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Chic and Charming
a modern salon for
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28 September 2007

Fashion meets Politics in Turkey

I just read a really interesting article on Front line's world page about political change in Turkey. A very hot political topic in Turkey right now is the right to wear head scarfs, and this topic was discussed in the article. I found it interesting to read about how fashion, religion and politics can be so closely intertwined. This paragraph from the end of the article was a nice summary of the piece: "Whether secularists and Islamists can continue to co-exist peacefully in a democratic state is the challenge facing Turkey's elected officials, as well as its generals. The debate over headscarves revives an old dilemma -- whether to strive for freedom of religion or freedom from religion." Interested? Go check it out!

Image from pbs.org

How to: Own the Sidewalk

strut

Alright ladies! It is Friday and I am feeling inspired to write! I don't know what came over me yesterday, but as I exited the subway into the bright sunny street I felt the need to STRUT MY STUFF. It got me thinking, every girl should learn how to own the sidewalk, or at least feel like she does. There is just something about walking with attitude that puts me in a great mood. So, today I present 10 tips to help any girl strut the sidewalk like she's Agyness Deyn up there on the catwalk.

Tip 1: Have an excellent soundtrack. Nothing makes a girl feel hotter than hot music. It gives you a great beat to time your strut. It helps lift your mood if you are feeling down. Sometimes it just makes you want to dance in the middle of the street! Yesterday when I was strutting my stuff down the street I was listening to "The Girl's Attractive" by Diamond Nights. I challenge you to listen to that song and not feel inspired to strut your stuff. It is important to decide if you feel you can strut while wearing headphones and sporting a music player. If you have a sexy, sassy little iPod nano, it is not going to get in your way, but larger players and bulky headphones can be problematic. There is nothing wrong with playing your soundtrack in your head, "marching to the beat of your own drummer" as it may be. Just make sure you don't start mouthing the words...that might ruin the effect.

Tip 2: Wear proper eye wear. I think sunglasses are essential for walking down a city street, much less strutting down one. They act as a shield between you and the crushing swell of humanity around you. It is not necessary to channel Jackie or Audrey and wear glasses that mask half your face, although that is my personal preference. Your choice of eye wear should reflect your personal style. I find sunglasses especially useful for politely ignoring those pesky Green Peace street teams, especially in combination with headphones. Yes, I want to save the environment! No, I don't want to stop and talk to you about it! It is 8 am and I'm not yet fully human...I'm on a mission to get a latte and if you get in my way I will probably bite your hand off!

Tip 3: DO NOT wear a treky looking blue tooth earpiece, unless you are strutting through a Star Trek convention. On several occasions I thought someone talking on a blue tooth phone was either talking to me or insane. Those around you will likely be so distracted pondering these same questions about you, that they will not admire you fully.

Tip 4: Consider your footwear. Every girl knows that something magic happens when you put on the right pair of high heels. It doesn't matter how many hours you spend on that stair master, nothing beats the slimming, elongating, toning effect of heels. BUT, this look can be seriously compromised by various conditions. First, before going with heels you must consider walking distance. Do you walk a mile from the bus to your office? Have you done enough breaking in and training to walk that kind of distance in a pair of killer heels? Hobbling the last quarter mile looking like Quasimodo is not the look you are shooting for. Second, one must consider surface. Unless you are superbly talented, heels do not work in grass or really on bricks. So, what other options do you have? For the purposes of strutting, I would avoid athletic shoes like the plague, unless you are in fact running. I would consider going for a chic little pair of flats, or perhaps a kitten heel. While kitten heels can still have the above problems, I find that they are somewhat less complicated.

Tip 5: Have an accessory that you can toss or twirl. Are you approaching a hot guy and thinking you need to make some sort of extra effort to emphasize your fabulousness? How about a little toss of the hair? Or if it is winter, and your hair is neatly tucked under a winter hat, how about tossing that long luxurious scarf back over your shoulder. Playing gamely with a long necklace might also do the trick!

Tip 6: Dress the part. Personally, I am never going to feel like strutting on one of those days were I was so unbothered with presentation that I threw on my husbands jeans, an old t-shirt and a baseball cap. Some men might find this look kind of sexy, but it is doubtful that you will ever feel sexy in such a look. On strutting days you will likely be wearing your favorite jeans or a fabulous pencil skirt.

Tip 7: "A true lady travels unencumbered." I think this is one of my favorite quotes from my collection of etiquette and styling books, and I don't even remember who said it! If you want to look truly stunning, carry only a small bag. A big ticket fashion purse, which can carry your life, might attract the notice of other women, but a killer unencumbered strut will attractive the attention of men, women, children and possibly even small animals. The less you carry, the more erect your carriage will naturally be, and you will be much more free to strut, sway and blow kisses to your many admirers.

Tip 8: Practice appropriate facial expressions. When you strut is your face blank like an Olsen twin, who is trying to discourage the photogs? Do you looks somewhat miffed at the presence of so many mere mortals like Posh Spice? Do you have a sly, secretive smile that makes everyone around you wonder what you've been up to?

Tip 9: Strut with purpose. A brand new mother strutting out with her baby for the very first time is magnificent, and she is strutting to show off her baby. She is hardly able to follow the "unencumbered" tip, but she has the best accessory ever. A newly engaged woman struts to show off her new rock and her brand new fiance. This is best accomplished by dressing your man in his studliest duds, and walking with your left arm linked through his and your engagement ring displayed on the front of his bicep or forearm. There is also the woman who is just strutting for no real reason: the sun is shining, she has on some great jeans and a fabulous song just came up on her ipod.

Tip 10: Have a sense of humor. Murphy's Law dictates that you will do something super nerdy during the course of your strutting. You must try to recover with grace, this often requires a sense of humor. For example, during my recent strut I walked into a local cafe, feeling like hot stuff to order my lunch, rocking out to "The Girl's Attractive." I was taken by surprise to look up and notice that the cashier looked an awful lot like my grade school crush. He asked me what was playing on my iPod, and I got really flustered mostly because in my neck of the woods cashiers are normally surly, grunting to acknowledge a placed order. I felt like I would be a huge nerd if I said "The Girl's Attractive" from the Smallville soundtrack and it also seemed like it would be very flirtatious, which just weired me out. I felt like I needed to flash my wedding band, by oh-so-subtly scratching my nose or something just for thinking about saying the song title out loud. This is what happens when you've only been married a short time. I am sure in a few years I'll be like "woo hoo, some guy who looks like someone I had a crush on for seven years is kind of flirting with me (or maybe just being nice)." SOOO..I skipped to the next song on my iPod and it was a song by Minnie Driver, which is what I ultimately had to say I was listening to. Who admits to listening to Minnie Driver try to sing? (to be fair, she is actually not that bad) I stumbled back out onto the street with my food and was temporarily distracted by the sheer horror of an otherwise conservative looking woman wearing fluorescent green fishnet stockings. After a few sips of my latte I recovered, and skipped back to my strutting soundtrack as I continued on my way!

