Friday, August 5, 2011

Strong but Wrong of the Week: Summer Vacation from Style

Clark Griswold: Still inspiring summer travelers everywhere to take a hiatus from work and, apparently, good fashion choices

Even before the Griswolds piled into their station wagon destined for Wally World in National Lampoon's Vacation, summer has always seemed to translate to "family trip." What we had hoped ended with Chevy Chase's Clark - a mocked stereotype of what to avoid wearing so as not to embarrass your children and significant other - seems to sadly still be a uniform of sorts for so many visitors to the Big Apple. We deem this week's Strong but Wrong "the tourist trap":

Pairing khaki cargo shorts with tube socks and "sensible" footwear says, "I'm an out-of-towner," more than walking up Fifth Avenue at a glacial pace or shelling out $18 for a plate of Linguine at the Olive Garden in Times Square.

We get it: you want to be comfortable and ready for anything in NYC, but there is no New York terrain outside of the gym that requires a person to rock an athletic sneaker and sock. If your outfit is appropriate for a day of hiking or hitting the amusement parks, there's a good chance that it isn't appropriate for traipsing around this fair city of ours.

The next time you pack up your trolley suitcase for a visit to NY, we urge you to leave the stylings of Clark G. where they can be most enjoyed: in the movies.

Happy Friday!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Strong but Wrong of the Week: As If! (anyone should be caught wearing this)

The last time the mini-backpack made it into the realm of acceptable fashion attire, Alicia Silverstone was rocking an Alaia onscreen in the 1995 classic Clueless and eating red meat off screen. She has since become vegan and dropped the miniature bag. It is 2011, after all.

So you can imagine our surprise (and utter horror) when we spotted this NYC dude sporting a mini-"sportsack," the male equivalent of the mini-backpack:

And we're sorry to report that this fella above isn't the only guy we've seen around town attempting (unsuccessfully) to bring back the long-forgotten trends of '95:

Gents: we've already given an at length de-briefing on what to wear to and from the office or le gym, and this sad mini-sack wasn't one of the options. Why? Because these flimsy little bags have "tourist" or "I got this free at the Knicks game" written all over them. But if that isn't reason enough to get you to lose this look, how about this one:
No woman likes to see anything that can be described as "mini" hanging on a man. Front or back.

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Strong but Wrong of the Week: Seeing Spots

You know your gals love themselves a bit o'leopard (bit being the operative word). When used with discretion, the print works as a neutral in the way of a fun shoe or belt - even as a hat! But just like movie theater popcorn, one CAN have too much of a good thing. When ladies begin to mix different leopards together in one outfit, often times the sentiment goes from raar to rough faster than you can say run cheetah run. This week's Strong but Wrong highlights two offenders...and spans two continents!

Quelle horreur! While our gal Gillian was in the city of light, she spotted this dame in a look that really put the pee-ew (PU) in Paris. A leopard blazer? Super fun. With an LBD or jeans. With a printed, baggy pajama-esque pant? Super foul. Nonetheless, in true Parisienne fashion (literally), sistah seemed to be enjoying herself, and for that we say tres bien.

Back in NYC's concrete jungle, we found offender #2 - a dame who attempted the hobo-chic trend made famous by MK and Ashley Olsen. But Uggs and a shagtastic sweater with a leopard print pant, scarf, and hat is a look that's more hobo than chic (and may or may not have left us wondering if this gal was in fact homeless). Because the line between what is strong and what's just plain wrong in fashion is often very thin, we recommend treading lightly with your leopards and sticking with maybe one or two spotted accessories.

Remember y'all: keep that print as a subtle nod to your animal instincts and not a full out zoology stink attack.

Monday, May 16, 2011

She Works Hard For the Money (and therefore should look great while doing so)

Unless you're one of the lucky few who gets to Blair Waldorf it to the office (read: take a town car), chances are that in order to get to your place of work (or anywhere, really), you're hopping on a crowded, sweaty, and at times unfriendly subway or pounding the pavement. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.

There is, however, something wrong (very wrong) with wearing frumpy footwear to get there. While it's true that a commute can really take the pep out of a gal's step, nothing does so more than stepping out in a shabby shoe. What we're trying to say is that we've been outside, and what we've seen some women rocking south of their ankles is a Melanie Griffith in Working Girl throwback that we were quite certain (read: hoped) had died along with Reaganomics.

"The Work Mullet"
Business on the top, gym on the bottom.

Saved and worn almost exclusively for the trip to-and-from the office, "T.W.M." is the unfortunate combination that occurs as a direct result of pairing inappropriate shoes with an otherwise work-appropriate ensemble.

We don't expect y'all to strut the streets en route to the office in four-inch platforms (though if you can do it without tripping, twisting an ankle, or needing to first prep your feet as if you're a ballerina prepping her toe shoes, more power to ya), but that doesn't mean that you have to go to the other extreme - T.W.M.

How do you know if you fall under the unprotected category of work mullet offender? The wearer is rocking straight up "these-have-been-to-the-gym-with-me-for-the-last-six-months" shoes...outside of the gym. But the offense goes from misdemeanor to felony when accompanied by full-on athletic, "sports authority" socks being worn over nude pantyhose (see above).

The last 15 years have brought about the "retro fashion sneak," ladies, and we're really into it - and we suggest you get into it, too. Literally. Check out this gal we spotted rockin' a great converse (and no flesh tone tights) with her dress to work. It looks fresh, modern, and fun:

How to tell if your sneak is street worthy? If you can get through an aerobics class or treadmill run in them, chances are they're best kept in that gym bag. Got other questions regarding T.W.M.? For example:

What if I'm going to the gym before work, and all I have are just my work heels and gym shoes? What then?
If you have the muscle to do a couple of bench presses, lift weights, and above all can lug a huge gym bag into work, we're pretty sure that you can carry and fit another pair of un-cringe-worthy shoes in said bag (and if not, invest in a larger one).

