Handsome Men In Pastels And Florals: An Appreciation Post

Spring is in the air! Passover and Easter are here, tulips are popping up, days are getting longer, and it’s the perfect time to bust out some pastels or floral prints in your wardrobe. While I like lighter colors and flower patterns myself, there’s nothing better than a man confident and exuberant enough to wear FUN clothes (and while I’d argue that fun clothes shouldn’t require confidence, the Standard Man’s Wardrobe is admittedly pretty staid – and if that’s what you prefer, you do you). With trendsetters looking this fresh and sunny, though, maybe the general populace isn’t far behind!

Tinie Tempeh

This Gucci cotton crepe blazer is screen-printed with a gorgeous chinoiserie pattern, given a bit of edge with the gold chain and bare chest. Is he at a tea party? I love everything about this.

Taking it back to 2014, Tinie Tempah is at it AGAIN in Casely-Hayford, ankle pants and plain white tennis shoes. The man knows he looks good in a floral print.

Let’s be real. I’m presenting these gents in no particular order, but Tinie Tempeh’s at the top of the list because he’s the king of the floral blazer in my book. This Louis Vuitton brocade tux jacket fits like a dream and looks like one too.

Rami Malek

Rami is one of our blog favorites, and part of that’s because he’s such a consistently well-dressed man. It comes as no surprise, then, that he’s one of our repeat floral enthusiasts. This bright blue suit worn for his Time Off shoot makes his eyes stand out even more than they already do.

Listen. There is a middle ground for the man who likes the idea of florals but doesn’t feel comfortable in a brocade or chintz look, and that middle ground is the Hawaiian-style shirt. It’s summery, bright, and fun, but has been part of the menswear establishment for decades. Rami knows. This one’s by Sandro and has a gorgeous sheen in higher-res images.

Then there’s this alternative to the floral blazer or tuxedo jacket: a solid-color suit with a flower-print shirt underneath. And a polka-dotted pocket square for whimsy.

Jared Leto

Jared Leto made waves at the 2015 Oscars in the Givenchy tuxedo that’s somewhere between lavender and periwinkle. He even accessorized: that’s not a boutonniere, it’s a pink floral Fred Leighton brooch.

You know what? The long double-breasted coat feels costume-y to me, and I’m not feeling the slouchy socks, but that’s OKAY. The fact that Jared went for it in this very Lilly Pullitzer color-combo (in Gucci, no less) is great.

A$ap Rocky

One of the most common men’s floral staples the past few years has been the printed bomber jacket. In 2013, A$ap Rocky was years ahead of the fashion curve in this Balenciaga jacket and matching shirt.

Here’s a new one for our list: floral jeans that manage to look beautiful and not at all like my embroidered floral jeans from the Limited Too circa 1999. That’s probably because these are Gucci. And PAINTED. Love love love.

Bruno Mars

No apologies here: I still love Uptown Funk and I think the video was an instant classic, due in large part to the retro throwback looks — especially Bruno’s fantastic pink jacket.

And then there’s Bruno in last year’s Jane The Virgin finale, all flowy and flowery.

Nick Cannon

I’m no Nick Cannon stan, but I’d be remiss to leave off this dapper three-piece that’s like a cartoon version of an Edwardian man on Easter, which to be clear, is a compliment.

Harry Styles

Open strong, close strong: if Tinie Tempeh is a king of floral jackets, Harry is the Emperor Of The Full Floral Suit. Here he is in Gucci, 2015, keeping it December-appropriate in a cheerful red.

This Gucci suit Harry wore to the 2015 AMAs made my jaw drop in a good way. And since I’ve come to expect him to wear prints that are a bit extra, the part that surprised me was that he managed to make a flared leg look current. What can I say, I came of age in the early 2000s.

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It’s like a rockstar Minnie Mouse, which I’m good with and you should be too.

One more before we go: floral Gucci pants. These are Good Pants. And what’s that I see? Niall’s little yellow head, with a floral patch on his elbows? Harry’s enthusiasm for flower prints is downright infectious.

 

One thing I noticed when brainstorming this list was that most well-dressed men either wear florals and pastels regularly, or not at all. With the exception of the stray pink or light blue button-up or t-shirt, which barely counts IMO, it seems like these springy styles just aren’t a part of most mens’ day-to-day fashion lineup. But who knows? Maybe all fashionable gents are just one well-made pastel tuxedo jacket from entering the light side.

 

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All The Best Uniforms At The Rio Opening Ceremonies

It’s almost time for the Rio Opening Ceremonies, and you know what that means – costumes.

Okay, more specifically the Parade of Nations, where the athletes from the participating countries process into the arena wearing some kind of weird modern take on their national dress, like muscly Madame Alexander dolls or a sexy It’s A Small World ride.

I love it.