Image sources on flickr

27 September 2007

Gadet Guru: Breast Cancer iPod Shuffle


Normally an iPod Shuffle costs $79. A Breast Cancer iPod Shuffle sold exclusively in Target stores costs $79, but comes with a $15 music gift card. PLUS Target will donate a portion of every special edition shuffle to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, up to $25,000. PLUS it is pink!! You don't have to be good at math to see how excellent this deal is!

Image from appleinsider

26 September 2007

Mo's Bacon Bar

I saw this in Whole Foods today. I am flummoxed. I love bacon and I love chocolate. But will I love bacon and chocolate together? Am I willing to pay $7 to find out?

Image from Vosges

Darling Men: William Shatner


I think William Shatner is one of the most brilliant comedic actors of all time. In his current project Boston Legal he plays a ludicrous egomaniacal lawyer who's outrageous behavior is constantly causing trouble. I think Boston Legal is a smart, irreverant comdey that occasionally veers into self ritchousness but generally manages to be highly entertaining. I just wish Shatner was doing more projects. I think one of my favorite things about him is his self deprecation, which I think is what helped him progress beyond his role as Captain Kirk. It is usually difficult for actors to progress beyond such a defining role, but Shatner has done it with style!

25 September 2007

Charming Blogs: MadeByGirl

I am completely obsessed with this post, which is a compilation of pink and blue rooms from House Beautiful put together by MadeByGirl. It is so beautiful that I just want to print it out and post it up in my craft room as inspiration.

Image from madebygirl

Chic Women: Mary-Kate, the anti-Zoe

mk copy

It is so refreshing to see a self-styled star. I came home this evening to find Mary-Kate's beautiful face smiling serenely out from my mailbox, which is a rare occurrence in itself since she refuses to smile for the paparazzi in hopes that they will stop stalking her. She is the Harper’s Bazaar cover girl for October, most likely to promote her new acting gig on Weeds. Watching the clips of her just now made me want to bump this show up to the top of my netflix cue! Her charter seems intriguing. Back to the Harper's feature, I quickly flipped to the article on Miss Olsen, where she is sporting some wildly orange hair as she vogues with Lauren Hutton. In one spread she is wearing on of those crazy chunky knit hats a la Giles that I am hoping will be everywhere this fall. I love the fact that Mary Kate is completely self styled. Early this week I jumped to the NYT magazine article about Rachel Zoe from Capital Hill Barbie’s blog and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. Zoe came off as ignorant, self centered and cocky, even the author of the article had thinly veiled contempt for the uber stylist. The Zoe article revealed the overwhelming prevalence of stylists amongst starlets and celebutants, something I always expected was common, but I never realized the true pervasiveness until reading this article. Olsen may occasionally make fashion mistakes, but at least they are her mistakes. She has a strong style sense and recognizes the importance of tending her mind as much as her body. After all, despite the fact she is already a multi-millionaire with a successful career she decided to go to college. I hope she and her sister transition successfully into adult acting and remain true to their independent style spirits, so that we can continue to admire them for years to come.

Styling tips from the street


The following are fashion rules based on real life observations of street style:
  1. DON'T wear fluorescent green fishnet stockings, especially if you are over forty and not sporting a Mohawk or pink hair.
  2. DO learn how to incorporate a posh silk scarf into your outfit. Things to try: silk scarf as belt, silk scarf over the hair like a 1950's starlet motoring with the top down, silk scarf tied jauntily around your neck...
  3. DON'T go to the tanning bed in a French cut thong and then wear low rise pants with a midriff showing top. I don't know if its more disturbing to see a girl's thong peeping over the top of her jeans, or a girl's bright white thong tan outline peeping over the top of her jeans.
Image from buycostumes.com

24 September 2007

Lazy Martha: Method Leather Wipes

I use Method leather wipes on pretty much every leather item I own. They are great for giving shoes and bags a quick little spiff up, with out the full on labor usually required for cleaning leather. In fact, I have even considered keeping them in my desk at work for leather emergencies, like when a jealous coworker "accidentally" spills their venti mocha frap all my fabulous designer briefcase (this is of course a completely hypothetical situation). These magic little wipes will keep you looking presentable and will help to preserve your precious leather accessories, in the face of catastrophe or just plain laziness.

Image from uncrate.com

"Sorry you didn't remind me that it was your birthday"

It is difficult not to love the cheeky, irreverent e-cards from someecards.com, which were profiled yesterday by the NYT. I actually sent e-cards to about half of my general acquaintance from this website upon discovering it, most of which are completely inappropriate for posting on a family friendly website such as this. Viewers beware: these cards are dirty but incredibly hilarious.

Image from someecards.com

23 September 2007

Charming Reads: Midwest Modern


Amy Butler's Midwest Modern: A Fresh Design Spirit for the Modern Lifestyle is chock full of beautiful photographs of Butler's designs, her inspirations and her home. This is a great book for decorating and crafting inspiration for those with an eclectic sense of style. It has some especially good examples of incorporating modern style furniture and motifs into a homey decorating scheme. I am really in love with Butler's fabric designs and I wish I could sew! I would make some funky pillows and slip covers to liven up my living room!

Image from hnabooks.com

22 September 2007

Retail Report: Pottery Barn


I saw this chair when loitering in Pottery Barn waiting for my beeper to buzz indicating my million hour wait for a table at the Cheesecake Factory had finally come to an end. I have to admit I am kind of in love. I think the floral print is really gorgeous, especially the orchids. Green is one of of my all time favorite colors, but this chair probably would in no way fit with my current decorating scheme. I would buy a set of these chairs for my imaginary home, where they would sit in a solarium surrounded by orchids. I might mix them with some white wicker furniture and an antiqued mirrored coffee table. To be honest the chair also scares me a little. While I find it quite fetching, it is a little too close to a bad 60s cliche for me to be entirely comfortable with it. Good thing I'm too poor to have to seriously think about it.

Charming Blogs: The Dream


So, I think I've waited long enough! Why has no one else blogged on the fabulousness of Chanel hosting over a dozen bloggers in Paris?? The only place I've seen this discussed is on the blogs of the lucky chosen ones. How much would an all expenses paid trip to Paris, hosted by Chanel ROCK! I know you've all read about it because any self respecting fashion blog addict reads Style Bubble with the same level of reverence with which he/she reads Vogue! Every magazine editor envies Anna's circulation and every fashion blogger wants thousands of hits a day like Susie Bubble.

I think this junket, taken with the increased access bloggers have been receiving to fashion week (Article found through Wendy B), shows that retailers are increasingly recognizing the power of the blogger. This raises a bit of a moral dilemma. Where does one draw the line for free stuff? Do you feel it is important to remain an impartial judge, with the journalistic integrity of a New York Times reporter? Or do you feel like you can maintaining your integrity while absorbing as much free stuff as humanly possible-like Andie in the Devil Wears Prada (well, does she actually maintain her integrity....hmmm)?

