Paris in winter

I’ve wanted to visit Paris ever since I read my first copy of Vogue and discovered the words of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Paris is the center of the fashion world, with a plethora of literary and art history. It is a place that both excites me and intimidates me. And I’m finally going to visit — this winter! December seems so far away right now, but I know that I need to start planning immediately. The most important question is, of course, what to wear! How can I possibly look chic when it’s freezing outside? Thankfully I have a good friend living in Paris who can give me advice. And I’m taking inspiration from street style blogs, like The Sartorialist. I will have to pack light, because I’ve heard I’ll be visiting during the winter sales. So exciting! It’s a good thing I’ve already purchased several new springy dresses, because I’m putting myself on immediate shopping probation. I need to save up for Parisian treasures.

Paris street style, as seen on The Sartorialist
Model in Paris, as seen on The Sartorialist

Banana Republic goes Mad, again

On March 1, Banana Republic debuted its second collection created in collaboration with Mad Men’s costume designer, Janie Bryant. I was excited about the first collection last year and bought a few pieces (mostly on sale), but overall the quality left me wanting. I still have a pair of cigarette pants in my closet that need to be reconstructed by a tailor. The seams were sewn very poorly. The only piece from this new collection that really interests me is the Joan floral sheath dress. Maybe I’ll pick it up if it goes on sale.

Perhaps instead of buying “vintage-inspired” clothing, I should seek out the real thing. I really need to find some better sources for great vintage pieces here in Milwaukee. I’d like to find some looks that will help bring out my inner Joan Holloway. I know there is always eBay, but I prefer to try clothes on in person. Any advice, fellow shoppers?



Best dressed

I enjoyed watching the 82nd annual Academy Awards last night. This year, I saw six out of the nine Best Picture nominees: The Artist, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Descendants, Moneyball and War Horse. I believe The Artist deserved to be named Best Picture…but I must say that Uggie got robbed in the Best Actor category.

But now on to more important matters. Who was best dressed on the red carpet? Here are my top picks. And Tim Gunn!

Christopher Plummer
Judy Greer in Monique Lhuillier
Milla Jovovich in Elie Saab
Natalie Portman in vintage Christian Dior
Ellie Kemper in Armani Prive
Rose Byrne in Vivienne Westwood
Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford
Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen

Presidents Day sale

On Saturday, my husband and I drove down to Gurnee Mills outlet mall in Illinois to shop at Neiman Marcus Last Call. I probably shouldn’t have been shopping after the Jason Wu for Target experience, but I had a $25 gift card and everything was an extra 25 percent off for the Presidents Day sale, so I couldn’t resist.

Narciso Rodriguez dress

It takes some time and effort to dig through all the merchandise, but usually I can find some amazing deals at Last Call.  As always, I hit up the shoe racks first. The selection was a bit sparse, however I did find a really sweet pair of Kate Spade wedges. I can’t wait until I can wear these with a pretty sundress during festival season.

Then I tried on about a dozen dresses, from Prada to Lanvin. I even tried to squeeze into a pair of Galliano men’s jeans that were so rock star, it was ridiculous. Unfortunately, everything was either too big, too small or too expensive.

But on the clearance rack, I found a lone Narciso Rodriguez dress that I almost bought on Black Friday. I only passed it up because I was already buying two pairs of YSL shoes that day. A girl’s gotta pay the mortgage…But lucky me, the dress was still there and it fits just right.

I brought it to the counter and asked for a price check. The tag was marked 65 percent off, plus an extra 25 percent off, for a final total of $150. The original price was 1,625! Talk about an epic discount. The sales clerk looked at the dress and said “I didn’t know we even carried Narciso Rodriguez. He’s a really important designer!” I just started laughing while he went on some kind of tangent about Madonna.

I really need to start going out more. Important designers’ clothes deserve to go to chic parties, right? Well, if nothing else, at least this sale gave me a reason to celebrate Presidents Day.

Jason Wu for Target review part 2

Jason Wu for Target
Jason Wu for Target dresses

All of my shipments have arrived! Sadly, I did have one item canceled by Target, the white long sleeve blouse. I thought it would look really cute with the black pleated skirt that I bought in the store, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. The blouse was an online exclusive item, so there’s likely no chance of finding one now. But I can’t complain because I managed to score the navy poplin dress in a size 4, and it fits perfectly! I loved this dress in the lookbook and was so disappointed when it was sold out online and not available in my local stores. Fortunately, I was able to purchase it Monday night when Target restocked them online. This dress is by far my favorite piece in the Jason Wu collection. I love the full skirt and the detailing on the bodice–and it has pockets!

My second favorite garment is the cream colored cycle print dress with pearls. It is so pretty and feminine. I love the colors and the flutter sleeves. This is another item that I was able to buy when Target restocked it online. I also really like the navy floral dress. The style is flattering on girls with curves…but it definitely needs a belt!

Some of my online purchases were not as successful. I bought the red jersey dress and have already returned it. The fabric was completely see-through and felt very fragile. I think it would have fallen apart the first time I washed it —  or even wore it! Plus it just looked like a long, shapeless t-shirt. I also returned the straw saddle bag. It felt kind of flimsy and I thought the faux black leather looked cheap. I am debating whether to return the navy shirt dress. It looked so chic on Alexa Chung in Vogue. Maybe I just need Vogue’s team of stylists to help me pull it off. Probably not going to happen…

Overall, this was a much more relaxing experience compared to Missoni. I think Target has made a lot of improvements. I’m looking forward to more designer collections in the future — here’s hoping for Alexander Wang or Prabal Gurung!

NY Fashion Week begins

Here in my neck of the woods, designer fashions are pretty scarce. A few boutiques in Milwaukee do carry the real goods, but for the most part I have to travel to find what I want or shop online. I also subscribe to most of the major fashion magazines and check out runway shows. I’m so glad that websites like show pictures of every look, so even those of us far from NYC can scout upcoming trends.

New York fashion week is under way, with designers presenting their fall ready-to-wear collections. Editors and buyers will travel around the world in the coming weeks, with shows taking place in London, Milan and Paris. I know I likely won’t be buying any of these clothes soon, but I still like to look for ideas. And the first few days are always interesting, as that’s when many of the up-and-coming designers show their stuff. I’d recommend checking out Creatures of the Wind, a brand that started in the Windy City — sweet home Chicago. See, good fashion really can come from the Midwest!

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