While a number of countries have released photos of their team uniforms – especially when there’s a high profile sponsor involved – it’s too soon to tell which looks will make the Parade of Nations. Still,here are a few to keep your eye out for:

Great Britain in Stella McCartney/ Adidas

Who’s making redcoats redder? Stella McCartney, I guess. I’m just so thrilled we can finally bring back Britain’s colonial-era nickname. The Adidas uniforms forego the typical Union Jack in favor of a coat of arms combining the thistle, rose, leek and flax, as well as a lion, the national animal of England even though England doesn’t have lions. The fabric is lightweight and there are fun leggings. The female athlete third from the right is not impressed.

I still can’t believe they make Wales be a leek. Pee-ew.

Canada in Hudson’s Bay and D-Squared

 

There are a lot of stereotypes about Canada and one of them is that Canada doesn’t really have cities. That’s why it’s so fun to see Canada go a little urban with their outfits. It’s a real mix-and-match collection combining smart jackets, jaunty track suits and even graphic tees. If I have one complaint it’s that the pants look weirdly saggy at the knee – but just look at what they’re wearing for the Opening Ceremonies:

South Korea

If I were an Olympic athlete, I would proudly compete in a prison jumpsuit or footie pajamas if it was Zika proof. Lucky for South Korea, their uniforms are fairly cute AND Zika-repellant. I like the uniforms to the right, like they’re activity leaders at a nice country club. The slim fit cropped pants are cute.

Here’s where I was going to complain about socks with boat shoes, but ZIKA. Gotta cover those ankles. Good job.

Sweden in H&M

There’s so much to love. First of all, that Sweden is wearing H&M. Second, that a relatively small(-ish) Scandinavian country can be one of the world’s biggest exporters of cool fashion and musicians. Third, these fabrics are sustainably produced and recycled. I love that there’s a fun athletic dress and the leggings and socks are just too good.

Spain

They look great – almost like street clothes but a bit more polished, with sassy scarves and tie clips. The woven belts are excellent too, and the contrasting accents on the blazers and the buttons.

I do wonder why, in a world where red and blue seem to be the most popular national colors, a country that actually has a different color scheme going for it opts for red and blue.

Italy in EA7 by Emporio Armani

Unlike Spain, I can’t even quibble that these aren’t the national colors (except for the bits of red and green on the collar) because the black and white just feels so Italian. The giant 7s are the most conspicuous branding I’ve seen so far on the team uniforms, but it also can kind of just read as some stripes maybe?

Brazil 

Say what you will about Brazil’s preparedness or suitability to host the 2016 games: there is a special place in my heart for a country that will deck men out in florals. Granted, I was even more excited when I thought that the ascot was the lining of his blazer instead.

France in Lacoste

Remember when you wouldn’t see a fashionable, city-dwelling European caught dead in athletic wear in public? The recent trend for sleek, well-designed athleisure clothing has turned that around a bit, and France’s simple and tidy look shows how well it can be done.

USA in Ralph Lauren

Not my favorites, but not horrible; these get points for the sheer American-ness of red-white-and-blue stripes and pushed up sleeves on Oxford shirts.

Australia

The word Slytherin has been thrown around a few times for these uniforms, as has “ice cream lady.” But me? I just hope they make it back to Malibu Sands in time to help Stacey Carosi’s dad out at the big volleyball tournament.

 

Most teams haven’t released photos of their uniforms yet, so tune into the Opening Ceremonies tonight to find out who the REAL best-dressed are.

 

Best Dressed: Tony Awards 2016

I swore we weren’t going to do this – devote yet another post to the 2016 Tony Awards, broadly, or Hamilton, generally – so soon, but the truth is, I’m not over it yet. The awards, the speeches, the performances – it was all too much and days later, I’m still sorting it all out as though it’s something that happened to ME and not just on my TV. So I hope you’ll forgive it, but it’s been four days and we still haven’t talked about outfits yet. I’m not in the mood for worst dressed because everyone looked fantastic, so here are a few of my favorites:

Lupita Nyong’o in Hugo Boss

Remember in the 80s and 90s when ladies would get their “seasons done” and go around telling you that they were a winter or whatever? Maybe I got that from Steel Magnolias or something? In any case, I love when Lupita wears cheerful spring-y, summer-y colors, probably because it goes so well with her overall fresh as a daisy-type look. I would love to get a closer look at this material because it’s sequined but doesn’t look too glitzy.

Phillipa Soo in Prabal Gurung

Over the course of the appearances and awards circuit for Hamilton, Phillipa has hit the nail on the head with everything from casual outfits to more dressed-up looks for interviews to formal gowns. Basically, I’d like her entire closet, thanks. She looks great in brighter blues and reds, too, but this white is absolutely stunning. The pop on the shoes is just the thing when you’re a Tony nominee, but also still in your mid-20s and able to be a little playful with it.