If Chanel came knocking you better believe I would pack my Mandarina Duck bags with my finest duds and say Bonjour Paris!! Sadly, I'm too unfocused and a bit more critical and sarcastic than the big guns, so it is probably not a decision I would ever have to make. Ultimately I see blogging as a fun hobby, something I'm not going to take too seriously. So, of course I'm going to take the freebies, but only with full disclosure...even if it is a hobby I still feel a duty to my readers!

Wondering what it takes to be noticed by the Chanel? Go checkout the chosen few:
  1. Fabsugar
  2. Blogdorf Goodman
  3. Cool Hunting
  4. Notcot
  5. Fashion Addict Diary
  6. The Clothes Project
  7. Fashion is Spinach
  8. Fashion Verbatim
  9. Cafe Mode
  10. Deedee Paris
  11. Blographic
  12. Eslux
  13. Stil in Berlin
  14. Style Bubble
I thought that this article written by Independant Fashion blogger and mentioned by Wendy B in the comments for this post was very relevant and deserved a direct link in the post (since you can't just click on links in comments). So, I'm adding it after the fact. Enjoy!

21 September 2007

Fab Find: Life is Sweet


This "American Honey Flight" from Violet.com is so fabulous that I feel inspired to have a breakfast honey tasting party!
Menu possibilities:

  • fresh baguette and Plugra butter
  • scones and clotted cream
  • lemon shortbread
  • Greek yogurt with pistachios
  • hot toddy shots (add your own honey)
  • several soft, mild cheeses
  • silver dollar pancakes (with honey instead of syrup)
  • Fruit and nut bread
  • lemon creme risotto
  • An assortment of herbal teas (including lavender and mint)
What would you serve?

Image from violet.com

Pop Quiz

Quick!! Who said this: "That looks like it came out of the vomitorium!"

Retail Report: J.Crew

The suede stella clutch from J.Crew is one of the most elegant evening purses I've seen in a long time. The suede is absolutely gorgeous! They've had the clutch in the store in kind of an unattractive mustard yellow, and I've been pestering the sales staff to find out if and when more colors would be available. Finally, red and brown clutches have appeared online. So fabulous!! The lines are so classic and refined! It has fabulous structure and is very well made. This a purse that you will be using for the rest of you life, and when you look at it like that $98 is not such a bad deal!

20 September 2007

A few unattractive options for transitioning into fall



OK New Yorkers. MAYBE I'll give you the look on the far right. But, really I think the footless tight is not significantly different from leggings. And the knee high footless tight? knee high footless sock?? what is that?? Did this girl just get tired of her legging and think she could stretch them a few more months by cutting them in half? Suddenly that makes them cool again?

Image from New York Times, article recommended by Le Coterie

Random Reader Giveaway


Today I recieved my 1,000th unique visitor since starting my blog, as per google analytics calculations. To celebrate I'm offering two little prizes!!

The first prize will be for the first blogger to comment on this post who has Chic and Charming on their blogroll! Once your comment has been approved and officially posted as the first comment, please email your blog address and your snail mail address to chic.and.charming@gmail.com so that I can send you your suprise!

The second prize is for the blog who sent the most traffic my way via "referrals" or people who click on a link on their blog to come to my blog. The winner of this prize is Tres Poshe Preppy! So, ECM if you would like to recieve a suprise via snail mail as a thank you, email me your info!

Good luck and thank you for reading!

Image from www.grp5.com/blog/

Words of the Moment: Food Porn

food

With great trepidation, I googled "food porn" in the hopes of finding an outside defintion. Thankfully, Google protected me and I only found sites about beautiful food.

Food Porn, as defined by Wikipedia:
"Food porn is a sarcastic term for a spectacular visual presentation of cooking or eating in advertisements, infomercials, cooking shows or other visual media."

Food Porn, as defined by Chic and Charming:
Decadent looking food photographs that produce great hunger and even lust in the viewer. The best food porn makes one want to eat one's computer or cookbook. Donna Hay makes exceptional food porn.
Images sorces from excellent food porn blogs:creampuffs in venice, food beam, cupcake blog, cupcaketastic

19 September 2007

Pity the fool who tries to live up the Martha's standards

I love Martha Stewart, but I just don't have the time to be Martha Stewart. My former roommate had a theory that people in our age group entertained less because they felt they had to entertain on the scale of Martha, and just gave up before they even began! I would definitely prefer to entertain like Martha, but I just know it is not going to happen. Most women will only come close to entertaining a la Martha on their wedding day, and even then things will probably fall a little short of their Martha Stewart Wedding Dreams for lack of a $100,000 budget.

So, what is a girl to do? Every time she starts to yearn for the perfection of Martha she should channel Lazy Martha instead! Lazy Martha is the busy woman's guide to home keeping on a budget.

My first installment of "Lazy Martha," a new Chic and Charming feature, is a recipe with a lot of personal history: Shells with Pink Sauce. I learned it from my very first boyfriend, when he cooked dinner for me for the first time. Many years later, I prepared it the first time I cooked dinner for my future mother-in-law. This is one of my fail safe dishes that I pull out when I need to impress, but I need to be safe. I will also just whip it up to bring in and reheat for lunch during the week. The beauty of the dish lies in the fact that it is super fast and that you have some flexibility in ingredients. It also seems like you slaved over the stove, but there is very little homemade about this dish.

Ingredients:
Your favorite bottled tomato sauce
Your favorite bottled Alfredo sauce
Dried Red Chili flakes (optional)
Chicken or cleaned, shelled shrimp (they can even be frozen)
Garlic (optional)
Wine or chicken broth
Butter or Olive oil
Salt
Dry medium or small pasta shells

Preparation:
Sauce:
1. Saute the chicken or the shrimp in some butter or oil with chopped up garlic (and any other seasonings you think you'd like to throw in). Remove from pan.
2. Deglaze pan by throwing some wine or chicken broth in the still hot pan, and scrape up any good stuff off the bottom of the pan. Bonus: deglazing not only makes your sauce tastier, it makes doing the dishes so much easier!
3. Pour this mixture into a pot, dump in the Alfredo sauce and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with chili flakes, to your personal taste. Stir several times to combine.
4. When the sauce gets hot throw the chicken or shrimp into the sauce to rewarm it.

Pasta:
1. Boil water with some salt in it.
2. Throw in some small or medium pasta shells.
3. Cook al dente, strain.

Combine pasta and sauce. Serve!

Image from Crayonville.com

House, survivor style


I was kind of shocked when half the cast appeared to be leaving the tv show House at the end of last season. I figured they'd all be back, it was just one of your classic cliffhangers. Well, that appears to be untrue! I was watching the Emmy's and one of the red carpet hosts was interviewing this group of about five actors as a group. These actors are apparently the new lackeys for the upcoming season of House. It sounds like they started out with a group of like forty actors playing doctors who want to work for House. The doctors then go through a survivor style elimination over the first half of the season to determine who will be the final team. The guy who player Kumar (Kal Penn) in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle was among this cast, which I found amusing. Also, I recognized one of the actors as the Husband (Peter Jacobson) from Starter Wife. Sorry if you aren't fellow House fans! Hugh Laurie is one of my actor crushes. I just wish he got to talk in his English accent on the show. *swoon.*

18 September 2007

Word of the Moment: Canneles


Canneles, as defined by Chocolate & Zucchini:

"- 1/2 liter (2 cups) milk
- 30 g (3 tablespoons) salted butter, diced
- 1 vanilla pod (split), or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 100 g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 200 g (1 cup) sugar
- 3 eggs
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) good-quality rum

Yields about 20 medium canelés.

Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. In the meantime, combine the flour and sugar in a medium mixing-bowl, and break the eggs in another, smaller bowl. When the milk mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and fish out the vanilla pod if using. Pour the eggs all at once into the flour mixture (don't stir yet), pour in the milk mixture, and whisk until well combined and a little frothy. Add in the rum and whisk again. Let cool to room temperature on the counter, then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.

The next day (or the day after that, or the day after that), preheat the oven to 250° C (480° F). Butter the canelé molds if they are made of copper (unnecessary if you're using silicon molds). Remove the batter from the fridge: it will have separated a bit, so whisk until well blended again. Pour into the prepared molds, filling them almost to the top. Put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes, then (without opening the oven door) lower the heat to 200° C (400° F) and bake for another 40 to 60 minutes (depending on your oven and how you like your canelés). The canelés are ready when the bottoms are a very dark brown.

Unmold onto a cooling rack (wait for about ten minutes first if you're using silicon molds or they will collapse a little) and let cool completely before eating."

Canneles, as defined by Chic and Charming:
A French pastry which is notoriously difficult to make correctly. Canneles are one of the most delicious and perfect foods ever created, and give those tragically allergic to chocolate a reason to keep living. A well made cannele is best eaten as soon as possible after being baked. The outside of the pastry will be a crunchy deliciously caramelized sugary treat, while the inside will be almost impossibly moist and vaguely cake-like. This dessert has a little known effect of acting as an apatite suppressant because after eating one the consumer is reluctant to let any other food pass his/her lips for fear of loosing the after taste of burnt sugar.
Image from foodbeam.com, my new favorite food porn site.

Chic and Charming podcast: Initial Show Format

ipod


Cocktail Conversation:
a summary of 4 of our favorite news stories from the week to keep our listeners informed and ready to dazzle with scintillating conversation at their next cocktail party or dinner engagement.

Hot Post: Sophia offers a dramatic reading of either her favorite or the most commented on post of the week, along with reader comments.

Gadget Guru: Marilyn talks about her favorite new gadget, and why you can't live without it.

Chic and Charming Person of the Week: Sophia love bombs her favorite bloggers, actors, authors and musicians.

Fab Finds: Marilyn and Sophia discuss some of their favorite beauty, homekeeping and clothing purchases.

Feature Story: A detailed discussion of whatever topic we pick to chat about that week. Some weeks we will do "ask the expert" segments where we interview an "expert" in a given area. We will announce "ask the expert" segments in the previous podcast and put up a post on chicandcharming.com where you can post your questions for our expert.

Technical testing begins tomorrow!

Big hair is back for evening

emmy hair

I am swooning for the romantic big hair that seemed so popular at the Emmys this year. Many actresses went with classic old-Hollywood style dresses and looks this year, which in my opinion is fabulous. I LOVE glamor. I would say my favorite hair-makeup look of the evening was on the beautiful Heidi Klum, with the side swept curls and the red lips--she look like romance personified. Ellen Pompeo manages to pull off hair that could win awards for defying gravity. I think I'm too distracted by the fabulousness of her cat eye eyeliner to make impartial decisions about her hair. My final example of glamazon big hair is Jenna Fischer, whose hair might not be THAT big, but I always admire a well done back comb. I've never been able to achieve the look myself, I'm too afraid of creating an untamable rats nest and having to shave my head.

For image sources see flickr

17 September 2007

Gadget Guru: Self Chilling Soda

Gadget guru's gadget of the day is the rumored self cooling soda. Apparently when you open the bottle of this new product, ice forms from the soda itself, keeping it as cool as if you had poured it over ice without the dilution effect. Coca Cola has putatively decided to test this new product in the UK with Sprite, so you brit girls should keep us posted when it comes out! If the drink is successful, they are thinking of trying something similar with beer! Read more here.

Image from turbosquid.com

Lost that Loving Feeling: Leggings

leggings

Oh leggings! How I loathe thee. You are the cockroach of the clothing world. While spandex now makes you possible, even before spandex was invented in 1959, you had already lived a full and complete life. Here I present a time line of the the legging trend.

1. I would say the most famous early incarnation of leggings were "hose" worn during the Renaissance. In modern times we are primarily aware of this fashion because of the profusion of Renaissance fairs, where one can go and see grown men wearing leggings. Is something really fashionable if you could show up at Renaissance fair and find that you match the historical reenactors? Just be VERY happy that we are not wearing an early Renaissance incarnation of hose: they are believed to have originally been crotchless.

2. Throughout the late 80s and early 90s leggings and "biking shorts" were HOT. I can remember one pair of biking shorts that I used to wear that had a kind of fishnet-like cutout portion that went from mid thigh to my knee. I felt these were the coolest item of clothing in my entire closet. Tragically, someone left some bubblegum in their pocket when they put their pants in the laundry, which found their way between the buttocks of my biking shorts, ruining them forever. I was inconsolable. God or my mother must have secretly been intervening on my behalf.

It must have been sometime during this period that Vera Wang and Donna Karen became deeply enamored with leggings, enough so to make them a permanent staple in their wardrobe long after the rest of us had declared "Leggings are dead, and it will be a cold day in hell before they ever become fashionable again." Right around this time we all started wearing "bootcut pants." Remarkably, bootcut pants looked a lot like bell bottoms, which our mothers had thrown away years before declaring "Bell bottoms are dead, and it will be a cold day in hell before they ever become fashionable again. Bring on the shoulder pads and power suits!"

But, I digress. Back to Vera and Donna, it is 2005 now and they have been wearing leggings for twenty years beyond their fashionableness. It would be pretty much impossible for this to continue without sparking a trend. Some model is zipping up her $10,000 Vera Wang wedding dress backstage and she is totally in love with the dress, the hair, the makeup! She has succumbed to magic of an expensive wedding dress, she is day-dreaming about massive bouqets of peonies. Its almost like being on a drug. Anyone who has ever planned a wedding will know what I am talking about...the model has drunk the koolaid. In the midst of the model's euphoria Vera Wang walks by in her leggings. The model, who was about 3 in the late 80s, thinks: "oh! there is nothing more glamorous and perfect in the entire world than Vera Wang, and she is wearing leggings! Maybe I should wearing leggings too!"

So, the model goes immediately out after the show and buys some leggings. And, since she is a model she looks pretty hot. Who What Wear Daily features her as their Model of the Moment, wearing her new signature leggings. The legging trend is reborn. Well, at least I imagine it went something like that. In reality I think it might have actually had something to do with Kate Moss and Siena Miller as well.

