other’s outfits a lot (what can I say, everyone looked great). But here are the highlights:
- Accoutre: Our first stop was at Accoutre, where Leigh ogled many a bow tie. Accoutre’s ties were eye catching, in quirky, nontraditional fabrics. Designer Eliot Payne enthusiastically answered Leigh’s questions as he debated between many different styles. Meanwhile, intrigued by the bow ties in beautiful floral patterns, several ladies and I debated whether we could pull off a bow tie (perhaps with a feminine blouse or alone as a necklace?).
- It’s Vintage Darling: We had to make three passes before we managed to squeeze into IVD’s incredibly popular shop. Leigh went straight for the tray of cufflinks and briefly contemplated a vintage leather tennis bag. I made off with a sexy navy dress with a draped neckline and low, criss-cross back that’d be perfect for a night at Studio 54. I also refrained from ripping a great white lace sheath dress out of the hands of another shopper, for which I was very proud of myself.
- Aliceanna: Though I didn’t end up buying anything, Aliceanna was my turn to ogle as I made my way through several racks of feminine, flirty handmade pieces. I’ll definitely keep Aliceanna in mind for the future.
- Ginger Root Design: I’ve already made a trip to Ginger Root’s U Street shop and was delighted to meet the Ginger Root designers and get another look at many of their creations. Leigh picked up an edgy, orange tie made from vintage pieces and I had a great chat with Rachel Pfeffer as I admired her jewelry designs, especially the chunky metal and stone rings.
- Jennifer Jeremias: Jeremias’s funky, geometric metal jewelry designs might have been my favorite of the evening (and Jennifer’s friendly, outgoing personality charmed as well). I picked up a pair of small dart-shaped earrings and have my eye on her geometric dangling earrings and a necklace of interlocking circles on a vintage snake chain. Jennifer Jeremias jewelry is available for sale at Ginger Root as well.
A friend of mine is contemplating buying a pair of Louboutins. Like anyone about to make a hefty investment, she decided to do some online research first, where she tripped (sorry for the pun) across the Louboutin Barbie® Shoe Collection. It turns out, back in 2010, Christian Louboutin teamed up with Mattel to celebrate Barbie’s 50th birthday with some doll-sized haute couture footwear and, apparently, thinner ankles for Barbie. No cankle-induced midlife crisis for Barbie if Christian has anything to do with it! All of this is very useful to help Barbie step it up now that she is contemplating a presidential bid. (And just remember what they did to Hillary and her ankles back in 2008!)
The Louboutin Barbie® Shoe Collection consists of nine pairs of quite smashing shoes, complete with signature red soles and Louboutin-branded shoe boxes. While the original collection has long since sold out, it can still be yours for about $100 on eBay. Quite a bargain if you consider that nine pairs of actual Louboutins would cost you easily upward of $7000.
Now, if only my friend’s feet were a little smaller….
- Couture to Prêt-à-Porter: Designer Barbies and Lady Lynch Strass by CL (sahrahussain.wordpress.com)
- Do or Don’t: What’s Up With Presidential Barbie’s Shoes? (glamour.com)