Laura Benanti in Oscar de la Renta

You know what? Maybe I SHOULD be one of those 1980s mall ladies who tells you what season you’re made of (still not sure how it works), because it is all about color with all of these dresses. This purple-magenta shade is beautiful but more than that, it makes Laura’s skin and eyes glow. It also takes the high-necked, lacy gown out of mother of the bride territory and keeps in firmly in the youthful starlet realm.

Sophie Okonedo in Zac Posen

Stop the presses. Or whatever the internet has. Balancing an avante garde cut on the shoulders and cuffs with a large, busy print – WITHOUT the whole look seeming over the top or loud or overpowering? It’s all down to the overall simplicity of the structure here, but it’s still no easy feat.

Lucy Liu in Zuhair Murad

The Tonys are one of the only awards shows firmly in the spring-summer months, and lighter looks like this are just perfect this time of year (sure, I know it’s usually warm weather at the Oscars and Golden Globes, but some colors and fabrics still feel seasonally ‘off’ in the winter). This couldn’t be more perfect for June, and that beading and that color — it’s like what angels would wear if they didn’t have to wear white.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Zuhair Murad

When I was a kid, I had a dance performance where we were instructed to wear a “party dress.” And I was kind of like, okay, what exactly is a party dress?

THIS. This is a damn party dress. It looks like confetti and moonlight.

(I think I just wore, like, an Easter-y dress.)

Cynthia Erivo

You already know that Cynthia can do no wrong in our book. And that we would have loved whatever she wore. But there’s something so amazing about choosing a dress that looks like an actual work of art over something that’s less interesting but more ‘pretty.’ The risk paid off, and she looks incredible.

Adrienne Warren in Alberta Ferretti

Love it. Love that it’s not long, love the beaded fringe, love the little clutch, love the loose hair. The only thing I don’t love: that I can’t afford this dress.

(Honest truth: I have a wedding next week where the theme is ‘1920s Hollywood Glam’ and it turns out nothing I own is particularly 1920s Hollywood Glam, sorry friends, it just isn’t, but this would be perfect.)

Pascale Armand in Delpozo

I love that this subverts the whole chiffon skirt/ satin-y bodice thing we’re so used to, and the colors and embroidery are to die for. We can add Pascale to the very short list of people who look wonderful in dark purple-y lipstick.

Renee Elise Goldsberry

It looks like Renee picked a different dress for the red carpet, but this is the gown that she decided to win in, and that’s exactly what it is: a gown to win in. The yellow and black combo is unexpected and very pretty and possibly a subtle nod to Broadway playbills? But probably not.

Daveed Diggs

I have no clue what’s going on but I like it?

Celebrating The Rachel, On The 20th Anniversary Of Its Death

The Rachel is dead.

Long live The Rachel.

Jennifer Aniston’s choppy shag – the biggest boon to the round brush industry to date – met its end by Season 3 of Friends. That means that right now, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Rachel’s death.

I think that to avoid looking too dated or silly, you should avoid any haircut with a first name (unless that name is bob. Pretty classic). But in 1996, America couldn’t resist the curled-under layers of Jennifer Aniston’s bouncy ‘do.

In the years since The Rachel died, Aniston has been pretty vocal about the cut:

Like anyone who has tried to curl their ends with a blowdryer while twirling a brush with the other hand, Jennifer hated styling her haircut. In 2011, she went so far as to call it “the ugliest haircut I have ever seen.”  My favorite part: stylist Chris McMillan was (allegedly) high when he created the style. “Stoned out of his mind,” Aniston said.

Okay, but was the Rachel really that bad? Let’s take a look-see.

I mean. Highlights have come a long way, and at the time those frosty pieces read more “sun-kissed” and less chunky. But NOBODY’S hair curls in towards their face like that, and that was the Rachel’s biggest downfall. Add in some cowlicks or waves and this thing is toast; try it on stick-straight hair, and it’ll just hang straight down with layers that look like they were cut with kitchen scissors.

Here’s the thing to remember, two decades on. It wasn’t just that people liked Rachel Green’s hairdo. It’s that the haircut spread across the nation like nothing I’ve seen before or since. (Closest match: Kate Gosselin’s I Want To Talk To The Manager haircut; that heavily inverted bob that looked cool for about a month and now just looks like a short haircut with two long puppy ears in the front.) It started with the moms. It moved on to the 20-somethings. I was 9, and my mom joked that I should get The Rachel.

Don’t think that just because The Rachel crawled off Jennifer Aniston’s head and died in 1996, it was gone for good. That baby multiplied and infested heads worldwide. In the early 2000s, you could still see a Rachel in the wild. Legend has it that a few dozen Rachels still exist in the natural world, but even if not, the echoes of the Rachel can be heard.  Every time your stylist asks if you want “a little face-frame,” the Rachel lives on. When a hairdresser suggests “some piece-y layers for texture,” you can hear the wind whisper “Rachel.” And whenever a thick highlight is pulled through a latex cap, the faint sound of Chris McMillan’s hairstyling shears floats into the room.