3. There are some people who manage to look pretty hot leggings. Their ankles look so tiny! After all, isn't black supposed to be slimming? If we swath our legs in tight dark black leggings, it should compress some of the fat and with the added magic of black we will all soon look as hot and svelte as Mila Jovovich. Like some sad lemming I am pulled in by the group think. I wear leggings which I stole from my mother (which I think she had had since 1992) with a hot new bubble skirt. Oh for shame. Fortunately I only did it twice.

4. We originally all stuck to the "new rules" of leggings: wear leggings under a dress or skirt and for heavens sake make sure that dress hits at mid thigh. Some renegades, such as Chloe Sevigny, begin to wear their tops shorter over their leggings. Sadly, teenagers have taken note. I see girls on the street, girls with nice bodies, but not model bodies, wearing this look and I wish I could grab a big pashmina and wrap it around their waists to save them from further humiliation. Many of these girls obviously think they look hot. Many of these girls are also obviously wearing thongs, not g-strings, because I can see the thong outline through their leggings. The beginning of the end is upon us.

5. Oh Peaches! You've Jumped the Shark! Your top is too short. The short shirt variant of the legging trend was always ill advised. And those leggings! All of us here in the real world have been questioning the "colored jeans" trend, and then you bring us the "colored legging" variant. Words fail me.

The brilliant Tim Gunn actually gasped and physically winced when his sidekick suggested a girl wear leggings and a dress on his new Bravo show "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style". It is good to know I am not the only person who currently is not loving leggings. I'm hoping when they come back for their third incarnation I will be sensible enough to avoid being seduced yet again! This time around two days of leggings was two days too many.

Image sources at flickr.

16 September 2007

Vera at Kohl's Update

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Raise your hand if you are surprised that Simply Vera is already on sale 30% off. Based on my review you can have no doubt that I will not be running out to stock up. I want Chic and Charming to be a fashion democracy, not a fashion autocracy, so I do feel like I should be fair to Vera and Kohl's and link to a well written positive review of the collection, so that readers can have a little balance in their lives.

Image is a screen shot from kohls.com

Gadget Guru: Microsoft Office for Students

microsoft

Marilyn clued me in on an upcoming promotion from Microsoft which sounds like an awesomely good deal. Starting Wednesday anyone enrolled at a University, with a university email address will be able to purchase the Microsoft Office Package for just $60 (currently $120 on amazon)!! The deal is good through the end of April and will be called "the Ultimate Steal."

In the interest of being equal opportunity: Apple ALWAYS offers some discounts to students.

Image sources at Flickr

Alice Temperley For Target Reviewed

temperly copy

After Vera was released at Kohls early, I had a sneaking suspicion that Alice Temperley might come out early at Target. I was right. Today I stopped by Target to pick up an extension chord and discovered a whole lot of Temperley under the "Libertine departing soon" signs. Before stepping foot in Target, I was already a little disappointed with the collection. I really wanted some classic Temperley: beautiful prints, florals and floaty chiffon dresses. While this collection was not classic Temperley, I still was very optimistic. As I shopped the new collection I noticed several of my fellow shoppers reactions.

Target Shopper 1 (TS1):
Oh! This dress is so cute! Something like that would look really great on you!
TS2: Yeah, it is pretty cute. It looks very French.
Sophia (butting into their conversation, I couldn't help myself): She's actually British!
TS1: Oh cool. Well, England is close to France. {Sophia: quite snicker}
TS 2: If I bought this I would rip off the buttons, they're just so ugly.
TS1 and TS2 wander off.

The dress in question was one of the cutest pieces in the collection, it was a mid-length black polyester dress with black textured polka dots. The sleeves are nice and fluttery. There is a bow tied in the back and three little buttons on the front. TS2 was correct. The buttons are very cheap looking. In fact, the reoccur through the collection and ruin several otherwise very nice pieces. They are kind of bulbous large and shiny and are either black or white, to match the piece. They are on the gray dress pictured above. I don't have any detail shots because it was hard to really get a good shot. So, down to the details:

Dresses
When I shopped Target there were 4 dresses avaibile in the store. The black polyester dress is discussed above. Then there was one of my favorite pieces in the entire collection: the pictured gray long sleeve cotton dress. The length is a little short and the buttons are ugly, but otherwise this dress is 100% cute for only $30! The next dress was a lined polyester knit dress with kind of a crazy pattern on it, which you can see yourself above in the middle left shot. Finally, there was a short-short-short black cotton knit dress. I felt a little like Brittany Spears when I tried it on...not good.

Overalls??!!
Yes, you read it right. You too can own a a sexy v-neck overall in either demin with flashy gold buttons or black polyester. I really didn't get it. On the one had it was a little Stella McCartney. On the other hand, I guess it kind of fit in with the 1950s glamazon vibe I was picking up on in some of the collection. I could totally see Marlena Dietrich playing Rosie the Riveter wearing these sexy overalls. Can I see anyone else wearing them? I sure hope not.

Pants
There were some pants. They were polyester. They were black. I think they had the sailor detail seen on the super mini skirt pictured above. As you can tell, I was not really super excited about them. There were also some pantaloons. Yes, pantaloons. I did not take pictures, becuase you can go see them yourself if you are THAT interested. I am sure they will be there for a very long time, because I can't imagine anyone would buy them.

Skirts
There was a mid-length black skirt and an oh-so-short mini skit. The mid-length black skirt looked pretty cute but was not in my size, so I have no advice on fit. I did not even bother to try on the mini skirt after the shortness of the knit dress. I was also very unimpressed with the satin piped detailing on the skirt, and several other pieces. It looked cheap. Shiny satin edging almost never looks nice, it is usually worse in polyester, and it is always worse on cheap clothes.

Shirts
There were several nice shirts. Half of the shirts in the collection are cotton and half the shirts are polyester, with one Rayon shirt thrown in for good measure. I purchased the plainest shirt in the collection: a gray stripped cotton blend with thin sparkly gold stripes and a scoop neck. The polyester shirts were interesting, except for the ugly buttons and the fact they were polyester. They were very frilly and kind of conservative-retro-sexy-secretary. The cotton shirts were similarly designed for the most part. There was a simple white military inspired shirt that also had a lot of potential.

Jackets
Perhaps my favorite parts of the collection were the jackets. For $130 you can have a very well designed brown leather jacket, which was tragically not in my size. There was a very cute white jacket which I think would be great for evening. I styled it with my own little black dress and pink leather gloves in the bottom right hand corner of the above picture. The white jacket also came in blue and has fabulous gold buttons, as seen in the upper right hand corner. Finally, there was a sweater jacket, which I didn't pay that much attention to because the other two jackets were SO fabulous.

Summary
I'm not a big fan of polyester, so I was pretty disappointed personally with all the polyester. I was really hoping for some silk! Many of the polyester pieces would have looked so nice in silk! The buttons on half the collection are totally ugly, and the gold buttons on the other half were amazingly cute. The other detail I have an issue with is the satin edging motif, it makes everything it is on look cheap. Overall, the construction was pretty nice. The cotton pieces were great, especially the adorable gray mini dress with the long sleeves. I think the leather coat might be my overall favorite piece. The lining could have been a little better, but it just looks so nice on!