What are my other options aside from flats or "sensible" heels?
Basically any footwear that doesn't sacrifice style for comfort - and these shoes do exist. Why not try a fun leather converse sneak (a la the gal we snapped above above), a flat motorcycle boot (which will really toughen up an office-appropriate floral and blazer combo), or - weather permitting - a gladiator sandal or strappy wedge (Madewell has a plethora of such options). Even a Ked would do, ladies!

But I really love my K-Swiss!
That's nice. Save them for a piece of exercise equipment or outdoor athletic activity. No one ever climbed the corporate ladder (or the artsy equivalent) in those bad boys.

But I'm religious about going to the gym after work. Can't I change into my sneakers at the office?
Sure you can - and change into your gym clothes while you're at it. If you have energy (and time) to change into sneaks or use the ladies room before heading out, you have time to throw on a workout pant. Taking the extra time to do this will give you more time at the gym and, perhaps most importantly, help you avoid committing the dreaded 'W.M.

Let us close by saying that our gal and resident fierce footwear advocate Carrie B of "Sex and the City" fame suggests that we not judge someone until we've walked a mile in their shoes - which is easy to say when you're rocking a pair of fabulous Manolos. If the shoe in question had been a gym sneaker or otherwise frumpy pump that one would never consider wearing for an occasion other than on their walk to work, we have a feeling that Carrie B may have retracted that statement. Go on - put your best footwear forward.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Strong but Wrong of the Week: Money Can't Buy You Class (or style, apparently)

Truer words may never have been sung-spoken than those uttered by The Countess LuAnn in the hook of her guilty pleasure dance hit, "Money Can't Buy You Class." We'd venture to take the aforementioned lyrics a bit further and assert that money also can't buy you a sense of style. Case in point? This dame we spotted strutting down NYC's tres chic Fifth Avenue:

This look is a textbook SBW if we've ever seen one. In theory, throwing on a luxurious fur, red patent Louis Vuitton bag, and expensive flats should work together, however in practice, it's an epic fail - much like Pajama Jeans or Cami Secret. What's more, when style mavens suggest that gals mix "high and low" fashion staples, we're fairly certain that this concept doesn't ever involve wearing a winter white legging and dainty socks to offset the dressiness of your fur. No matter how much you shelled out for one or several of the items you wear, your 'fit is only as strong as its weakest link - or, as is the case with this week's SBW, the weakest links. Plural.

But let's give this dame the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she knew what she was getting herself into (literally) with the bottom half of her look. Perhaps she threw on this coat hoping that she could distract passerby with a fun, furry top half so that no one would notice the atrocity south of her kneecaps. Perhaps...she was wrong. And we should know because:

We noticed.

Ladies, the only people who should be rocking a white tight are ballerinas, children under the age of 5, and perhaps an artist whose name rhymes with Mady Baga. This gal's heart was in the right place, however her head was not, and as our semi-royal, semi-real housewife of NY so eloquently recorded, "elegance is learned." Someone get this gal to a style course

Also, we're pretty sure that's a scrunchie in her hair. Just sayin'.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cindy Walsh IS Isabel Marant's Spring/Summer 2011 Inspiration

After a long day, some people like to relax with a glass of wine while others prefer to kick back with a pint of soy ice cream and The Real Housewives - or even a vintage episode of Beverly Hills, 90210. Revisiting iconic TV is great for many reasons, one of which is unearthing fun fashion finds of yore that have managed to make it back into the mainstream of today. Here's one we recently stumbled upon while getting our R&R on:

Beverly Hills, 90210: Season 1

If this shirt looks even vaguely familiar, it's probably because every self-proclaimed hipster and style devotee has been seen rocking the Paul Bunyan print since it made its triumphant return to runways and closets alike a couple of years ago. But if this button-down looks really familiar, it's probably because its French toppelganger has been seen hanging around stores in fashion capitals across the globe:

Who knew Cindy Walsh (i.e. the BH, 90210: Season 1 wardrobe department) had such a strong Parisian influence? Sure, we love Marant's perfectly tailored take on the '90s trend, but what we're really holding out for is the reemergence of the Jim Walsh classic: a windbreaker track suit.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Strong but Wrong of the Week: April's Fool

These days, the definition of what constitutes as "work appropriate" attire is fairly broad - what, with BlackBerrys, iPads and the like making it increasingly easier to do your job from virtually anywhere, and thus opening up a Pandora's Box of options for what "works" outside of work. What definitely doesn't?

This clear plastic tranny shoe. The only business exchange for which this footwear would be deemed apropos for the office is one that always takes place outside. On a street corner. Or the beach, if your name is Shauna Sands (the unofficial spokesperson for the clear plastic heel). Adding insult to injury are the plunging neckline and length (or lack-thereof) of this gal's skintight satin wrap dress:

This is not what Diane von Furstenberg had in mind when she first created (and has since breathed new life into) this office-favored dress design. Kim Kardashian already has the market cornered on wearing down-to-there and up-to-there shiny metallic garments for "meetings," and we all know how this ends: with an unintentional coslopus sighting, which is never appreciated at the workplace (depending on your vocation).

In short, guys and gals, whether your office is in an actual building, that coffee shop down the street with free Wi-Fi, or the full-size bed in your studio apartment, know that a translucent sling back pump is never the answer. It may be April Fools', y'all, but this look is no joke.