 

Best Dressed: White House Correspondents’ Dinner 2016

Backtracking a bit: on Tuesday, we discussed the best dressed of the Met Gala, AKA Fashion Prom. But let’s not forget that Saturday was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, AKA Nerd Prom, full of almost as many wonderful outfits. (Note: it’s also my annual check on whether I can still spell the word ‘correspondents,’ which got me booted from a spelling bee in the fourth grade.) Let’s see how those nerds (read: fabulous and powerful Hollywood and political elite) cleaned up! In no particular order…

Emma Watson in Osman

I definitely went through a time with Emma Watson where I was like “girl, not sure about all of these looks but you are 100% doing you.” And now I’m just like “narrow pants? Jacobean embroidered poppies slit to the waist? A paper plate looking ruffle? WTF somehow it all works and you look amazing.” 10 points to Gryffindor.

Emily Ratajkowski in Monique Lhuillier

Between the color, the beading, the simple hair, and the unfussy silhouette (which really helps the floral look non-crazy), this is just fun enough to be young and just serious enough to be Washington-appropriate.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Lela Rose

Gugu has been on the “totally going to be a big thing soon” list for a while now, and every time I see her I think she just needs ONE high-profile awards season and she’ll be a fashion favorite. I love the oversized violet and indigo pattern. This has to be one of the least cheezy uses of a sheer panel I’ve seen in a while, too.

Michelle Dockery in Cushnie et Ochs

There wasn’t a ton of color at Nerd Prom, which makes this look extra sunny and delightful. Shades of yellow and orange can be really hard for a lot of people to pull off, skin-tone wise, but this deeper, more citrusy shade isn’t bringing out any sallow undertones.The cap sleeve has had a few years off and I think maybe it can come back.

Priyanka Chopra in Zuhair Murad

Once I verified that this was a taupe under-layer and not just strategically-placed sheer stripes, I absolutely loved this. Favorite part: the floating beads every few stripes.

Jared Leto

Okay, maybe the last time saw a light pink bow tie was at an early 90s wedding, but it looks good on Jared Leto… as does everything. There aren’t many people who can pull off a ruffled pocket square, but Jared Leto is definitely one of them. Also I feel like maybe he’s growing his hair back out, which is a good thing for all society.

Karlie Kloss in Derek Lam

This one started on my “meh” list and migrated over to my best list for a few reasons – first, it wasn’t black… and there was a lot of black that night. Second, it wasn’t too safe and boring, but it also wasn’t disrespectful too frivolous. And honestly, the contrasting colors and textures just grew on me the more I looked at it. Is texture blocking the new color blocking?

Helen Mirren in Dolce & Gabbana

What. A. Dame. Helen Mirren, always the perfect combo of “class” (ugh, but you know what I mean) and fun, paid tribute to Prince with this purple gown and a Prince symbol drawn on her collarbone. I don’t know if she’s ever looked bad a day in her life.

Full House Of Style

Michelle Tanner, fashion maven, is apparently too busy to live in a row house with >10 other people. At least, that’s the party line for why the youngest Tanner will not be appearing on Fuller House. Like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Michelle is a fashion designer living the high life in New York City. Is this really surprising? We’ve already covered Ashley Olsen’s statement that Michelle’s wardrobe was made of cut-down designer pieces. Michelle wore a lot of sunflower hats, giant buttons, and clown sweatshirts, but it was the 80s and 90s. Who are we to say the top designers weren’t going a little overboard on the whimsy?

In the spirit of Michelle Tanner, Fashion Icon, we’re going to look at how the other Tanner girls were dressed back in the day — taking it back to one of our OTHER favorite 90s shows, House of Style.

D.J.

Country Goose D.J.

In 1987, those unfortunate mall bangs and shoulder pads hadn’t trickled down to Donna Jo Margaret Tanner. Deej wore washed-out pastels, simple t-shirts, and comfy sweats. Bangs were decidedly non-teased, and hair was worn long and probably un-permed. Remember when we discussed those weird geese in bonnets that were popular in 80s and 90s home decor? This is how a woman with ‘country geese’ in her house would dress her 11-year-old daughter. There’s nothing here that Candace Cameron (Bure) should find embarrassing: for an 80s kid, she is getting off very easy.

Chunky Sweater D.J.

Let’s call this D.J.’s transitional look. Not the pastel little-girl style of the first season, but not a full-out teeny bopper, either. Chunky knit sweaters weren’t JUST for teachers at Christmastime in the late 80s. It was a way to add some humor and color into those crisp Bay Area winters, I guess.

Woman Of The 80s D.J.