I also just have to note that Alice Temperley has the absolute cutest tags ever on her clothing. I think they might even be letterpress.

15 September 2007

Words of the Moment: Jump the Shark


Jump the Shark, as defined by JumptheShark.com:
"It's a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on...it's all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it "Jumping the Shark." From that moment on, the program will simply never be the same...

The aforementioned expression refers to the telltale sign of the demise of Happy Days, our favorite example, when Fonzie actually "jumped the shark." The rest is history.

Jumping the shark applies not only to TV, but also music, film, even everyday life. "Did you see her boyfriend? She definitely jumped the shark." You get the idea."

Jump the Shark, as defined by Chic and Charming:
To kill something by taking it so far that it becomes ridiculous, and thus no longer bearable.

In the most classic sense of the phrase, the Gilmore Girls jumped the shark when Rory stole a yatch, dropped out of college, moved in with her grandparents and joined the DAR.

In terms of trend, the Louis Vuitton logo bag jumped the shark when you saw a pack of twelve year-olds carrying matching ones as they stampeded past you into Hollister at a suburban mall.
Image from youtube.com

Gadget Guru: The Chic and Charming Podcast

ipod

Sophia (aka author of chic and charming): Oh! I figured out what I want to do my podcast on!

Marilyn (aka gadget guru, sister of author): Really? Whats that?

Sophia: Reviews! I'll review books, movies, clothing lines, etsy shops and maybe food and drink recipes. Do you really think you'll be able to figure out how to do it?

Marilyn: Yeah! I've been doing research on it. We should be able to do our first podcast in a week or two! Anyway...where were these capes you keep talking about.

Sophia: Oh! Over here! There was a whole rack!
(searching ensues)

Sophia: I just can't understand. There was an entire rack of cute little marabou capes here last weekend. They were like $150 each, do you really think they sold out?

Sophia, still searching: Where are they, I really just can't believe they sold out!

Marilyn: Um, I think Nordstrom probably just realized that that marabou capes are extremely unfashionable and took them off the floor.

Sophia: Ooooh look!! Elbow length leopard print knit gloves! (tries gloves on). What do you think!

Marilyn looks down in a bored fashion at the newest emails to arrive on her cell phone, embarrassed to be seen in public with me.

The Chic and Charming Podcast is coming soon!!!!!!

Images from apple.com and chicandcharming.com

Bling Bling in the Bathroom

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So, one of my friends sent me these pictures from perhaps the most ostentatious mall bathroom ever created. Just check out that chandelier. Holy cow. Apparently this bathroom has a vanity adorned with fresh cut flowers, a full length adjustable three way mirror, several seating areas, some with leather couches and posh products for your hand washing and moisturizing pleasure. Her purchases were dwarfed in the giant bathroom stalls, which she heard on NPR were twice as large as normal packages to accommodate all the shopping. When she showed the pictures from her camera phone to her boyfriend, he revealed that they had not even bothered to finish the walls in the men's bathroom.

14 September 2007

Which look do you prefer?

I'm playing around a little with my look. For those returning readers, do you like the old chic and charming or the new one better? Keep in mind, the new one is a rough draft and might require a little more tweaking!

Something old, something new, something yellow for you?

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Yellow, not just any yellow, fluorescent yellow. It. is. everywhere. Sadly I don't think that the yellow trend is going anywhere for at least a year! Poetic and Chic posted a review of yellow in the fall fashion collections and turned up yellow in no less than fifteen different collections! While I lack that kind of dedication in my trend spotting, because of her post I was attuned to the yellow and noticed that it was still popping up all over the spring runways.

I am really not thrilled about the yellow trend. My dislike of this trend is deeply rooted in personal vanity: my skin tone is pale and yellow looks atrocious on me. I think there are likely many other girls who will encounter this same problem, but they might find yellow difficult to resist, as tragically so many girls blindly follow trend. I hope one day my fellow women will discover that just because the designers start a trend does not mean they have to follow it!

On the note of trend: One has to wondered, how does yellow end up in at least 15 different fall collections? Sometimes I just don't understand where these kinds of trends come from. Do the designers talk to each other or give each other previews? I don't think that is the case. So, there must be something external that inspires such a large selection of designers to include such a strong color in their collections, especially given that yellow is not exactly a fall color. My current favorite theory is that there is one designer who thinks, "hey yellow!" So, he shows yellow in his Spring collection. All the other designers see it and think: "ooooh, yellow, it is so pretty." So then in the next set of collections we see tons of yellow. But, this can't account for everything. Does anyone else have some theories on where trends come from?

To conclude, I just have to say that the yellow Marc Jacobs leather gloves are heinous (pictured in the center). They look like the gloves my mother uses when she washes dishes, and in all likelihood that is probably the look Jacobs was going for. I love long leather gloves and I love Marc Jacobs. But, I do not love these gloves.

Where are these looks from? Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Lila Rose.

Images from style.com

13 September 2007

Gadget Guru: Dr. Whippy

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Our gadget guru is already hard at work, before you've even finished submitting your requests for article topics. Today she found the most BRILLIANT invention! Dr. Whippy is an ice cream machine that asks you a series of questions and as you answer it analyzes the stress levels in your voice. With this information the machine diagnoses your stress level and then prescribes and dispenses ice cream. The more stressed you are diagnosed to be, the more ice cream you get!
For image sources see flickr

Viktor and Rolf Clogs

Clogs victor and rolf fall 07

Are they chic? Probably not. Are they charming? I say yes! Viktor and Rolf clogs from the Fall 2007 collection inspire strong reactions. Do you love them or do you hate them? Most girls I talk to think they look silly, costumey and uncomfortable. I'm very attracted to them, but fully admit I would not be willing to shell out designer prices to wear them. I think they are kind of romantic. There can be no doubt that these shoes are not mass manufactured. I like to imagine that they were hand carved and painted by a Dutch artisan who's family has been making clogs for hundreds of years. I also really like how dainty one's ankles look in juxtaposition to the chunkiness of the clog.

Gadget Guru

My sister is my gadget guru. Just last weekend she bought us a new wireless router (as my husband's birthday present), hooked up the router for us, and even set it up as a secure network. Could I have figured it out myself? Sure, but it would have taken about 3 times as long and left me grumpy for the rest of the day. With my sister's help, it was a very fast and painless experience.

She said that she might be interested in penning a few technology articles for Chic and Charming. I was wondering, would you be interested in reading about new gadgets? What new gadgets would you like to see reviewed? If you had your very own geek-squad best friend what would you make her teach you to do?


12 September 2007

Marc Jacobs, Surreal Life

marc spring 2007

If I had to summarize the Marc Jacobs Spring 2008 show in one word it would definitely be "surrealist." Surrealism was founded as an off shoot of dadaism by a Freudian psychiatrist/poet. The movement is heavily influenced by Freud's writings, and someone who, *ahem* has been on a recent journey of self discovery and self analysis might be drawn to this artistic movement. Surrealism seeks to reveal the unconscious in its works, and many of the most famous surrealists' works have a decidedly dream like quality.

The surreal influence comes through most strongly in the accessories. The shoes with the completely rearranged structure were amazing and were the first item that really got me thinking about the surrealist influences in this collection. I find these shoes even more interesting because if you look at the shoes Marc Jacobs has done in his different collections over the last year or two you can almost see a shoe evolution. The earlier shoes definitely laid the structural ground work that made this pair possible! I also find the black curly-Q hat, which is like a little cartoon wig, interesting and inspiring!

One of the strongest themes in the styling of the show was exposed underwear or underwear stenciled onto the outside of the clothing. What is the most common nightmare scenario of all time? Discovering that you showed up to class/work in your underwear! The motif of exposed underwear that repeats throughout the collection is decidedly surrealist. Want more allusions in the collection to a dream like state? Models are all styled with some serious bed head, and several girls walk down the catwalk in oversize shirts with numbers on them, akin to a boyfriend's jersey that one might steal to sleep in.

Bear with me while I continue to play arm chair analyst. According to Dreammoods being naked or partially naked in a dream can have a variety of meanings, all of which could relate to things that Jacobs has gone through over the last year. Nudity in a dream can imply that you are hiding or ashamed of something, it can imply fear of being ridiculed or it can imply being caught off guard. My favorite meaning comes from those dreams where one is partially nude in a dream and not caring, like the models in the show, this implies being comfortable and proud of who you are. I like this interpretation because to me it means that Marc Jacobs is back and proud of who he is now.

If given the chance to expand my explanation of the collection to only five words I would say: "witty without being too serious." Jacobs has a cult following so he can afford to put pretty much anything he wants out on the runway, and often does. "If he sews it, they will come," and by they, I of course mean everyone: starlets, editors and most importantly his cult of customers. I think this collection is creative and smart, but maintains wearable elements. I really like that through fashion (a kind of mass art), Jacobs referenced one the major modern fine art movements giving his customer something to think about and wear. Most of all I like this collection because I feel like it is personal. I am probably reading way too much into the whole thing, but that is the great thing about being a blogger...I get to put it out there and then wait for my fellow fashion fanatics to leave their two cents on the subject!

Surrealism, as defined by Tate:
"Movement launched in Paris in 1924 by French poet André Breton with publication of his Manifesto of Surrealism. Breton was strongly influenced by the theories of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud identified a deep layer of the human mind where memories and our most basic instincts are stored. He called this the unconscious, since most of the time we are not aware of it. The aim of Surrealism was to reveal the unconscious and reconcile it with rational life. The Surrealists did this in literarature as well as art. Surrealism also aimed at social and political revolution and for a time was affiliated to the Communist party. There was no single style of Surrealist art but two broad types can be seen. These are the oneiric (dream-like) work of Dalí, early Ernst, and Magritte, and the automatism of later Ernst and Miró. Freud believed that dreams revealed the workings of the unconscious, and his famous book The Interpretation of Dreams was central to Surrealism. Automatism was the Surrealist term for Freud's technique of free association, which he also used to reveal the unconscious mind of his patients. Surrealism had a huge influence on art, literature and the cinema as well as on social attitudes and behaviour."

11 September 2007

Words of the Moment: Fist of Rage


Fist of Rage, as defined by Urban Dictionary:

"To raise arm in air clench into a fist and shake sporadically.
The guy cut me off in his car and I proceeded to give him the Fist of Rage as a sign of disrespect."
Fist of Rage, as defined by Chic and Charming:
To shake one's fist in the air, much like an angry old man in cartoons of yore. This is a signaling to those around you of your impotent anger, usually in response to some injustice that you recognize you are powerless to avenge. The Fist of Rage is often more satisfying if accompanied by a verbal outburst expressing your discontent.
Image from answers.com

Fab Find: Moo.com

cards

I just ordered the most adorable cards ever from moo.com to hand out to friends and acquaintances to advertise my little blog. Each card is about half the size of a standard business card, and at $20 for 100 cards a sweet deal! I designed each of these myself in photoshop using the template on the moo website and then uploaded them online. Cards are full color and two sided. The back of my cards just reiterates the message on the front (blog name, blog address). If you wish, you can actually order a different image on each card! I decided just to stick with four. I should receive them in a couple of days, I will let you know how they turn out!

Trend Spotting: Blinded by the White

spring 2008 white

With two days left of New York Fashion Week, the Spring 2008 trends are already becoming apparent. Now is the perfect time to educate yourself on what will be hot next Spring! Does this seem a tad premature? It is actually just smart shopping: all of this year's spring and summer fashions are currently on super markdown. By educating your eye on what will be hot NEXT summer you can stock up on some of those items now at serious discounts! I was flipping through style.com and I could not help but notice the overwhelming amount of white! The little white dress phenomenon is not going anywhere, so hold onto those white dresses for next year and scour sale racks for those post labor day whites sales.

Other trends of note: black+white with splashes of red; sky blue and sunshine yellow (to replace this fall's gray); and a solid dose of lady-like chic. I'll be posting my favorite looks for each of these trends, along with a few wild cards over the next month!

So, who designed these fabulous looks? From left to right: Behnaz Sarafpour, Michael Kors and Narciso Rodriguez.
Images from style.com

10 September 2007

Word of the Moment: Dementor

Dementor, as defined by wikipedia:

"Being blind, Dementors sense and feed on the positive emotions, happiness and good memories of human beings to move around, forcing them to relive their worst memories. The very presence of a Dementor makes the surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark, and the effects are cumulative with the number of Dementors present. Those kept in the company of a Dementor for too long become depressed, and are often driven to insanity, which is the main source of Azkaban's well-deserved horrible reputation."
Dementor, as defined by Chic and Charming:
While this term was originally used to describe a fictional ghoul from Harry Potter, it can also be used to describe real persons who one dreads encountering day to day. It is especially applicable in situations were one knows that one will encounter the "Dementor" later in the day and the cloud of their future presence renders all time before that point unenjoyable. While in Harry Potter chocolate helps one recover from an encounter with a Dementor, in real life chocolate and alcohol are usually called for.
Image from answers.com

09 September 2007

Let's hope your cat has a sense of humor too

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I think cats get a bad wrap. I mean really, it takes quite a sense of humor to tolerate a lime helmet or yellow yarn pig tales being attached to your head against your will. The picture of the cat wearing the lime hat has been around for quite a while. I had it as my desktop on my college computer for several months. So, when I came across eenodol on etsy, the shop immediately reminded of the poor cat in the lime hat who had been subjected to the whims of an owner who had enjoyed one too many margaritas. Eenodol must have a profoundly patient cat (and dog for that matter). If you too have a patient cat, who you believe is in desperate need of a costume this Halloween, you should go check out Eenodol! Prices range from $10-$28.
Images from eenodol and a pesky chain mail that I received five years ago

08 September 2007

Lost that Loving Feeling: Lucky

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I remember when Lucky Magazine first came out. It was a revelation! It was fabulous! I was in L-O-V-E. But, the love has really started to fade. In fact, with each new issue my love dies that much more. I don't know what happened? Is it me? Does anyone else feel this way?