Like most of us, D.J. had some awkward fashion years around middle school. Unlike most of us, D.J.’s character was going through a ’13-year-old Cathy comic’  phase where she was basically a middle-aged woman. Sometime around junior high, Deej started dressing like a high-powered woman of the 80s, except that she was a child. Her hair was permed and teased, as was the style of the time. She wore a lot of vests that she didn’t have to be wearing. There were bright-toned blazers with some very of- the-moment Michael Jackson-style epaulets.

Laura (Kate and) Ashley (Olsen) D.J.

Dainty florals and schoolmarm chic were popular and – am I losing it? – kind of cute for a while. I just looked at these dresses and thought “wow, that is refreshingly age-appropriate,” so don’t worry, if I ever have a daughter she’s definitely gonna hate me when she’s a teenager.

Seattle D.J.

Deej went to high school, got a boyfriend, loosened up, and started wearing flannels. Which, during this particular era, was more universal and not like a subversive Seattle grunge thing.

Mid-90s Seventeen Magazine D.J.

As in, she looks just like the girls in the copies of Seventeen magazine I used to sneak-read when my sister got them in 1995. This was that fun Clueless era when mod accents, A-line silhouettes and athletic influences made teen fashion its own category. Deej favored slouchy faded-wash jeans and bodysuits for casual wear and short but not mini-short skirts when dressing up. Plus Candace Cameron got that cute bob and started to look like a trendy college girl instead of a goofy sitcom kid.

Stephanie

Adorable Moppet Stephanie

In the first few years, when Michelle was strictly in nonspeaking baby territory, Stephanie was the resident cute little kid. And she was GOOD at it: I remember watching reruns with friends in college, and all of us being stunned because little Jodie Sweetin actually had great delivery and timing. Early on, costumers played up the adorable little kid angle. They kept Stephanie in the same pastels and unteased hair as D.J., when at this point in the 80s there were a lot of loud prints and weird bangs going on in the outside world.

Foreman Of The Sass Factory Stephanie

Stephanie got older, and the Full House writers got more and more obsessed with catch phrases. They established Stephanie as the household sass. Jodie Sweetin got to rock a lot more neon patterns and weird prints, plus she got a perm.

Trendy Tween Stephanie

The perm came down and the bangs came up, and it became clear that Stephanie was the cool one in the family. Stephanie really got to shine as the aspiring young hip hop dancer that she was.

Bad Girl Stephanie

By the 7th season, Deej was too much of a 13-year-old Cathy Comic to give her many ‘edgy’ teen storylines (I mean, the time Jesse thought she was drinking and she wasn’t, I guess?). Michelle was now the cute kid. That mean that Stephanie had to be the ‘rebel.’ You can tell because she went to make-out parties, hung out with strange boys at the food court, didn’t practice for the talent show and wore a midriff-baring top.

Not Ensembly Challenged: Still-Wearable Clueless Fashion

If you want to know how teens dressed in the 90s, just watch Clueless. Sort of. Not the main characters – nobody really dressed like that. No, next time, keep your eye on the background players. The unflattering jeans, the scrunchies, the awkwardly cut shirts – those were the true Kids In America, 1995.

Because Cher, Dionne, and friends were basically cartoons of the most extreme mid-90s teen style, most of their clothes would look ridiculous today. Heck, most of them looked ridiculous in ’95. That was kind of the point. But now that the 90s have circled back into fashion there are some looks that would look just as fresh today as they did 20 years ago. Wear these, and you will not have to choose between identifying as fashion victim or ensembly challenged.

Cher’s Pajamas


I can’t find a better shot of them, but I want these fresh-as-a-daisy crop top pajamas right now.

Cher’s Grade Change Outfit

The perfect simple, preppy, tennis-y outfit. Not that Cher played tennis.

Tai’s Post-Makeover, Picture-In-Elton’s Locker Outfit

There’s a lot of plaid in Clueless. Much of it unwearable. But this – this is adorable, and honestly very typical of 90s teens. (Source: when Clueless came out I was 8 and lived with the next-coolest thing to a unicorn for an 8-year-old girl – a teenage sister who sometimes let me hang out when her friends were over). Not so wearable: Ambular’s … outfit… thing.

Dionne’s Multicolored Extensions

Between Stacey Dash’s general agelessness and the popularity of colorful yarn braids, it’s hard to believe that this isn’t 2015. Seriously, how amazing does she look?

The Alaia

Along with the yellow plaid outfit, this is Cher’s iconic look (thanks for nothing, Iggy Azalea, haven’t you done enough?). The wacky feather-trimmed jacked should probably stay at a val party in 1995 where it belongs, though.

Dionne’s Layered Necklaces

If you look closely, Dionne has these layered gold necklaces – a cross and some kind of pendant – that she wears in a few scenes. Very 2K15 appropriate.

Cher’s Post- Hall/Geist Setup Celebration Outfit

I know I said that there’s a lot of plaid, and, well, there IS a lot of plaid. But this is the cutest outfit and brings together so many of the mid 90s looks I remember: the 70s minidress revival, prep (knee socks!), plaid, and unnecessary hats.