I think to some degree Daily Candy and Who What Wear Daily are to blame. I used to look forward to Lucky for the the latest dish on small new designers and cute new shops, especially when it came to jewelry. Now, I am more likely to find such information on a blog, in Daily Candy or on WWWD. The city insert in my Lucky seems especially useless because Daily Candy city edition just does it so much better!On that note, I must say I am still in love with Lucky's Blog, which has a little tidbit of shopping and styling information each day.

I also think a part of my love for Lucky died the day Domino spun off. I am still deeply in love with Domino. When Lucky first came out I was living at home or in a dorm, so I had little need for articles on cocktail parties and headboards. But now I spend about as much money and effort dressing my house as I do dressing my person. So, Domino has become an increasingly important source of information. Just imagine how my glossy allegiances will change when I actually buy a house and can paint the walls and choose my own bathroom fixtures!

But, I really feel like there might be something else going on. For example, I have very little love for the Lucky accessories editor. I almost always hate the Lucky shoe spreads. The purse spread in this latests issues is just kind of uninspiring. Perhaps this comes from the inherent difficulties in having to select 100 fabulous purses, without resorting to the current "it" bags.

I also don't get fashion babble with Andrea Linett, a one page spread which always brings up the rear of the magazine. I recall the editor's letter waxing poetic about Andrea's effortless chic, introducing fashion babel. Andrea and I have nothing in common in the style department, so I am rarely inspired by her spread.

Their choice of B-list actresses for cover models is also bizarre. I would rather see a random unknown model get her year made by appearing on a magazine cover than have to look at Mandy Moore or Sarah Michelle Gellar, AGAIN.

All I know is that in the olden days it would take me several hours to get through my Lucky, as I poured over each spread. I would HAVE to save half a dozen pages because I felt they had inspiring pictures or information about some designer I just had to look up. It took me about an hour to flip through October's Lucky, and there was not a single page that I felt compelled to save. So, what do you think? Is the honeymoon over? or are you still deeply in love with Lucky?

Vera Wang at Kohl's Reviewed

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I would have to say these quotes from my fellow internet fashion commentators are a pretty accurate description of Simply Vera for Kohl's:

Daddy Likey:"I think I really would have liked these clothes if I were legally blind. And I mean that in the best way. They were fabulous and colorful and unique from far away, but, as I cantered toward them, giggling with unbridled glee, a different picture came into focus, a picture that looked a lot like cheap shit. I saw shoddy seams, beads falling off, and more polyester than a 1970's fondue party."

Fashionista.com Commenter:"
i felt i could find the same items at forever21 in the same quality for less than half the price."

I went and checked out the Vera line at my local Kohl's today. The design and color selection are generally interesting and in keeping with Vera Wang's look, the problem is cheap materials and shoddy construction. I've shopped designer diffusion lines at Target, GAP and H&M so I know the general level of quality to expect, and Vera's line did not meet those standards. Most things were made from synthetic materials trying to imitate the look of silk. Several designers for Target have put out lines with silk pieces that still manage to remain affordable, so I don't understand why Vera could not.

Clothing Line
There was one top in the clothing line which looked promising on the hanger: a white or lavender sleeveless top with a rhinestone detail at the neck which was 97% cotton. I tried it on, and from the front it was very cute and very Vera. Then I turned to the side: tent city. The same shirt is shown on the mannequin in the picture above. I always say if something makes the mannequin look fat there is little hope for me! Perhaps on a very skinny girl wearing very skinny pants this shirt would be nice.
Otherwise the clothing was Polyester, Rayon, Modal everywhere you looked, with a a hefty price tag, considering the quality, for the privilege to wear Vera. I have heard talk on other blogs of polos and jeans in the Simply Vera line...I did not see those at my Kohl's, they must have still been in the process of putting out the merchandise. Maybe the "everyday" pieces are a bit nicer?

Intimates
The bra and panty sets were very uninspired-I can get the same exact thing at Walmart of Target for much cheaper. For those fans of her "Vera Wang" lingerie line (I'm not talking about the luxe line) in Bloomingdales and other department stores: I did not notice a huge difference between her nightgowns in those stores and her nightgowns for Kohl's-both primarily consist of polyester babydoll gowns. I tried on the black nightgown (the pictured purple was not in my size) and it fit like a dream. But, I made the decision to become a fabric snob a few years ago, and avoid buying synthetic clothing unless I am really really in love, so I left the nightgown at Kohl's.

Shoes
I could have easily been in the Payless- the shoes were very generic. I thought the pictured black slides where kind of cute, but the netting just looked kind of cheap. These same shoes came in violet crushed velvet?! Did she see the black ones and think: "Gee! Lets hit these with an ugly stick and see what comes out?"

Accessories
There were a few bright spots in the accessories department. There is a small collection of leather purses that I though were chic. I liked one of the pleather purses, and wished it was done in leather. Vera put out an extensive collection of tights which also appeared to be quite nice, but at $12 were hardly a deal. And finally, she put out some supremely long knit gloves. Fabulous gloves that went all the way up one's arm! If only these were not 50% synthetic! If only they did not itch so horribly and cut off the circulation in my bicep!

Bedding
We have Vera Wang mattresses, so why not Vera Wang sheets and duvets? Well, because they are ugly and cheap looking, thats why. To say something nice: I did like the ruffled bed sheets (300 thread count, Egyptian cotton). I wanted to buy them in brown for my twin sized guest bed. Sadly, they did not appear to come in twin size.

So, Vera and Kohl's listen: the gig is up! Vera, you said yourself in the Wall Street Journal: "Don't underestimate the knowledge or sophistication of customers. Most are smarter than you might realize-and so are their children."Middle class America has seen what Mizrahi can do at Target, what Lagerfeld can do at H&M and what Moret can do at the GAP. We know better! We know that a $50 designer diffusion shirt should be made of silk, not polyester. We know crushed velvet died in the early 90s, no matter what you try to sell us! We are willing to pay the extra $5-10 to have our knit gloves made out of 100% wool. Next season take it up a notch, we'll be waiting.

Charming Blogs: poetic & chic

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Poetic & Chic author Annie was one of my first great supporters when I started blogging, convincing me through her comments that I was actually reaching someone other than my sister and my best friend. Her blog, poetic & chic is smart and fabulous. Annie posts on a variety of topics, but has undertaken an extensive review of fall fashion trends over the last week. Her breakdown of the fall fashion trends has been quite comprehensive and independent, she did not just copy the trends out of Vogue directly into her blog! Annie has always wanted her own magazine, and with her eye for trend and fabulous taste I think she could put together some truly beautiful spreads!
Image is a a tweaked version of the poetic and chic banner from www.poeticandchic.com