Cher’s Gym Class Outfit

I could never wear the tank top over a tee without looking like a Sister Wife, but this puts all the stupid, schlubby t-shirts and sweats I wore to gym class to shame. See also: an early prototype of the cell phone case. Amber, stop.

Cher And Dionne’s Outfits When Tai Is Wearing Farmer Clothes

Empire waists were a big deal – even for kids. ONe of my school concert outfits had a bow just like Cher’s and I thought I was so cool. Sportswear was also a big deal, a la Dionne’s amazing black and hot pink ensemble. And Tai… well, Tai. Troll dolls were in, what can I say. Also the girl in the background is wearing a shirt with this weird-shaped flower that was for some reason ubiquitous.

Cher’s Dress. Says who? Calvin Klein.

Another 90s trend, though you may not believe it from this movie: minimalism. A lot of plain tank tops, Gap staples, basic scoop-necked wedding gowns – a subdued reaction to the wackiness that was the late 80s and early 90s. This dress is perfectly on-trend and still looks lovely, especially without that sheer thing she drapes over it.

Cher’s Emma-Inspired Shopping Dress

This dress! There’s the minimalism and empire waist we talked about before. Is the waistline a nod to the Jane Austen era since Clueless is loosely based on Emma?

Dionne’s Wedding Hair

Before the flower crown, there was the flower everywhere. Why do I bet that if you walked into Claire’s or The Icing, 90% of the stock is the same as it was when I was 8 and Clueless was king?

This 4th Of July, Why Not Dress Like A Founding Father?

Ah, the Founding Fathers. They gave our nation its principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They also gave it style. So much style.

My first foray into Founding Fathers fashion was when I tried to use dry shampoo. Rather than combing out easily and leaving me with bouncy, shiny but not greasy-shiny locks, it clung to my hair like a white powder. I looked like Thomas Jefferson. Which is to say: amazing.

I leapt headfirst into Colonial Cool when I tried to wear slim-fitting Bermuda shorts even though I am 5’2 and should know better than to have dreams. They looked like old-timey breeches. Paul Revere wished he looked so good in knee-pants.

I haven’t accidentally worn a tricorne cap yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.

This weekend we celebrate Independence Day, and many will deck themselves out in tacky American Flag gear – because you don’t really love your country unless you turn Old Glory into a pair of hotpants or a bandana. It’s also the one time a year when we – well, some of us – look forward to History Channel and PBS documentaries about our nation’s earliest days.

And I say, why not combine those two passions: caring about history for a little while every year, and dressing like an all-American reject? Why not take our fashion advice from the golden age of elaborate men’s fashions? This July Fourth, ask yourself: what would John Hancock wear?

Powdered Wig

Anyone who’s anyone in the 18th century wore a powdered wig. They knew the secret that George Clooney and Roger Sterling brought to modern times: the most beautiful creature in the animal kingdom is a silver fox. Look at Thomas Jefferson’s snow-white locks – so natural and free! Or John Hancock, whose wig isn’t even pretending it’s not a wig:

So how will you recreate it? If you’re like me, you could try having the absolute wrong hair type for dry shampoo. Or you could just go for a white-gray dye and bleach job, which is all the rage on the hallowed halls of tumblr:

Breeches

Centuries before capris burst onto the scene, declaring to all and sundry “I’m on vacation! But I still don’t feel awesome about my legs, really!”, the founders of our great nation knew that the best pants were actually half a pair of pants. Check out Ralph Earl. Nay, check out Ralph Earl’s stocking-clad calves. It’s enough to make you fan yourself with your mob cap.

If you were holed up in a hot Philadelphia meeting hall with your buds in the Continental Congress, you didn’t want 100% of a pair of pants bringing you down. Not to mention, long pants weren’t really a thing yet. No, you wanted to show off your flair and keep cool with these slim, flattering cropped pants, decorated with a little embellishment above the knee.

Samuel Adams models the looser version, appropriate for even the most mutton-fed body types:

So how do you replicate the look today? Capris, bermudas, or for the traditionalist, a slick pair of riding pants:

Waistcoat

Go to your nearest hipster bar, used book shop, or bicycle store. Wait 5 minutes. You will see at least one young man in an undercut, facial hair, and a waistcoat.

I’m going to need you to steal his waistcoat.

You can tell him you’re doing it ironically.

Frock Coat

Is it a frock? Is it a coat? It’s a mother-lovin’ FROCK COAT, is what it is. What, too warm to wear on July 4th? Well they didn’t have air conditioning at Independence Hall. And freedom isn’t free.

Anyway, just because you’re drafting articles of Confederation doesn’t mean you need to neglect your articles of clothing:

See that? Frock coats. Frock coats as far as the eye can see. And lucky you, you can still buy them:

Buckles

So, what holds America together? A common goal, a dream of a better life, a love for liberty? No. Buckles. Buckles do. Buckles on your pants, buckles on your shoes, buckles on your hats, buckles on your buckles. It’s as though the founding fathers KNEW they had to buckle up, because this nation was in for a bumpy ride. One of the top items excavated from colonial sites: buckles. Because then, as now, we are just trying to keep it together.

With buckles.

Pocahontas: ’90s Fashion Goes 17th Century

Can you believe that tomorrow it will have been 20 years since Pocahontas? Pocahontas the movie, that is: Pocahontas the human died in like 1617. It has been two whole decades since Disney released its historically fuzzy account of a spirited Powhatan girl who gets White Man’s Burdened by a dude in that one haircut all the cute boys had in the mid-90s. Disney does a ton of research for each of their movies, but ultimately chose a ’90s-friendly interpretation of 17th Century style. So how do the 1600s look through a ’90s lens?

John Smith’s ‘Cute Boy In The ’90s’ Haircut

In 1994, all of the cute boys called a secret meeting and vowed to get That One Haircut. If you were a Tiger Beat reader or cherished your J.T.T. is H-O-T issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, you know exactly which one I’m talking about. It was center parted and layered back on the sides, so that all of the cute boys could brush it out of their eyes all of the time. Which was the haircut’s fatal flaw, I’d wager. It was always in the way. And it was in the way of EVERYONE, from Rider Strong to Christian Bale to… well, to John  Smith, who must have painstakingly layered his locks in his berth below deck of that old-fashioned wooden boat. Smith has the longer, more mulletty version of the cut, favored by your more outdoorsy Cute Boys In The ’90s.

Nakoma’s Sassy Bangs

In 1995, those late ’80s/early ’90s mall bangs were fading into history. Instead, your bangs were probably either a blunt-cut fringe or wispy and curled under with a round brush. I think my right forearm is still slightly more muscular than the left because of all that time I spent scrupulously curling my bangs under into a see-through hair dome. The curled-under bangs were innocent and girly, but the blunt Betty Page fringe was the trademark of a true sass factory. That’s why Disney gave them to the movie’s requisite Sassy Best Friend.

Pocahontas’s Ink

Remember “tribal tattoos?” And how if the only tribe you were in was the National Association Of College Bros, you probably shouldn’t have gotten one? There was a time when the tribal armband circled the bicep of every college dude in the land – it was the undercut haircut and waistcoat of 1995. Now those armbands are sported by 40-something dad types who only reunite with the “tribe” on alumni weekend.

By the way, those of us who were eight years old in 1995 had the Poor Man’s Tribal Tattoo, the stretchy band from Claire’s Boutique that always ended up on your wrist if you had skinny arms.

Pocahontas and Nakoma’s Girl Band Outfits

I get that buckskin was the only fabric option or whatever. But I still love how Pocahontas and her girl Nakoma have coordinating outfits. It’s like TLC or En Vogue or Salt n Pepa, where they’d each have a slightly different outfit but made of the same material. And at least one girl always had the crop top version. We’ve established that Nakoma was the resident sassafras, so naturally it was her.

Pocahontas’s Cher Horowitz Hair Flip

 

The crispy permed look was dead or dying in the mid-90s. Instead, everyone wanted the perfect voluminous blowout. It was several years before we all started flat-ironing our hair into brittle sheets, and health and movement were the hair goals. Pocahontas had, hands down, the best blow-out of the era, rivaled only by Cher Horowitz herself. I know Pocahontas didn’t have an animated blowdryer or anything, but I feel like she was always standing in the wind on a cliff with multicolored leaves swirling around her and stuff, so I guess that did the trick.

That Turquoise Necklace

Here’s where Disney was phoning it in (on a land line or one of those brick cell phones, because again, 1995). They were just like “oh, Native Americans LOVE turquoise!” because that whole Southwestern decorating thing was going on. But the key there is Southwest, I mean how would Pocahontas have ended up with it in Virginia? However, teal and turquoise were oddly popular at the time, so I think it was more a matter of picking a look that would help sell licensed Halloween costumes that year.

Thomas’s Center-Parted Bowl Cut

I think if you weren’t cute enough for the Cute Boy In The 90s Haircut, they made you get the center-parted bowl cut instead.

Renting The Runway: A Wedding Story

We’re smack dab in the middle of wedding season, y’all, and last month, I gave out a few tricks on how to make it through these next few months without becoming a bitter betty and exhausted to the max with our Wedding Season Survival Kit. I mentioned that one of the helpful tips is to dress to impress since all weddings these days are highly documented. You can either go the route of using something you already have and mixing and matching, or borrowing pieces, like a site such as Rent the Runway.

I used RTR for the first time this past weekend for my friend’s wedding and I wanted to share my experience (and a few tidbits from my other friends) on using the site, JIC you want to kick your wedding game up a notch this year!

The Process

I started looking at dresses about two to three months before the big day, and made a shortlist on the website by ‘hearting’ the dresses I liked, this way I could easily go back and look at not only the potential dresses, but any accessories as well.

*I consulted with a couple friends about my top few choices, and I wish there was an easier way to share the shortlist with friends and have them comment on which ones they think would look good.

Screenshot 2015-06-17 00.33.53

 

I settled on this Tango Tux Romper by Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, which was $325 retail, and cost me $50 to rent. The wedding I attended was in Malibu overlooking the beach, and I felt the romper was fun yet formal enough for the later afternoon/night event. You have the option of renting an additional size for free, just in case the first one you pick doesn’t fit.

 

The first time you use RTR, you can get $25 off on your entire order over $50, so I decided to throw in this Show Stopper Necklace from Nineteen Pieces and Royal Mail Clutch from Lilly Pulitzer Handbags.

In total, I spent about $90 for a four-day rental. You pick a delivery date one to two days prior to your event, and you have to return it by 12pm on the fourth day. There is also an eight-day option, which is obviously more expensive.

*In the meantime, my friend, who I consulted earlier, was also planning on using RTR for the same wedding. She decided to rent dresses for two other events prior to this weekend’s wedding. The first event was the bride’s bachelorette weekend, and my friend was accidentally sent two long ball gowns meant for a woman in Texas. Since we went out of town for the bachelorette party, it was no use in having RTR send another one because she was leaving the next day. The second event was for a West Coast Reception for our friends’ wedding, and she had no problems. For this past weekend’s wedding, she received an e-mail saying they couldn’t send her the dress she picked out, and had to send her backup options. They sent two dresses – one, a gown Academy Award-ready, and the other, a LBD, which she ultimately ended up using (which I thought looked great!). She contacted RTR and told them because of their eff-up, she had to purchase last-minute undergarments, etc. and luckily, they gave her $100 credit. So, we know customer service is good. Separately, I have a friend who used RTR for a black tie wedding, and everything went swimmingly, while another got the dresses and decided they didn’t look good, so she ultimately didn’t end up wearing it.

The Minor Freakout

Because I had heard mixed reviews ever since I reserved (and paid) for my dress and accessories, I was nervous that either it wouldn’t arrive on time or it just wouldn’t look as good as I had hoped.

The Thursday before Saturday’s wedding, I received an email from a RTR stylist saying the purse I had picked was unavailable. I had to provide five backup choices in order of preference and whichever was available would be sent to me at no additional cost. I was annoyed at first, but ultimately, I was just glad it wasn’t the dress, and I ended up picking a bag that I liked more than my original choice, this Black Faye Clutch from Times Arrow (and twice the price of the orig bag!).

The Arrival

Since I was a psycho and tracked the package every second, I grabbed the box when it arrive at my door around 6pm the night before the wedding. Inside, was a garment back with the two sizes of the romper, the necklace, handbag, and large UPS bag for you to put all the items once you return them. I must say, it felt very fancy, probs because I stick with the plebeian apparel. Anyways, I tried both on and liked how it looked, so no need to send back (also no time). My only complaint is that the shorts material was a tad thinner than I realized, but I made it work. Also, pockets! The necklace was shorter on me than I estimated, so I ended up not wearing it, which is fine, because I basically got it for free thanks to the $25 off and purse situation. The purse smelled brand new (is that weird), and was the perfect size to fit all my items.

Photo Jun 12, 11 53 50 PM

Photo Jun 12, 11 55 16 PM

The Wedding Day

I forgot to mention I paired this outfit with my own black wedges (easy to dance in all night) and earrings I forgot I had which were black and gold and art deco-y. Here’s a horrible picture of my friend (also in RTR) and I but it gives you a good look at the romp!

Photo Jun 13, 6 01 40 PM

We took a pic later in the night, and I’m clearly sweaty from going hard on the dance floor, my friend looks like an angel, it’s fine. Also, I spilled guac (hi, wine) on the front black part of the romp, and while I tried to get it out, it was still a little visible. Luckily, you pay a minimal insurance fee when you rent to cover stupid mishaps like this, so I didn’t freak out about it.

Photo Jun 16, 1 29 26 AM

The Return of The Runway

On Sunday, I packed both rompers, the purse and unused necklace in the provided UPS bag (the garment bag and hangers I could keep) and found a UPS drop box and said my last goodbye and watched it sail softly into the night (slash left it in a dark box).

All in all, I would recommend RTR. Based on my experience, it was easy to use and a slip-up on their part ended up being better than I expected. But based on my friends’ stories, it seems hit or miss. Here’s the bottom line – use RTR if you’re like me and don’t re-wear dresses to weddings and/or big events. Have a backup dress just in case, and if something goes wrong on RTR’s end, don’t be afraid to write customer service, because they will help you as best they can. Now I g2g find another dress for my third and final wedding this August.